Archive for November, 2009

Radford University

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Arriving back at the bus after an early morning cup of coffee, I noticed the voice-mail icon on my phone was lit. There was a call from Karen Myers, Director of the child-care program at Carilion Hospital. She asked if I could stop at her school so the kids could meet Bogart, see the bus, and learn about the kindness program. What a great opportunity for the kids and great teaching tool. Karen used the messages on the bus to interact with the kids on the importance of kindness. Even Bogart sat still listening to her creatively talk to the children about being kind to one another. Bogart and I left with a care package from the hospital and I made sure Karen had a stack of stickers for her students and staff. They are going to track our travels across the country as part of their day. Kindness needs to be an ever-present thought in our minds at every stage of our lives.


Getting back into the routine after a very long weekend was proving to be very hard for Adrienne, a student at Radford University. She was walking on the other side of a busy road when she spotted The Kindness Bus. She walked over to see what it was all about. After hearing the message and seeing the bus up close, she said, “You made my day”. She told me during the conversation that she is an art student, so I gave her some colored markers to have at it. I then paid a visit to a very popular spot for students, The Deli Mart, across from campus. When I pulled in, I didn’t notice how close I was to the parking lot security camera. I got inside and Neda, Natasha, and Rico were all checking out my “ride” on the monitor inside the store. I parked so close to the camera that the bus filled the entire screen of the monitor. Neda instructed me to put a sticker on the inside and outside of the window of the main entrance door to the deli. Natasha told me my cappuccino was on the house. I gave Rico stickers for the entire group. I think they should re-name the place The Kindness Deli.

A magazine named The Cleveland Canine had expressed an interest to feature Bogart in their next issue. Needless to say, this pooch of mine is already the most popular dog on college campuses, now this to add to his portfolio. I agreed to have him on their cover. The interview took an hour and a half. This was the only period that it did not rain today. I had the chance to talk to fifty or so students as we dodged the rain, which seemed to fall horizontally at times.

Kindness Bus/Kindness Sleigh

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

1129091255Often wondering about the much-anticipated return back north for Christmas with my family for two weeks, I was hoping that in some way the actual drive itself could have meaning. Little did I know that the meaning would be found at the bottom of a box buried in the un-used storage area of the bus. Most colleges close, at the very latest, in mid-December leaving a weeklong drive of only miles of frozen pavement between Atlanta and Cleveland. Until that is, I found the box. Buried under some sweaters in the box was a Santa Claus outfit. I am sure there must be dozens of hospitals, on the sleigh ride north, that would just love to see a dressed up Bogart with Santa Bob in tow, come in the door to their hospital rooms to visit the children. I cannot wait to see how Bogart looks as a reindeer… The kids will love him!!

This morning I had the honor of talking to the congregation at Jonathan Webster’s church about The Kindness Tour. One word describes the congregation, family. They come together for the good of the community and are deeply involved in each other’s lives. Jonathan’s passionate sermon was the moral compass in which direction they should live their lives. We had a lunch afterwards and we got some great photos of many in front of the bus. The stickers were a big treat.

*** Revised Itinerary;  With hopes of somewhat warmer weather, we have decided to take a route which is south of the Appalachians. The following is the next seventeen days or so ; Virginia Tech, Radford University, Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University, Belmont Abbey College, University of SC Spartanburg, Furman University, Clemson University, University of Georgia, and a few others. We then convert the Kindness Bus into The Kindness Sleigh.

New River Valley Region, con’t.

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

1128091152bThis morning Bogart and I drove to the Red Cross donor center in Blacksburg to donate blood. There were no fewer than twenty people who honked and waved on the way and about the same returning. It helps that Bogart sits on the bed staring out the window to get their attention. This New River Valley Region is the friendly capital of the universe. Even a group of Harley riders waved while stopped at a light. I’m thinking a One Million Acts Of Kindness emblem would look great on their leather jackets. As I entered the Red Cross donor center, I was met by nearly the entire staff. Blood donations this time of year really drop off, especially the weekend after Thanksgiving. I told them I would mention it in the blog to try to generate interest. I was treated to cookies, cake, and a latte’ after my donation. Just what I need after a nearly four thousand-calorie day on Thanksgiving. Before we left in the bus, we stopped at a Farmers Market just around the corner from the Red Cross. I was able to talk to several families about the goal of One Million Acts Of Kindness. I love talking to kids while they are with their parents. It’s amazing to me that a guy with a bus gets such great interest from kids. We passed out over fifty stickers today on this “off” day. And… once again, Bogart was the big draw.

