Today I arrived in Philadelphia, PA for the ISTE Conference (#ISTE2015 for those of you on Twitter) – a jam-packed whirlwind of learning for all things related to educational technology. (That’s a really fancy way of saying the most awesome conference ever for teachers-turned-tech-geeks like me.)
As you may know, Philly is called the “City of Brotherly Love.” This evening we had the opportunity to shower a local restaurant with kindness, by pre-paying pizza slices for homeless in the area at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza. The concept is simple:
Each slice of pizza costs $1. You can buy a post-it note for $1 and write a personal message, then put your note anywhere in the restaurant. If someone is hungry, but doesn’t have any money, they can take a post-it off the wall and trade it in for a slice of pizza.
On average, Rosa’s feeds 40 homeless people a day. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and you can see how this small RAK could impact many!
Knowing I would be in town for this conference, I posted on FB an opportunity for any friends to join me in this random act of kindness. It would be a virtual RAK Mob for them, but a real one for me as several of my Twitter PLN (personal learning network) were planning to visit and donate as well. I couldn’t WAIT for today to arrive!
Well, arrive it did, complete with cold, dreary temperatures and pouring down rain.
Not quite the “ideal weather” for walking around an unfamiliar city, that’s for sure! My co-worker, Heather, was kind enough to lend me an extra rain jacket as we shared an umbrella, braving the driving rain and winds with Stacie and Fay.
Earlier in the day, Fay and I passed the time away in the backseat of the van writing out post-it notes for all the donations received. Thank goodness the drive was 6 hours – we had plenty of time to get everything ready for tonight! With each note we wrote, we thought about the blessings we were passing along to others.
Despite the drenched jeans, soggy footwear, really bad hair, and a few wrong turns, we finally arrived at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.
There was a short line, so we waited patiently for our turn to order. While we waited, we were able to watch the cook toss the pizza dough just like in the movies. That was such fun! Before too long, it was our turn to order. We bought several slices of pizza to eat for our dinner, then it was my turn to RAK Rosa’s!
If you click on the blue link above and watch the video, you already know how much money we donated, but for those who don’t have video-enabled devices, let me share the joy that we were able to purchase 125 slices of pizza for those in need!
Oh, what a wonderful RAK! The entire restaurant erupted in applause when we finished and everyone had smiles on their faces! Then came the really fun part… placing all 125 post-it notes on the restaurant walls!
We had so many post-it notes, we had to place them all around the restaurant with customers offering to help. The camaraderie of everyone there, helping one another for a common cause, was a humbling, yet energizing moment.
Stacie brought her own donations and filled out post-it notes on the spot, and Heather did her own RAK by purchasing me an official “Rosa’s Pizza” t-shirt, with half the proceeds going towards pizza slices for the homeless.
We ate our pizza and took time to read the sweet notes and letters taped to the walls.
And then… I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was like a family reunion! All my favorite Twitter peeps, the guys and gals I’ve been chatting with though social media for the past year were HERE! I’ve never met any of them in real life, yet felt as if I’ve known them forever! What a joyous way to wrap up my night!
Me and Ashley Hurley (@ashleyhurley)
Sarah Thomas (@sarahdateechur), me and Ashley (and an awesome photo bomber in the back!)
Rodney Turner (@techyturner) and Tara Linney (@TechTeacherT)
#ISTE2015 – EduMatch was HERE!
If you are attending the ISTE Conference this week and would like to join in on this RAK Mob, it’s not too late! Grab a friend or two, make your way down to 25 S. 11th Street and get ready to be humbled and blessed all at once. It’s a unique opportunity to join in the fun and leave this city of brotherly love a little better than when you arrived. Visit the @SliceofISTE website for more information!
All week long I’ll share blog posts of random acts of kindness I see and do during the conference. If you do a RAK, post on Twitter with #ISTERAK – our own personal hashtag for documenting random acts of kindness while at ISTE.
A special thanks to the following people whose generosity and passion for kindness made this RAK possible:
You inspire me every single day!
Be blessed, my friends, and follow me on Twitter (@HCPSTinyTech) to stay up-to-date with conference tweets, RAKS, and more!