366 Days of Kindness

366 Days of Kindness

I went to see a show last night, and what a wonderful show it was!

Bernadette Russell, as a result of seeing the devastation of the London riots in August 2011, decided to do an act of kindness every single day for a full year, and as 2012 was a leap year, this was going to be 366 days.

Bernadette decided to keep a diary of what she did every day. As time went on, she had to come up with some very creative ways of being kind, things that were as personal as she could make them to the receiver, that made them feel very special, and also things that were fun enough to keep Russell entertained and motivated to keep going, as she admitted was needed at times.

I expected the show to be quite a straightforward, if uplifting, lists of kindnesses, but it turned out to be a comedy extravaganza, performed by Russell and her partner Gareth.

Some examples from her diary:

Day 36: Left a fiver on the bus seat, but I wrote on the fiver explaining, in the  hope it gets passed around and spreads the word! This fiver did come back to me, months later, via Twitter, from a man who was given it in change in Nottingham and kindly posted a picture for me.

kindness, 366 days of kindnessDay 52: Left jar of sweets saying eat me at house near me. Rang bell, ran away.

Day 161: met this lovely man outside Waterloo station collecting for veterans. I gave him the scripscraps from my purse. Him: “Thanks” Me: “You’re welcome. Can I take a photo of you?” Him: “I’ll probably break your camera” Me: “No you won’t, a handsome man like you” Him: “oo *blushes* er.. ok.. thanks”. It got me thinking, I don’t give enough compliments. They don’t cost anything etc. Gonna do more.

Day 186: I got the homeless man sitting outside tescos a sandwich and rolos. He said he sleeps out. Blimey. In this. I couldn’t do one night.

kindness, 366 days of kindness, pound fairyDay 239: Left a little message and a pound coin on a park bench in Deptford.

There were so many examples of little kindnesses, that cost very little money, or no money at all, but put huge smiles on people’s faces.

What I especially liked were the personal connections made with strangers, people we wouldn’t normally come into contact with. In fact, as Bernadette demonstrated, it can be easy to approach someone who looks rather friendly, but how about someone who looks grumpy, or someone who is dressed in a similar style to a ‘London rioter’: Russell paid for a stamp in a Post Office for a young lad wearing a hoodie pulled up around his head, and his eyes down, he was very grateful for the help.

Often the people who don’t ‘look’ happy or look like negative stereotypes formed by society, are the ones who need the kindness, acceptance and inclusion, shown even more.

“If someone doesn’t have a smile, give them one of yours”

Kindness doesn’t have to involve giving money; in fact, it often means more without giving money:

  • Helping a pensioner lifting shopping into a car
  • Making homemade cards or positive messages, and leaving them in random places for people to find
  • Sitting with a homeless person, hearing their story, it’s often a powerful one, rather than throwing a fiver at them and walking away.

It reminded me of the homeless lady I gave my gloves to, because it was the middle of winter and I noticed, after giving her a cup of hot chocolate, how she wrapped her bare hands around the cup to warm them.

I would like to add here that I myself received an act of kindness, as I was gifted my ticket to the show. I was going to go anyway, and hadn’t bought my ticket yet, when somebody who had already paid found they couldn’t go, so gave me their ticket. I am very thankful.

Russell’s message is that if everybody does a small act of kindness every day, we will be living in a very different world. This movement is sweeping across the planet in a very powerful way. If we can teach our children this, the entire world can be improved within a generation.

Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy, kindness, 366 days of kindnessI bought a copy of Russell’s children’s book ‘Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy’, at the show, and it was lovely to speak with her personally and she signed the book for my 7-year-old niece. I got home and read it, and decided I need to buy another – for MYSELF!

It has such beautiful suggestions for very simple things that children, and adults as it turns out, can do every day. This is not a little paperback of lists. It is a large book, bigger than A4 size, with fully illustrated, and funny, pages and exercises to do, written in language that will engage children of all ages. It is a book that children will want to return to time and time again.

Buy ‘Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy’ at Amazon.co.uk

Buy ‘Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy’ at Amazon.com

The 366 Days of Kindness tour has only a couple more shows running:

Brighton, England – 19th & 20th May 2014

Cardiff, Wales – 28th May 2014

Details HERE – I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Please join the Kindness Revolution yourself, and help change the world, one kindness at a time.


Twitter: @betterussell #366daysofkindness

Facebook: #366 Days of Kindness

366 Days of Kindness

Kindness is the gift that is always returned

If there is one behaviour that is capable of changing the world, of stopping all wars, of raising the energetic vibration of the planet to that of peace and love, it’s kindness. Kindness is a gift to the giver, as well as the receiver.

There is not a day that goes by when we could not find an opportunity to show kindness in a big, or even a small way. We may offer what we believe is a very small act of kindness, not even knowing how huge that is to the receiver. Experiences are told all over the Internet of how just a smile and a few kind words has even prevented a suicide of someone who had lost faith in humanity, who felt alone, that nobody cared about or even noticed them.

Just before Christmas, I was out shopping and noticed a homeless lady, huddling on the floor in a corner. This lady sells The Big Issue, a magazine in the UK licensed for homeless people to sell. I don’t buy the magazine, but I often give her some money anyway. On this occasion, I decided to go and buy her a hot drink from the baker’s shop as I thought she could do with the warmth. I bought her a cup of hot chocolate, rather than a cup of tea, as I thought perhaps other people buy her tea, and what lady doesn’t like a treat of chocolate sometimes. She was so grateful, her face lit up. I returned to my car, which was only a few metres away from her, and my gloves laid on the seat next to me caught my attention. It occurred to me that this lady was not wearing any gloves in the bitter cold, as I remembered how she had cradled that cup in her hands to get a warm-up. I got back out of my car and took the gloves to the lady. That was such a simple little thing to me, I have several pairs of gloves, and don’t think twice about buying more if I need them. I know it meant a lot to her, the gratitude in her smile and her words of thanks and blessings told me that, but I can’t know how far that kindness extended into her life after I left her.

I do know though, that I have had kindnesses given to me over the years, and that the giver, who I often never saw again, could not have known how much it meant to me not just in the moment, but how it impacted on my future too. I remember many years ago, when I began a business, somebody at the Job Centre, I’ll call him Paul, assisted me in getting business loans and support even though somebody else had said they wouldn’t support me as they didn’t believe my business was viable. Paul went the extra mile and supported me as he knew how determined I was to make this work. I was a single parent and I had already invested all my meagre savings in my own training and getting it started. I got the funding and I did make my business work and become successful. A couple years later I decided to contact Paul to thank him and let him know just what a difference he had made to my life. He had moved jobs and worked for another agency but I did manage to find him. Even when it is not possible to contact someone who has paid you a kindness, if you think of how thankful you are to them, that energy will reach them, and will remind you of the kindness and humanity of the human race.

As I am writing this, I just looked out of my window to see one of my neighbours returning the bins to an elderly neighbour’s garden after the bin wagon has been. He does this every week, and over the summer when he cuts his hedges, he does his neighbours’ hedges too.



The thing about kindness is that you cannot give it without feeling wonderful yourself, and as Princess Diana said ‘give it with no expectation of reward’. The reward is in the act itself.