My 4th and 5th Random Acts of Kindness were aimed at the people in my neighborhood. During this holiday season I wanted to bring a smile, not only to strangers but to the people I regularly see as well.
For Random Act of Kindness #4 I bought a small bouquet of flowers and gave it to the ladies at my local bank that I see weekly. It was a small gesture that created holiday cheer. I could smell the sense of goodwill that was created and so could all of the employees and customers who were there at the time. Knowing that I was the creator of such joy really did put another bounce in my step. When I went back to the bank the following week, I was honored to see my flowers proudly displayed on the counter for all to see. When it was my turn to be served, I was greeted with extra big smiles by all of the employees and one of the women pointed out the flowers displayed by “a great customer”.
I felt very happy to have expressed appreciation and warm wishes to the people that I see regularly but never take the time to acknowledge.
For my Random Act of Kindness #5 I wrote a special card to an employee of my local supermarket that has been especially helpful to me. This card was very meaningful because our relationship started off on the wrong foot. I was looking for a special cheese about a year ago and due to a mislabeling issue I could not find it. This employee is the Cheese Manager. Our relationship started out a little heated since I insisted that this cheese existed and I accused her of not knowing her inventory. Shortly after this debate we discovered a labeling issue was the source of the misunderstanding. The cheese in fact was there. This woman was very professional with me, and even though I apologized to her at the time, I always felt bad about what happened.
We have spoken many times since our original encounter and actually have become friendly upon seeing each other at the store. I felt it was very important to me during this holiday season to let her know just how much I liked her and actually looked forward to seeing her in the store. I wrote her a card with a lovely note and expressed my thoughts. On two separate occasions I tried to find her at work but I was unsuccessful. I finally left the card with one of her subordinates. I decided to call the next day to be sure it was received and one of the employees answered and told me how excited her supervisor was and that she told the entire department about it. I was so glad to spread cheer to someone so deserving of my appreciation. When I saw her the next time, she was so happy to see me. I really feel that I have a made a true friend in her. To me it is the true meaning of the holiday season to express appreciation for people who are special to us.
My Random Act of Kindness 6th was very simple. While I was at the store leaving the card for the cheese manager I bought a small balloon and gave it to an unsuspecting child with the permission of the mother of course! It was worthwhile to see her face light up like a holiday candle. She even had a little twinkle in her eye! The mother was very appreciative as well.
My Random Act of Kindness #7th consisted of me going out of my way to take in my neighbor’s garbage cans to their garage doors. Even though the recipients of these acts did not know they came from me I still felt great knowing I made people’s lives a little easier. I will admit I got a kick out of knowing that they would probably be wondering who brought their garbage cans to the garage door! I felt just like a magic elf.
For my final random act of kindness I had intended to make a bunch of cookies and give them to the police department, fire department and paramedics in my town but I have had to deal with pressing family issues and not had to time to do what I had wanted.
I was however able to give a giggle to the cashier in my local coffee shop. I was waiting to have a meeting with one of my Counseling Supervisors at the coffee shop. I got to the meeting early and walked in at the same time as a man that was dressed in a way that expressed he was a very religious person. I figured a person as pious as he appeared to be probably did many good deeds for others, so I wanted to pay it forward. I insisted on paying for his coffee. Again both he and the cashier were confused at first. Then he thanked me and said that he was from Canada and that I gave him a great story to tell about how nice Americans really were! Unknowingly I have single-handedly increased our international image!
While I was still waiting for my supervisor to come a police officer walked in and ordered a cup of coffee. Since I was already on a roll, I jumped up to pay for his coffee also, the same cashier giggled and assured me that coffee for the police was already free! A few minutes later my supervisor arrived and I could not resist giving the cashier one more smile and of course I purchased that coffee as well. I jokingly told her that would be my final “Random Act of Coffee” for the day. The cashier got a real kick out of it! Ironically enough I never bought the cashier a thing or did anything directly nice for her but she was as much the recipient of good cheer as were the people for whom I actually bought the coffee. In the last case even more so than my Supervisor!
I have completed eight amazing random acts of kindness. I have strengthened my relationships with some and touched all of the people I encountered along the way. I created what in my opinion in the true meaning of holiday cheer and in face of the normal hustle and bustle of this season coupled with the aftermath of natural disasters and unthinkable recent tragedies I can honestly say that spreading true kindness has been an amazing antidote to BUFFER myself from feeling overwhelmed and keeping up my true sense of faith.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL
My third Random Act of Kindness was the biggest surprise of the first three. I was in a bagel store buying bagels for a friend and the women in front of me was on the phone yelling at someone that she was in a hurry and that they better hurray up. She seemed frustrated, hurried and annoyed. This is a perfect candidate for a Random Act of Kindness. The cashier rang up her total and I gave her the money. At the same time they both looked at me and corrected me that this was not my food but the food of the women in front of me. I replied that I knew that and I was paying because I was spreading good cheer! The minute she heard this, the woman got right off the cell phone and began smiling and hugging me and jumping up and down and going on and on how nice it was that I was spreading good cheer on the holidays! She celebrated this random act of kindness so long that I after about seven minutes I reminded her that she was in a hurry! I honestly feel that she would have had an equal reaction if she had won thousands of dollars in the lottery! The reaction was that strong. I was so pleased that I made her day and I was able to change her mood around in a flash! She thanked again and literally skipped across the parking lot! The minute she left the cashier looked at me with an expression of total confusion and asked me why I did that?
