The day of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech 32 people were killed, and 18 were injured. What happened that day changed thousands of lives, including newly retired Bob Voltura's.
“I wondered what kind of hurt has to be inside someone to make them do that?'I wanted to make a difference," Bob recalled.
At age 52, Bob knew he wanted to give back to his community but instead of joining a charity, donating or volunteering he bought a bus. Bob got family, friends, and neighbors to come together and paint the bus with more than 500 words and phrases of encouragement.
Thus the One Million Acts of Kindness was born.
The bus is a light baby blue. Over the baby blue color paint, there are positive messages and words painted in a variety of colors.
"There’s a lot of powerful, positive messages on my bus. My bus sort of addresses all of the goodness and kindness," Bob explained. "There’s something for everyone on this bus. Some messages may be more powerful for you or me or someone else.”
Bob isn't alone on his journey. His canine partner in kind, Bogart, has been by Bob's side as he travels all around the country spreading positivity and seeds of hope. Their goal is to empower others to do one million acts of kindness in their lifetime.
"Kindness should always be fun. We should always have a good time doing acts of kindness," Bob said. "We shouldn't look at it as something you have to do, you should want to do it."
Bob separates kindness into two categories: physical acts and acts from the heart. The physical acts are things you probably do on a daily basis. Like greeting someone, complimenting them or holding a door open.
Acts from the heart are different - they're internal. Bob describes it as wishing and wanting goodness for people.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be living on a bus like this for the last 10 years. But when you have a passion for something, and you want to do something - you do it," Bob said.
When's he's not on the bus, Bob's reaching out to people on the streets spreading kindness. He has a sign that is twice his height. He has taken a piece of wood and at one end put a giant sign.
“You know I carry this sign, also too, that says ‘Remember to be Kind’ I flip it on to the other side it says ‘You just may save someone’s life," Bob said. "That shows the power of your actions, the power of your words, the power of your thoughts.”
He said he gets a lot of interaction from people driving by. Honks, waves, even smiles - that's what it's all about for him. Getting the community engaged and aware of how a simple act of kindness can affect your day.
Bob spends most of his time in Southwest Florida. He's in Naples for now but will be making several stops up I-75 in the next few weeks. So keep your eye out!