Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Woman Is Proving That Being Nice Can Be Kinda Cool

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Woman Is Proving That Being Nice Can Be Kinda Cool

Article excerpt

BEFORE WE GO ANY further, let's get one thing straight.

I didn't sleep a wink, the sewer backed up in my basement, my office is cold, I'm shedding, I drank too much real coffee, and it's February.

I therefore reserve the right to be crabby. Especially this week, when the world is conspiring to drop a double scoop of love and kindness with marshmallow bits and extra sprinkles on me. Not only is Valentine's Day coming up. It's also National Random Acts of Kindness Week, in case no one told you.

Barf sour, as my kids would say. Even if I weren't tired, freezing and going bald, organized attempts by well-meaning people to bring out the good in all of us have always set off my Treacle Alarm. You want nice? Take a number!

I have this irrational desire to ram cars with bumper stickers that say things like "Have a A Nice Day," `Good Happens" and, most especially, "Practice Random Acts of Kindness." My daughter thinks I was a New York City cabbie in a former life.

Imagine my delight when I found a letter on my desk Monday morning from Carolyn Popp, the local coordinator of RAK awareness week.

The letter came ingenuously addressed to "Important Articles Dept., St. Louis Post-Dispatch," and began with the salutation: "Dear Important Person."

Popp, 51, is the secretary-receptionist for the city of Winchester, population 1,794. She got involved with the national RAK-ers a year ago after reading a book by the same name. Popp told me she has spent more than 55 hours and $200 of her own money to promote RAK week.

Attached to Popp's letter was a sampling of RAKs perpetrated around the country.

One woman gave a clock to a surly water heater repairman who had been recently widowed. Another wrote a letter to commend a city bus driver who got off the bus to help a small boy with an oversized backpack cross the street. A third recounted her horror at seeing a flock of baby ducks run over in traffic, only to discover later that they had fallen into a storm drain and been rescued.

Awwwww.

"I wanted people to start being kind to each other for no special reason except that it makes you feel good," Popp wrote. "There is no greater feeling in the world than performing an act of kindness, especially if it is anonymous."

Popp has had mixed success with her campaign. …

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