Interviewing Strangers About Kindness
The “Everyday Kindness” Project from Linda Cohen
The streets of downtown Portland had made multiple appearances in the news in the last few years, but rarely for acts of kindness. My 55th birthday was on October 9th, when conflict seemed to be all that was shared by the news. I felt at a loss for words what to write or say. It’s hard to feel celebratory when there is an impending war in a place that you love and that is very special to you. When bloodshed and terror are happening in real-time. When everyone I know is fearful of what’s coming next. I certainly didn’t feel much like birthday celebrating.
Thankfully, a few weeks before, I’d decided to celebrate my birthday on the streets of downtown Portland. I wanted to talk to people about “Everyday Kindness”. What were they feeling in their day-to-day lives? Are they experiencing kindness from friends, family, and co-workers? I rallied Nina Hambleton and Julie Lucas who work with me in my business and we brought Tom and Jim to help us film the day. We were a great little crew.
On a perfect, Portland rainy day, we talked to people about kindness. Inviting anyone passing by to join us and share their experiences. We had some spectacular conversations, it gave me some hope that I needed yesterday.
My conversations on the streets of PDX were heartwarming amidst everything going on in our world. I love the quote, “Kindness is contagious and you’ve got to spread it.”
How to spread smiles in Today’s Busy World
In this video, one of the people we spoke to was former NFL Linebacker Brennan Scarlett. Since Brennan’s time playing football, he has created multiple organizations that focus on driving authentic collaboration, genuine connection, and kindness as a result.
These conversations led me to ask, how can we all be intentional today? Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn.
What’s Your go-to Kindness Gesture?
What is your go-to kindness? That’s the question we asked in this Everyday Kindness video!
In audiences across the country when I’ve asked attendees to raise their hands if it’s easy to be the giver of kindness, universally people say YES! Most people love to spread kindness to other people, whether that is a friend, a co-worker, or a stranger.
That’s what I 100% believe. Most people want to spread kindness. Sadly that is not what we focus on in the world.
It was nourishing talking to people in downtown Portland and confirm some of my beliefs about spreading kindness. Whether it was the retiree who exchanges kindnesses with his friends, the once houseless man who loves to give even if he doesn’t have a whole lot or the garbage man who takes pride in his work and wants to make sure our downtown is kept clean so children and families can keep coming to our city.
Kindness is a simple gesture, often times it doesn’t even take a great deal of time OR money. These days people are so grateful for these simple gestures.
So what’s your go-to kindness you like to do for others?
Is Kindness out there?
In this last set of interviews, I asked people if they thought that the media was right and that our world was in a constant state of unkindness. It seems like we only see ‘bad news’ now, and I wanted to know what people really experienced in their day-to-day lives.
It turns out that kindness IS out there! These heartwarming conversations confirmed my suspicions, that what we really need is to talk more about kindness and positivity to make those conversations more regular in our lives and the media.
An Experience I’ll Never Forget
Interviewing people about kindness on the streets of downtown Portland is something that will stay with me forever. Especially during a time with so much hate, fear, and conflict, these conversations were a wonderful reminder that kindness is out there. I know that I needed the reminder, and I hope that these videos were a pick-me-up to anyone who may have needed it.
Do you see kindness in your daily life? Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn!