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Appreciate altruism wherever you find it

Taylor Burm

Al-tru-ism: I’ll scratch your back and I don’t expect you to scratch mine.

Altruism is a characteristic that is embedded in the people that surround us daily. It may be a prominent feature, like in the people who volunteer their time and effort day-in and day-out to help others. Or it may be a lingering feature that comes and goes; a person could get a surge of altruism and help an older man to his car with his groceries.

The great thing about being alive, waking up every single day, getting out of bed and doing something, anything, is that we have the ability to be the altruistic wherever and whenever. We can choose to help the guy with the broken down car on the side of the road. We can choose to donate money to a local or national charity. We can choose to pay for the coffee for the person in line behind us at the gas station.

I’ve learned in the last couple months, well since Dec. 31, that altruism can take a person a long way.

For me, it was the anonymous scholarship I received from the extraordinary Superior resident that changed the course of my life. It was starting the “Superior, WI & Duluth, MN Random Acts of Kindness” Facebook page that took me down a road of giving a hand-up every single day.

With 1,200 followers as of Feb. 26, I learned that one act of kindness can lead to hundreds. The stories that people have shared on the page are heart-warming and tear-jerking in many instances. A few stories include a kind neighbor helps shovel out a car that is stuck, a person in the drive-thru pays for the meal of the person behind them, or an employee gives a ride to a Walgreens regular customer in the aftermath of a blizzard.

A little kindness goes a long way. It could turn someone’s day from a “Monday” to “the first day of an amazing week.”

Appreciate the altruism that surrounds you, and remember, be the altruism.

Taylor Burm is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Find her at