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Family of girl killed when car plowed through store asks for ’28 days of kindness’

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PARKER, Colo. — The family of Rylie Gutensberger, the 12-year-old girl killed when a car smashed through a store in Parker one year ago, is asking for 28 days of kindness on the anniversary of her death.

“In honor of Rylie’s memory, we are embarking on a 28 day journey of kindness,” the family said in a statement. “Each day, for 28 days, we will find a way to spread an act of kindness no matter how big or small.

“We will hold the door for a stranger, make eye contact, and make conversation. We will buy the cup of coffee for the person behind us. We will make an extra dinner and leave it on the porch for our neighbor. We will deliver a care package to someone less fortunate than us.”

Rylie was in the RNK Running and Walking store with her mother at 13019 S. Parker Road when the owner of the store said the vehicle sped into the parking lot, jumped a median, hit the store manager’s vehicle, jumped another median and then ran through the store, injuring seven others.

Gutensberger was hospitalized for 28 days before she died with her family by her side. 

A Facebook page posted updates for the community regarding Gutensberger’s hospitalization and eventual death.

On the anniversary of her death, her family seeks to turn their loved one’s passing into positive acts.

“We spent 28 days in the hospital with Rylie,” the family said. “We spent 28 long days waiting for her to wake up — to see that fantastic smile.

“At the same time, we only had 28 short days to hold her hand, to stroke her hair, to read ‘The Just So Stories,’ to whisper in her ear.”

The 28 days Rylie spent hospitalized became the inspiration for 28 days of kindness.

“While those 28 days were both too long and too short, we know that it’s a magical number,” the family said. “They say it takes 21 days to build a habit — so why not overachieve a little bit and go with 28 days?!?”

Leaving positive chalk messages, cooking a meal for neighbors and sending a “good morning” text are just a few of the ways Rylie’s family suggest to brighten someone’s day.

“It’s not about the cost in time or money, it’s about creating a ripple effect of kind acts that honor Rylie, her spirit, and her desire to make people happy,” the family said.

“It’s about building on that ripple and creating a kindness wave. Imagine the potential… Join us!”

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