Lessons from a Sidewalk Sale

 The B kind table at the New Canaan Village Fair and Sidewalk Sale, July 14, 2018

The B kind table at the New Canaan Village Fair and Sidewalk Sale, July 14, 2018

The B kind foundation participated in the annual New Canaan sidewalk sale, a beloved town tradition. Our goal was to promote B kind, its mission, and to encourage people to start B kind clubs at their schools or local organizations. We also talked to people about World Kindness Day and the petition from B kind. To make it a fun event, we put out a spinning wheel where new B kind facebook and instagram followers and mail subscribers can spin it to win a B kind merchandise. It wasn't long before people started to crowd our table. 

 

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Throughout the day, the three of us who worked the table had the pleasure of meeting so many. Just when we thought working for a non-profit, kindness encouraging foundation has its lessons to share, we were pleasantly surprised at the number of people who graced us with their own stories to tell.

  1. Kindness starts at home. Yes, we know this to be true. How does one teach their children to be kind? One family who approached our table had with them their two young boys, the oldest not more than 10. Their parents made them listen as I talked about B kind's mission of spreading kindness everywhere. The younger boy looked at me and said, "We just had a lemonade stand at our house and we used the money we earned to buy toys for sick kids at Norwalk Hospital. Is that being kind, too?" I couldn't be prouder of this kid and his brother and congratulated their parents for raising such fine boys. I encouraged their mom to post the picture of the kids at Norwalk Hospital receiving their new toys on our Instagram page. I really hope she does!
  2. Kindness spreads like wildfire. One of our goals for the sidewalk sale is to obtain enough email subscribers so we can gather enough signatures for the World Kindness Day petition in September. All people had to do was read our World Kindness Day poster and they do the next best thing: subscribe to our email list. We didn't need to coax, beg, or plead. People naturally crave kindness and will do whatever it takes to spread it around. One family, in particular, was so moved by the upcoming petition that she signed up herself, her husband and two young children, to volunteer gathering signatures. Kindness is a mission that begins with yourself.
  3. Kindness inspires. We tried to encourage students who stopped by our table to start a B kind club in their school. We were more surprised when it was the teachers who expressed their interest in starting one and becoming its advisor. One teacher said, "You have no idea how much our school needs something like this." I told her that it isn't about the school, the town it's in or the students who go there that makes one B kind club more active than the other. It is about the kids inside the club who inspire each other to do kind deeds not only within the school but throughout the community. If that teacher knows kids who can see this through (I'm almost certain she does), then she will be successful in starting one. Another story from the sidewalk sale that I will gladly share is an act of kindness shown to us by a fellow vendor, Liza Paglialunga. Unbeknownst to us, she has been watching us throughout the day interact and talk to people. She sells these wonderful, one of a kind signs appropriately called Sweet Signs. At the end of the day, as we packed up our tent, Liza walks over and hands us three custom signs that she made just for us. It includes one that says "B kind" in the colors of our logo. I was able to thank her long enough to hand her one of our hats, a small gesture of gratitude. 

 

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