At 33 years old, I had to have a hysterectomy, making it impossible for me to ever fulfil my dream of having children.
Devastated? That doesn’t even begin to cut it. And the fact that I now had to deal with early onset menopause was the icing on a cake I never wanted to eat.
I realised I had two choices; to continue down the rabbit hole of self-pity and sadness, or look at this experience as an opportunity to spread kindness in the world.
I chose the latter. With no expectation of response, I designed and hid “kindness cards” in random places around my hometown of Perth that encouraged people to undertake a random act of kindness in the lead-up to Christmas in 2017. When I received 32 responses after hiding 50 cards, ‘The Cool To Be Kind Project’ was born.
The responses were astonishing. One man who found one of my cards had his Christmas lunch money refunded so he decided to take the homeless man he always greeted to lunch at a five-star restaurant.
A shop owner who found another of the kindness cards helped a dear customer plant a rose in memory of his late wife.
A lady, dying from cancer, believed she needed perspective and volunteered at a homeless shelter.
From the heart warming to the plain honest; I washed Mum’s car without her asking. She was stoked!
The incredible stories of kindness from strangers that flooded in to my email were the inspiration I needed to officially launch The Cool To Be Kind Project as a global kindness movement.
The Cool To Be Kind Project gives people a platform to be conscious of their actions and to be aware of the feelings of others. Kindness is free but not given freely and I’m determined to change that.
Although I struggle to see how it takes finding a card to inspire to be kind when it should just come naturally, if that is what it takes for people to become more aware of their actions, I am happy to be the driving force behind it.
Through the The Cool To Be Kind Project, I want to show people that we all have the opportunity to build our best lives; to pay for someone else’s coffee, to say hello to someone rather than just smiling and to let someone with less shopping than you pay first.
The Cool To Be Kind Project has been featured as a good news story in The West Australian, on talk-back radio and mentioned in Parliament on Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Dr Anne Aly, my local federal minister, friend and just quietly, the first Muslim woman elected to Parliament. The icing on the cake? Receiving an email of thanks from Kate Everett, the mother of the late Amy “Dolly” Everett after I penned a letter aimed at young people who feel the need to ridicule and bully others.
Far from Perth, the kindness movement is now also making a difference globally – cards are being hidden around Australia, the UK and Canada. On a recent holiday to Phuket, was humbled when the hotel I was staying in took interest in jumping on board to spread the kindness, hoping that guests who found cards within their hotel would feel inspired to pay it forward whilst enjoying their holiday.
I can confidently say I no longer sit around waiting for happiness to find me, and make sure that as many people each day are on the receiving end of kindness.
Motivated. Yes. Mad. Most definitely. Scared. No.
To the people who have taken the time to respond, I am so grateful. We often find ourselves time poor, especially at Christmas, so to take notice of a card, read it, keep it and act on it is incredible. You are the ones who are making the difference.
To my family, old friends, new friends, businesses and community, I thank you for commenting, sharing, responding, believing, suggesting, helping… the list is endless. It is because of you that spreading kindness is becoming a reality. The avenues of social media have meant it has been seen all over the world.
Please keep sharing, commenting, suggesting and being kind.
Kindness is free but not given freely. The Cool To Be Kind Project is changing that!