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How to Perform 26 Random Acts of Kindness

Updated on October 22, 2014
I gave this $10.00 gift card  to a lucky recipient this morning at Starbuck's.
I gave this $10.00 gift card to a lucky recipient this morning at Starbuck's. | Source

On Friday, December 14, a shooter walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school and killed 20 innocent children and 6 staff members. I live less than 15 miles away, and all morning I received a continual stream of emails and texts regarding the police action going on at our local schools. It was a stressful time, and I received a lot of inaccurate information throughout the day. When I learned the inconceivably horrible truth about how many people were killed, especially the little children, I just couldn't stop crying. I knew I had to pull myself together and be strong when my children arrived home from school, along with several of their friends. One of these friends had an aunt who worked at the school, and later in the evening my son learned that another one of his friends lost a cousin in the tragedy.

I still break down every time I read another story about the bravery of the amazing staff members at the school or more details about the children who were lost. So many of us were - and still are - in shock over this horrible event, but what we experienced doesn't even compare to the terrible pain of the families of the 26 victims. I felt that I had to do something, no matter how small, to try to help the world remember these wonderful children and the brave adults; so I decided to perform 26 Random Acts of Kindness to help keep their memory alive.

What is a Random Act of Kindness?

A Random Act of Kindness is a selfless act that is done solely for the purpose of bringing a little unexpected joy to someone else, with the hope that it will inspire others to pass it on. It can be as simple as giving someone a smile, holding the door, or paying for another person's coffee in the line behind you. The goal is to make someone else happy and inspire them to spread kindness.

Why Perform 26 Random Acts of Kindness?

A friend that lost a child to cancer a few years ago posted a statement offering comfort that really resonated with me. He said that these parents have entered his world, and his advice was to never stop telling the stories that make everyone smile about your child. if you keep their spirit alive they will become immortal. I decided I could help keep the memory alive of these beautiful children and staff that lost their lives on that Friday morning by performing 26 random acts of kindness.

The scene of my first five random acts of kindness.
The scene of my first five random acts of kindness. | Source

What Happened When I Performed 26 Random Acts of Kindness?

I decided to perform my first five random acts of kindness by giving out gift cards to Starbuck's. "Why Starbucks?" you might ask. "Why would you give something out to people who can obviously afford to buy 'luxury' drinks?" Well, my point is not to help poverty, or to give somebody a job, or any of a number of other worthy causes, because I work hard to eliminate poverty throughout the year. Instead, my goal is to surprise people with something unexpected yet kind, with the hope that they will remember the victims and maybe pass on a similar gesture in the memory of those lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy. Ideally, everybody I do something for would go out and perform 26 acts themselves, thus magnifying my efforts many times over.

As I entered Starbucks I was feeling both nervous and excited. I was nervous because I thought people might refuse to accept the gift cards, since they would probably assume I was selling something, passing out religious material, or maybe just crazy. I was excited because it was an opportunity to help make these beautiful children and brave teachers immortal, as well as an opportunity to make a complete stranger smile.

I had originally planned to give the gift cards to the first five people in line, but when I walked in with my heart pounding, I saw that not a single person was in line. That never happens at Starbucks when you actually want to get a coffee, but of course it happened now! I immediately shifted to plan B on the spot: I decided to hand the cards out to people sitting at the tables. I handed my first gift card along with a card providing an explanation to a father sitting with his young son. He looked very confused and I said "I'm just giving gift cards." After I gave cards to a few more very confused people, the father asked me if I wanted money for it. I smiled and said "No, Happy New Year." People seemed so surprised that I was just handing them a gift card with no strings attached.

I then raced out because I wasn't there to be thanked and my mission for my first five random acts of kindness were accomplished. As I walked out, I realized that I wish I could have seen everybody's reaction when they read the cards explaining the purpose of my visit. Because I'm a curious person, I'm going to have my husband go in 'undercover' before I give out my next five gift cards in New York City. It will be interesting to see if anyone is even willing to take the free cards from me in the Big Apple, since everybody is so suspicious. I'll update this article afterward to share the results.

I'm relieved my first experience was a success and I know that I'm helping to make the world a better place, and also helping to keep the memory alive of those lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy.I also feel braver, and expect that I'll be more excited than nervous during my next mission.

A hug will transform your perspective on life in seconds.
A hug will transform your perspective on life in seconds. | Source

A random act of kindness doesn't have to cost a penny, but sometimes a small monetary donation can make a big difference. Here are just a few ideas:

Have you ever performed a random act of kindness?

