Random Acts of Kindness

I’m with Jillian this week. I’m in a blue funk, so I thought I’d talk about something that generally always cheers me up. Random Acts of Kindness. I equally love seeing these, being on the receiving end of these, and being the one who DOES random act of kindness.

Today, at the grocery store, I walked out laughing at something my husband said. A nice (and might I say good-looking) young man was standing there and he smiled and said “I see you’re having a good day.” It wasn’t much, just that he noticed. But it widened my smile. That’s a very small act, but it brightened my day. And it made me feel much kinder to the person who cut me off in traffic on the way home.

I love it when I see strangers open doors for someone else, or pick something up someone dropped. Or who simply smile at me as I walk past (something I try to do often).

I’ve also seen more random acts of kindness cropping up on the internet. People tweeting about other’s accomplishments, offers of assistance. Then, there are the really big acts of kindness, although they generally aren’t so random. For instance, Brenda Novak, a NY Times best-selling author, holds an online auction every year to raise money for diabetes research. It just concluded for this year and raised $306,000 this year alone! The number of people who contribute either goods or services to the auction is staggering.

These are the things I try to remember when life doesn’t feel as chipper as usual. How about you? What random acts of kindness did you see this week?

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18 responses to “Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Great post, Laurie! I also love RACs. I try to do them as much as I can and love being on the receiving end. I received one from a waiter at lunch who complimented my blouse and one from a person in the courthouse who told me I made her day easier. I have passed on a couple of smiles and hellos to strangers this week as well.

  2. We have been on the receiving end soooo much this past week. The kids and I were out the other day and one of them commented on how much kindness, support, caring and love have been directed to us. In a world where you hear so many horrible things on the news, when you look out into your world there are more people that are pure gold. And, I am thankful to have them in my life some briefly pass through and some I have for a lifetime.

  3. It seems when my faith in people drops to an all time low~someone will hold open a door, smile when they walk by or call out of the blue “just to see how I’m doing.” I don’t know who coined the phrase “Random Act Of Kindness” but they are going on all around us. And that’s a good thing. I don’t leave the house everyday but when I do…I vow to do at least one RAOK while I’m out in public.

  4. It’s funny how the small often seemingly insignificant RAOKs can mean so much. I’m a great believer in Paying It Forward too. It doesn’t cost anything to smile at a stranger, hold a door open, let someone with a couple of items only go ahead of you at the checkout. We’ve also seen how generous people can be during the last few months when collecting for our George, from the little old lady who dropped a £20 note into the bucket to the street dustmen who on hearing of George’s plight had a collection at the depot and sent over £1000. But we’ve also seen the bad when a teenager was thrown off a late night bus this week because she didn’t have the full fare and no one proffered the few pennies she needed. A simple act of kindness would have prevented her from being attacked on her enforced walk home. I always try to be kind to people – it costs nothing but means so much.

    • Oh, Kit. I’m both laughing and crying at the same time. I feel sorry for that girl, but how wonderfully generous folks have been with George’s plight. I’m going to hold that generosity in my heart for days to come. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Valerie J. Patterson

    As a Sunday school teacher, I’ve been encouraging my students for the past 3 months to do 4 random acts of kindness each week, and I ask them what they’ve done each Sunday. I’m quite proud of them as many do more than the “required” 4.

    What concerns me about society is that what should be common courtesy has now become a random act of kindness. Someone holding the door for a woman or an elderly person should be common courtesy, and an automatic gesture. Someone waiting their turn at the intersection or in line at the store should be second nature, not something you do when the mood strikes. My parents raised me to respect not only my elders but the people around me. This is not being taught so much these days. Sadly.

    Paying for the purchase of the person behind you at the drive thru is a random act of kindness, and something a number of my friends have done, And something I want to be bold enough to do. Offering an older woman a lift when she’s stranded alongside the road is a random act of kindness, and something I’ve done.

    Being polite and having manners is something that should happen automatically. The fact that it’s seldom seen is rather sad and is a bold statement attesting to where we’ve come as a society.

    • I agree with you, Valerie. They should be common courtesies. And, I think they are automatic courtesies for a lot of people. I like the RAOK title though, because it reminds people that they are doing something nice and, I hope, makes them feel better about themselves, in the process.

      • Valerie J. Patterson

        I feel I must respond and 1) apologize for the terseness of my initial reply, Laurie. Friday was a rough day for me (not an excuse, just a fact), and I’m afraid that came through in my post and 2) say how much I enjoyed your topic even if my curmudgeonly response does not express it and 3) explain that I also appreciate it when a stranger extends any form of kindness toward me. I just wish people were kinder and gentler to one another consistently, and I know that is a HUGE and somewhat unrealistic desire! 😛

        Your post initially made me think of this one commercial (it’s a favorite of mine) wherein a person observes someone else being kind to a stranger and, because of witnessing this, does something kind for someone else, and a chain reaction begins. Please forgive me for being so blunt in my response. I feel as though I took some of the shine off your post, and I would never intentionally do that to you or anyone else.

      • Laurie Ryan

        Gosh, Valerie. Nothing came across terse in your initial posting at all. No worries at all. I believe we were on the same page and, in fact, that you said it better than I did. lol And I know that commercial. Can’t remember what it’s for, but I like it a lot.

      • Valerie J. Patterson

        Thank you, Laurie. When I re-read it a little bit ago, I was afraid I came across that way. I’m glad you knew what commercial I was talking about because I couldn’t remember what it was for, either! 😛

  6. Random acts of kindness certainly make the world a better place, that’s for sure. And yes, good manners sometimes seem to be in short supply these days. It makes us all feel better to be the giver and/or receiver of random acts of kindness. When we took Zorro, our guide dog puppy, out to do a bit of fundraising for guide dogs, it never ceased to amaze me how generous people were, not only with money, but in other ways too. I once saw a gang of scruffy youths walking toward us and told my hubby to put the collecting bucket between us as I was a bit wary of their intentions. When they reached us, two of them immediately got down on the pavement to play with Zorro while the rest of them had a whip round for money to put in the bucket. I’ll never forget the sight of those boys emptying their pockets.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      I especially like it when a book exceeds the look of its cover, which is exactly what happened when those boys gave instead of trying to take. Thanks, Tricia, for the smile. I’m glad I stopped by here today! 😛

    • Another reason to not got by what’s on the outside. This has been a great post for me.

    • Ahh, great story, Tricia. Like the others said, we all need to remember the outside isn’t the whole package. I know I quite often have to make myself take a second look, or give a second chance. I LOVE Valerie’s description about a book exceeding its cover. 🙂

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