Archive for November, 2009

Ohio University

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

1123091541First stop on this late fall day is the Athens Police Department to see about getting special parking privileges for The Kindness Bus today. I didn’t quite know what to expect as I went in the door. A couple of stickers and a call to the Captain was all it took. I left holding the bag. The bag to cover the meter that is. I needed the closest space to the corner by the College Gate. This is the busiest corner in the city and the most visible as well. I was scheduled to be interviewed and photographed for the better part of the day, and no other location would do, as far as I was concerned. A professional writer, Vickie Elmer and professional photographer, Greg Ruffing were approved by AARP headquarters in Washington, to do an article on the mission of One Million Acts Of Kindness and it’s message. This is to be our biggest day to date as far as reaching a huge readership. The article will run in the beginning of 2010. Mid-morning, Joe Higgins, a writer for The Athens Messenger showed up with his photographer requesting an interview for an article. I told him as long as it was front page and above the fold, we would be good to go. Bogart is becoming a rock star. Move over Rin Tin Tin.

A steady stream of students had one thing on their minds today, finals. Most were pre-occupied with such things as quantum physics and nanotechnology. Some did however, take time out of their day to pet Bogart for good luck, and talk briefly to me. Most conversations were understandably shorter than I am accustomed to, but we made contact with about two hundred fifty students today. There were several students who agreed to take a stack of stickers home with them and start conversation about One Million Acts Of Kindness at Thanksgiving dinner. One student named Lisa was particularly enthusiastic. What a wonderful topic of conversation at Thanksgiving, kindness. Roberta a professor of Sociology at Ohio University came out of her way to tell me she thought One Million Acts Of Kindness was the coolest thing ever. Daniel, a student who had a final when he passed the bus initially, came back after his final to stop and talk about the great things possible by performing One Million Acts Of Kindness in one’s life.

To date, there have been over one hundred students who have made a verbal pledge to do one million acts of kindness in their lives. I wish I had documented their names as I traveled from campus to campus. Late today a student mentioned documenting in writing, the names of everyone pledging to accomplish this goal in their lives. He and two others, during the late afternoon, pledged in writing to challenge themselves to reach this greatest of goals. We will address this important new detail, and find a creative way to accomplish documentation for the individual. I am going to start listing the names at the end of each day’s blog. We can also add names to any previous blogs.

The following individuals have vowed to perform One Million Acts Of Kindness in their lives:

Daniel Continenza; Anna Wiederhold; Brittany Feda

Ohio University

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

1122091705This leisurely day was a great way to recharge. It was also a way of finalizing the Kindness Bus Tour itinerary until the end of the year. The OU campus has finals this week so it was quite quiet today. Nearly half of the students have finished their finals and left for the next six weeks. With a campus the size of this one, it still should be quite busy. Bogart got about three hours of great exercise, as we walked the campus before and after lunch. While walking, Bob in tow behind Bogart, as is usually the case, Bogart being his ever-impatient self as he hunts for squirrels happened upon a garden of beautiful flowers, of, you guessed it, impatiens. The title of today’s photo, Impatien(t)s is not a virtue!

The following is the itinerary for The Kindness Bus Tour;

Ohio University, University of Rio Grande, Bluefield College, Virginia Tech, Radford University, Emory & Henry College, Virginia Intermont College, King College, Milligan College, East Tennessee State University, Carson Newman College, Lee University, Southern Adventist University, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, The University of the South, Middle Tennessee State University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Free Will Baptist Bible College, Tennessee State University, American Baptist College, and Vanderbilt University.

Marietta College/Ohio University

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

1122091314Today was to be a light day of interaction with students, with travel to Athens, Ohio for the next few days. It also afforded me the much needed time to plan my itinerary for the remainder of the year. When you drive a vehicle like the Kindness Bus, you never know what’s in store.  It’s like you are always in a parade. I suppose I should get the hand wave thing down one of these days. Before I left Marietta in the early afternoon, I must have had conversations with twenty or so people. Most were parents of children in the Marietta school system.  One parent who has children in lower school asked if I could speak at her children’s school. Another woman asked if I could address the High School regarding bullying issues. I hope I am able to get back to this area after the first of the year.

