'10,000 Random Acts of Kindness' becomes Web hit
Todd Oldham said he knew there were a lot of good people in the world, performing acts of kindness everyday.
He just didn't have any idea how many.
And while he doesn't have exact numbers now, he knows it is a big number. That's because on Jan. 1 he set up a Facebook page called 10,000 Random Acts of Kindness. On Wednesday of last week it already had over 160,000 followers. It seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day.
"My sister always had this philosophy of random acts of kindness concerning people and it kind of wore off on me," he said.
The page is full of those billboard kinds of expressions with inspirational sayings and proverbs. People expressing themselves in posts in ways they may not normally do are recorded after each of these. That shows the people that have joined are interested in being good people.
While his sister's influence was large, a post from a friend on a Facebook page just before the end of last year made him think of creating the page.
"One of my friends asked each of us to do something good on Facebook for five other friends," he said. "I was able to do that, but I found it kind of hard to come up with. So it started making me think about good deeds and so the next day I created this page. I thought it might be an idea to see how many kind things we could get people to submit."
While there are a lot of good messages on the page, most inspiring are some of the posts that feature videos and photos that show the good side of people everywhere. A boy helps an elderly woman he doesn't know with her groceries. A man gets out of his car and helps another man in a wheel chair off a curb and across a busy street.
Some are poignant just because of the relationships. One set of photos shows a father and his young son, holding hands behind their house. It was probably taken in the 1950s. Next to it is a photo of the father, now elderly, and his son, now grown, holding hands in the exact same place behind the house in a very recent photo.
Oldham said the Facebook page's growth has totally surprised him.
"I can't tell you how inspirational this has been," he said referring to the numbers of people that have embraced the page. "When I did this I decided we would have a time frame to do it in. One year, 2013. Now I don't know where this is headed."
His goal was for 10,000 likes; now over 160,000 he thinks that at the end of the year he may rename the page 1 Million Random Acts of Kindness.
Facebook has taken notice of the growth of his page as well. He was contacted by the company and they have set him up as a partner account which gives him access to data and strategists who can help him grow the page even more.
Oldham, who grew up in Magna and is a transplant to Carbon county, said his life has changed because of what he has seen on the page, what people say and the acts that are recorded. His contacts with people, the things they say, the fact there are so many kind people in the world, has really changed his outlook on things. It has been inspirational.
"Now it's my daily spiritual practice," he said.