Kindness officers, in charge of spreading holiday cheer to all, stopped at the Edison Mall in Fort Myers to help others while they did their holiday shopping.
Leigh Clark, chief kindness officer with nonprofit Kindleigh, went with her helpers to the Edison Mall, handing out candy canes and roses, leaving them on shoppers’ cars, and even going into JCPenney to “rush the register.”
“We are paying off people’s holiday purchases,” Clark said. “‘Can I pay for this for you today, is that OK?’ ‘Are you serious?’ ‘Yeah!’”
The officers are met with shock, smiles and hugs.
“It’s just nice because everyone goes through hard times; doesn’t matter how much money you have, life isn’t always fair,” Clark said. “So, if we can do one little thing to remind people that the world is kind, that’s what we’re here to do.”
This is the 10th year that Clark has paid for people’s purchases at the register. She still remembers the altruistic impulse that started the tradition.
“I was just having a low point in my life and wanted to try and find some joy,” Clark said. “There’s a way to feel good at any given time, and that’s finding a way to go out and give back.”
She has even inspired others to do the same.
“Now, I’ll have to go pay it forward,” one shopper said.
There are many ways you can spread kindness. Clark says if you give from your heart, nothing is too small.
“Leaving somebody a generous tip or writing a nice review, sharing a small business online… there’s so many ways that we can value one another that don’t take a lot of effort but really just make someone else feel loved and feel valued and seen,” Clark said.
The nonprofit Kindleigh is based in Southwest Florida, but Clark says she has kindness ambassadors throughout the country to spread joy to everyone.