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Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

Updated on January 29, 2014

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....

Random Acts of Kindness
Random Acts of Kindness

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 Booth
Toll Booth

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.

Restaurant Bill
Restaurant Bill

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. :)

Layaway Angels

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! :)

Deluxe Fruit Basket
Deluxe Fruit Basket

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 ;)

Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting
Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting

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.

Willow Tree Hope Figurine
Willow Tree Hope Figurine

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.

Image: Willow Tree Hope Figurine

Leaf of Love
Leaf of Love

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

A Simple Act of Kindness
A Simple Act of Kindness

More Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

Kiva
Kiva

Kiva

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. :)

Expired Parking Meter
Expired Parking Meter

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. :)

Share Your Experience with Random Acts of Kindness - Have you ever been on the receiving end of a RAK, or have you been a giver?

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    • profile image

      DebMartin 2 years ago

      Made my heart soar. Yes to playing Santa any time of year. We don't need consumer-intense holidays like Christmas to remind us to be kind and to give of ourselves. These days, giving holidays like Christmas feel more like an obligation than a joyful act of kindness. Well written.

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      This is a really lovely post. I had no idea that such a day existed, but now that I know I intend to make sure I honour it!

    • profile image

      WinWriter 3 years ago

      I think it is the kindest thing a person can do for another. Grace - pure and simple!

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 4 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      Every day should be RAK day!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      This is a wonderful life philosophy. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      My Dad used to go walking in the morning, and would take a person asking for quarters in to a deli for breakfast and eat with him/her. What a wonderful man. Squid Angel blessings to you!

    • sallemange profile image

      sallemange 4 years ago

      Some thoughtful and kind ideas here that I must try

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Really enjoyed reading this today. I love giving and receiving RAK, they definitely feed off of each other!

    • profile image

      siskiyoucowgirl 4 years ago

      You give such great ideas here. I really enjoyed reading your lens. I have gotten several different random acts of kindess before from many different people and they have been really helpful. This lens gave me ideas on how I can help others! Thanks for sharing.

      ~blessed by a Squid-Angel~

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      What a great idea for a day - "Random Acts of Kindness", I didn't know that one exists. but now I do! Blessings!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      This list of Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness is nice, I think it is something that all of us can do from time to time.

    • TommysTips profile image

      TommysTips 4 years ago

      Love all these great ideas!!

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      I really like your gift selection ideas. Nice lens

    • profile image

      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Fabulous lens. Love your ideas and gift selections. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful lens!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Congratulations on this lens being featured in today's HQ Random Acts of Kindness Day list. Well deserved! And thank you for sharing your thoughts here on Squidoo. It always cheers me to find lenses like this.

    • profile image

      slyounkin1 4 years ago

      great ideas!

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      You have some really great ideas in here...some I've heard of and some I haven't. I will use one of these today for sure!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Nice to see HQ featuring this today, ... its nice to stop by again. - Blessed!

    • ManfromModesto LM profile image

      ManfromModesto LM 4 years ago

      There are times when the Holy Spirit leads us to do something. The feeling of completing those things is beyond anything else. It's walking with God. In the Bible, e.g. Matthew 24, we are told that the people who helped others, the naked, the orphan, the widow, the hungry... are the ones practicing "true religion" and the ones Jesus lets into Heaven.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I Love this idea randomly liked and blessed:)

    • pauly99 lm profile image

      pauly99 lm 4 years ago

      Thank you for all of the great ideas. Random acts of kindness beats Valentine's Day hands down when people expect kindness.

    • profile image

      ellah9 4 years ago

      random acts of kindness can change ones day into a great one

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I paid for a Woman's breakfast at McDonald's in the drive-thru behind me...She was confused and happy all at the same time. It made my day seeing her happy...

    • bofirebear profile image

      bofirebear 4 years ago

      Great ides to use on a regular basis. This lens certainly made me stop and think about what I have been doing and if I have been distributing random acts of kindness. Thank You

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When I help someone on Squidoo with tips, and they ask how they can ever thank me...I say pay it forward, do something to help someone else. :)

    • profile image

      WinWriter 5 years ago

      I love this lens, have visited before and now have come back as a Squid Angel. Blessed :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Very inspirational! I've had the experience of a car ahead of me paying my toll and I was so blown away. Blessed!

