Bluehost in Orem enjoyed some service and laughter Wednesday afternoon with Ricky Smith — a comedian, television writer and founder of the nonprofit organization, Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere.
Three years ago, Smith, who is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, did his first RAKE tour — traveling around the nation doing random acts of kindness for strangers. Smith is on his seventh tour now, and Wednesday’s event marked day 17 of a 50 cities in 31 days RAKE tour. Smith’s filmed and posted his acts of kindness from the beginning, not to boast, he says, but to encourage people to pay it forward.
“It encourages others to do the same. I tell the kids, do this and then post it. It may seem like bragging, but it’s better than posting 20 selfies of yourself,” he said Wednesday.
Bluehost got the opportunity to be a stop on Smith’s tour, because its parent company is Endurance International Group, which is partnering with Smith for the tour. Smith said he started from Denver at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning to make it to the multiple Endurance offices in Utah throughout the day.
Bluehost and Endurance employees worked together the past few weeks to gather new or gently used women’s professional clothing, suits, shoes and accessories to donate to Dress for Success Salt Lake City in honor of International Women’s Day. On Wednesday they then met Smith, and some of the employees were able to work with him to deliver the clothing.
For Smith, he keeps trucking along in his RV because first, he’s grateful for the many small acts of kindness that lifted him when he was at one of his lows. Second, he enjoys it too much to stop.
“When I was going through things, people didn’t know I was, but their kindness, the little things they did for me, they didn’t know how much it meant,” he said. “We’re all going through something. Me doing acts of kindness, it’s really selfish actually. It makes me feel better immediately.”
Logan Sutherland, human resources director at Endurance, said the company loves being involved in community service campaigns. During the fall, they gathered clothing and toys for a local shelter, and have partnered with Stop Hunger Now to package meals for children.
“Our employees like to be involved, and it’s fun to see them enjoying Ricky’s visit,” Sutherland said. “The work we do is sometimes really hard, so it’s good to see them enjoy a positive interaction here.”
Employees might have needed this lighthearted day, because Bluehost, which was bought by Endurance in 2010, was notified in January by its parent company that the Orem offices were closing later this year. The closure will affect more than 400 employees.