In Anaheim, the name of the game is kindness. And if you win that game, you just might receive a coin, a "kindness coin."
The coins were created after two-term Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait kicked off a “kindness campaign" and a staff member suggested he give something out as a part of the campaign. That’s how the kindness coins came to be.
“They’re not poker chips, but they’re better actually,” says Mayor Tait.
The mayor’s mission to spread kindness began several years ago. It’s also the platform he ran on when he was elected in 2010. He got the idea from signs he saw around town.
“It said make kindness contagious,” he says.
Tait says a local doctor put them up in honor of his daughter who had tragically passed away.
"But in her young life she, this little six-year-old girl, talked about kindness all the time,” says Tait.
Tait spoke with her dad.
“He felt that creating a culture of kindness is the way to holistically heal the city from within,” said the mayor.
Mayor Tait says that was his “ah-ha” moment.
“If you change culture where everyone is a little kinder, literally everything gets better,” he says.
He credits the kindness campaign for everything from reducing bullying in schools to lowering the crime rate.
“Crime gets better, which it has in Anaheim,” he says.
Since 2011 he’s challenged locals to do things that make Anaheim the true “City of Kindness”, not just the official motto, which is has been since 2017.
“It’s about who we are,” Tait says.
He gives out the kindness coins to people who live and breathe kindness, which includes everyone from loca kids to the Dali Lama.
Tait has handed out thousands of coins so far. And he always makes sure he’s got plenty on standby in a storage room at city hall. Tait always has some on his person as well, just in case he runs into a reason to give one out.
Other entities have also jumped on the kindness train.
In May of 2016, The Orange County Department of Education challenged students, teachers, and community members to undertake one billon acts of kindness. That same year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed the 100 Billion Acts of Kindness Resolution, encouraging cities, businesses, and schools to adopt a culture of kindness and achieve 100 billion acts of kindness.
Tait’s term as mayor ends in December. He says the coins will likely stay at city hall but he says he’ll continue to champion kindness.
"Kindness is contagious. It actually is contagious," he says.
If you’ve got any doubt, just pay a visit to Anaheim.