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KGET Web Article

Bakersfield Professor Promotes Kindness

The following story ran on www.KGET.com, Jan. 20, 2009.


Dr. Chuck Wall is still changing the world through random acts of kindness.

As the nation inaugurates a new president at what he calls a time of change, we thought this would be the perfect time to reintroduce you to a local man who spent most of his life without sight, but is responsible for sending a global vision of kindness around the world.

Just last Friday Dr. Chuck Wall was still out delivering his message: Random acts of kindness have a ripple effect.

Administrators and faculty at Taft College started their semester with his lesson ... you can change the world with one random act of kindness.

Chuck Wall grew up in Bakersfield. All his life he was told it was mental problems that inhibited his own learning and progress. He was treated as if he was mentally retarded. But at 19,  his world changed dramatically when a doctor diagnosed him with retinitis pigmentosa. Wall says, "The doctor said, 'You are going to go blind because of this retinitis pigmentosa,' and I went home. I was pretty excited. I told my folks, 'Wow, I'm going blind, I'm not mentally retarded.' I started life all over again.''

With the help of audio cassettes and Braille, Chuck went on to receive two masters degrees and a Ph.D.

His amazing life story includes serving as a member of President Nixon's administration, writing speeches and drafting discrimination laws that are still implemented today.

He cherishes his time as a page for a television station in Sacramento where in 1965 he met with one of the greatest men of our time and has a souvenir to prove it. It's a makeup compact that Dr. Martin Luther King used when he came to KCRA to tape Meet the Press.

At the time, Wall would never know how he would help change the world in his own way.

After breakfast one morning Wall overheard a radio announcer say, 'There is another random act of violence.' Wall thought, "With every negative, there is something positive. If I pull out the word 'violence' and stick in the word 'kindness,' I'll take a negative and turn into a positive lesson for my students."

The Bakersfield Californian wrote a story that was picked up by the Associated Press and it was all uphill from there.

Wall said, "That's where it really went crazy because a reporter called me and said, 'You may want to get ready, because the editors in New York have decided to take your story and send it to every television station, radio station and newspaper around the world." 

Wall appeared on 250 television and radio shows around the world including Oprah.

There was even a movie, called Pay it Forward, based on the same premise. He carried the Olympic torch for the Summer Olympics and today his message continues to be carried on in businesses and local high schools where Kindness clubs have been established as a legacy to him.

Retired now, Wall continues to challenge himself today, finding great pride in the award winning pottery and bird houses that he builds through touch... content in knowing that this Bakersfield kid is touching lives every day.

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