• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Parents say late daughter inspires kindness

April 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
From two parents' unimaginable loss, a campaign to spread acts of kindness has been born after their young daughter left them with an inspiring legacy, after being killed by an out of control driver.If you've seen the movie "Pay it Forward," you're familiar with the concept of doing random acts of kindness for complete strangers. A similar campaign is now underway. It's called Pass it Forward, and it's modeled after one special girl's list of life goals that she never got to complete.

Loved ones describe Emily Rose Shane as creative, kind, full of spirit and as a lover of life, music and dance.

But the 13-year-old with a list of life goals written on paper won't live to see them through. Four weeks ago, she was killed by a driver as she walked along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Her father was waiting just a few blocks away.

"It was such a shock. It wasn't like a child who is sick or you have any idea that her death is imminent. He was in the parking lot to pick her up. I couldn't wait to see her," said Emily's mother, Ellen Shane.

"I was going to pick her up and we were going to go to the movies," said Emily's father, Michel Shane.

Police say the driver, who is now charged with Emily's murder, may have deliberately crashed his car.

It's virtually impossible to understand what it's like to lose a child, but Emily's parents are trying not to focus on the loss. Instead, they've thought of a way to memorialize their daughter and her spirit of giving.

"I felt that because it was a child, it was much more important that people do something to help," said Michel.

Emily's father, the well-known executive producer of Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" and other films, says he and his wife envision that the Pass it Forward campaign will touch the lives of people everywhere.

"Our idea is to try and get around the world, 100 million good deeds in a year," Michel said.

Already, people are helping with acts of kindness big and small.

A child in Brazil has been adopted, a garden was planted, a cup of Starbucks coffee was bought for a homeless man in Malibu, all in memory of Emily.

To track all those good deeds, a Web site is in the works where people will be able to post their acts of kindness from wherever they are.

"If we can go forward each day and try to do good in her honor and pay tribute to her, as much as this loss is beyond devastating and very difficult, life does go on. So, the best we can do is to try and honor her in some way and make the days that we have feel worth it," said Ellen.

The effort seems to perfectly as a tribute to Emily, the young woman whose final wish on that list of life goals was to "hug someone random." In her death, through her parents, she's doing that now.


Load Comments