Spreading smiles one act at a time


KILL ‘EM WITH KINDNESS—To brighten everyone’s day, freshman history major R.J. Coon holds the door at the entrance of the Lodge connected to the Woods for fellow students and faculty. Denali Drake/NW

Denali Drake

If you live in the Woods, you have probably seen someone holding open the door for you, silently, with a calm smile and a kind aura. R.J. Coon is a freshman history major who spends his free time holding open the door to the entrance of the new residence halls. Through rain, snow and sun, he continues to stand outside stoically. 

“I think everybody deserves to have someone stay up for them, I like to do it at night because I think that everyone, no matter what [kind of] the day they had, deserves to have someone to wait for them,” Coon said. “When you have a long day, it’s dark, it’s cold. I like to think it can brighten up someone’s day.”

There is something so kind and so calming about this promise; this act of self to hold the door open day-after-day. It’s more than chivalry, it’s radical kindness. Coon lives by the philosophy of spreading joy and inducing happiness. 

“Kindness regardless on a big or small scale can have an impact, [when students exit] you get to say hi to R.J. on the way out, and he’ll smile at you because I always do that,” Coon said. “Kindness is key.” 

No one else seems to hold open the door for such long durations, and he never felt this act was one-sided.

“Just the thank you’s are enough, some people try to tip me or buy me Starbucks and I tell them you don’t have to buy me anything if you just smile at me, that’s enough,” Coon said.  

Students have taken notice of Coon’s actions, and they have more than generous words of thanks to him. 

“Usually I’m rushing to class when he’s there, but [he’s] always with a smile and kind greeting,” sophomore political science major Mya Curth said. 

It’s often easy to feel isolated on campus and simple joys can spark a feeling of connection and wildcat comradery. So when you have a long day, know that someone here on campus cares, even if it is something as small and selfless as holding a door open.