Civility

A blog about exploring civility in today's society.

Why I love Random Acts of Kindness

“The best portion of a good man’s life: His little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth

“No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted.” – Aesof

Watching Random Acts of Kindness videos is by far one of my favorite pass times. But, not just because of the feel good moments. I love it because it inspires me to get out and do something good for a perfect stranger.

There are things that everyone can do to improve the lives of others. The most important things are those little surprises of kindness.

I think these mean the most to me and inspire me so much because it really makes the world feel so small. It makes you care about a person you’ve never seen before or might never see again. It puts compassion and humility into the world and makes it a completely awesome place to be.

The news covers some horrific and unfortunate tragedies. As we all know, at times they are very hard to watch. Things like violence, cruelty, and murder make me confused and sick to my stomach.

But, as bad as these things are there are always counteracting stories and people who will never stop being good to others. These are the people I want to highlight. These are the people I want to dedicate this post to. These are the people I admire whole heartedly.

I hope everyone wants to be a little more like these incredible people who will help you in a time of need, surprise you when you’re feeling down, give a selfless random act of kindness to help someone they may never know.

In my opinion, the idea of doing something small yet kind for someone else for the pure joy of brightening their day is one of the greatest pleasures of life. And watching these heart warming videos on YouTube of people doing random acts of kindness takes second best. The internet is filled with intense videos of human compassion that will absolutely leave you speechless (even me–and that’s hard to do!) and wanting more.

So go on and check it out. Go get inspired. Go do great things.

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I love the internet: R.A.K.

There are 10,500,000 results when you google “Random Acts Of Kindness” and I bet each one of those links would not only put a smile on your face, but inspire you to go out and do your own random act of kindness.

One of my favorite websites, reddit.com, has a “sub-reddit” on “r/randomactsofkindness” and it’s probably my favorite thing ever because stuff like this happens:

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and this:

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These are such beautiful, caring and unexpected things to do. This entire “sub-reddit” just makes me want to be a better person. I feel the same way when I watch “Random Acts of Kindness” videos on YouTube. There’s a really good one where a guy spends his 22nd birthday doing “22 Random Acts of Kindness” in Islamabad, Pakistan.

I hope after viewing these random acts of kindness on reddit and YouTube everyone will want to complete a random act of kindness.

I want to hang out with people that do these types of things for others just because it’s a good thing to do. I want to inspire people to do these random acts of kindness by doing them myself.

I think the world would be a much better place if everyone did random acts of kindness more often.

Annnnndddd. I know the best way to get started!

“The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation” is dedicated to “inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others” and it seems like a pretty fantastic organization.

They have a calendar on their website called the Kindness Calendar and there is a random act of kindness for you to do every single day of the year! How neat is that?! So watch these videos, be inspired, and go do some random acts of kindness. I promise it will make you feel so great about your life and definitely make the other person super happy as well!

Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little R.A.K.?

For more information about “The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation” you can check out their homepage by clicking here.

Good Cop, Bad Cop, Great Day

Something really great happened in Quincy, California last month.

“Being a cop is tough.”
“Nobody’s ever happy to see you.”

So, these police officers decided to try to change people’s minds. They had a little help from their friends Wall’s Ice Cream.

The police officers pulled people over driving in Quincy for “being too serious.” It was great.

Greg Hagwood is the Plumas County Sheriff he’s been with the Sheriff’s department for 26 years. I think it’s safe to say this was one of his favorite days on the job.

Sheriff Hagwood and a few other police officers started out by pulling cars over. Then they walked up to the vehicle and asked, “Are you familiar with vehicle code 339472?” Obviously all the participants had no idea what he was talking about. He then asked, “How many people do we have on board?” The people were so confused when they answered the officers. The police officers excused themselves for a moment, went to their cars and came back with … ICE CREAM! What?!

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(Photo Credit: Google images)

The officers got all kinds of responses from the unknowing citizens, one girl was even in tears. The idea of surprising these random people throughout the day is such a great idea. I definitely wouldn’t mind if a police officer pulled me over for doing nothing wrong and then gave me ice cream. I don’t know about you but that would absolutely make my whole day!

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(Photo Credit: Google images)

I think I would be inspired to give out free ice cream to perfect strangers. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like ice cream. Okay, okay minus people who are lactose intolerant. But, that’s why we have Sherbet.

