Norman Family Honors Late Father With 'Random Acts Of Kindness' Day
NORMAN, Oklahoma - A Norman family blessed by miracles and rocked by tragedy is putting smiles on the faces of strangers.
The mom and her two children came up with "Random Acts of Kindness" day last year on July 23, and it grew bigger this year.
Sarah Rodriguez loves spreading kindness, especially because she has had her share of tears. “In the midst of devastation, that beauty and joy can rise from the ashes.”
Rodriguez and her late husband, Joel, struggled with infertility for years and through in vitro fertilization (IVF), they finally had a son named Milo.
Then, Joel died from cancer complications when Milo was one.
A second IVF procedure later gave Rodriguez a baby girl named Ellis.
However at two weeks old, Ellis contracted bacterial meningitis and doctors said she would not make it. As Rodriguez prepared to watch her baby take her last breath, a miracle happened.
“We made the really difficult decision to take her off the ventilator, and she surprised everybody and we were given the miracle of her life,” Rodriguez explained.
It’s been a long road for the family.
So on the anniversary of Joel's death, July 23, Sarah held a "Random Acts of Kindness Day.”
“We just wanted to take some of the sting out of this day and some of the power away from it and instead of it being a day about sadness and mourning, just make it a day about joy and about thankfulness and honoring his life,” Rodriguez told News 9.
She and the kids spread cheer all day in Norman. They bought coffee for people at Starbucks and filled up gas tanks for drivers at a gas station.
Then, Rodriguez went back to the same neighborhood where she and Joel helped out Moore tornado victims in 2013 before he passed. They picked a random mailbox to leave a gift card.
“I hope people go home at the end of today just thankful for their blessings and thankful for life because life is so short and it’s such a gift,” Rodriguez said.
Around 170 families from across the nation joined Rodriguez for "Random Acts of Kindness Day”. They are using the hashtag #choosejoyproject on Instagram and other social media to share their pictures.