Texas city launches kindness initiative to spotlight small acts of heroism

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Anna Brech
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A city of in the States is celebrating unsung acts of everyday goodness by launching a kindness app where they can be logged.

Arlington in Texas is encouraging to residents and visitors to document small heroic deeds they witness in the community on their new mobile app, Ask Arlington.

Mayor Jeff Williams is hoping for 400,000 acts of kindness to be recorded – a level that mirrors the population of the city – over the coming year.

“The City of Arlington’s kindness initiative aspires to spread awareness about the importance of kindness around the community by getting residents to think of ways to be kinder and to help others,” local authorities say. “That effort could be as simple as opening the door for someone or mowing the yard of an elderly neighbour.”

The kindness initiative is aimed at inspiring Good Samaritan deeds and fostering a sense of cohesion between the city’s different cultural communities.

“I love this city because its diversity is apparent everywhere I go,” said Devan Allen, who serves as Commission chair on Arlington’s equivalent of a city council.

“While our differences should be celebrated, the kindness initiative will give lifelong residents and those new to the city, as well as those just visiting, a great opportunity to participate in a meaningful and unique sameness – working together to give and receive kindness.”

An early act for the project involved ten young volunteers re-painting a prominent city wall in red, white and blue for independence day celebrations this week.

Local librarian Lisa Smant came up with the idea after seeing her co-worker help an elderly gentleman check out some books.

“She decided that she would help him out to the car because he had crutches and his books, and it would obviously be difficult for him to get out,” Lisa said.

It’s little incidental events such as these that Arlington residents want to highlight.

“The initiative – and the mobile app – is a way to put helping your neighbour and being kind at the top of everyone’s mind,” Mayor Williams says. “It’s also an opportunity for us to take our can-do spirit to a higher level.”

“We want to capture all of those acts of kindness so that they can be shared with others and hopefully inspire more and more people to do the same,” adds marketing communications manager Jay Warren.

Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, has one of the fastest-growing populations in the States.

It sits on the cusp of a “grand prairie” called the Eagle Ford, and an oaks-dominated woodland of gently rolling hills known as the Eastern Cross Timbers.

Before Las Vegas, Arlington was the largest gambling destination in the States in the 1930s and ‘40s, with an illegal casino that drew in guests such as Al Capone, Bonnie & Clyde, Clark Gable and Mae West.

By adopting its kindness initiative, the city is echoing similar pay-it-forward schemes adopted by urban hubs in California, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The app allows users, who can remain anonymous, to upload photos and videos to provide more information about the act of kindness.

Images: Arlington gov website, Twitter, iStock


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.