Archive for October, 2009

Kentucky State University

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

1023091500Today it was back to Kentucky State University, about 20 miles from Lexington.  I’m sure it’s not true, but it really seemed that all the buildings on this campus are on one big hill, with signs all over that say, “Make sure you get a parking pass.”  Since I didn’t have a pass, I was careful about where I was going to park, since I didn’t think it would be too good if the Kindness bus got impounded.

I finally found a suitable spot when, as things happen on this trip, the person parking in the space next to me was a freshman, Will Tidwell.  Will’s dad is Dr. Tidwell, a professor of Aquaculture, and as a result, Will grew up on the campus.   He was most hospitable and had the time to give me a campus tour, and introduced me to his dad. His mom is a high school teacher and will help the kindness project spread to her school.

Will had some difficulty in high school, being the target of bullying.  As some success stories go, he worked his way through it and rose above it, making him a better person.  He has earned my great respect for that.  I appointed Will the “Kindness Ambassador on Campus.”  He’s now in charge of the project here and has 250 stickers to pass out within a year.

This was a great stop for the Kindness project.

Georgetown College

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


I drove next to Georgetown, Kentucky to pay a visit to Georgetown College.  It’s a small, beautiful campus, established in the early 1800s.

As soon as I found a spot to park, a few people came out to talk to me.  At first I didn’t know what to expect, but I immediately saw they were coming out to say “Hi” and roll out the welcome mat.  I could tell this was a group of really great people.  One of the fellows that I met was Ken Holden, the Executive Director of the Marshall Center for Campus Ministry.  I was soon presented with a care package with coffee, dinner at a local restaurant, mints, etc., and tickets to the Georgetown College basketball game that night.

I met a dad who was talking his daughter out for the weekend.  We talked about the Kindness project for over a half an hour and it turns out that he is the superintendent of the county and very enthused about the entire effort.  He would even support a movement to add it to the school’s curriculum, realizing I’d have to go through the state board of education to get it done.

This is a great place with terrific people.  Georgetown won the game  115-47.

I guess it’s worth noting that on the way to Kentucky State University, I had a somewhat memorable event.  I normally stay off the interstate highway, since my trusty bus, a 1990 model, seems to have to work too hard to stay up with traffic.  Not being totally familiar with the area, I mistakenly turned onto I-64, a turn that I soon regretted.  I can’t take the bus much past 60 miles per hour, and with the speed limit at 70, I was the slowpoke on the road.  It wasn’t too bad when the road was 3 lanes wide, but when it narrowed down to 2 lanes I became a problem.  In just a few minutes, an 18 wheeler pulled up to within 2 inches of my back bumper and stayed there….and stayed there…..Bogart started whimpering.  Finally the guy decided to pass me, but couldn’t have been going more than 1 mile an hour faster, so it took him what seemed like forever to make the pass.  In the meantime, the rush hour bumper to bumper traffic was backing up fast.  When the guy finally made it by me, and pulled back in, the stream of traffic flew by.  As one driver went by, he held his arm out the window and gave me the all too familiar “one fingered salute.”  I know the guy was totally sincere because he held the salute out there as long as I could see him as he sailed into the traffic’s horizon.  What dedication, I was impressed.

I’m definitely staying off the interstates from now on.

One of the Best Days Yet!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009


Things started out in a big way when Bogart got caught in one of those Have-a-Heart traps.  I think it must have been set up for a raccoon or a skunk or something like that.  I was able to pull him out by the legs and in just a few minutes, he was his good ‘ol self.

I got a call from William Croyle, a writer for the Kentucky Enquirer, the Northern Kentucky newspaper.  His 3 kids were home with the flu so he couldn’t come out to the campus, but I spoke to him on the phone for about 45 minutes; he wanted to know all about the Kindness project.  

Back to Northern Kentucky University, I was lucky to get permission to park in quite possibly the best spot on the entire campus, the student union plaza. Having the last name of  Votruba has very little ”pull” in most parts of the world, but here at NKU where the President of the University’s last name is Votruba, it seems to open doors.  The plaza is set right in the midst of stores, restaurants and tons of student traffic.  Later, a photographer and videographer, Patrick Reddy, came to take some pictures and video.  I wore a wireless microphone and, all in all, I must have talked to 1200 students in the 8 ½ hours I was there.  The sunny skies and 72 degrees were certainly a big help.  Later, I received a call from Sumaiya from the San Francisco online paper, “The Good News Gazette.”  She heard about the Kindness Project and we spent an hour on the phone discussing the entire effort.  Their web site is  Interest is growing nationwide, I can see it happening from the many calls I am getting.  

There was one more thing that happened today that really put icing on the cake.  There was a fellow not far from the bus that wore a red t-shirt with the words, “God Hates You” printed on the front.  I guess that’s all someone needs to know to figure out what kind of message he was sending.  After a while, I could see that there was practically no one giving him any attention at all.  At the same time, I was talking to dozens of students, handing out stickers, and Bogart was getting petted by all the girls who walked by.  Even though he’s a dog, I could tell he was smiling.  Soon, the fellow of doom could see he was chopped liver, so he folded up his act and left.  Chalk one up for One Million Acts of Kindness.

University of Cincinnati

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I spent about 3 hours at the University of Cincinnati, a very crowded campus on this day, anyway.  I met a lot of great students including Curt Kiser, a member of the rock group “Enlou.”   He said he has hundreds of students at his concerts and wanted to get involved on campus in the Kindness project.  

Later, I was at the Anytime Fitness facility and ran into a young mom driving a big SUV. Her husband works in the front office of the Cincinnati Reds. She suggested that there may be some connection that could be made with this project.  This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like I’m really on to something.  It has gained support beyond my expectations.

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Northern Kentucky University has a very large campus for as few people were around this day. It happened to be fall break here as well and there were “slim pickins,” so to speak. Still, I was able to talk to some students and faculty about the Kindness project.

I received an email from a lady in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Mimi Burns.  Mimi has a 10 piece Celtic Band, called strangely enough, the Mimi Burns Band.  Mimi said she is all about doing benefits for good causes and she would love to do something for the Kindness project.  What a great idea!

Northern Kentucky

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

This was to be a slack day, rest and relax when I saw a large group of tents in the distance.  It turns out to be a large Halloween costume contest party. I couldn’t let an opportunity like that get away from me. There were hundreds of people, mostly kids and moms, many of the kids in costume.  I think the dads might be home with the National Football League “Flu.”  I was there for 2 -3 hours, talking to many families, it was great.  I love finding an unplanned activity while on the road.

Robby and Shannon

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

It was a beautiful day and I was lucky enough to visit with my friends Robby, Shannon and their one month old son Drew. Shannon’s parents, Kevin and Michelle were gracious hosts as they let me visit in their beautiful home. Bogart had a chance to run with their dogs for an hour or so, a real treat for him.  I spent the rest of the day doing some bus maintenance and preparing for my speech in Cleveland in November.