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Kindness plus one…

March 14, 2012

I don’t know Ryan Garcia.  But, Ryan Garcia is my hero.  He’s not my hero because of his work.  He’s not my hero because he lives in Chicago, even though I love the windy city.  He is my hero because of what he chooses to do every day.  Ryan Garcia is a bright light in a world of anger, cruelty, and disregard.  In a world where the daily news is filled with caustic campaign rhetoric, sports figures getting a bonus for purposefully injuring an opponent, and soldiers are slitting the throats of 12 year olds, Ryan Garcia is a quiet, steady force of goodness moving through each day.

Ryan and his wife gave birth to a daughter in 2011.  As the new year approached, Ryan observed, “My daughter is 3 months old.  She is starting to become more and more aware of her surroundings.”  He thought about who he wanted to be as he lived out 2012,  in front of his little girl.  That’s when the idea came to him,…366 Random Acts of Kindness.  One act of kindness for every day of the upcoming leap year.  He began a blog to record his journey, writing, “I just hope that she can see this in the future and try and emulate it.”

For the last 75 days, Ryan Garcia hasn’t missed a day of choosing to do an act of kindness.  He has handed out free hugs on a Chicago street, written a letter to a soldier in Afghanistan, complimented 25 strangers, and cleared the snow off all the cars on his block after a snow storm.

He thought about suspending his plan on Day 61, when his father-in-law died unexpectedly.  Then he remembered the caring and compassionate man his father-in-law was, and knew that one of the best ways to honor him was to continue.  So he extended acts of kindness as he comforted his family, helped with household chores for his mother-in-law, and wrote his father-in-law’s obituary.

I hope it is now no mystery why I think Ryan Garcia is a hero.  He is giving the best gift a father can give to a daughter,…a sure and steady path to follow, and a clear picture of what a good man looks like.  And who knows how many of us will be changed by his giving.  Thank you, Ryan Garcia.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2012 5:59 am

    RAOK We need more Ryans…

    • March 25, 2012 11:40 am

      We do need more Ryans. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we were more keen observers of the RAOKs that are already present. Our climate of “if it bleeds, it leads”, doesn’t lend itself to us recognizing the good and the human connection that is all around us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and your wonderful poetry. I think poetry is a powerful RAOK.

  2. CarolWiebe permalink
    March 15, 2012 7:05 am

    Paulann, I am sure you get in at least one RAOK per day

    • March 25, 2012 11:41 am

      I hope so, Carol. Reading about people like Ryan Garcia makes me more purposeful about my impact on this world and the people in it. 🙂

  3. CarolWiebe permalink
    March 15, 2012 7:05 am

    Inspiring post!

  4. March 15, 2012 7:37 am

    I am always amazed when I see those commercials on tv for an insurance company where people observe someone else do something simple like hold a door open for someone who is blind or pick something up that someone has dropped and that inspires them to do something good. I just can’t believe that people really need that to know that they should do those simple kinds of things. It’s good to know that there are parents out there who are still showing that example to their kids.

    • March 25, 2012 11:45 am

      I agree! The value and the good sense of being nice to each other in our shared space doesn’t seem like a difficult or far-fetched concept. I hope for a world where the vast majority of parents actively model compassion and integrity for their children. In the mean time, I will savor the moment I see it happen. Thanks for your comments!

  5. March 15, 2012 11:38 am

    Inspirational. Thank you for sharing this. I marvel that people can choose to do anything for a whole year! ha. My sobriety was the first, really.

    • March 25, 2012 11:48 am

      Thanks, Heidi! I guess the accomplishments of a year came about because we purpose to stay with it for a day,…maybe for this moment. Sobriety certainly is a lifetime of “continued” moments. 🙂

  6. March 15, 2012 3:31 pm

    Nice idea

    • March 25, 2012 11:50 am

      I thought so too, Heather. Thank you for stopping by. I’m sorry it has taken me this long to get back to responding to all the gracious readers who comment. Interesting that even a single comment on the thoughts someone has written can be a random act of kindness. ~ Paulann

  7. March 16, 2012 10:04 am

    VERY INSPIRING! You always are If we all did this…


    I nominate you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! That you are indeed!
    Peace, Jen

    • March 25, 2012 11:53 am

      Thank you, Jen, for your neverending support. I will attempt to do justice to your gracious nomination. I apologize that life has kept me from responding to your thoughts more quickly. I do wonder just how huge the impact would be if we all committed to doing random acts of kindness, even for one day. ~ Paulann

  8. June 25, 2012 9:59 am

    Excellent, inspiring post. Thank you, Paulann.

    • July 22, 2012 8:26 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca! I was moved by a dad wanting to create a good path for his little daughter to follow.

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