A little kindness goes a long way, and for the week of Feb. 15-19, the staff at Greater Baltimore Medical Center is working to brighten people's days.
The BeKind Brigade, made up of GBMC staff from various departments, has been handing out free meal and parking vouchers to employees and hospital visitors as part of Random Acts of Kindness Week.
“It's always a wonderful thing when somebody gives you an act of kindness, we need to have this more often,” said Bernadette Carolina, a GBMC visitor.
The acts of kindness are meant to spread joy, help strangers and inspire others to pay it forward.
“We're hoping that by showing people we care, showing them a little bit of love with a random act of kindness that they'll take it pass it on,” said Dr. John Chessare, the president and CEO of GBMC HealthCare.
And at a place where the average visitor can use the extra support, a small gesture can bring a smile to someone's face.
“Sometimes hospitals can be joyous places such as when women deliver their children, or they can be sad places, so this kind of just adds one little spot to what could be a not so nice day,” said Sharon Sacra, who was at GBMC visiting her aunt.
Chessare added that the week of events is also an opportunity for the hospital to show their appreciation to its patients and to reflect on their true purpose of improving the health of the community.
“Maryland's hospitals are all not-for-profit, we are here to serve the community and sometimes we get a little confused and it looks like we're here to sell health care services, we are not. We are here to make the community healthier and this just gives us an opportunity to reflect on that,” he said.
“Every time I come to this hospital everybody's so nice and every day is a random act of kindness day here,” said Ken Zuiderhof, another GBMC visitor.
Doing good for others also has potential health benefits, according to Dr. Chessare.
“There's some pretty good evidence that having a positive outlook and doing good things actually improves your mental status and we know that that over the long run will have a positive effect on your overall health,” he said.
Greg Shaffer, a BeKind Brigade member and GBMC director of marketing and government relations, said the acts of kindness don't need to be grand gestures, either.
“It's just free parking, I mean people were smiling and they were over the moon about it, so it doesn't need to be something big it can just be holding the door open for someone or leaving a KIND bar at their desk at work,” he said.
The hospital is also holding a food drive for the month to benefit the Bea Gaddy Family Center in Baltimore City. For a list of where to find their 14 different drop-off centers, click here.
On Thursday, GMBC is hosting a blood drive where people are encouraged to donate as an act of kindness. For more information and to sign up, click here.
And for some ideas on easy ways you can spread kindness, click here.