Spreading kindness — one Post-it at a time

If you’ve come out to your vehicle somewhere in Williamsport only to find a Post-it note flapping in the wind on the drivers’ side window, don’t fret. It’s only a fellow Williamsporter who’s trying to spread kindness.

In June 2012, a girl named Laina Walker uploaded her first video to YouTube. Now she has 1,156,690 subscribers to her channel. Among those million digital fans is at least one Williamsport resident, who became inspired after Walker – a YouTube sensation known for her skits featuring an “Overly Attached Girlfriend” character – uploaded a video on June 5, alerting her fans of her upcoming YouTube anniversary as well as her birthday that month.

Walker announced to her fans that she only wanted one thing from them in celebration of the milestones: for them to do something nice for someone throughout the month of June and hashtag it “#MonthOfKindness” on social media.

“All I want for my birthday is for you guys to do at least one thing for somebody else. That’s it,” Walker says in the video. She goes on to give examples, like buying groceries for someone in line at the grocery store or at a drive-thru.

“It could be as little as complimenting a stranger … maybe tell them you like their clothes or their hair or their … left nostril,” she jokes in the video.

But then Walker mentions an idea that struck the Williamsport listener:

“I want to see you guys doing stuff for other people. Maybe leave a nice note on someone’s car randomly … be like ‘heyyy! Have a nice dayyy!’ “

This particular suggestion is what inspired the creation of Williamsport Post Its – a simple, random act of kindness to spread a little positivity around Williamsport, by way of sticking a Post-it note with a kind, one-line message on the driver’s side window of a car.

“I just want to make someone else’s day, but also whether I make their day or not … just for them to get the idea (of being kind); open a door, give a compliment,” the Williamsport Post Its creator said.

She explains further on the Williamsport Post Its Facebook page:

“I want to make people smile, even if it’s only for a split second, when they are down. I want to bring an ounce of positive into your life to remind you that it exists. Maybe you’re having a great day and think, ‘There’s nothing wrong, why would I need this note.’ Use that note to remind (yourself), someone else may need a positive attitude from you. Someone you know, or don’t know, may be hurting and need a friend. Be that friend,” she urges followers.

She won’t be identified by name because she wishes to remain anonymous, for now at least.

“I just think staying anonymous keeps it exciting to a point. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and don’t want people thinking I’m doing it for attention. I could care less about the attention,” she said in an interview with the Sun-Gazette.

In a world where sometimes it feels as though negativity bogs everything and everyone down, she sees Williamsport Post Its as just a little relief from that.

“Once in a while you see nice gestures, but it’s so slim anymore,” she said, “I figure it maybe will inspire some others to make it come back.”

So far, the project is still in its infancy, with a little more than 300 likes on Facebook (facebook.com/williamsportpostits), but continues to grow each day. She figured that probably around 200 people have come out to their cars to a happy message on a Post-it.

One person thus far has acknowledged a found note after returning from grocery shopping at Wegmans, taking a photo and sharing it with the Facebook page: “Found this on my car at Wegmans!! Nice surprise :)” Savannah Hill shared on Aug. 1.

The notes read positive messages of all sorts.

“Anything positive, encouraging or inspiring … whether it’s complimenting beauty on the inside or outside … I figure something like that will always pertain to someone in some way,” she explained of the project.

The project’s creator always keeps Post-its with her when she goes out to run errands, often stopping when she observes a decently secluded car; she attempts to be elusive as possible to avoid exposing her identity.

She’s been lucky so far in not being identified, with only one close call in the Wegmans parking lot.

“The only people who know are my mom and fiance … and now you. My fiance is really supportive and he always laughs at me because he always makes sure to pull up the car when I want to leave a Post-it,” she laughed.

She realizes that the idea on its surface may strike folks as being stalker-ish or creepy, but that’s most definitely not the case, she emphasized, which is part of the reason why she created the Facebook page and writes down the URL for the page on the Post-its she leaves.

“With the Facebook page, I just made it so people could be aware if they see a Post-it, that it’s not a stalker … so they could get on there and talk about it,” she said.

“I don’t want to be the reason a husband or wife get a divorce because I (wrote) ‘you’re beautiful.’ So I wanted to create the page so that they had a place to go to see that it wasn’t creepy.”

She said that she has been getting a lot of messages on the page, asking who she is. To try and minimize the curiosity, she has been posting the occasional Facebook update to followers, giving them clues to her identity.

“I have two tattoos and a dog,” and “I was born and raised here,” are some of the clues.

“I just want to put some random (things about me) out there so they feel like they’re getting to know me,” she said.

At the time of the interview with the Sun-Gazette, she was only sticking Post-its to cars, rather than just anywhere. But over the weekend, she and her fiance decided to change it up.

“We went into (two Williamsport restaurants) and paid for a table’s meal at each restaurant, and had the manager put the Post-it on their bill,” she said.

She and her fiance picked one random table at each location, paying for the bill. Excited about the event, she wanted to let her Facebook followers know:

“The servers handed the families their bills with the Post-its on them. At one restaurant, the server we spoke to wanted to ‘contribute to the cause,’ so she gave us $4. I assured her it would go toward the (project). When we left the restaurant, we taped the $4 to the back of our last Post-it for the night and put it on another random car,” the Facebook post explains. “I hope everyone had an amazing weekend. And if you were one who got posted, I pray we were able to make your night a little better. If it made you smile, I did my job.”

At this point, it isn’t known if Laina Walker has taken notice to the project that she helped inspire when she asked her subscribers to participate in the “#MonthOfKindness.”

But notoriety isn’t the point. Spreading kindness is the point.

And with the Little League World Series coming up – a prime opportunity for spreading kindness on cars – don’t be surprised if you find a Post-it letting you know how awesome you are.