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26 Random Acts: Roundup #1

Thank you so much to all of you who participated in the 26 Random Acts project. I apologize that it has taken me a while to get the roundups started but it was more of a logistical undertaking than I had anticipated. The whole teams thing didn’t really work out the way that I’d hoped so instead I’m just going to post 26 at a time until we get through them all. Should be 3-4 posts.

I can’t tell you how awesome it’s been to have the stories of your random acts of kindness pop up in my inbox over the past few week. I am so proud of all of the thoughtful, generous and loving acts that you have done. It’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when we all work together for a common cause. I’m thrilled to share all of these stories with you and I hope that they lift you up as much as they did me.

And here we go!

1. Kaitlin C. – I typed up the saying and this morning performed a random act of kindness. I went through the McDonald’s drive thru for some coffee on my way to work. I asked the cashier to put the person behind me’s order on my tab as well. I asked the cashier to give the paper explaining my act when the car pulled up to pay. I drove off and saw the lady receiving the paper as I pulled away. I hope it made her day and she is now participating.

2. Mary Catherine M. –  The photo above shows who I helped as part of my random acts of kindness today. Specifically, I was at the YMCA and noticed that this lady was having difficulty getting on the bike, starting her program, and adjusting her bike seat. I decided this would be a perfect opportunity for me to jump off my treadmill and help her. Through speaking with her, I learned that she recently had knee surgery and is just now starting to add physical activity back into her daily routine. The outcome was successful – I adjusted the seat so that she could bike without being too far or too close, helped fasten her shoes into the bike buckle, and set the timer for 15 minutes (like she asked). I hopped back on the treadmill and set the timer for clock for 14 minutes so that I would be ready to help her off of the bike.

 3. Katy K. – Filled this persons expired meter so they wouldn’t get a ticket!  A cheap act, but a good one!  FYI I’m going to do 26 acts.

4. Julie S. –  My initial ideas for random acts of kindness all involved strangers-purchasing a coffee for the person in line behind me at Starbucks, bringing an extra coconut water to yoga class for the student next to me, etc. While I do intend to carry out a more “random” act in the upcoming days, the gesture of kindness that I would like to share about involves my mom. My mom is one of the hardest working people I know. She hasn’t missed a day of work in over five years, including for sick leave and vacation. Despite her strong work ethic, she lives paycheck to paycheck, barely able to make ends meet. I have the good fortune of earning a comfortable living and my mom’s financial struggle is a great reminder (especially when I am having a hard day at work) of how very lucky I am to be free of financial worry.

While neither my mom or I would feel comfortable with me supporting her on a regular basis, from time to time I like to treat her to small indulgences- a gift card to Whole Foods, a mani/pedi, hot tea and dessert at our favorite coffee shop…When she called me yesterday in tears after a particularly rough day, I knew immediately that my act of kindness would be to send her a little spending money to treat herself to a day of fun. While the money isn’t enough to solve her financial problems, I hope that, at least for one day, she will be able to look past her financial troubles and enjoy life a bit more.

5. Jillanne K. – I left a bouquet of flowers with a thank you card in front of our MBA Career Resources Assistant’s office.  She has been working hard to recruit and bring in companies, but is largely unappreciated because MBA students can be a tough crowd when it comes to career assistance.  It was completely anonymous because I did it early in the morning before everyone else arrived.  Hopefully brightened her Wednesday.

It did brighten her Wednesday, check out the e-mail I received from Anna R!

I wanted to let you know that one of your 26 acts of kindness was very much appreciated. It came to one of our staff members … I posted a brief story & photo. Amanda is wondering how she was selected. …

6. Megan K. – For my act I donated my frequent flier miles to the Boys and Girls Club and the Make a Wish Foundation.

7. Abbie D. –  I choose to leave an envelope with $10 on a random car. While at Harris Teeter, I saw a van with car seats, and I thought it would be a wonderful act to share kindness with a parent. Hopefully the parent will go home and hug his/her children 🙂  I’ve attached a photo of the envelope on the van.

