Bob Votruba is Cycling Cross-Country To Raise Awareness of Bullying

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Bob Votruba stops for a chat outside Paninis on West 6th Street.
  • ERIC SANDY/SCENE
  • Bob Votruba stops for a chat outside Panini's on West 6th Street.
I was halfway through a fries-and-slaw-laden capicola sandwich at the West 6th Street Panini's when a man rode down the sidewalk on a bicycle adorned in bold script.

"OVERCOME BULLYING WITH KINDNESS" read the sign hitched to the bicycle. I quickly stepped outside to learn more about what was going on. Bob Votruba, a native Clevelander, greeted me with an enthusiastic handshake and told me about One Million Acts of Kindness, an organization working to raise awareness of bullying and adolescent suicide.

He left New York City Oct. 20 last fall via The Kindness Bus - 84 square feet of altruism - and his bike. After clocking 9,000 miles around the perimeter of the country, he'll be back in NYC later this year. Along the way, he's visiting schools to urge open dialogue about bullying and its consequences.

Closer to home, he says, he's also maintaining the three victims of the Chardon High School shooting in that very dialogue. He's riding in their honor, as well as the honor of three children from his hometown who took their lives.

Votruba will be departing Cleveland tomorrow and heading east.

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