A Chain Reaction of Kindness

June 5, 2023

On Pay It Forward Day, a group of Steak ‘n Shake employees decided to buy one customer’s meal. That single act initiated a chain reaction of kindness that just kept giving.

The Division Manager’s post on LinkedIn

I loved this for a few reasons.

1. The employees initiated this act of kindness. No one asked them to do it. The company did not plan it.

2. There is pure joy on their faces. With their generosity, they made their work more meaningful and rewarding.

3. Pay It Forward worked! Their single act of kindness led to a day-long giving chain. One car after another, surprised customers received a free meal and then passed it along to the next.

If you want to read the full story, click here.

painting the future helping kids in ukraine

Helping Ukraine by Painting the Future

March 23, 2023

Why does a 28-year-old happily working and living in America drop everything and move to Ukraine in the middle of a war? “The scenes of injustice were heart-wrenching,” Caroline Cappy explained. “I had to do something to help.” Caroline’s “soft spot” for children and a purpose-driven mission led her straight into the heart of the war-torn country to create her first non-profit, Painting the Future.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was shocking. For Caroline, the scenes she was seeing in the media were deeply disturbing and simply too much to bear. The tipping point came in May of 2022, and she realized that she had to do something to help. Click here for the whole story.

Channeling Grief Into Action_Breast Cancer Awareness

Channeling Grief into Action

October 28, 2022

Myvan Vuong, a 26-year-old, newly married, vibrant young woman, was a highly regarded healthcare provider in her community.  Myvan did not fit the typical profile of a woman who would die of breast cancer just two short years later.  Alan Vuong, her brother, is doing his best to ensure that others are spared the brutal feelings of helplessness and loss that his family has suffered.  Channeling his grief into action, Alan has committed to increasing breast cancer awareness around the world.  And he’s saving lives along the way.

Alan has committed to honoring his sister’s legacy by diligently working to increase breast cancer awareness around the world. He’s hosted charity events in Australia, Singapore and Laos. Building community, promoting a healthy lifestyle and increasing awareness – the ripple effect of his acts of kindness are bringing smiles and changing lives. Click here to read the full story.

pinellas hope

Turning Hardship into Hope

June 28, 2022

In the fall of 2007, the Chief of Police in Saint Petersburg, Florida, ordered his officers to slash the tents of a community of homeless people.  The dramatic move was supposedly to protect the homeless people, as there had been recent injuries sustained after fires were lit in tents to provide warmth during cold nights on the streets.  But the result was scores of displaced homeless people and a community horrified at the insensitivity of the act.

The community sprang into action.   Bishop Robert N. Lynch, one of the co-founders of Pinellas Hope, facilitated the donation of 10 acres of land from the Dioceses of Saint Petersburg for the project.  He eloquently explained that Pinellas Hope was the perfect example of how sometimes it takes a hardship to create an opportunity for something beautiful. 

Catholic Charities, led by my dad, Frank Murphy, worked with the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, the City of Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and the private sector to create a haven for homeless people, a place to come for a second chance.  On December 1, 2007, Pinellas Hope opened. Click here to read the full story.

Ted donating bone marrow

Ted’s Story
By Ted from Minnesota, USA

November 30, 2021

It’s not every day that we get the chance to save someone’s life.  But, as fate would have it, Ted would get that chance.  He was the perfect bone marrow match for his sister.  And there was not a moment of hesitation when it came to stepping up to be her donor.

Ted’s sister, Meg, has struggled with life-threatening diseases her entire life.  Beginning with a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes when she was just an infant, she has battled numerous health challenges.   But, in 2019, she faced her biggest challenge yet – a diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a type of blood cancer, and only a bone marrow transplant could save her.

The stories on this page, Planet Kind, are stories of kindness.  And what struck me as the kindest part of Ted’s story was the fact that he didn’t even really consider his part in this as an act of kindness.  There was never any question – he would do whatever necessary to save his sister.

“My process was easy,” Ted explained.  “What I had to do was nothing compared to what she was going through.” 

