Stories of Kindness from Around the World

No Choice But To Do Something

--by Will Glennon, posted Mar 26, 2006
My "You Don’t Have Any Choice but to Do Something" moment ...

I owned and ran a book publishing company for many years. During the first Gulf War when we were all watching cruise missiles fly through he air on television and telling ourselves this was a “good” war, I was struck by a small column in a local newspaper that mentioned seeing 'Random Acts of Kindness' graffiti on a freeway overpass.

The rest of the story is long and fascinating but I resolved to publish a book of people’s stories about Random Acts of Kindness in their lives. At the time no such thing existed. There were no books of inspirational stories (I know hard to believe now since the Chicken Soup series has beaten it into the ground) but I was worried the book would not be understood so in a moment of panic I stuck a marketing tag on the back cover of the book that read "Join the Kindness Revolution!" I thought it might be provocative enough to get people to open the book and I knew they would love the stories once they read them.

Well apparently it worked because millions of people bought the book and over 20,000 of them wrote us a letter asking to "Join the Kindness Revolution." One thing that was immediately clear was that you really do not have any choice when that many people are opening their hearts and want to do something. I created the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and spent much of the next seven years (a very long and interesting tale) as the unofficial expert and spokesperson for kindness.

During that time I appeared on over six hundred television and radio programs and the programs were almost all a version of the same thing. I would tell a story or two from the book then ask listeners to call in and tell their stories. In the process I was blessed to hear thousands of different stories. It is really almost impossible for me to try to capture what that experience was like because each story was a powerful jewel of connection between two people who had absolutely nothing in common except they were both people.

Needless to say it made a profound impact on my life. And if I had to sum it all up in a few words (something my children tell me I am really bad at doing) I would say that the single most important thing we can do in our lives is to connect, truly connect with others. That small act opens the door of all possibilities.

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Readers Comments

Rajni wrote: Your honoring that little voice coming from your heart did, a wonderful job. Basically, we all are divine but influence of the company we keep drags in the opposite direction. You showed us all, the right direction with your book published and inspiring millions to do random acts of kindness to others that eventually changed the world. We all are grateful to you
Zelda wrote: Great story!
jsmc10 wrote: Woah! How wonderful :)
HP wrote: We have started an initiative in highland park illinois where hundreds of pass it on cards were mailed to local residents with a letter regarding doing a random act of kindness and handing the person the card. The person who receives the card then goes to our website and writes the circumstance under which they got the card and is hopefully inspired to pay it forward. If you are interested in this, please visit us at www. Hpforward. Com. You will not be registered or solicited in any way.
kayakool wrote: Amazing. This is so inspirational, thank you.
ramdeo singh wrote: Hi,after reading so many acts of kindness I remember all the things I use to do for others in the streets,malls and other places.The one that gave me the most joy isa kid that i bought an ice cream.He was standing at the ice cream truck looking at the guy saying can I have an ice cream I came first in my class.The vendor says yes you dont have money to buy?After the vendor finish selling he drove off leaving the kid standing there.I jump in my car chase him down and brought a big one and gave it to him and said keep being in top of the class and you will surely reach your goal in life.But as for me now I cannot even pay my mortgage this month.As a veteran of the US army I have being trying to get my citizenship through my military service since 2000.I spend over 28,000 dollars in lawyer fees and Iam still fighting for it.I dont have any working papers I am a licence practical nurse and unable to find a job Now i need help or an act of kindness especially for my two kids.
Suzi wrote: Isn't it amazing when a single act can snowball into a major movement? There are so many incredible stories of kindness and caring out there. Thank you for sharing yours!
Mary Kruse wrote: I wondered if there were anything on kindness so just jumped on line and typed in kindness. To my surprise the Random Acts of Kindness site came up and here I am amazed but not actually surprised at how many folks are kind and want this to spread to others. I see kindness all of the time but it never seems to get much attention in the media. Thanks for following your heart and promoting kindness.

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