Archive for June, 2010

First Responders, Manhattan, NYC

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

6-22-10This is the first in a series of many articles this summer, in which The Kindness Bus Tour will visit first responders from the five boroughs of New York City.
Concentrating on the fire houses of Manhattan to begin my journey, I quickly realized that this is going to take some time. With two-hundred twenty firehouses scattered throughout the five boroughs and police, hospitals and port authority to follow, this will take the better part of a few months.
My first stop was the northernmost part of Manhattan on Vermilyea Avenue. As I pulled in, I saw that a group of very young children was getting a class in fire safety. Bogart was an instant hit with the children. Two of the firefighters, Kevin and Brian, were quite helpful in giving the background and history of some of the fire houses. The looks on the faces of these young children showed keen interest in these heroes and the work they perform. I can think of no better role-models to teach our children of. They are role-models for all of us.
Today I visited 13 firehouses, six of them were on calls or getting back from calls. These guys are busy around the clock in the most dangerous of situations. They deserve our nonstop respect.
At the West 143rd firehouse, a firefighter, Tommy, said “I saw your bus at a school in Long Island two weeks ago”.  The message of kindness and the work firefighters perform, go hand in hand.
My visit to the East 85th firehouse started as I stepped off the bus and I saw the plaque with 9 faces of heroes who gave their lives on 9/11.
I ended my day a little earlier than planned.

Kindness in Congress

Monday, June 21st, 2010

6-21-10**Disclaimer; Today’s blog is not about politics, it will never be that. It is not about being pro or con about any group or issue, it can never be that. I will not express any opinion of any of my beliefs in this forum. I don’t wish to further divide by taking sides with any group. It will always be about helping to unite sides.
I met Senator Schumer in Central Park, at the Father’s Day run for prostate cancer awareness. He had just given a passionate speech about how many men in his family have had prostate cancer and how important it is to be screened for this disease. I thought I should approach him, to tell him of my passion.
So there I was, without any One Million Acts Of Kindness stickers in my pocket or one of my shirts with the logo, but I wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity which presented itself. Knowing that a man like Senator Schumer is very busy, I decided to get right to the point, get a picture taken with him and tell him about One Million Acts Of Kindness. He left, promising to read the Father’s Day blog and even restated the domain name as he parted.
A movement towards kindness in congress has to start somewhere for the good of us all. This chance meeting could be the impetus towards a very good change. Kindness needs to sweep this nation and I know of no better place to start than at the top. It is time for all of us to start working together for the good of the whole. Who knows, maybe this will turn out like a modern day Mr. Smith goes to Washington.
New York City is so awesome, the sheer volume of people I can talk with in a day is beyond anything I have witnessed in the last year of my journey. This weekend proved to me that I am on the right path as I have received nothing but positive feedback from the thousands of people I have had contact with. Mr. Smith, you may have company very soon.

Like a Father To Me

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Father’s Day Weekend, 2010

6-20-10I lost my best friend in the world to cancer over a month ago. I’ve never lost a best friend before; It hurts, you get numb, and then it hurts you some more.  Bob came into my life when I needed a friend the most. He meant everything to me. He meant everything to everyone who knew him. He inspired countless people in his life, especially over the last handful of years.  As the result of a terrible accident, Bob spent his final years unable to move and yet he moved us. He moved us to believe that nothing can extinguish one’s spirit if we believe. He loved, and he lived life to the fullest. He was happier than most people I’ve met in my life. Life to him was a celebration.
I visited Bob nearly a thousand times in his last few years and never once heard him complain about his health. He valued family and friends and cherished every moment we spent with him. He brought joy to others even with the day to day challenges he faced.
He lived life by example, witnessed by the fact that his children possess the same core values by which they now live their own lives. He was their father. He was a role model for friends of his children as well, the admiration they had for him as a surrogate father is almost nonexistent in today’s society.
My son, Alex sent a very compassionate letter to Bob, which made him beam with pride as he told me of it’s content, Alex wrote, “You are like a father to me” No greater compliment could be paid this man, as this was the core of his very existence.
“Happy Father’s Day, Bobbo”

