Why do we question someone’s motivation for acts of kindness?

Dec 19, 2018, 1:55 PM
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Recently you may have read the news stories about how Aegis Living CEO Dwayne Clark paid off the Walmart layaways for 110 Washington families this Christmas. Clark, along with other notable celebrities such as Tyler Perry, Kid Rock, and Glenn Beck have referred to their donations as “Random Acts of Kindness” and “Paying it Forward.”

RELATED: Bellevue CEO pays off Walmart layaways for 110 Washington families

Certainly nobody would ever have an objection to these men doing such an unselfish thing, right? Think again. But first, let me rewind a bit.

Clark is a special person to me, a friend, a mentor, and a person I truly admire. So when I have a chance to read anything about him, I might just read the story twice. This time I made the mistake of reading the comments.

I couldn’t believe my eyes as comment after comment on this story were overwhelmingly negative. Nasty things. Questions about his intent or his motivation.

“Just another rich person showing off”

“This is just a publicity stunt”

“That amount of money is nothing to him”

My heart hurt. This isn’t true at all. I know this man, I have seen how he works and thinks. This man has done so much for me that I almost felt compelled to reply to each and every nameless, faceless person who used a fake name to say mean things. But I took the higher road instead.

What kind of message are we sending when a person does something nice for random strangers, and we mock, condemn, or question their motives? When we condemn random acts of kindness, what is it we are actually supporting? Who cares WHY someone might do a nice thing?

Where are the people whose reaction to reading this story pictured the delight of a person finding out that all the money the scraped together to provide Christmas for their families could be spent on something else?

I guess we could blame things like social media and the age of the internet for creating this culture of unchecked negativity and stone throwing. What I am most concerned about is that if we continue to mock and question the people who are doing good deeds, will people be reluctant to do them in the future?

I am blessed to have a chance to work around, near, and with some people who are true professionals and unbelievably kind human beings at the same time — many who have been blessed with what the average American would consider a small fortune. The overwhelming majority of these men and women do amazing things with their wealth, connections, and celebrity status when nobody is looking.

Clark told me he grew up with a single mom, in a modest family, and he remembers his mother putting things on layaway. That was his motivation. There was no press conference. No hype or hoopla, just a nice man doing a nice thing because he could.

There are plenty of negative stories in the world. So if I can ask one favor of everyone this holiday season, please reward a positive story with a positive comment, emoji, or otherwise happy reaction.

The day we let the trolls take away random acts of kindness is the day humanity takes a giant step backwards.

KIRO Nights on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to kiro nightsTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 7 pm for KIRO Nights with Jack Stine.

KIRO Nights

KIRO Nights

Spike O'Neill

Spike: Tyre Nichols protests were peaceful because police were held accountable

While there were protests in numerous cities around the country, including here in Seattle, it wasn't violent. It wasn't destructive.
4 days ago
L.B. Gilbert

Spike: WA constitutional abortion amendment should be an essential right

Spike says the right to bodily autonomy is an important aspect of people having the freedom to live their lives in the way they want.
10 days ago
mega millions...
KIRO Nights

Spike: Winning Mega Millions would pay the bills, but is it reasonable?

The lottery jackpot is huge again with tens of thousands of people clambering at the latest Mega Millions haul sitting at $940 million.
30 days ago
The Great Big KIRO Newsradio Holiday Special for 2022...
KIRO Newsradio staff

The Great Big KIRO Newsradio Holiday Special

Join your favorite KIRO Newsradio voices December 13th for a live radio holiday special!
2 months ago
Matt Butler

Seattle Sounds: Five essential holiday songs that celebrate the area

I knew I could find unique holiday tracks from Seattle artists that hadn’t been overplayed in retail stores and on the radio.
2 months ago
four-day workweek...
Frank Sumrall

Four-day workweek movement gaining momentum in the U.S.

This movement is spearheaded by 4 Day Week, an organization that backs the idea of the four-day workweek as a part of the future.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Why do we question someone’s motivation for acts of kindness?