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(Photo Credit: memegenerator.net)

The police officers in this awesome video weren’t just being kind to these random citizens. They were really trying to get a message across. It was basically the best Public Service Announcement. Here’s the lesson we all need to take from this video:

“People need to lighten up a little bit.”

But in this kid’s defense, it’s hard to do when this happens:

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(Photo Credit: Google images)

Wall’s Ice Cream has a pretty awesome YouTube channel that you can check out here. My favorite’s are “Funteruption” and “Wall’s Children’s Day.”

Strangers, First Impressions & Our Own Imperfections

BuzzFeed brought in six people to discuss their personal appearances. They had each person stand alone in front of a mirror and describe themselves.

The individuals involved said things like:

“I’m kind of self conscious of my round race.”

“I think I have donkey legs.”

“I’ve always been self conscious of my dimples.”

“When I look in the mirror I think do I need to lose weight?”

The participants didn’t know there were actually strangers sitting on the other side of the mirror. Those people were giving their first impressions of those standing in front of the mirror. These were their first impressions:

“He has really nice cheek bones.”

“That’s a great body type. I don’t know if she realizes how lucky she is.”

“He seems like a good guy.”

“I really like her smile. She has really cute dimples.”

“I think she’s in shape. If she’s mean to herself than that’s just one of those weird things where everyone is harsher on themselves.”

I think the concept of this video is relevant to being civil because everyone has been in this vulnerable situation. Everyone knows the sayings, “Treat others how you want to be treated” and “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I think we are truly better off living by these rules. I think that people are too quick to judge one another especially solely based on their personal appearance. I get it, I do. Everyone does it. You see another human and you quickly notice something about them. I think the important thing to realize is that you know absolutely nothing about that human. The important thing to realize is what happens after you make that snap judgement about the way they look. Do not let something about their personal appearance turn you off to talking to them, smiling, or even just acknowledge that they exist. Everyone wants to be acknowledged. It’s clear from this video and obviously from personal appearance that everyone is harder on themselves. They don’t need your input on their flaws as well. It’s a nice change to get a smile from a stranger rather than a dirty look and a silent harsh judgement.

9-year-old Pays it Forward

If you liked the last post’s video. You’re going to LOVE this one. Fair warning: you’re probably going to cry. (I definitely did. #noshame)

In this episode of On The Road with Steve Hartman the show takes place in Toledo, Ohio.

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

You can watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=266590766850610

This little boy named Myles Eckert found a 20 dollar bill lying on the ground outside the local Cracker Barrel. He was as thrilled as any 8 year old would be. He said, “I kind of wanted a video game but then I decided not to.” Myles, being the incredible kid he is, changed his mind about the video game when he saw a solider in uniform in the Cracker Barrel. 

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

 

This 8 year-old little boy wrote the solider this note:

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

It states:

“Dear Solider-

My dad was a solider. He’s in heaven now. I found this $20 in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thank you for your service.

Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.”

I’ve seen this video seven times and read that note about five. I still can’t read it without tearing up. This is a photo of Myles father, Army Sargent Aaron Eckert, who was killed in Iraq five weeks after Myles was born.

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

 

After Myles gave away his $20 he asked his mother to take him to go see his father.

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

 

This is Lt. Colonel Daily. On Feburary 7th he and his family went into the Cracker Barrel for lunch. This very touching moment meant so much to Lt. Col. Daily that he keeps the note from Myles on his desk everyday.

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 (Photo Credit: CBS)

This story is one of the most touching things I’ve ever seen. Myles’s parents and family should be so proud of the little boy they’ve raised. Paying it forward is such a great lesson to learn at a young age. It inspires young kids to do good things to make people feel good. But, it almost always inspires adults to stop and think what they can do to pay it forward as well. It is such a beautiful concept. I hope to see stories like this forever.

Homeless Guy Wins the Lotto (kinda)!

This is a wonderful example of paying it forward. This guy had no obligation or duty to help this homeless man. He did it because the homeless man is a good guy who needs a little bit of help. And that’s why it makes me so happy.

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Homeless Man Wins the Lottery

The guy noticed a homeless man near the shopping center by his house and said he is always nice to everyone.

