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The Kindness of Strangers

Big Girl is doing a 50 states lesson in school. The kids are supposed to go out and ask friends and family to send them postcards from whatever states they live in. Cute idea, but could we actually get postcards from every state? I wasn’t sure.

I started with my address book. We’ve got family in Florida, Michigan, and South Carolina, but that’s really it. I moved onto my virtual address book, asking my 391 Facebook friends to help out. My sister (thanks, Aunt K) and my husband did, too. My brother asked some of his friends, too. Then I branched out to all the PR friends I’ve got out there. Since I’ve written travel stories for the New York Times, Woman’s Day, Yoga Journal, and Executive Travel magazines, I reached out to CVBs (convention and visitors bureaus) I’ve worked with in the past. Thanks so much to the CVBs/PR people for Omaha, Woodloch Pines, Kripalu, South Dakota, St. Louis, and North Dakota.

After exhausting all those sources, I took to Twitter, which was, I thought, the only way I was going to get states like Alaska. I tweeted to my followers, asking if anyone was from Alaska. One of the folks I know suggested a woman named @Brrrgirl, who lives in Alaska and is a teacher. I tweeted her. She responded that she’d be glad to send my daughter a postcard. Then she direct messaged me that she was sending a book, too. I didn’t know what to make of that, but sure enough, a week ago Big Girl got a package in the mail from @Brrrgirl that had an adorable book, Recess at 20 Below, photographs, and a postcard. I was floored. This woman who doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall went out of her way to buy a postcard, take digital photos of her beautiful yard, and send my kid a book. What a wonderful, caring person. All those other people — the friends of my sister and brother, the PR people, my out-of-state friends — fall into that same category.

Every day we are bombarded by bad news — people killing each other, robberies, assaults, road rage, fights, neighborhood disputes. And yet I truly believe that acts of kindness like I’ve experienced over the past few weeks probably happen far more often. They’re just not interesting. Not newsworthy, which is why I’m telling Brrrgirl’s story. And thanking her — and my sister, brother, friends, and family publicly. You’ve made my week.

3 Responses to “The Kindness of Strangers”

  1. Chris says:

    It is incredible to find people so generous! What a great surprise for your daughter and you t not only get the postcard but photos and a book.
    Found you via Blogathon 2011.

  2. Kelley says:

    We are doing the 50 states postcard collection too. Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have 7 so far and have till March.


  3. kb says:

    Twitter and Facebook! Really! (And if you need one from New York or Florida, just let me know. I can send you one from each!)

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