Committing deliberate acts of kindness

Kerri Breen
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Nova Scotia man making documentary about doing good deeds

Stefano Andriani, 20, tops u p a stranger's parking meter on Duckworth Street in St. John's.

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,, 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.

Organizations: Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Gander Canada

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Recent comments

  • francis
    September 18, 2010 - 11:29

    Leila, my hope is lost each and every morning i stick my nose out the door and find some new example of absurdity and shocking display of self interest. Yesterday, as a matter of fact, when i stepped on my stoop, i had to stop and witness about 6 junior high schoolers, huddled in the lane way between the houses across the street smoking dope on their lunch hour. These are the same kids who mooned my neighbour last week for asking them not to leave their garbage on our lawns and the same group of future citizens who will be running this city... smile and have hope?, my only hope is that society gets a rude awakening and that kids like these get the spanking they deserve....

  • francis scambelleri
    September 16, 2010 - 10:38

    if this fellow really wants, "only for people to be kinder and more considerate", then he wouldn't be looking for publicity or doing a documentary.. this fellow, though he may seem genuine and sincere, is like the rest this media generation.. all looking for some kind recognition. their supposed humanitarian acts are nothing but a way of fulfilling their innate narcissism. want to do something good for society?, why don't you head to a retirement home or soup kitchen and offer your assistance without the publicity while staying close to home...

    • Travel Kindness
      September 16, 2010 - 12:50

      Thank you for your concerns, I understand them fully and reassure you that narcism is not a factor. Before leaving I talked with my close friends and family and other members of the community in order to develop a plan that I felt would best address the decline in kindness that is referred to in this article. My mission is to correct that. The documentary and press coverage that you speak of are tools in addressing the issue and getting the word out there about how we can change it. On that note in fact, Your second point is excellent. I fully agree with you on the idea that we should all become involved locally and work to help and build our communities, at it's heart, that is my mission. I hope that my mission, and your comment, will help others to come to this conclusion and decided to volunteer locally, or even just help out, "close to home" as you put it. thank you again for your comment, if you have a good deed you'd like to see me do or want to share one that you yourself have done send me an email at and we can do this thing together. I can't wait to see what we as Canadians are able to do as a whole, I really believe we can make a change.

    • francis
      September 17, 2010 - 10:26

      thanks for your reply,, i, for one am not convinced of your altruism, again, if you really cared, you wouldn't be looking for publicity... get back to me next year, when this phase passes and you, like all other 20 somethings, will be on to the next new thing... as for whether i have any suggestions for acts of kindness? sure, how about coming over to paint my house, or pay my power bill, or hold my hand while i rail at the fact that society is full of self interested and short sited narcissists who can't see passed their own noses...... good luck ...

    • Leila
      September 17, 2010 - 11:19

      Your reaction Francis is proof we need more kindness. More happiness and less immediate negative response like you just potrayed. Smile and have a little hope.

  • meme
    September 16, 2010 - 08:16

    I think what this young man is trying to do,is a great thing. Although we don't like to let strangers in our homes sometimes,we do let them in. For example cable people,phone techs and so on. If i was having trouble bringing something in my home and someone offered to help, i would simply accept the offer but once inside my home i would put whatever it is in the pourch and tell the person thank-you i can get it from here. My jewellry and valuables i keep in my room, and for what reason would a stranger be in a bedroom. Sometimes it is our own mistakes that let criminals get away. Hope you have a great journey!!

  • mercedes jones
    September 16, 2010 - 07:07

    He should forget trying to to get into peoples' homes Too many people have beenburned by letting so called do gooders into their homes. We had a program here once for young people to shovel seniors' steps and the innocent seniors would bring them in and feed them. They found out later that some of the kids were simply casing the joint. I asked a young man in off the street one day to help me move a heavy dresser and gave him $10.00. A little later I found three peices of jewellry missing! Maybe this young man could volunteer to clean a garden or give a days' labor to a foodbank? No one gets inside my door anymore but family or police.