On recommendation of Ali from Marietta College, I headed for Court Street in Athens. She should work for the Chamber of Commerce, as she was spot on. There were kids everywhere. What a big hit the bus was, parked on a very busy street corner, near campus in Athens.  Bogart and I went for a walk in the College Green entering through the College Gate. We arrived back at the bus a half hour later to find a young man named Scott, standing in awe of the sight. He had a huge interest in the Kindness Tour and told me some great ways to live life. He is wise beyond his years.  A little later in the evening he tracked me down and gave me a book he had read. He instructed me to pass it along when I am through with it. Thank you Scott. While walking, a young woman said, you must be Bob and this must be Bogart.  This beautiful woman named Quadia, is from Delaware, the state, not the city in Ohio she said. She spoke as if I were saying the words. We agreed on every point we discussed. I invited her to write a My Comment page for the website when she has time. I can’t wait to post it already. She is a journalism major and a little creative writing is always welcome.

I walked toward the bus late tonight, from a couple of blocks away I noticed a large group of kids taking pictures of the bus. The Kindness Bus has now reached paparazzi status. First it’s Bogart, now it’s the bus. Works for me.

Marietta College

Friday, November 20th, 2009


The Kindness Bus rolled on campus in the early hours of morning. We thought we had best be legitimate on parking today. As we turned into the visitor parking area, it was obvious that I was going to be hard-pressed to find a space. As it turns out, today is a big day for kids to visit this campus with the hopes of attending this college next year. In the distance, a young man is waving for me to come his way. He had heard about One Million Acts Of Kindness coming to campus, so he saved a spot for me in the “Creative Parking Zone”. He even called security to alert them of my newly acquired laissez-faire parking status on this campus.

We arrived at the Free Speech Zone on campus, which is located on the mall. This is the main pedestrian artery. I am expecting a great day. David Travis, Director of Student Activities, and Greek Life, stopped by to make sure that everything was as good as could be. What a nice touch for a very busy man on an extraordinarily busy day. Today we reached a first; this has never happened previously, we were 400 for 400 in contacts with students. Every student I had contact with was open to the message. One other thing has started happening as well. Students on campuses have been telling me that they have already heard of One Million Acts Of Kindness. This is starting to get very cool.

Today I had the honor of meeting so many people involved in so many great passions. Carrie, a young woman from Parkersburg, West Virginia has a father who tells her every day, not to forget to do kind acts for others. What a powerful role model this young woman has. What a great daughter you have, Carrie’s father. In the short conversation we had, I could tell how proud she is of you. Amanda from Bowling Green, Ohio is involved with AmeriCorps VISTA program, had nothing but praise for the Kindness Tour. She was so into the message. Ali from Athens, Ohio gave me the hot spots on the Ohio University campus to visit, as this will be my next stop. Before Bogart could jump into the Blue Bus, Mary Jo from the Advancement Department of Marietta College stopped by to thank us for visiting. The two women working at the Chlapaty Café on campus get a big wag of the tail from Bogart for the treats. A big dose of Southern Ohio hospitality was showered on The Kindness Bus Tour today.

Marietta College

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


The Chipmunk Chasing Champion and I arrived at this beautiful but soggy campus after a morning of rain. We were met with open arms and praise for Bogart. I like to get pictures of Bogart before we get started so I do not forget before we leave. I asked two separate students about outdoor art and both times, I was met with blank stares. One student said, “I don’t think we have any”. Bummer‼ Three days of blogs in a row without a photo of Bogart???  Not to fear, Bogart’s picture line-up today reminds me of Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade… Squirrels to the right of me…Squirrels to the left of me…Squirrels in front of me… Squirrels up a tree???

So as not to step on any toes on this private campus, I struck up a conversation with a woman who looked like she knew the goings-on, at this beautiful place. This wonderful person was Amanda, Professor of Gender Studies. We had a conversation amazingly enough about how she had just been talking to her students about a need for kindness. She also talked about the apathy of people, and how we need to get involved in helping one another. She said that she could sure use a stack of stickers for her students. I sent her off with several more than what she asked for. Several people gathered around while Bogart was posing and we had a good talk about the Kindness Movement.  We headed for the campus café, got some water for Bogart, and talked to many more students.

The student activities office is just across the way so we decided to see if we could get permission to use the Free Speech area on campus tomorrow. The director was there and was enthusiastic, that he waived the normal twenty-four hour waiting period for permission. One day I will carpet the floor of the bus with all of the “red carpet” being rolled out for the kindness bus tour. While packing up the bus, I met a very caring student named Kathleen. She is President of The Art and Humanities House. She was so interested and brain stormed for several minutes about the possibilities of our organizations helping each other. She too, left with a stack of stickers. Thank you Kathleen, for the sincere interest.

