Last month was my 40th Birthday and I celebrated by doing 40 Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). I was inspired by reading a post by a mom that had celebrated her birthday by doing 35 acts of kindness with her kids. This was a challenging but fulfilling experience. One of the unexpected benefits was I became a better listener and more aware of people’s needs as I searched for the next unique RAK I could do. While I don’t think I am one of those people who can do a RAK every day yet, I look forward to doing more kindness acts in the future.
Highlights from this experience:
- Having my girls help me with the acts of kindness. My 6yr old holding me accountable, by asking me what my RAK count was every day.
- Several folks telling me they were inspired to do Random Acts of Kindness
- Brainstorming RAK ideas with friends
- Seeing kids using some of the items left (toys, books)
- Making someone’s day with a RAK
If you would like to learn more about the kindness movement checkout the website Random Acts of Kindness. When coming up with my RAKs I referenced the following two posts, What a Ride!: My Birthday was Awesome and 366 Random Acts of Kindness, and adapted the ideas to what worked for me. The first post had a list of simple ideas that can involve kids; the second post had a lot of charity organizations. For my 40 RAKs I wanted to thank the people around me as well as do random acts for people I didn’t know. My belief was everybody can use an act of kindness.
Here is my list of 40 RAKs. Enjoy!
#1 – Paid the bill for a father of two girls that was standing behind me at the LEGO store.
#2 – Left fancy chocolates, cookies in the company break room
#3 – Surprised my Pilates instructor with a cup of coffee
#4 – Gave a homeless person a $5 gift card to McDonald’s
#5 – Gave the librarians at our local library a box of chocolates. They are always so patient and helpful as I always have a ton of books on hold under three different library cards, across three different loan systems. It can be quite complicated sometimes.
#6 – Brought donuts for my co-workers. Normally one of the managers brings donuts every Friday, so it was fun confusing my colleagues as I brought the donuts on a Thursday.
#7 – Box of chocolates for the children’s librarians at another local library
#8 – Left a Large tip tonight during my birthday dinner.
#9 – Box of chocolates for the staff at my kids’ gymnastics club
#11 – Wrote a gratitude letter to my baa (maternal grandmother) with the help of my mom. This act of kindness also made my mom happy too, bonus.
#12 – Wrote a gratitude/get well card to my Aunt.
#14 – Donated some toys to my Mother’s Helper. She redistributes them to other kids that she cares for.
#15 – Left some current magazines for others to read at the gym.
#16 – Gave each of the members in my writing group a book on writing great characters.
#17 – Donated a $5 McDonald’s gift card to a person in need.
#18 – Pushed the swing of a 4yr old at the park and ended up making a new acquaintance with the mom.
#20 – Gave activity packs, books, and DVDs to the children’s ward at the local hospital. This was a lot of fun, as the kids came up with the painting sheets idea.
#21 – Donated old coats, DVDs, and books to the family homeless shelter.
#22 – Sent words of encouragement to a new mom that was going back to work.
#23 – Gave a friend a voucher for a free ski lift ticket
#24 – Paid the bill for the person behind me at the drive-thru
#25 – Watched a movie tonight with my girls instead of doing my own stuff (clean the house, surf the net, etc).
#27 – Paid the parking meter for some people
#28 – Gave scratcher lottery tickets to the workers at Subway
#29 – Gave a homeless man a $5 gift card to McDonald’s.
#31 – Gave out scratcher lottery tickets to the service staff at work
#32 – At Target gave a re-usable bag to the person behind me since she didn’t have one. The retailers no longer give out plastic bags as our city has a ban on them.
#33 – Corralled some lost shopping carts.
#34 – Gave a small thank you gift to a co-worker for helping me out with some customer debug issues.
#35 – Donated some clothing for local foster kids. For those of you living in California, Sleep Train is currently running a Pajama Drive til March 3rd. Just drop of new PJ’s, underwear, or socks and they will be distributed to foster kids in your local community.
#36 – Left coins at the vending machine
#37 – Gave the neighbors some homemade Texas chili
#38 – Started a mini-library at my kids’ gymnastic center
#39 – Made two micro-loans via KIVA
#40 – A BIG thanks to all my family and friends for their in-person and on-line continuous steady stream of likes and positive, uplifting comments. Coming up with nearly 40 unique RAKs was a bit hard, but having you all by my side made it easier.