This was by far, the most exhausting, wonderful, fun, & heartwarming birthday I've had. Ever. My mom really challenged me to choose people and places that were out of my comfort zone and for that I am thankful. It is amazing how easy it is to see the need when you're staring it in the face, isn't it? Just putting a smile or look of surprise on someone's face made it all worth it.
I just want to say a quick thank you to my sisters, my girlfriends, & my mom you are amazing in more ways than I can list here. And to my unbelievable husband, who not only
puts up with supports my hairbrained crazy ideas, but who secretly drove two hours to bring me a box of macarons from Cecilia for my birthday.
Here is my day, in photos and words, followed by excerpts from the many emails and Facebook messages I received. I hope that I have them all... please tell me if yours is missing or add it in the comments! I know there are other random acts that are listed in the comments of the giveaway post, please feel free to post again here if you would like.
And THANK YOU for being so supportive of this project.
1. Finn & I left treats for the mail carrier, just a few small candies, a thank you note, and a scratch off lotto ticket.
2. We left quarters & a random act of kindess note taped to the DIY car wash.
3. Bagels & coffee went to the staff of Hospice. This was the one that affected me the most & still has me completely choked up. My dear friend Heather lost her Grandpa and Hospice facilitated a peaceful passing for him. And I know it doesn't really take anything to bring coffee & bagels to someone, but I felt really honored to do something however small, for them in his memory.
4. We gave money to a homeless man.
5. We dropped off flowers for clients at the salon where I did my Locks of Love donation.
6. We dropped off three big boxes filled with all manner of toiletries, baby items, & household things for Aurora House.
7. A donation was made to Assistance Dogs of America to help in adopting a new puppy to be trained.
8. A donation was made to Hospice of the Bluegrass, Daniel's Care which is the pediatric Hospice in Northern Kentucky.
9. I sent a much deserved thank you note to a wonderful blogger who was the first to feature one of my projects.
10. We packed up a bag full of towels & dog biscuits to a great animal rescue in the area.
11. I was extra conscious of other drivers & took every opportunity to let people out in front of me... turns out this is one that took the most concentration. It was amazing how much I tune out other people when I am driving & something I will be much more conscious about in the future.
12. I jumped in line at Panera and bought an older couple and their son lunch. I think they were the most surprised of the day. They couldn't fathom why I would buy them lunch, but they were so grateful. And when we were leaving, I heard the girl at the counter excitedly telling her co-worker about it. It made me smile from ear to ear.
13. Sophie, Hannah, Finn, & Elise made the most wonderful cards to deliver to families who are regular visitors to a hospital in our area & a nursing home in our area. Hannah was the brains behind the messages and wrote the cutest, funniest sunshiney sayings in each one before letting Sophie & Finn color pictures.
14. I treated my helpers to lunch!
15. We left the waitress a big tip & a card with lotto tickets in it.
16. We passed out re-usable shopping bags to customers in the grocery parking lot.
17. We went into Target, bought gift cards and started handing them out to people inside & outside the store. Danielle popped in line and paid for the diapers a man was buying.
19. We paid for a cat to be spayed or neutered through a fundraising event that was taking place at Pet Smart.
20. We stopped by my Meme's house and gave her a hug. She still thinks we were nuts, but she had a smile on her face when we left.
21. We dropped off a bottle of laundry soap with a RAOK card attached to two different laundromats.
22. We handed out scratch off lotto tickets to random strangers that we came across.
23. I wrote my mom a letter telling her how much she is loved and how thankful I am that she passed this along to everyone she knows to do something sweet for my birthday.
24. We went to Family Video and bought 2 movie rentals, handed the clerk a RAOK card and asked her to give it to the next person renting a movie.
25. We donated all of the desserts that were left from the party to the Cherry Street Mission.
26. The first thing on the list was the Big Ass Box of Fun Stuff that went to Meg & Lourie!
27. We paid for an order of an older gentleman that was in line at Walmart. He seemed the least surprised of the day, but the most grateful.
28. We took a huge bucket filled with roses to the nursing home to have the staff put in the rooms of patients who don't get many visitors. We also took cookies for the staff and cards made by the kiddos.
29. I picked up a peanut butter cup cupcake for my sister Lyndsey because they're her favorites.
30. I made some cds with my favorite uplifting "dance around the living room by yourself" music and gave them to my friends.
31. I picked up two baby name books for the hospital where I delivered Finnegan.
32. We had a box of food & a box of non-food items for a family that was having difficulty, we got their name through a local charity. Unfortunately, their phone had been disconnected and when we arrived at their apartment, it had been vacated. So, we did the next best thing and knocked on another door in the complex to deliver the boxes to a young family.
