Words by Amy Cook
When asked to complete 10 random acts of kindness as another social experiment to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17, 2017), I was psyched. The holidays were fast approaching and I have always wanted to do more giving during this time of year than any other. However, random acts are different than planned acts and in my list of ten the line is sometimes blurred on what I planned and what I spontaneously let happen.
1. The new local bar, The Dirty Bird, in Jackson had been advertising this “Buy a Veteran a Pint” campaign for the entire month of November. For $5, you went to the bar and could buy a certificate for a veteran and all they had to do was come down and enjoy a pint of craft beer. I wrote a note for my mystery vet thanking him or her for their service and wishing them happiness and success in the future.
2. Let three people cut in front of me merging into traffic on I-94. This doesn’t seem like a huge sacrifice, but I despise the drivers who ignore all the signs indicating a lane closure and then rush up and demand to be let in. I am the chick who will allow one car and then smile and wave at others as I close the gap ensuring no further cars make their way in. Not so kind, so on this random day in November, I changed my ways.
3. I donated a healthy snack in the form of granola bars to a kindergarten classroom in a low-income community for afternoon snack. I also stayed to read them a story, The Day the Crayons Quit, and donated it to the classroom library.
4. I let a gentleman with only 15 or so items cut in front of me and my massive grocery cart at the supermarket. It’s the little things that count.
5. I gave the homeless guy on the corner $20 the week before Christmas.
6. I bought the person behind me coffees at our local coffee shop.
7. I bought a few Christmas gifts for the children at Youth Haven Ranch, a camp in mid-Michigan that allows underprivileged children ages 8 and up a chance to experience the outdoors and camp life, and puts on a winter camp where children that normally would not receive a gift on Christmas, are given a few gifts each a few days before the holidays so their Christmas is magical, too.
8. I called my father, with whom I am estranged, and offered him a place to enjoy Christmas dinner.
9. I left little cups of quarters all over the laundromat where I do my own laundry.
10. I baked holiday cookies for friends at church, my friend with a new baby, and my best friend who is a busy working mom and made sure to deliver them fresh so they could enjoy some homemade sweets for the holidays.
I would like to try on my own and complete a month of random acts of kindness and try 30 new things to make someone smile. The best part is, it is hard to have a bad day or to keep a scowl on your face after making someone else smile. That’s the beauty of smiles, they are contagious. Now if only we could make random acts of kindness contagious, too.
Amy is a wife, mother, and substitute teacher. She loves pie, wine, literature, and all things Gone With The Wind. Find her book reviews in every issue of Holl & Lane Magazine.