This post is inspired by the kind lady in the minivan who paid for my coffee in the drive-thru because I had let her turn in first. Yes, that stuff really happens! It can change someone’s day, or their whole perspective. Chances are, they’ll retell the story to others, who will go on to be inspired too.
There’s a common misconception out there that strangers suck, but it’s not always the case. Spread the love with these little, random acts of kindness that cost nothing more than your time and good energy.
1. Lose the resting bitch face. You’ll be doing everyone a favor! When you’re scowling in the grocery store, you’re probably making someone uncomfortable.
Grocery shopping likely isn’t their first choice right now either, so stop making it worse. It’s indirectly kind of you to stop looking like you’re out for blood. Bonus points if you manage to look cheerful.
2. Pay someone a genuine compliment. How often do you like someone’s sweater, or positivity, or face without letting them know? Go on. Make someone feel good, and mean it.
3. Do something nice for a neighbor. Roll their empty trash bins into their driveway. Walk the mail that was delivered to you by mistake back over to their mailbox. Tell them their freshly painted door looks awesome. Be neighborly. Find something.
4. Donate. Girl, be real, they might be back in style but you ain’t wearing those overalls anytime soon. Someone could use them. Drop unwanted clothes, toys, books or whatever you can spare into a local donation bin.
5. Give someone a ride. People need them all the time! Their car’s in the shop, or it won’t start up and they have to get to work. They need to catch a train in the city. They’re planning a wild night on the town and need a safe ride home. Whatever it is, be a sport and offer your help.
6. Tell someone they’re good at what they do. Ooh, ooh, this is a big one. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be decorating for the holidays, being a friend, managing the finances, waitressing, making people laugh, making sure there’s always toilet paper in the house – you name it. People try. They try really freaking hard. Show them you notice, and that you care.
7. Lend your talents. Take some photos at a local charity or school event (ONLY WITH PERMISSION you creep), and send them to the organization for free. Use your writing skills to help someone spruce up their resume. Play piano at a family gathering. I’m thinking of my aunt now, who crocheted sweaters for baby animals who were affected by oil spills and needed the extra layer of warmth. It’s part of what makes her an incredible lady. Whatever talent you’ve got to lend, lend it whenever you can.
8. Pick up trash. Hold up…what?? Let me explain. You’re not responsible for the litterbugs of the world, but if you see a stray cup or paper in your travels, tuck it away and toss it out. It’s kind to the Earth, and also to the business or home it fell in front of. Hey, you never know what you might find…
9. Let someone cut in line. If they have two items and you have 26, hook them up with cutsies. They’re probably in a hurry, or they’d have 26 items, too.
10. Park farther away. Save the close spots for those who need them. Not just cars with handicap stickers, but expectant mothers, parents with young kids, the guy who just had knee surgery, someone’s grandmother who is out on an errand…people who really need them.
Here’s a bonus for y’all, and it’s one of my favorites:
11. Tell someone you can relate. If there is a little kid screaming at the top of her lungs in the waiting room at the doctor, give the parent a compassionate smile and say something like, “I know what that’s like. My little one’s at home today.” If the contents of someone’s bag wind up all over the ground in a busy parking lot, tell them you’ve been there, and help them pick it up. Nobody wants to be alone, especially in uncomfortable situations.
Look, no one’s expecting you to be Mother Teresa. I am certainly not (Bianca, stop laughing at this understatement of the year.) But doing something kind is in keeping with our theme here, and in the end, what goes around comes around.