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Bostonians answer mayor’s call for acts of kindness

Jane Richard put on a firefighter’s helmet as the Richard family and Mayor Walsh visited the Boston Fire Department station on Boylston Street.
Jane Richard put on a firefighter’s helmet as the Richard family and Mayor Walsh visited the Boston Fire Department station on Boylston Street.(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

Mayor Martin J. Walsh encouraged residents to carry out random acts of kindness across the city Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings on the second anniversary of the terror attack, and inaugurate a new tradition called “One Boston Day.”

For members of Walk Boston, a pedestrian advocacy group, that meant sprucing up crosswalks to make travel by foot safer for those heading to work in the morning.

Brendan Kearney, Walk Boston’s communications manager, used spray chalk Wednesday to outline two faded and forgotten crosswalks on School Street, restoring their ability to usher pedestrians across the road and slow down drivers who typically barrel down the busy street.

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“They were almost completely faded, so we just wanted to repair the crosswalks to make them more visible for drivers, so they knew pedestrians would be crossing there,” Kearney said.

Kearney said Walk Boston’s plan worked and as motorists approached the impromptu crosswalks, they pumped the brakes.

Members of the group stood on the street corner holding brightly colored signs, and cheered for drivers who let pedestrians pass.

“Some of the drivers gave us the thumbs-up or honked,” he said.

In March, Walsh announced that April 15 would be known as “One Boston Day,” an effort to build bridges in the community and share the spirit of giving back. The special day, which falls on the anniversary of the 2013 Marathon attacks on Boylston Street, is meant to honor the victims.

The city marked the anniversary of the attack with two ceremonies near the Marathon finish line Wednesday monring.

Walk Boston’s way of spreading goodwill represented just a fraction of the deeds carried out in response to the mayor’s request.

At Brighton Music Hall, first responders, firefighters, and police received a special invitation to attend a concert free of charge Wednesday night.

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Some companies took to the streets and handed out free water and snacks to people passing by. Volunteers also dropped off cookies, coffee, and doughnuts at neighborhood fire and police stations to thank officials for their service.

At the Hyatt Regency Hotel, employees started collecting a pile of lightly worn sneakers in the building’s lobby, which they plan to donate to the homeless.

“When we heard about One Boston, we decided we wanted to participate, and as part of our initiative we wanted to give back to the area,” said Terry Dunbar, the hotel’s general manager.

The Hyatt Regency is trying to collect 502 pairs of sneakers by the end of the month, which they will then bring to the St. Francis House shelter nearby. Dunbar said they’re halfway to their goal, after employees, guests, and residents stepped up and generously donated to the cause.

“A lot of people have expressed interest,” Dunbar said.

Additional acts of kindess can be tracked and shared on the city’s new “One Boston Day” website, where volunteers are posting photos and Tweets as they give back to the community.

(<a href="http://twitter.com/mreils">@mreils</a> via Twitter.)

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.