On a rush-hour Northern line train, a woman is beaming. ‘For me? Really?’, she grins. In her hand is a handmade Valentine’s card, bearing the legend ‘S.W.A.L.K.’ Her admirer? Well, she doesn’t really have one. What she does have is Bernadette Russell. As part of her 366 Days Of Kindness project, Bernadette’s giving out cards and cupcakes to strangers. Why? ‘I’m trying to brighten up people’s Valentine’s Day’. The next recipient’s a donkey jacketed gent on a tube platform. He grins and stops to chat. On Euston concourse, it’s more difficult. One woman responds with ‘NOSORRYIDON’TWANTIT!’, and another shuffles away uneasily. ‘Sometimes people think it’s something to do with marketing or religion,’ Bernadette sighs. ‘But it’s not. I just want to spread some kindness.’ She changes tactics and approaches two men outside Euston. ‘I’m not selling anything and I’m not a religious maniac,’ she explains, handing them cards. At the AMT coffee stand, a girl behind the counter giggles like a schoolgirl as her colleague opens a card which drops a love-heart reading ‘I love you’. Then with her final act before reboarding the tube, Bernadette donates a card to another male passer by. For a moment, he grins, uncertain what to make of it. But only until a friend bounds over waving a card. ‘I got one as well! You’re not special!’. He is, though. To Bernadette, we suspect they all are. Alexi Duggins
Follow Bernadette throughout the day at @betterussell or join her at Primrose Hill at 4pm as she releases a flock of heart-shaped balloons.