I’m going to interrupt my usual travel blog to let you know about a day that is very close to my heart…
Ten years ago 3 friends and myself got together and planned a national Random Acts of Kindness Day in New Zealand. We wondered if we could turn an idea into a national event that people up and down the country would come to know, and more importantly, join in.
Ten years ago the phrase “random acts of kindness” was pretty much reserved for American movies and colleges who would organise RAK Weeks. In New Zealand it was virtually unheard of. But we set out to change that.
At the time it was hard going to push a charitable day that wasn’t about any specific cause. It was a day designed to cost very little, if anything at all, just simply to encourage people to surprise and delight a neighbour, colleague or complete stranger and to make someone’s day.
In 2005 we gave away flights to LA and a cruise from there to Mexico to a woman sitting with her friends at a bar in Vulcan Lane. We had the TVOne News cameras with us and it turned out that this woman was looking after her mum through chemotherapy. They went on the cruise together and shortly after, her mother passed away. I’ll never forget how that felt. To be able to bless someone who was already blessing another person and had no expectation of a return.
All it takes is one motivated person to make a difference in their school, their workplace or their city. A Napier City Council employee, Meg Rodel, is one such woman. She loved the concept and for the last seven years she has ensured Napier CBD gets behind RAK Day by mobilising businesses to give away goodies, bring musicians in to entertain shoppers, she’s even harangued politicians to shine shoes!
Over the years I’ve had media call to ask what I think of businesses using the phrase and running their own marketing campaigns.
I love it.
If “Random Acts of Kindness” becomes part of our everyday vernacular, then my goal in helping to raise the kindness temperature in New Zealand will be realised.
So this September 1st, I’d love it if you would do something randomly kind to a stranger and let’s see New Zealand on the world stage as the kindest country on earth!
See our website www.rak.co.nz for ideas and inspiration and to download free ‘You’ve Been RAK’d’ cards.
Thanks for being part of it!