Braden S. Thompson – B.A., Marketing, 2013
A Utah State University alumnus is spearheading an effort Monday to encourage people to do good things every day “so it becomes the norm instead of the exception.” Braden Thompson, a 2013 graduate with a degree in communications from Roy, has organized what he calls the Unexpected Kindness Blitz, or UKB, for this Monday. On that day, the USU alumnus encourages people all over the state to be kind or do something kind for someone in their community. As of Friday, with the help of family and friends, Thompson had about 100 people committed to the initiative. “Even if less than half actually follow through and do it, that’s still more people thinking about others
and doing a kindness than there would have been,” Thompson said. “Most likely the people participating will never know the results of their kindness, but knowing the outcome isn’t what determines whether it is successful or not. Right now people are excited about being better and thinking more about others than themselves, and to me, that is success.” Thompson said the idea of people showing kindness on the same day will start “a ripple effect of kindness larger than the sum of the parts.” UKB was born out of a project he started called Project #365Aware — for which Thompson set out to talk to a stranger every day of the year. He’s met a lot of people so far, even splitting a pizza with a homeless man for lunch and learning about his life. Project #365Aware began to grow, and Thompson began to think of ways to expand. “I realized I didn’t necessarily need to have a verbal communication with somebody to affect them for the better,” Thompson said. “I think I had done a random act of kindness one day, and I thought it would be pretty sweet if a bunch of people were doing this. People do it every day, randomly, but if it was organized so that everyone who do it on a designated day, it would have a larger impact.” Thompson, who was in Logan last week speaking to a group about the work he’s been doing, said he is looking forward to the UKB. Thompson said the project has been a learning experience for him. “People are more eager to have a conversation than you would think,” Thompson said. “Most of the time people are just uncomfortable. Sitting next to someone at a bus stop or sitting next to someone at a grocery store, with common norms you don’t communicate with those people, but I’ve realized that as I got out of my comfort zone, people are willing to talk, and they enjoy it most of the time, too. If you don’t step out of your comfort zone, nobody does, and you miss your opportunity.” The experience has changed him. “I feel more friendly with people and have more meaningful conversations,” he said. “This is kind of a common thing for me to start conversations with people I don’t know. (Most) people don’t get out of their comfort zone; I want people to realize that once they do, it opens up a whole new world they were never aware of.” Those wishing to participate in UKB can sign up via Thunderclap to show support and spread the word. The Unexpected Kindness Blitz Thunderclap link is at http:// bit.ly/18kSbcy.