When I was in college, I worked at a dry cleaner. I was there long enough to get to know several of the regular customers. Quite often some would linger and strike up some great conversations and some would share wonderful stories. One elderly gentleman did this most times he came in. He knew enough about me to know I was a Freshman in college and that my family was overseas.
One day he walked in, handed my boss an envelope and left. That envelope contained a check and a note. My boss read the note out loud and my jaw hit the floor. The check that was included in the envelope covered my tuition for the next semester, paid in full.
I couldn’t figure out why he would want to pay for a stranger’s college tuition and not expect anything in return. My boss told me that the man had been doing it for years. He would select a student he felt would appreciate it and help them out. This random act of kindness, made 26 years ago still brings tears to my eyes.
People have been committing random acts of kindness for hundreds of years. We may not know exactly what they have all been, nor have we always given them the title of “Random Acts of Kindness”. It has its very own day assigned to it. This year’s Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17, 2017.
The first Random Acts day was created in Colorado in 1995. The concept is designed to make the world a little bit better by each of us doing a kind deed. Participating does not mean you have to spend money to be kind.
In case you might be having a difficult time figuring out something nice to do that you may not do on a regular basis, I have compiled two lists. One list is of kind deeds that will only cost you a little bit of time. The second list is for those of you who would like to show kindness via money.
Random Acts of Kindness that Won’t Cost You a Thing
- Open the door for someone, complete with a smile
- Volunteer time at an animal shelter or rescue
- Simply smile at people
- Do a favor for someone without expecting anything in return
- Babysit for free
- Sweep your neighbors porch/shovel their sidewalks
- Walk a friend’s or neighbor’s dog
- Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter
- Read to the elderly at a retirement home
- Send an encouraging card or email
- Thank a veteran, police officer, or firefighter
- Give a hug, it’s not just a kind act but a stress reducer as well
- Donate blood (Perfect for American Heart Month)
- Be tolerant
- Compliment a stranger
Random Acts of Kindness for Those Who Can Spare Some Change
- Pay for the food of the people behind you in the drive through
- Take flowers to a retirement home
- Leave a zip bag of quarters on a washer at the laundromat
- Donate food to an animal shelter
- Leave a bag of cookies with a note in the mailbox for the postal carrier
- Take coffee and donuts to your local fire station
- Donate cat litter to a cat rescue
- Donate a new toy to a children’s hospital
- Take muffins and coffee to work
- Donate money to your electric company to be used for someone who is struggling to pay their bill
- Plant a tree
- Hire a house cleaner for an ill friend or one with children
- Buy a gift card from a car wash and leave it in an envelope on a dirty car at the grocery store
- Grab a few cases of water and take them to the Red Cross
- Donate canned goods to your local food bank
Even though Random Acts of Kindness Day is recognized on February 18th this year, you don’t have to limit yourself. Imagine how much nicer the world would be if we could all do just one random act once a week…imagine twice a week. Maybe some of the nice things could begin to draw some of the attention away from all the bad things that happen. Wouldn’t it be nice to shift that focus? How do you plan to take part this year?