“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
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.
Please share this post with others who might be interested in ideas of random acts of kindness. Thank you!
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