“It has been an amazing journey…” Cate said, talking about the past 11 months she has spent spreading kindness through her community, and the world. “I just decided one day to have a go at promoting a bit of love and kindness.”
Based in Adelaide, Australia, Cate has spent the past 26 years working as a school teacher. She calls teaching her passion and a complete joy, but she felt that there was something more she had to offer.
“Last year I decided to work a little bit less. I just had this feeling that there was something else I need to be doing that can make the world better.”
In January, she launched her Yours Kindly Facebook page. She started it in hopes of inspiring a few people, but it has grown to be something much bigger than she imagined. Now, over 3,000 people are a part of the community, and she is spreading kindness to more every day.
“In February I decided to start leaving flowers around in the local community, without any expectation. I just wanted to brighten people’s days. It was never about me, it was about the act of kindness.”
She did not desire any personal recognition, and even using a fake name, “Cate” instead of Cathy to keep the focus on the acts, and not the woman behind them.
“I have some regular kindness warriors that log in every day to post, like, comment and message. We have been able to build this beautiful friendship online. I think when you create a culture of trust and people feeling comfortable in bearing their vulnerabilities, it is only a winning situation for people. There is so much negativity and people wanting to put other people down; to have a platform where they feel safe, comfortable, supported, and nurtured is a good thing.”
On her birthday in August, she wanted to spend the whole day doing acts of kindness. A friend and her spent 7 ½ hours going around Adelaide to do 62 acts of kindness for her 62nd birthday.
“We went out and had an amazing day. It was the first time I was actually face to face with people. Before I had just been leaving things or doing things without seeing anyone’s reaction. What happened from there was, I created a flip-o-gram of images and posted it to Facebook, and someone shared it with the local news network.”
A journalist from the local paper called Cate, and said they would love to do an article on her. Once the paper published her kindness mission, the local TV station also took notice.
“Then the TV people rang me which was just amazing. They called and said we would like to have a chat with you, are you free? I had just started holiday so I said yes. They said ‘Great, we will be around in an hour!’ They wanted to have me hand out flowers or do other kinds acts, so in that hour I had no time to get dressed. I ran to the shops to get flowers, and as I pulled into the garage, they were there pulling up. It was crazy… it was amazing.”
Before she knew it a TV crew was pouring into her house. She barely had time to process what was all happening until it was over. After, she was joking with her children that she could not remember what she even said during the interview. When it aired, friends and family rang her without any idea what she had been doing. Her friends laugh at her now, saying it is basically a full time job.
For World Kindness day today, Cate will be giving out flowers to strangers, leaving positive notes around, paying for people’s laundry or parking meters, and doing everything she can just to make others smile.
“It is really powerful, and it is something we can all do. I think that’s the important part, it is not about the big things, it is actually about the little things that really make a difference in the world. We can be so harsh on ourselves thinking that we are bad people, or that we are not doing enough, but if you think about yourself, what your morals are, and how you want to lead your life all of those things begin to make a difference. I have received hundreds of private messages, and I know that seems an exaggeration, but it’s true! One person doing a good deed is then passed on. It helps, you know? It really has created this amazing culture and community of people who are just a bit more mindful.”
My belief is clear and simple:
1. To let other's know that I notice them, and I care by wanting to make an uplifting impact on their day/life through kindness.
2. To share and spread kindness far and wide, making the world a brighter place.
3. To send reminders about being kind to ourselves too ( mistakes happen, and that is ok)
4. To connect with fellow Kindness Warriors through positivity, encouragement and support.
5. To be the best possible version of me and try to be even better tomorrow than what I am today.