Yearning to do good is fulfilled in '26 Acts of Kindness' model

By Stover E. Harger III, Columbian neighborhood news coordinator

Published:

 

Real-life generosity

Has “26 Acts of Kindness” inspired you to do any good deeds?

Share your own story of kindness, whether received or given, with stover.harger@columbian.com, and we will post them on http://columbian.com

A viral goodwill campaign is inspiring people around the country to commit "26 Acts of Kindness" in honor of those killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre last week.

Vancouver's Bob Synoground got his own taste of kindness Friday when he learned his cup of coffee had been paid for by an anonymous do-gooder at Starbucks, 16320 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. An unsigned note handed to Synoground by the cashier informed him his drink was covered as part of the "26 Acts" campaign.

A Starbucks employee, who asked not to be named, said a man came in around noon and asked her to use his credit card for the next 26 people who ordered beverages. She said the man gave her messages to pass out with each drink explaining the campaign. He sat anonymously in the corner until each coffee was sold, and then quietly left.

The employee said the gesture was so touching, a few customers even cried when they read the note handed to them.

"It's your choice to carry this out or not. I'm doing this as a small expression to show I care," the message read.

Synoground chose to continue the wave of kindness. Later that afternoon he put 26 cans of food in the Salvation Army drop-off at the Mill Plain Boulevard Fred Meyer.

"I wanted to pass that along," he said.

The 26 Acts campaign grew from a series of Twitter messages by NBC News' Ann Curry, who asked her online followers to join her in doing a good deed in memory of those who died Dec. 14 at the Connecticut school.

"Imagine if we all committed to 20 acts of kindness for each child lost in Newtown? I'm in," she tweeted Dec. 16.

The concept soon evolved to not only pay respects to the 20 children killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, but the six adults who died at the school as well. The 26 figure does not include Nancy Lanza, who is believed to have been the morning's first victim, shot multiple times while she slept.

A moment of silence was shared across the nation Friday morning for the victims of the massacre.

Thousands have shared their own examples on Twitter with the tracking hashtag #26acts, ranging from extravagant to simple.

Writing on Twitter, one woman said her first act was to overtip a pizza delivery driver. Another said she "ran down the street barefoot chasing my trash man with cookies."

Ann Curry said her kindness campaign is, at its heart, about helping heal a nation in mourning.

"Right now, this country wants to heal," she wrote Dec. 18 on the NBC News website. "I think the only thing comforting in the face of a tragedy like this is to do something good with it if you can. Be a part of that wave."


Stover E. Harger III: 360-735-4530; http://twitter.com/col_hoods; stover.harger@columbian.com.