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Praise the Dishwasher 

A kindness mission connects the unseen in RVA restaurants.

Who: Patience Salgado, aka kindnessgirl.com, prompts a mission among local diners to recognize those who work behind the scenes.

Salgado: I approached a bartender one time and said you know, you get seen, but who's doing the work that supports you? Oh, it's the dishwashers, he said. They're getting a share of the tips but they're doing the grunt work.

What: Acts of HumanKind: a Mission for Foodies entreats diners to send a personal note and a $5 or $10 bill to the restaurant's dishwasher after their meal. These can be offered indirectly or in person.

Salgado: All these people who are in our lives, doing something for us, we have not acknowledged. I focused on what is thriving in Richmond right now, and our food scene is blowing up — it's the currency to know what's the best new thing. What if we asked people to pick their favorite place, and as part of the night, slip this to the dishwasher, either anonymously or directly to them?

Why: To foster a cultural wave of kindness, empathy and compassion that goes beyond niceness to connect on the most human level of shared experience.

Salgado: For me, sometimes it is important to stay anonymous so there doesn't have to be a response, but the bartenders who've done this were really touched — the people who were passing it on were excited and engaged, so now it's extending. All the people caught in the middle are now participants.

Serotonin is released in your body when you do something kind. … It's released in you, in the person you do it for, and for anyone who witnesses it — they are all affected.

Where: Salgado, a photographer, speaker and kindness advocate, proposes four urban guerrilla-kindness missions in the local publication Grid magazine, featured in an issue to be released this week. Follow #dinekind on Twitter to see where this one goes.

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