Richland woman spreads kindness

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City Herald December 10, 2011 

RICHLAND -- This month, a Richland woman is spreading a different kind of Christmas cheer.

It's hard to keep three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree from running on a loop through your head, but Crystal DeCoursey hopes more people will hum "three plates of cookies, two sincere compliments and one overdue phone call" instead.

Earlier this month, she invited all of her Facebook friends to join her in an event called 12 Days of Christmas Random Acts of Kindness.

So far, 40 others have indicated they are out spreading good in the world.

Her challenge is to do one good deed the first day, two the second and so forth for 12 days, during which time each person will have touched other people's lives at least 78 times.

The challenge began Monday and runs through Friday.

"But I really don't think it will end there," she said. "I've found that by being nice to people, it makes me feel better myself."

The idea occurred to DeCoursey after someone insulted her at work.

"It affected me all day. Later, I thought how much different it would be if, instead of people making snide remarks, they were nice," she said. "We forget sometimes the effect our words or actions can have on someone else."

The 12 Days of Christmas Random Acts of Kindness challenge grew from there.

The acts don't need to be big or grandiose. DeCoursey said they can be as simple as taking a moment to find out how someone is really doing, not pursuing a disagreement, bringing a neighbor's garbage can in for them, apologizing for something that has been weighing heavily on your mind or letting someone merge.

"It really does not take that much time," she said.

"I've come to realize when you do these good deeds, that's a gift to yourself. You are surrounding yourself with good -- not negative -- feelings," she said.

Multiply that by the 41 people participating -- DeCoursey and 39 others -- and that adds up to nearly 3,200 acts of kindness in less than two weeks.

"That's some serious positive influence, karma, blessings," she said.

To check out DeCoursey's Facebook event, go to 208900675855247/.

* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513;

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