The day after I turned 31, I had a beautiful moment of feeling overwhelmingly blessed. When you have these realizations, they’re excellent reminders to take action and do something. There are so many incredible things that you can to do make a difference, and you can travel the world to do them. But you can also make a difference in people’s lives by doing the simplest of things in the world right around you.
My something that made a difference was a day of “random acts of kindness.” I recruited my friend to join me in giving back by doing kind things, in hopes of making people smile and reminding them that there are good people in the world. As we got our day started, I wasn’t exactly overjoyed to get out and be this nice. It was all very outside of our comfort zone. But regardless, we got out and did it.
Here’s our journey, our Random Acts of Kindness:
We bought a gift card at Jamba Juice. As we were getting ready to leave, a preggo lady came in. Pregnant Shannon handed it to her fellow preggo with a post it that said, “From one preggo to another, enjoy.” The lady was totally caught off guard and seemed very touched. We giggled and ran out the door. It was a good start.
**Please note, while I’m a photographer, all of these images were quickly snapped on my iPhone.
We bought some Sees Candy lollipops to give out. An ambulance was sitting outside of the store. Shannon walked up and knocked on the window. Two EMTs were eating lunch in the truck. She handed each of them a lollipop. One of the EMTs said, “Wowwwwwww, look at that!!! Oh My God!!!!” He was comletely serious too. It made us both feel very happy and again, we giggled and ran off.
We found stray shopping carts inside of Whole Foods, and put them back.
We stopped to buy flowers for later in the day.
The florist that helped us was a little rigid at first, for whatever reason. We went to the front cashier to pay for our items, and we bought a gift card to the store. We went back after she had helped us, and handed her a gift card. She was definitely surprised and touched. At first she didn’t want to take it, and then she said, “Yoooooouuuuu little stinkers,” and smiled. We giggled and ran off.
Now, I would like to point out that we are 31 and 32. And we’re still giggling and running off. That’s okay. We’re young at heart I guess.
We got some cookies from the bakery, and wrote a note to the firemen at the local station that said, “Thank you for what you do, and for protecting our community.”
Then we delivered it to the fire station. The fireman said, “You didn’t have to do that.” We said we wanted to. Then we ran off and giggled.
We stopped at Golden West College and wrote notes for the staff.
We left them on random cars throughout the staff parking.
We stuffed dollar bills in the dollar bins at Target for some lucky recipients to find.
This one was probably my favorite. While waiting in line at Target, there was a guy who was maybe 20, stocking the cold soda section. We bought a Twix and a Snickers, and gave them to him and thanked him for his hard work. His expression was subtle, but thankful. I mean he probably doesn’t get thanked that often. But he’s out there working hard, earning an income and being young. So I appreciate him.
We wrote notes to the police that said, “Thank you for keeping us safe, we appreciate you.” We left them at a local police station with Sees Lollipops. As we were leaving, we heard a lady say, “That was just sooooo nice.”
We filled the candy machines with quarters.
We left notes on diaper changing stations that said, “Thank you for being a mom.”
We wrote notecards that said, “You’re going to be a great mom,” and left them with the maternity ward nurses’ station, along with a few flowers to give out to a mom who was having a tough day.
(This was towards the end of the day, we were getting exhausted by this time…can you tell? Also, that purple bag is my “random acts of kindness supply bag.” Very handy.)
We wrote notecards to the nurses in the maternity ward that said, “Thank you for what you do, you are making a difference.” And we left them Sees Lollipops, of course.
We let a woman go in front of us at the valet line. She said we didn’t have to do that, she’s not in a hurry, but it was very nice of us anyways.
This was probably the best one of the whole day. We gave this woman a flower. She looked really taken aback and said, “For me??” Then her son said, “It’s a random act of kindness! That’s wonderful. Thank you so much.” That feeling gave me chills, and brought a little tear to my eye. We were sooooooo excited. Because yes, that’s all it was, a random act of kindess. He got it. He got what we were doing. Simple and nothing more.
