The kindness of strangers

Naomi Lambert and one of her kindness cards that has sparked a nationwide movement
Naomi Lambert and one of her kindness cards that has sparked a nationwide movement

When Naomi Lambert learned the devastating news that she wasn’t able to ever have children, she had a choice.

Go down the rabbit hole of self-pity and sadness, or look at the experience as an opportunity to spread kindness in the world. She chose the latter – and so the global kindness movement The Cool To Be Kind Project found its wings.

With no expectation of a response, Naomi designed and hid ‘kindness cards’ in random places that encouraged people to undertake a random act of kindness in the lead-up to Christmas last year.

After hiding 50 cards, she was amazed to get 32 responses. “The responses that flooded in were astonishing,” says the 33 year-old.

“One man who found one of the cards 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 customer plant a rose in memory of his late wife, while a lady, dying from cancer believed she needed perspective and volunteered at a homeless shelter.

“The Cool To Be Kind Project gives people a platform to be conscious of their actions and aware of the feelings of others. Kindness is free but not given freely and I’m determined to change that,” explained Naomi.

Her aim is 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.

Since it started Naomi’s friends have left around 20 cards across Hornsby Ku-ring-gai – in supermarket magazines, at petrol bowsers, in bus shelters, public toilets, Uber seat pockets and in cars with open windows.

“It really can be wherever someone thinks a bit of kindness is needed and it’s interesting when a response indicates where someone found a card, like the seat number on a flight where I’d left one in the magazine when flying to Adelaide.”

The kindness movement is now also making a difference globally – cards are being hidden around Australia and the UK, even joining forces with the Positive People Army in Canada. “In the lives of so many, it’s simply a good news story amongst all the darkness of today.”

Acts of kindness locally

Jessica’s act of kindness: “Where I volunteer at the Sydney Adventist Hospital, I heard a few nurses talking about a woman who was distressed and wanted someone to sit with her until her family arrived. The nurses were very understanding but obviously busy. I asked if I could help and the look of relief on their faces was priceless. I sat with the lady and read to her until her family arrived. It made me realise being kind has so many knock-on effects we may not think about at the time.”

Matt’s act of kindness: “I work at Ultratune and on a recent Saturday I was working late on my friend’s car. A couple came in and had an issue with their car. Instead of saying we were closed, which is what I usually do, I agreed to help them. It was only changing a tyre but it meant they could enjoy their weekend. Thanks for the prompt.”

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