A few years ago, when I was in-between jobs, I vividly recall what a difficult and stressful time it was.  Having a good network of contacts, I expected that many of the friends and colleagues I worked with would be there to lend a hand.  Many of those that I expected would be there weren’t, but what was interesting was the few folks that weren’t really ‘close’ to me that were there for me.  It wasn’t that they were getting me job interviews or connecting me with others. It was more the simple recognition that knew I existed and was in a tough spot.  They would reach out every now and then with an email or phone call to see how I was doing, offer an encouraging word, etc… Small act, big impact.

I was very fortunate that this period was before the 2008 downturn and relatively brief, but it left me with a profound recognition that I could and should do the same for others.  From then on, I resolved to pay it forward whenever I could, whether that was direct involvement in helping someone find their next career (I have at least 16 of them now!), or simply keeping in touch and encouraging those that were still looking.

So earlier this year when a friend of Facebook posted Life Vest Inside’s “One Day” video, it hit home (and not only because it was filmed about 2 miles from my house!).  If you’re reading this I’m assuming that the impact it had on you was similar to mine.  The idea of small acts of kindness – and how simple it is to “pay it forward” – resonated instantly with me.

After seeing the video, I went to this site, found out Orly was the inspiration behind this movement, and reached out to her directly.  Orly and I talked on the phone, and agreed to meet in person.  Coincidentally, during the same time my son came home from school and told me his teacher asked them to watch a video that was filmed it Red Bank about kindness.  Yep, it was Life Vest Inside!

Orly and I met, and seeing the vision she had for LVI was in itself an inspirational experience for me.  If you’ve spent 5 minutes with her I’m sure I don’t need to explain.  Her openness, compassion and conviction is infectious.  Case it point: Our meeting happened right around my birthday, and when I got home that night I saw the nice card sent by my Aunt (which she sends every year like clockwork).  I ashamed to admit that I never really called to thank her over the years. But, after meeting Orly, she told me a story about how someone she gave an Act of Kindness card to call his parents.  I knew I needed to do the same, so I called my Aunt to thank her.  Not just for this year’s thoughtful card, but for all the cards she’s sent.  We caught up on things for about a half hour, during which I explained to my aunt that it was Life Vest Inside that was the inspiration behind it.  Afterward my mother called to tell me how happy my aunt was to get my call, how it really made her feel good. Such an easy thing to do, but I had neglected to for so many years.  This works.

A simple story, to be sure, but I think that’s the point.  To me, what Life Vest Inside is all about is simple kindness.  There’s no script, no “10 point plan” system, no book to read on ‘how’ to be kinder.  Life Vest Inside challenges us to be mindful of, and celebrate, that we’re connected to so many people.  And that ultimately each of us has the power to do small things that can improve the well-being of others.

My involvement with LVI has only recently begun, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to participate in building an organization that is designed to make the world a better place.  I’m proud to work with Orly and Life Vest Inside.  If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll consider how you can participate in this LVI mission.  We’re all very busy, so that might not be possible.  But at the very least if you’ve read this far you’re already finding opportunities to spread kindness.

Consider this: What’s one thing act of kindness you can do today?  Holding that door open?  Smiling at someone who you see clearly needs one?  Calling someone you love to tell them they are important to you?   Commit to doing just one of these today.  It’s that easy.

Thanks for reading!

Ronnie Battista


Ronnie Battista leads the UX practice at Slalom’s NYC office. Slalom Consulting brings business and technology expertise together to help companies drive enterprise performance, accelerate innovation, enhance the customer experience, and increase employee productivity. The firm delivers award-winning solutions in areas such as business intelligence, mobility, and cloud through a national network of local offices across 10 North American cities.


Ronnie, I am touched, honored, and humbled by your beautiful heart felt words. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for all the ways you have offered to lend a hand to Life Vest Inside.

Ronnie has gone above and beyond the call of duty to reach out to everyone and anyone he knows to help Life Vest Inside flourish and truly reach great heights. I am honored to have him as a member of Life Vest Inside’s Advisory Board and I look forward to the great things we will achieve together as a team.

Ronnie, there are not enough words to offer my sincere thanks.

With kindness, love and a whole lotta respect

Your fan,

Orly Wahba