Days 17 & 18: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and then back Home to Florida

Days 17 & 18: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and then back Home to Florida


In 2014 my family took an 18-day trip to 20 states (in the shape of a heart across America). During this trip, we did 1,000 acts of kindness. And then, I wrote an ebook about it. Which you can find here. 

The end of this trip was not as monumental as I hoped. I had planned BIG things with me uniting the United States in some BIG gesture of kindness… but I never even made the news. People magazine called to ask me about possibly being in an article, but I fudged that up because I didn’t know how to answer the question of “Why?”


Why did I do this?


My naive, younger, excited self, told People because I wanted to write a book… AGH!!! So dumb Kelly. Lol.


Although I hate that answer, it was partly the truth. I did want to write a book…



I wanted to do something BIG that would catch people’s attention and sell lots of copies so that my family could have a better life. That’s not a lie either.


And I guess I wanted to prove to myself that I could get out there and see the world? I had never really traveled that much before this trip. 


So, where did the idea of spreading kindness come from? At what point did I decide that I was inspired by kindness? 


Looking back, I’m not exactly sure when the “ah hah!” moment was, but I know it was when I decided the choices I were making in my life were not healthy. I saw a hole in myself that I was trying to feel with these bad choices, and I wanted to be better. I guess I thought spreading crazy amounts of kindness would fix those bad choices. I thought it would make my life better in some monumental, life changing way.

And in ways, it did, but not the kind of ways that catch People Magazine’s attention, or put me on the news. It took time for those changes to happen. It was not sudden.


Kindness really didn’t have a BIG reason to be in my life, it just kind of snuck in and convinced me it was going to save me…
And it kind of did.
Kindness saved me when my son died. Kindness saved me when I felt like I had no other real purpose in life.


So while I don’t have the greatest answer as to why I wrote this particular book, I’m glad I did it anyway. 


And maybe one day, I will make those grand gestures of kindness that shake up the earth, but if all I do in life is make some kid super excited because they find the quarter in the gumball machine I quietly left for them… then maybe that little spark of joy is enough. Because joy leads to hope. And hope leads to change. And change leads to a better world…


Here is the blog entry I wrote on the last days of our big trip:


I’ve been kind of putting blogging off today, because it meant having to face the reality that my trip has ended.


In two days I will go back to working my full time job, and things will go back to “normal.”


But I don’t really know if things can ever go back to normal after a trip like this…


I want to do more.


I want to continue the good I have done…


But before then, let us complete this journey….shall we?


Day 17: Louisiana and Mississippi


Before completely heading out of Louisiana on Day 17, we stopped and had dinner at McDonald’s with my mom for a little while.


While returning to my seat from the restroom an old man, who looked kind of dirty, asked for some chicken nuggets and fries.


I am usually hesitant, as are many, to give hand outs to people who are asking me for them directly.


Not because I am cruel, or don’t think they don’t deserve it. I would just rather help the establishments that help the needy, so that I know that they are getting the “right” kind of help.


But being on my kick of kindness, I decided to buy the guy a chicken nugget Happy Meal.


I felt pretty good about my decision, and my husband even suggested getting him a gift card so that he could eat later as well…


But then, the guy said something to someone in the restaurant that apparently didn’t go over too well, and he ended up having the manager kick him out.


Does that mean that me helping him was a bad idea?


Not really…I didn’t know that he was going to get kicked out or offend someone.


And that’s just the thing; Just because the guy did something that wasn’t exactly ethical, it doesn’t make my act any less deserved.


Everyone deserves love. Good or bad. You just have to be careful of how you present it to them.


Anyways, after a nice visit with my mom, we were off to Mississippi.


It was late, and getting dark when we got to Gulfport, Mississippi.


I was thinking in my head how many things I had planned for this trip, and never got to do.


I still felt pretty bad about not being able to deliver those snacks to the Oklahoma Police Department.


Whether you like them or not, Police put their lives on the line everyday to serve and protect us, and they deserve a little appreciation every once in a while.


So, I took another chance, bought 30 Mc Donald’s burgers/chicken sandwiches and delivered them to Gulfport Police Department.


We met Lieutenant  Anthony Stewart.


He was a lot happier about receiving the burgers than his photo seems. (I think guys just like to look tough in their pictures…lol…especially police officers.)


Anyways, after meeting with Lieutenant Stewart for a few minutes, he warned me about the rain coming in, so it looked like I need to be on my way headed for Alabama, where we decided to stay the night.


Day 18 (Our final day): Alabama, Florida


I woke up in Alabama feeling kind of sad, because I knew it meant we were just one state away from being home.


But, I also felt pretty darn proud of myself for getting this far.


It was time to do some of my last acts of kindness and go home.


On my trip I had collected 36 toiletry items from the hotels we had been staying at.



I wanted to donate those items and some food to a local Community Action Agency in Daphne, Alabama.


So I went to WinDixie and purchased 65 food and beverage items.


And then we drove to the Community Actions Agency, where at first, they were quite confused by our kindness. Lol.


First, we were asked if we were missionaries (again). Then, we were asked what organization we were from.


Finally, we explained that it was just our family. They seemed pleasantly surprised and welcomed our donation.

If you aren’t familiar with Community Action Agencies, they provided many different forms of assistance to those in need, while creating self sufficiency in the community. (Daphne’s CAA webpage)


They are an awesome resource, and I am so happy I got to help, but we had another long drive ahead of us, headed home to The Sunshine State.


But first, I hadn’t forgotten my promise to Marissa and the Eagle Wings from The Louisiana School. 


I had 25 Mardi Gras Beads with inspirational quotes to hand out. 


So we found a cute little shopping center, where people were hard at work on this nasty, rainy day.



Everyone loved that the Mardi Gras beads had came all the way from Louisiana to inspire them, and were very impressed with the high school students for their kind ways.


It felt good to help spread the kindness for the Eagle Wings, and I was very proud to do so!


I don’t know if you’ve ever driven it, but the drive through the Florida panhandle can seem like an eternity.


But I was blessed to have my family with me, and a warm car to be traveling in.


The kids insisted on finding a McDonald’s with a playplace, so I took the next exit with a McDonald’s sign and went on one final search…


While we were looking, we found a young couple who were sitting in the rain, holding a sign that said “traveling, broke and hungry.”


I quickly reached in to my back seat and grabbed a can of soda, some bottles of water, and a few bags of chips and cookies we had.


They immediately opened the can of soda, and a bag of chips and were extremely grateful.


It was such a great feeling.


And the kids were happy because we found a playground.


The kids got some hard core playtime, and then it was time to go home.


After paying one more toll for the driver behind me, it was back to our town home, and back to our daily lives.


But I did it.


We did it.


All the odds were stacked up against me, and my crazy dream, but I made it happen.


Will it go in any type of record book? Probably not.


Will it make national news? Not sure… (But I would love to see it.)


If nothing else comes out of this, I am proud of myself for following my dreams, following my heart, and committing so much good.


I saw a lot of incredible things, and met some really friendly people, and have helped where I could, who I could, with what I could.


For the final count, and some “final thoughts” be sure to catch my blog tomorrow…


In the meantime, I have some very busy children who need my attention right now.


Good night!


Thanks always for reading!

Kelly Airhart



I’m dedicating this blog post to my mom…because she inspired so much kindness in love in my life…and I really miss her.

Thanks for reading! 

Love you guys,

Kelly Airhart


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