07/14/2020 11:44 EDT | Updated 07/14/2020 19:32 EDT

Tori Stafford’s Dad Wants People To ‘Be Kind’ For Her 20th Birthday

Random acts of kindness are especially important now during the pandemic, Rodney Stafford said.

The Canadian Press
Tori Stafford would have turned 20 on Wednesday, July 15.

Be kind.

That’s the message that Rodney Stafford, whose daughter Tori would have turned 20 on July 15, wants to send to the world. 

In honour of Tori’s birthday, “just be kind for a day,” Stafford wrote in a widely-shared Facebook post last week. 

“We are asking everyone to partake in ‘Random Acts of Kindness.’ Kindness starts with one and it doesn’t cost a thing to be nice to each other!” 

In 2009, eight-year-old Tori went missing while walking home from school in Woodstock, Ont. She was sexually assaulted and murdered. Her body was found three months later. 

“We’re so tired of having to focus on the negative with everything to do with Victoria,” Stafford told the London Free Press. “Just help us celebrate Victoria’s birthday.”

Some Canadians have shared tributes to Tori on social media.

One comment on Stafford’s post said Tori was “robbed of the chance to grow up and experience life.

“May we never forget you,” Jordan Kent wrote.

Michael Thomas Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic were convicted of first-degree murder for Tori’s death and sentenced to life in prison. Rafferty was also convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault.

In his Facebook post, Stafford lists ways to lend a helping hand: feeding the birds, holding the door open for someone, picking up litter or helping someone cross the street. He told the Free Press that Tori often performed such acts of kindness, which are especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If anything should go viral, it should be love towards one another,” he wrote. 

With files from the Canadian Press

Also on HuffPost: Tori Stafford kidnapping anniversary marked by call for justice system changes