The Kindness Origin Story
I love road trips, so for spring break in 2017 the girls and I rented a minivan! I packed a cooler, a port-a-crib, and likely 1,317 other necessities for little ones. We also picked up two of our favorite friends, Mandy Peacock and her 10 week-old son, Walter. We listened to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s September on repeat, ate more than a few applesauce pouches and managed to arrive in Wilmington, NC from our home in Charlottesville, VA in just under five and a half hours — two stops!
We’d planned this journey because three months earlier a friend had sent me this 90 second video about a coffee shop employing people with cognitive disabilities. (If you haven’t seen the video, watch it, NOW! Even if you know all about Bitty & Beau’s, you’ve eaten breakfast there and you wear their hoodie every Friday, this video is worth watching — maybe again or a third time, too!) Kiran has Down syndrome, my cousin, Charlie, has mitochondrial disease, and this video leaves few eyes dry. For 3 months, I couldn’t get this place and this video off my mind. Checking out this coffee shop was a must.
And, well, Mandy is both fiercely loyal and always up for an adventure. She is also particularly talented at being human, seeing human, and treating everyone as fully human. When I was younger, I worked hard to be a super achiever - as a student and an athlete. But, now I want to be more like Mandy — judging less, showing care more, and embracing the shared humanity in myself and others.
Visiting Bitty & Beau’s confirmed that I wanted to explore the possibility of creating a similar experience in Charlottesville. Their menu boasts excellent coffee, delicious food, and cool gear, but anyone who visits knows they are actually selling a unique experience — a space where people with and without disabilities interact as peers, where connections are made and lives are transformed.
Kindness Cafe + Play is coming to Charlottesville! Our community is ready to support a mission-driven coffee shop and will benefit tremendously from the special experience it will provide. We’ll simply call it Kindness — a gentle reminder of how to treat one another, from our dearest family members to ordinary strangers. For our family and friends, it also will be a nod to my late husband, Krishna Kishore, affectionately known as The K-Man. An uncommonly good person, Kris sought connection in every interaction and was gifted with an exceptionally heavy dose of — you got it — kindness.
I’m good at rolling up my sleeves and working hard to make a vision a reality. Now I’ve jumped off my first Kindness cliff. The toothpaste can’t go back in this tube, and it shouldn’t. I recently bought a minivan, so let’s put on some catchy music, grab some applesauce pouches, and take this road trip together, good people! Spread kindness (the real stuff) and join the Kindness Community. Subscribe NOW! Forward NOW! We can’t wait to meet you!