So, he gives him a “winning” lottery ticket, that wasn’t actually a winner.

The store clerk is in on it as well. The store clerk hands the homeless man 10 $100 dollar bills and the homeless man, I really wish I knew his name, tries to SHARE it with the man who gave him the lottery ticket.

1:50 “I want to share it my friend.”

This incredible human seemingly has nothing but the clothes on his back but he tries to give the money to the man who helped him. The homeless man burst into tears, which in turn makes the guy who planned the event cry as well. I don’t think the guy who thought of this plan had any idea it would be so emotional. I can’t imagine witnessing this in person. It melts my heart.

I wish little surprises like this happened even more in the world.

It doesn’t have to be $1,000. It could be $10. It could be a sandwich. It could be a can of soup. It could be a blanket.

When you give something to someone, especially someone who needs it more than you do, you feel like you did your part.

I would love to ask this man what happened to him to make him pay it forward to this homeless man. Especially in such a profound way.

I would love to ask the homeless man his story. And if he’s ever be showed kindness like this before.

2:43 “I’ve been doing this for a long time. A long time. And never never had a friend had somebody do what you just did back there. Never.”

I hope this guy continues to do these special things for other people.

If you want to check out his YouTube page, you can do that here. If you want to follow him on Twitter, you can do that here.

Showing Gratitude: The Science of Happiness

There’s a study that can measure your happiness. First, you take a short quiz to see how happy you are. Then, you’re asked to write a letter to someone who was really influential to your life. Next, you’re asked to call them and read the letter to them. After you call that person, you take the same test (worded differently with the questions in a different order).

What they learned: Happiness levels rose for those who read their letter aloud to that special person in their lives.

Here’s the video of the experiment:

 

Those who conducted the experiment say that “gratitude and appreciation actually change the heart and brain waves in your body to become more coherent.”

It’s awesome because:

“This technique has been shown to not only reduce stress in individuals, but activate a very special heart-brain connection which transforms jagged brain waves into smooth, calm waves of coherence.  When we are in coherence we are less stressed, less anxious and more happy.”

Those who conducted the experiment reference Almine. She is a world renowned mystic, teacher and author. They say that “by being in gratitude, the body and ones consciousness is elevated to new heights and able to experience a more elevated state of being.”

Basically the more you show gratitude the more you are willing to connect to others because you are happy and open. Sounds good to me, just sayin’.

“Almine suggests that gratitude helps us to heal injuries and trauma we may have endured which also helps others who have endured such experiences since we are all interconnected.  She speaks about the blessing of utilizing gratitude as something with which to propel one’s consciousness forward into new heights.  She even suggests that gratitude for things such as rape, loss of a loved one and seeming tragedy can help turn life around to a new perspective of health and enlightenment.  Reacting in the attitude of gratitude can change ones reality tremendously, so as to experience the positive rather than perpetuate sorrow and regret.”

 

So, take a moment to write that special person a letter and if possible.. call them and read it to them.

You’ll make their day, and yours!

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20 Rules For Day To Day Civility

1. Don’t liter, ever (feel free to pick up trash though!).

2. Say “Please” and “Thank you” to whoever you’re talking to and wherever you go. The little things go a long way.

3. Hold the door open for people (behind you or in front of you, both will be pretty excited about it).

4. Don’t listen to music on your headphones obnoxiously loud when you’re on a crowded bus or any other setting where there are people in close quarters, not cool.

5. Be kind to strangers.

6. When you see someone drop something: pick it up, and run to give it to them (especially if it’s money, they’ll love you).

7. Give kindness to those who least deserve it (I think the saying goes, “kill ’em with kindness” but don’t take that literally, it’s just a saying (if you’ve ever worked in retail– you know the drill)).

8. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl” many of us have been in situations where there’s one person in the room/restaurant/bar/whatever who is a complete ass to the waiter/waitress/bartender/cashier for no reason. Don’t be them. No one likes them.

9. Ask questions you genuinely want to know the answer. Small talk can be interesting (you don’t only have to talk about the weather!) you can learn a lot too.

10. Buy a homeless person(s) a meal(s) (c’mon, you can probably afford it).

“11. Realize that selflessness is one of the most predominantly wonderful qualities a person can have.”

