Tuesday, February 17, 2015

R.A.K.E.: Spreading Love with Comedian Ricky Smith

Just like any day, the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland volunteers were quietly working at their desk when comedian Ricky Smith came in carrying two bright pink boxes of treats. The volunteers paused to place him. Maybe he's with the Harlem Globetrotters? No, Smith says, but he offers another option: Fifty Shades of Grey.

"You're with Fifty Shades of Grey? Who were you?" asks the volunteer, playing along.

"I'm with Fifty Shades of Black, actually," Smith responds. "More like Fifty Shades of Brown to be exact. ... Today is Random Act of Kindness Everywhere Day, and I am here to strip."

He was actually there to deliver Colossal Cupcakes to the volunteer simply as an appreciation for their work. He also dropped off a full box of books for the patients and their families that stay at the house at low cost. And in case you didn't catch it, his comedy is part of his gift. 

Today is Ricky Smith's day. Mayor Frank Jackson proclaimed Feb. 17 to be "Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere" Day, also known as R.A.K.E., a growing movement started by Smith to help others. Every hour today, Smith is doing an act of kindness to put a smile on a stranger's face.

This hometown stop also marks the end of his tour of doing acts of kindness in 30 cities for 30 days. During his tour, he did acts of love from handing out socks, hats and gifts to people on the street in Washington, D.C., to singing songs with patients at the Children's Health Care Hospital in Atlanta. He has put on a senior prom at a retirement home in Las Vegas where seniors got to dress up, wear corsage, had a DJ and punch. He also dressed up as Spongebob Squarepants and wandered through downtown Nashville and gave high-fives to people. There, they met student football players trying to raise money and so he helped them raise quadruple the money they already had. 

Smith tells us in his own words how R.A.K.E. got started, why he does it and what spreading kindness means to him.

There was a woman a year ago in Lakewood I bought coffee for and broke down and cried because her mom and dad had died the day before, so everybody needs some type of kindness if you will.

I didn't really think it would take off this big, it started off me buying pizzas and posting it on Instagram and Twitter and people liking it and doing the same thing.

The biggest misconception is that once you help somebody ... when you give a homeless a guy a blanket, hat or shirt, you don't cut it off; you still think about that person.

I have a great ability to make people laugh and make people smile.

People tell you're a great person, but you sit there thinking I didn't do anything I need to do more.

I started R.A.K.E not to help people, but I started to motivate and inspire people to help other people.

Hear stories from the road on the #RAKE show on CLESound.com.

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