We ended our day at the cemetery where our dear friend has been laid to rest. Her resting place is perfect and peaceful. We left a flower, even though she already many fresh ones. We had one flower left. We saw an older woman, alone, praying over a grave. We gave our last flower to her, and told her to have a happy day. And with that, we wrapped up our day filled with Random Acts of Kindness.
Here is what I learned from that day:
1. People LOOOOOOOOOVE Sees Candy Lollipops.
2. People are not used to having something nice done for them, for no reason, from a complete stranger.
3. I need to do more random acts of kindness in my every day life. For no reason, to no one in particular, just things that make people feel happy.
Will you join me?
Josh -- And how is anybody "getting you wrong" here? It's pretty clear what you meant. Judgment, legalism, ungrace. Some Christians are the type of Christians who cannot wait to point out the speck in someone else's eye and give them chapter and verse about its immediate removal. These are the kinds of Christians who guarantee that the non-Christians around them will stay non-Christians.
I agree with ryan above. This is not place for preaching, Josh. It's a place for being inspired by someone else's actions -- inspired to do the same. Clearly, it inspired you to preach and judge and you missed the whole point. Jen, thank you for this post.
well done girls, i had already experienced it, it feels so good to heat somebodie's heart. thank you for sharing it with us !
Hey ladies. I just want to congratulate you on such a lovely and inspiring day. You clearly had fun while you were touching people's lives and thank you so much for sharing it with us. Keep up the great work of Paying It Forward! Lis :o)
I RECENTLY WATCHED YOU ON FRAMED AND IT WAS AN EXCELLENT! i WASN'T EXPECTING TO FIND YOU IN MY SEARCH TODAY BUT IT'S A PLEASANT SURPRISE! i WAS DOING A GOOGLE SEARCH FOR RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS TRYING TO FIND OTHER SITES OR POSTS TO SHARE ON MY BLOG AND HOPEFULLY FIND OTHER SITES WITH THE SAME NICHE AS MY SITE. GREAT POST! i LOVE THAT YOU WENT TO THE MATERNITY WARD AS A MOM I KNOW THAT WOULD HAVE MADE MY DAY. WELL WILL DEFINITELY BE SHARING THIS ON MY BLOG!
Thank you for being awesome! more people (including myself!) need to be doing this ! works need to be done (seen or unseen!!!!) so get out there everybody!! B)
Ryan, Don't get me wrong I think its wonderful what she is doing. I think its great to inspire others to do the same things. Do I think its great to run around snapping photos of you doing good deeds and write a blog post on the internet? No. The bible is very clear when it says to give in secret, Not Spend Hours Writing blog posts about how many good deeds you did in a day.
Seriously Josh? I don't think this is Jen trumpeting her horn saying "look at how awesome I am" like the hypocrites do, I see this as an inspiring post from someone who got a ton of joy out of giving others joy and thinks that the world might be a better place if more people did so, so she's telling people who may not have thought of it or been scared of it how easy and fun it is. Quit with the Jesus Jukes, man.
I love these new inspirational guest posts. Thanks for sharing this story. I pray it continues to reach people and encourage them.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. - Matthew 6:2-4
I believe in a God that is full of grace and opens doors. But if to you this is looking for admiration, so be it. ;)
Jen this is so inspiring! I love this idea and I AM GOING TO TALK TO OUR STAFF AND SEE IF WE CAN IMPLEMENT IT IN TO OUR PROGRAM. I THINK WE ALL NEED TO GIVE BACK IN LITTLE WAYS. I LOVE THE BEAUTY OF HOW SIMPLE THIS WAS! SHARING THIS WITH OTHERS WILL INSPIRE THEM TO DO THE SAME. YOUR JOY AND LOVE FOR OTHERS COMES THROUGH IN THIS BLOG POST, SO PLEASE DON'T BE DISCOURAGED :)