Photo Gallery | Ben's Bells spread kindness in Jax

Where I work we have a small patio surrounded by palm trees, lofty oleander bushes and a fountain that has seen better days. We hold editorial meetings, cook-outs and other gatherings on the quaint patio that faces the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

This morning I noticed something different dangling over our patio.

Nestled among a few thick and leathery branches of an oleander bush was a single, colorful wind chime. A note attached to the top of the wind chime said, “You have found a Ben’s Bell. Take it home, hang it and remember to spread kindness.” The note also featured a Henry James quote and a web address for the Ben’s Bells Project website. I was intrigued.

I snapped a few pictures, took it down and hung it by my desk.

I went to the website on the tag and found a story of one family’s tragedy and how they transformed their experience into a means of spreading kindness. According to the website, hundreds of Ben’s Bells are distributed randomly around the Tucson community twice a year. Tucson is in Arizona, how did this Ben’s Bell end up in an oleander bush in downtown Jacksonville?

After a few calls and a little digging I found the answer. According to Citi’s local spokesperson, Laurie Allen, on a recent trip to Tucson, Citi employees encountered the message kindness spread by Ben’s Bells and decided to incorporate it into their 200th anniversary celebration.  For a week, employees at Citi in Jacksonville worked with clay and one another to create 200 Ben’s Bells to distribute throughout Jacksonville.

This past Saturday, Citi employees gathered in Klutho Park to distribute 200 Ben’s Bells throughout Jacksonville. One was hung in Treaty Oak Park, another was hung at the Jacksonville Zoo and of course, one was hung by my office patio.

Citi and Ben’s Bells are hoping to keep spreading the message of kindness in Jacksonville. “Ben’s Bells thinks this will grow organically in Jacksonville,” said Allen.

There are 197 other Ben’s Bells in Jacksonville and we would love to hear your story of finding one and where you’ve decided to hang it. Tell us and send a picture to

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