24 random acts of kindness

Happy, Happy New Year!!  How has the first week of the year been going for you?

We’ve been busy cleaning, organizing and doing all of those pre-move things.  Is it crazy that I actually enjoy it?  For someone who is by no means a clean freak, the whole pre-move deep clean is a bit of a ritual for me.  A sign of things to come, I guess.

Anyway, I thought what better way to start out the new year than with a little rundown of how it all went down with our random acts of kindness adventure.

Remember our advent tree?  The one where we counted down the days to Christmas doing somewhat random acts of kindness.
random acts of kindness

Well, it turns out a certain trip to the US threw a wrench in my well laid countdown plans. So what is one to do in such a situation? Grab a friend and do as many acts of kindness in as few days a possible, I say.  :)

So, before I left for the US I took all of the cards off the tree and got to work.  I recruited my friend Monique one day to be a partner in crime and designated photographer (unfortunately there are no photos for the tasks I took on by myself).  :)  And, in no particular order here is what we found ourselves doing.

Hopefully anyone who is embracing the random acts idea, especially in honor of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, will find a few ideas here to be something that would work for you.  :)

random acts of kindness

1. Buy a friend a beverage coffee.  Turns out I didn’t buy Monique’s espresso, but did indulge her in an ice cold Tamarind juice after our adventure.  It’s a simple gesture, but I appreciated her help and enjoyed the down time it gave us just to sit and chat for a bit.

2. Give a stranger a Starbucks gift card.  I just waited in line, bought the gift card and then turned around and gave it to the cute guy behind me.  Smiles all around.
random acts of kindness

3. Leave an extra large tip at a meal out.  I gave a super nice server a $10 tip on a $9 lunch while I was in MD in December.

4. Pay for someone’s meal.  It could be the car behind you at the drive thru, the nice ol’ couple in the booth next to you at breakfast or someone behind you in line at a street vendor … if you live in a place with street vendors.  :)

5. Give cold drinks to road workers (or hot drinks if you’re in a cold location).  These guys win the most exuberant award.  They just got so excited and happy and started calling over all of their buddies, I was worried we were going to run out, but it just worked out.
random acts of kindness
random acts of kindness6. Donate dog treats to our vet’s office.

7. Clean up garbage in an area you frequent.  I consider this a lead-by-example idea.  A kindness to the earth idea.  It usually garners funny looks around here when I’m picking up trash, but in the back of my mind I can’t help but think that it’s going to make some people think twice about littering in the future.  And, I’m even known to run after people who “accidentally” drop things saying things like “Oops, I grabbed this for you after I noticed you dropped it, I see a trash can right over there.” with a big, friendly smile.

8. Give a stranger a phone card.  This might not make sense in the US but many cell phones plans are pre-paid here, where you buy minutes in the form of a phone card.  This guy was worried that I wanted money in exchange for the card, but once it was clear it was a gift he was very thankful.
random acts of kindness

9. Pay for someone’s groceries.  I did this last year, too, as part of our 12 Days of Kindness.

10. Leave random notes of happiness on cars.  We chose the more ‘rustic’ looking cars, which are abundant in Curacao … and probably left people looking over their shoulder in suspicion … which makes me wish we’d hung around to see some reactions to the notes.  :)
random acts of kindnessMonique even got in on the fun.  :)
random acts of kindness

11. Buy a stranger’s movie ticket.

12. Tape coins to a vending machine.  We went to the vending machine at the hospital and left enough money for 2 drinks and a cheerful note.

random acts of kindness

13. Give cookies to tellers at the bank.  No cameras allowed in the bank but those ladies love their cookies!

14. Tell a stranger they look beautiful.  Turns out the lady in front of me in line at the bank had the most gorgeous sun dress on so I made sure to tell her.

15.  Give cookies to the Venezuelan Embassy.  That’s where I took Spanish classes … for free.  It was nice to see my teacher again and they appreciated the thought.  Frankin (my teacher) was happy to let me know he met a someone who had met me who said I spoke beautiful Spanish.*

*I met this woman one time and maybe said 2 sentences to her and it was at a birthday party so she had been drinking.  :)
random acts of kindness

16. Bake brownies for Joel’s co-workers.  Now, this one worked out kind of funny.  Last year I baked cupcakes for the security guards, so this year I thought I would bake brownies for a different group … but, the security guards had another plan.  :)  I was driving in one day when one of the guards proclaimed “It’s almost time for those muffins again.”  :)

It made me smile so I couldn’t resist bringing them more treats this year.  And I don’t know why they call them muffins, they also call flip flops “slippers”.

