I was in a fix while coming up with a title for this post… should it be about storytelling or should it be about random acts of kindness? What follows is a beautiful account of both. But what amazed me most was how one act crossed cities, countries and continents just by telling a story about it! And hence “the stories that travel…”
In 2010, Robyn Bomar celebrated her 38th birthday with 38 random acts of kindness in Florida, US. Simple acts like returning grocery carts in the store, helping people with their bags, handing out water bottles, dropping thank you notes for policemen etc… I believe she added one more to that number when she gifted them to everyone by sharing it in a blog post. The post received an unexpected number of responses from readers far and away. As she says in her blog:
I was overwhelmed by the number of texts, emails, Facebook messages and Tweets I received from family, friends, colleagues and people I don’t even know, telling me a Random Act of Kindness they did in honor of my birthday. I cried several times throughout the day from how touched I was.
The response led her to start an online community of like-minded people, which has now grown into a movement called the birthday project. Inspired by Robyn, Syed Muzamil from Islamabad, Pakistan, decided to celebrate his 22nd birthday with 22 random acts of kindness. He went a step beyond writing… he made a video of it!
I guess it cannot be a more beautiful sign of harmony and the fact that despite the tensions our hearts are all the same… After seeing Syed’s video; Bhumi in India got so inspired that she gifted 23 random acts of kindness to her friend, Urja, on her 23rd birthday! What a way to say Happy Birthday Urja!
And the story travels further… Hari uncle stumbles upon Bhumi’s video and is filled with joy seeing youth spread kindness to strangers. He works as a consultant in an office in Delhi, India. In the last Pune service retreat, he shared with us that when it’s an employee’s birthday, they deck up his/ her desk.. put ribbons and balloons to make the day special for the birthday boy/ girl. But few weeks ago it was a young girl’s birthday… he goes and wishes her and asks if she is happy. She says “ya… it’s good” and asks again “would you like to do something on your birthday” and she is all ears! Hari uncle shares the video with her and suggests “maybe you can also do one act of kindness on your birthday”.
Ever since that day, he noticed a new positive energy in the office, right from the security guard to the managers. Everyone was smiling. A week later a housekeeping gentleman comes and asks him “Hari ji what has overcome the office? It’s like some magic is in the air!” Coincidently the company he consults at is called Magic Avenues! Ever since that day people are looking forward to birthday’s in the office and sending out and bringing in ripples of kindness.
What was more magical was when Hari uncle realised that the smiling face sitting opposite him in the sharing circle was the same Bhumi who had inspired his whole office! 🙂
I have been just a witness a small journey of the story that Robyn wrote; Syed and Bhumi captured and Hari uncle shared. My mind and heart were both blown away when Hari uncle shared this in the circle and I wished that more and more people shared stories of kindness and goodness because stories travel and you never know how it will unfold.