5 Random Acts of Kindness Planned

5 Random Acts of Kindness Planned

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”~Princess Diana

kindness-is-free

Random acts of kindness are good for communities.

I thought I’d share one of my plans for kindness in 2012. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not planning to be an ogre at any point this year, but I thought I’d make an extra effort to do something nice for 5 random people, just because.

1. Let an elderly person tell me their story.

Beyond the customary woes of old age, loneliness is a common affliction for the elderly. Several times a year, I encounter a little old lady or man wanting to “talk my ear off” about anything and everything, because they are lonely and just want a little interaction with another human being. The next elderly person who flags me down is going to get a free cup of coffee (or whatever they drink) and an open invitation to tell me their entire life story. Even if it takes all day.

2. Donate directly to a person in need.

I comb my closets pretty frequently, and fluctuating sizes and a fast-growing child lead me to make several trips a year to Goodwill or Salvation Army. I also send bags of kitchen utensils and neglected toys amongst other miscellaneous household items. I’ve often wondered who the items go to or if the donations actually benefit people who need it the most, and this year I’ll have no cause to wonder. In the amount of time it takes to drive to a donation facility, I can drive to a poor neighborhood and make a direct donation. I’ve decided to pick a random impoverished neighborhood in my community, and at the first sign that a child lives in one of the homes, I’m leaving my gently-used goods on their doorstep. Then I’ll leave without alerting them to my presence.

3. Give money to a beggar.

I live on the outskirts of Atlanta, so it’s common to see a beggar holding a “Hungry, please help!” sign on various exit ramps in the city. I always try to scrounge up enough change to give them–it’s never much, because I don’t carry cash–and I always feel like a sh*tty cheapskate when I hand them pennies and nickels from the car console. I plan to pull $20.00 out of the ATM and stash it in my car until I chance upon the next beggar in need. What they choose to do with the money is up to them. Either way, I’m sure their day will be a little better for it, reasons aside, and that’s good enough for me.

4. Babysit for a parent(s) who needs a break and can’t afford the luxury of a sitter.

I know a lot of parents who are always either working too hard or at home with their children. They don’t get a time-out, break, “spa day”, or anything that even remotely resembles “me time”. The next friend who calls complaining about needing a break or longing to doing something special with her significant other, I’m volunteering my services for a day–gratis.

5. Give a “Thank you” card to a veteran. 

The men and women of the armed forces rarely get the recognition they deserve. I find that shameful. Because of the brave individuals willing to defend our country even at the cost of their lives, I’m able to sleep soundly at night knowing I will wake up with the ability to enjoy my freedom each morning. There is a VA hospital not far from my house, and I see some sad cases out there. I’m going to buy a “Thank you” card and drive down to the hospital and give the card, with a personal letter of gratitude, to the first veteran I see who seems to need uplifting.

These are small things, I know, and if I hit the lottery, I would do so much more. As it is, I’ll be kind as often as I can and strive to lead a life full of compassion, tolerance, and understanding, while sharing smiles along the way.

What about you? What acts of kindness are you planning for 2012, or what would you do for someone,  if you could? Tell me in the comments.

If you liked this post, I invite you to read the previous one: Travel Adventures in Legoland Florida. 

Feature image courtesy of Shando Darby via Creative Commons. 

  • http://raishay.wordpress.com Raishay

    these are so lovely

  • http://www.uencounter.me Leslyn Kantner

    Amber, your plans sound wonderful and will surely make the day of each person you touch! I have always wondered what it would be like if just each one of us performed just one RAK per month/quarter/year – how different would the world be??

  • http://zencherry.wordpress.com zencherry

    You be careful in those neighborhoods darlin you're much too pretty to be there on your own. You hear? And btw, I'm putting you in for sainthood. :)

  • http://www.sjhigbee.com sjhigbee

    Best of luck! Will you also let us know how you get on with your RAK's?

  • http://www.biculturalmama.com Bicultural Mama

    You list some really great random acts of kindness. Very inspirational!

  • http://belligerentman.wordpress.com/ martineden

    all good suggestions, especially #1. My goal this year is just to figure out a way to appreciate the people, including my own children, in my own life. Taking things for granted is so easy for me and not one of my best traits so I need to work on this a bit.

  • http://yoyodyne.wordpress.com/ Rachael Black

    Wonderful ideas, all of them. I've learned something over the years; the more we give to others the better we become. The acts get your head out of yourself, especially if it's one of those 'oh poor f'ing me' days -grin-.

