In an effort to promote kindness among San Diegans this month, Mayor Todd Gloria teamed up with pop star Lady Gaga’s organization, the Born This Way Foundation, for a campaign to help residents kick off the month the right way.
The #BeKind21 campaign was launched in America’s Finest City on Wednesday to encourage the public to practice acts of kindness to each other. Whether that be a heartwarming compliment to a neighbor, helping someone pack their groceries or even picking up litter in the community, kindness comes in all shapes and forms and the city hopes residents will take the pledge through Sept. 21.
Since the world has been heavy, #BeKind21 encourages everyone to lift each other up by practicing kindness each day. The idea is to build kinder, more connected communities that foster mental wellness.
So, NBC 7 wanted to hear from San Diegans about the last time someone was kind to them. On the street, there were plenty of stories of friends, loved ones and even strangers making a difference.
Here are some of their stories:
“The other day I was picking up my little brother after school," Hillcrest resident Quinn Rodriguez said. "A nice mom had stayed and waited with him because I was late to pick him up and just make sure he got home safe and someone came to pick them up and I thought it was really kind.”
Compassion During Darkness
“A year ago, I lost my mother after 2 1/2 years of a battle with cancer — breast cancer— and this past year the amount of love and compassion that my family and I have received from people that were close and not close to me was unbelievable,” Jamul resident May Romaya said.
“Actually, yesterday I was having a rough day at work -- working a 12-hour shift and I had a lot of admissions and patients -- and my coworker just bought me coffee. It made my day,” Pacific Beach resident Michelle Clark said. “It makes me happy. Encourages me to keep going.”
Words of Encouragement
“Everybody doesn’t come from the same place, everybody doesn’t have a great life, everybody doesn’t have a job, everybody doesn’t have money, everybody doesn’t have a car. So, you don’t know what that person in front of you is going through and just be nice to everybody," Chula Vista resident Sharon Jordan said. "You can’t imagine how much happiness that would bring to somebody who’s going through just having a crappy day.”
Bobby Serafin told a story about how he and his daughter took a trip to Oceanside for some ice cream.
"We walked over and the attendant said, ‘No, we’re cutting off the line right here. I’m sorry we can’t serve you,’" Serafin explained. "So, as we were walking away one of the gentlemen that was standing on the side said, ‘Hey, wait a minute, my wife’s in line, you know, what do you guys want?’"
“He just wound up buying us the ice cream which we thought was the nicest thing ever.”
For as many stories of kindness NBC 7 heard, there were just as many people saying they couldn't remember the last act of kindness. Whether it's a heart-warming gift, a compliment or an act of service, the stories we heard are a reminder that kindness can come from even the smallest gestures.
Those who sign up for the campaign’s pledge will receive kindness tips, calendars and inspiration from the foundation’s partners. Participants may also be featured on the foundation’s Channel Kindness website, which focuses on sharing stories from the youth.
Created by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation aims to end stigmas about mental health illnesses and promote kindness in everyday life.
And now, San Diego is a part of the effort.
“I’m happy to have San Diego partner with the Born This Way Foundation to promote more kindness throughout our city,” Gloria said in a statement. “We’ve collectively experienced a number of traumatic events and circumstances over the last year. Kindness can help us get through these challenges with a sense that we're all in this together.”
For more information on the #BeKind21 campaign and to take the pledge, click here.