Al Magdaleno - The Benefactor

Photo: Steven Shires

Although his charity Random Acts of Kindness FTL is said to have started 13 years ago according to Facebook, Al Magdaleno says that the history behind it is indeed more extensive.

“It actually started when I received a random act of kindness in 1989 and I still remember it to this day,” he explained. “That's the effect it has on you.” After being transferred to Naples, Italy on Christmas Eve when he was in the military, he found himself wandering the streets alone until he found an empty restaurant. After walking in, he was led to the back by an elderly woman who provided him with a meal and a seat with her family.

“They told me in broken English to do something good for someone else,” he continued. “Needless to say, as I made friends, I took everyone there to eat.” 

Two wars later and in Virginia, Magdaleno was so inspired by the event that he aided a classmate named Karen from court reporting school. After rounding up a group of friends and donations for her and her children, they anonymously decorated her house three days before Christmas. Extra boxes of donations were given and soon Magdaleno was helping many others in the community, from ladies in nursing homes to random pedestrians in the park.

Random Acts of Kindness FTL was then born. “The Fort Lauderdale generosity is just awesome,” he said. “We, as a city, should be proud.” 

Magdaleno also added, “We are citizens of cities. We are citizens of countries. But together, we are citizens of the world.

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