Before we left on the #SmileProjectRoadTrip, I asked my co-pilot Zack to look up any similar organizations or groups that had embarked on a kindness road trip. He immediately found a group called Random Acts of Kindtrip.
On May 17th – about a month before we left on our own trip, I sent them a Facebook message:
Hi Amer & Diana!
My name is Liz Buechele and I run a nonprofit organization called The Smile Project. This summer, I am taking it across the country to facilitate a big "Pay it Forward" project and spread Random Acts of Kindness. I'm bringing my best friend Zack who, upon doing some further research stumbled across you guys. We think you're great. I'd love to connect and see if you had any tips/advice/guidance and tell you a little more about the journey!
Have a great rest of your night!
With that many exclamation points and extreme enthusiasm, how couldn’t they respond? We immediately got to talking – much to Zack and I’s thrill and it was decided that we would reroute the southwest portion of our map so as to meet the people behind the Kindtrip.
I have since met and spent time with both Diana O’Brien (in Las Cruces, New Mexico) and Amer Jandali (in New York City) and when I say they are lovely people that is an understatement. These two underline everything it means to be a kind and compassionate human and I feel so unbelievably lucky to call them both friends.
Without further ado, Diana O’Brien (Founder and keeper of the Instagram posts) and Amer Jandali (Driver and Kindtrip partner) of Random Acts of Kindtrip.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a “Happiness is.”
Diana: Happiness is being surrounded by the most caring and loving humans. Humans that make you realize that the world is filled with magic and goodness.
Amer: Happiness is when they said they're out of mint chocolate and they discover another batch in the back.
Liz: Tell me about your project and about yourselves.
Diana: Our project is the Random Acts of Kindtrip. Project goals:
To make the world better, safer, and kinder through acts of kindness and compassion.
To plant seedlings of kindness that show that even the smallest of acts can make the world of difference.
To do good and contribute and to highlight the goodness of others as way to increase awareness about the causes and passions that matter.
I am also a Student Program Coordinator and Marriage and Family Therapist. My personal why is to encourage others with kindness so that the world is a safer and more loving place.
Amer: Together, I am with Diana in the Random Acts of Kindtrip, a road trip sprinkling acts of kindness where people are our destination and serendipity leads the way. I also have my own startup called Future Meets Present, an innovation firm designing sustainable products, systems, and events in New York City.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Amer: Optimism and a vision that a sustainable future is not only possible, but it is happening right before our eyes.
Diana: My belief that we all have the opportunity in every moment of every day to make miracles happen just by choosing love, compassion, and kindness. Also, the people in my life. The most incredible humans, including you Liz, make up my family and friends. They are all made of goodness and they inspire me every day.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Amer: Service is an offering. It is a worldview that one is not separate from another. It is making your whole self available for another's benefit.
Diana: Ditto, Amer. Service is giving of yourself. It’s showing compassion and empathy to all humans and creatures. Amer always says, “Set the intention and take action.” Service is setting the intention to show and give compassion and then taking action.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Diana: I’d say, “Join us!” But really, let us JOIN YOU! You are a part of the kindtrip team just by being a kind human and we are always looking to join forces. The impact of our actions is far greater together than if we go it alone. Let’s sprinkle some magic together!
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Amer: You're beautiful.
Diana: Liz, meeting you was a giant reinforcement that the Kindtrip has blessed me immensely. You are the best. I love you and your kind heart.
Liz’s note: You two are my favorite and I feel so blessed our paths crossed. There is infinite magic contained in what you do and who you are.
Liz: Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice?
Amer: My favorite futurist named Buckminster Fuller said that humanity's final exam is to manage Spaceship Earth. We're taking that exam right now. Yes, some questions are hard, and we'll probably get some answers wrong, but we will pass.
Diana: Too many favorite quotes!!!! Advice:
Take that idea inside your head, let it fill your heart, and run with it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and definitely believe in yourself. The Kindtrip started out as a tiny idea inside my head and has become the thing in my life that I am proudest of and one of the things I am most grateful for.