8. Cindy M. – I put several dollars in an envelope with the note about the 26 Random Acts of Kindness.  I left it in the parking lot at the grocery store.
9. Rebecca S.– I bought a $5 gift certificate from our local coffee shop, Cup of Joe. The next morning while taking my dog, Dakota, for our long early-morning walk, I picked a car (actually a mini-van) in the parking lot of our local recreation center and tucked it under the windshield wiper, along with the explanation message. I spent several days thinking about what I would do, and here’s the why of it:

The owner of Cup of Joe is incredibly sweet and radiates happiness and kindness. In the summer the timing is such that I’m walking Dakota in front of the shop at the same time she’s getting ready to open, setting up the patio furniture and bringing down the eaves. After multiple passing with just a friendly hello, she introduced herself, and while I still consider her an acquaintance, she’s just one of those people you’re happy you know. So I went with a Cup of Joe gift certificate as a small act to support her wonderful, local store. Then I decided to leave it on a vehicle at the rec center in the hopes that the person who received it is someone new to working out (a “resolutionist”) and it might give an additional positive association with a workout and inspire them to keep going. Who knows who really received it (although I’d guess a mom since it was a mini-van), but I hope they enjoyed getting it as much as I enjoyed leaving it for them.

10. Emily J. – (she’s going for 26!!!) Here are my first 5 random acts of kindness:

1. An old man carrying a box of supplies tripped and dropped all of the supplies. I stopped, picked up all of his belongings and then offered to carry the box to his desired location.
2. My roommate mentioned that she was out of peanut butter and wouldn’t have time to go to the store this week. I found myself at CVS and picked up an extra jar of PB for her. I left it on her desk with a note saying “Have a great day! Spread your kindness”
3. Some girls are moving into dorms because they were accepted for 2nd semester and I went to their rooms, introduced myself, offered to help them (they politely declined). Ended up just talking and answering questions about school.
4. My friends at other colleges started class last Monday and I sent everyone an e-card wishing them best of luck for the new semester. I said I was thinking of all of them and can’t wait to be reunited.
5. (I’m not too sure if this counts): Whenever I see a penny on the ground with Tails facing up, I flip it over to Heads so when the next person finds it, they will pick it up and “have good luck the rest of the day.”

11. Kaila P. – For my act of of kindness/goodwill I started a project on my blog called the Lend a {Healthy} Helpproject. Its a movement to try and get people to be more conscious of how they can help others (even in just small ways) in their everyday lives. Each week I do a round up of all the “healthy helps” that have been submitted throughout the week as well as featuring some people who have made a difference around the world! I call it lending a “HEALTHY” hand because I feel a small act of kindness cannot only improve the life of the person who receives it and in turn make them healthier all around, but doing good for others and being selfless has been proven to make you a healthier, happier person! Doing acts of kindness releases amazing endorphins. So everyone should go out of their way more often for others. I hope to create a domino effect with my act and create a chain reaction that makes good deeds a more frequent occurrence.

12. Erin T. –  There is a homeless man that hangs around the Starbucks I get my morning coffee from. I had just been given a $10 gift card and had plans to use it on this Starbucks trip. When I walked in, I overheard one of the baristas wish the homeless man, whose name they knew, happy birthday. After hearing this, I walked over to the man, introduced myself and wished him a Happy Birthday and gave him the card. He stared at my for a second, took the card and said thank you. And, I couldn’t help but walk away with a huge smile on my face. This act was completely unplanned, but it certainly felt right at the time.

13. Kim S. – A little back story to my random act of kindness. A few months ago I pulled up to a gas pump and found $20 loaded on the pump. I looked around to see if it was a joke and then thought how nice it was that someone did this. As I finished pumping my gas, a voice came over the speaker telling me they made a mistake and loaded the money on the wrong pump then asked me to come inside so that I could be charged appropriately. When I saw your blog post about signing up to participate in these acts I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I needed to get gas myself and then went inside to load the extra money to the pump I was on. I hope that this small act was a bright spot in someone’s day and that they chose to pass on their own random act of kindness.

