What is a Random Act of Kindness and how did it start? In 1982, Anne Herbert wrote “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a restaurant placemat in Sausalito, California. This began Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). A Random Act of Kindness, as defined by GoodTherapy.org, “refers to selfless acts, both large and small, that are committed unexpectedly, without prompting and with no apparent ulterior motive.”

Local photographer Laura Darting has been on both sides of Random Acts of Kindness. . Laura states, “The community has been wonderful to me.” At one point, she was in a bad situation with her ex-husband and was moving her business. Laura and 2 friends began moving the business as it started to rain. Laura was unaware that her mom had made a social media post asking for help. It was pouring down rain, and “all of the sudden we were surrounded by pickup trucks and people that I didn’t even know.” Later in the day, there was a rainbow over the building. Her landlord even came to her to tell her that her first 3 month’s rent had been covered.

Laura has used her photography talents to help others many times over the years. She held portrait sittings to help raise funds for Hayden of Hayden’s Heroes. Hayden was in a wheelchair and they wanted a wheelchair swing for him to enjoy. She donated a portion of the sitting fees for the wheelchair swing.

When someone posted on social media that Laura’s business location would be great for a coat collection, she put a coat rack out front. She’s been amazed that there are new coats every day when she arrives at her business. She lets everyone know that they can give a coat, or take a coat. According to United Way’s ALICE Survey, 37% of Muscatine County residents struggle to afford basic needs. Please visit https://unitedwaymuscatine.org/news/alice-report-2/ for more information on the ALICE survey.

Laura did an “I am Ashley” photoshoot to support Ashley Loveless’ battle with breast cancer. She opened for 3 days, and ladies could come in and get their photos taken. Over $5,000 was raised over those 3 days for Ashley. Ashley was constantly doing things in the community and encouraging others to do random acts of kindness. Laura says, “It comes back ten-fold. Sometimes I’m not in a situation to give away things, but it always, always finds its way back…always.”