Guerrilla Goodness = Kindness
A woman in a red car pulls up to the toll booth at the San Franscisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. “I’m paying for myself and the six cars behind me.” she says with a smile.
One after another, the next six drivers arrive at the booth, money in hand. “Some lady up ahead already paid your fare,” says the collector. “Have a nice day.”
The woman, it turned out, had read a note taped to a friend’s refrigerator: “Practice Random Kindness“.
Judy Freeman spotted the same phrase on a warehouse wall, 75 miles from her home in San Francisco. When she couldn’t get it out of her mind, she finally drove all the way back to copy it exactly.
A few days ago I heard from a friend in Marin County, California. She had jotted the phrase down on a restaurant place mat after mulling it over for days. “Here’s the idea,” she says. “If you think there should be more of something, do it – randomly. Kindness can build on itself as much as violence can.”
Now, the message is spreading, on bumper stickers, walls and business cards. And as it spreads, so does a vision of guerrilla goodness.
A passer-by may plunk a coin into a stranger’s meter just in time. A group of people with pails and mops may descend on a run-down house and clean it from top to bottom while the elderly owners look on, amazed. A teenager shoveling snow may be hit by the impulse and shovel his neighbor’s driveway too.
Senseless acts of beauty spread. A man plants daffodils along a roadway. A concerned citizen roams the streets collecting litter in a supermarket cart. A student scrubs graffiti from a park bench. It’s a positive anarchy, a gentle disorder, a sweet disturbance.
They say you can’t smile without cheering yourself up. Likewise, you can’t commit a random act of kindness or beauty without feeling as if your own troubles have been lightened – because the world has become a slightly better place.
And you can’t be a recipient without feeling a pleasant jolt. If you were one of those commuters whose toll was paid, who knows what you might have been inspired to do for someone else?
Like all revolutions, guerrilla goodness begins slowly, with a single act. Let it be yours.
— after Adair Lara in “Glamour”
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