In a world divided over protests, presidential politics and a pandemic, World Kindness Day could not have come at a better time.
Friday, Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day. Formed in 1998, World Kindness Day promotes kindness throughout the world. The U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and more celebrate World Kindness Day and use it to reflect upon one of the most important and unifying human principles.
The fact that kindness is unifying is key. Rebecca Conrad Davenport, a licensed psychologist and associate director/clinical director with Ohio University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), feels that with all of the unknowns and heavy issues the world is facing at this time, practicing kindness is a great way to go.
“Kindness – both receiving and giving kindness – is certainly one important way to fuel ourselves to face these challenges,” Davenport said in an email. “We at CPS have been supporting others in difficult conversations and engaging in this challenging work ourselves.”
In celebration of World Kindness Day, CPS added materials to the World Kindness Day website as well as enlisted its social media committee to tweet out reminders about the importance of small acts of kindness.
Zach Meadows, a sophomore studying criminal justice at the OU Chillicothe branch, is no stranger to small acts of kindness. In fact, his small act of kindness went viral.
Meadows is the manager at a Wendy’s in Circleville. One night in March when he was working, a truck driver named Justin Martin pulled in after closing, looking for some food for his long drive.
Normally, Meadows would’ve said Wendy’s was closed and couldn’t give away any food. But something about Martin made Meadows want to help.
“Something just kind of hit me to help this guy out,” Meadows said. “I don’t know what it was, but I went out there and threw some stuff together.”
Meadows packed a bag full of food and gave Martin a large drink. When Martin tried to pay, Meadows refused.
Martin was so touched by his kindness that he made a video and posted it on Facebook, talking about how kind Meadows and the rest of the Wendy’s staff that night had been.
The video garnered so much attention that USA Today picked it up and created a “Good News” post with it. They used Martin’s Facebook video as well as an interview with Meadows.
“I told my crew that rules are rules, but sometimes, being a good person outweighs the consequences I could’ve got,” Meadows said in the USA Today video.
Meadows feels that kindness is so important due to the country’s current climate.
“At the end of the day, we’re still going to have to put our shoes on the same foot,” Meadows said. “I think if we can all be a better person and help each other out, it will make where we live and our community better. It makes it more enjoyable than being hateful toward each other.”
Meadows feels that though life is a little chaotic right now, people should celebrate World Kindness Day by going out of their way for someone — even if it’s just holding a door or talking to a neighbor.
It’s not just Meadows and Davenport who feel this way. Campus orgs are celebrating World Kindness Day as well. Live Positive, an organization created by a group of best friends, works to create some positivity and stress reduction in its members’ lives.
Brittney Burchett, a junior studying psychology pre-law, has worked with the other founders to keep up virtual involvement during the pandemic to keep members active.
“We’ve posted a few recipes, some journal prompts, just stuff that people can view themselves and work at their own pace and not feel overwhelmed to participate at a certain time or place,” Burchett said.
For World Kindness Day, the group wanted to make an Instagram post to show ways to give kindness to other people. Similarly to Meadows, Burchett feels the simple acts go a long way.
“Mental health for everybody is deteriorating right now,” Burchett said. “I think everybody needs to show kindness to each other, hold out a helping hand. People need to check on their friends and their loved ones because not everyone shows their emotions, and I think it’s really important to extend the kindness to everyone because you don’t know what people are going through, and this year has been so difficult for everybody.”
Burchett, Meadows and Davenport all feel that it’s important to celebrate World Kindness Day every day. Though they know that kindness isn’t the cure for every issue, they truly believe it’s a good place to start.
“I want to be clear that I don’t think kindness alone ends all these heavy issues,” Davenport said in an email. “I think kindness might be the ‘how.’ As we engage in our work and conversations, we can do that with kindness.”