If somebody paid for your meal or brought you Tim Hortons recently, it’s likely in celebration of Random Act of Kindness Day — and it’s even more likely it was Judy Kurulak.
She and her daughter Oceana were out in full force on Nov. 7 performing over 50 random acts of kindness throughout the day. Random Acts of Kindness Day, put on by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan, had community members out performing day-brightening acts followed by a small card asking the recipient to pay it forward.
Aaron McRann, executive director of the CFSO said it turned out to not be so easy to keep track of the number of random acts of kindness on Friday as he had planned.
“Everywhere I went on Friday, everyone I talked to was doing something,” said McRann. “The whole town seemed to be into it. It was a ton of fun.”
Inspired by the kindness of her surrounding community, Kurulak has been paying it forward long before Nov.7.
“We’ve had lots of really kind people help me and my daughter out over the last nine years or so. So I just try to pay it forward no matter what,” Kurulak said.
She started a chain reaction in a Tim Hortons in Summerland paying for a drive-thru order and the order of the person behind her, causing fellow customers to follow her lead. Kurulak then proceeded to treat local community members to some donuts including local police, her mechanic and her daughter’s teachers and classmates.
“Seeing the kids at my daughter’s school and their reaction was really awesome. A couple of them said they were going to go home and run the bath for their mom and stuff,” she said.
That was just one chain of acts of kindness formed. According to McRann, one woman who found a looney taped to her shopping cart at Safeway, was so impressed with the idea that she purchased extra groceries to donate to the food bank.
“That’s the kind of stuff that was happening all day long,” he said.
Kurulak’s daughter also wrote poems for her friends and was out delivering doughnuts and kind acts around the city. Oceana took to random acts of kindness quite well according to Kurulak.
“She was like ‘mom I wish you would have saved some because I want to be a part of it’,” Kurulak said.
The kindness didn’t stop there, the list of good deeds Kurulak performed in one day is long and impressive and was even capped off with her first ever blood donation. While a day of good deeds is nice, Kurulak can’t help but wonder why the kindness can’t keep going.
“I just wish that people did it more often because it does have such a positive effect,” Kurulak said.
Kurulak said it can be a good way to break the cycle of negativity people can fall into during the day-to-day grind.
“There is so much negative energy around and people get overwhelmed with stress or life responsibilities. So just to see somebody being kind to someone else is such a wonderful feeling,” she said.
Kurulak wasn’t the only one out paying it forward. Acts of kindness took place all around Penticton including the Penticton Access Centre giving away free pizza, Wildstone Construction and Engineering Ltd. treated 25 veterans to a movie at Landmark Cinemas and The Bench Market handed out free hot chocolate.
He may not have been able to keep track of the numbers, but McRann said there is no doubt that the event will be back.
“It was a lot of fun and everyone I talked to was insistent that we need to do this every year,” he said. “Any way you look at it, it was a huge success, we will definitely do it again.”
-With files from Steve Kidd