Senseless violence seemed to be compounded daily in 2012 – from the Newtown massacre to the shootings of our brethren firefighters as they responded to calls for help. Horrific events made national news. There was the Aurora, Colorado movie theater carnage and those lesser known incidents like the eerily similar shooting at a movie theater mid-December in San Antonio. These catastrophes rattled us to the core and called the question – what is happening to this world when people kill our innocent children and take aim at emergency responders who risk their own lives day in and day out to save another?
If you are like me, you wonder, “What can I do to help and support those who are suffering from the chaos?” I felt at a loss. But then I noticed, like the mythical Phoenix rising, that the human spirit emerged with a simple suggestion made by NBC news correspondent Ann Curry. She challenged us to commit to 26 Acts of Kindness, in honor of the children lost in Newtown. The idea has gone viral! Since its introduction, the concept has further evolved to include and honor other losses across our great nation as well.
Within days, the hashtag “#26acts” was trending on Twitter. A Facebook page was created for “26 Acts of Kindness” and now has over 94,000 likes. Currently, there are 86 similar Facebook pages where people are sharing their own random acts, or thanking their anonymous benefactor for the kindness they received. I am amazed at the creativity – great ideas out there! and confess that I shed a few tears upon reading some of the stories of heartfelt generosity. The gestures range from dropping a few extra coins into a parking meter or delivering a bag of dog food to the rescue center to buying diapers for a struggling parent or paying off a layaway account.
So now we begin a new year. With my faith in humankind restored, I now know what I can do to help. I’m ready to join the Acts of Kindness campaign. And I challenge YOU to do the same. If we keep the movement going, maybe – just maybe – we can bring a smile and make a difference in someone’s life. If everyone pays-it-forward, we could see a dramatic change in our world. Are you in?
Toni Dunne, ENP, is External Affairs Manager at Intrado.