F.U.C.K. - Practice Random Kindness
F.U.C.K. Sermon 001
(FUCK_001.TXT or FUCK_001.ZIP)
Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty
It's a crisp winter day in San Francisco. A woman in a red
Honda, Christmas presents piled in the back, drives up to
the Bay Bridge tollbooth. "I'm paying for myself, and for
the six cars behind me," she says with a smile, handing over
seven commuter tickets.
One after another, the next six drivers arrive at the
tollbooth, dollars in hand, only to be told, "Some lady up
ahead already paid your fare. Have a nice day."
The woman in the Honda, it turned out, had read something on
an index card taped to a friend's refrigerator: "Practice
random kindness and senseless acts of beauty." The phrase
seemed to leap out at her, and she copied it down.
Judy Foreman spotted the same phrase spray-painted on a
warehouse wall a hundred miles from her home. When it
stayed on her mind for days, she gave up and drove all the
way back to copy it down. "I thought it was incredibly
beautiful," she said, explaining why she's taken to writing
it at the bottom of all her letters, "like a message from
Her husband, Frank, liked the phrase so much that he put it
up on the wall for his seventh graders, one of whom was the
daughter of a local columnist. The columnist put it in the
paper, admitting that though she liked it, she didn't know
where it came from or what it really meant.
Two days later, she heard from Anne Herbert. Tall, blonde,
and forty, Herbert lives in Marin, one of the country's ten
richest counties, where she house-sits, takes odd jobs, and
gets by. It was in a Sausalito restaurant that Herbert
jotted the phrase down on a paper place mat, after turning
it around in her mind for days.
"That's wonderful!" a man sitting nearby said, and copied it
down carefully on his own placemat.
"Here's the idea," Herbert says. "Anything you think there
should be more of, do it randomly."
Her own fantasies include: (1) breaking into
depressing-looking schools to paint the classrooms, (2)
leaving hot meals on kitchen tables in the poor parts of
town, (3) slipping money into a proud old woman's purse.
Says Herbert, "Kindness can build on itself as much as
violence can." Now the phrase is spreading, on bumper
stickers, on walls, at the bottom of letters and business
cards. And as it spreads, so does a vision of guerrilla
In Portland, Oregon, a man might plunk a coin into a
stranger's meter just in time. In Patterson, New Jersey, a
dozen people with pails and mops and tulip bulbs might
descend on a rundown house and clean it from top to bottom
while the frail elderly owners look on, dazed and smiling.
In Chicago, a teenage boy may be shoveling off the driveway
when the impulse strikes. What the hell, nobody's looking,
he thinks, and shovels the neighbor's driveway too.
It's positive anarchy, disorder, a sweet disturbance. A
woman in Boston writes "Merry Christmas!" to the tellers on
the back of her checks. A man in St. Louis, whose car has
just been rear-ended by a young woman, waves her away,
saying, "It's a scratch. Don't worry."
Senseless acts of beauty spread: A man plants daffodils
along the roadway, his shirt billowing in the breeze from
passing cars. In Seattle, a man appoints himself a one man
vigilante sanitation service and roams the concrete hills
collecting litter in a supermarket cart. In Atlanta, a man
scrubs graffiti from a green park bench.
They say you can't smile without cheering yourself up a
little -- likewise, you can't commit a random act of
kindness without feeling as if your own troubles have been
lightened if only because the world has become a slightly
And you can't be a recipient without feeling a shock, a
pleasant jolt. If you were one of those rush-hour drivers
who found your bridge fare paid, who knows what you might
have been inspired to do for someone else later? Wave
someone on in the intersection? Smile at a tired clerk? Or
something larger, greater? Like all revolutions, guerrilla
goodness begins slowly, with a single act. Let it be yours.
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