Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty: This site is dedicated to recognizing those beautiful, faceless, nameless people out there that do things that help out someone they don't know, and never will.
Originally, this page was started in July of 1997 by Douglas W. Hull, when he was having a last walk with a dear friend of his. They were walking along the Portage river that divides Houghton from Hancock in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While walking there together saying their goodbyes before he left her to seek his fame and fortune in Oulu, Finland, they came upon a small bottle, it just looked like a salt shaker, but they picked it up anyway. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that there was a message in the bottle. Just a little missive sent from one person to another, randomly.
Doug thought that he might like to tell people about the wonderful message that he had found. The Web seemed the perfect place for such a story. He had hoped that somebody had already created a Random Acts of Kindness home page. He searched but found none. His philosophy about the Web has been that if you are trying to find a page on a certain subject and you can not find one, it is somehow your duty to create one. Well, that's how it got started!
Now Doug is very busy and so he indicated on his website that he did not have the time to maintain it and would someone out there please adopt the site. Then, in May 1999, while doing a search on "kindness," I stumbled onto his website. It was love at first sight, and so I did my own Random Act of Kindness, sending him a note via email that I wished to adopt his site. He wrote back, indicating he didn't want to give the site to just anyone, and had a whole list of questions to ask of me. Fortunately, practically all his questions were already answered by webpages that I had previously posted on my Malama website. So folks, that is how it got here.
So what are the benefits of practicing random acts of kindness? In this regard, I like to first quote Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication: on his views about giving from the heart:
" When we give from the heart, we do so out of a joy that springs forth whenever we willingly enrich another person's life. This kind of giving benefits both the giver and receiver. The receiver enjoys the gift without worrying about the consequences that accompany gifts given out of fear, guilt, shame, or desire for gain. The giver benefits from the enhanced self-esteem that results when we see our efforts contributing to someone's well being."
Quote taken from chapter 1 of his book entitled Nonviolent Communication. In the present case, since the kindness is done anonymously, neither party has to worry about obligations or resentment. Furthermore, the randomness of the act encourages you to give when the mood strikes you. Don't wait, because the longer you wait, the less likely you are to do it. This reminds me of an anecdote about Gandhi's Shoe: While boarding a moving train one day, one of Mohandas Gandhi's shoes slipped off and fell upon the track. As he was unable to retrieve it, Gandhi - to the astonishment of his fellow travelers - calmly removed his other shoe and threw it down the track to where the first had landed. "The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track," Gandhi explained, "will now have a pair he can use."
Become a writer and submit a story for this page. Do it now, while it is fresh and refreshing! Simply send me an e-mail with your story, suggestions for a random act, compliments, or complaints. Doug and I are considering the possibility of someday publishing one of those cute little coffee table books of Stories that are gathered here. Sending me e-mail is implying consent to publish your story in any media I see fit without credit to you. Immediately that means the Web but it could mean paper in the future. Feel free to print out the individuals stories. If you are a publisher and want to publish what's here, by all means contact me via the link below!
Last updated 18 September 2008
Copyright © 1999-2008 by Duen Hsi Yen, All rights reserved.
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