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Episode 36: Random Acts Of Kindness 2

Last week, I posted about how I’d become inspired to do one random act of kindness per day for a full week. So this week I thought I’d give you folks a rundown of the sorts of things I did. This way if you thought maybe it sounded like a good idea but didn’t know how to go about it, I could give you some ideas. I think I might have listed some of my acts in the previous post, but I don’t remember which ones, so I’ll just start with day 1, and move from there…

Day 1:
While at work, I bought water bottles for the people I was working with that day. They were 50 cents apiece, so it proved to be a highly affordable option, and also featured tangible evidence that my actions had an effect when one of the girls told me that she’d paid it forward later in the day.

Day 2:
Being a holiday (Victoria Day in Canada), I stayed home most of the day. But even then I managed to find an option. I helped my mum with some housework that I don’t normally do (yes I live with my parents at the moment, there’s a very long and unnecessary explanation that goes with it, so just forget about it and let’s move on).

Day 3:
I was at work and overheard an elderly couple discussing purchasing some artichokes. I had the box of fresh ones already and was set to work on the display shortly, but instead of waiting, I let them know that I would be filling it that moment, and if they wanted some of the older ones for a reduced price, I could get a bag’s worth ready for them. I even filled the bag a bit more than I usually do. From the thanks and smiles, I think it safe to say mission accomplished for day 3.

Day 4:
Again, a small gesture (notice a trend here yet?). I simply taped enough money for a chocolate bar to the vending machine at work with a little note explaining what it was, and asking for the recipient to pay it forward. I tried to add a little humour to the note also, so that it might inspire that extra little smile.

Day 5:
Finished work for the day and waiting to head home, I saw a woman loading bags of soil into her car. I went over to help her (despite the fact that normally when I’m done a shift I could care less about doing more work), and at the end a smile and a thank you were waiting for me.

Day 6:
Went to Tim Hortons (a coffee shop) for breakfast and bought the next two coffees after me. I suppose anonymous acts are more in the vein of a proper random act of kindness so this is a more appropriate example, but really I think doing anything you wouldn’t normally do counts.

Day 7:
I wanted to finish with more of a grand gesture for day 7. As the final day of the challenge, it seemed somehow appropriate to have a grand finale. Lickily, I knew just what to do. I’d recently met a girl who’d been pretty much forced into moving to a new area (conveniently the area I live in), and not only had she seemed pretty bummed about the move itself, but her birthday was coming up soon, and she didn’t really know anyone in the area, so she wasn’t planning on celebrating and seemed down about that too. Now interestingly enough her birthday landed on the same day as day 7 of my challenge. So I thought about what I could do. Then I remembered one of my friends loves to bake. So I called in a favour with her, to bake a cake themed to the new girl’s favourite chocolate/candy. Today was the day for the reveal, and you should have seen how happy and bright she became. It was a thing of beauty, folks. Truly a finale fit to be called grand.

So now the challenge is ended, and what have we learned? Well, I learned that not only do I give the world hope for a better tomorrow, but that from my inspiration, others are bringing hope as well. I learned (or I should say was reminded) that it’s not always about what you do or how much you spend on it, but rather just that you’re doing it at all. But also I finally realized that all those times when people have said that it’s better to give than to receive… They were absolutely 100% right. This has been one of the best and most fulfilling weeks of my life so far, and I am seriously considering making this a life-long challenge. It’s hard to keep thinking up new ways to perform a random act, but it’s good for the soul, and it’s good for those around me that I’ve touched with these acts.

They say you should be the change you want to see. Well, I’m doing my best, what about you?

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Episode 35: Random Acts Of Kindness

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but part of that is because it’s mostly been business as usual for me. Nothing terribly special has happened or given me pause and the desire to write. I’ll grant you, I specifically didn’t want to give myself deadlines so I wouldn’t feel pressured to making less than worthy posts, so technically I did nothing in the wrong, but still I feel like I’ve been neglecting this, and that was not my intention. However, with that said, something has come up, and it’s something I feel I should share with you all.

Yesterday I decided on a whim to perform a random act of kindness. It was nothing major, I simply bought bottles of water for some of the folks I worked with. It cost me very little, and not just in terms of money. And interestingly enough, I heard back from one of the girls that she’d paid it forward and paid for someone’s order at Tim Hortons (a ridiculously popular coffee shop, for those of you living outside Canada). Now alone in and of itself, my act had me feeling pretty good. Here I was, having done something nice for others. But then to hear that my actions had had a ripple effect and passed on to another, I wondered how far that ripple might go. It’s amazing what one simple action can set in motion, sometimes.

But the deed having been done, I soon moved on and went about my business. After all, they’re small gestures, and not truly something significant, right? Well I was wrong. A friend of mine posted today about his own random act of kindness, and proposed a challenge: one act every day for a week. And I thought, why not? I could certainly do that.

And that’s when it hit me. Each small gesture has a grand effect. Not only does it help restore faith in a world quickly becoming mired in selfishness and entitlement, but it also inspires others to do good in their own lives when they hear the story. I wasn’t the one who benefitted from my friend’s actions, but his words inspired me to take up the challenge and to inspire others to do the same. I posted a status to Facebook, urging my own friends to take the challenge, but still that didn’t seem enough. Still I thought I could do better.

Which brings us here. To WordPress, where the world can share in the story, and with any luck be inspired to change the world. You don’t have to take up the week-long challenge like I did. Just try to start with one thing. And should you do so, leave a comment with your story so that others might be inspired as well. Share this post on Facebook so that your own friends will be inspired. I know it seems like a bit of an attention grab, but to be honest, I’ve just always wanted to do something that would make the world a better place. I know I can’t do it alone though. And so I ask you: help me plant those seeds, and together let us watch them bloom into a better world.

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