Facebook post spawns ‘random acts of kindness’ movement

By Derik Vanderford dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

March 7, 2014

UNION — One man’s Facebook post has launched a growing movement of random acts of kindness.

Lifelong Union resident Marcus Porter often shares his moving testimony with others — particularly youth. Porter talks about his journey beginning with his humble upbringing as a resident at Union Housing Authority, leading into his student athletic career and coaching career, achieving his master’s degree, and his current position as Assistant Principal at York One Academy.

Porter often posts Facebook statuses he labels “PorterPosts” for his 2,300-plus Facebook friends to read. A few examples of those “PorterPosts” are as follows:

• PorterPost #29…Love, Love, and spread more Love. It’s the best remedy for all of life’s ills.

• PorterPost #16…If only these absentee fathers would know how it feels to be present in their sons lives…..Marcus Jr. will never be without me for as long as I live.

• PrinciPost #83…I encourage everyone reading this to earn at least a High School Diploma/G.E.D. If you do have your diploma, please further your education with some type of Certification/Trade or Degree. The more you know, the more you’re worth.

Porter said when he relaxes at home, he often thinks of messages like those that he would like to share with the online social media community. His most recent post, however, was different than previous ones in that he asked readers to take action:

“I need your help FB. I’m trying to transfer $10,000 into the hands of complete strangers. The only catch is that ‘we’ will do it $5 at a time. Here’s how: I have over 2,000 FB friends. I need each one of you to randomly give $5 to a complete stranger. I will also give too. Just once is all it takes. Don’t worry about why you’re doing it. You’ll be repaid many times over just for helping a complete stranger. Post a pic if possible and tag me please.”

Porter posted a video of himself with a random stranger. Before handing the man a $5 bill, Porter tells him, “You don’t know me; I don’t know you. You owe me nothing. Peace.”

As of Friday morning, Porter’s Facebook page was flooded with photos of people handing over $5 bills to random strangers, just for the sake of giving. The movement has occurred throughout the Upstate and spread to other states including Maryland, Florida, Georgia and Virginia. On Thursday evening, Porter said he estimated between $500-$1,000 had been given away to random strangers.

Some people added comments with their photos. One comment read, “I gave my 5 to an elderly lady. She about cried on me and said the Lord is so good. I feel great! Still smiling.” Other comments were short and to the point: “It felt good.”

Porter purposely lives a life of generosity, often giving away new clothing and other items through his Facebook page.

“If God is helping me, then it’s my purpose to help someone else,” Porter said. “It’s putting the needs of others ahead of your own.”

Porter said he wants to encourage generosity through the acts of people other than himself. He also said it’s a good lesson for his nine-year-old son, MJ (Marcus, Jr.).

“When I’m with my son, a lot of times we randomly help people,” Porter said, offering examples such as paying for customers behind him in the gas or grocery line.

“I had five dollars in change last week and gave it to the lady behind me. She was like, ‘Why did you do this?’”

Porter was asked what his son thinks about his examples of paying it forward.

“He thinks it’s cool,” Porter smiled. “I hope he adopts this part of my legacy and continues it.”

Porter said he hopes this movement of people being nice to each other just for the sake of goodness continues to grow.

“Our society now is ‘gimme, gimme, gimme,’” Porter said. “We need to spread love and kindness to people when they least expect it. A lot of times they really need it but won’t say it.”

Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 29.