Observed on February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day has grown in popularity each year. It is celebrated by individuals, groups, and organizations nationwide to encourage acts of kindness.
I believe we can all agree random acts of kindness are always a good thing, but society could really use a few right about now. Let’s get to it!
The phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was written by Anne Herbert on a placemat in Sausalito, California in 1982. It was based on the phrase “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty”. Herbert’s book Random Acts of Kindness was published in February 1993 speaking about true stories of acts of kindness.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) was founded in 1995 in the USA. It is a nonprofit headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
However, launched in 2004, New Zealand was the first country in the world to have a Random Acts of Kindness Day!
New Zealand’s RAK Day started after co-founder Josh de Jong was stuck in Auckland traffic one typical afternoon and watched some irate drivers ahead of him getting into a bit of a road rage altercation. He began to think… ‘what would it be like if on one day everyone in New Zealand was kind to a stranger?’ Thus the national day was born and quickly spread around the world.
A simple online search of ‘random acts of kindness’ yields a return of thousands of related items, not the least of which is dozens of groups and organizations created to spread kindness.
The cynic in me could say how sad it is we need groups to motivate us to be kind to each other. But, my optimistic side applauds them for leading by example.
I hope the day is celebrated with millions of acts of random kindness, but I also hope we don’t wait for February 17th or some random group to recruit to us. It doesn’t take much to show kindness. Hate takes effort and forethought, and energy to sustain it. Kindness is natural when you treat others the way you wish to be treated.
A few ideas for random acts of kindness could include:
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
- Let someone go ahead of you in line
- Buy extra at the grocery store and donate it to a food pantry
- Buy flowers for someone (postal worker, grocery store clerk, bus driver, etc.)
- Help someone change a flat tire
- Post anonymous sticky notes with validating or uplifting messages around for people to find
- Compliment a work colleague on their work
- Send an encouraging text to someone
- Take muffins to work
- Let a car into the traffic ahead of you
- Wash someone else’s car
- Take a gift to new neighbors and introduce yourself
- Pay the bus fare for the passenger behind you
Showing kindness to someone else makes them AND you feel good – so enjoy your day…and feel good!