A lot of us don’t have the time to commit to regular volunteer projects. Instead of giving back in that sense, why not try random acts of kindness as you go about your everyday life? Here are 15 ideas to help you spread joy and “pay it forward.”
1. Leave your mail-carrier a packet of hot chocolate or iced drink mix. Whether the heat is sweltering or the cold is freezing, your mail carrier will appreciate this small token.
2. Leave a children’s book at the playground. Bury it in the sand or hide it in a tunnel. Any kid would be so excited to find buried treasure at the playground!
3. Tape quarters to laundromat machines. Don’t forget to leave a little note that says, “Laundry is on me today.” You could leave a small bottle of detergent as well.
4. Write encouraging notes on restaurant receipts. Leave your server a positive note (in addition to a tip, of course). Servers have tough jobs; they would appreciate a little note of thanks.
5. Leave an extra-nice comment on a news story or blog. Reporters and bloggers get thousands of negative, discouraging comments on articles they worked hard on. Break the cycle and leave a positive comment.
6. Pay for the drive-through order behind you. Whether it’s a Starbucks order or a full hamburger meal, pay for the car behind you next time you’re in the drive-through line. Who knows, they might pass that kindness to the car behind them!
7. Feed someone’s meter. We’ve all been there – just a few minutes late to the parking meter, just as the enforcement car leaves a ticket. Slip a few quarters in a meter that is just about out of time.
8. Make a lasagna for a busy mom. Don’t stay to talk, just drop it off with a note that says “you’re doing a great job.” She will appreciate not having to cook dinner!
10. Buy a coffee for your favorite teacher, receptionist, parking lot attendant, nurse, etc. A small act of gratitude can make someone’s day. It does not have to be a fancy latte; the thought will brighten an ordinary week.
11. Mail a happy card to a friend. When was the last time you received snail mail? Pick up a “just because” card and write a quick note to a faraway friend or relative.
12. Let the family with crying kids go first. It may be rush hour at the grocery store but if you have a few extra minutes, let the parents with restless, complaining children go in front of you.
13. Listen to a story from an elderly friend or neighbor, especially if your friend does not have family close by. A 20 minute chat about their day or even a story from their past will help strengthen your bond.
14. Call your parents for no reason. Chances are it’s been a few days (or weeks) since you spoke to your parents. Give them a quick call just to say hi and that you’re thinking about them.
15. Smile at every single person. Just for a day. Instead of avoiding eye contact and shuffling through your day, try this small act of kindness and see how your own mood improves!
What is your favorite random act of kindness to do?