Being responsible for a random act of kindness can land you a ticket to ride — around The City, that is.
Moshe Langer, a rabbi with the Chabad Institute of San Francisco, has pioneered a project that will have him playing tour guide while driving a 1977 motorized cable car around San Francisco — but tickets aren’t for sale. Instead, those who wish to go on the narrated tour of San Francisco landmarks will have to pony up with their latest good deed.
"The agreement will be based on trust, both verbal and sign-in," Langer said, adding that the once-daily afternoon tour will also feature a little of The City’s Jewish history.
"It doesn’t take much. God is happy when you do good. Whether you pray, do charity or simply come home to your wife after a hard day’s work and offer a smile."
The "Acts of Goodness and Kindness Tour" idea is based on the early 1970s "mitzvah-tanks" that toured San Francisco and New York on Jewish holidays. The tanks would "spread the word" about the Jewish faith by hands-on experiences such as lighting the candles of the Hanukkah menorah.
"The tanks were based around the faith mostly, and we want to make the idea universal for everyone. We hope that one act of kindness will start a chain reaction of people caring for each other," Langer said.
Although the cable car made its debut this week in Union Square, official cable car tours won’t start until March 30, partly because the $16,000 of private donations do not meet much of the cable car’s $100,000-a-year cost that includes parking, maintenance and a $20,000 upgrade that is estimated to include a flat-screen television and a mini-library.
"We still need help," Langer said.
Abe Levitz, a real estate development investor and supporter of Chabad, fell in love with the idea of the cable car.
"I like the idea. I hope it will inspire people to be conscious of positive energy and respect for others. Positive energy is contagious," Levitz said.
As the cable car was parked outside Saks Fifth Avenue in Union Square on Monday, traveling businessman Mike Reed of Texas stopped to gawk at it.
"Well, all I can say is that I hope that there will be enough people to fill this thing up, if you know what I mean."