National Random Acts of Kindness Week


(By FMB Fire Chief Matt Love) Sometimes it’s the smallest act that makes the biggest impact – something as simple as saying please or thank you can turn a day around and make a life seem that much better. Random Acts of Kindness Day encourages you to get out there and be the light you want to see in the world.

History of Random Acts of Kindness Day
Random Acts of Kindness Day was first created in Denver, Colorado in 1995 by a small nonprofit organization, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Nine years later it spread to New Zealand in 2004. Random Acts of Kindness can include just about anything, including something as simple a taking a tray of muffins to work.

The idea behind this holiday is to make the world a better place by spreading a little light around and to make kindness a part of our everyday lives. Lift someone up with your words, compliment them on their appearance… even the simplest acts can help to brighten someone’s day.

Although Random Acts of Kindness Day hasn’t been around all that long, kindness itself certainly has! In fact, various studies have concluded that kindness is an inherent part of human nature, with the ability to feel and care for others developing while we’re still babies.

The importance of altruism has long been a topic of discussion in the realms of philosophy, psychology, sociology and evolutionary biology. There are various theories for why people gravitate towards benevolent behavior. Perhaps it’s because doing good deeds for others increases the likelihood that they’ll return the favor if we ever need help in the future. Maybe kindness is hardwired into our brains to aid social attachment and group cohesion, or it’s simply a product of our ability to feel empathy for others.

Besides brightening someone else’s day and making the world a better place, there are plenty of beneficial side effects to altruism. Research has shown that the very act of doing something for someone else gives us a chemical high, a higher one, in fact, than if something had been done for us.

When we show generosity to others, our bodies release various hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins that can improve our health and overall wellbeing. Oxytocin, for example, helps lower blood pressure and increases feelings of optimism, while serotonin makes us happier, calmer, and even has a healing effect. Simple acts of random kindness can reduce pain, anxiety and stress while increasing our energy, lifespan and happiness – what’s not to love?!

Another great thing about kindness is that it’s contagious. By starting with ourselves, we can inspire those around us to also act with warmth and care. This butterfly effect has been epitomized in various art projects. For example, the YouTube video “Kindness Boomerang” by Life Vest Inside and the movie Pay It Forward – both demonstrate that by setting off a series of generous acts we can influence and improve the world around us. 

We encourage our residents and visitors to be kind and to spread kindness through our community!

Matt Love has been the Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief since 2009. In 2019 he was selected by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Lee County Florida as Fire Chief of the Year. He can be reached at the fire department at 239- 590-4200