Random Acts of Kindness – let’s all do it

As I watched another depressing newscast today, I started thinking about all the good news that’s out there that just doesn’t make headlines. I thought I would post a bit about that so we can all consider how we can share the love and brighten each day. I know a lot of you already do stuff like this and I hope you will share your stories with me.

While you are checking out these links,  let John Legend’s great song motivate you.  I know you’re out there!

A couple of years ago I happened to read an article about someone  in Pittsburgh who was secretly doing good deeds. Just little things – like leaving $5.00 worth of quarters at the laundromat or a Starbucks coffee coupon on someone’s desk or tucked on a windshield. All were accompanied by a little note asking the recipient to do the same for someone else. The word spread about this and everyone was intrigued.  Secret Agent L did eventually reveal her identity, started a website and now has 1800 people around the world joining her campaign.  If you would like to know more and possibly become a Secret Agent yourself, click here and find out all about it. 

On the Kindness Resources page of that website, you’ll find a long list of other similar sites. Take a look and see what appeals to you. There’s definitely something for everyone – or just go out and do your own thing.

The Random Acts Of Kindness website has blossomed in a few short years to an amazing resource of ideas, large and small, for individuals or groups. Check it out!

Along with those more sophisticated websites I love finding smaller ones like Just To Make You Smile. Anyone can do something every day to make the world a better place. We just have to remember to take a few minutes to think about it and do it.

Or then again, from my own awesome (thanks to Kristen Lamb’s blogging class) Wana blogging group,there’s Natalie Hartford who blogs tirelessly in support of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers  and Jillian Dodd who highlights good stories like Hope In The Streets on her Philanthropy Thursday blog. And that’s just two of the group. I’ll feature others as we go.

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
-Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

I’m a little late getting this post up. With the time difference here in France, it was after 2 a.m. when the U.S. Open Men’s tennis final finished and, of course, we were watching it! I’m going to do a random act of kindness for myself right now and go to bed!

Have you seen someone do something lately that you thought was great? Did you tell them so? That in itself qualifies! What random act of kindness did you do today? Leave a comment and share the news.

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!

Comments

  1. Great post, Patricia. My husband I do little things for each that are unexpected and on Fridays my blog is From the Heart-usually something that is uplifting, inspirational, motivational for my readers. We make it a habit to do things like smile at everyone or, let someone ahead of us in a line. There are a couple of neighbors who are truly in need and we frequently give them a few dollars to get by or I’ll make an extra large meal and send them half of it. We get great joy from knowing the little things really helped. Last winter one of the neighbors shoveled our sidewalk before my husband got outside to do it. A pleasant surprise. Just a smile can make a huge difference in someone’s day.

  2. You said it, Marcia. Little things can often give the greatest reward to everyone. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m so enjoying your blog!

  3. You are exactly right, Patricia. We are bombarded with negatives all day long, and it becomes easy to forget how much good there is in the world. All that negative becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, too. We allow into our lives what we focus on. Thanks for a great reminder to focus on the good as well.

  4. I love the idea of leaving a Starbuck’s coupon on someone’s windshield and doing little things like that. You never know when you could make someone’s day or someone’s week! Thanks for a great post and great links. Love John Legend too.

  5. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Patricia, You’ve inspired me. In the cruising community we believe in paying it forward. Same concept but the recipient knows. When we do a kind act and they ask us what they owe, we always say just help someone else out. Two month after we moved aboard someone gave us $100 boat part to replace one that broke for us. They would take no money. That says a alot and taught us a valuable lesson we’ve shared with others.

    • Thanks Nancy! It’s all about paying it forward and I can imagine the cruising community is excellent at that. A girlfriend who lived on her sailboat for 8 years was just here with us for a week and we actually were talking about that one day. She had a fabulous adventure. I’m sure you will too.

  6. Thank you so much for honoring me on your blog today and highlighting my impaired driving posts. I really appreciate it.

    I agree, it’s one of the reasons I watch little to no news anymore. I started to find it too depressing. I like to focus on the good, positive, and happy.

    I love the idea of random acts of kindness and Special Agent L. Love it. I have a coworker who does little things like this for strangers at least once week. Sometimes she pays for someone’s coffee in the Tim Horton’s line-up. Her and her hubby have even picked up a couple’s dinner bill before. I love it. I love how it spreads such unexpected joy and giving. I’ve been meaning for ages to start doing random acts of kindness and your post gave me just the nudge! Thank you for reminding us Patricia – it’s all about spreading the love and joy!

