Her life is devoted to kindness . . . .

To doing good deeds, to helping people and to encouraging others to do the same, she is an inspirational individual.

Her name is Kindness Girl.

It hasn’t always been the case – indeed, she was once known as Meanness Girl, a moniker that helped her discover the thing that has come to define her.

“I had this notion that I had to be more together, but . . . it was my brokenness that really took [this further],” she explains. “The moment . . . I started blogging about how I was Meanness Girl and how I struggle and how my kids drive me crazy sometimes and how I didn’t understand things, I think that was the beginning of people knowing who I was. For me, kindness started in a place where I needed it myself, and the only way I knew how to get it was to offer it. Because in offering it, I was receiving it. I was putting out the hope that I needed to see in the world.”

Here at OM HQ, such things tend to strike a chord, so much so that, in recent days, we’ve been learning more about Kindness Girl.

The things that we’ve discovered include:

– Her real name is Patience Salgado and she’s a 35-year-old mother of four from Richmond, Virginia.

– She calls herself a ‘kindness worker’ and spends her days reaching out and helping those in need.

– Her work and her achievements, in her local neighborhood and beyond, are remarkable.

– She’s our kind of person.

In recent times, she has persuaded an army of volunteers to chalk positive messages on the sidewalks of her local schools before the first day of class . . . .

Raised more than $14,000 in donations for those targeted by hate-fuelled picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church . . . .

Launched a nationwide campaign encouraging homeowners to express their gratitude to garbage collectors . . . .

Encouraged others to ring their neighbors’ doorbells, leave a small gift on the porch and run off.

Such things are making a huge difference . . . .

“She’s inspiring people to actually be nicer to each other,” says Kira Siddall, a close friend and supporter. “It’s so authentic and completely her, I think that’s what’s refreshing about it.”

Spreading kindness isn’t new to Patience, whose upbringing has played a huge part in shaping her outlook on life.

“My parents were amazing,” she says. “They just lived it (kindness) and I didn’t know it was anything special. If someone was in crisis, they went. I’d been to more funerals and hospitals by the age of 10 than [most people] in their whole life.”

In college, Patience spent her free time leaving anonymous notes, their messages kind and thoughtful, around campus. In her first job, as a pre-school teacher, she and a friend secretly left flowers for their co-workers.

It was upon meeting Happyanne Kuhn – a young woman battling against bone cancer for the second time – that Patience realized kindness was not just a pastime but her calling in life.

Nancy Giglio, a member of Happyanne’s healing circle, introduced two women who would become best friends. Before Happyanne lost her fight, Patience had made an enormous difference to her life.

“It’s a gift,” Nancy told Patience. “This is the work of your life . . . .”

So it has proved, Patience using her talent for social networking to make countless connections and spread kindness far and wide.

Her tale – one that has reached our studio, here in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, in recent days – is being told the Earth over.

She is caring, she is connecting, she is making a difference. She is showing us all the way.

To quote another friend, Christa Prout Koschock, “[Patience’s life is] folded and wrapped [with caring and kindness, with] no real stopping or starting point. It’s seamless. She is kindness.”

To quote Patience herself, “[I’m] holding something that’s really good and I want people to have it. I just wake up every day and I know this thing has my heart and I just follow it.”

Here’s to a true inspiration, here’s to Patience and here’s to kindness . . . .

We are all connected.

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