Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness
Performing random acts of kindness is one of the most rewarding and fun activities once you get started - and it can be quite addictive! :)
Apart from the wonderful feeling of bringing unexpected light into someone's life, it's great to come up with new and creative random acts of kindness ideas! :)
Proceeds from this lens will go to the fabulous KIVA charity. See more information on KIVA below....
What Are Random Acts of Kindness?
Most of us are familiar with the wonderful feeling of knowing we're making someone feel good - especially when they're not expecting it. Surprising loved ones with gifts you know will make them feel good, or doing unexpected favors for them is one of the joys of life.
Doing the same for complete strangers may not come naturally or instinctively, but once you start, it can become quite addictive. Random acts of kindness come with a hidden surprise gift for the giver, as well as for the recipient.
A random act of kindness is something you do (often anonymously) for a stranger which is completely unexpected. Unlike donating to a charity, a random act of kindness benefits an individual in a specific way - and it has the element of surprise.
On this page you'll find some random acts of kindness ideas, and I'm sure you'll come up with a few of your own. :)
Toll Road Random Act of Kindness
This is such a fun thing to do! And the best thing about it, is that the effect is not monetary. The effect is that it can completely change the recipient's life by changing their perspective. AND... like many random acts of kindness, this one is prone to going viral! :)
The first time I heard of this, someone I know, who travelled daily over a toll bridge, was absolutely stunned to find that when he reached the toll booth and held the money out, the toll taker told him that the car in front of him had already paid for him! He couldn't get over it. At first he was confused, and then, the more he thought about it, the more he glowed. He wanted to thank them, pay back - not the money, but the feeling. Then of course, he realised, although he couldn't pay the feeling back to that person, he could make someone else feel that way. Well, he couldn't wait to get to that toll bridge the next day so he could pay for the person behind him!
And he's been doing it ever since - not every day, but every now and then, and he gets such a kick out of knowing he's not only making someone else's day, but that they will very likely go on and do the same. That one act of kindness from him doesn't end with the person he's paid toll for, it has a ripple effect that reaches unknown depths! :)
Well, of course, after hearing his story, I just had to do it myself! I don't often travel through a tollgate, but a few times since I heard his story, I've had the opportunity to take part in this fun and uplifting random act of kindness. And I highly recommend it! :)
Of course, one of the fun things about random acts of kindness is that it's anonymous.
The fact that the giver doesn't stick around for even a "thank you" is what makes the act so powerful.
Coffee Bar/ Restaurant Opportunity
Paying a Stranger's Bill
When you go to pay your bill, pay someone else's at the same time. Ask the staff not to tell the recipient who paid their bill, just that it's paid.
An elderly person on their own, an elderly couple, a parent with young children, someone who looks down or stressed... the possibilities are endless. Have fun choosing a specific life or lives in which to shine your light. :)
Paying some or all of someone's layaway bill.
This random act of kindness has been particularly popular at Kmart branches. As news of one or two random acts of kindness by "layaway angels" has become known, there's been a marked increase in the activity!
Go to a store near you, and tell the staff you'd like to pay a certain amount towards layaways. This means that when an unsuspecting customer comes in to pay for their layaway, they'll be told either that it's already paid for, or partially paid for - by a complete stranger! The effect is priceless! :)
Here you can read a little more about the Kmart layaway acts of kindness.
A brilliant side-effect of a random act of kindness is that the recipient almost always feels inspired to do the same for someone else....
.... and so one random act of kindness can ripple out into infinite random acts of kindness! :)
Flowers and Gift Baskets
Play Santa any time of the year!
Send flowers or a gift basket to a complete stranger.
* You could pick a house, make a note of the address, and then have flowers or a gift basket sent to them, with a card that simply says something like "Have a Great Day!" or "Just because you're you."
* Choose a teller or cashier in a bank or store you visit regularly, and send the flowers or gift basket to them.
* Have the flowers or gift basket delivered to a street vendor.
* Order a gift basket of goodies to be delivered to the nurses on a particular ward at a local hospital, or firemen, or teachers, or ...you get the idea ;)
Flowers and Gift Baskets You Can Order Online
Leave a Copy of a Book That's Changed Your Life...
Leave a copy of a life-changing book on a train, on a bus, at a bus stop, in a coffee bar, in a restroom, in a train station....
Choose a book that helped you in some way. You can either leave it as it is, or you could place a note inside it which says something like: "Free to a good home" or "Hoping this changes someone's life the way it's changed mine." or "Passing this book on, with love." or "May someone else get as much joy from this book as I have.".... or something along those lines. :)
The way we feel affects: the way we behave; the things we say; the risks we take, and the choices we make.
A random act of kindness changes the way both giver and receiver feel.
It's Not About the Money
How a Random Act of Kindness Affects People
Although having a bill paid can make a big difference to people financially, it's not just about the money.
When a friend or family member pays a bill or helps you out financially, it's great and it's appreciated... but when a complete stranger pays your bill - anonymously... that's a whole different experience! :)
The fact that a stranger paid the bill, anonymously has an effect that goes way beyond the money. It lifts the spirits, it restores hope and faith, it can change a person's perspective on their day, and even their life. It makes a person feel loved and that they matter.
