The world would be a much brighter place if more people performed random acts of kindness. That's the idea behind The Kindness Company in Utica.

Ruslan Zhushma is the brains behind The Kindness Co., an idea he's had for years. Erica Mialik is the one who helped Ruslan make his dream become a reality.

"Our community in Utica is so beautiful and unique with so many people willing to give back, why not encourage people to do more of that," says Ruslan.

The idea is simple. Do something kind and leave the Kindness card behind. Ruslan says you don't have to spend money to be kind. "If you do find a card, take the initiative. It could be something as simple as a smile, telling someone they look beautiful. It's the small things that can make the biggest difference."

It's a way of promoting kindness as a way of life in Utica

The Kindness Co has been up and running for only a few months and Ruslan says he's already heard great stories. "It has taken off so well. Just one of the stories we've heard was during the cold Heart Run Walk when someone bought coffee for the runners. My friend got a hot coffee on a cold day and got to pay it forward with the Kindness card."

Cards are available at or by messaging Erica at the Kindness Co on Facebook. "We'll mail anyone cards who wants them," says Erica. "You can also leave your kindness stories to inspire others at our website."

People are already sharing their kindness stories.

"Came out to my car after work and found 5 daises on the windshield, with one of those kindness cards. It threw me off, I was definitely intrigued. I hope it spreads to those who need it most. Glad there is still goodness out there!"

"I've been a bus driver for over 15 years now. I was out for my morning route and one of the kids I picked up stepped on the bus with her oversized backpack and a plate of cookies. It wasn't a holiday, it was just a cold winter morning. "Thanks for all you do!" and the kid's signature was on the piece of paper. It caught me off guard and had me smiling the rest of the drive to the school. Moments like these make me love what I do."

Plans are in the works to expand The Kindness Co by giving back to community organizations. "Whether it's helping at the Rescue Mission or working together to rebuild after a devastating fire, we're big on giving back," says Ruslan.

"It's basically just a way of promoting kindness as a way of life in Utica."


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