33. We donated money to a local school who were canning outside a store to raise money for their German Club.
34. We left bags of quarters & the RAOK cards on vending machines that we found.
The act of giving, no matter how small, no matter if the person was grateful or not, is a powerful thing and I challenge you to try it.
Updated: You can check out the Random Acts of Kindness video here.
Here are excerpts from the emails that I received, starting with Miss Annabelle & her Mama:
Here's what we did...
Handmade Crayola coloring books given out at 2 libraries and we left a few around the hospital in peds and oncology. Also donated some new crayons to the play area in the Oncology unit.
Passed out balloons (with candy bag weights) in oncology to patients, nurses and sibs of patients.
Left some candy bags in the valet podium and around the hospital lobby.
Took a a new TFD probie to breakfast (and he got some cuddles with Annabelle)
Were dropping off homemade cookies to a fire station.
Sent out 10 letters to friends and family letting them know how much they mean to us.
Left $ on the pop machines @ Owens.
Sending out a college care package and a new home care package (still working on these I can send ya some pics if ya want when they're done)
Tried to buy someone coffee but no one was behind me so I just left a great tip.
Nikki & Annabelle
My wife and I took a child with Muscular Dystrophy to a Toledo Walleye hockey game. He loves hockey and we thought he would really enjoy the game. -DF
We do not know each other but I think I’d like to share with you a short event which happens to my life… you first need to know that I have a daughter who is disabled… she is hyper active and I try to do every little think with her to make her life … let’s say ‘normal’… one day I was at a shop to buy some food and an old women could not restart her car in the parking in front of the shop… I went to see her to see how I can help… of course with my happiest daughter … but who never knows how to behave… the lady ran out of gasoline … so I invited her to get into my car … again with my wonderful daughter … who only tries to get in contact with this old woman… I think the woman couldn’t believe it … that I was helping her … where maybe I was the one needing help… who cares … I drove her to a garage, bought her gasoline in a ‘bottle’… around 5 liter… yes, you read a Belgian story! I came back to her car, refill the car… everybody was extremely happy… it made my day… I can still do little things to people despite the fact that my life is not always easy! -KD
I donated 6 suits to the Cherry Street Mission. -JG
Feeling defeated at my attempt to be kind ... I was watching the news last night and saw the story about Matthew Snyder. He was a marine that lost his life in 2006 while serving our country. There is a group called the "Westboro Baptist Church" that makes it their business to picket at the funerals of our fallen servicemen and women (and they use small children and young people in this activity) protesting our armed forces and our country because we tolerate homosexuality (or so they think - not really true still in many circles).
Anyway, Matthews father filed a suit against them and needs financial help. I made a donation to MatthewSnyder.org. The father's suit is simple ... it alleges that one does not have the right to conspire to use lies in order to inflict intentional harm upon persons who are grieving the death of their children. There is also a 1st Amendment suit that will go to the Supreme court in October. The appeal court advised that Matthew's father had to pay for the group's legal fees as their "protest" was protected by the 1st amendment!
SO.... I thought it appropriate to try and show some support to this poor father! How dare anyone think that their agenda is more important than allowing loved ones to greive ... and for a serviceman who gave his life for our freedom! It boggles the mind. -JC
I thought of you when I really “listened” to how my best friend was having a really tough time in letting go of her sister who is on life support. I spent 5 hours with her Saturday morning at the hospital - we said the rosary together in her sister’s room – and then I took her to lunch for a belated birthday present. I also gave her a matching faith, love and inspiration bracelet that we both wear so when times are really rough - we know that our soul sister is close by in each other’s thoughts. -JR
Yesterday, on Easter Sunday (I hope this counts as I am a Buddhist), I gave the person behind me at the Detroit Airlines Parking lot, a coupon for a free day of parking and a reduced rate for the rest of their parking ticket. -KD
I volunteered at church to run the concession stand for the Easter Egg hunt. It was a wonderful experience to see all the happy children! -MG
I was at the post office only this morning waiting to drive up to the mail box and there was a car in front of me with an older lady in it who was obviously having some difficulty reaching out to put her letters in the box. She ended up dropping some of them and was struggling to get out of her car to retrieve them. So I got out of the car and went up to the box and picked up the letters for her. Just a little gesture like that elicited such a look of gratitude from this little old lady. -TM
I took a trunk load of baby goodies to the Cobb Pregnancy Center & bought lunch for a Fed Ex driver. -MM
I decided not to do my French dinner party, other priorities came up. ( Actually I would have probably burned down my neighborhood if I attempted it) However I am taking the money I was going to spend and donate it to our local homeless shelter in your honor for your days of giving. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes life isn't just about me and its fun to do things for others. -JJ
We usually reserve two 3 bedroom units in Destin for spring break and take my wife’s family along. This year they were not able to make it. We then offered it free of charge to the family of Kaylee Halko who is a little girl with Progeria, a premature aging disease. We have been friends with the Halkos since our oldest kids were in Kindergarten together 7 years ago. I could give you a lot of good details from the week, but suffice it to say a great time was had by all!
