They’re trying to change the world

George Fair started his endeavor to change the world at the post office.

  • Saturday, May 24, 2008 12:00am
  • News
Ken Rice

Ken Rice

Key is kindness, compassion

George Fair started his endeavor to change the world at the post office.

When perfect strangers lug big parcels in, Fair holds the door open or helps them carry in the packages.

“I’m expanding my concept of courtesy and random acts of kindness, doing something kind for somebody you’ve never seen before and will never see again,” Fair said. “There’s no quid pro quo. You just do it out of the goodness of your heart.”

It may seem simple, but a Unity of Bellevue church group has joined an “international movement” to change the world by spreading kindness and compassion. The group has met weekly for the past month to discuss ways they can practice the concept, which is based off a parable introduced to them at church, “Yes, You Can Change the World,” by author Aman Motwane.

“It’s about how, through changing our perceptions about people, we can have an impact on them,” explained Paul Roof, the group’s facilitator.

He likened the experience to Starbucks’ “buying back” idea, wherein a car in the drive-through buys the next customer a drink and the effect trickles down the line.

“If we can learn when we first meet someone to have a sincere interaction with them and stay focused on them, people will have a sense of importance and hopefully they will have the same turn-around effect on someone else – the rippling effect,” Roof said. “That’s how we can have a daily impact in our lives.”

On a recent evening, eight people gathered around Roof’s living room coffee table at his Bellevue condominium and talked about ways they are impacting others, from co-workers to strangers.

Deborah Rice was having trouble with a co-worker who wouldn’t even look at her. Now, she’s smiling and waving at Rice every day – and so is everyone else.

“I attribute it to making a point of going over to her, talking to her and acknowledging her as a person that I wanted to connect with,” Rice said. “Then it rubbed off on everyone else.”

Husband, Ken, was also having difficulty with an employee who doesn’t get along with everybody.

“It’s sort of like Kung Fu, where instead of coming back at them, you’re absorbing the negative energy like a sponge in a way that they start feeling safer and that sincerity kind of calms (them),” he said.

In general, Ken says he has tried to see each person’s intrinsic worth. In the past, he’s tended to dismiss people easily, but now he makes an extra effort “not to pigeon hole somebody.”

Roof has found it helpful to take his ego out of the situation and realize what they were going through and why it would be better to separate.

Fair, who lives in a senior living community, has been so excited about impacting others’ lives that he has extended his mission to fellow residents.

“So I’m carrying out my acts of courtesy, holding the elevator door open and helping people get their groceries or whatever parcels into the elevator and just chatting with them,” he said. “Now, I actually go out and wait for people to walk up from the underground parking to the elevator.”

Carrie Wood can be reached at or 425-453-4290.

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