Virtue of the Week: Kindness

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.Joann C. Jones
As the bus slowed down at the crowded bus stop, the Pakistani bus conductor leaned from the platform and called out, “Six only!” The bus stopped. He counted on six passengers, rang the bell, and then, as the bus moved off, called to those left behind: “So sorry, plenty of room in my heart – but the bus is full.” He left behind a row of smiling faces. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.The Friendship Book of Francis Gay

Can’t think of anything to do to be kind today? Here are 93 random acts of kindness to try:

  1. Send someone a hand written note of thanks.
  2. Buy a lottery ticket and give it to a complete stranger.
  3. Put some coins in someone else’s parking meter.
  4. Buy a coffee for the man behind you in line.
  5. Cut your neighbor’s lawn.
  6. Walk your friend’s dog.
  7. Give a compliment about your waiter / waitress to his / her manager.
  8. Give someone a small gift anonymously and tell them how much you appreciate them.
  9. Stop and help someone stuck along the side of the road with their hood up or a flat tire.
  10. Let someone move ahead of you in line at the grocery store.
  11. Pay for the drinks on the next table at a restaurant.
  12. Take a friend out to eat for no reason at all.
  13. Give a huge tip to someone when they least expect it.
  14. Hold the door open for someone.
  15. Give up your seat for someone, not just an elderly person.
  16. Write notes of appreciation at least once a week.
  17. Buy some gift cards at McDonalds or Burger King and hand them out to homeless people.
  18. Pick up some rubbish in the road which would otherwise be lying around.
  19. Compliment a work colleague for their excellence..
  20. Give another driver your parking spot.
  21. Give a piece of fruit, candy bar, or bottle of cold water to the UPS or Fed Ex driver.
  22. Help an elderly neighbor carry the garbage out.
  23. Tell all your family members how much your appreciate them.
  24. Leave a copy of an interesting book in places where people will find them.
  25. Buy an inspirational book for a friend.
  26. Send a thank you note to a person who has helped you in the past.
  27. Smile a lot.
  28. Barbecue or bake something for a neighbor that you don’t talk to much.
  29. Buy some candy bars and hand them out to random people.
  30. Hug a friend and tell them that they are amazing.
  31. Deliver fresh-baked cookies to city workers.
  32. Collect goods for a food bank.
  33. Bring flowers to work and share them with coworkers.
  34. Garden clubs can make floral arrangements for senior centers, nursing homes, hospitals, police stations, or shut-ins.
  35. Adopt a student who needs a friend, checking in periodically to see how things are going.
  36. Volunteer to be a tutor in a school.
  37. Extend a hand to someone in need. Give your full attention and simply listen.
  38. Merchants can donate a percentage of receipts for the week to a special cause.
  39. Bring coworkers a special treat.
  40. Students can clean classrooms for the custodian.
  41. Buy a stranger a free pizza.
  42. Visit people at a nursing home.
  43. Offer a couple of hours of baby-sitting to parents.
  44. Slip paper hearts that say “It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week! Have a great day!” under the windshield wipers of parked cars.
  45. Have a charity day at work, with employees bringing nonperishable food items to donate.
  46. Serve refreshments to customers.
  47. Draw names at school or work, and have people bring a small gift or food treat for their secret pal.
  48. Remember the bereaved with phone calls, cards, plants, and food.
  49. Treat someone to fresh fruit.
  50. Pay a compliment at least once a day.
  51. Call or visit a homebound person.
  52. Hand out balloons to passersby.
  53. Give free sodas to motorists.
  54. Transport someone who can’t drive.
  55. Say something nice to everyone you meet today.
  56. Volunteer at an agency that needs help.
  57. Send home a note telling parents something their child did well.
  58. Organize a scout troop or service club to help people with packages at the mall or grocery.
  59. Host special programs or speakers at libraries or bookstores.
  60. Volunteer to read to students in the classroom.
  61. Write notes of appreciation and bring flowers or goodies to teachers or other important people, such as the principal, nurse, custodian, and secretary.
  62. Incorporate kindness into the curriculum at area schools, day care centers, or children’s classes in faith organizations.
  63. Tell your children why you love them.
  64. Write a note to your mother/father and tell them why they are special.
  65. Pat someone on the back.
  66. Write a thank-you note to a mentor or someone who has influenced your life in a positive way.
  67. Visit hospitals with smiles, treats, and friendly conversation for patients.
  68. Give free car washes.
  69. Clean graffiti from neighborhood walls and buildings.
  70. Tell your boss that you think he/she does a good job.
  71. Tell your employees how much you appreciate their work.
  72. Let your staff leave work an hour early.
  73. Have a clean-up party in the park.
  74. Tell a bus or taxi driver how much you appreciate their driving.
  75. Have everyone in your office draw the name of a Random Acts of Kindness buddy out of a hat and do a kind act for their buddy that day or week.
  76. Give a pair of tickets to a baseball game or concert to a stranger.
  77. Drop off a plant, cookies, or donuts to the police or fire department.
  78. Call an estranged family member.
  79. Volunteer to fix up an elderly couple’s home.
  80. Be a friend to a new student or coworker.
  81. Renew an old friendship by sending a letter or small gift to someone you haven’t talked with in a long time.
  82. For one week, act on every single thought of generosity that arises spontaneously in your heart, and notice what happens as a consequence.
  83. Offer to return a shopping cart to the store for someone loading a car.
  84. Invite someone new over for dinner.
  85. Buy a roll of brightly colored stickers and give them to children you meet during the day.
  86. When drivers try to merge into your lane, let them in with a wave and a smile.
  87. Buy cold drinks for the people next to you at a ball game.
  88. Make a list of things to do to bring more kindness into the world, and have a friend make a list. Exchange lists and do one item per day for a month.
  89. Use an instant camera to take people’s photographs at a party or community event, and give the picture to them.
  90. As you go about your day, pick up trash.
  91. Send a letter to some former teachers, letting them know the difference they made in your life.
  92. Buy books for a day care or school.
  93. Slip a $20 bill to a person who you know is having financial difficulty.