jack dunaway’s caring heart leads to group performing small acts of kindness
Just one small act of kindness could turn a person’s day around. Nathan Dunaway, founder of the Do a Jack Attack group, is encouraging people to do small acts of kindness for others each day.
“If just one person did something kind, then that person did something kind and it kept going, we could have a revolution,” he said.
A little over two years ago, Dunaway’s grandson Jack Dunaway died at the age of 13.
“We’d raised him since he was a young child,” Dunaway said. “Jack was great. My mother would say that he was the sweetest boy in the world. He had a very caring heart. He was like the big brother of everybody. He wanted to take care of them. He was a good kid.”
The week after the service, people were stopping by the Dunaways’ home to offer condolences and support.
The family was flooded with stories of Jack’s kindness to his peers.
“They would say, ‘You don’t know this, but I was new in school in third grade, and Jack was the first person to be my friend.’ Another friend came back and said, ‘On the first day of school, somebody didn’t have their lunch, and Jack gave them his.’”
Dunaway later found out Jack had given away his lunch on several occasions to make sure others were able to eat.
The stories of kindness continued to pour in.
“We kept on hearing all these stories about kindness,” Dunaway said. “When you have children, you hope that you’ve raised them right so that they act right when they leave the house.”
Overwhelmed by all the stories, the family began to wonder how they could continue his legacy.
“So, Jack Attack was his gaming name,” Dunaway said. “We decided to form a nonprofit to encourage random acts of kindness. It ended up being called ‘doing a Jack Attack.’ ”
A Jack Attack is what they call a random act of kindness. This could be anything from lending a hand to someone loading groceries in their car or paying the tab for the person behind you in a drive through.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be about spending money, sometimes it’s just holding the door for someone,” he said.
They also have decals and bracelets with the Do a Jack Attack logo on them to pass out to people they witness doing a Jack Attack.
“What’s really neat is that over the course of time, it’s grown and grown and grown,” he said.
Some celebrities have even gotten in on doing a Jack Attack.
Steve Lukather, a guitarist for the band Toto; Kate Flannery, who plays Meredith Palmer on The Office; Ryan Hurst, who played in both Sons of Anarchy and Remember the Titans, have all made videos to promote the cause on social media.
Dunaway also visits schools to spread the word to area children. His message is simple: just be kind. He also utilizes social media.
“We share inspirational messages and good news stories. We just want to encourage people around us to be kind.” He’s hoping this will discourage some of the negativity on social media.
The project has also helped Dunaway and his family heal.
“It’s sharing a part of who Jack was, so it keeps his memory alive,” he said.
“About a month ago, I was at CC’s coffee in Ridgeland...I pulled up to the window and there was no one behind me. I was planning to buy someone’s coffee, but there was no one there.” He looked at his phone for a second while he waited for his coffee. When he looked up, there was a car behind him.
“I thought, that’s my sign to do a Jack Attack,” he said. “So he paid for their coffee.
He returned the following week, and the barista told him the woman he bought coffee for the week before was having a really bad day, and his small act of kindness turned her day around.
The woman decided to pay for the person behind her. The barista said the chain of kindness went on for 20 cars.
“Of course, I went home and cried because I was just so touched by that,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. Just being kind. It doesn’t cost anything.”
“It’s very tragic, it’s very sad,” he said. “And we do still have our bad days, but when we do this we honor him.”