No Choice But To Do Something
--by Will Glennon, posted Mar 26, 2006
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.