Being a better human

Extreme Group launches a clothing line that encourages people to be kind to each other.

If you spend any amount of time scrolling through social media, you inevitably run into a comment along the lines of “hope for humanity lost” in response to the latest awful, depressing news of violence, discrimination or general uncertainty about the fate of the world as we know it. Despite his overall optimism about there being good people in the world, Paul LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Extreme Group, was certainly having a hard time finding stories that didn’t have some kind of dark commentary in it. That is, until he read the story of Matthew Jackson.

In November, Jackson footed a $200 grocery bill for Jamie-Lynne Knighten after her credit card was declined at the register. But when Knighten later sought out Jackson to thank him, she found out the 28-year-old had been tragically killed in a car accident just hours after his good deed. She also found out that Jackson was well-known for “paying it forward,” doing good deeds and only asking that people do a good deed for someone else in return. She told her story on Facebook, earning attention globally and sparking renewed interest in random acts of kindness.

“I was moved to tears and as I got out of the car I thought to myself, ‘Thank God for good humans,’” LeBlanc says about hearing the story. “People who believe in good need a rallying cry. I ran straight into Shawn King’s office and said, ‘This agency needs to use our talents to build something that celebrates those who believe in good.’”

In April, LeBlanc and King officially launched The Human Preservation Co., a clothing line that proudly displays the motto “be human” on its products to define humanity as also being kind to your fellow person. Most of the apparel features the motto in a variety of colours on a range of products – including special designs for things like Pride and Canada Day – but some also feature generally upbeat slogans like “Be the person your dog thinks you are” and “Be nice, the world is a small town.” In the short time they’ve been on sale, the clothes have gotten the attention of people like Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery and Hal Johnson of Body Break.

The best part? A portion of the proceeds from the clothes will fund various initiatives that do random acts of kindness in the community. And while the agency already has its own list of causes and projects it’s looking to help, it’s also open to suggestions for more.