  7. If everyone did just one random act of kindness, what a difference that would make – it would mean they had stopped and consciously thought enough about something and then put it into action! Life whizzes by and many people aren’t happy with the pressure, but if we take a moment to stand back it can change our perspective. At the moment my ‘random’ acts of kindness are for my elderly Uncle (93), who is in hospital and fading fast. It’s simply holding his hand, I’ve even made him chuckle… lovely to hear. Not much to do is it, and humbling. There is a lot of awful things happening in this world, but there is also a lot of good that goes unnoticed and we must never forget that. Thanks Patricia, lovely piece and made me stop and think.

  8. There’s something really heart warming about the term ‘random acts of kindness’ – be kind just for the sake of it. I love it. I’m making muffins for hubby today. Thanks for the reminder. I hope I help others be happy with what I do and how I do it.

  9. I’ve had generous folks gift me in a number of anonymous ways. The car in front of my paid for my coffee in the drive-thru one day. I’ve had others cover bridge tolls, parking fees, and once even the admission price to the movies. It brightened my day and I made sure to pass along that good energy to others. I’m sure some of the people I’ve handed some cash may not have been homeless, may not have been out of gas, and may not have really needed help for the reasons they asked – but if I’m going to help, it isn’t up to me to determine how they should appreciate the assistance. Sometimes a smile and a wave changes the outlook on an entire day.

  10. Several years ago, as I was loading my recumbent three wheeled bike into my van, I heard whistling behind me and turned to see two unkempt chaps, dirty torn jeans, elbows on flannel shirts worn, one boot with a loose sole, unshaven, but grinning. That was their gift to me.

    One sported a fishing pole on his shoulder. Keeping in mind I dislike comments against beggars like, “They’ll only spend it on booze,” I took the opposite approach. I handed one fellow a $20, and said, “Go buy yourselves a beer. Enjoy” Their reaction still delights me today. One clicked his heels together like a Leprechaun.

    When my children were in grade school, a shopping trip to the city included a picnic at the park. Crossing the street to our spot, I smiled at a downtrodden looking fellow, dressed well enough, but I felt he was down. As we chomped on our fried chicken and potato salad, I looked up, and he stood looking down at us. I invited him to join us. He ate like he hadn’t had a good meal in a long time. His delight was palpable. He visited with the kids. Food put away, I said, “Now I have just given a double edged lesson to my children. Kindness toward each other is important, but I’ve taught them to be wary of strangers. Yet we invited you to join us today. I want them to know that the ‘stranger’ rule still applies, so while we are in this public place, I must thank you for joining us, but also must ask you to leave.” He tipped his hat, said thank you, and quickly departed.

    The point here is that acts of kindness may have a greater effect on us than on those who receive the gift. I’ll never forget these folks, or the woman that stopped my shopping cart and said, “You smiled at me. You have no idea how much I needed that today.”.

    Great post, Patricia.

    • Wow, Marion, thank you for sharing those experiences. There is as much, if not more, to be gained from the giving than the receiving. What a great learning experience you offered your children!

  11. Pay it Forward. One Good Deed Deserves Another. Do Unto Others as You Would Do Unto You. Tis Better to Give Than Receive. However we say it, it is the small things that can do so much. A small act of kindness repays dividends. From a simple smile, the word Hello, two words: Thank You. The offer of pennies when someone hasn’t enough change to pay a fare on the bus, helping someone carry a load. All things that don’t cost a lot but a bit of thought. It’s all about caring and respect. I care. I respect. And it’s good to know others do to.

  12. Random acts of kindness should be the norm. 😉 Thanks for posting, this is a very inspiring read! ~Janet~

  13. I really believe that random acts of kindness are the most powerful force in the universe.

  14. Great post Patricia. In a world that is often ugly acting kindly has a therapeutic value. Helping someone else improves our view of the universe.

    • Goodness knows the universe can use all the help it can get these days! Let’s all do our bit … every day! Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. I love to hear readers’ views.

  15. Elena Aitken says:

    I love this idea! Another blogging friend has started up a campaign as well…check this out.
    http://danceswithchaos.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/pay-it-forward-challenge/

  16. Hi, Patricia. We haven’t met, but you visited our blog yesterday where Marion Spicher was guest blogging. I was over here checking out your blog and saw this post. I LOVE it. I’m off next to visit the random acts of kindness site. I try to perform random acts of kindness, but I don’t usually involve money. Little things, like letting that car that appears to be in such a hurry in front of me. Or holding a door open for someone. Everyday, I try to do something to make someone else’s day just a little bit brighter. This is a movement I can get behind. 🙂

    • Hi Laurie – thanks for dropping by! You are so right about making the little things count and often no one else even knowing about it. Feels good, doesn’t it? Spread the word!

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