BALTIMORE — Leon Logothetis brought his message of kindness to Baltimore’s Arbutus Middle School earlier this month, and the global adventurer and philanthropist says the students there embraced his belief that doing something good for others goes a long way in creating a peaceful world.
“My visit to Arbutus went very well and it’s such a privilege to be able to go to the school and talk to the students,” said Logothetis, the best-selling author who quit his job to embark on a global journey that he said transformed his life and taught him that nothing succeeds like kindness.
“What stands out for me is when I asked a question and invite the students to come down and tell me what it’s like when someone is kind to them. More often than not, they picked someone from the school or in the audience who has been kind,” Logothetis said. “That shows everyone that kindness really does change lives.”
Logothetis, who hosts the Netflix series, “The Kindness Diaries,” traveled across the world with just $5 to spend per day. He relied on the kindness of others to take him from place to place.
His story made international headlines and gained traction as he appeared on top-rated shows like “Good Morning America” and his YouTube series, “#GoBeKind,” which has generated millions of views.
“It really started for me early,” Logothetis said. “I had an afterschool teacher who helped me. I used to be bullied and the teacher would always say that she believed in me. That was really the first act of kindness that made me believe that how you speak to another person really does matters.”
On a yellow motorcycle, Logothetis traveled the world, a six-month jaunt that took him across 20 countries, which he’s chronicled in the 13-part series, “The Kindness Diaries.”
Through extreme conditions, setbacks and bike breakdowns, kindness prevails and is paid back in-kind by Logothetis. For example, he reportedly provided sports equipment, books, and water purifiers to a Calcutta orphanage that had offered him refuge.
Kindness, Logothetis believes, is universal.
“If you know how to be kind to your pet, then why can’t you be kind to each other? There are no more excuses,” he said.
He calls the presentations he gives at schools, “I See You,” a reflection of the imperative of not being judgmental of strangers and endeavoring to learn their stories.
Logothetis fondly recalled his trip through Bhutan, a tiny remote kingdom that’s nestled in the Himalayas between India and China.
Despite the national struggles, which include many human rights violations, individuals there proved especially kind to him, he said.
“The people are so lovely. My experience is that the people I met deal with you from the heart,” Logothetis said.
He said the time is particularly right for promoting kindness in the United States because of the divisive political climate and the vitriol of social media.
“I have faith in America. I have faith in the people and I have faith things will improve,” Logothetis said.
Later this year or early in 2018, he plans to take an electric car around the world in which he’ll again rely on the kindness of others.
“When you show an act of kindness, you’re making someone feel less alone,” he said. “That, in itself, is valuable. But, the beauty is, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how little you have, everyone can be kind.”