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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Spreading a Kindness Movement

Brittny+Mejia+%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ABob+Votruba+holds+his+dog+Bogart+while+explaining+his+mission+of+traveling+the+country+spreading+kindness+to+sophomore+anthropology+major
Brittny Mejia / Daily Wildcat Bob Votruba holds his dog Bogart while explaining his mission of traveling the country spreading kindness to sophomore anthropology major

With his Chevy bus parked in a No Parking Zone, Bob Votruba and his boston terrier Bogart promoted kindness on the UA campus Wednesday afternoon. Cops waved as they drove by, but did not ask him to move.

This is a reaction Votruba is accustomed to after beginning his cross-country journey around the nation. Monday marks the fifth year of Bob Votruba’s 10-year trip to promote his goal – for each person to complete “one million acts of kindness.”

Votruba began creating black and white “Sow Only Seeds of Love” stickers in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. While this campaign grew, Votruba noticed problems happening in schools, which caught his attention and prompted his goal for kindness.

Following the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, Votruba got into his car and drove from Cleveland, Ohio to the tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., where he stayed for four days. After being among tens of thousands grief-stricken people, he decided he did not like how people were treating one another in the world.

Determined to spread core values like kindness and respect, Votruba, a father of three college students, sold all of his belongings, found a bus on Craigslist, painted it and began to travel around the country with Bogart.

Votruba speaks to people of all ages, explaining his mission of kindness as well as the ways in which people can help spread kindness throughout their daily lives.

“What we’ve gotten so far away from in this world and in this country is wishing and wanting goodness,” Votruba told a student who stopped to speak with him. “I don’t know you, but I would never want any harm to come to you. I would only want the best that life has to offer for you.”

Some students on campus stopped because of the quotes and sayings written on the bus and spoke with Votruba about his journey.

“I feel like a lot of people who come to campus are religious fanatics who have this one idea to promote their ideologies,” said Esther Gotlieb, an anthropology sophomore. “But he (Votruba) is just trying to do something to reach out to everybody and make kindness a part of everyone’s life.”

Although his trips are inspirational, they can be financially challenging at times, he said. Votruba has found himself digging for change for gas and has had to eat a lot of peanut butter and sugar sandwiches. This does not, however, deter him from his goal.

When Votruba talked about what he would do after the ten-year trip, he said he would keep spreading his message. If he grew too elderly to drive the bus, he would turn to the Internet and focus on promoting the movement from there.

“This is growing roots here and globally and I think this can be very healing for the world,” he said. “If you have cultures teaching their children to want to hate, we better be teaching our kids to love by the tens of millions.”

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