12. Put money in someone’s parking meter (wait, that might be illegal?) …

13. Don’t talk on the phone while the cashier is ringing you up (they are a human and they deserve respect).

14. Start a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally start one with.

15. Write little notes with your favorite inspiring quotes and leave them in a random book in the library.

16. Be curious about the people around you: ask them about their story or where they’re going (just don’t do it in a creepy stalker way).

17. Don’t talk on the phone in quiet, public settings (especially, the movie theater).

18. Smile at people when you walk by them don’t pretend to be on your phone or just not make eye contact, acknowledge them.

19. Don’t damage or destroy public property.

20. But, most importantly: if you’re ever in this situation, react without hesitation.

Thanks for reading & good luck!

Comment to let us know how it goes.

This was my list but there’s tons of other like it on fantastic websites like ThoughtCatalog and Buzzfeed.

McDonald’s boss vs Firefighters: Doing the right thing

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(Photo Credit: nydailynews.com)

This is Heather Levia. She’s 23. She is a single mother of twin girls in upstate New York. She is going back to school and paying for it all by herself. Doesn’t she sound awesome?

One day while she was at work a group of first responders came in to McDonald’s to refuel after putting out two house fires.

When they went to pay Levia refused their money. She asked her boss if the company could take care of the bill for the heroes–But, her boss refused. Levia decided to pay the $153 bill out of her own pocket (seriously, what an awesome person).

BUT, her bosses still didn’t like that.

So… they fired her. FIRED HER! (What?)…for paying for firefighters’ food. That is absurd. (Doesn’t her boss know they know save people? Guess not.)

“I was so caught off-guard by this. I’m very distraught that I would be fired over something like this. I was just trying to give back to the firefighters and they weren’t asking for much.”

Her boss basically fired her for no reason at all according to the nydailynews post:

“Her boss claims she had cursed at a superior, but Levia denies the allegation.”

“Tom Meyers, who owns the Olean McDonald’s, said he is an ‘ardent supporter’ of first responders, but he has refused to specify why Levia lost her job.”

The Olean Times Herald had a similar story:

“’I was told I was being fired for going against the wishes of McDonald’s as well has having my own opinion on not donating to the firefighters,’ she said in the Olean Times Herald article.”

The best part about this story is how many people are in support of this determined mother of two.

After she was fired the day after paying for the firefighters’ meal she went to Facebook to spread the word on what happened. And the result:

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(Photo Credit: nydailynews.com)

Not only did she receive support, she was even offered a few other jobs on the spot. You go Heather Levia!

You go society!

#winning seem appropriate?

You can read more about it on the nydailynews. Or this article from the Olean Times Herald.

Richard Renaldi: Touching Strangers

I had six tabs open while I aimlessly roamed the internet. Everyone does this, right? You start out on CNN’s homepage and two hours later you’ve watched 5 cat videos on youtube, 6 Vines, and read 10 of wikipedia’s random articles.

Anyway.

One click lead to another click, and another; and I happened upon Elitedaily and BAM! All of my attention went to a video titled,

“Photographer Puts Two Strangers Together For Intimate Photographs, And The Results Are Surprising.”

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(Photocredit: Richard Renaldi)

Richard Renaldi started this project in 2011. He took photos of Strangers Touching all across the country. The photographs are stunning me but what I found the most fascinating was the reactions of the strangers. One of the participants said, “I felt like I cared for her. I feel like it brought down a lot of barriers.” It was beautiful to watch these strangers walk away with a sense of closeness with another person they had never met.

“It was a good feeling.”
“It was nice to feel that comfort.”

After watching this video I had such a desire to be a part of something like this: to interact with complete strangers for a purpose, to learn from them, to better myself, to feel a connection.

And then I realized there was nothing stopping me from doing a project like this. I have a voice, I have a camera, I could do this. Now, it might not turn out quite as good as a professional photographer. But, what’s stopping me from trying.

One of the strangers who posed said,“We are probably missing so much about the people all around us.”

That is the idea I want to leave you with. You as an individual are part of something so immense. You have no idea what those around you have gone through, what they’re struggling with, what makes them happy. Why not ask their story? Why not learn something about them? Why not share with them and make a connection with a perfect stranger. Maybe that moment will touch their heart more than you’ll know.