I explained to her I was spreading good cheer. She did not understand what I was talking about. I felt sorry for her that the whole transaction was lost on her. What kind of life must she have had that she just did not get it? I hope that somebody does something nice for her and that she understands good cheer! I was glad that the feeling in the air among the other witnesses of this Random Act of Kindness prevailed.
Please try this at home! Spread good cheer and let me know how it goes!
My second random act of kindness was similar to my first in that I did something nice for an unsuspecting stranger. The experience was similar because a real positive charge was created and again I got the feeling that I did something truly amazing yet is was so simple. This man did not seem as bewildered by the whole experience as the woman who had the milk, yet he too was pleasantly surprised and I like to think it definitely made his day!
I was buying donuts for a party, when I heard the man next to me order a cup of coffee. As he was taking out his gift card to pay for the coffee I said “Absolutely not! I am paying and spreading holiday cheer!” Then I wished him happy holidays. This time I was not committing this act alone but had my five-year old daughter with me! Once the kindness occurred things became very hectic. I remember handing the cashier 20 dollars to pay for my donuts and his coffee. My daughter attempted to take money from my wallet and I remember putting the money she had taken back in my wallet while this lovely man was thanking me. The man was so surprised and so taken with what I had done I only remember him standing there literally gazing and smiling at me the way new parents gaze their child or the way you can appreciate a huge full moon hanging low over the ocean. The whole thing probably lasted about 10 seconds until I noticed my daughter walking away and had to turn my attention away from my new- found best friend. He looked at me and just be to sure asked if I knew who he was. I got the feeling he wanted to be sure he was not missing something and that a complete stranger was REALLY buying him coffee. I was about to introduce myself to him confident, that if I had been able to do that I would have had a new friend for life. Just then, my donuts arrived along with my change. My daughter got very excited to be in the presence of donuts and again my attention went elsewhere. My recipient of kindness did not leave until he told me that he hoped to run into me again in the coffee shop so he could buy me a cup of coffee one day too! After he left I asked my daughter if she understood what I had done and was disappointed that she had not realized a single thing. That goes to show that when you are trying to teach your children valuable life lessons about kindness and the power of small acts make sure there is no junk food around!
Happy Holidays! As promised, there have been four acts of random kindness so far. I have tried to do a variety of things for people I know and strangers. I have to say that it has been a very rewarding experience so far that has left me with a holiday “High” of good cheer and I have felt more immune to the sense of hustle bustle and frustration that I usually feel with all the crowds and people rushing everywhere! It is amazing the difference in the quality of your life when you go around consciously thinking of nice things to do for people!
Random Act One
I was standing in line at my local grocery store and noticed a cute little elderly lady behind me purchasing a carton of milk. I was paying for my groceries and turned to ask her if I could “Borrow” her carton of milk. She looked at me very quizzically and hesitantly handed me the milk. I had the checkout person scan it. The checkout person looked at me strangely because she was also confused. She scanned the milk.
Out of the corner of her mouth the checkout person asked, “Do you know her?” I replied “No.” I handed the woman back her milk now bagged and she looked at me again with the same expression on her face and asked me why did I want to borrow her milk? I told her I was spreading holiday cheer and I paid for her milk and was wishing her the happiest of holidays. She just stood there frozen. Asked me again why I wanted her milk. I explained to her again the same thing and let her know she was free to go. It wasn’t until the checkout person assured her that she was free to go that she changed from totally confused to cautious (like this might be a joke) to elated. She was so happy and so grateful that somebody cared enough to spread holiday cheer. I felt so good and powerful in that moment. The cashier got such a kick out of it too. I paid for my groceries and as I was leaving this sweet lady and her friend waited for me like I was a celebrity and they were autograph seekers. She was still smiling and her friend thanked me and said I did such a wonderful thing. Yet a fourth person’s life was touched by my simple act. This is not including anyone else that was told this story whose life has been impacted in a positive light. I like to think the possibilities for joy are endless as this story is heard by more people. I am amazed by two things: the first being that people are so surprised when anyone does anything nice for them and how such a small simple act can be so powerful.
Have a joyful day!
The holiday season is upon us again! Everybody is busy rushing, doing and most of all buying! Especially just coming off Thanksgiving and spending time thinking about what I am grateful for it always feels strange to me that the holiday season seems to be all about buying to me. I have always said that if the holiday season were about random acts of kindness it would be a different world. This year I am going to walk my talk and do one act of random kindness for each day of the eight days of Hannukah and blog about the results! Who is with me? Please comment on my blog or tweet me @JenaJake22 with suggestions! Please join me and I will blog about your experiences too!