Killing with kindness

Hunter Harrell, Assistant Features EditorHunter Harrell, Assistant Features Editor

As the leaves of fall are swept away by the wind, the season of giving blows in. Whether it’s giving thanks for the things we have and the people around us or giving gifts to show appreciation, generosity and kindness are plentiful.

In this day and age, it is often hard to always be kind and generous. Let me tell you, though, kindness makes all the difference. Though I could tell you from personal experience how kindness pays off, in honor of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, I will share another’s story.

Dick Stolley was an ordinary journalist who worked for Life magazine in Los Angeles. Like any other journalist, Stolley immediately flew to Dallas when JFK?was shot. Eventually, Stolley received word that a local man had a homemade film of the assassination.

Abraham Zapruder spoke with law enforcement and other journalists before Stolley. However, when it came time to decide who to sell the film to, Zapruder easily decided to contact Stolley.

Regardless of how much money other news organizations offered or who came to Zapruder first, Stolley had first dibs on the exclusive film. According to Zapruder’s business partner, Stolley had received the film partly because of the kindness he showed toward Zapruder’s secretary, Lillian Rogers.

While other journalists were demanding to see the tape and offering large sums of money to get past the secretary, Stolley spoke genuinely with the secretary.

For Stolley, a simple act of kindness changed his life.

Remember that people are people and should be treated as such. They have thoughts, feelings and emotions that deserve to be respected as much as your own.

The smallest actions impact people in a big way. Whether it’s waving at someone you see daily, holding the elevator or offering help to classmates, the little things add up.

One of my favorite quotes by Albert Schweitzer sums it up nicely.

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”


Story by Hunter Harrell, Assistant Features Editor