Happy World Kindness Day! What? Didn’t have it marked on your calendar?
Started in Tokyo in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, the holiday is now observed each November 13 in Japan, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, England, Italy, Singapore, India and the United Arab Emirates. The United States doesn’t recognize the holiday. Yet.
This small fact didn’t stop my new friend Kasey and I from celebrating.
A senior at Starfire she’s working on a yearlong project to spread kindness to her community. It’s a team effort that brings together friends and family to make a lasting impact and build connections. Stay tuned. You’re going to hear a lot of great things from this woman.
Kasey, her advisor Meghan, Starfire student Michele and I head to Kroger to start spreading the kindness. Armed with nothing more than 80 slips of orange construction paper with quotes about kindness, we hope for the best.
“This is creepy!” Michele says and hides her face in her hands, embarrassed. She’s not as enthusiastic as the three of us in our goal.
“Creepy would be if we were in their car,” I laugh. “But we’re just slipping them under the windshields.”
“No!” Meghan cheers, an unabashed kindness warrior. “This isn’t creepy! We’re spreading kindness!” A few shoppers make a wide arc, unsure of four women walking the parking lot holding a personal pep rally.
Some people turn their gaze away, jump in their car and start the engine, shake us off with a curt ‘not now’ or ‘too busy.’ The assumption is we are selling something or want something from them.
I want to tell them the only thing we’re soliciting is kindness. And it’s free.
A woman sits in her car checking her phone messages when Kasey walks up and taps on her window. “Happy World Kindness Day!” I happily announce as the woman looks at us in confusion.
She takes the card and turns it over to read. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Her face breaks out in a smile. She’s completely taken off guard.
“Thank you,” she says. “Thank you.” She tucks it into her purse and smiles her way out of her parking spot.
Continuing up our row, we spy two senior center buses parked curbside. Each waits for its passengers to exit the grocery.
“That would be fun,” I say, pointing to the buses. Kasey’s at the bus before Meghan, Michele and I have a chance to chase her. We board the bus, explain the holiday and wait. Each senior’s face transforms as Kasey hands him a card.
“Still embarrassed?” I ask Michele. She hides her face and laughs.
One must be brave to be kind, I think. And be OK with people thinking you’re a little nuts.