Doris with "Be Kind" signsA routine medical call one recent evening led Engine Co. 13 upon a happy accident— and a simple message: Be kind.

When the Dane County 911 Center received an alarm from a home medical device, it sent Engine 13 and Medic 5 to the home of an east-side resident named Doris. Details of the call were slim, and crews weren’t sure the extent of injuries or the nature of illness.

When nobody came to the door, Engine 13 tried to gain entry. Suddenly a light came on and Doris appeared at the door, a bit surprised to see firefighters on her doorstep! "Be Kind" sign outside Station 13

Doris explained that she must have activated her medical alarm pendant by accident and nothing was wrong, but the chance encounter gave firefighters the opportunity to get to know her. That’s when they learned about her newfound hobby of making signs that spreads a message of kindness.

“I started in August of this year,” Doris explained. “I’ve made over 700 as of today!”

For Doris, a three-time cancer survivor, being a “kindness angel” has been an uplifting hobby and way to spread positivity in a world that could use an extra boost of it once in a while. So far, she’s handed out at least 240 signs.

“If I hand somebody two or three signs, I’ll hand them a few more and say, ‘Here, give these away!’”

That’s exactly what happened the night Engine 13 met Doris. Each firefighter walked away with a “Be Kind” sign to take home, plus a couple more for the road.

Now, a “Be Kind” sign hangs outside Fire Station 13, and Fire Chief Steve Davis — who’s known for handing out “Be Nice” stickers around the office — has his very own.
Chief Davis with "Be Kind" sign
During this season of giving, Doris’ work reminds us that kindness can be the simplest, and most meaningful, gift of all.

Engine 13 Crew:
Lt. Jered Tennant
AE Joe Tiller
FF Michael Grumke
FF J. Watson

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Fire and a link back to the original post.

Category: General, Station 13