And all these things have a massive knock-on effect! A person who may have been feeling down, despondent, worried.. or even just blah... now feels uplifted, hopeful, inspired, excited, happy... and everything they do, say and experience in their day from this moment forward will be colored by THAT state, instead of their previous state - and because of that, their experience is bound to be better than it would have been!
One act of kindness can change a person's life through changing their view on life.
Random Acts of Kindness That Cost Little or No Money
You don't need money to perform random acts of kindness. Here are a few ideas that cost either very little, or no money at all....
* Give a complete stranger a compliment. Someone you happen to be standing next to in a line, or a shop assistant, or a bank clerk, or someone you pass in the street, or a grocery cashier... there are endless opportunities. Tell them you like their nails, or their smile, or their voice, or their earings, or their shirt.
I used to admire things about people, but be too shy to say so, but when strangers complimented me, I realized that it's such a lovely experience that the memory of how it makes a person feel over-rode the feeling of shyness. And now, it's one of my favorite things to do. :)
* Smile at a stranger. We have a tendency to feel we need a reason to smile - you know the person, or something amusing has just happened, or you need to ask them something. But we don't have to have a reason. Try just smiling kindly at someone in the street or in a shop. A smile from a stranger could turn a person's day around! :)
* Let someone go before you in a line. Especially if the person has fewer items than you in the grocery store, or is elderly, or has small children. This is something that can make a massive difference to some people, and again, the action itself has a great effect (very often relief), but the intention behind it has an even more powerful effect.
The fact that you cared enough about them to let them go before you has a very definite effect on that person's subconscious, and on their mood for the rest of the day. And of course, they are very likely to do the same for someone else in the future - meaning your little act of kindness can reach so much further than you can see! :)
* Put a little bag or box of fruit or vegetables outside your house with a sign that says "Free to a good home." I once saw a box of runner beans outside someone's house with a sign that said "Runner beans - free to a good home." and I loved that - I thought it was such a lovely idea.
* Leave an envelope with postage stamps on a table in a busy coffee bar, which says "Free to a good home." - You can do this with lots of things of course.
* Go into a book shop, and put a dollar between the pages of a self-help book, or one on finances.
* Leave a few coins in a payphone slot.
* Leave a few coins in the slot of a vending machine in a hospital.
* Make a flower or butterfly out of paper, and pop it into someone's letter box. You could add a kind message, or just leave it plain.
* You could also slip a dollar bill, or a paper flower or butterfly into the pocket of a coat or jacket in a clothing store.
* Pop a new lottery ticket or scratch card into a book, pocket or saucepan in a store - or leave one on the table in a coffee shop or diner.
The lift in perspective, attitude, emotion and mood which results from a random act of kindness will change the course of both the giver's and the receiver's day.
They will make different decisions, interact with others differently, make different choices, and take different actions... all of which will lead to a variety of different results.
One random act of kindness can change more than any of us can imagine.
A Simple Act of Kindness Poster
More Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
Empower people around the world with a $25 loan.
Kiva is not exactly a "random" act of kindness, but it certainly is an act of kindness - and it's helping strangers who really need the help.
This is one of the most remarkable charity ideas I've come across! Kiva organizes loans for people who are working hard to run and expand their own businesses, living in financially disadvantaged areas all over the world.
You can lend as little as $25 - which is added to $25 loans from other people. The entrepreneur is able to use it to expand his/her business. They then pay back the loan over a set period, and the money is added back into your Kiva account.
You can then withdraw the money, or lend it out to another entrepreneur. I've just lent out the same $25 for the third time!
Here's How it Works:
1. Choose a borrower - you can read a little background on each person, what their business is, a little about their family life, and what they need the money for. You can browse through all, or use a filter to choose according to location, gender, sector (agriculture, art, education etc.), groups or individuals, and attributes (green, higher education). Each profile will also tell you how much the total loan is for, and how much has been raised so far.
2. Make a loan of $25 using Paypal or card.
3. Get repaid. Borrowers make repayments according to the payment schedule you can view attached to each profile, and you'll get an email from Kiva each time a repayment is made.
4. Repeat. :)
For more information, or to start lending, visit Kiva
Proceeds from this lens are to Kiva through Squidoo. :)
Illegal Random Acts of Kindness!
Did you know you could get fined for some acts of kindness?
There are a few acts of kindness that could get you into trouble - a couple of bizarre laws that could end in a fine:
* In some cities it is illegal to put money into someone else's parking meter! I know, it's weird, but there you go. So, it's important to check your city's laws before engaging in this particular act of kindness.
* It is illegal in most cities, to pass your unused parking voucher to another motorist. In "pay and display" parking areas, when you've only used a portion of the time you paid for, it seems to make sense to pass the voucher to someone who has just arrived, to save them having to pay... but if you are caught, you could get fined.
If you know of any other illegal random acts of kindness, please share them in the comments below and I'll add them to this list to save others getting fined for kind acts.
So, best not to take part in these, and rather go for other suggestions on this page. :)