While most of us are planning to either celebrate or protest Valentine’s Day tomorrow, there’s one holiday we should all observe this week and that’s National Random Acts of Kindness Day. That’s right, this Friday, February 17th, is officially the day to channel your inner Haley Joel Osment and pay it forward. All kidding aside, the smallest kind gesture can have a tremendous impact on another human being.
Growing up, my mom worked as the receptionist at me and my sisters’ school. She used to answer the phone the same way every time: “It’s a great day here at Selwyn, how can I help you?”. She didn’t just recite this either, she said it with a genuine, cheerful voice. I once asked her why she answered the phone that way instead of just saying hello. I will never forget what she told me.
“You never know what kind of day someone’s having. You never know what kind of struggle the person on the other end of the line is going through. The smallest kind gesture, like a positive voice, can have a tremendous impact on someone’s life.”
That’s always stuck with me so of course when I heard it was National Random Acts of Kindness Day, I had to write a post in my sweet mother’s honor. In an effort to continue the trend of spreading love this week, I’ve compiled a list of 10 selfless acts you can do this week to brighten someone else’s day.
- Buy the person’s coffee behind you in line at Starbucks. This has happened to me a handful of times and It absolutely made my day. each time Most people will pay it forward, which will make you the catalyst of all kinds of kindness for the day.
- Give a genuine compliment to a stranger. If the woman at the grocery store has envious locks, tell her!
- Give away the books you’ve read. A friend recently did this for me and I’m super excited to dive into one of her favorite books tonight.
- Donate an old household item to a local shelter or family. There’s always someone in need. If you live in Dallas, check out SESSION Pilates during one of their donation classes benefitting The Family Place. Class is free – all you have to do is bring a donation item.
- Offer to babysit a friend’s child. Offer to watch a friend or coworker’s kids while they run to target or enjoy a date night out. I don’t know a single person who would turn this offer down!
- Offer to take someone’s photo. You know how it feels to ask a stranger to take your picture. Offer to take a photo for a couple who looks like they might be tourists. Or just snap a cute candid of your girlfriend for her insta!
- Put the shopping cart back. (or offer to take someone else’s back for them).
- Send flowers to an old friend.
- Send a card. A simple “Thinking about you” via snail mail goes a long way.
- Be present. Put your phone away and give people the attention they deserve at dinner, during a meeting, or at home.
I challenge you to pick five acts of kindness from the list above (or five of your own) and perform one each day this week. If you have an awesome random act of kindness story, please share it. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please share then as well so we can spread the love together. As always, remember you and coffee, and a bit of kindness… can do anything!