“I have an amazing mother, but when I was growing up she didn’t always have a tremendous amount of material resources at her disposal. We were on welfare and very poor for some time and we were homeless for a while. When I was eleven, we were taken in by [friends who let us live on their] farm for several months. They were unbelievably generous with us. They gave us essentially room and board for months because they knew we didn’t have a place to go, and they enabled us to feel like we weren’t a burden there, by allowing me to work on the farm and to earn my keep. Of course at eleven, I was completely useless and probably more in the way than anything, but it was just like an extension of their kind act to allow me to think that I wasn’t a burden there, and so I would go out in the field and transplant leeks and rake hay into rows and things like that. It’s something that has stuck with me and there are other incidences in my childhood that have stuck with me, you know, a woman that gave my mother $100 when I was six so that she could buy me and my brother Christmas presents that year. I didn’t even know who she was, it was just this really generous act that made a huge difference in these small children’s’ lives and to my mother as well.
Thirty years later I still remember that, and it still impacts on how I behave, not always … (laughs), but when it comes to my mind it affects how I behave and I think that that is kind of what I am getting at. It can be infectious and exponential. I mean, I probably wouldn’t be trying to do this random acts project if somebody hadn’t demonstrated that kind of kindness to me when I was young and likewise people who receive, who are the recipients of the random acts that we do now, will probably carry on that tradition later.”