It all started with a handmade sign propped up against a concrete block in downtown Lee’s Summit. It read: “You Are Loved”
From there, the #randomwordsofkindness movement sprouted into positive messages and encouraging signs in windows, on park benches and on light poles all over downtown Lee’s Summit.
More than 35 businesses from Green Street to Jefferson and Second to Fourth Street have participated in the movement. They were asked to simply find and share kind phrases or words that were meaningful to them. The random words have been displayed in windows, inside businesses, on sidewalks and even on rocks.
Eddie Pease, owner of Fringe Beerworks, got creative with his random words, planting rocks around Lee’s Summit that featured phrases such as “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud” and “When nothing goes right, go left.” Pease said the rocks were a unique way to share the kindness. “They’re like little seeds of kindness spread across the city,” he said. “They were brought to us by Alyssa’s Wishes. They’re easy to pick up and pass on to spread kindness.”
Any given day on Southeast Main Street, shoppers, patrons and visitors to downtown Lee’s Summit will spot these kind words in the windows of many businesses, including Budget Blinds, where the chalkboard reads: “Throw kindness around like confetti.”
“We could all use a few more kind words in our lives,” Budget Blinds co-owner Courtney Laufketter said. “Just a few words in our window might have a positive impact on someone’s day and that’s completely worth it for us.”
At Inspired Style Boutique, owner Liz Little practices a multitude of kind words in her shop. In fact, Little was one of the first to participate in the campaign, donning the outside of her former shop, Finishings for Her, with three signs that read: “You are Loved,” “You are Important,” and “You Matter.”
“I wanted to be involved in spreading #randomwordsofkindness in hopes it will brighten someone’s day,” said Little, who earned an interview on KSHB 41 Action News after her signs went up. “You never know what people are going through unless they put it out there, which most don’t. One small act of kindness or spreading words of encouragement can totally make a difference in someone’s day.”
More than 100 messages of kindness have been documented in the relatively small footprint of downtown Lee’s Summit. From Post-It notes on light poles, to signage on trash cans, mirrors, windows and inside bars and restaurants dotted throughout the district random words of kindness in Lee’s Summit isn’t hard to find. Jessica Jackson, a community leader and administrator of the popular Facebook page Lee’s Summit Play, has helped lead the kind words charge, promoting kind words through colorful chalk drawings on downtown sidewalks.
In a business district as busy as downtown Lee’s Summit, it’s likely people are seeing the kind messages hundreds of times a day.
“This movement started with a simple message my daughter and I came across one evening while we were out walking. For whatever reason that night, those words inspired me and made quite an impact,” said downtown business owner John Beaudoin. “It’s been exciting to see all the business owners getting behind this. And not only that, but seeing the casual notes left around downtown, the surge of popularity with the hidden rocks and other positive messages show that these words really do matter.”