North Farmington High senior Kelsey Harvath, her mother, Susan, and photographer Marci Bean stood in line at Starbucks on Saturday, when a young man approached them.
“He said they were with The Kindness Rally, and he’d like to help pay for our purchase,” Susan said.
Similar scenes played out across the Farmington area during the Farmington Area Jaycees Rally for Kindness, held from noon until 4 p.m. August 18. Teams of friends, family members, and co-workers fanned out into the community to earn points by handing flowers, gas cards, and lottery tickets to strangers, delivering thank you cards to local first responders, and more.
“I’m all about doing random acts of kindness,” Susan said. “To have a whole day devoted to it is pretty cool.”
The Rally team members paid for Kelsey’s snack, a package of crème brûlée almonds. Zach and Hunter Desjarlais signed up for the rally with their parents, Tom and Candy, who saw the event advertised on Facebook.
“We thought it would be a really cool thing to do to spread kindness,” Candy said.
Tom most remembered “just the smiles we got from people.” After the family paid one man’s video rental fees, he told them, “I guess what I’ll have to do is return the favor to someone else.”
Starting a contagion of kindness is the goal of The Kindness Rally, launched in 2016 by the Redford Jaycees. Over the past two years, the local event has grown to include teams from across Michigan and around the world.
Farmington Jaycees president Andrew Buck said that state and international points were being tallied through the use of social media hashtags. Participants had to photograph their acts of kindness for the points to count.
The club’s second rally drew 17 teams, up from 10 last year. And Buck said the club doesn’t intend to stop there.
“Next year, we’ll try to have an even bigger event,” he said.