Extreme Kindness

Extreme Kindness

Acts of Kindness Warm BC Up

Tamara Cunningham, Comox Valley Echo

Published: Tuesday, November 23, 2010

http://www2.canada.com/comoxvalleyecho/news/story.html?id=ffa6972f-1875-473a-a004-64648d4d3637

Acts of kindness warm a cold day

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eleven-year-old Jazzy Strand stood outside a Comox grocery store shivering despite her winter coat.

The temperatures were sub-zero and her hands were red from the biting cold – but as soon as those store doors swished open, she was the first to skip up to customers with a toothy grin and chocolate chip cookie.

“Would you like a free cookie?” She asked an elderly couple. “What about a free coffee or a free high-five?” In the background, her classmates from Aspen Park Elementary, waved signs that read, ‘Have a Nice Day’ and ‘Free High-Fives’. Some students offered to carry groceries for customers or wipe snow off their windshields, while others complimented people on their winter gear.

On Monday morning, over 30 Grade 6 students weathered the cold outside Quality Foods, to deliver kindness to Comox residents.

It was the first time they’ve gotten together to elicit smiles and they hope it won’t be the last. Communities, like Comox, need people to brighten up their days every once and awhile, they said.

“We want people here to know we care and that a small kindness can go a long way,” said Justine McMahon, 11.

“We hope people pass this happiness on to another person and another until it keeps going in one big circle.” Casey Haddon, 11, who doled out coffee and high fives to customers, said it felt good to make people smile.

“It’s freezing cold out here but we think what we’re doing is well worth it.” She said.

The event was inspired by guest speaker, Brad Stokes, who toured area schools last week to tell students how easy it is to pay it forward.

Stokes is a do-gooder with The Kindness Crew, a group which has been spreading goodwill across the nation since 2002.

Students at Aspen Park were excited to learn just how easy it is to brighten someone’s day. They wanted to act locally and this is what they came up with, said Ann Lewis, a Grade 6 teacher at Aspen Park.

“For the most part people were really interested in what the kids were doing,” Lewis said.

There were only a few who gave the kids odd looks and wide berths because they didn’t understand why they were offering free coffee.

But shopper, Jessie Wallis got it.

“These kids were out in the cold just being genuine,” she said.

“Not only are they setting an example for kids in their school but showing the rest of the community how to be kind.” Wallis returned to the store soon after receiving a high-five, with 35 cups of hot chocolate.

“The kids looked so cold that I wanted to get them something and … show them if they continue to do kind acts, they’ll get kind acts in return.” She picked up the drinks at Tim Hortons and when the franchise heard of the students’ random act of kindness they paid for half the drinks.

Lewis said the kids were thrilled with the result.

“It wasn’t something they were expecting and they appreciated someone wanting them to keep on doing something like this.” tcunningham@comoxvalleyecho.com

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