According to Wikipedia, random acts of kindness are ‘unpremeditated, inconsistent actions designed to offer kindness towards the outside world’. To me, it’s a phrase that’s been thrown about in recent years to describe something that most people probably do every day, without thinking, or at least, should be!
A random act of kindness isn’t some big gesture. In fact, it’s completely the opposite. It’s little things that are kind and thoughtful, that might just brighten up someone’s day. People are so busy these days and so wrapped up in their own lives and their own problems that taking even a few seconds to help someone else is completely overlooked. The really stupid thing is that not only can you help someone and make them smile, but doing just a couple of kind things a day, no matter how small they might seem, can make you feel a lot better and a lot happier.
Here are 8 small random acts of kindness to try – they won’t cost a lot of money or a lot of time, but the difference they can make to someone’s day is amazing.
1. Donate something to your local food bank
We do this quite regularly, and at the moment we are doing the reverse advent calendar that Mum in the Madhouse suggested on her blog. We’ve started ours early so that it can be donated in mid-December and hopefully help someone who is struggling a bit for Christmas. We do it throughout the year as well – usually, I’ll pick up an extra tin or something to pop in.
2. Give someone your parking ticket
No, I don’t mean your parking fines, but the ones you use in a pay and a display car park. We are always having to pay for parking, being by the seaside, and we always pay an hour extra than we think we will need, just in case. When we get back to the car, if there is a decent amount of time left, we will see if we can spot anyone about to pay and let the use our ticket. After all, it would only be chucked away so someone might as well use it!
3. Give someone that last £1 or so on a gift card
I can pretty much guarantee that whenever I have a gift card, I always end up with a random 50p or £1 on it. It gets put back in my bag or purse and is forgotten about for the next six months, especially if it is a shop we don’t use it very often. Now, when there is less than £2 on a card, I find someone in the queue and give it to them. A couple of weeks ago, I gave someone the remainder of the balance on a Disney store gift card. There was only a couple of quid on there, but I knew I would never use it. The lady I gave it to was over the moon because it meant she could buy the item she was £1.50 short on for her daughter’s birthday. Hopefully, there’s a very happy little girl out there somewhere!
4. Leave a coin in the supermarket trolley
I’m forever forgetting to make sure I have a pound coin ready for the trolley, which means faffing about trying to find some change and spending even more money. My aim for when I next go shopping is to leave a pound coin in one of the trolleys. Maybe it will be found by that one person who has forgotten, and saved them the faff!
5. Let someone go in front of you in the supermarket
There’s nothing more irritating than when you’re in a rush and only have one or two items but there’s someone in front of you with a huge trolley of stuff. I’m usually the person with the trolley full, and if someone is behind me with just a couple of items, I let them go in front. It doesn’t hold me up because I still need to unpack it all, and even if it did, it would be just a few seconds out of my day.
6. Say hello to people, or even just smile at them.
This one is probably the hardest one to do, but one of the nicest. We live in a nice area now where there are lots of dog walkers and older people going for a wander along the beach or promenade. If we pass someone, I normally give them a big smile or say good morning/afternoon. Nine times out of ten, you get a smile back. There are so many lonely people out there, especially older people, that you might just be the only human interaction they have that day. It really can make the difference to someone’s day.
7. Let a manager know if an employee has gone above and beyond
We are all quick enough to complain (quite rightly) when things go wrong in a shop. But what about when someone really does try to help you and goes above what they are expected to do? Find their manager and tell them they’ve done a great job/been helpful/whatever.
8. Let someone go in front of you in traffic
Especially if you can’t go anywhere! We all know what it is like when you are sat trying to get out of a junction or turn into a road and no one will let you out (or in!). Letting the odd person out if it is safe to do so won’t cost you anything other than a couple of seconds of time but can be really helpful to someone if they need to get somewhere quickly!
What random acts of kindness could you carry out today?