Michigan man wanted to organize 365 random acts of kindness; the effort went international

Posted at 6:09 AM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 06:09:58-05

(WXYZ) — "There’s a belief that people are, you know, inherently good and they want to do nice things and they want to make the world a better place. And so ... in this very, very small perspective, this group is part of that," said Tom Leeper.

Think back to a time when someone randomly showed you kindness and how it may have changed the course of your day.

It’s that feeling that the Michigander is trying to replicate again and again.

"At the end of last year, I thought, 'well, wouldn't be fun if we could get 365 people to volunteer, do a random act of kindness once a day?' And so that was the goal ... to say, 'alright, can we get this many people?'" said Tom.

He consulted with his buddy Travis Furlow, who had a feeling it would take off.

"I think it doesn't take much to throw good energy out into the world," said Travis.

So a 365 Days of RAOK Facebook page was created and then …

"I realized, oh my god, we have 30 states and like, oh, we have 40 states," said Tom. "It was strange to see the escalation and then people ... were suddenly like, 'I've got a friend who wants to do this who lives overseas.'"

Soon the effort went international as days of 2022 continued to be booked with good deeds.

"From the moment he launched it, it instantly has done a massive uptick of good on a daily basis and became a fun feed for me to watch in a time when some of the feeds on social media aren't as fun to watch anymore," said Travis.

From leaving supportive bookmarks in library books that address anxiety and depression to dropping off gift cards for front line workers, the acts come in all shapes and sizes.

There was even a man who was so touched by the outpouring of support he received from his neighbor when he was on a ventilator battling COVID in early 2020 – that when he got better, his random act of kindness was snow blowing their driveway after a heavy snowfall.

There was also a woman who donated her flight miles so that a total stranger could go visit family.

"It's hard to pick these favorites because ... it's almost like watching a watch, like the gears of a watch. They're all interconnected and they're all spinning, and it starts ... like one person does something cool, and then four or five really beautiful things spin from it," said Travis.

So far, 748 volunteers have been assigned a date in 2022 across 50 states and 14 countries. This campaign is bringing people together from all walks of life.

"The last couple of years have been tough on people, COVID, politics, all that stuff. I think people were kind of excited to sign up for something where it's like, 'oh, OK, yeah, I would love to do this,'" said Tom. "They're coming together for accountability in some capacity, but also for a sense of belonging."

Tom and Travis say anyone can do this, whether they want to go big or go small. And Tom is ready to give you a date if you, too, want to participate.

And reporter side note: to the person who randomly paid for my laundry and left me a kind note when I was in college many moons ago, thank you.