One man in the Southern Tier wanted to bring smiles to his community, but now his message of kindness has spread across the country.
“I had wood in the shed and I said, I’m gonna put a big heart on my fence out front, and I didn't even know what I was gonna put on it. I was like kindness, love, I don’t know,” said Darrell Harrington. “I want people having them and spreading the kindness.”
He settled on a large red heart with white letters reading, “Be Kind.”
His pandemic project of making a sign for his own front yard quickly blossomed into making signs for the community at large. After a neighbor saw his sign, she asked for one of her own, then encouraged him to make some more to sell. Eventually, he made a small batch to sell and hasn’t looked back since.
Now, Darrell spends his days sanding wood to make more giant hearts. It takes about an hour and a half to go from lumber to a finished sign and he runs his whole operation out of his basement.
“There's so much stress... if you can make someone's day, that's it. I've never expected to be where I am now, doing this,” said Darrell. “I've always enjoyed working with stuff and building stuff.”
He said his method includes two coats of white, and three coats of red exterior paint, which allows it to last through the winter season. Darrell doesn't work alone, though. He gets some help from his brother, Dale.
“It's a blast. I always enjoy working with my brother and we get to joke around and have fun regardless of what the weather is outside,” said Dale Harrington.
Darrell is now shipping his signs across the country. He also sells "Be Kind" wrist bands with a portion of the proceeds going to the SPCA. The two-foot signs are $27, plus tax, and eight inch signs are $12, plus tax.