By Tim Rickson (HÖRFA Marketing Director)
In light of the tragic death of television presenter Caroline Flack, a #bekind movement spread across social media channels like a tidalwave.
The shock of the breaking news on that fateful night in February was surprising enough to cause a sudden surge in reactions on social media, but the nature of the suicide was what really captured everyone’s attention and emotion.
The 40-year-old TV presenter had been arrested and charged with assault in December last year following an incident in her London home involving her tennis player boyfriend, Lewis Burton, who had required medical treatment following an argument between the pair.
Although the couple pleaded with authorities for the case to be dropped, given Caroline’s vulnerable mental state, the CPS decided to proceed with prosecution.
Friends of Caroline said the fear of the court case and anxiety over the personal intricacies and bodycam footage that would be shared was what drove her to take her own life.
The devastating news sparked a unity of the many people saddened and affected by Caroline’s untimely passing, and it was positive to see the hopeful messages swarm through the internet, albeit under the most lamentable circumstances.
My only disappointment from this movement that is urging people to be kind is that it is not a constant. It seems, sadly, that this might just be a passing trend and that the idea will eventually wither away until another tragic event makes the crowd sit up and take notice once more.
Here is a tweet directed to actress Kym Marsh on Twitter, composed by a lady who actively participated in the #bekind movement:
This lady’s timeline was (she has now removed her profile from Twitter) filled with warming messages about Caroline Flack’s death, promoting the #bekind trend. Yet, within a few days of her campaigning she is sending messages of hate to other celebrities that could be affected in the very same way. Her #bekind crusade is essentially over already, it lasted around a week.
The point I am attempting to make here is that being kind is a quality that all humans should possess all of the time. It shouldn’t be an online craze that just comes and goes when something terrible happens to a person in the public eye.
Here at HÖRFA, we have been promoting kindness for years. If you really want to be kind, then it’s not just a passing phase that you contribute to in the wake of a catastrophe, it’s a characteristic that you should live your entire life by.
Kindness is the quality of being generous, caring, considerate and helpful. Yet since the 40-year-old’s death on February 15, there has been a number of contradictions to the definition of kindness - the message to Kym Marsh above, who is a mother and a grandmother with a loving family, is a perfect example of this.
When Deontay Wilder lost his unbeaten record to Tyson Fury a week later, the American was bombarded with messages that he was finished with, that he had been found out, with so-called boxing fans calling him ‘a bum’.
A record-breaking world champion with 41 KOs from 42 wins and a single loss deserves more respect than that, especially when he was rushed to hospital immediately after his damaging defeat.
With blood pouring from inside his ears, my thoughts were of concern for his injuries, expecting there to be some serious damage caused. Of course, I was overjoyed that Fury had won the fight and the WBC world heavyweight title, but I was genuinely worried for Wilder. Thankfully, he was ok after a hospital check-up and it appears that he will attempt to bounce back and fight Fury again, for a third time.
Since then, the news has been dominated by the Coronavirus epidemic that is spreading across the world at an alarming rate. There is a certain level of panic amongst governments, with extreme measures expected to be taken soon.
So, many people have been panic-buying items from supermarkets, such as anti-bacterial gel and toilet rolls, which means that the shelves are completely empty for everyone else. That level of selfishness is quite hard to comprehend. Anyone bulk-buying items is essentially saying, “As long I’m ok, I don’t care about anyone else,” which is the exact opposite of being kind and considerate.
With the shelves cleared of anti-bacterial gel, it means that half of us can’t sanitise as well as the greedy persons who have stocked up, so that half the poulation will be prone to infections, causing a higher chance for the virus to spread, so their strategy will cause more harm than good!
I am still pleased to see the #bekind trend circulate because it is a positive thing, but what I am trying to say here is let’s make being kind part of our makeup. Let’s not what until December to take to the streets of big cities with blankets for the homeless and care packages, let’s do it all year round.
It shouldn’t take a shocking tragedy for people to start campaigning to be kind, it should be deeply embedded in all of us already.
I could end by suggesting we all actively do one thing every day to show our kindness to others, but I don’t believe we should have to jumpstart our selflessness and generosity, we should have it at the forefront of our intentions at all times.
So, let’s do exactly what the social media messages tell us to, and be kind, but not just for a short amount of time following a heartbreak, let’s be kind always.