A Sign of Kindness

Story by: ELLISPark.co I Sept 5, 2023

Man standing in front of building with airplane in sky

Doug Bower, also known as “Grover,” is a glass-half-full kind of guy, but even he was feeling a bit emptied by what seemed like constant bad news on the radio or TV in 2022. So, the 86-year-old CAA Member took positive action.

He was driving around in Toronto when he noticed a billboard that he deemed perfect for spreading an upbeat message. He paid the $4,000 one-month fee to book the space bearing his motto: “Do as many nice things for people every day without expecting anything in return.”

“I thought we really just needed some positive reinforcement,” he says.

That’s the thinking behind our Driven by Good Neighbours initiative. Being a good neighbour – someone devoted to helping others and their community, without expecting anything in return – is at the heart of CAA. So we asked our CAA community for stories about acts of kindness and nominations of good neighbours who should be recognized. That’s how we met Bower and learned about his billboard.

"When I came home and told my wife I’d just spent $4,000 on a billboard, she thought I’d lost it,” he recalls. She also knew there was no stopping him. Bower contacted friends and family asking for help and a day later, he had enough support to pay off the sign.

It was a good investment all around. The billboard was noticed by passersby and such news outlets as CP24 and CBC. He received more than 140 emails sharing positive feedback as well as messages of thanks for helping spread positivity. He responded to every single one.

This is typical of Bower, who has been following his own billboard advice for ages. He recalls, for example, 25 years ago, helping an elderly woman who was pushing a grocery cart while using her cane. “She looked at me and said, ‘This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,’” he says. “I couldn’t believe how a simple gesture could make someone smile so much. From that day forward, I have tried to do something nice every day, even if it’s just a smile.”

Sounds like simply good advice to us.

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