    As you suggested, kind deeds should always come without strings, or even better, recognition.
    Thank you for sharing these.

  • http://desertmusepublishing.wordpress.com Ann Marquez

    This is Beautiful!
    What a coincidence that a friend and I were just discussing how we could implement a "pass it on" plan (I'll post about it soon.)
    Don't you feel that something special is in the air? That we're all searching for something more? Reaching out?
    Can't wait to read about your results! Blessings!

  • http://www.modernlifeblogs.com Amit Verma

    Great Tips. Awesome Post. Thanks for spreading kindness ((Hugs))

  • Chloe Greene

    You are a kind and generous woman Amberr and I salute you.
    I especially like your idea of listening to an old person as loneliness is such an ache.
    Also in the UK homeless people trying to rebuild their lives sell a magazine called The Big Issue and they get a share in the sales. Someone told me that homeless people have very little social contact so as well as buying the,magazine I plan to have a conversation with the sellers.
    Warm wishes, Chloe

  • jsosniak

    I love this! :)

  • http://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com kelliannesweeney

    Beautiful :)

  • http://caseywyatt.wordpress.com Casey Wyatt

    Beautiful ideas, Amber. Awesome!

  • http://www.scarletwonderland.com Jen

    Ahhh Amber, what a beautiful idea! These are all such lovely things to do! I always try to give money to the homeless, but there is one particular man who is a mute who makes origami animals/flowers etc on a corner by my house – he has a sign hat says "take what you want, leave what you can", but like you I never carry cash, so my resolution is to keep £20 aside to leave for him one day this year! Love the one about letting an elderly person tell u their story too, Christmas makes you think about all those people who don't have anyone to share it with! xxx

  • http://philosophermouseofthehedge.wordpress.com philosophermouseofth

    What a nice post. The random act thing can make such a difference. Really like #1 and #5. But #3? No one can know what is going all with all the ones on the street, but some of the family members of some of those lost souls sometimes wish kind strangers weren't so kind..enabling sometimes delays them getting the help they need. In any case, you are a truly kind person (Vintage Grandmother would say you are earning stars for your crown in heaven)

  • http://traveladventuresnalegolandflórida osirlei

    Achei muito legal tudo o que vc compartilhou comigo .Muito obrigado minha amiga.Um maravilhoso fim de semana para vc e seus familhares.bjo.

  • http://theconservativehillbilly.wordpress.com The Conservative Hil

    Be careful about giving cash to beggars. Some are, at least here in Cali where I live, are just street hustlers. I have offered to buy some of these folks food, and coffee. The ones who take you up on your offer are the ones that usually are truly in need. As for a thank you to vets? I often go to the local VFW's and buy a round of drinks for the guys. Talk about expanding your fan base!

  • http://comofazerorigami.info Como Fazer Origami

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It's awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same old rehashed material. Great read! I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • http://www.earthcreateddesigns.com Gayla

    When any of us do random acts of kindness GOD smiles :D Thank you !

  • http://4realmoms-reelmama.blogspot.com/ Lauren Ivy Chiong

    This is lovely, Amber! What an inspiring post–pay it forward!

  • http://myneonsignlullaby.com Eileen

    It's always great to pay it forward – wonderful list. :)

  • http://twitter.com/theworld4realz Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz)

    This list encouraged me to recall a time when I was on the receiving end of someone’s random act of kindness. My son & I had just pulled up to a fast-food drive-through window, & I realized I’d lost my debit card. Panicking, I told the cashier, some young kid, that I would have to pull over & park to look for my card as I didn’t want to hold up the line behind me. The young man had no reason beyond simple compassion to do this, but rather than get annoyed or send me on my way, he said the most shocking thing: “Ma’am, I wouldn’t feel right sending you & your son away with no food. I’ll cover it & you can pass on the favor next chance you get.” I sputtered some response, I can’t even recall at this point, but he insisted. I literally broke down & cried, right there over my salty fries & chicken nuggets, because it had been such a hellaceous day up to that unexpectedly brilliant point.

    Amberr, you’ve reminded me that I’ve yet to pass on the favor. Next time I’m in line at the drive-through, I plan to tell the cashier to add the next customer’s order to my mine.

    • Amberr Meadows

      Andi, that would be the sweetest thing ever, and I know the person will appreciate the kindness.