Do you know what today is? It’s February 17th! And do you know what February 17th is? It’s National Random Acts of Kindness Day! Now, we should all be kind to everyone we encounter every day, but National Random Acts of Kindness Day is intended to make us more aware of the little things we can do to help someone out, or maybe just bring a smile to their face. In this, the era of the pandemic, many more people are struggling than ever before, financially, emotionally, and in other ways.
In the U.S., Random Acts of Kindness day is celebrated on this day, but in other countries, such as New Zealand, the date is different, but the meaning is still the same. The goal, according to the National Kindness website, is to help make kindness the norm by spreading it in the simplest ways. So, what are some simple ways we can do a random act of kindness? You tell me. My favourite is usually to help someone I see struggling, perhaps to reach an item on a high grocery shelf, or a person in a wheelchair trying to get their groceries onto the conveyor belt, then out to their vehicle. Or, paying it ahead at the drive through line is always a good one, one that tends to spread.
As I always tell you guys at the end of each week’s Jolly Monday post, share those smiles. Sometimes, just a kind smile can bring joy to someone who’s a bit down. Thank someone … the mail carrier or trash man. Help a neighbor carry their parcels in. Or, if you’re feeling really energetic, get out that shovel and shovel a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk! It’ll help them, and you’ll get some much-needed exercise, too!
Anyway, let’s all try to do one random act of kindness today …
I usually get some flak when I highlight professional athletes or other celebrities who are making a difference, being good people, but when I think it’s deserved, I will shine a light on them. Not all of them are selfish jerks. This week, I have several that I think deserving of kudos.
I’m sure you all remember last May, when a Black man, George Floyd, was brutally murdered by a white police officer – an event that triggered many of the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer. The most important thing Mr. Floyd left behind was his 7-year-old daughter, Gianna. The Floyd family, like so many of us, lived payday to payday, and without his income, times were harder than ever. Enter a bunch of good people …
NBA professional basketball star Kyrie Irving learned what the family needed most and stepped up to provide it. Kyrie Irving, the point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, bought them a house. Irving, who felt he was just doing the right thing, tried to downplay his generosity.
“I just want to keep continuing to fulfill our purpose in serving a lot of the underserved communities. Those don’t necessarily get the same attention. So just trying to do my part with service, that’s all.”
Irving is not the only celebrity to reach out to Gianna and her family. Lil Wayne’s manager bought them a Mercedes-Benz. Barbra Streisand gave them stock in Disney.
In addition, Kanye West (whom I cannot stand personally, but I give credit where credit is due) donated $2 million to help Gianna and the families of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old victim of a racially motivated murder in Georgia, and 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was killed during a botched drug raid by police who showed up at the wrong apartment.
And ordinary citizens are reaching out, as well. A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $2.3 million, providing a fund when she’s ready to attend college—if she doesn’t want to take advantage of a full scholarship already offered by Texas Southern University.
Then there’s Stephen Curry, considered by some to be the greatest shooter in NBA history and treated as basketball royalty. But there’s another side to this man. Last summer, as the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the economy leaving many out of work, he and his wife Ayesha launched Eat. Learn. Play., a foundation that helps families struggling to put food on the table, through donations to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland, California school system.
“We know the world is changing before our eyes in terms of dealing with the spread of coronavirus and we just found out that the Oakland Unified School District is closing the doors for the foreseeable future, so we want to intercede on behalf of the kids that rely on the daily services and try to help any way we can.”
Since then, the initiative has expanded exponentially. After joining forces with the world-renowned, Chef José Andrés, founder of the nonprofit disaster-relief group World Central Kitchen, Stephen and Ayesha’s foundation has gone from serving 4,000 meals a week to 300,000.
In total, more than 15 million meals—and counting—have found their way to those in need.
But more than just serving up meals, Eat. Learn. Play. is also giving the local economy a much-needed financial shot in the arm—about $20 million that has “led to the rehiring of more than 900 Oakland restaurant workers.”
“It’s all about impact. The things my wife and I try to do, separately and together, are to raise awareness, to find impactful partnerships, to be human and understand the urgency of the moment.”
My thanks to all the good people who are doing what they can to help people, and let’s see if we can do just a little something today to bring a smile to someone’s face, okay?