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Powerful lens

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Like Tipi, I've been on both sides of wonderful act's of kindness. I'm a giver by nature and love your plexo questions! Wonderful lens! Blessed!

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens on a wonderful topic! Blessed!

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Thank you for blessing my Kids Jigsaw Puzzles! I featured this lens as "Angels who blessed my" on my Squid Angel Blessings for 2012---Tried to get your main page, so I used this one, Check it out. I'm racing to work and will check back to your lensmaster page when I get honme and try to fix it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've been on both the giving and receiving end of random acts of kindness and find both ends delightful. Being on the receiving end just lets us know what a treasure it can be to be on the receiving end and my favorite way is to be the giver in secret. Now that is so interesting that illegal random acts are centered on paying for parking.

    • DuncanBoud profile image

      DuncanBoud 5 years ago

      Well, this lens made me smile! And Kiva is a great idea, hope you raise lots of money for them.

    • profile image

      athena2011 5 years ago

      Loved your lens and gave it a squidlike. I've also written about random acts of kindness at my blog. Talk about win-win! Everybody should live their lives like this. Then we'd have a perfect world. :)

    • one step2heaven profile image

      one step2heaven 5 years ago

      Great lens, very hepful

    • Sarata LM profile image

      Sarata LM 5 years ago

      Thanks for yet another practical and useful lens...

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 5 years ago

      Some great ideas for kindness acts. It is amazing how good you make yourself feel by helping someone anonymously or just my holding the door open for someone. Thanks

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      I love these ideas . Wonderful ways to make someone elses day. =)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I feel a sense of satisfaction on giving something to a person who is very much in need of it. It might be a small one, but it is special to the person.

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      A lens full of terrific idea for making yourself and someone happy. Giving has its own special rewards that last a long time.

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Great lens. Since my kids were little, we've played the random acts game. We'll pay for the order behind us at the drive-thru, or leave a $20 tip to a really good waiter at a really low end diner. We hope the people we are kind to appreciate it, but we get more out of doing the act than anything else. I hope lots of folks take advanatage of your wonderful ideas!

    • MarilynImanse profile image

      MarilynImanse 5 years ago

      Great ideas! I have experienced both giving and receiving. Does make a huge difference in the way the receiver or giver feels for the entire day, and longer sometimes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Another great lens. I will definitely find a way to celebrate this day with my kids. Thank you for the info.

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a great Lense! Thank you for all the inspiration.

      Cheers

      Grace

    • Northbright profile image

      Norbert Isles 5 years ago from Philippines

      Great lens! Experienced both.

    • rangiiria profile image

      rangiiria 5 years ago

      Giving is such a noble gesture.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      I have mainly been the giver, but not entirely. Thanks for sharing the many ways of doing it up right!

    • sstock93 lm profile image

      sstock93 lm 5 years ago

      I've spent a lot of time on Squidoo the last couple of days, an I think this is my favorite lens so far. Great Job!!!!

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      missericaleigh 5 years ago

      too cute!

    • krakensquid profile image

      krakensquid 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens, great opportunities here!

    • profile image

      pbfinance 5 years ago

      Nice post.Thank you for sharing some good things!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      In Utah, I heard on the news that we had people who were paying people's entire amount of those who put toys on layaway to buy for Christmas, very touching.

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      very nice and positive, so easy to give a Blessing to, Great job!!! I received a random act of kindness by reading this today, thank you so much!!!....:)rob

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Lovely lens here and wonderful ideas!

    • profile image

      SandyPond 5 years ago

      These are some great ideas and I think helping those you care about, as well as total strangers, is very important for many reasons. Not only is it a big help to others, but I know from personal experience, that helping others can make you feel better about yourself!

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 5 years ago

      Enjoyed reading your lens! I like the Kiva idea. Had not heard of this before.

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      My first encounter with this was hitching my way around Europe when I was 18 eons ago. They got nothing out of helping me and I vowed to do what I could to help others in some way after that. These days, however, hitching is not a good idea. I like the one about paying for someone's coffee shop bill. I like that better than leaving money around because the former shows that someone did something nice on purpose; the latter may feel to the finder that they are taking something that belongs to someone else who forgot it.