Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

May 8, 2005, marked the first appearance of a random act of kindness in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Actually, that's not quite true. In its 228 years of operation, the Post-Gazette has provided many tales of Pittsburghers doing good deeds for one another, expecting nothing in return from those they assist. But on that date nine years ago, the Post-Gazette formalized an approach to get such acts into print.

Every Thursday the Random Acts of Kindness column appears on this page, containing factual anecdotes written and submitted by the public about the help they have received from others, or which they've witnessed strangers doing for one another. Judging from readers' comments, it quickly became one of the most popular features in the newspaper, a welcome reprieve from the tales of crime, war, corruption and so forth that inevitably dominate other pages.

Pittsburgh is often referred to as a "large town" rather than as a city, and one reason is its inhabitants' readiness to go an extra step for those in need - not just family members and friends but neighbors, co-workers, casual acquaintances and yes, those they've never encountered before.

This year alone, the column has chronicled :

* 25 times when people volunteered cash or gifts to strangers who seemed in need.

* 21 occasions when help was offered to those having some sort of trouble with a vehicle.

* 12 episodes when individuals thought they had lost wallets, purses, jewelry, phones or other valuables, only to have them returned as a result of some honest soul's effort.

* 12 more times when someone suffered some sort of fall or injury in public and others rushed to their aid.

* 8 restaurant encounters when diners were stunned that anonymous fellow patrons had paid for their meals.

* 7 episodes in which strangers went out of their way to assist lost motorists or pedestrians.

* 3 cases of special care given to people's pets by others who realized they were in need.

* 29 encounters that fit none of the descriptions above, but were examples of small but meaningful gestures that - as is often stated by writers at the bottom of these letters - restore one's faith that good, caring people exist. …

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