On finding Real-Life Heroes from All Over the World #AtoZKindness

by - May 02, 2017

For this year's #AtoZChallenge, I chose the rather unique and odd theme of Everyday Heroes of Kindness and Compassion.

Most people wrote about stuff they are good at - fiction, artwork, music, cocktails, poetry. And they wrote brilliantly on it too, using their knowledge and observations to amazing effect.

Me? I had nothing!

I started off with an absolutely blank slate. I did not have a detailed list of good deeds in my pocket. All I knew was that I was tired of the negativity in the media. And I knew many others were as well. I also remembered how as a kid, I used to read the small rectangular strip in the middle pages of newspapers that had 2-3 lines about a couple of good deeds done somewhere far away across the world. That was my origin point.

Like most of you, I didn't know many of these names either. I actively searched and found my heroes, using the internet and seeking out videos and news headlines from as far back as decades ago. I listed them by first name and surname, looking to fill all the letters for the challenge.

What I wanted

I knew I wanted to showcase these people with individual posts. That is why I chose to go with titles that had their names such as "Anja Ringgren Loven is a True Angel of God" instead of "Meet the woman who saved a Nigerian Kid accused of being a witch"

They were given 15 minutes of fame by the media and then went back to anonymity in a world where filled with very average leaders and role models. I wanted to change that.
I wanted these people to know that in a different corner of the world, far away from where they lived, even after all these years, there was someone who cared for what they did. And someday when they are feeling low and type their name on a search engine, I wanted them to see that there was a page dedicated exclusively to them.

For most of these heroes, I made these little plaques showcasing their deeds as well.
You can find them all at my Instagram account too.

Yes, I wanted readers to be inspired by their kindness. But I wanted the heroes to know as well that absolute strangers were inspired by them.

The unique feature about my heroes of kindness

  • There were Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jews etc.
  • There were Indians, Americans, Iraqis, Iranians, Mexicans, Italians, Spaniards, Zimbabweans, Danish, Chinese, Uruguayan and even a German Nazi.
  • There were waiters, chefs, school teachers, kindergarten students, army men, athletes, nurses, college students and even a very unique President of a country!
  • There were nationalists and immigrants, liberals and conservatives.
  • Ages ranged from seven year old girls and 87 year old army men.

Do you see what I see? What I knew I would find when I started this series?
There is nothing stopping you from being a hero. Unlike what popular media tries to make you believe, no religion, no nationality, no political belief or even age is exempt. You are all capable of being heroes if you just choose to be kind to someone.

Going the extra mile.

It was while searching for these heroes across the world that a thought came to me - why stop there? I have the internet right here and I am finding these wonderful stories but why stop there? 
Is it possible I can try finding and contacting these wonderful people directly? And just like that, I had a new goal for my challenge. I now began using my search engines for two purposes - finding stories and then finding the people behind the stories.

In the end, I would find and contact more than a dozen of the heroes and certain organizations that I featured. In some cases, I even got in touch with the person who took the viral photo in the hope of finding the hero. There were a few missed connections wherein the hero had been enthusiastic till the very end but just missed the interview deadline but I prefer to count my blessings - I got to interview and chat with some really good people.

Fun anecdotes

(Don't) Let It Go
In the case of A Moment of Magic (where the two co-founders dress up as Princess Elsa and Anna from the Disney hit, Frozen and visit sick children in hospitals to boost their spirits), there was a delay in getting their answers and as the Disney-eque clock struck 12 AM, I had kind of given up hope. Now, I had not actually watched Frozen so I sat down to watch the movie and I-kid-you-not, two seconds after the young Princesses appear on screen together for the first time, I get pinged by the real-life Princesses telling me to check my mail. And there in my inbox sat the interview!

That Bollywood story
Speaking of fairy-tales, I loved the fact that I could make Chris Dempsey smile. If you have not read his story, I implore you to go back here and check it out. I got in touch with his wife Heather and we planned for this post to be a surprise coinciding closely with their six month wedding anniversary.
I needed him to see what people thought of his deed so I made a special one-time plea to blogger friends to drop by the blog that day and comment. And they really did!