Fordham Prep, Bronx, NY

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

6-17-10Home for the next two weeks was arranged by Paul Homer of Fordham Prep. Paul is the husband of Karen Homer, Librarian of North Side School on Long Island. Fordham Prep is a high school which should be the model for all schools. Talented, engaging teachers are the norm for this preparatory school. I arrived on this campus which has begun summer break and found it nearly empty, which is not what I am used to. That changed when a very nice young man and his coach headed my way, he introduced himself as the senior class president. This polite young man was a pleasure to talk with as he marveled at the promise of One Million Acts Of Kindness. One of the values if this school is kindness, a great value for a school to instill in it’s student body. It’s motto is “Love and Conscious Virtue”. One could tell from our short conversation that the class president has already adopted the motto.
I headed towards Central Park at 6am and found the best parking spot in Manhattan, on Central Park West at W72nd, it’s like NYC rolled out the “Red Carpet” for The Kindness Bus Tour. Tens of thousands of people will have direct contact with me over the next few days. The paparazzi are taking every imaginable photo of The Kindness Bus. Even Bogart feels a little left out. This is going to be a great couple of weeks.

Cape May Marianists

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

6-16 Kindness picMy cousin Al is a Brother, a Marianist Brother. I think he is well beyond one million acts of kindness in his life. He just celebrated his sixtieth anniversary as a Brother and all he does all day is help and do for others. I went to Cape May to learn first-hand about what happens at this very special retreat house. Nothing but good happens. The Marianists work with the local community and people who come from across the United States to learn to be better citizens. They work hard at keeping the property maintained both inside and out. They work equally as hard to help people to maintain the good inside themselves.
Brother Al, along with Brother Ed and Brother Tom, made me feel welcome in their home. They were  interested in the mission of One Million Acts Of Kindness and our successes along the way. They are helping to support our cause. Our travels now take us on a return trip to New York City for the next two weeks to visit first responders from 9/11.

Marianist Retreat House, Day 2

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010


In our race to get ahead, we sometimes fall behind. Fall behind in the important work we can do for others. It is so easy to get caught up in the “day to day,” that real goals can get missed because one is too busy. Keep your eyes open for opportunities which may present themselves to you. Be ready to step outside your comfort zone for something that will bring joy to another and watch the joy then come to you.
Many people I meet are nearing retirement or are already retired. This is one of those times when you are able to seize an opportunity. Look for something which will bring you satisfaction while another is being helped. Maybe be so bold as to dedicating the rest of your life to a charity, come on, how many “four putt greens” can you suffer through in the rest of your life? Maybe that in itself is a sign.
The Marianist Retreat House in Cape May Point is a perfect place to look for one of those opportunities. Today Brother Al and I did some therapy painting on some tables and chairs on the front porch. Many wonderful people wandered over to talk about The Kindness Bus parked out front. Some of those same people, shared with me the “opportunity” they have already seized.

Marianist Retreat House, Cape May, NJ

Monday, June 14th, 2010

6-14-10When you can take the time to look inside yourself at what unlimited potential you have, a new you can emerge. You may be the type of individual who can quiet your mind in a matter of moments or you may be the type of individual who needs to change your surroundings to affect change within. Being honest with yourself can allow you, to know you. We all have something to offer to others, no matter who we are. Offering of your time or money to others in need, can begin the process of the transformation you are in search of.
We can all learn from a four year old girl with cancer, who decides to spend  her remaining four years to raise money for pediatric cancer research by having a lemonade stand. We too can learn from a ninety-two year old man who has had diabetes for sixty-five years and still has the energy to build a camp for children with diabetes and blog on his website as well.
What is in you? I’m betting something pretty darn fantastic. Take the time to find out.