While we were in Destin, I was at the grocery store with my family and the local Freshman football team was doing a fundraiser by bagging groceries. I gave them a couple of bucks when we went through the line originally. When we walked out of the store we discovered that my son had accidentally walked out with a can cozy without paying for it. I took it back in and got in the same line. I was behind an older woman who was struggling to unload some of her heavier groceries. I gave her a hand getting them on the conveyor to get scanned. After she got her groceries put back into her cart and walked away, I tossed a couple more dollars in the players’ jar and suggested one of them follow her out and load her car for her, which he did. -LJ
I am writing to you regarding my act of kindness to my great nephew who is 13 years old. He is a wonderful, caring young boy and is a member of the band at his school and the group is planning a trip to Washington DC in May. He was trying to save/raise enough money on his own to pay for the trip because he knows things are a little tough for his parents financially right now. He has fallen short of his goal and as part of my act of kindness my husband, Steve, and I has sent him a check to make up for the amount needed for the trip along with extra spending money. He is going to be so excited when he reads the letter and sees the check that we sent and I know he will truly appreciate it. That is the kind of boy he is and it gives up great pleasure to make him happy. -KW
My RAOK involves animals of course. The deadbeat who lives next door to me threw out her own cat to live on his own. He was hurt, matted (he has long hair), fought w/the other cats in the neighborhood, and pissed on every doorstep in the 'hood. Well he pretty much lives in my garage and I have fed him all winter. I took him to the vet and had him tested for FIV, repaired, neutered, shaved, vaccinated, dewormed, defleaed, to the tune of $260. -JS
Here is a list of some things I’ve done recently. I hope this helps you with your project, and it is a wonderful idea. It has made me more aware of my own actions. You’ve already helped one person, just with your request.
1) Provided money to a friend who was short on the spur of the moment
2) I gave a thank you gift to my coworker who is always doing more than is humanly possible
3) I held the door open for a group of preschoolers while the teach corralled the group
4) I paid a bus driver $2 not for carrying my bag for me (which he didn’t do, and I didn’t care), but for asking another bus to pick up a group of people who were waiting to go home after a day of traveling
5) I told a coworker how great she is at her job and how much they help me (and I told the president of the company many times)
I have many friends who do so much for me without being asked, and we don’t keep a tally (that is a true friend). We just try to do what is right for each other. -TM
I told your mom that I would participate in your birthday wish, but then have been struggling with whether or not I was going to get to. I have been sick for the past 2 weeks and other than going to the doctor, I pretty much have not left my house.
My husband had to work late tonight and was unable to take our son to baseball practice, so I dragged myself out of my chair, managed to run a comb through this rat’s nest of hair on my head, put on a baseball cap and loaded myself into the truck to take him.
15 seconds into the drive, the gas light came on (which with my V10 truck means I have about a block before I am walking), so now I was going to have to get gas and pray no one I knew (preferably anyone I didn’t know either) saw me in my au natural beauty and sweat pants.
Anyway… this of course did not happen. Not only was I seen by the man at the pump next to me, but he said “hello” and asked me how I was doing. I responded politely, but tried to avoid further conversation (you know because I am sick and scary looking at this point). A minute or so later, my son jumped out of the truck to help me with the gas and tell me he would handle it from there (he said “I got it Mom, you can go hide in the truck”, he knows me so well), but before I could, the man next to our pump said “you don’t happen to have $1.50, do you?”, to which I responded, “no, I don’t have any cash on me”. This was basically true, because I only had my credit card on me, but I didn’t even look in my purse before responding. Until, I remembered your mom’s email… that is when I sent my son to check in the truck for any money (I keep spare change in the cup holder). He found 4 quarters and I had 2 in the pocket of my jacket I was wearing. I added those 2 quarters to the 4 my son had and said “here Colton, give this to him”. My son said “excuse me sir, my mom would asked me to give this to you, I hope it helps you”.
