‘I’m one guy, out there trying to change the world. I’m on a mission and if I can do it, anyone can do it.’
In 2007, Armand Young left his home in California. Everything that he owned, he gave away, passing on his possessions to those most in need. On his shoulder, he carried a six-foot pole. Without once looking back, Armand Young started to walk. He hasn’t been back since.
Now, seven years on, Armand is at last heading home. He is still carrying the pole but, that apart, he’ll return a much-changed man. He has been on an amazing journey. Our planet is a better place for his astonishing exertions.
You see, determined to honor those lost on 9/11, Armand walked all the way to New York, to see Ground Zero for himself. En route, he collected flags, pennants and badges and, most importantly, signatures. More than 550,000 people have written their name on Armand’s pole, making it – he claims – the most-signed object on Earth. To consider all the people he has encountered during his time on the road is a remarkable thing. The number of lives that he has touched cannot be comprehended.
Everyone who has added a signature has also pledged to carry out an act of kindness within 24 hours of meeting this most inspirational individual. Imagine for just a second the chain reaction, the countless threads and good deeds that can be traced back to the compassionate Californian. There is no question that one person can make the most profound difference to the lives of innumerable others.
‘The plan I had, when I first started, was to change the world in any way I could,’ Armand explains. ‘I’m trying to change the world with kindness, and I’d like to see one million acts of kindness behind my walk. I’m just one guy, trying to change things and make life better. I’m on a mission and if I can do it, anyone can do it.’
If he has inspired 550,000 people to do one good deed, Armand has touched well over one-million lives already. But if each person to be on the receiving end of a kind act then pays it forward (and so on and so on), the resulting chain reaction has no limits. There is compelling evidence that Armand’s kindness is proving to be infectious because, whilst on the road, he has never gone without food or a roof over his head. Such things prove that people respond to others who set an example. We can’t all be quite as visible or adventurous as Armand, but if we can be more kind in our own lives, starting with the small things, it will be paid back (and paid forward too).
It’s something for us all to think about, not least because Armand hasn’t always been such a role model. Indeed, he has spent time in jail and suffered from an addiction to drugs, but in his actions these last seven years, he has demonstrated that we’re all on a journey. The setbacks he has encountered on the road (he has been shot at, robbed and, having been bitten by a poisonous spider, spent time in hospital) have not deterred him. He has vowed to spread kindness and to inspire others and, for sticking to his chosen path, we have nothing but admiration.
Here at OM®, we’re following a similar path. One that, we hope, will lead to a better world, a place more kind, more compassionate and more connected. It’s our hope that you’ll undergo your own journey, because together, we can reach our desired destination . . .