Jul 27, 2010

Acts of Random Kindness

 I forget to be kind. It used to come naturally, like blessing myself when I saw an ambulance, but somewhere along the way I fell out of practice. I have moments when I remember, like that time I had an umbrella-fight-of-kindness with an old man ... Walking by an old man trying to fend off the pelting rain with only a wimpy newspaper, it occurred to me that I should give up my umbrella; it was the right—and kind—thing to do. Only, he didn't want my umbrella. I wanted him to have my umbrella. He didn't want my umbrella. I wanted him to have it! He really didn't want it. I really wanted him to have it for Christ's sake, and I wanted to walk him across the street, too, but I didn't want him to have a heart attack (for fear I'd get arrested for killing him with kindness). So, I had to walk away—tail, umbrella, and kindness between my legs. 

Since then, I've been rude to old people.

Thinking back on it now, I wonder if maybe that old man just wasn't used to random acts of kindness?

Enter Irish clothing company/movement, ARK—Acts of Random Kindness. 

Founded by twenty-year-old Cameron Stewart, not-for-profit ARK wants you to carry out one act of random kindness—buy a stranger a coffee, give up your seat on the bus, ask your barista how they're doing today, tell someone their skirt is tucked into their knickers—every time you wear their clothing. You look good, do good, and even better, inspire people around you to look good and do good, too. Love it. It kind of reminds me of TOMS Shoes' earnest (and hugely successful) business model—"For every pair you purchase, we give a pair to a child in need." Though, I'd imagine it's easier to quantify shoes than kindess. 
So far, ARK has a cute range of t-shirts for men and women, as well as a recently added line of fetching underwear to encourage "Undercover acts of kindness." (To launch the line, a bunch of guys donated their clothing to a charity shop as their 'Ark," and then ran through the streets of Dublin in their Ark underwear!)

Love the simple idea and heart behind this company. Their products are pretty cute, too, and I imagine will just keep getting better, as Ark attracts even more talent to its noble cause.
Watch Cameron's very sincere TedX talk to learn more about the Ark movement, what he thinks about our growing "iPod society," and why an Act of Random Kindness is the answer. Then order yourself a t-shirt/pair of knickers, and instead of just making a style statement, style yourself into action (just be careful with old people and umbrellas!)


mise said...

That's so funny about the umbrella - a very Bridget Jones moment.

Jacinta said...

Oh Mise, I have so many Bridget Jones moments (granny panties, holiday jumpers, perpetual foot-in-mouth) that it really is not that funny at all!

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