ALS patient spreading an epidemic of kindness

DURHAM, N.C. -- Unlike most red carpet premieres, this one in Durham, N.C., wasn't about fashion.

When I asked one of the girls what she was wearing, she replies, "I just bought it at the mall."

It wasn't about shameless self-promotion.

"It felt really good to help out someone," says another girl.

And it definitely wasn't about making money.

"You have the ability to change the world with just an act of kindness," Chris Rosati says on stage.

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Chris Rosati hosts the premiere of his BIGG event
CBS News

Rosati put together the premier. Rosati has ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a terminal illness, but that hasn't stopped Rosati from making BIGG plans.

BIGG stands for "Big Ideas for the Greater Good" and a few months ago he challenged the kids in his community to come up with something BIGG, then videotape it for a grand, theater premier.

"Yep, but it's gotta be unique, right? You can't go give out donuts," Rosati says.

He has already done that. Rosati thought of the first BIGG idea which was to give away a thousand donuts at cancer wards, children's hospitals and city parks.

He had so much fun doing it, he has now pretty much devoted the rest of his life to encouraging others to commit similar acts.

"Let's just have fun making people smile."

And so with the toast of a donut, the BIGG premiere got underway.

One video was called the "Wheel of Kindness." Some kids set-up this giant wheel at a mall, had grown-ups spin, and then do whatever kind thing it landed on, like hug ten random strangers.

Another video got adults to rediscover the joy of coloring.

While another, conceived by these two kids, was about their idea to take some homeless women out for a once-in-a-lifetime, fancy dinner.

"I've never seen such an act of kindness from a total stranger. I cried. I cried," said one of the women.

What a legacy Rosati is creating. He's hoping this will become an annual event, whether he's here to see it or not.

"Now next year I want bigger," Rosati says to a student.

And that is the most amazing thing about him. A lot of people take on a cause when diagnosed with a terminal illness, but it's usually to cure their own disease. Rosati , on the other hand, isn't as interested in fighting ALS as he is in healing all of us.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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