 That post eventually had more than 3500 views (as opposed to an average of 600 for the others). Of course, seeing all the love Chris got from the Indian blogosphere, Heather now knows that if the two of them visit India, she needs to be wary of his Indian women's fan club!

What next?

Here's the best part.
I wrote 26 stories, right? Well, I have over 45 more instances simply sitting in my folder right now. And they are all as unique and inspiring as you can imagine. Many really good stories lost out only because I already had other good ones for that alphabet... so my advice? When you have children, do consider naming them using the harder letters like Q,X,U and Z, will ya? Who knows, your kids Xbarack Qobama and Zdonald Utrump could be featured someday in the future in someone else's list of Everyday Heroes!

If you haven't read the wonderful stories of these real-life heroes of kindness and compassion, don't worry. 
I have a page dedicated to all of them right here. You can save it and come back at your leisure (or when you are feeling low) and read any of their stories randomly. I promise you, they will bring back that smile back on your face and that ray of hope back in your life as well. 

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  1. This is amazing. The feat you have taken to search actively and give so much purpose to your blogging, that's commendable. Great. The stories, some of which I haven't read yet are all so inspiring, motivating. Thanks. I am going to save that page. And I'm going to read all the rest.. Much power to your writing and blogging. God bless....

  2. I enjoyed reading all your wonderful posts Dr.Roshan .I think you are on the right path here.I need to work on this one more.

  3. My god, doc! The amount of efforts you put in this challenge is mind-blowing! I am really in awe of you!
    And, now let me offer my apologies for not having visited your blog during these 26 days! When the month began, I did visit some blogs and then Chikoo needed my attention. So, I have now decided to visit all the blogs I missed out on - first on the list being yours - and learn something from each one of them.
    God bless you, my dear!

  4. Oh, and I simply loved the styling of your blog...esp the GodYears with the stethoscope for Y! <3

  5. Your blog was a whiff of fresh air during the challenge. I cried a lot when I read some of the wonderful stories and you've done full justice to them all, Roshan. I hope that you continue to do this and keep showing us glimpses of the wonderful men and women in the world through your eyes.

  6. Your A To Z restored my faith in humanity, without a doubt.

    I feel so proud of having known you, albeit only virtually. But thanks to that my eyes opened up to so many people and kindness in general. You have no idea how much good will you have gathered thanks to this. You should be very proud of yourself.

    Like I said on a previous post, if someone does the same concept next year, I'll not be surprised to find you there :)

  7. Does that mean you will be writing more for me to read? Oh I am thrilled to bits doc - cant wait to get my daily dose of goodness right here!! :-)

  8. Doc, you're one of these real life heroes too. Finding their stories and sharing them with us - it was just the balm my soul needed, and I'm sure a lot more people would have felt that way too. I hope you publish those 40 odd stories you have sitting in your drafts - we need to hear more of these!

  9. YOu did a beautiful challenge, a really touching one and I do think that you made a difference, at least for a few people.
    Please keep up the wonderful work. The world needs some positivity. I think this may indeed make a difference.

  10. I've already said this but this was hands down my favorite series this year. Sure, they all had me in tears, but in a good way. In the best of ways. Made me believe in people again. I'm glad you have more stories to share. Would love, love, love to read more <3

  11. Really nice posts. They were all inspiring. Looking forward to reading more!!!

  12. AnonymousMay 12, 2017

    தாய்மை என்பதோர் அழகிய பயணம். மிகக் கடினமானதும் கூட. சில அன்னையரின் தாய்மை அனுபவங்கள் நம் சக்திக்கு அப்பாற்பட்ட செயல்களைச் செய்யும் உத்வேகத்தை அளிக்கும். சிலர் தங்கள் சுக துக்கங்களைக் கையாளும் வழிமுறைகள் நம்மை வியப்பில் ஆழ்த்துவன. அன்னையர் தின சிறப்பாக Mycity4Kids கொண்டாடும் #Momspiration அத்தகைய தாய்மார்களுக்கு சமர்ப்பணம்.

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  13. We do need this 45 stories too in the internet. We need those stories to pop up right on top of the search engine list when we type 'Why should I be kind to someone?' We need stories like these to keep us sane.

    Congratulations on completing the challenge, doc! :)


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