So, what is the process to be a donor – is it scary or painful?  According to Ted, it’s not.  “They basically make sure you’re a match and screen your blood to make sure it’s safe.  You go into the hospital, go under anesthesia, and then wake up.  The only side effects I felt was general fatigue and soreness in the hips, where they took the blood from.  I went back to work the next day.”

Ted was able to save Meg’s life. But finding a match isn’t always easy. Meg was lucky she had a sibling, and even luckier that he was a viable donor and match. In actuality, the odds are likely against you.  That’s why the work of organizations like Be the Match is so important. 

Ted understands first-hand how this particular act of kindness can have an astounding impact on the giver and the receiver: “For people who are on the fence on donating bone marrow, just do it.  Your process is easy and you have the potential to save a life.”

So, do something kind today and check out my post, National Marrow Awareness Month, for more information. You never know, you may be saving someone’s life.


4800 Miles of Kindness
By Shelley from North Carolina, USA

October 20, 2021

I had a life-changing, kind gesture extended to me that I was able to turn around and return in full seven years later.

When I was 39, I decided to start a new life chapter with a move from Portland, Oregon to Asheville, NC.  This entailed a divorce, closing my psychotherapy practice, leaving a home and friends I loved, and driving 2700 miles with a full car and my elderly cat. When I was in Asheville making my decision, I called my younger brother to tell him the news.  Without my asking, he offered to fly from his home in KY and take a week off to do the drive with me and help with my move.  This was one of those “green light” experiences from the Universe, showing me I was making the right decision with this move.  My brother showed me a million kindnesses on that trip, but he also showed me something life changing: his presence, his patient and good-humored help, his love for my crotchety cat gave me the experience that a good relationship makes life easier, not harder.  I was coming out of a marriage that was anything but easy and had left me with a distorted perspective of partnerships being singularly draining and one-sided.

Seven years later, I got the chance to return these exact gestures of love and kindness.  My brother upended his life at 41 to move from Louisville, KY to Los Angeles, leaving a thriving recording studio he created as well as his home, friends, artistic community, and a good deal of relational heartache.  I was so happy to get the opportunity to return his kindness, helping with the loading, the driving, the navigating of an obscenely huge moving truck towing a Prius, his big black dog that sat on my lap the entire 2100 miles, the unloading in LA when the movers didn’t show, and listening to his soul-searching and processing of so many losses and longings.

These two weeks are two of my favorite weeks of my entire life!  The time with my dear brother was priceless and a perfect example of kindness and love coming full circle to heal us both.  Twice.

Kindness Inspires Positivity – Even in the Most Difficult Times

Kindness Inspires Positivity – Especially in the Hard Times
By Caterina from Virginia Waters, UK

October 14, 2021

On receiving news about 2 months ago that I had a brain tumour, my world seemed to have just flipped upside down. The outpour of love from my family & friends has been so comforting, and I could not have got through it or coped without them. Dinner deliveries, walks in the park, board games with the family. They have inspired me to stay positive and see that every day I’m grateful for their love and support. In times of difficulty or trauma, people are so strong and willing to help – it’s just beautiful.

Sometimes It Takes a Village

Sometimes It Takes a Village
By Frank from Florida, USA

October 6, 2021

A real act of kindness is when my wife goes to help a family get ready for school each morning.  Up early to get them dressed and fed so they are ready for the bus.  If she did not do this, the dad would not be able to go to work at 5:30 am.  She returns in the afternoon to get them off the bus and start schoolwork before Dad gets home.  I know the schools are aware of this and appreciate and share with others the importance of supporting each effort to make school possible for the kids.

When does being given a ticket make you smile?

When does being given a ticket make you smile?
By Sammie from Oslo, Norway

September 27, 2021

I moved to Norway two years ago, and generally, when running errands, people don’t talk or engage with strangers.  They keep to themselves and respect your personal space.  One day, I pulled into a car park and was about to park in a free space when I noticed the car next to me had just arrived.  So, I waited for them to get out of the car before pulling in to make it easier for them.  Once they had gone, I pulled in and got out of my car.  The man driving the other car then approached me with a ticket from the machine.  When he had gone to get his own ticket, he also collected one for me.  I was so surprised by this gesture and thanked the man.  This small act lifted my spirits and me smile the whole way around the store.