Linda Trew

Mar 15, 2023, 8:00 AM

A.R.K. – three little letters that can make a big difference

By Linda Trew

I love a good movie. Who doesn’t? But my husband and I have different ideas of what makes a good movie. He wants something full of action, loud, fast-paced, whereas I tend to go for those feel-good films, easy watching, light-hearted, that make me smile or even cry.

So, with that in mind, I wonder how many of you know to what film the title of this article refers?

It comes from a great scene in the movie Evan Almighty, in which God, played by Morgan Freeman, spells out to a career-driven politician how we can all change the world by one simple Act of Random Kindness. It’s a fun, silly film but I love the sentiment behind it.

Pay it Forward, with a young Haley Joel Osment (Sixth Sense, A.I., Forrest Gump) is a much more intense film. Pupils are challenged at school to come up with an idea that can change the world. The students come up with all sorts of things, from everyone in China jumping at the same time to cause the world to tilt and change its axis, to Haley’s character Trevor coming up with the idea to “Pay it Forward”.

He explains that when someone helps you out, or does something kind, instead of paying them back, if we pay that kindness forward to someone else and then that person pays it forward and they pay it forward… you get the idea. As a child his simple idea, full of innocence, is just brilliant. It’s a wonderful film, I recommend it, but have the tissues to hand!

I enjoy these films as I love the heart behind the story: be kind, do something nice for others. Gestures don’t have to be huge; the small things can make someone’s day. We have no idea the ‘baggage’ that individuals carry around with them on a daily basis, the things that are weighing them down; even those of our friends and family who we feel we know so well. We all have concerns or issues of some kind.

These problems may not be easy to resolve, or may not be in our gift to do so, but a simple A.R.K could help make someone’s difficult day better. A smile to a stranger, offering to help a young mum struggling with the buggy on stairs, letting someone go in front of you in a queue – these things can brighten up that moment.

I once had a lady in a shop tell me my dress was pretty. I felt a million dollars and ended up wearing that dress to death as I felt so good in it as a result. I am sure that you too can think of when you have benefitted from a kind word or gesture. I know I have had so many it’s impossible to list them all. Some have been small but impacted me in such a big way, such as a colleague just holding my hand as I cried over the sudden death of my sister-in-law. No words were spoken, she just came over and held my hand while I cried. That was 15 years ago, but such kindness is never forgotten.

So, as you go about your day today and the rest of your week, look out for the kindness shown to you, give thanks and think about what random acts of kindness you may be able to share with others to brighten their day.


Linda Trew

Linda Trew is a dynamic leader with strategic vision, who, in 20 years of working in the charity sector, has developed strategies and led in all areas of fundraising, as well as brand development, communications, marketing and external affairs. She has a demonstrated history of working at senior level in international, national and local charities and has set, managed and achieved multi-million-pound budgets developing sustainable income streams.

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