Number 30 on my Thirty by 30 list was to complete 30 acts of random kindness in a day.Observation #1: It’s hard to squeeze in that many random acts in one day.. unless you have an entire day devoted to it. Observation #2: It does require some amount of planning. Observation #3: If you’re planning them ahead of time, can you really call them “random acts?”
Semantics aside, I decided to spread my acts over the period of a week, doing several each day and trying to get somewhat creative; planning many things in advance and hoping I would cross paths with people I could help. Some of these are borderline cheating. I’ll let you be the judge.
1. Organized aisles at Wal-Mart. The unfolded shirts, the packs of socks lying on the floor, the hangers going in mismatched directions… it sends me over the edge. It’s something I long to do each time I’m in that place, but the overwhelming desire to flee before my spirit is sucked dry keeps my eyes straight ahead and my hands to myself. But this time I forced myself to linger, to refold the blue polo’s and straighten the nightgowns. Now if only I could carry that habit into my own closet….
2 &3. Bought two Rita’s Ice gift cards. I gave the first one to an elderly lady hanging out in the passenger seat of her car outside the Dollar Store. Her window was down so I stopped by and asked if I could give her a gift card to Rita’s. She didn’t even look up at me – just stuck her hand out and took the card. It was pretty anticlimactic so I stuck the second one on a random car windshield and left.
4. Bought lunch for the person behind me at McDonalds. They have a superb $1 iced coffee so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone: Pay for the car behind me and get a caffeine fix at the same time. I’m glad I did because I had also added a gift card to my order and it took the poor blonde kid with braces about five minutes to learn how to ring one up.
5. Treated a friend to a McDonald’s iced mocha frappe..by way of gift card purchased in story above.
6. Taped coins to a vending machine.
7 & 8. Stuck two rolls of dollar bills in the toy section of the Dollar Store. And so parents didn’t think their kids were swiping money from grandma, I attached a little note to each bundle telling them to buy something fun.
9. Donated a bag of cloths to a clothing drive.
10. Signed up to be a volunteer at the SPCA. Conveniently checking item # 18 on the Thirty by 30 list in the process. Procrastination does have its benefits.
11 – 16. Bought boxes of candy and wrote thank you cards to each of my co-workers for being ridiculously awesome and fun to work with. It feels a bit like cheating to count this as six separate “acts”, but.. I’m going with it.
17. Bought a Wal-Mart gift card and gave it to the person in line behind me.
18. Planted 30 trees. And when I say planted, I mean I donated money to the Nature Conservancy who in turn will plant 30 trees on my behalf. And once again, that conveniently checks item # 28 off the Thirty by 30 list.
19. Dropped off a laundry basket full of goodies to the Georgetown SPCA. Managed to leave without adopting the beautiful white pit-bull terrier mix hanging around in the front yard. In retrospect, if I HAD adopted, it would have counted as number 20 on my acts of kindness list, which meant I wouldn’t need to do… number 20.
20. Drove politely for a week. I’m not really an aggressive driver, but I tried to make a conscious effort all week to be a bit more patient while on the roadways. That included not tailgating people driving 49 mph in a 50 mph zone, not beeping at the car in front who doesn’t realize the light has turned green, letting cars cut in front of me, and allowing pedestrians to cross without fear for their lives.
21. Returned shopping carts. One of the greatest mysteries of the 21st century is the inability of people to return their dang-blasted shopping carts. It kills me when a person is two spaces down from the cart rack and they still end up leaving it next to their car. Any other week I would stare the person down and make a great showing of returning their cart to its proper place. But this week I did it with kindness. Or at least tried to. I think I struggled with this the most.
22 & 23. Delivered bouquets of flowers to Mom-Mom Scott and Grandma Kauffman.
24. Left quarters at the car wash. Idly thought about washing my car while I was there. Car still dirty.
25. Bought one of our field employees a ticket for a raffle we are holding.
26. Gave up a front row parking spot. To Danielle Beach (the person I gave the spot up for), even though you do NOT believe me, I knowingly gave up that spot just for YOU.
27. Carried somebody’s bags for them out of Walgreen’s. Then put ’em in my car and took off! No, loaded them into his truck, as promised.
28. Waited to hold the door open for somebody..which turned into about ten somebody’s. Isn’t that the way it usually goes?
29. Gave a thank you gift to the mail carrier.
30. Ordered food to go and gave the waitress an extra large tip.
Overall, this was one of my favorite tasks on my “Thirty by 30” list. It was fun to think of creative ways to be kind and bless somebody’s day. Maybe I’ll carry on the tradition and celebrate my birthday this way every year. Consider trying this out for yourself sometime.. “Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.”