RAKtivist: Bert

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Mark Twain said, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” To me, kindness is important because when I am kind, I feel good and my life has meaning.

Kindness is the ability to enrich the lives of others. It can be expressed though a smile, a kind word or a helping hand. Sometimes, the kindest thing we can do is just to walk away from a tense situation and not react with anger or retribution. One thing is certain, each of us benefits personally, and our world is a better place when we treat each other with kindness, regardless of the circumstances.

Sometimes we search for “the right” opportunity to be kind, or we look for someone who is “deserving” of our kindness. Everyone needs kindness. Regardless of our social status, education level or any other factor that might separate us, an act of kindness always brings us together.

Two years ago, I was looking for a way to celebrate World Kindness Day. I called a friend, Kevin also a Raktivist, and asked if he wanted to join me in a Random Act of Kindness. We decided to pay for someone’s groceries. We did, and we had so much fun we decided to invite a few friends and do something similar again a few weeks later. We invited about 20 friends on Facebook to join us. By the time the day came, the invitation had been forwarded over 5,000 times! We had a group of over 550 people that day surprising strangers with Random Acts of Kindness. That was the beginning of the Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative. We just celebrated our second anniversary this past November. We continue to sponsor quarterly kindness celebrations. In addition, we now speak at corporate functions, schools, non-profit organizations and churches, talking about the powerful positive impact kindness can have on our lives. In the last two years kindness groups like ours have sprung up in Atlanta, Kalamazoo, Dubuque, St. Louis and San Diego. We also started the trackable kindness card, which allows us to follow how many people one Random Act of Kindness touches when recipients enter the number from the card on the Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative website. Our goal is simple – to make the world a kinder place one smile at a time.

Imagine what the world could be like if we would ask ourselves one simple question before we react - What is the kind thing to do in this situation? Could we eliminate war, hatred, poverty, starvation and human suffering? I don’t know but we should try – for ourselves, for our children and for the world.

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