14. Diane M. – I have been looking for a very special way to complete my act of kindness for Sandy Hook & PBR (Diane is a friend of mine and did all 26 acts along with her daughter). I had many ideas and when I read the following in the Charlotte Observer over the weekend I knew what I wanted to do. I made a donation to Camp Bow Wow Charlotte who is helping train specialty service dogs to provide therapy to those children affected by the Newtown shooting. The donation went to “Scout’s Angel’s” project with a note letting them know they were act 26 in conjunction with PBR. The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation also will match funds dollar for dollar up to $25,000.More information can be found here. Knowing you are a huge dog lover like myself, I knew this was perfect. I can imagine these dogs will bring so many smiles to Sandy Hook Elementary!

And…Diane received a response: Thank you so much Diane for sharing this with us, we don’t always get a back story in the message from our donor’s and this made my day! We are so excited to make this happen for the community and Sandy Hook, dogs are a blessing for those who need comfort and to add specially trained dogs in this manner will bring even more support and love.”

15. Rachel T. – I completed my Act of Kindness today.  I’ve been trying to decide what I wanted to do for this project and this morning it came to me.  Today is my birthday and as I was getting ready this morning, I was getting calls and txts from friends and family – one of which from a dear friend that said “Happy Birthday! Today I’m simply happy that you are here, and I have been able to call you my best friend for another year.  Here’s to a hundred more years of this.” …And then it hit me all at once.  There are 26 people who will no longer get to have birthdays, to celebrate another year of life.  TODAY was the perfect day for me to complete my act, in honor of those 26 birthdays – to step outside of myself today and show kindness to someone else. I bought the man in front of me at Starbucks his morning coffee. I explained to him about the project and we proceeded to have a long discussion about life, children, connectedness, and positivity. It was truly a gift for me and reminded me how the smallest acts of kindness can really alter the path of one’s day.

16. Amy A. – For my random act I did a variation on paying for the person in line behind you. A week or so ago I wrote out my note and picked up a $10 Starbucks gift card for the lucky recipient. I’ve been keeping the note and gift card in my car, patiently waiting for me to visit a drive through Starbucks. I wanted to pass along my “gift” at a drive through location to make it more surprising and exciting for the recipient. This morning I finally had my chance. After paying for my coffee I handed the envelope to the barista at the window and asked her to pass it along to the next person in line. For some reason doing this made me kinda awkward and nervous – I’m a goof. But it made me happy to know that I brightened a stranger’s day. Heck, if I got a surprise $10 gift card to Starbucks it would not only brighten my day, it would make it. Thanks for giving me the push I needed to participate in this project!

17. Heather W. – Just wanted to share my act with you. I purchased a pack of laundry detergent pods & a box of fabric softener and left those (along with a pack of cupcake flavored goldfish) on top of a random washing machine. I went onto Little Rock Air Force Base to one of the dorm laundry rooms and left it there. I hope the young airmen who found it read the note, enjoyed the snack and smiled. It was a small act that didn’t cost a lot, but I absolutely loved doing it.

18. Lindsay C. – For my random act I left an envelope with the letter and $5 at the self check out at the grocery store (because you always spend AT LEAST $5 more than you were planning).

19. Caroline C. (LOVE THIS ONE!) – I tracked down an old coworker (who I admired so much when she worked with me) when I found out she had developed lung cancer. I wrote her two separate letters over the past two weeks and sent her some of my favorite inspirational quotes. She is an older lady, and I hope these will bring a little smile to her day. She doesn’t have many of them left according to her best friend, my other old coworker.

20. Jenny V. – I just enjoyed a super customized smoothie at a local vegan/vegetarian cafe. After paying I decided to leave an extra tip with my note – the vibe was so great there that I wanted to boost it even further! My husband is always purchasing hot sandwiches or food for those in need near the interstate where we live. I was looking to do the same but the situation hasn’t revealed itself to me during this time period. I still have a few days left, so you never know!

21. Hilda O. – I had a hard time deciding what to do, and honestly, it became a spur of the moment thing. I was headed to do an early morning run and remember thinking how super cold it was. As I passed by my local bank, I saw my friend’s car and thought of how she must dread to go into work on Saturday mornings; I’m sure there are many other things she would rather do. I stopped at the Starbucks next to her work and bought her a white hot chocolate to sweeten her day. (I attached the 26 acts description you posted under the cup sleeve) As I was walking in, I noticed she was busy, so I just left it at the front desk. It felt so good to know that something so small would make her day, and to expect absolutely nothing in return.

