26 Random Acts of Kindness
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:
#1: Bought dinner for the people behind us in the drive-thru
#2: Bought dinner for the pregnant homesless woman on the corner
#3: Left a $15 gift card and Christmas card on a car
#4: Left a teddy bear on a car at Bellevue’s Seattle Children’s Hospital
#5: Left flowers on a car in the ER parking lot at Overlake Hospital
#6: Left a quarter in a candy machine.
#7: Donated a baby doll to Toys for Tots
#8: Gave candy canes to employees at Bellevue Square
#9: Donated $26 to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers
#10: Donated a children’s coat
#11: Delivered cupcakes to Bellevue Fire Department
#12: Delivered coffee to Urgent Care staff at Group Health
#13: Your next soda’s on us!
#14: Win a stuffed animal on us!
#15: Gave 100% tip
#16: Bought a friend dinner
#17: Bought someone’s frozen yogurt
#18: Bought someone’s groceries
#19: Made a donation to King 5’s Home Team Harvest
#20: Bought a gift card for the next person to come through the Starbucks Drive-thru
#21: Donated pet food
#22: Gave the Kirkland Police Department cookies
#23: Gave a Starbucks gift card
#24: Left $5 on the sidewalk
#25: Left encouraging messages on bathroom mirrors
#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!
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?