17.  Lighten a friend’s load.  Whether it’s offering to watch their kids for a few hours, run a regular errand you know they have or just pick up their dry cleaning.  Something that might give someone just a few extra minutes to do with exactly how they like might just change the course of their whole day.

18. Donate school supplies to a school in need.  I know many of you with kids have to do this already, but there’s always going to be a school out there who doesn’t have the parent participation most of us are probably used to.

19-24.  Do something nice for yourself.  Truth be told, I haven’t actually taken the time to do these yet, but I will.  I believe it’s a gift to everyone … at least that’s what I tell myself to justify it and I’m totally buying my own story.  :)

What about you … have you participated in any random acts lately?  Have any fun, new ideas for me?  Do you try to give people back their litter?

And, if you want to read a couple other ideas, check out what we did for the 12 Days of Kindness last year.

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About Karah

I'm Karah and I'm so glad you're here! I'm a small town girl from the North East who finds myself moving around with my husband and pups every few years and constantly on a journey to make the most of every space we find ourselves in. That little space between what has been and what will be. It'd be so cool if you'd like to join us for the ride.
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40 Responses to 24 random acts of kindness

  1. What fun Karah! You and your friend were so very busy — I can’t believe you accomplished all that in a single day! You go girl!

    :) Linda

  2. Love it and looks like you had a lot of fun doing this and I know you felt especially good all day. Good ideas and I must think more along this line.
    Audrey Z.
    Timeless Treasures

  3. You are so inspiring Karah! It’s so awesome of you to do this for others and spread the love. Plus you’re an inspiration to your readers! :)

  4. Nancy Carr says:

    I did not make a tree for random acts of kindness, however, I do this throughout the year. People are surprised and appreciate it. I get as much satisfaction out of doing this as those receiving it. Because I do not live near my grandchildren who are now teenagers, I have always paid for a young persons soda or candy in line behind me. I love the surprised look in their eyes when the cashier tells them it is already paid for. I would be doing this anyway if I lived near my grandchildren. A young mother behind me at the pharmacy was buying Christmas gift wrap supplies and I paid for those. I have no idea who she is. I gave her a hug and told her Merry Christmas in Spanish. I also do this for the neighborhood children all year long when they have birthdays or a holiday. Every act of kindness makes our world a better place. Keep up the good work.

    • Karah says:

      I LOVE all of the things you’ve done Nancy. And I couldn’t agree more, it’s little gestures of pure kindness that really make our world better each day!!

  5. Rita says:

    I love these ideas, and I loved seeing all the pictures. This is a great idea. So much better than eating Dove chocolates for 24 days, which is what I did for advent. Thanks for not just inspiration, but an action plan.

  6. Hi Karah! I just caught up with your Random Acts of Kindness and what a great idea! Such simple, kind things that really make someone’s day a little brighter! Good for you and thanks for inspiring us all to be a little kinder. :)

  7. This is awesome.thanks for being a beautiful soul!

  8. cassie says:

    i absolutely LOVE this!!! the kids and i haven’t been making a list as planned, but we have knocked out a few so far! we made cookies and brought them to every other house on our street- 14 houses total- and met some neighbors while we did it! :) we also made snowflakes for sandy hook, and we made cards for their teachers. we are going to continue just doing nice things for others. i just want it to become a habit for them.

    • Karah says:

      YES!! The idea of just creating the habit I think makes all the difference. I love that you’re starting so young with them. It’s fun to try to explain to my friends that it’s really not that ‘weird’ to just do random nice things as a general rule. :)

  9. Wende says:

    So thoughtful and sweet. Bet you and Monique did have fun. :) Enjoy the adventures ahead. Happy New Year!

