Imagine if we hoped for the best toward every person we come into contact with during the day. If each one of us shared acts of kindness with those we know and those we don't.
How would the world change?
How would you change?
How far would our kindness spread?
- Bob Votruba.
His home is not a house, but a bus.
His constant companion is canine, a Boston Terrier called Bogart.
His mission is the most marvellous undertaking imaginable, a quest that, upon embarkation, he expected to last at least a decade.
In his heart, though, he knows that he'll drive this rewarding road forever.
His name is Bob Votruba and, Bogart at his side, always keeping him company, he is cruising around the United States, meeting people, touching lives and making countless connections everywhere he stops.
His ultimate aim, to commit one million kind acts and make the planet a brighter and better place for us all.
Upon the way, he hopes to inspire others to take up similar challenges.
To quote the connective Clevelander, 'There's such a thirst for this; there's such a need, too, and the time [to act] is now. Think about if one [person] signs on to perform one million acts of kindness in his lifetime, and then think about if 10,000 do it. Or more. That's what I'm after. What greater goal can you have in your life?'
Bob set off on his long road several years ago, the catalyst a thought-provoking sticker that he created for his SUV in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It read Sow only seeds of love.
It had been intended as a personal project, but before long, he found himself overwhelmed with requests from those keen to acquire a sticker for their own vehicles.
'Sow only seeds of love - I thought that was a great thing to say, [something] that covers everything,' says Bob. 'The message on the sticker was 'let this sticker forever remind you to spread love and kindness to others as often as you can'.'
Nothing if not true to his word, these days Bob is doing just that.
His target is ambitious - one million acts of kindness equates to 50 good deeds, each day, for 55 years - but a man determined to become the embodiment of compassion is committed to completing his quest, even if it means that his initial plan to spend 10 years on the road has had to be revised.
To quote Bob, 'How can you quit something like this? It's so rewarding. [Besides], I gave all my possessions away, sold some things [and] I've basically made it impossible to go home. My home is the bus'.
This is, of course, an extreme example, but all over the United States - indeed, all across the planet - more and more people are dedicating themselves to such things.
Here in Saunderstown, where our own efforts are concentrated around our OMs, we call this the Good Deeds Movement.
Bob and Bogart are more than just paid-up members. The travelling twosome are the standard bearers.
The inspirational Rachel Scott believed that a single act of kindness can start 'a chain reaction of the same'. If this is the case - as we believe it to be - just imagine the impact that someone like Bob and his one million acts could have on all our lives.
In its scale, it is breathtaking to contemplate. The small seeds growing into something so beautiful. Love, the ultimate connection.
He hasn't made it to Saunderstown, but Bob has, in his own way, touched our lives and inspired, enthused and encouraged us to continue in our own connective quest.
Be it one million kindnesses or one hundred million OMs, our respective efforts are built upon the same foundations and geared towards the same end . . . .
Creating a kinder place, one more compassionate, one rooted in connectedness.
That's our dream. It's Bob's too, and Rachel's and that of countless others invested in similar projects, both big and small.
It's our belief that despite our differences, deep down, our hopes and ambitions are the same, our cause a common one, our values shared.
If you agree, sign up for the Good Deeds Movement . . . .