This is a good-news story we should all be sharing. It follows the awful-news story we're all still reeling from; the unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., which is really Ourtown, U.S.A. It's a story about a television journalist, NBC's Ann Curry, who had enough of the suffering she saw. She had an idea. A simple idea about the power of random acts of kindness.More precisely, 26 random acts of kindness.
I'll let Ann Curry describe her inspiration:
"After the experience in Newtown. I thought, "What if? Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown." So that's what I tweeted. And guess what? People committed. I said in my tweet, "I'm in. RT if you're in." Not only did they commit to 20 acts of kindness, they wanted to up it to 26 acts of kindness for every child and adult who was lost at the school. Some even debated maybe we should include the mother, who died, at 27 acts. Some debated maybe we should include the killer as well as he was struggling and in pain.
What's really remarkable to me is how many people responded. They are the ones who carried the ball. They are the ones who chose what to do. People would tweet back, "I've done two!" "I bought coffee for a guy in line!" "I bought toys for homeless children!" "I've got 18 more to go!" or "24 more to go!" – whatever number they were trying to reach."
Random acts of national kindness
If you're not familiar with Twitter, it's like a bulletin board on the Internet where people "post" their announcements, thoughts, worries, links to items they want to share, all in 140-character "Tweets." Ann Curry's Twitter account is public and so thousands of people are posting – boasting – of their random acts of kindness on her electronic bulletin board, called a "Twitter feed." The Twitter title or "hashtag" for Ann Curry's brilliant idea is #26Acts.
Since last week when she made this idea public, it's gone "viral," soaring through every manner of social media. Many of the more than 1 million folks who "follow" Ann, (that means they're regular readers of Ann's Twitter electronic bulletin board) are jumping on board. She's getting thousands of posts from folks all around the country sharing their 26 Acts of Kindness.
The response is staggering. It's like the end of It's a Wonderful Life only it's happening for everyone, everywhere. This got me thinking about what a great idea it was for a family-wide New Year's resolution! We can all find our own ways to spread compassion and kindness! Ask the kids and grandkids for ideas. Share the story at the dinner table and see what ideas everyone has. Kids love this kind of thing - even sulky teenagers will get into the spirit!
Looking for a great New Year's Resolution for the whole family? Join the 26Acts campaign!
Many of these do-gooders dedicated their acts to one of the victims of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.
Read some of the gifts of giving committed:
Act5: helped a little girl find her mom in a crowd. Rip Dylan Hockley, age 6
Bought a stranger a tank of gas in the name of victoria soto today. Gave her a printed hero bio
Brought Muscle Milk and Red Bull to Newtown Police Station. Thank you for all you do.
paid for an elderly couple's groceries. Woman cried. Love this
gave hot baked chicken, Christmas cookies & $26 cash to couple living in car. Their surprise was my thanks!!
Helped a small boy traveling alone on the plane. We sat together & he played Angry Birds all the way to Phx
First tweet ever at age 56. 14-year-old grandson and I did our random acts of kindness by taking school staff breakfast & gifts!
2nite I paid 4 an elderly mans few groceries. He thanked me over & over, lives on Social security w/a very tight budget
out to dinner tonight with the family, saw an elderly women eating alone. My 10 year old asked the waitress for her bill. Act#2
Last night I was behind someone in the toy store whose card was declined. I swiped mine instead & told her 2 pay it fwd
Homeless man at street corner; he sadly asked if I had anything to eat; handed him $9 roasted turkey breast I just purchased
Going caroling to bring a little joy to a senior center with my son & classmates.
Paying for breakfast at IHOP for 2 young teens eating alone on Christmas.
Gifts of giving - those who receive:
Some of those on the receiving end of these acts of kindness are tweeting in their gratitude:
my dad, a principal, was a recipient of a random act of kindness. Made my mom cry
A couple just paid for my family's entire bill. We had a table of 8. I think my mom is about to cry
What if this wasn't only a New Year's Resolution or a campaign or a short-term response to the Newtown tragedy? What if this became every family's mission? What if we all simply decided that there is a larger ongoing crisis all the time, somewhere, and we could be responding, with kindness, all the time? What if we just acted like this all the time, every, single day?
Happy New Year