A Million Acts of Kindness

By Suzana Megles

It is so good to read stories about people who are either doing acts of kindness or promoting it. I was delighted to read about a Cleveland native – Bob Votruba who, after hearing about the Virginia Tech shootings three years ago, decided that he wanted to do something to make the world a better place for his three grown children.

After selling his home, his car, and his possessions, he bought a bus. Soon he and Bogart, his dog began traveling around to college campuses all over the country spreading a message of kindness. His message, simple and succinct–try to perfom one million acts of kindness. Though the sheer number is probably unattainable in one’s lifetime, it is certainly a worthwhile goal. “Aim high” is probably his mantra because by doing so, you will never stop trying to reach this lofty goal.

He has already visited 51 campuses where he wastes no time talking to the students about what they can do to spread kindness in their community. He suggests starting with small acts of kindness which he hopes will be paired with the kindness in one’s own heart.

His efforts have been recognized and next week he travels back to Virginia Tech for ONE MILLION ACTS OF KINDNESS WEEK. One hundred schools so far are involved urging students to perform acts of kindness in their communities and deciding if they will aspire to this lofty goal. I will give it a shot, too — how about you?

I know I have so many opportunities. I hope to think twice about uttering an unkind word re people with whom I have so little in common. I think I have learned to be more kind and understanding when my six cats and one dog do something which displeases me. The opportunities are endless and, in my opinion, the biggest act of kindness I perform is repeated day in and day out with having chosen a vegan lifestyle. No animal suffers in a cruel factory farm or is slaughtered to satiate my palate. I count this as many acts of kindness a day. Though Bob Votruba seems to have geared his acts primarily to the human condition, there should be no boundaries, and animals should be the recipients of our kind acts as well. They are after all, a huge part of God’s creation too.

I’m pretty blaze about breast cancer because thank God – most are caught in time, and the prognosis for good health is good. However, I am forever irked by seeing women in pink “joyfully” running in the Susan Komen Search for cancer cures. Why? Even though I myself am a breast cancer survivor, the protocol used in research such as this one saddens me. I don’t believe that animals should be inflicted with our maladies and for the past 50 years plus we have been more than UNKIND to the unfortunate animals who are being used in oftentimes cruel and, in the opinion of some doctors, unnecessary experimentation. If you know anything at all about mankind, he is very fallible despite all the degrees in the world.

Many times the protocol is the same and repeated over and over again with no new insights found. In the 90’s Congress had a chance to establish a Modern Animal Research Library which would document research findings with the goal of preventing duplicative experimentation. They refused to fund it, saying it was too expensive. But yet, they allow the National Institute of Health to award lucrative grants for repititious research which we the taxpapers have to fund.

Well, I expect to get disagreeing comments. And then I have to ask myself — have I violated my promise to be kind? I may have, but I don’t think so. Searching for truth can never be considered unkind -especially when it causes unecessary suffering.

But I end with a local act of kindness. Tom Janout, owner of The Arch Gallery in Fairview Park opened his doors last month for “The Gift of Now,” an artist benefit showcase featuring the work of area artists including the work of Leah Dadas of Brecksville, a gifted photographer. She is also a Reiki healer, youth counselor and –cancer patient. How very kind that Janout is offering a portion of the proceeds from the show towards a Leah Dadas cancer treatment fund. It is much needed since she doesn’t have health insurance.

Dadas was diagnosed in September with Stage 4 breast cancer that has metastasized to her lower spine. Though undergoing major surgery, numerous tests, radiation therapy and is on several medications, her prognosis is not good. She has only a 2-5 percent chance for survival. I keep on wondering that for all the years that millions and millions of dollars went into cancer animal research–why haven’t we found a cure for the real “hard” ones like Dadas’s?

Dadas, despite this glum prognosis, continues to be upbeat. She has also decided to embark on utilizing more holistic medicine -allowing her body time to heal.

Janout has done a big act of kindness for her by providing much needed funds. The people who came to this showing and bought artwork have done theirs. And the rest of us? If we want to do an act of kindness and believe in prayer, please put her on your prayer list. She is on mine now.

4 responses to “A Million Acts of Kindness

  1. The Vegan food pyramid. Love it. Never seen that before.

  2. btw, these food pyramid quantities always crack me up… I could never possibly eat in one day as much as they suggest.

    e.g. 6-11 servings of bread or rice? seriously?

  3. Obviously, the old school food pyramid was so out of date that they had to change it. I’m sticking with the Vegan pyramid. Going back to my Vegan days. Currently a Veg Head eating some dairy.

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