Archive for Friday, August 12, 2011

1 in a million: Man traveling country to spread kindness

August 12, 2011


Bob Vorturba is the founder of One Million Acts of Kindness, a group that promotes charity and helping others. He travels around to college campuses across the country and was in Lawrence Thursday, August 11, 2011.

Bob Vorturba is the founder of One Million Acts of Kindness, a group that promotes charity and helping others. He travels around to college campuses across the country and was in Lawrence Thursday, August 11, 2011.

Reader poll
Have you performed an act of kindness today?

or See the results without voting


Most nights, Bob Votruba sleeps in an old school bus without air conditioning. He eats peanut butter and sugar sandwiches at least 15 times a week. He is the self-proclaimed “king of the dollar menu.”

He doesn’t own a house, even though he built them for 25 years. Just the bus.

Two years ago, Votruba decided he had seen enough violence and hatred; in his mind, the world had become a place unsuitable for his three children. So he decided to build a new one.

He founded One Million Acts of Kindness, a group and philosophy all in one. He quit his job and sold his business and just about everything else he owned to pursue his passion: traveling in his bus to inspire people to help one another.

“I’m trying to convince people they are the answer to creating a better world,” he said.

This summer, Votruba and his Boston Terrier, Bogart, are traveling the country to fight domestic violence and spent the last few days in Lawrence. He had “an incredible experience” at the Willow Domestic Violence Center on Thursday, he said. When he isn’t meeting with workers and victims, he rides his bike to spread the message; a sign attached reads “Be a man, don’t raise a hand.”

He said his retirement fund from his previous job covers his expenses. People help out along the way, and he always accepts donations to feed his bus’s 5-miles-per-gallon appetite.

Votruba passionately talks about the people in Bangladesh promoting his group or the thousands he’s spoken to nationwide. One can sense he truly believes the group will have a lasting effect on the world.

“I’m truly convinced everyone has a gift that can be a great benefit to others,” he said. “It’s a choice, no matter who you are, to do these things.”


Paul R Getto 6 years, 9 months ago

"He founded One Million Acts of Kindness, a group and philosophy all in one." === Good job, sir and keep up the wonderful work. You sound like the Great ESSENE teacher. Please swing by the Capitol building in Topeka. You could teach our CINO leaders a thing or two about kindness and compassion.

meggers 6 years, 9 months ago

I saw that bike with the signs on south Iowa and I wondered who was behind it. Too cool. We need more selfless people in the world. Mr. Vortuba is an inspiration.

And I agree, Paul. I certainly hope Topeka is on his itinerary. ;)

chong 6 years, 9 months ago

I believe Topeka is Bob's next destination.

Chris Hong Lawrence Journal World

CardHawkFan 6 years, 9 months ago

Saw you cruising the other day. Keep up the good work my friend!

Deja Coffin 6 years, 9 months ago

I didn't stop reading there but I did click on the photo to get a better look at the person who enjoys pb & sugar sandwiches.

FloridaSunshine 6 years, 9 months ago

My remark was to BABBOY...not you, Dejacrew423.

david_ 6 years, 9 months ago

On behalf of all the women in Lawrence, " you are awesome Bob"

George_Braziller 6 years, 9 months ago

I knew a man like him once. A master carpenter who after his sons were grown sold his business and all his possessions to pursue his dreams. He lived in Lawrence for about a year. I accidentally found him and hired him to do some major repairs to my ancient carriage house.

He was amazing. By the time he was finished the structure was in better shape than it probably was originally. He was such a perfectionist he apologized that he was only able to pull 5 3/4" out of the 6" sway in the ridge. A few weeks later he came by my house to tell me he was leaving town for New Orleans to help with rebuilding after Katrina.

I saw him a couple of days later and we waved to each other, and then he was gone. Thank you James wherever you are.

yoornotmee 6 years, 9 months ago

We parked next to the bus tonight. It made a great background for some photos :)

FloridaSunshine 6 years, 9 months ago

Bob...I want to know so much more. Have you had any book offers? I want to know all about you and what you do...about your family and how they are many questions. Where can donations be sent if we are not in close proximity to you? I'm not sure how long a man can live on peanut butter and sugar sandwiches and stay healthy.
If you are willing to give of your time in this extremely selfless way, please let us all know how we can donate to help you and your family.

As I said, there are so many unanswered long are you away from your family? I won't go on here, but surely there will be a book about your venture? Please let us know. Thank you for proclaiming, "Be a man, don't raise a hand." Anything that will benefit children in any way whatsoever, I want to be a part please, more information!! Thank you! And thank you, Bob, for the sacrifices you are making. I hope you and your family benefit in some great "material" way from deserve any wonderful opportunity which may come your way to spread your message! Oh, for more bold men such as yourself!!! Again, thank you!

FloridaSunshine 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes...a life well-lived, Anne Herbert said so succinctly, "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty."

I wish Bob Votruba could be cloned and sent to every elementary school in this let all the little ones who deal with violence on a daily basis realize IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT. What a vast undertaking visiting college campuses...and meeting with workers and victims at domestic violence centers. The WHOLE of the article made me question what I can do to make this country (not to mention the world!!) a safe place for our little ones. It seems quite hopeless, but as long as there are men who are not ashamed to spread this message of kindness, then I will hold on to hope. There are some truly good men "out there" and I know you "practice what you preach." You touch my heart with your generous spirits and your love and care and concern for those who are suffering through a life that is sometimes just too difficult. You can't even imagine how much I respect you.

I am reminded of a statement that stands the test of time..."Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution.” Kahlil Gibran

And let us help pass the word on, as Bob Votruba says, "Be a man, don't raise a hand."

FloridaSunshine 6 years, 9 months ago

Just a question...which may never be answered. I've emailed the "staff" several times in the recent past with no response forthcoming. Which spelling for this gentleman's name is correct?...the spelling along with the picture on the sideline...or the spelling within the body of the article? Thank you.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.