I don’t know what he needed the money for or where the magic number of $1.50 came from, but can say that under normal circumstances I would have stuck with my “no, I don’t have any cash on me” statement and went on with my day, but thanks to you and your request, I have hopefully helped him in some way and taught my son a lesson in compassion at the same time. -TS
This year, everyone in our sub-division has to switch to black mailboxes. So, I got the paint and was all set to do ours when we actually won a free one at the yearly meeting. So, now I have this paint. So, Lisa and I painted our next door neighbors mailbox and post while she was away. While walking with my mom and sister on our path around the lake, saw another neighbor and we were talking about the mailbox thing. I told her I had extra paint and I would bring it down. In the meantime, my sister left and mom and I decided instead of dropping off the paint, we would just paint her mailbox and post. So we did – finished up as it started pouring so we got soaked running home, which was pretty funny to see my mom run, but all in all the paint had dried-mostly, before the downpour started.
My neighbor was floored. She was actually gone the weekend we did it and when she got back, she came over Monday and said…in all the years I have lived here (almost 20), no neighbor has ever done anything for us. In this world, I have no doubt that is true, which is unfortunate. -KR
Kindness to others is my goal, as I witnessed the kindness given to us resulting from Dave's accident.
This week; I baked cookies for the nurses that took care of Dave; I found time to baked cookies for our church's bake sale; and I, also, baked cookies for the elementary school carnival.
I might, also, be so kind to bake cookies for the stand in lawn mower operator while Dave is healing. -BH
Today I worked at Lial Catholic School helping students package 17,000 meals to send to hungry kids in Guatamala. -LS
I was at the gym swimming the other morning & for some reason swimming has become very popular & swim lanes are at a premium. I'm finishing up a lap & notice an older woman kinda of pacing. I ask her if she's waiting for a lane & she says I don't know - I haven't done it in so long I just want to see if I can still swim a lap. I told her she could have my lane & give it a try. She accepted & swam a pretty good lap. She was so happy when she finished & gave me a big thank you......and when I saw her later in the locker room she still had a big smile on her face.
The other story Karen likes & said I had to tell you. Our next door neighbor is a single mother of 3 boys (all in their 20's) & 2 still live at home. She is a workaholic & always on the go....and needless to say the boys don't help out at all....which irks me to no end. Well a few weeks ago I was mowing our lawn & noticed hers needed it too so I mowed hers as well. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but I've told Karen in the past that there's no way I'm going to mow their yard when those 2 boys are sitting inside. When I told Karen I did it she was floored. My neighbor called me the next day (b/c she of course worked late again that day & didn't get home til dark) & said "I woke up in the morning & my yard was mowed" - she was ecstatic & thanked me numerous times. ......and yes - I have done it again since then....but I don't want to the boys to get to used to it. -LK
Oh, to be 30-something again. When you hit 60 you start wishing for lots of things. Anyway, even though your birthday is today, I will be taking my Mom to Cincinnati to visit my sister and her family (husband and 4 daughters (can you imaging having 4 girls to raise...11, 9, 7 and 3 years old). This is definitely an act of kindness from my heart, my good deed for the day. My Mom is 83 now and we try to keep her happy. -SH
First I'd like to say what a great bday wish!! For your bday I performed an act of kindness.... There is a family that has a girl my daughters age and this girl wanted to play on the spring basketball team but I knew she did not sign up because of finances. Our family gathered up the money to help pay for the registration fee along with the cost of the spirit wear. -BR
Today I was out shopping with my daughter (12) and she suggested that we pick up a gift for the new girl next door (10). The girl came to live with my neighbor under unfortunate circumstances and didn’t bring much with her. It reminded me of your birthday wish – so I told her about your wish. She was very touched by your story and so was I. My daughter will deliver the girl the outfit she picked out tomorrow and we will think of you. I’m sure the girl will be surprised too. -KU
I read your blog at about midnight & I was thinking to myself, “how incredibly cool is that?” & “what can I do to make somebody’s day?”, so it got my mind spinning. As much as I wish I was the renaissance woman, I’m not, but there are a few things I feel like I’m decent at & one of them is making wire jewelry. So, to rewind and take you back a few weeks ago, my dad and I went to the Gem & Jewelry Show in Seattle. I was buying basic supplies for making my jewelry and was eyeing some incredibly fabulous strands of green amethyst which were way, way out of my price range. I think my dad saw the little sparkle in my eye when I was looking at them and he insisted on getting them for me. They are by far the most stunning gems in all of my collection. So I thought, “hmmm, my dad did such a wonderful thing for me, why shouldn’t I make a fabulous pair of earrings for a complete stranger out of the gems?”, so I did. (Picture attached) I printed out the cards you made, wrapped them up as a gift and wrote the following message in a card to my stranger:
“Dear Stranger: Yesterday I was inspired by someone to do a random act of kindness, so I was dreaming up ideas of something special to do for someone else. As a jewelry designer, I thought it would be nice to make a pair of earrings from the nicest strand of gems I own, green amethyst. These were made especially for you because you look like a nice person who will give them a great home. Green amethyst are known to calm and protect the mind – they are also used for meditation & as a healing stone. I hope you like them. . .” I also mentioned that if they ever want to swing by and say hi, they can swing by my blog online.
