Latham in front of Fondren Corner with her mom’s Subaru

A Long Island woman is on a road trip to find the good in all 50 states.

Mary Latham is traveling the country, looking for stories of kindness, and made a stop in Fondren over the weekend.

Latham came to Sneaky Beans on Saturday and learned about the good news Find It In Fondren™ shares each day. She met local artist Scott Sorenson, who was the beneficiary of a generous store owner at Christmas. Latham also had the chance to meet with a group of friends who gather regularly for Saturday breakfast. Later in the day, Latham, who had never been to the south, experienced local culture with her host family.

Inspired by a conversation with her late mother (whom she lost in 2013 to breast cancer), they determined, despite tragedies all around us, each day should be about finding the bright spots in life.

Another conversation soon after over drinks with a friend lead to The GrAttitude Project, a Facebook collection of stories of random acts of kindness.

“We would post a story of one random act of kindness each day Monday through Friday,” she explains on her website, moregoodtoday.com. “We came up with a Facebook page, we began throwing our idea out into the universe, and people responded.”

The posting of other’s stories, she said, has helped her heal after the loss of her mother. So much so, she’s driving her mother’s old Subaru from state to state to find them herself. She’s been on the road since October.

“I didn’t want to sit around waiting for the stories to come in anymore…” Latham said. “I wanted to get to meet the people whose lives were touched, maybe even changed, by kindness and compassion. I wanted to listen to their stories, compile them, share them. Maybe their stories of hope could provide healing for others like they had for me”

Stories range from grand gestures (a scholarship fund in memory of a student that now has put multiple people through college) to the simple pay-it-forward kind (free coffee for the person in line behind you).

Latham doesn’t watch the news. She explains, “I don’t think I’d ever leave my bed if I did.”

Instead, she chooses to see the glass half full.

Latham herself has been the recipient of kindness – free meals, tanks of gas and nights in strangers’ guest rooms, generosity often levied off the connections of “friends of friends.” A Go Fund Me page, set up to fund her trip, has reached over $16,000.

A professional photographer by trade, Latham has been able to share her services with folks she randomly meets. Stumbling upon an impromptu photo session at a park in Florida last month, she offered to jump behind the camera. A thankful mother texted afterward how much the session had meant. Latham posted, “…would like to say it was luck we found each other yesterday but (the mother’s) text made it feel a whole lot more like fate.”

Latham needs your help. She’s seeking “stories that relate to human kindness.”

“Either someone you know or someone you didn’t know did something kind for you,” she explained. “Something you may have experienced that you think could provide healing and hope for others.”

Submit a story | Follow the journey on her blogon her Facebook or her website | Make a contribution