There must be a Kindness Institute out there, maybe nestled in one of the hidden valleys in Oklahoma, where normal folks learn how to go above and beyond in helping and caring for others. I can think of many people in my life who may have matriculated at this secluded university.


Some people must have been prodigies who graduated from the Kindness Institute at an early age. They were the friends of mine in grade school and high school who pretended I didn’t stutter and waited patiently for me to finish a sentence. A few Kindness Institute girls I knew probably majored in Acts of Mercy, since they romantically held my hand even when it was cold and clammy.  


There was a high school teacher of mine who likely went to KI as well. She was the one who told me I could write for a living because I had a creative mind. She also mentioned offhandedly that I should first learn how to spell and construct grammatically correct sentences. I met another KI grad while I was in the Maricopa County jail. He encouraged a few tough cellmates to let me be.


I had a number of business mentors who were also Kindness Institute alumni. One of them fired me for messing up, and then went out of his way to find me another job. A couple others invested real money in companies I wished to start. My best mentors had the kindness to tell me I wasn’t working hard enough to reach the goals I had set out to achieve.


A few special KI students took a course called “How to Love Don Unconditionally.” These individuals must have completed all kinds of homework and volunteered for extra-credit projects to adequately prepare them for what they had to do to keep me on track.


What’s troubling to me is how often I failed to recognize these considerate individuals at the very times they were giving me a boost.

Perhaps all of us bump into graduates of the Kindness Institute on a regular basis.

Now, if they only had a football team.