The first time I heard about Random Acts of Kindness Day was about 15 years ago. I remember thinking ‘this is so cool, it’s nice to have an excuse to be kind to a stranger’. Now, I know, some of you don’t need an excuse. You may already exude naturally excessive levels of kindness that just radiate from your body. Other are more like me, kind and generous at heart but need a an excuse to show it!
Plus, it’s easy to miss the date with all the marketing of other ‘special’ days -namely Valentines & pancake day.
I heard the stories about the type of kind acts people carried out:
*Paying for a strangers parking or handing them a ticket with spare time on it
*Helping someone carry their shopping bags
*Scraping the ice from a neighbours car windscreen on a freezing cold day
*Greeting strangers with a smile or a hello just because it’s nice
* Buying a meal for a homeless person
* Starting a conversation with someone who looks like they need a friend
Once you wade through your own thoughts of ‘I’m too busy, I don’t have time, I don’t have money, it’s a bit weird, I don’t know what to do’ , You’re more able to focus on the action. It turns out quite a small action can go a long way to brightening someone’s day and yours!
Last year I noticed the days drawing closer to the 17th, I had missed the day the previous year so wanted to redeem myself.
Luckily on the 17th, I saw the perfect opportunity, outside a supermarket, a volunteer I recognised from work struggling to get a taxi home with her trolley full of shopping. I knew she lived near me so thought great I’ll give her a lift! Honestly I can’t tell you the excitement (and relief) I felt, not letting this special day pass me by. (Yes it’s true events like this are now a highlight in year) The volunteer was so grateful, it made my insides swell with warmth and pride. I started thinking ‘This feels so good, I should be more kind more often’.
This time around I started early, I decided that my elderly neighbour who lives on his own, needed my Sunday dinners. So, at least once a month for the last 3 months I’ve popped round with a plate of home cooked delights. Fortunately my guess was right, he was not in the habit of cooking a full Sunday roast for one! And needless to say he has a huge smile on his face when I pop round with a plate of food.
Now I have been careful to carry out an action I can commit to, that doesn’t feel like a grand effort (I already cook for my family so it’s just one extra plate). This act of kindness makes me feel more connected to my neighbour and my community – this guy knows everything and everyone!
So, Saturday will be a useful nudge for most of us to put some effort in to carry out a random act of kindness. After this you will feel so incredible maybe you too will find other ways to spread a little more joy throughout the year.
For a little inspirations check out the following links:
Written by Simone Stephenson-Bellwood