“Kindness means simply helping someone feel less alone,” explains Leon Logothetis, former broker and current author, philanthropist and driver of Kindness One, a yellow motorbike Leon has driven across the globe.
He came up with the idea for his cross-country trek after watching “The Motorcycle Diaries,” a loose interpretation of Ché Guevara’s rides across South America spreading revolutionary ideas. What if he rode around on a motorbike spreading the revolutionary idea that kindness can change the world? His journey became “The Kindness Diaries” series on Netflix.
He met a woman in Indianapolis who gave him the keys to her apartment in Chicago so he could spend a night there. He stayed with Buddhist monks who included him in their religious ceremonies. He listened to the stories of families in Vietnam who subsist day-to-day. Leon ate, slept, and communed with others solely thanks to the kindness of strangers during his trip.
We get to choose how we show up, effect change, and treat other people. We get to choose how we treat ourselves. During his initial trek cross-country, Leon discovered that people simply want to be seen, heard, and loved. The love between parents and kids, between partners, between friends and colleagues is the same across cultures and socioeconomic levels.
Anybody can be a hero through kindness. Leon met parents in the impoverished slums of India who loved their children as much as rich parents in the developed world. Doctors, teachers, and parents are everyday heroes through their kindness. And kindness is free! Leon once asked a homeless man in Philadelphia if he could stay at his house for the night. The man explained that he didn’t have a home, but he did have a dry bedroll, pillows, extra clothes and friends who would help Leon sleep safely that night at their encampment. If he could show that much kindness with what he had, then the rest of us have no excuse when it comes to being kind to others with what we have.
Leon doesn’t consider himself a Pollyanna. He has visited concentration camps and slave quarters. It’s easy to see all the bad in the world and get mad when people mistreat us, he acknowledges. But what if we considered that others sometimes have bad days? Kindness means making a commitment to show up with as much compassion and empathy and kindness as you possibly can, no matter the circumstances.
The way you change the world is simply by touching one life, and the way to do that is to see another human being. The most profound way to see others – at home, in your workplace – is to make that person feel valued. Infuse them with the magic and the fuel that is given by being kind to another human being, Leon says. Kindness is the greatest strength we can extend to others.
Leon left the audience with a challenge: Take his gift of kindness and spread it in your homes, families, businesses, communities. You don’t have to do it perfectly. No one does! It’s the effort that counts. Give others some extra attention, and email him at [email protected] with your story. He loves hearing about others’ acts of kindness, and will encourage you as you lift others up with your kindness.