kindness activist

kindness activist

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tea Light Kindness

A few nights after the recent presidential election, I saw that there was a peaceful candlelight vigil planned for outside the White House.  We live nearby and I have been feeling very upset and sad about the election results, so I decided that this vigil would be a good way to surround myself with like-minded people and focus on peace and love.

The White House the night of the candlelight vigil
As the event drew nearer, the organizers updated the Facebook invitation to clarify that no actual CANDLES would be allowed.  The Parks Department said they would drip wax all over, and the organizers would have to pay a fine for clean-up of the mess. Although it was disappointing to imagine a “candlelight vigil” with no candles, it made sense.  The invitation encouraged people to bring flashlights or glow sticks instead, but it really seemed like that wouldn't be the same, you know what I mean?

The night of the vigil we rushed around the house when it was time to go trying to find 2 working flashlights.  Why is it that every time you actually NEED a flashlight, the batteries don’t work anymore?  Happens every single time…  We finally found 2 lame flashlights and rushed to the vigil.  We settled in amongst the crowd in Lafayette Park (across from the White House) and waited for the event to begin.  There were quite a few people, and I soon realized that not only would real candles be MESSY, they would have been DANGEROUS, too.  With that many bodies close together, most wearing big coats and scarves, candles could have easily caused a fire.

As we were waiting, the sweetest, most kind thing happened:  a complete stranger was walking through the crowd handing out little battery operated TEA LIGHT candles.  He came up to us and offered them.  We had the lame flashlights, but his candles were SO PRETTY – they were delicate and perfect.  I asked if he was working for the vigil and he explained that he was not, he just bought a bunch of tea lights to hand out because he thought the vigil needed them.

Mystery kind man - passing through the crowd with LOVE
CAN YOU SAY KINDNESS ACTIVIST??  I snapped a photo of him, hoping to be able to do some P.I. work when I got home and figure out who he was, then interview him for this blog.  As luck would have it, another vigil attendee in the Facebook group saw my message that I was hunting for him and helped me discover his identity!  Meet JORDAN FIGUEIREDO – the kind man behind the tea lights.

Our Kindness Activist in action!
It turns out he is not even a LOCAL – he lives in the San Francisco, CA area!  He was in DC for work at just the right time for the vigil.  He told me, “I signed up on Facebook to attend the event and was reading some of the posts and noticed the Parks department said no candles because of the wax. I thought this vigil would send a much nicer message with candles so I found the battery-operated LED tealights at Bed Bath and Beyond. I ended up buying about 200 of the tealights for about $143.”  You read that right – this man spent almost $150 to hand out candles to complete strangers.  It was so wonderful!!!  I saw loads of people holding the beautiful little tea lights that he so generously shared.

A little girl on her dad's shoulders holding a tea light that Jordan handed out
I knew how happy I was when he gave us candles, but I wanted to know how other people reacted to his gift of a candle.  “It was so great to see people's reactions and hear their thank you s. Some people did look at me like I was selling something at first, but I understand that from other events and people with bags of things to sell. Mostly people were surprised and thankful and seemingly touched when they noticed the "LOVE" message on them.

Yes, Jordan had taken time to write LOVE on each of the little candles.  It made them so special!  They were beautiful.

My family - glowing with the kindness and love that Jordan shared
An unexpected side effect of doing kind things that many people don’t realize is how good doing them makes YOU feel when you do them.  Jordan said, “It felt so much better than I thought it would. I though the event just needed them and it would be nice to spread the love with the lights. It was so great to "light" the candle and physically hand it to people. I would totally do it again at another important event. I've never actually done anything like this before. I do volunteer my time and spend 20-30 hours a week (99% for free) raising awareness for food waste and ugly produce” (check out and click “press/about” to learn more about Jordan’s passion). 

Jordan told me that the tea light is a good reminder for people to bring home with them, and I know in my case that is totally true - mine is now on our fireplace mantle and it makes me smile when I see it there.  He said that writing “LOVE” on each tealight, can, “…hopefully send a ripple of hope and love with each person that receives one. It's a tough time for  love and hope in the U.S. right now but most of us value civil liberties, freedom, and our beautifully diverse and usually welcoming nation. We just need to never forget these things and  #LoveWillWin .”

Kindness and love
THANK YOU Jordan.  Thanks for the candle, and more importantly, thank you for the MESSAGE and the kindness.  Yes, let’s all work together and LOVE WILL WIN.

#UglyReallyIsBeautiful (in reference to the CARROTS, not to Jordan!!  He is LOVELY inside and out)
Be sure to “like” Kindness Activist on Facebook and follow @KindActivist on Twitter to see more inspiring stories of kindness.  The world can certainly use more KINDNESS.

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