They operate under the cover of night. And sometimes under the cover of day.
They sneak into classrooms and community restrooms unnoticed, leaving notes of support and encouragement for students dealing with pre-exam stress. They sidle up behind unsuspecting targets' vehicles, scraping snow from the windshield with little regard for the warmth of their own hands.
They are the Secret Kindness Agents, and they're on a mission: to spread a little goodwill on the Central Michigan University campus.
These individuals, whose identities remain hidden, have been operating on campus for the entire semester. Eyewitnesses said they have seen suspected agents picking up trash, paying for strangers' meals and even leaving thank-you notes for campus custodians.
Eyewitnesses report seeing students picking up trash
and sharing umbrellas with strangers.
They seem to have taken their inspiration from a book by Ferial Pearson called "Secret Kindness Agents: How Small Acts of Kindness Really Can Change the World."
A source close to the agents said the students wanted to see if small acts of kindness could make CMU feel like a more welcoming place.
"Can a small group of people exert a positive impact? Their hope is to see some sort of small impact on the environment they live in," the source said.
The source shared documents detailing three months' worth of activity, which included sharing umbrellas with strangers on rainy days and using a mobile app to send positive memes and inspirational quotes to random students in the Bovee University Center.
Several individuals impacted by the random acts exhibited unmistakable signs of happiness, including — but not limited to — smiling, sudden outbursts of laughter and contented sighs.
Colorful notes with inspirational messages are popping up on
desks and mirrors around campus.
Ann Krzyzaniak, residence hall director in Trout Hall, said she's noticed little sticky notes of positivity around the building.
"Seeing these little acts of kindness always reminds me how special it is to be part of a community that genuinely cares. CMU really is a great place filled with wonderful people who go out of their way to support, uplift and help out those around them," she said.
Will the agents' work spark a new epidemic of kindness? Will more people be motivated to commit these acts of encouragement, support and cheer? Will you be the next person to become a Secret Kindness Agent?