This “secret slogan” is becoming ever so popular in the United States. It is a cold winter day in San Francisco. A woman driving a red Honda, Christmas presents stacked up on the back seat, stops to pay the toll at the Bay Bridge. She says with a smile “I will pay my toll and also for the other six vehicles behind me”. Upon arriving at the toll gate, dollar in hand, each motorist is greeted with: “the woman ahead payed your toll fare, have a good day”. It came to our knowledge that the lady on the Honda read the “secret slogan” from a friend’s refrigerator sticker. The phrase seemed appropriate, so she wrote it down. Miss Judy Foreman read the slogan spray painted on the wall of a warehouse distant 95 Miles from her home. For days it occupied her mind, to the point that she returned to the site to write it down. “It is so incredibly beautiful, like a message from above”. She signs her letters with the slogan. Her husband Frank, a middle school teacher, hung a sign of the slogan in his classroom. One of this students, the daughter of a local newspaper journalist, made the slogan know to her mother, who readily inserted it to print. She however admits that, although she enjoys the phrase, she has no idea regarding its origin, nor true meaning. Two days later a gathered news about Ann Herbert. A tall, blond woman of forty, Herbert lives in Marin Ind., one of the ten richest counties in the US. She is a house-keeper when the owners are away. Time ago, while at a diner in Sausalito, California, she wrote down the phrase on a paper napkin. The man seated next to her exclaimed “It’s beautiful” and copied the phrase for himself. “That’s the idea”, added Herbert, “just do it for the beauty of it”. Among her extravagants are: 1. Painting classrooms in run down schools 2. Providing free hot meals in poor sections of the city 3. Putting money into the purse of a woman in need
Herbert says “kindness can generate kindness, like violence generates violence”. Now one can find the slogan on stickers, written on buildings walls, or as signature on calling cards. It is propagating into a “disease of goodness”.
In Portland, Oregon, a man feeds the parking meter of an unknown parked car just in time preventing the owner of a fine. In Patterson, New Jersey, twelve people “armed” with buckets, rags and tulip bulbs arrive to a rundown dwelling, and to the elderly owners bewilderment, complete an overall cleaning operation. In Chicago, an adolescent intent on shoveling his drive-way stops and reflects, “hey, no one here can see me” so he shovels not only his drive-way but also his neighbors. We may call this positive anarchy, pleasant disturbance. A woman in Boston writes “Merry Christmas” on the back of her checks for the bank employees. A man in St. Louis after being back-bumped by a young woman motorist signals to her to move on saying “It is just a scratch, don’t worry about it”. Random acts of kindness are surprisingly increasing. A man plants daffodils along a street, his shirt puffed up by the air produced by passing cars. In Seattle, a man embodying himself as a “sanitation inspector” roams about the cemented hillsides and fills a supermarket cart with trash and debris. In Atlanta, a man cancels graffiti from a green park-bench. Who says that a smile does not make a person just feel better! Consequently, cannot a person perform an act of kindness, and then feel that his or her own personal problems are less severe? Can this be a path to improve our world? And the receiver of such kindness is he or she shocked to such an act? What would their response be to having their car-toll payed by a complete stranger? Could this possibly inspire them to perform similar acts of kindness or charity? Let’s say resulting in yielding the right of way to a motorist at a stop sign, giving a friendly smile to a tired clerk, or even something more significant. Like in all battles, warfare begins slowly with a single act. May it be yours. Adair Lara
It is the act in itself, not the result that is important. You must do the right thing. It may not be in your power, or applicable during your lifetime, but this does not mean that your restrain from doing what is right. You may not even envision its outcome, but no action produces no result. (Gandhi)