26 Random Acts of Kindness

Events

Sometime last week I came across Buzzfeed’s list of 26 Random Acts of Kindness that they’d compiled and was moved by the giving spirit that such a tragic event could spark. Over the next few days I though of nice things I could do for others to honor the #26acts movement that was spreading on Twitter & Instagram. But that’s all I did – think about it. It was a good idea in theory, but how would I ever find the time when I already had so much to do for my own family and friends this holiday season? The questions and excuses were never ending, but I really wanted to do it.

And then I was the recipient of a random act of kindness.

Delaney & I were at the mall bickering about traffic, parking, and general grinch-like gripings, when a man came up to us at Starbucks and handed out $5 Starbucks gift cards to a number of us waiting in line. Delaney & I were stunned at this man giving to us, and others, when he didn’t know us. He simply handed out the gift cards, said Merry Christmas and left. I don’t think I could even tell you what he looked like it happened so quickly. Immediatley we began talking and wondering why he would do such a thing. I immediately remembered the 26 acts of kindness and began to tell Delaney about it. As we waited for our coffee we looked up the original Buzzfeed article that I’d read early last week. I don’t know if the kind stranger who gave us Starbucks gift cards was doing 26 random acts, or if he was just giving because he could, but what I do know, is that his act of kindness sparked our own 6-hour journey to complete 26 random acts of kindness.

Here are our 26 acts:

Random Act #1: Bought dinner for the people behind us in the drive-thru

#1: Bought dinner for the people behind us in the drive-thru

Random Act #2: Bought dinner for the pregnant homesless woman on the corner

#2: Bought dinner for the pregnant homesless woman on the corner

Random Act #3: Left a 5 gift card and Christmas card on a car

#3: Left a $15 gift card and Christmas card on a car

Random Act #4: Left a teddy bear on a car at Bellevue's Seattle Children's Hospital

#4: Left a teddy bear on a car at Bellevue’s Seattle Children’s Hospital

Random Act #5: Left flowers on a car in the ER parking lot at Overlake Hospital

#5: Left flowers on a car in the ER parking lot at Overlake Hospital

Random Act #6: Left a quarter in a candy machine.

#6: Left a quarter in a candy machine.

Random Act #7: Donated a baby doll to Toys for Tots

#7: Donated a baby doll to Toys for Tots

Random Act #8: Gave candy canes to employees at Bellevue Square

#8: Gave candy canes to employees at Bellevue Square

Random Act #9: Donated $26 to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers

#9: Donated $26 to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Random Act #10: Donated a children's coat

#10: Donated a children’s coat

Random Act #11: Delivered cupcakes to Bellevue Fire Department

#11: Delivered cupcakes to Bellevue Fire Department

Random Act #12: Delivered coffee to Urgent Care staff at Group Health

#12: Delivered coffee to Urgent Care staff at Group Health

Random Act #13: Left quarters in the pop machine

#13: Your next soda’s on us!

Random Act #14: Left quarters at a toy machine

#14: Win a stuffed animal on us!

Random Act #15: Gave 100% tip

#15: Gave 100% tip

Random Act #16: Bought a friend dinner

#16: Bought a friend dinner

Random Act #17: Bought someone's frozen yogurt

#17: Bought someone’s frozen yogurt

Random Act #18: Bought someone's groceries

#18: Bought someone’s groceries

Random Act #19: Made a donation to King 5's Home Team Harvest

#19: Made a donation to King 5’s Home Team Harvest

Random Act #20: Bought a gift card for the next person to come through the Starbucks Drive-thru

#20: Bought a gift card for the next person to come through the Starbucks Drive-thru

Random Act #21: Donated pet food

#21: Donated pet food

Random Act #22: Gave the Kirkland Police Department cookies

#22: Gave the Kirkland Police Department cookies

Random Act #23: Gave a Starbucks gift card

#23: Gave a Starbucks gift card

Random Act #24: Left $5 on the sidewalk

#24: Left $5 on the sidewalk

Random Act #25: Left encouraging messages on bathroom mirrors

#25: Left encouraging messages on bathroom mirrors

Random Act #26: Donated a boy's toy

#26: Donated a boy’s toy

And here’s the photo that started it all. Thank you kind stranger for your gift that inspired us to give!

Thank you kind stranger

As I look back at these photos I’m reminded of the thankful tears from the waitress upon leaving her tip, the huge smiles from the urgent care staff, and the Safeway employee who thanked us so profusely for donating to the food drive. I had the happy surprise of getting in touch with the young woman who found our quarters on the toy machine who told me her sister actually won a stuffed animal. She also said that they would be sure to pass the kindness along.

Whether you can give a little or a lot, whether you can do one or 26 acts of kindness, remember that no matter how big or small you can touch someone’s life this holiday season. How will you pay it forward?