With Kevin Newman
Over two million people from around the world escape to the resort each year to experience its world-famous ski slopes in the winter and its equally famous downhill bike parks in the summer. With its wide range of services and attractions, Whistler is renowned as a top destination for those looking to get away from the daily monotony of life and worse, work.
But even here, the problems of our increasingly complex world penetrate into this town — and for local Whistler resident and business-owner Kelly Oswald, that is a big problem.
So Oswald has borrowed a simple concept, applied a little bit of mathematics, and started a campaign that is quickly growing in popularity.
“If I do something for three people, and those three people do something for three more people, and then those 27 people do something and it goes on….In two weeks you’d be at five million,” says Oswald.
She borrowed the idea from the Hollywood movie, “Pay it Forward,” starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and relative newcomer Haley Joel Osment, who plays a boy hoping to change the world with the same concept of kindness.
With the help of a local newspaper, Oswald began printing “Pay it Forward” kindness cards — booklets containing ten simple acts of kindness for others, such as doing the laundry, bringing flowers for a friend, or buying a cup of coffee for a stranger.
“And that happened to me one day,” said Oswald. “I came into work and there were flowers for me there, anonymously. That was really nice.”
Already, the random acts of kindness are spreading throughout the town.
“People are holding doors more often than not, and actually, I see people looking into each other’s eyes more than they normally would,” said Stephanie Matches, publisher of the Whistler Question Newspaper. “So I think it has opened up the town and people are really feeling happy for a change.”
And there are other stories: reports of a Whistler resident giving away his car to an Australian visitor in need of transportation.
“I think I’ve changed the way I see people,” says Oswald, who has no idea how far and wide the kindness movement has spread.
“Like maybe everybody should just help everyone and then the world would be a lot more peaceful.”
And for this reason, Kelly Oswald is this week’s Everyday Hero.
With Kevin Newman