The Kindness Bus Tour will once again go on a small detour. On Saturday, we will head due west some fifty miles to Ohio University. We will be on that campus until Monday afternoon. We will head south through West Virginia for Virginia Tech and spend four days over the Thanksgiving weekend doing service work in that community in honor of those affected by the horrible tragedy at that campus two and a half years ago.

Kent State University

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

013Kent State was the first college the Kindness Bus Tour visited at the beginning of the school year. Every college is worth a second visit. Several kids remembered us from the “maiden voyage”. That was very encouraging. We headed straight for the Student Center, which has a highly traveled corridor at class change-over. Bogart, sans any sort of fall wear, was a crowd favorite. Big surprise.  A young woman complimented me on him being an “ice breaker”. I assured her he is much more than that. Moeglii, a female student attending Kent State, lives in Columbus and has a Boston Terrier who she misses badly. She had Bogart nearly paralyzed as she scratched him behind the ears. I’m sure her dog would have been jealous.  Sonya and Robin, two women on campus today were completely blown away when they heard the premise of One Million Acts Of Kindness. They couldn’t wait to get to a computer to visit the website.

Bogart and I worked the campus for nearly four hours today talking to groups of students, over  five hundred students in total.  A number of students seated in the Student Center would come out as they saw us through the windows. Hannah, one such student, completely made my day and brought  into perspective the reason I love doing this. She told me a story, from a couple months back, of how her boyfriend was in a funk for quite some time. He just wasn’t happy with the way life was headed and how cold people are towards each other.  He attends Akron University. All that changed one day in early September. That was the day The Kindness Bus Tour visited Akron University. Apparently, he and I talked, and a bit of hope came back into his life as he learned of One Million Acts Of Kindness. All of us can learn from this message Hannah imparted.  One little act of kindness can have a huge impact on anyone else at any given time. Just think what One Million Acts Of Kindness can do.

**Bogart  -vs- Squirrels update;  As Bogart and I were heading off campus through a stand of trees, an unsuspecting  squirrel was crawling down the far side of a mature maple tree. All of us were out of view of each other. Just as we neared the tree, the squirrel came into view within two feet of Bogart. I don’t know who jumped higher; the squirrel, Bogart or me.  Bogart is still 0 for about  1,254. That is a good thing.

Wolstein Center, Cleveland, Ohio

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009


Thirty-eight years and counting since my last speech. I think it was speech class in tenth grade. The only thought of speaking, that I remember was loving to use props to get my points across. This should be a slam-dunk; I have the best prop a guy could possibly have, The Kindness Bus itself. The second, being Bogart the Magnificent. You can only practice a speech so many times. The only one that counts is the one you give. With that in mind, I decided that I have heard so many great stories from the few short months on the road that I could talk for hours from the heart. When you believe in One Million Acts of Kindness as passionately as I do, the words and thoughts just come naturally.

There were more than two thousand schoolchildren and a couple hundred adults attending this Kickoff for Kindness event of Project Love. What a great team Mary Alice Casalina has. The event was as smooth running as one could expect. It was an honor to have been a part of the presentation. Talking with the kids, during lunch and after the event, it was clear that most were positively impacted by the day’s events. The trip back from the Tennessee/Georgia border was well worth the effort, by being able to talk to such a large group with the hopes of having a positive impact in their lives. The Kindness Bus Tour is making great in-roads into schools much earlier than expected.  I have been invited to speak at five school events to date. Not having an expertise in this area, I plan to invest time in becoming much better speaker. As stressful as giving a speech can be, after such a long hiatus, I have to admit I was stoked and had a blast. A very big thank you to Project Love and all involved.

Note;  During my speech I tried to inspire kids to live the life of one of three very positive role-models and the powerful core value that the role-model stood for. I asked the kids that if they felt inspired enough during the course of my speech, that they could make a constant effort throughout their lives of adopting those core values, I would give them a framed  vow of the role-model they chose to emulate. The role-models are as follows;

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.     –    Living a life of Peaceful Solutions
  • Mother  Teresa                           –     Living a life of Humanitarian Aid
  • Mahatma Gandhi                       –     Living a life of Charity

I brought with me six framed  vows, two of each role-model. The following children made a vow to hang the framed vow in their bedroom and look at it every day, as a reminder to be inspired to emulate their chosen role-model.

  1. Natasia
  2. Kristina
  3. Ebony
  4. Vanna
  5. Angel
  6. Dominique

May your hands and your voices forever be instruments of Peace, Charity, and Humanitarian Aid.