KIND­NESS OF STRANGERS

US­ING THE GEN­EROS­ITY OF OTH­ERS TO TRANS­PORT AND FEED HIM, A MAN GIVES BACK AND IN­SPIRES US

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | MIND - MINDYOU WORDS:NICKBENNET­T Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­saligned.com.au

Rowena and I had a bit of a binge re­cently watch­ing sea­son two of The Kind­ness Di­aries. I hadn’t heard of this se­ries be­fore, even though it is ob­vi­ously very pop­u­lar. Leon Lo­go­thetis, who is now a global ad­ven­turer, mo­ti­va­tional speaker and phi­lan­thropist, in­tro­duces us to the phi­los­o­phy of the kind­ness of strangers.

In the first se­ries he had a bright yel­low vin­tage Chang Jiang mo­tor­bike that he rode around the world re­ly­ing on the kind­ness of strangers for food, shel­ter and fuel. In this se­ries he takes a bright yel­low 30-year-old VW Bee­tle that he names Kind­ness 2 and drives it from Alaska to Ar­gentina. Again, he sets off with no money, no food and no

shel­ter. There’s no doubt that he is an unusual man.

He used to be a bro­ker in the city of Lon­don, where he felt unin­spired and chron­i­cally de­pressed. He gave it all up for a life on the road. This rad­i­cal life change was in­spired by the in­spi­ra­tional movie The Mo­tor­cy­cle Di­aries.

Be­yond that he is an advocate for kind­ness as he seeks out the sup­port of com­plete strangers to as­sist him on the jour­ney, of­ten stay­ing overnight, be­ing pro­vided with food and fuel as he works his way down one of the long­est roads in the world to fin­ish in Ushaia, Ar­gentina.

While that trip alone would be ar­du­ous enough, to do it as he does is en­thralling and en­light­en­ing be­cause of what peo­ple do for him out of the good­ness of their hearts.

The in­cred­i­ble sto­ries of the peo­ple he en­coun­ters along the way can be tragic, how­ever their gen­eros­ity is up­lift­ing and in­spir­ing, a real re­minder (to quote from Desider­ata) “With all its sham, drudgery, and bro­ken dreams, it is still a beau­ti­ful world”.

The lovely thing is that this is not a one-way street. Leon brings the dreams of those he meets into re­al­ity with his phi­lan­thropy and amaz­ing gen­eros­ity.

Sup­port­ing a young woman who was a refugee to bring her vision of a char­ity for chil­dren to life, send­ing another cou­ple to Jerusalem to ful­fil a dream, com­plet­ing the build­ing of a house for an im­pov­er­ished cou­ple who share their food and home with many peo­ple.

The sto­ries are won­der­ful, and I fin­ished the se­ries feel­ing buoyed by the fact that there is great good in our world.

While I am ob­vi­ously an advocate for the pro­gram, I think the ef­fect is more than that. It was a timely re­minder that we can all do good, be gen­er­ous with what we have and sup­port the dreams of oth­ers in what­ever way, large or small.

Al­though Gandhi didn’t say “Be the change you want to see in the world”, there is still a lot to be done with small acts of kind­ness. Where could you start?

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