All the Miles With A Mission riders would agree that making a difference in the world requires more than just an objective, it requires a lifestyle. Yesterday, Doug demonstrated that by turning a milestone into a mission in a very unique way.
A few days ago, in advance of his 65th birthday, he asked his Facebook friends to help him figure out a way to celebrate in a meaningful way. Barbara Douglas, a longtime friend suggested that he do “65 random acts of kindness”. As Doug said, “that struck a chord with me. It’s unique and I’m big on unique. So that’s what I set out to do.”
It wasn’t a made for TV stunt, in fact he still doesn’t know who called the local television station. “I was hoping those who came by would be positively affected, but the coverage and all the expressed intentions of doing something similar have blown me away.”
And here’s Doug’s perspective in his own words…
“Some said I was showboating. I have to admit, it was fun. I was laughing and really enjoying it, but it really was inspiring to me. There are many great people out there and we bonded instantly. It was more than just about 5 or 10 bucks, and what’s 5 or 10 bucks anyway, really?
Even if someone really needed it at the moment, it would be gone in a nano-second. It’s not enough to be anything but a symbol of random blessing; that’s all it was. Not very complicated. And It wasn’t all I did that day. Some of it was secret giving, like anonymously paying for a section of tables at a local diner.
All in all, it was one of the best days of my life… and I’ve had plenty of great ones.
In return I got a lot of “bless you’s” and some “I can’t believe this”. Of course there were many smiles, thumbs ups, and a few people made a loop to come around again and make sure they read the sign correctly. And there was the one guy who shook his fist at me and gunned his truck, probably thinking I was asking for money even though I had a job. Guess he didn’t read the sign all that well.
I had to make it okay for a few people to accept the money. I usually just said “you don’t have to need it”, or “it’s okay, take it, it’s just a blessing.” I told some it was my birthday and this was my way of celebrating.
About 40% of the people that passed wouldn’t look at me, they probably expected the normal and missed an opportunity. About 30% took some extra convincing with a smile and waving a bill.
One obviously needy family in a pickup truck came around a second time after misunderstanding the first time to give ME $2 just to bless ME for what I was doing. I took their money and gave them $5 in return. We kind of traded blessings. One lady took the $5 but wanted me to have 3 energy bars.
Some came around the corner more than once, never taking any money, but showing approval and saying they were going to do something like it. Many asked “why”? I usually answered ” just because you may need a blessing today”.
A few wanted to know if it was a protest against the normal ‘beggars’ on the corners. I told them the two acts were not connected; completely different purposes.
I will have to admit, I might not have thought of the idea if I hadn’t observed those he stand on the corner daily. One thing I know for sure, in both scenarios, those who are the givers get the biggest blessing from it. It really is a good thing to do.
This day has been one of the biggest blessings of my recent life. I don’t know if I can wait until another birthday to do this again. But what if it became a habit? Or what if everyone, or at least a lot of people decided to do their “age” in random acts of kindness on their birthday? How good would that be?”
Kudos Doug from all your fellow MWAMr’s. We are proud of you!