So, with my best friend (Piper) in tow, who by this point was totally into the RAK’s day and had her own stash of your RAK’s cards, we set out to Pike Place market. She kept asking, who are you going to give them to? How are you going to decide? & I had no strategy, I was just waiting for the opportunity to arise. So we swung by the dried fruit stall to gab with the vendor and test out some of her treats. Piper bought some fruit and when I went to pay for mine, the vendor wouldn’t let me, she said it was on the house. I was caught completely off guard, thinking “why did she do that for me?” & “that was so incredibly nice. . .” Then I realized that opportunity was striking. The vendor didn’t seem like she was big into jewelry, so I asked her if she would be kind enough to do a big favor for me. I pulled the wrapped present out of my pocket and asked her to give it a really nice (jewelry wearing) customer sometime today. She absolutely loved the idea and was so happy to do it, so we thanked her and were on our way.
Who knows who wound up with the earrings, but I’m sure she found a great home for them!
Next we were off to Starbucks for the ritual coffee. Piper bought coffee for the person in line behind her, she also bought a few gift cards to hand out along with your ‘Enjoy this Random Act of Kindness’ cards, so now we were off again to hand them out. It was hilarious. Piper saw one woman as she was walking into Sbux and asked, “Are you going in for a cup of coffee?” The woman responded, “I’m not sure, I just don’t know what I’m doing.” So Piper, in turn, said, “Why don’t you go in and have a cup on me?” as she tried to hand over the card. The woman looked horrified and wouldn’t accept. . . we were baffled and continued on, our intent was not to scare people. So off we went, giving a card to a nice lady with a big smile who was kind enough not to run me over when I ran out in front of her car. She reacted by saying, “Oh my gosh, you just made my day.” What an amazing reaction. To wrap the day up, I thought it would be funny to play a trick on a stranger, placing a gift card under the windshield wiper of their car, making it look like they got a parking ticket. When they go to grab it, being presumably perturbed, they will see that they are getting free coffee instead.
So, that’s the long and the short of it, I shared the story with my mom and she recollected a story years ago when a gentleman paid for her coffee out of nowhere. She still hasn’t forgotten & she’s already thinking of 58 ways she can celebrate her next b-day by giving. I thought it might be neat to write a blog about it and include your download for the cards so people may get inspired like I did after reading your blogs about RAK’s. -CD
A Random Act of Kindness for today--dropped off a bunch of pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald house. Happy Birthday, Michelle! -AS
My random acts of kindness include: Saving a worm on the sidewalk, Buying saline solution for someone, Making a donation to an organization for someone due to a death. This the recipients’ family will have no idea I made the donation – only the friend whose name I put in the card. -KM
I bought two tickets to Wicked for my sister's 30th birthday and passed mine along to her friend who wanted to go badly, but wasn't able to afford to go. -AW
My boss retired yesterday. She has not been one of my favorite people for quite awhile (I'll spare you a drawn out description of her histrionics and personality issues). She ADVISED me several months ago that she EXPECTED a piece of my art for a retirement gift from me. This annoyed the hell out of me, but I knew I would have to come through with a piece. In my annoyance, I selected my least favorite piece ( it is pretty ugly) and decided - fine - if she is demanding this, she gets the crummiest one I have. And I even bought a frame for it.
And then...I got the email about what you wanted for your birthday, and I looked hard at the art piece, and sighed...and selected another one in lieu of the ugly one and gave it to her yesterday. She was thrilled. While it isn't actually a random act, I considered it to be a moderate sacrifice on my part, so there it is. Next week's plans are much more fulfilling for me I think, but I just wanted you to know that it is because of you that I changed my mind on the art piece (I am a pretty shallow person sometimes, so thank you for the reminder to be a human!) -AK
A good deed that I did was play with a new girl who came to school because she didnt have any friends, and now she is happy and comfortable!!! -MM