By Catharine M. Hamm
Los Angeles Times Travel editor
10:45 AM EDT, August 9, 2013
Is Leon Logothetis compassionate or crazy—or both?
Logothetis, you may recall, bought a 1985 London taxi, dubbing it the Kindness Cab, and drove it from New York to Los Angeles, doing good deeds—driving a veteran to a VA Hospital for cancer treatment, taking a down-on-its-luck family out for ice cream—along the way.
The way included some car trouble, most memorably in the mountains, which the cab demonstrated a decided reluctance to scale. At the end of his journey, he donated $11,500 to charity. That would have been the total of the fares that he and cameraman Steve Priovolos would have collected.
Logothetis also drove from London to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, as part of last year’s Mongol Rally, a 10,000-mile trip after which he donated to FirstBook one book for every mile driven. He blogged about this adventure (which, by the way, ended badly on a previous try when his car was totaled) for The Times.
Now he’s at it again. He leaves Saturday from Los Angeles for…Los Angeles, a circumnavigation of the globe, which, in and of itself, is interesting, but he’s doing it on a bright yellow motorcycle with a sidecar. He's calling this machine Kindness One.
He visited The Times last month to talk about the journey and piloted the bike, carrying me in the sidecar. We got lots of stares and smiles and waves as we toodled around downtown; it’s hard not to grin when you see this yellow thing bopping down the street. As a motorcyclist myself, though, I also found it hard not to worry. The words “powerful” and “substantial” did not jump immediately to mind in describing the bike.
But he’s determined to show the world that you can make a journey like this sustained only by kindness. Like his journeys detailed in his “Amazing Adventures of a Nobody,” in which he traveled on only $5 a day, he will rely again on the kindness of strangers.
"I’ve always had a thirst for travel,” he said, “ and I love connecting with people.”
He’s grown weary, he said of being bombarded with negativity. “People think that’s our normal state,” he said.
He’s out to prove them wrong.
In the coming weeks, you may see blog posts from him, detailing his adventure. You can see more about his route at Kindness One. Then decide for yourself whether he’s slightly unhinged or the ultimate ambassador of goodwill.
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