22. Erin O.– I picked up a small bouquet of flowers from the grocery store this morning. I wrapped them up with a note, put them inside our mailbox, and popped the little red mailbox flag up. I taped a “for our postal worker” note inside the mailbox door so she’d know the flowers were for her. Oddly enough, we happened to be in my son’s room, which overlooks the street, when we heard the mail truck. So we peeked out the window and waited for her to reach our house. She was getting ready to toss our mail in the mailbox when she noticed the flowers. She hesitated, pulled them out and read the note. She peeled the “for our postal worker” note from the mailbox door and wrote us one in return. She sat at our mailbox for a long time after that. This is what her note said:

Thank you so much. How you brightened my day!! You made me think. Thank you!

When I was wrapping up the flowers, my 4-year-old son asked what I was doing. I told him that we were going to give flowers to our mail lady today, and he asked why. I told him “It’s nice to do nice things for people, isn’t it?” And he nodded. When we were peeking out his window at her truck, he was so excited as it all happened, and then he whispered “I bet she’s so happy.” I feel like I taught my son a little bit more about kindness, and that may be the best thing I did today.

22. Jessica L. – A colleague/friend of mine and I were planning a training session. I pulled out an eos chapstick to hydrate my horridly dry lips…she was very intrigued, as we both share an obsession with all things beauty product-related! I knew she had a hard day coming up–a day that would have been her grandbaby’s 4th birthday, but instead a reminder of the fact that they lost their angel 24 days before her 1st birthday.  As I was checking out at a supercenter store, I spied a chapstick just like mine and picked it up for her.  On her grandbaby’s birthday, I handed it to her, unwrapped, saying only, “Happy Birthday”.  I hope the surprise…and a little random…gift of a silly chapstick helped her know that I was thinking of her! Nothing can ever ease the pain of losing a loved one, but knowing others care can sure help me cope on a tough day!

23. Sarah H. – Every Monday morning, my husband and I stop for coffee before work.  We left $20 to pay for drinks for the next customers.  Admittedly, not the most original act, but hopefully it helped someone’s Monday get off to a better start 🙂

24. Desiree S. – Left a Scentsy scent Pak tapped to the bathroom mirror at work. Very inspiring! Continuing with the remaining 25 acts on my own.

25. Dana D. –  I couldn’t decide on what to do, but I finally decided to put some money in an envelope and head to the grocery store.  This afternoon I ran to Harris Teeter with my envelope consisting of the Sandy Hook note and $30.  I addressed it – To: The person to find this, like the one you found.  I wanted to drop it in someones cart as they were looking the other way, but after walking around the store for 10 or so minutes, I never found the perfect situation.  I decided to drop the envelope in the middle of an aisle and go on my way.  I think this is such an amazing thing you are doing.  I’ve attached a picture, it’s just off my phone so not the best quality.

26. Lindsay E. – During college, I went on several trips that asked us to write affirmations about one another. I know how they good they made me feel, and wanted to share this with others. Before a grocery store shopping trip one afternoon, I grabbed a post-it note and on it wrote: “You’re beautiful on the inside and out!”. As soon as I arrived at the store, I went to the women’s restroom and placed the post-it on the mirror. I hope it made others smile as well as feel or realize their beauty!
Can’t wait to keep sharing these with you! Such a pick me up to read, right? There is so much good in this world. We have to focus on it, be the best we can be and lift each other up.
{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch February 6, 2013, 11:03 pm

    Wow, these are such amazing acts! I love this idea, you all are so awesome!

  • Lynnsey February 6, 2013, 11:04 pm

    I’ll be honest, I’m not an emotional person, but this post brought a tear to my eye. How wonderful and lovely this is.

  • Sana February 6, 2013, 11:06 pm

    So heart warming, it’s the simple things 🙂

  • Babs February 7, 2013, 1:08 am

    This post inspired me to complete my own 26 random acts of kindness.

    Today was an envelope drop into a neighbour’s mailbox with $5 and an Oscar Wilde quote – To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

  • Running Betty February 7, 2013, 7:36 am

    It’s interesting how many of these involve coffee. It’s nice to see that some people found free ways to brighten other peoples’ days too!