See results

Check out 26 Acts of Kindness - HOW You Can Make a Difference by Victoria Lynn for some great ideas for Random Acts of Kindness.

Random Acts of Kindness that Require a Nominal Amount of Money:

  • Give someone a gift card
  • Give free tickets to a few people at the movie theater
  • Hand a subway pass to people entering the subway
  • Send a care package to a soldier
  • Pay the electric bill for a family in need
  • Give coffee and donuts to road construction workers
  • Give a care package and a hug to someone going through chemotherapy
  • Drop off dinner to a family going through a difficult time
  • Hand someone a lottery ticket
  • Send a friend a card to let them know you are thinking of them
  • Put coins in a meter
  • Leave an extra big tip

Free Random Acts of Kindness:

  • Hold the door for a stranger
  • Offer a smile
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Give someone you know a hug
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line
  • Give a sincere compliment
  • Mow a neighbor's lawn or rake their leaves
  • Donate books, toys, or clothes
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Give someone your seat on the train
  • Take the time to really listen when an adult or child is talking to you

Have you done something kind for someone lately? Please take a few minutes out of your day and perform a random act of kindness in honor of these 26 angels to remind everyone that their time on earth has made the world a better place.




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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a beautiful act on your part; I would have loved to have seen the faces on the people you gave those cards to. Well done my friend, and thank you for writing this H.O.W. article. Happy New Year!

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      This is a wonderful idea. I have heard of other people doing this as well, but haven't heard a story about the experience and I really enjoyed reading yours. I am sharing this as I think others might like to give it a try, and will benefit from reading about your experience. Thanks for sharing your story. By the way, I live in CT. too but up at the other end...almost at the R.I. border. Voted up.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks Bill! Everyone looked confused and stunned but I would have loved to have seen their reaction to the cards that I gave them along with the gift cards. I'm in awe at how many you have inspired to participate in your H.O.W. movement and I believe you have already made the world a better place. I look forward to the next 21 acts and thanks for starting the H.O.W. movement. Happy New Year!!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi Karen! Thank you for your kind words. This happened so close to home and I do hope others are inspired to keep the memory alive of these 26 beautiful children and members of the school staff. I'm excited to do the next 21 random acts of kindness. It's so nice to hear from a fellow hubber in Connecticut and maybe one day there will be an HP meetup in our state.Thanks so much for the vote and I really appreciate you sharing this to get the word out. Happy New Year!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Wonderful tips to render the act of kindness. Hope that next year i could render as much kindness to others with your tips. Voted useful

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Great inspiring hub!

      We all need to focus on the positive things in life instead of dwelling on the negative.

      Thank you for doing your part to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same!

      It's all about paying it forward!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I loved reading your act of kindness. I have given and plan on doing more. Thank you for sharing your story..

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @peachpurple...Just holding the door open or taking the time to smile at someone is an easy way to spread more kindness. Rendering a few acts of kindness is a great New Year's resolution! The fact that you are thinking about it will make it possible. Thanks so much for taking the time to read,comment, and vote. Happy New Year!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @FreezeFrame34...It really is healing to focus on the positive although sometimes it takes time to get there. Thanks for your kind words and I hope my acts inspired others to pay it forward. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and comment. I appreciate it. Happy New Year!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading this always exploring. I didn't expect to be so nervous before I did it but each time seems to get a little easier and I hope the recipients pay it forward. I can't wait to perform my next five random acts of kindness and update my story. Happy New Year!

    • saitam profile image

      saitam 4 years ago from Lisbon

      Very good inspirational hub. These are truly some kind acts that can improve someone life.

      Feels good when happy events happen when you do not expect to.

      Good luck on your next acts.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @saitam...Thank you so much! It feels good to add as much kindness to a crazy world by surprising people when they least expect it. I'm planning my next five for this week and am wondering how it will go. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and comment!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Well done! I would love to see those people's responses, too. Maybe you can write a follow-up hub after your husband spies for you. Gosh, how scary to be 15 minutes away. This tragedy has affected people near and far, even in other countries, from what i hear on Twitter. This is a wonderful hub to spread the word. I'm linking it to mine. Thanks. Keep doing good!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you so much for the kind words Victoria! It was scary being so close by and at the time it was unclear if there were other shooters involved or if this was part of a bigger plan. Although it happened in my own backyard the entire world did feel the impact of this one and sent so many gifts to Newtown that they had to request that people stop sending them because they ran out of room. Thanks for the great idea to write a hub about people's reactions when I get my husband to spy. I wasn't sure how to write about it so I appreciate your suggestion. I'm also going to link your hub to mine.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      A beautiful hub from a very beautiful person ! Enjoyed reading your well written and wonderful hub ! :D

      Vote up and more !!! Sharing !

