Have you ever done a random act of kindness? Or maybe been on the receiving end? It’s an amazing experience either way, and it doesn’t require extraordinary measures. Sometimes something really simple can make a big impact.
A few simple ways you can spread some joy with a random act:
- Make someone’s day a little easier. While you take Fido for his morning walk, take a neighbor’s newspaper to their porch so they don’t have to get it from the end of the driveway.
- Keep it simple. Kindness isn’t complicated. Just holding the door for someone (remember when people used to do that?) or asking someone how their day is going counts as a random act of kindness.
- Tell someone thank you. Handwritten notes are exceedingly rare in our digital world. But you know you love it when someone writes something by hand and sends it to you via snail mail. We all love that, right? And telling someone thank you can really make their day. It tells them something was appreciated.
- Be sweet. Take someone a batch of homemade cookies just because. If you live near a fire station, take them some treats you made.
- Remember the postal workers. We all know how uncomfortably hot it gets in Texas. Put a cooler full of ice and bottled water near the mailbox or on the porch with a sign that reads: “Dear postal worker, This bottled water is for you.” Or take a box of cupcakes to your local post office.
- Buy a stranger dinner. Choose a table of strangers in a restaurant. This can be fun and more affordable if you split the cost with a friend or partner. When you settle on a table, ask the waiter or a manager to please add their bill to yours. Be sure to ask them to do this anonymously.
Today, my mom told me someone mowed the lawn at her building. She runs a pre-school through Kindergarten. The lawn fairy didn’t leave a note. They just did something nice without expectation.
When my sons died, I did daily random acts of kindness in part to honor Liam and Sebastian, and in part to add some light to the fog I was in. For about two-and-a-half months if you were in line behind me at Starbucks, you got your order free.
For the holidays, I made ornaments for other families who lost babies. A group in my MEND support group was doing random acts of kindness in memory of their children. I sent them each a star ornament with their child’s first initial and a tiny silver footprint medallion. Although I hadn’t asked anyone to do anything for me, I received several letters and emails from people detailing things they had done in memory of my sons.
I’m not sure whether I believe in karma, but I do think we are rewarded for random acts of kindness. If in no other way, we are at least rewarded with the warm fuzzies we get knowing we sparked at least a tiny light for someone else’s day.
“Groups with many altruists tend to survive. Altruists cooperate and contribute to the well-being of fellow group members.” – Sam Bowles, Santa Fe Institute professor (as quoted in Why Being Kind Is Good For You by Claire Buckis)