Random Acts of Kindness

Living through the past decade and looking at the world today, it’s difficult to have a positive worldview sometimes.  9/11, a slew of catastrophic natural disasters, numerous wars, doomsday hysteria, the recession…  In times like these, it’s harder to believe that the world, and the people in it, are basically good.  In the end, it is and they are. But, times are tough and we should support one another.  We should re-think our interactions with others. 

We can’t count on others to do this, to make the world a better place.  We have to do it ourselves.   

I ask you, if you’re so inclined, to post your random act of kindness stories below: those you’ve done, those you’ve seen, and those you’ve benefited from.

Random acts of kindness are a great place to start to help make the world a better place and increase connections between people in our communities.  This website is awesome  is you’re into it and looking for ideas: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/29-ways-to-carry-out-random-acts-of-kindness-every-day.html

It is said that a woman named Anne Herbert invented the phrase “random act of kindness” in 1982.  She wrote on a placemat in Sausalito, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”  Acting kind randomly is a senseless act of beauty, and we should never underestimate the power of a single act of kindness.

I’ll never forget when I went surfing at Pipes and a stranger lent me his surfboard.  Standing on the beach getting reading to go out, I mentioned to the man next to me (mid 40’s) that I liked his board.  Without pause, he asked me if I would like to try it out.  I rode the board for a half hour, he gave me the dimensions, and gave me the number of the guy at Surfrider to get in contact with to get my own.  His kindness moved me in a profound way and we became friends.

These acts of kindness are small, on-the-fly decisions you make to help someone else at the expense of yourself: buying a lottery ticket for a stranger; putting coins in someone else’s parking meter; baking brownies for your neighbor; giving a compliment.  Beyond making that person’s day or helping someone else, kindness is contagious, and that person is likely to pay it forward.        

I went to around thirty locations last week (namely Starbucks and libraries) and put up fliers asking people to do random acts of kindness for a week and then write about it.

I did some.  I bought flowers for my Mom (pictured) and did other RAKs most days.  I feel like a bit of a jerk talking about what I did, so I won’t, but I’ll just say, buying coffee for a stranger was a fun and easy one.

Happy almost Thanksgiving, everyone!


5 thoughts on “Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Normally, I don’t tell people about doing stuff like this because then it takes away some of the magic for me or makes me feel like I’m looking for a pat on the back, which is not the point obviously. But, since you asked, I’ll share:
    Random acts I’ve done:
    Babysat for friends and friends of friends for free so they could have a date night.
    Bought strangers groceries.
    Helped send a stranger to cheerleading camp and another on her school trip to DC.
    Give whatever is in my pocket to those kids trying to sell cheap candies and nicnacks to earn a scholarship.
    Made a scrapbook for a friend to help her organize many years of memories
    Paid for someone to go to therapy who otherwise couldn’t afford it

    What people have done for me:
    85% of our treatment for infertility was paid by friends who donated anonymously to a bank account set up in our name by another friend. It would have taken us another 3-4 years to save that kind of money.
    Someone paid for me to go on a retreat/conference years ago when I was dirt poor and couldn’t afford to go.
    A friend comes over every Tuesday and watches my girls for me so I can get errands done. She never asks for anything in return and often stays to keep me company when she has plenty of other things to do. (Having triplets is VERY isolating)

    I am sure there are more but I have 2 hungry kids I have to go feed.
    Good post Nat. 🙂

  2. I love to bake, but living in a house full of girls, no one ever wants sugary treats around. So, after I’m done baking I pass them out to homeless men and women that I meet around La Jolla!

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