When I graduated from college I dreamed of being a television news reporter.
Having no experience, I had to start small: at a dinky little cable station in Naples, Florida, a town I had never heard of before. I put my time in covering sea turtle rescues and unknown celebrities until I finally got my big break in the form of a job in Boston. There, I got to work in a fancy new station, sign autographs for school kids and have access to a helicopter and a fleet of live trucks. I had made it.
Soon, reality set in. In a big city market there was always some bad news happening somewhere and I was too often sent chasing accused criminals out of courtrooms, waiting outside of crime scene tape or at the doorstep of a family still reeling from tragedy. My breaking point came the day I accidentally informed a young woman her mother died. It was the worst day of my professional life and the day I decided I no longer wanted to shine a light on these stories.
At the same time my career was unraveling, my personal life was too. My mom had always told me “when you’re hurting, go help someone else.”
To get through the last months of my contract, I started seeking out stories of people who had been in the news under tragic circumstances but were doing something inspiring with their lives: a young girl who was paralyzed by a stray bullet but was uplifting her classmates with her positive spirit, a blind and autistic musician who learned to play 27 instruments, a disabled war vet who opened his own art studio. These stories and were the inspiration behind Storytellers for Good, an organization I started to tell and promote stories like them.
Over the last 10 years I have discovered my kindness gift: my ability to see the beautiful essence of a person and reflect it back to them and the world. But the gift has been all mine. In telling stories of people turning their own hurt into acts of helping others I have become more compassionate, more grateful, more kind.
I have learned kindness is who we are, that our capacity for it is limitless and that, as we shine a light on it, it grows.
Cara is the mastermind behind the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation's videos.
To read more about Cara’s organization, visit: http://storytellersforgood.com/