Conscious Kindness Day: United Way campaign aims to bring out friendly in Manitobans

By | May 15, 2019

Whether it’s letting somebody in ahead of you in traffic or baking cookies for your co-workers, United Way’s annual kindness campaign is once again calling on Winnipeggers to do something nice for one another.

Wednesday is the fifth Conscious Kindness Day. The initiative encourages the public to take the time to be good to others.

Sarah Brooker, a volunteer with United Way Winnipeg and co-ordinator for the campaign in the city, said it’s something most people want to do, but rarely make the time for.

“People, I feel, want to do nice things every day, and time just goes by,” said Brooker.

“This gives you an opportunity to just have no excuse but make kind gestures.”

The initiative was born in Winnipeg, Brooker said, and has since spread to other Canadian cities.

Beyond random acts of kindness, United Way will celebrate the day with pop-up stations at a handful of major Winnipeg intersections, giving out treats and handouts.

“We all have very busy lives and it would be nice if you could tie in conscious kindness every day. But you know … we live in a fast-paced world,” Brooker said. “So at least if you just stop once in a while and show a little extra love, then that’s really all United Way’s goal is.”

Kindness of strangers

CBC News asked a few Winnipeggers about the kindest thing a stranger had ever done for them:

Bruce Kakegamic:

“I was on the bus and I didn’t have the right change, and somebody offered me their bus ticket. That was really cool. … Just being kind, I suppose. Helping someone out.”

Bradley Ledrew:

“I like the Tim’s lineups when somebody kind of pays for you in front, and you get a free coffee or something. That’s pretty kind. I might do that [Wednesday], actually.”

Chase Hornby:

“That’s hard. There’s been a lot of times where I’ve been helped out by strangers, when I was young or old, lost in a city I don’t know and they’ve helped me out. I can’t think of any particularly major events, but it’s all just little stuff like that that keeps coming back.”

Julie Lafreniere:

“I went to go buy something off Kijiji, and [the seller was] like, ‘Oh, just have it for free.’ … I was poor at the time, and it was a struggle for me to buy — I think it was, like, dining chairs, or whatever. I had just moved and money was tight, but she didn’t know that.”

Hannah El-Giadaa:

“My thoughts immediately go to Winnipeg Transit bus drivers. I always find they’re one of the kindest … public services we have. … I always love it when they pull past the stop so I’m closer to my house so I can walk a little less.”