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Making Pittsburgh A Kinder Place One Random Act At A Time

Mark Nootbaar
90.5 WESA

In November of 2013, Bert Dorazio decided he wanted to be part of World Kindness Day, so he called up a friend.

“I said, ‘Why don’t we go down to a grocery store, get in line behind somebody and after they check out all their groceries let’s pay for their groceries?’” Dorazio said.

Dorazio said his friend thought it was a good idea and after hanging out near the check out line at the Giant Eagle on the South Side for a few minutes they chose a woman with a cart full of food.

“It ended up that the woman was a single mom with two small children and… we provided some extra money for Christmas that she would not have had if we had not done that,” Dorazio said.

Dorazio said it felt so good that he and his friend decided to hold a local random acts of kindness day the next month. After posting the idea on Facebook, more than 500 individuals promised to participate. 

The effort, now know as the Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative, has grown into its own website and Facebook page and a quarterly kindness day.

Dorazio recently teamed up with a group at CMU to create “kindness cards” and a website to track them.

Each card has a number on it and when a member of the initiative does an act of kindness, Dorazio said they hand the recipient a card and ask them to tell the story of the act on the website, “and if you feel like it take that card and do something kind for somebody else.”

Some of those cards have been paid forward seven times and one made it as far as China. Dorazio said he hopes to see those cards eventually get recycled 20-30 times each.

Dorazio also volunteers his time to speak about kindness at school events and corporate gatherings. 

And it all comes with one goal.

“Why can’t (Pittsburgh) be the kindest city in the world?” asks Dorazio.