Idyllwild, where kindness is ubiquitous

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Idyllwild Firefighter and Intern Reserve Geronimo Veloz shows Isaiah Markus what an ambulance looks like inside. Children from the Idyllwild Library visited the fire station as part of the Random Act of Kindness program. Photo courtesy Idyllwild Library

Random acts of kindness are occurring throughout Idyllwild this month. Opening a door for someone, donating a book at the Idyllwild Library, picking up litter, donating to the Help Center and many other kind acts are happening.

While the concept, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty,” may be 35 years old, this is the second year the Idyllwild Library has promoted good tidings to fellow humans.

Librarian Shannon Ng says, “It was the brain child of Wendy Watts.”

Idyllwild Library will recognize the kind-hearted through Jan. 12. Watts has prepared a random list of 25 kind acts (see accompanying table). Individuals willing to offer their kindness may bring the list of their beneficial behavior to the library and receive a surprise present.

“You can do 22 or just a few. Either way, you will make someone’s day. At the end, take this list and bring it in. Then pick up your surprise and I bet you won’t believe your eyes,” is Watt’s invitation to the community.

Brody Cumberland (left), Ruby Adams and Dominic Sandlin show their Random Acts of Kindness List during the Idyllwild Library Program after they checked their visit to the Idyllwild Fire Department. Photo courtesy Idyllwild Library

Another example of the generosity of the community is the box of gloves, hats and scarves from the Idyllwild Help Center and Strawberry Creek Crochet for anyone who needs to warm up for the winter. These are still available at the library.

The Idyllwild Fire Department has been a participant, too. Ng said, “The firefighters really stepped up for the kids. They let them sit in the trucks.”

Because of the irregularity of the department’s schedule, Watts scheduled a day at the department. “… the kids and their families were treated to a demonstration of a roof-top rescue that included the extension ladder. Afterwards, they used special harnesses to repel back down to the excited on-lookers,” Watts wrote in an email.

Captain/Paramedic Adam Rodriguez, Firefighter/Intern Reserve Geronimo Veloz and Firefighter/Paramedic Greg Minor each offered a special presentation, such as fire safety; how to stop, drop and roll; and, just before the rooftop excitement, a tour of the station, including the kitchen and sleeping quarters, she added.

Last year’s kindness period was not well publicized, Ng admitted. So, this year, they started earlier, Dec. 1. It has been much more successful and continues past New Year’s until Jan. 12.

“I think we’ll do it again next year,” Ng said proudly.

In 1982, a waitress, Anne Herbert in Sausalito, applied the phrase, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty,” to the diner’s placemats. She was responding to the media’s frequent use of “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty.”

Since then, a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has been established and Random Acts of Kindness National Week is Feb. 11 to 18.

The foundation says kindness is both teachable and contagious.

25 Random Acts of Kindness

Courtesy of the Idyllwild Library

• Open a door for a stranger

• Bring a friend a cup of coffee

• Donate a book

• Surprise a friend with a letter or card

• Take care of a chore for someone special

• Pick up litter in town

• Give a friend a compliment

• Leave a random note for a friend to find

• Donate an item to your local thrift store

• Bring a treat or card to your local fire department

• Read a book to someone special

• Bring a friend a candy cane

• Cheer someone up with kind words

• Give someone a smile

• Make or take a meal to a friend

• Take a supply to your local animal shelter

• Let someone sleep in late

• Donate a non-perishable item to a local food pantry

• Draw a friend a picture

• Bring a treat or card to your local forest service

• Help someone wrap gifts

• Thank someone special for going the extra mile

• Tell a silly joke and make someone laugh

• Call a relative and say, “Hello!”

• Give away a Secret Santa gift

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