  10. Such a happy post, Karah! Look at all those smiles! Thanks for giving me one today, too!
    Xo Heidi

  11. Heather says:

    I don’t get your pics when I read your posts in my email feed, I wish I did, it makes me want to unsub and I really like your blog. I hope you fix this soon, I don’t like visiting every blog I sub to at the site. :)

    • Karah says:

      Hi Heather – I have had trouble with my pics on my feed ever since I started … I’m still hoping feedburner can get it figured out. Thank you so much for subscribing, and I understand if it just doesn’t work out for you. :)

  12. Aww so fun! You totally don’t look like you’re dressed to be doing CHRISTMAS acts of kindness!

  13. Beautiful! Thanks for letting us join in on the fun. :-) This truly is inspiring.

  14. Anne says:

    LOVE this post Karah! A good reminder too! Little things here and there make such a difference.Even if it seems small it may be huge to someone else.You never really know what is going on with someone in there life.This little act of kindness could happen on a day that person really needed a lift!

  15. Debbie says:

    This reminds me of the Pay it Forward movie…I love the idea and concept. I haven’t done things like you mention, but do regular every day (to me) acts of kindness. Like hold doors open, smile at strangers, let someone in front of me in a line, etc. I love some of your acts and will really try to find time to do a few.
    Thanks for the post, Karah!
    Debbie :)

  16. szinteriors says:

    Wow, Karah, this is just awesome! I love it and feel so inspired. Seriously, how hard can it be to do even just a few RAoK? The garbage one kills me – that’s too funny!

  17. Oh Karah you are the best! I should make sure to never miss a post because hanging out here is like getting a little dose of sunshine. I so needed this happy lift after a longggggg and not fun day with a certain child who was really intent on playing the part of a major PILL. LOVED the pictures. What a very wonderful idea, and one that I will try to do with my family. We could all use a few reasons to be kinder, especially to each other!

  18. Karah,
    I really like your suggestions…and the smiles.
    This year i read the book “Untangling Christmas” – we were on the lookout for new traditions and for making Christmas more focused and less frenetic. (It worked.)

    In the book, the author offered some nice suggestions on Acts of Service. One in particular, brushing snow off cars you don’t know, rang a bell for us. (That wouldn’t be too helpful on an island, eh?)

    Thank you for 24 more ideas!
    We might do an Advent Calendar of service next year, thanks to you.
    ~ Dana

  19. Stacy says:

    I LOVE, Love, love this!!! What a great world it would be if everyone did this!! I am on a limited budget so I can’t really do anything that costs money, but I did what I would consider a random act. I live in apartments with a mail center. There are cork boards for hanging fliers and such. I hung up a flier that said “If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours” because I recently saw this awesome quote. At the bottom I made a bunch of smiley faces that could be torn off (like phone numbers on a flier where someone is selling something). In about a week all the smiles were gone!! I was actually surprised, pleasantly surprised though!! I can’t take credit for this idea as I saw something similar on Pinterest. I just put two ideas together, got out a piece of paper and a sharpie, wrote it up and hung it. :)

    I love that you run after people telling them they dropped something. I have picked it up and loudly said “It’s ok, I’ll throw it away for You”.Ha ha. I hate to see people litter. I always have a bunch of wrappers and paper in the bottom of my purse because there was nowhere to throw it away.

  20. Leah says:

    Thanks for sharing these, I’ve been trying to come up with RAKs that don’t cost money and you’ve given me a few good ideas.

  21. Chelsey says:

    I found your site when looking up random acts of kindness after completing one of my own a few days ago. It was pouring down rain as I left work and as I started to pull out of the parking lot I noticed a car with the window almost completely down. After an inner battle with myself about how badly I wanted a cheesburger, my compassionate side won and I hopped out to dig through my drunk. I came up with a pretty nifty solution by taking 2 grocery sacks and tucking them into the rubber around the window which held perfectly! It made me feel great to bless this person and hopefully they will pass on kindness of their own! My mom was so touched that she uploaded a picture to reddit. LOL thanks for all your ideas!! http://i.imgur.com/xwbLLpE.jpg

    • Karah says:

      Oh my gosh, I love this so much!!! What a genuinely nice thing to do … it really is the spontaneous, just because it’s a nice thing to do, thing that I think are the best! Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  22. Sivol says:

    Im sure those road workers enjoyed your beautiful smile more than the cold refreshing beverages :D Your an inspiration Karah

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