A 20-year-old man from Dartmouth, N.S., will spend the next few months trying to please people he doesn’t know.
Stefano Andriani is driving across the country doing everyday good deeds for the strangers he encounters. His project, Travel Kindness, was launched Monday in St. John’s, where he put change in people’s expired or expiring parking meters, for example.
In collaboration with others, he’ll record the journey on the road, eventually producing a documentary about the experience.
He’ll also post tales of his travels on his website, travelkindness.ca, and ask his audience what types of deeds they would like to see him perform for those who appear in need of a hand.
Some of the people he offered to help in St. John’s — a guy trying to drag a bookcase up a flight of stairs, for instance — were not interested, he admits.
“On the street level, the reaction has been (that) they’re not really sure how to take it when I offer help or whatever the case may be,” he said.
Andriani’s project aims to counter the uneasiness he’s observed while trying to reach out to others. He wants to help rekindle a general sense of trust among Canadians.
In a 2003 Statistics Canada study, 56 per cent of those surveyed agreed that “most people can be trusted.” Forty-four per cent, however, agreed with a statement that suggested one can’t be too careful when dealing with others.
“On the street level, the reaction has been (that) they’re not really sure how to take it when I offer help or whatever the case may be,” - Stefano Andriani
“We don’t trust each other and it’s a sign of the times,” said Andriani.
In St. John’s, he stayed at a hotel with a friend, but for the rest of the trip he’ll be alone, sleeping in the back of his Honda Civic. He’s paying for the trip out of pocket.
He isn’t sure when he will be finished his journey, but said he would like to be home in Dartmouth for Christmas.
He’s making his way to Gander before he leaves this province for the rest of his tour. His parents, he said, are very supportive of his plan.
“In all honesty, the night I told them I cooked, so they were sort of more concerned about how poorly done the linguine was than they were the fact I was going to be travelling across Canada,” he joked, later adding that they are excited for him.
Through the release of the documentary and his activities on the road, he hopes to inspire people to be kinder to each other in simple ways.
“If everyone can take 20 seconds out of their day to help someone else, then I think we’ve made a change,” he said.