Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Challenge :: Random Acts of Kindness

Last night, was just a normal night – I had a list longer than my arm, of things to do and I was wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life. I decided to stop by Aldi and pick up some of my favorite produce to chop up for the week. Once I got to the checkout area up front, horror set in as a huge line with full carts were crammed into one lane, as the other two lanes were closed. After a long day and a long line, I let out a short sigh and was thankful. With a bag of produce hanging from one arm and a watermelon bigger than myself in the other, I was thankful that I lift weights – can you say first world problems? 

Finally, another lane opened up as customers politely fight for the shortest spot in line. I figure there's no need to rush as I wasn't quite done with my watermelon workout anyway. In front of me was a cute little old man, who kept to himself and in front of him was a women (aka Mystery Woman). After being rung through, Mystery Woman made her quick exit and the old man's box of goodies rung up. Cheerfully, the cashier asked him if he knew that the lady in front of him had pre-paid $8 towards his grocery bill. He was stunned and said "but I didn't even say a word to her." The cashier went on to explain that she will apply the amount to his bill, as he continued to say "I didn't know there was still good people in this world." The older lady behind me then chimed in and said "there are a lot of good people, we just hear about the bad ones!" 

After seeing the sparkle in his eye and the faith in the other women's heart – it made me happy. The cashier was smiling, the old man was contemplative and everyone else behind me looked like they had just witnessed a mini-miracle. I dashed out of the store and immediately felt the urge to do something, but what? I decided to take to social media and spread the good news, since the lady behind me said we only hear about the bad. It really bothered me to hear that the old man didn't know there were still good people in the world. What if the Mystery Lady had not been there, would I have made his or anyone else's day better? 

This is what brings me to random acts of kindness and paying it forward. I want to challenge you today, to be that mystery man or woman – be that light to someone's day. Chances are, you will not only effect one person, but their cheer will spread and hopefully they will pay it forward. You can choose to do one a day for the next week or even do a whole month – it's up to you! I have decided that I am going to do 25 random acts of kindness. Why 25? My husband, who is the most wonderful person that I have ever known is 25 years old, so in honor of him I'm spreading the happiness that he gives me. Mushy gushy is over – now make your plan of action! 

While the mystery lady at Aldi spent money on her act, not all acts of kindness need to include money! See below for a few ideas and share in the comments below some ideas of your own! You may also visit http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/ for a ton more ideas and resources. 

Bring a homemade treat into work.
Bring a treat into your local fire or police station (this may need to be prepackaged – safety rules).
Go to a drive through and pay for the person's order who's in the car behind you.
Open the door for people everywhere you go.
Donate lightly worn clothes to Goodwill (or if you know a family seeking need).
Purchase flowers and leave on the windshield of cars. 
Help a neighbor with yard work for free.
Sit by someone who's alone at church.
Write a thank you letter to a service man or woman.
Donate extra to your church or an organization you support.
Leave a larger tip.
Compliment someone you don't know.
Connect with an old high school or college teacher.
Write a thank you letter to a politician or activist that you view as a role model.
Mail a small gift to someone you know without your return address or name attached (remember they will still be able to see what city the post office stamped the package at).
Volunteer at the animal shelter.
Show appreciation for your kid's teacher and/or principal. 
If you experience great service at a store, speak to the manager and tell them the name of the helpful employee.
Smile at strangers.
Go to the toy section of a store and slightly hide a few dollar bills for kids to find.
Leave a sticky note with an inspirational messages in a public place. 
Invite an acquaintance over for dinner.

Shop smarter, eat better, live happier!

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