Archive for December, 2009

Huntersville, NC

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

1217091430aReba Henry, who I met in a Belmont restaurant during my morning coffee, had already gone outside and had to come back in to find “Bob”. She talked about how things have changed and was quite emotional in expressing her hopes for a return to kinder times. She said she is going to spread this message to everyone she knows. Her Sunday school is first on her list. Cathy, a restaurant manager, told me of all of her young employees and how much pressure is on them to help their families, by working to pay bills. She is going to get her employees and other managers involved in One Million Acts Of Kindness. She has the respect of so many of them, as she helps in every way she can to make their lives easier. It still amazes me as to the number of people who approach me during the course of the day to express their support of The Kindness Bus Tour.

Swine Flu is prevalent in every state in which I am traveling. I was hoping to visit Children’s Hospitals on my travels north, but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen. Only relatives and close friends are being allowed in to most hospitals, no casual visitors. There are two hospitals I called, which have even eliminated their regular Santa. Ho Ho Hum. And just to think, Bogart was good to go, sporting his “Dasher” outfit. The Kindness Sleigh is currently trying to outrun a major snowstorm coming out of the Gulf. A total of twelve inches of snow is supposed to fall on Virginia, but very little snow a few hundred miles to the north. We have a Santa and “Dasher”, command performance tomorrow morning for the Little Angel Day Care at the Carilion Medical Center and then dash off to the north…On Dasher, On Dancer…Go Bogart Go.

Belmont Abbey College

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

1216091610bWhat a friendly group of students and staff. Before I could get out the door of the bus, I was met with a compliment, “I love your bus and its message”, were the kind words spoke by Professor Ed McGee. He was about to ride off on his motorcycle and was happy that our paths crossed. The students still on campus since yesterday’s last final were eager to know of The Kindness Bus Tour. I must have heard no fewer than ten times during our visit, “Is that your bus I saw in the parking lot”. Inquiring minds wanted to know. Steve and Tasha, who work on campus at The Holy Grounds coffee shop, loved the thought of someone taking an initiative to start a kindness movement. They were very complimentary as well. Being that finals finished yesterday and the campus was empty of the majority of the student body, I gave several stickers to each student, to pass to family members and friends over the holidays.

David, a restaurant supervisor in Belmont, stopped by while I was writing this blog, he could not stop smiling as we talked about the possibilities of the good that could come from this grassroots effort spreading across this country. We looked across the dining room of his restaurant and wished in our hearts, for all the good that could possibly come to each and everyone in the room. He was still smiling as we parted and said, “You have one more fan”.

Southern Wesleyan University

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

1215091159aThis small private university, even though it is closed for Christmas, is worth making the trip to see if any students are still on campus. We arrived to find the campus empty of all students, but faculty and staff were still present. Not to be deterred, we decided to visit some of the buildings. The Library was first on our list and once we met the woman at the front desk, we realized that we wouldn’t need to go any further. This wonderful treasure, Liz Crawford, was all I needed to talk to about One Million Acts Of Kindness. We talked for what seemed the better part of the morning. Liz was a grade school teacher for twenty-five years, all throughout the United States. She has spent the last twenty years at Southern Wesleyan. Being in education for forty-five years, you are bound to see some changes, first-hand.

Liz has a concern about improving the direction this world is headed. She has eleven grandchildren who are younger than the age of eighteen. She talked of a time when things were simpler and there was a sense of community among neighbors. She wants this again, for her grandchildren. The mission of One Million Acts Of Kindness reminded her of that simpler time. Liz said that she thought many students at the University would embrace a goal of kindness. I gave her a stack of stickers for her family and the students upon their return. What a great way to start a new year, vowing to perform One Million Acts Of Kindness.

Clemson and Region

Monday, December 14th, 2009

1210091636Ninety-two years young and learning to use his computer, Clarence Haynes of Toronto, Ontario, Canada called today to inquire about One Million Acts Of Kindness. He has a heart of gold, as he keeps up with getting 90+ year olds involved with an organization called an Amigo Circle of Friends. He is also helping to renovate a camp for kids with diabetes. What a great role model for everyone.

Before getting started for our visit to the Clemson campus, Taylor and Corrie stopped by The Kindness Bus as they circled the popular restaurant’s drive-through. The looks on both of their faces was priceless. They were totally blown away by the messages on the bus and wanted to know more. These beautiful young women talked of their volunteering at hospitals and helping others. They are both well on their way to a life of kindness and caring. Mom, Dad…Great job.

Bogart and I visited the campus, void of nearly every student except for those about to graduate after doing an extra half lap or graduating a half lap early. There were several people who now know us on a first name basis, as this is now our sixth day on campus. We only made contact with forty or so, but this is more than I expected. Another big moment today was receiving an email from the President of Clemson University, James F. Barker thanking us for visiting his University and the work we are doing.