The Kindness Bus Tour has had the good fortune of having Carilion Medical Center “back forty” as it’s base camp for the last few days. Today at the medical center, while helping to make the children’s playground area safer, I realized what beauty the Virginia countryside offers. From the bus, there is a 270-degree view of rolling farm country with livestock and a tapestry of late fall fields in various stages of harvest, as far as the eye can see. I just have to remember to take the time to enjoy it.

New River Valley Region, Virginia

Friday, November 27th, 2009

1126091349aJonathan Webster and his wife Donna came to the rescue when I expressed a desire to help in the community in honor of those affected by the Virginia Tech tragedy. This place has a special meaning for me and I am happy that my itinerary changed to put me here over Thanksgiving weekend. Today Bogart and I worked on the parsonage of the church in which Jonathan presides. Bogart, wearing his red and black striped, hand knitted winter woolens, tried to un-do everything I tried to do. Bogart has also taken to chasing blowing leaves when there is a lack of squirrels. If he wasn’t so dog gone cute….

Having eight sisters in my life has many benefits, as I handcrafted a homemade wreath out of indigenous foliage complete with wild berries, to be hung in Jonathan’s church.


Thursday, November 26th, 2009

1126091149aThe area Virginia Tech is in, New River Valley has been hit hard economically. Realizing this, most residents rose to the occasion to serve others in need. Bogart and I went to help at two local parishes on the advice of Jonathan Webster, a Chaplain at a local hospital. Visiting these two parishes, Grove United Methodist and Fairlawn Presbyterian, you would have thought you were at four-star restaurants. The local residents in Radford and Fairlawn Virginia are expert in their culinary skills. The Thanksgiving dinners made by these local women and men gave families across the region reason to be thankful to have such caring friends and neighbors. The dinners they served to hundreds of local families, were delivered to homes across the region or people came to be served and to visit with friends, both new and old.

Bogart is now addicted to turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and cornbread. He doesn’t care for cranberries…no way was he going to get any pumpkin pie.


Wednesday, November 25th, 2009


The reward of traveling with a message of kindness for others is all the people you meet along the journey. We have such a wealth of wonderful people in this country. I talk to hundreds of people every day. I am blessed to have most of them share their most inner thoughts with me. The love of family and friends is one of life’s greatest rewards. One of my most powerful moments on this journey of kindness was meeting a mother, father, and daughter with such immeasurable love in their hearts for each other. In a half hours time, one could have learned lessons of love from this family, some of us will not learn in a lifetime. The power of caring for and looking after those we love cannot be measured. I believe the beautiful woman in this photo said she was a teacher. What perfection. We should all have had her as a teacher. I am thankful for this beautiful family letting me be a part of their lives even if for just a short while. I am forever enriched because of it.

On this Thanksgiving eve, I wish you find the passion of doing only good for others throughout your life.

Ohio University/University of Rio Grande

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

1124091436(2)It was one of those mornings that you cannot get yourself a cup of coffee fast enough. One foot in front of the other. I was doing computer work, in my own little world, deciding that the itinerary I need to choose should take me south of the Appalachians rather than north. This weather has been too good too long, and Bogart shivers when it’s 70 degrees outside. Just then a booming voice directed my way announced, “I just need to shake your hand”. I looked up to see this smiling man approach me. He and his wife had just read an article in the Athens Messenger about One Million Acts Of Kindness. They had all sort of praise for the Kindness Tour. Yesterday, when I jokingly told Joe Higgins and John Halley that the article needed to be front page and above the fold they must have thought I was serious. The article takes up more than half the entire front page. Thank you guys, for spreading the word to the community.

Deciding to buy a few copies for myself, I headed to the store. Inside, at the checkout, I was in line behind a pre-school teacher named Tammy. She says she teaches peace to her eleven students. What a great lesson to teach kids at an early age. She wouldn’t let me leave without a hug for kindness. I gave her a handful of stickers for her family and a stack of Kindness Rocks stickers for her students. In talking to Tammy, I could sense a true passion for teaching her students. What a great role-model she is.

Rio Grande, Ohio is to politeness what puppies are to happiness; if you have one the other is a given. The moment I pulled into town I met dozens of her residents. Three families as well. No one could get enough of Bogart, The Kindness Bus and the message. All were so respectful and genuinely interested in our well being. Matt Justice, a young father, insisted on buying lunch for the kindness crew. A mother with four of her five children, was so elated. Her children asked such fun questions. A family of six stayed near during most of my stop on the way to the campus. This campus located  a stone’s throw from the Bob Evans Homestead was in Thanksgiving break mode. There were very few students but it was well worth the visit. On the way out of town, the Rio Grande Municipal Building seemed to be calling. I parked the bus, grabbed Bogart, and went inside to find a clerk named Debbie who said she is going to do whatever it takes to spread this message. Yes‼ (Arm pump)