When I Least Expected it – Kindness Appeared

When I least expected it – A Random Act of Kindness Appeared!

For the past year, I have been encouraging people to consider doing random acts of kindness. I have read many reports detailing the good things that have happened through the program we put in place last November. Yet I was flabbergasted when I was the recipient of the very thing I have been advocating.

Allow me to explain. I had just settled down for a five-hour flight on Air Canada. I was in the window seat in the last row of the crowded plane – seat #37A. When the flight attendant brought the snack cart by, I thought that I would buy a bag of cashews and offered the attendant a $5 bill as payment.

“Sorry sir,” she said. “Credit cards only.”

I thought to myself that this was no way to do business. Why should I use my credit card for such a small purchase? So I decided that I would protest by not buying anything. Then my seatmate took out his credit card and bought me a bag of cashews. When I least expected it, a random act of kindness appeared!

In retrospect, what so surprised me was the result of this simple act of generosity. For the rest of the flight, we had an extended conversation about many things. This gentleman went out of his way to make my day better and I was touched by it in a very positive way. To use and old adage, he made my day.

Random Act of Kindness Day logoWe are just starting to plan for Random Acts of Kindness Day 2011. While we use a single day to highlight caring, I am pleased to report that generosity happens every day in any number of good deeds done when people least expect it. Count me as one who has experienced it personally!



Glenn Stresman

Glenn Stresman is the Executive Director of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation and has over 20 years experience in both writing and evaluating grant applications.





Check out these sites for more information on Random Act of Kindness Day:


What Attaches People to Their Communities?

A colleague sent me a message the other day with a website to check out, www.soulofthecommunity.org. The website provides details of a most interesting project funded by the John S. and James Knight Foundation. The study interviewed 43,000 people in 26 communities in the US, asking the questions, “What makes a community a desirable place to live?” and “What draws people to stake their future in it?”

The answer to these questions? I quote from the website,

“…the study has found that three main qualities attach people to place: social offerings, such as entertainment venues and places to meet, openness (how welcoming a place is) and the area’s aesthetics (its physical beauty and green spaces.)”

The answer did not surprise me – a friend from Kingston always talked about communities having a body and a soul. The Community Foundation’s role, she said, was to nurture both. And so we do.

We provide for the needs of the body of the community by providing grants for things like community gardens and repairing roofs for senior centers, for new pots for a soup kitchen and for equipment that assist children with special needs.

But there are other grants that go beyond meeting basic needs, like the grant we made last year to teach children newly arrived in Canada how to skate, using the rink at Charles Clark Square. In my mind, here is the quintessential Canadian activity, provided to newcomers through the philanthropy of local citizens for the purpose of building community. This grant nurtured the soul of our community.

The Community Foundation depends on our partners who are our donors. We also depend on our partners who are our grantees for such creative projects to fund. Together we work to nurture a community with ties to its people, ties that form strong community bonds to both body and soul.



Glenn Stresman

Glenn Stresman is the Executive Director of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation and has over 20 years experience in both writing and evaluating grant applications.