Last evening I received an email from Bianca Clark, a student at Clemson. She extended an invitation to Bogart and me to attend a small informal dinner party to honor the work we are doing. We thought about a nanosecond, about that RSVP. We arrived at dinner this evening to find eleven students helping in one fashion or another to make tonight’s dinner party a success. This homemade dinner with dessert was a welcome change with great company and conversation. I owe all of you big time. Thanks go out to Bianca, Rebecca, Katie, Meredith, Caroline, John, Brian, Jim, Dan, Miller, and Xavier.

President Barker, you have one friendly student body. Thank you for the southern hospitality.

Clemson Weekend

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

1214091545Changing plans to remain in Clemson until Tuesday morning were necessary to plan the itinerary of returning north and visiting hospitals along the way. The Kindness Sleigh will visit children’s hospitals in Greenville, SC;  Charlotte, NC;  Blacksburg, VA;  Charleston, WV;  and Columbus, OH.  Bogart and I couldn’t be more thrilled to try to brighten the day of others. Bogart is going to play the part of one of the reindeer, probably, Dasher. Once again, people just seem to enter our lives at just the right time, as we travel along. Jim Graham, one of the Clemson University Police Officers stopped by The Kindness Bus over the weekend to check it out up-close. During our conversation, he mentioned that he and his wife used to visit hospitals dressed as clowns. They would entertain children and adults alike with all sorts of fun antics. He gave me great insight in visiting hospitals.

The people of Clemson, have been the most hospitable as one could be during my extended stay in this town. All sorts of offers of southern hospitality for Bogart and me have been extended. We have even been invited to a small dinner party tomorrow night. Bogart is the guest of honor. Everyone in this town is very interested in the mission of One Million Acts Of Kindness. I think we are on to something.

Clemson U. and a Magical Bus Ride

Friday, December 11th, 2009

1211091633Early morning coffee brought a mix of all sorts of happy people who seemed to be celebrating the fact they thought they had done well on their finals. Nora, a sophomore, was taking coffee home to have with her mom, to celebrate over breakfast. She was going to tell her mom all about the new goal of One Million Acts Of Kindness in her life. Ciara who worked at the restaurant said, “What a cool thing you are doing, thank you for doing it.” We arrived at the center of campus to find it nearly deserted. Most everyone seems to have finished finals. We had to get creative and decided to drive The Kindness Bus around this large campus and look for popular spots. We were able to make contact with nearly one hundred students. By day’s end, it is almost as if this campus let out a huge sigh of relief. Finals being history and now just wait for the grades. I told one of the professors who walked by the bus to do all the students a big favor and just give everyone an A and a Kindness sticker. She almost went for it.

Kelly, a mother of two, who I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of days ago, told me of her daughter who has leukemia. She told me of all the procedures her daughter has been through and the hospitals she has been to. I thought, how could Bogart possibly work some magic to help her daughter, Miriam? This afternoon, I called to ask if Miriam would like to have a ride in the Kindness Bus with Bogart. Kelly said Miriam would be thrilled and that her other daughter Riley would be thrilled to come as well. As unbelievable as it sounds, Miriam had even expressed an interest to her mother in riding a bus today. We circled the town and I received a fun commentary from those two beautiful girls.

Yesterday was and today is one of those days where lessons come your way if you remain cognizant of what is taking place right before your very eyes. Two very young beautiful girls with battles much bigger than any of us should ever have to deal with, show such amazing courage as if it is everyday run-of-the-mill, matter of fact, no big deal. This amazes me to no end.

Lesson learned; The Kindness Bus must have passed by countless Children’s hospitals in the nearly four thousand mile journey thus far. Not anymore‼

Clemson University, Day 2

Thursday, December 10th, 2009


Finding an email like Kate’s at telling of her interest in our movement and that she dedicated a day on her blog to One Million Acts Of Kindness started my day in a positive way, so I hit the ground running. It was one of those days where you have three days worth of work to do in a few hours. I did as much as I could, and headed for the campus. While on the way, a sheriff from Pickens County flagged me down just to give me a thumbs-up. On this second last day of finals, Clemson seemed half as crowded as yesterday, I was going to make the best of it no matter the amount of students left on campus. I interacted with so many bright, caring kids from all over the United States today, five hundred or so. Erika from Virginia, Kali from Ohio and Nathan from Clemson all were big supporters the moment they saw the bus. They said they were going to help spread the message to friends. These three freshmen impressed me with their big hearts. Warren and Jimbo stopped by the bus to tell of how pleased that someone was trying to do something for their generation.

Later in the day, Skeet, a parking control officer, stopped by The Kindness Bus while doing his job, told me he loved reading the messages. He even implied that there was no way he would ever ticket The Kindness Bus. Skeet told me of one of the greatest early Christmas presents he had ever received. His granddaughter Lauren had cancer and recently had an operation in which they were able to remove the entire tumor. He was teary eyed as he spoke of her and her courageous battle. What a brave girl and loving grandfather. He then told me how much she loves stickers…What‼…boy does she have stickers now. I love doing this.

I am personally declaring Clemson University the squirrel capital of the galaxy. Bogart will vouch for it.