In honor of our 30th birthdays, my friend Michelle and I decided to do a day filled with random (for the recipients) acts of kindness. We had a blast and I would highly recommend doing something like this. It was fun, emotional, hilarious, rewarding and scary (in a good way!)
Care packages for the animal shelter volunteers, librarians, fire department and police department. (After the police wouldn't accept it - we repurposed theirs for nurses!)
Here's what we did (all in about 6 hours!):
1. Took a care package to the local librarians.
2. Left money and a Kindness Card with the librarian to pay someone's fine.
3. Took a snacks care package to the local fire station.
4. Took a snacks care package to the nurse's station at pediatric hospital.
5. Paid for a random person's coffee.
6. Left money and a Kindness Card with a pharmacist to help pay for someone's prescription.
7. Fed quarters to expired parking meters.
8. Paid for someone's shake at the local ice cream parlor.
9. Gave a Starbucks gift card to a family in the park.
I did a pet food drive for a week at work and ended up with a whole trunk full of food, treats and toys with no cost to us, which left more $ to spend on other items!
10. Took about 150 lbs. of stuff to the animal shelter including food, treats and toys.
10a. Took a snacks care package to the volunteers and workers at the animal shelter.
11. Left money and a Kindness Card in the pay phones at the hospital.
12. Gave three bouquets of flowers to nurses in the hospital to give to patients.
13. Left money and a Kindness Card in the beverages vending machines at the hospital.
14. Took crayons, cards and coloring books to the pediatric unit at the hospital.
Special thank you to Lindsay, Alisa and Gloria for helping make the rosettes and headbands!
15. Made and gave a dozen baby rosette headbands to the maternity ward.
16. Donated a couple dozen adult and children's books to the patient library.
17. Gave money and a Kindness Card to the parking attendant in one of the hospital parking garages to pay for the next patient's parking.
18. Put quarters in all the gum ball and candy dispensers at the mall.
19. Gave a big bag of suckers to the children's museum to pass out to visiting kids.
20. Bought movie tickets for a senior couple.
21. Paid for a girls lunch at a fast food restaurant.
22. Gave a Target gift card to a family in Target.
23. Gave a Target gift card to a young pregnant girl in Target.
24. Gave a Starbucks gift card to a guy in the Starbucks parking lot.
25. Bought helium balloons and gave them to kids in the grocery store.
26. Gave a woman in the grocery store parking lot a gift card to the store.
27. Gave a gas gif card to a woman in the gas station.
28. Put a baggy of quarters with a Kindness Card in someone's laundry at the laundromat.
29. Gave an elderly woman a grocery gift card in the grocery store.
30. Paid for someone's snow cone.
So now you're wondering, "Which ones were fun, emotional, hilarious, rewarding and scary?" Here are the stories and memories:
#7. Fed quarters to expired parking meters. Did you know that feeding other people's meters is illegal some places? We saw a meter maid writing tickets so we snuck down the block ahead of him, plugging expired meters. If you know either of us, stealth is not a strong point! I felt like we were doing something very naughty, which is always fun!
#8. Paid for someone's shake at the local ice cream parlor. It was a weird time of day, and no one was at the ice cream parlor so we had to wait around for a customer. The first person was a super nerdy, mildly creepy looking dude, so of course, I made Michelle pay! He was exceptionally confused and flustered. I am pretty sure this is what he was thinking, "Dear God! A GIRL! And she's talking to me! What do I do?!? What do I do?!?" It was hilarious.
#10a. Took a snacks care package to the volunteers and workers at the animal shelter. They were very excited and thankful that we also brought treats for the people. It seems people generously donate to the animals, never considering all the volunteer hours it takes to run a shelter! I'm glad we thought of this!
#14. Took crayons, cards and coloring books to the pediatric unit at the hospital. This girl was the only person who really, really wanted to know who we were. We told her simply "Tonya and Michelle" but wouldn't give her more. We weren't doing this for thanks or recognition, just for the joy of it.
#15. Made and gave a dozen baby rosette headbands to the maternity ward. The woman at the reception desk seemed very confused. We left the bag and a stack of Kindness Cards with her. After we walked away, she opened it up and got very excited. She caught us as we got in the elevator for a very enthusiastic thank you and told us how cute she thought they were. Again, super special thank you to my QA (Quilters Anonymous) girls, Lindsay, Alisa and Gloria for helping get these all done in one afternoon. You did a wonderful job and they were all beautiful!
#18. Put quarters in all the gum ball and candy dispensers at the mall. After we'd done this, we wandered the mall doing other acts of kindness. A while later we saw a little boy with two giant handfuls of candy, grinning ear to ear. At first I was a bit annoyed he used as many quarters as his hands could hold the candy. But then I decided, to a kid, that was like hitting it big on a slot machine and his elation was contagious!
#20. Bought movie tickets for a senior couple. Unexpectedly, this became a favorite act for both of us. After we paid, the woman pulled us aside and asked a bunch of questions about what we were doing and why. Then she told us that she and a friend started the "Pay It Forward" curriculum for the state of New Jersey schools. She took two Kindness Cards so she could pay it forward for each movie ticket. Our conversation ended with hugs and the knowledge that at least one of our acts of kindness would definitely be paid forward. It was awesome!
#24. Gave a Starbucks gift card to a guy in the Starbucks parking lot. After waiting for a while in the parking lot (everyone goes through the drive thru and not into the store!) we were beginning to look suspicious and act silly. The poor guy we gave this too ran a gauntlet of emotions as we approached and gave him the gift card - every single emotion clearly displayed on his face. It was funny.
#25. Bought helium balloons and gave them to kids in the grocery store. Besides the police who could not accept our care package (as it constituted bribery - OOPS!) one little boy was the only person to turn down an act of kindness. He was very serious about not wanting a balloon. It worked out because we only had 2 left and gave them both to sisters, who would have had to share otherwise.
#27. Gave a gas gif card to a woman in the gas station. This woman had let us go in front of her in line, then watched us purchase the gift card. When I turned around and gave it to her with a kindness card, she was SHOCKED! It was pretty funny and an over the top reaction for a $10 gas card. We could see her animatedly telling others about what we did as we drove away.
#28. Put a baggy of quarters with a Kindness Card in someone's laundry at the laundromat. Let's face it, laundromats are scary, even in Iowa, even in the middle of the day. It was full of some unusual looking men, so after a tiny bit of hesitation, we threw the Kindness Card and quarters into someone's basket as they had their back turned and ran out the door! Were we being over dramatic? Yes. Was it hilarious, fun and exhilarating at the same time? Definitely!
#29. Gave an elderly woman a grocery gift card in the grocery store. This woman was super sweet and thankful. We got another hug from her!
The final, mildly unrelated story of the day: Before we even got started, I found a roofing nail... in my foot. It wasn't terrible but resulted in me limping all day and a trip to urgent care the next morning for a tetanus shot and to get a small piece of shoe dug out of my heal. Thanks, Karma, for your kindness to me while I do 30 selfless acts.
Again, this was a wonderful experience and I plan to do it again in the future. Now it's your turn. Grab a good friend and start your random acts of kindness day. I promise you will have a blast! I'd love to hear about it if you do it/have done it.