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Kindness requires action, says entrepreneur and author Daniel Lubetzky

Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of the “Kind” snack company, believes kindness requires courage and action. After law school, Lubetzky founded a company to bring people of conflict regions together through business ventures, and it all started out with a jar of sun-dried tomato paste.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Now to another in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask people about their passions. Tonight, we hear from Daniel Lubetzky. He's the founder and CEO of the snack company Kind, and the author of the book, "Do the Kind Thing." On this Thanksgiving Day, he reminds us all just how far an act of kindness can go.

  • Daniel Lubetzky:

    One of the magical things about kindness is that it's what we nerds call a happiness aggregator. People confuse kindness with being nice. And they're very different. You can be nice and be passive. But kindness requires action.

    When you're nice, you're not bullying people. But when you're kind, you stand up against the bully.

    My dad had this incredible kindness that oozed through every part of his body. He had the ability to look at life positively in spite of what he went through. He was a Holocaust survivor. When he was 15-1/2 years old, he was liberated from the Dachau Concentration Camp by American soldiers who risked a lot to save people they had never met.

    He would make sure to not just remind us about the horrible stuff he went through, but also about how people rose up where there was a German soldier who when people were not watching through a potato by my dad's feet. It never was lost on him that he was living on borrowed time and that he lived because of the kindness of others.

    When I applied to law school, I wrote on my application that I wanted to do two things. One was to solve antitrust laws irregularities and problems, and the second was to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. And my adviser came to me and he's like, do you think you might want to just choose one? (LAUGHTER)

    I ended up trying to create something called Peace Works, which is until today still exists. It's a business, to bring neighbors and conflict regions together and help use the power of business to shatter culture stereotypes.

    As I was doing my research late at night, I went to a store on Gordon Street and I bought this obscure looking jar of sun-dried tomato spread. And I downed the jar. And I went back to store to buy some more. And they didn't have any more.

    I started looking for that product. Something was telling me that that product would be a conduit to actually turn the theory from college and law school into practice. And it ended up leading into the first product line of Peace Works where we would buy the sundried tomatoes from Turkey instead of buying them from Italy, the glass jars from Egypt instead of buying them from Portugal. And we buy olives and olive oil from Palestinian farmers. And it was Israelis that were making them. And then that's how Peace Works got off the ground.

    I think the best way to discover the humanity of other beings is just to meet them.

    In my experience, it's much harder for you to have absolute hatred for any human being when you interact with them, when you have that human connection.

    My name is Daniel Lubetzky, and this is my Brief but Spectacular take on what it means to have the courage to be kind.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    What a perfect message for today, and you can watch additional Brief but Spectacular episodes on our website, pbs.org/newshour/brief.

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