Random Acts of Kindness Day

How the holiday came to be and how it influences people today


Photo courtesy of Pexels via Creative Commons

Ashley Donohoe and Madi Magill

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” is an influential motto created by Mark Twain that has the potential to save the lives of millions. Kindness, even in small doses can make a big impact. Kindness is an act that can positively influence another’s life everyday, anywhere, and at anytime, but then why do people continuously bring others down and do their own thing? On February 17th, people are reminded to step out of their comfort zone, lend a helping hand, and be genuinely kind to others.

Random Acts of Kindness Day may seem to be a February tradition, but the holiday was originally celebrated almost half of a year later. Created by Josh de Jong, the day dedicated to making someone’s day a little brighter was celebrated in September by kind-hearted New Zealanders. Randomactsofkindness.org has proposed the holiday should be spread through the week, designating it’s start on February 12th and end on the 18th. Throughout the years, this day of positivity has spread to countless other regions, reminding both adults and kids to lend a helping hand to a peer in need. Many schools have adopted Random Acts of Kindness Day, encouraging kids to keep the school environment safe and fun.

Mallory Gothelf, like any other did not realize some one’s pain, but a simple act of kindness as asking if someone is okay, made all the difference. “I had no idea as we were standing in the bathroom that she was about ready to take her life and that and act that seemed so small to me made all the difference in her life,” said Mallory. Mallory’s story from randomactsofkindness.org, is a truly touching story about a day in highschool entering a bathroom to find a girl silently sobbing to herself, and everyone pretending the girl was not even there. As a fellow student who struggled with depression and anxiety, she approached her and simply asked if she was okay, knowing she was not. Had a small conversation and gave the girl her number, and texted her that night and the following morning so the girl did not have to cope alone. A simple act of kindness such as asking if someone is okay, can make a huge difference, and can even save a life.

An exchange of words between two mutual strangers on an airplane and a personal story brang light to Houston Kraft’s eyes. “Kindness is NOT usually our default setting. We spend so much time worrying about our problems, our lives, our comfort, our insecurities, getting to our flight- that we walk by or ignore people in need of kindness everyday,” said Houston. His story from, randomactsofkindness.org shows that though, they may be a stranger, they too need a little bit of kindness. In Houston’s story, he is on a plane and the lady next to him, fidgety, not the most pleasant to be next to when in need of a nap, introduces herself by the name of Helga. They conversed, Houston explained he has an organization in High Schools called R.A.K.E (Random Acts of Kindness, Ect.). Helga then became very serious and said that, “there was nothing more important in the world than kindness”. She expresses a story of how she had wept for two hours in an airport, and people just passed her by. Helga then said to Houston, “Not a single person stopped and asked if I was okay that day. Not one person. It was that day I realized that kindness isn’t normal.” Kindness is not normal. Imagine a world where everyone’s default setting was kindness; what everyone could accomplish, how much happier everyone would be. Imagine a world of kindness.

Though kindness is not everyone’s default setting if it was, “The world would be a lot safer… And everyone would be happier. But then we would be less diverse,” says Isabella Ortiz, a freshman at Battlefield. Scientists have investigated why people do not use kindness throughout all of their actions, and they have come up with the Bystander Effect. According to psychologytoday.com., when people are in a group, the responsibility to help one in need disperses, causing them not to take action. Originally researched by Bibb Latané and John Darley, the Bystander Effect proves that kindness is not always what people resort to.

Sophomore Riley Johnson, has witnessed the Bystander Effect in her daily life. “Back in elementary school a girl in my class was upset about a grade she got in class. She was crying at her desk, but everyone in the room just ignored her and continued working. Finally, her friend went over and sat with her, but it makes me sad so many people in the class just chose to watch her cry.”
Take it into consideration on February 17th to be especially kind to one another. Though Random Acts of Kindness Day is only one day (also through a week), take the time to be kind not just then but all year round. Make the world a kinder place.