There I was minding my own business with two kids and a booster seat when a car stopped in the middle of the street. The window wound down and a lady called out “Are you okay? Can I give you a ride?”
I'd just moved to Texas and wasn't ready to drive yet. Having just moved from London (a walking city), I was happy to walk for my errands. I didn't realize how odd it was to the rest of driving suburbia.
I'm not gonna lie, nowadays when I see somebody walking in the burbs I am just as befuddled as that lady.
That offer to give me a ride was the first of many I received until I got a TX license.
February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day, which brought back that memory.
If you want to get into the spirit of things, here are a few ways:-
FREE & GRATIS
Drive to work? When you see somebody signaling to turn in front of you or get in your lane, do you quickly close the gap and think “you’re not getting in front of me.” Today: pause and give way to one car.
Work in an office tower? If you’re in an elevator and hear somebody approaching the elevator bank, hold the open door button so they can hop on. Those surfaces are reflective, so many times I’ve seen people furiously tapping the close door button. Where’s the shaking head emoji?
At work. A small note, to somebody you work with letting them know one reason you appreciate working with them. It doesn’t have to read like a 360 performance review. Perhaps it's that their cheeriness lifts you up, or that they encourage you to hit the gym after work, or just plain inspire you. Drop them a small note.
At home. A small note to one of your loved ones. Slip a note in their lunch bag. I used to randomly slip an ‘I love you’ or a ‘have a great day’ note into their lunchbox. No school today but I think I’ll put one in there for Tuesday.
PAY IT FORWARD
BOGO at the vending machine. Buying a snack from a vend machine today? Pick one up and give it to one of your colleagues. Even if it’s not their fave snack, they’ll be able to pay it forward. In a pinch, sometimes those gifted snacks tucked in the desk drawer come in handy when unexpectedly working late or at the weekend.
Bite off Hershey's style. Have you seen the TV commercial where a 90 year old gentleman randomly gives away Hershey’s candy bars on the street? Put a spin on that today, how about taking a few KIND granola bars to work and giving those out. It literally says ‘KIND’ on the packaging. They were practically made for today!!
At the coffee shop or regular food place. Two options here:-
1. You could do the pick up the coffee tab of the next stranger in line.
2. Studies suggest that we feel more of a boost when we have a social tie to the person on the receiving end of the act of kindness than when it’s a complete stranger.
So go to one of your regular food haunts where you usually get service with a smile, or they remember your usual order. Put some money in their tip jar and/or say ‘thanks, I appreciate how you remember that I want a just a splash of fat-free, nut milk and 2 ice cubes in my coffee’. Do it even if you don’t plan to eat/drink there today; in fact especially if you’re not eating there today.
There you have it. I count 8 ways that you can do a random act of kindness at a small cost.
Do you plan to do any of these? Do you have other plans to be kind today? Share with us so that we can try some of your ideas!