Catching Kindness: Going Viral

New columnist wants to hear your stories about the kindnesses shown to you

By Michael Kaupp

Recently, I read an article in our local news that made a profound impact on me. The article was about one woman and what she was doing to combat bullying. Her name is Anna Mendez.

Michael Kaupp

Michael Kaupp

After the suicide of her son, at the time a sophomore at San Clemente High School, she began a journey that that inspired me to dedicate a series of columns about kindness and character and why they are so important in our lives.

In the midst of overwhelming grief, Anna wrote a book about her son, Daniel, and the nightmare of his years of being bullied. If These Halls Could Talk is the wrenching story of Daniel Mendez’s last years on this earth.

I contacted Anna, introduced myself and asked if she could tell me where I could buy the book she had written. I told her how moved I was by the article and that I was interested to talk with her to see if I might join her cause. When I met with Anna, she brought along a signed copy of her book, a gift. After talking with her for almost two hours I went home and started to read one of the most difficult stories imaginable. It took me weeks, with a lot of down time to recover from the sadness. There were nights when I was lucky to get through a few pages.

Bullying and mean spiritedness is not confined to youth and school yards, it has many faces and exists throughout life and in unlikely settings. Anna has inspired me to do all that I can to focus attention on the value of kindness, tolerance and character in an often times sadly hostile world.

Several weeks ago I received a call from the San Clemente Times offering me a bi monthly column. My friend Joan used to say to me, “Information comes to you when you need it.” It seems that opportunities come to when you need them as well.

So I am taking this timely opportunity to devote this series of columns to kindness and how it can change our lives, but I need your help.

I want this to be everyone’s story. Tell me things that have changed your life in a positive way. Tell me what you have done to make your day and your year. The world a better place through kindness. Tell me what someone has done for you, no matter how big or small, as long as it made a difference.

I want to be buried in emails about kindness. Come on, crash my computer with a flood of good news. I want to share your stories in my column each month.

As the kids say, get at me at catchingkindness@cox.net. And let’s kindly go viral.

Michael Kaupp is the owner of Stanford Court Antiques on Avenida Del Mar. He served 14 years on the San Clemente Planning Commission and has served as president of the Downtown Business Association.

One Response to “Catching Kindness: Going Viral”

  1. Julia Darden
    August 1, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    Michael: As usual, you inspire each of us to reach inside and find the best that we can be, to make this community the best it can be. For years you focused on the built environment–the external manifestation of our communities values. Now, you are going deeper to what makes us who we are. Bravo!

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