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Man brings mission of kindness for annual campaign in Collier County

A man made it his mission to spread his message of kindness around the country, and his positive words reached Southwest Florida Wednesday.

For Bob Votruba, standing on Collier County street corners in early January is an annual tradition.

“It’s so much fun. I like putting myself out at the front of everyone,” Votruba said

Each honk from a passing car is a friendly show of support, as people see Votruba’s sign that reads: “Remember to be kind.”

“They see the sign and the word kindness, and it seems that their face softens,” Votruba said. “It seems that they, ‘Oh, my goodness, maybe I should be a little kinder.”

Votruba is celebrating the aptly named “Collier County Kindness Awareness Week.” He helped create it eight years ago. The awareness week lasts through Jan. 17

“This is more important now, I think, in any of the previous years that I’ve done this,” Votruba said. “Kindness and you know connecting with people and having compassion for one another, I don’t see anything more important.”

Votruba and his dog, Bogart, have dedicated the past 13 years to spreading kindness nationwide through his organization One Million Acts of Kindness, riding in their “kindness bus” from Florida to Ohio to Montana, meeting with kids, church groups and more.

“Having three kids, you know, it’s just so important the world that I leave them the legacy that I leave behind for them,” Votruba said. “That you know the world’s a little bit kinder of a place because of what I’ve done.”

Votruba hopes drivers take his message to heart.

“Being kind takes nothing,” Votruba said. “It costs nothing, and having that impact will start to heal some of the, you know, wounds that we have as a nation and as communities.”

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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