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Your comment made my day Kashmir56! Initially I was very nervous about going up to total strangers and handing them the note and gift cards Each set of five acts got a little easier and now I'm really looking forward to the last 11. Thank you so much for the vote,sharing, and kindness.

    • ssmith1534 profile image

      ssmith1534 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Dear healthylife2,

      This was so sweet...thank you for putting positive energy into the world. It needs it!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you so much ssmith1534! Your kind words made me smile:) Although I wish I could destroy all the evil in the world it's nice to know we all have the power to bring some kindness to the world. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You are an inspiration to many people, healthylife2, which is a random act of kindness many times over of which you may not even be aware. Thanks for sharing your experience; it is uplifting and thought-provoking.

      I've found that as I get older, it is easier to interact with strangers, something I had difficulty with earlier in life. I try to find something positive to say to the register clerk as I'm checking out or to give praise where it's due even in commonplace activities. So many people find fault in things. I hope my small positives help to counteract that in some small way.

      Great hub; voted up and Shared.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I want you to know your kind comment made my day:) I think as you build confidence in life it probably gets easier to interact with strangers. I guarantee your kindness makes a big difference in a person's day and so nice to hear that you perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis and make the world a better place.I know people too that seem to focus on negative things that seem so trivial and it feels much better to focus on the positive aspects when possible. Thanks you for your kindness,support,vote, and share!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      A beautiful idea! I will be interested to read about the next stage. Please be sure to share this with your followers when you update your progress. For now, I am going to share it with my followers.

      Pinned, tweeted, up, useful and awesome.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is such a wonderful idea! I am so proud you are a fellow hubber! I too would love to see the reactions of your recipients when they realize what you have done, it would be wonderful. I am sure that many of these people are touched and will try to pass it forward. I am sharing this everywhere I can! You are a wonderful person and I hope you have a wonderful day! :)

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you Brett.Tesol! I finally have a good plan in place to find out the reactions and am really looking forward to doing the next acts and writing about it. It was a new experience for me to go up to total strangers but very worth it. I hear more stories daily about those lost in Newtown less than 15 miles away and that motivates me to complete all 26 acts. Thanks so much for your support,vote,pin,and tweet!!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      No,,you are awesome because your comment touched me and completely changes my outlook today! I have done this two more times and finally have a good plan in place to find out more reactions. I'm looking forward to writing about it and hopefully will inspire others to spread more kindness as you already have by leaving your kind comment. Thanks so much for sharing and your kindness. Have a great weekend:)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      healthylife, when you give, you receive. Stay strong for the kids, and my blessings, always. I love this list and will share!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi midget38! Yes giving to others feels like a true gift and I have enjoyed the adventure so far. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      i love the idea of spreading one random act of kindness at a time.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you unknown spy! I hope that all the recipients pay it forward.

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 4 years ago

      What a great idea to keep the memories alive of those lost in this tragic event. Reaching out to others and making a difference doesn't need to be a grand gesture. A cup of coffee will fit the bill as you've done!

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi Green Art! The tragedy had quite an impact on me since I live less than 15 miles away and have children. I decided to make my 26 random acts of kindness a yearly tradition.You are right that a random act of kindness can be very simple and less expensive than my $10 gift cards. Today I held the door for someone far away and offered another a smile. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I hope to see you again:)

    • profile image

      Rayne123 3 years ago

      Hi, I love this hub, the gift cards was a great idea.

      I have thought of a way to do that myself. I actually want to go for a drive soon and pass out bags of stuffed animals at every Tim Hortons I pass.

      I actually wanted to do the gift card idea myself.

      I have not been able to as of yet but I have every now and then paid it forward when I go to Timmys (our local doughnut shop here) I will pay for whatever the person behind me is buying.

      and it is such a heartwarming story, that it should inspire all of us.

      Blessings to you and everything you do

      Laurie

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Rayne123! People were so surprised to receive the gift cards and it felt good to be doing something to keep the memory alive of those lost in the Newtown tragedy. It's so kind of you to perform random acts of kindness by paying for the person behind you. There are signs everywhere now in Newtown that say "we choose love" and every act of kindness makes the world a better place. Thanks for taking time out of your day to comment and make me smile.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Healthylife - You have such a noble and generous heart, and this world would be altogether different if more people like you were around. You have my deepest respect as a human being.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 10 months ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi ValKaras,

      Thank you so much for the kind comment!! Your kindness made my day! I can tell you have generous heart too!

      Amy

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