    • Jen February 7, 2013, 8:47 am

      haha…i know. i think it’s due to the amount of media that has been about the whole “starbucks pass it on” thing.

  • Steve February 7, 2013, 8:04 am

    This is AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing this today.

  • Courtney February 7, 2013, 8:30 am

    This was the BEST way to start me day! Thank you for posting/participating!

  • Heather @ girlyeverafter February 7, 2013, 9:20 am

    I love all of these. There are always so many sad stories on the news that get attention, but these stories prove that there is still so much good in the world.

  • erin February 7, 2013, 10:13 am

    Reading this was a great way to start the day! Thanks so much for organizing this and posting everyone’s acts. It’s so nice to read about good happening in the world, no matter how small.

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit February 7, 2013, 12:09 pm

    I love this. So inspirational to read these amazing acts of kindness people are spreading. I will be looking for opportunities to spread the same thing around. This post almost made me cry…can’t wait to read the others!

  • Robyn February 7, 2013, 12:26 pm

    Jen, this post was so inspirational—totally made my day. So very motivated to get out there and perform my own random acts of kindness…thank you so much for organizing this and paying it forward through sharing these stories. Great read!

  • LM February 7, 2013, 3:55 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now, and this is BY FAR AND AWAY THE BEST POST you’ve ever put out there. Please repost, or link, to the info these participants are including. These 26 acts have inspired me to get out there and participate!

  • LM February 7, 2013, 3:57 pm

    After a couple of years reading your blog, this is by far and away the best post you’ve put out there. Thank you for inspiring me to get out there and be part of this movement!

  • Lindsay February 7, 2013, 11:47 pm

    Thank you, Jen! I hope your day was full of kindness! Karma 🙂

    • Serdar March 22, 2014, 6:49 pm

      WOW! You are so kind! I try to do at least one good deed per day. Some days, I am blessed to sewhor people with good deeds and there are days when one is all I can do. I like to think they gain momentum and good deeds grow from what I do for others.

  • Julie February 8, 2013, 1:24 pm

    I love this idea and some of its implementations (giving the homeless man a gift card was so nice and loading the gas pump is brilliant) but I feel like some people are confusing “acts of kindness” with “being a decent person.” Like helping someone pick up a box they dropped…isn’t this just something a good person would do on any day of the week? And posting the picture of the woman from the gym seems a little questionable since it appears she had no idea she was getting her picture taken. Anyway still nice to see all of this good stuff going out there!

    • Jen February 8, 2013, 1:50 pm

      hi julie – i totally agree the spectrum is widely varied with the “acts of kindness” going on here but i think that overall you just have to look at it as focusing on positive and good (even if for some that falls into the category of “being a decent person”) versus picking apart what everyone chose to do. yeah, the coffee thing might be a little overdone but it’s still nice to treat someone (and to be treated) sometimes. what is really the point of tearing people down for doing something nice? even if it’s just an everyday thing like buying someone coffee? the world is FULL of people tearing each other down and judgement and that sucks. i think the bigger point of all of this is to cultivate more of an awareness of your actions towards others and to think about how you are giving back

      there are also some really selfless and kind things included in this list too…some of my favorites were donating airline miles to the boys and girls club and make a wish foundation, leaving thank you flowers for a very hard working admin, making a donation to a program that trains therapy dogs and writing a letter to an old colleague.

  • Emily February 8, 2013, 1:46 pm

    OK #22 brought a tear to my eye. I need to do this with my son when he gets older. Teaching kindness is so important.

    As always, this blog is an inspiration and one of my favorite reads.

  • Karla @ myhighonlife February 8, 2013, 2:00 pm

    I love all these-so inspiring! And amazing how people come together.

  • Ally February 8, 2013, 4:57 pm

    I really enjoyed this post and reading about all of the thoughtfulness that each person put into their act of kindness. Thank you so much for sharing, this completely brightened my day!

  • Logan Stewart February 8, 2013, 9:44 pm


    Can you link me to a copy of the letter explaining what the project is? I’d love to do this on my own. This is amazing.

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