Day 169: The art of kindness

Dave Johnson brings Santa to life.
Dave Johnson brings Santa to life.

I was all set to write about my good deed today … until I watched the news.

My deed was a very small one. Every now and then I purchase light bulbs and other small items from a mail-order company that employs the disabled. Their stock is excellent quality and well-priced but when you factor in the postage, one tea towel ends up costing a bundle (pun intended). So today, of course, I had to buy six.

Then I caught a local news item that moved me to tears. It featured a street artist I’ve admired for some time. And when I say street artist, I mean that quite literally. Dave Johnson takes his chalks and tools and creates the most amazing works of art on the sidewalk.

toolsI’ve stopped and watched him work a few times in several spots around downtown Toronto (most recently near the Eaton Centre shopping mall) and tossed a few coins in appreciation. Turns out, he uses the money he collects to pay for trips to Halifax to visit his daughter.

He was on the local news today because of the generosity he displayed after winning $5,000 at the Chapters/Indigo bookstore.

The news crew interviewed the bookstore manager who said that immediately after he won, Dave began sharing the winnings with other shoppers, by buying $40 gift cards, toys and other items and giving them away to all the customers in the lineup around him. He then donated the rest to a reading program.

“A bunch of kids get some toys at Christmas,” he explained, “they think to themselves ‘wow some complete stranger actually cares.’ That might help inspire them to become better individuals as they grow up.” (That’s the part that reduced me to a blubbering mess.)

At the end of the segment, the reporter handed Dave a few more gift cards that Chapters sent along for him to give away.

Then, just when I’d pulled myself together, he slayed me again at the end of the interview:

“Look at these people here,” he said from the corner of Yonge and Dundas, where he’s currently working. “They’ve given me all their toonies and loonies, they give me a little of what they have. It’s kind of like doing the same back.”

“There’s no sense in winning five grand at something and not enjoying it. I definitely enjoyed it.”

Uh oh, there I go again….

Portrait of the artist as a kind man.
Portrait of the artist as a kind man.



2 thoughts on “Day 169: The art of kindness

  1. such an amazing story… it’s hard not to stop and think about what I have and how little I have been doing to the next…

    There was an amazing street artist in Melbourne that did a similar type of artwork on the pathways of the city’s CDB. It was hard not to stop by, watch him for a little while and donate whatever I had in my pockets.

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