52 SMILES GIVEN: Random Acts of Kindness
It’s 7:45 a.m. and I have been waiting in the long line to get my morning pick me up before driving to work. Late… again. After 10 impatient minutes, I finally place my order, a venti skinny vanilla latte. Only 2 more cars before I relinquish my taste buds to the much needed heavenly flavor of caffeine. Hurry up people, what the heck did you order to take this long? Finally, I’ve arrived and am greeted by the all too cheerful window attendant “Good MORNING! Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte?”. Yes that’s me as I push my plastic towards her.
“Oh you don’t owe anything, the man in front of you took care of your coffee this morning".
What? Do I know him? What did he say? I smile for the first time all morning and then started to feel a little guilt over the unkind thoughts I had moments ago. It took me a minute to know what to do next because I was so excited to have had this happen to me, but I blurted out, “That is so awesome, let me get the person behind me too!” As I drove off, I was reliving the feeling that I knew the person behind me was experiencing now.
That was my first memory of being the recipient of a random act of kindness by a stranger. Since then, I’ve had many others happen, such as a random gentlemen buying our breakfast at Waffle House; a note left on my truck telling me to have a good day, and other things such as someone letting me go in front of them in a line at the grocery store or holding the door open for me. I also have had many by people I know, like a random note in the mail sent from a friend or treating me to dinner for no special occasion. I also have this friend (and former co-worker), Gary, who has called me on my birthday every year since 2007 to sing happy birthday to me. (I think he does it for a lot of people. I look forward to each year’s call.)
That morning changed me. For the first few years, I volunteered a lot through an organization in Nashville called Hands on Nashville. They have a full calendar of things to do and companies in need. If you aren’t in Nashville, there is also the Just Serve website that has a searchable feature for needs in your area. But in 2018, I wanted to be more intentional about acts of kindness. So, I want to share these ideas with you with hope it will inspire your own ideas or feel free to use mine.
For 2018, I downloaded an app called “Holiday Today”. You would be surprised of how many “unofficial” holidays there are in the 365 days of a year. Each week, I’d look at the calendar to get an idea of what I wanted to do that week. For example, July 7 is Global Forgiveness Day - so whether it is a note you need to write or a conversation you need to have, why not take that day to do it. Or maybe May 5 on World Laughter Day, you leave a funny card on a random car in the parking lot. September 28 is Good Neighbor Day - I’m sure you can think of something here. This calendar really opened me up to so many ideas to use.
For the upcoming year, I decided to go a different route. I hand wrote 52 acts of kindness on little note cards and put them in a jar. Each week, I’ll draw one and have it on my mind for the next 7 days to see if I can accomplish it.
There are so many resources that you can use and of course Pinterest has so many! I have included links to a few that I pulled from when writing out my notecards and here are a few of my favorites:
1) Leave a post it note with encouragement on the mirror in a public restroom.
2) Leave a coupon on the item in the grocery store.
3) Send flowers to someone in a nursing home
4) Leave a gift card on a car that has a military plate and thank them for their service.
Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? What was your experience?
Please check out these resources for more thoughtful acts of kindness.
BE THE REASON SOMEONE SMILES TODAY....
Until next time,