What’s your random act of kindness?

Posted: October 3, 2022 in Miscellaneous, Personal
Tags: , ,

It’s Monday and it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. Sit down with me for a few minutes, have a cup of tea (there’s enough left in the pot) or some coffee, and let’s talk about random acts of kindness.

Random acts of kindness have been around for some time, but during Covid they became a bit harder to perform because we were staying away from others. I decided that was a perfect time to start sending lots of postcards and notes, thus also propping up the post office. 🙂 Although I’ve only gotten a few cards in return, I’ve received lots of feedback about how much the recipients enjoyed getting real mail. I mean, how many of us get real mail for a live person in the mail once a week or even once a month? But isn’t it exciting when you do? A postcard or card means you don’t have to write too much but it let’s the person know you’re thinking of him/her.

I have two other rather random things I do on a regular basis. I try to return at least one shopping cart other than my own to the cart corral during each visit and I push them all together properly. I’ve actually had several workers thank me, which was surprising but nice.

In Arizona most lawns are rock as are communal areas such as those on either side of walking paths. For a variety of reasons, small rocks are always getting onto the sidewalk and I’ve made it my mission to kick a number of these back into place whenever I walk. Yeah, it’s a bit like Sisyphus, (with my original misspelling of his name, the suggestion from auto-correct was syphilis, not exactly an interchangeable word), but every little bit helps.

Now it’s your turn. What random act/s of kindness do you practice and why? Answer in the comments or if you write a post about it, please link it in the comments.

OK, now go out and meet Monday with a smile and some joy in your heart!

  1. Sue says:

    I can’t do much practically, but I do help neighbours with computer issues sometimes, and of course a smile and time spent chatting can be welcome. Oh, and coffee!

    • Sue, those things are always welcome. Just listening to people can be such a blessing in a world where many of us are just waiting for our chance to talk and not really listening. And computer help is always good! That’s why I married an IT guy. 🙂 Well, maybe not the entire reason.

  2. restlessjo says:

    Just little things, Janet. Smile randomly and say hello to strangers, take someone’s arm if they seem a bit wobbly or carry their shopping. Feed neighbour’s cat when she’s away and water plants. Nothing spectacular. I do send birthday cards and the odd postcard still. Have a happy, helpful week, hon!

  3. eklastic says:

    First of all – no getting back into swings for us Germans. It’s a public holiday! (The short explanation that I give to my students who speak only limited German at this stage: It’s FRG’s birthday.) Secondly: in Germany we have always had a deposit system for shopping carts (you put in a coin or a token) which you get back when you return the cart. This has been so ingrained in us that the few markets which give out carts have little problems with the returns. We have been successfully pavlodised! Thirdly: I used to look forward to “the coming of the mailman”. Because I got letters from my mum or sisters or even my mil or friends. Now I dread it; friends and family use social media or the phone, and only bills etc. find their way in the postbox. Fourthly, my own random acts of kindness — mhm, the little ones are so ingrained in my doings that it is difficult to name them … allowing other motorists to cut in, allowing people to jump the queue at the supermarket or bakery, not swearing at cars that overlooked me on my bike and thus almost killed me, taking in parcels meant for neighbours, disposing of pamphlets flying in the wind … The slightly more involved acts which are more unusual are less random hence more memorable (no biggies, though): Giving away free stuff to people who need it but not seeing it as a convenient way to get rid of unwanted things (via social media on “free your stuff …” sites). I just realise a lot of my acts of kindnesses involve NOT doing things. I could summarise by saying: NOT being an a…

    • I had to laugh at the not swearing at cars, although in my case it’s not on the bike (that would be my husband) but people who tailgate, stop for a red light and block an exit or driveway even though it doesn’t get them any closer, dart in and out without using blinkers/turn signals/indicators, etc.

      The only store I know of here that has the coin deposit for the carts (great idea) is Aldi and as they’re German, I would expect it. Many years ago in France I was returning a cart for my s-i-l and as I walked away, she shouted something about her money. I had no idea what she was talking about but when Aldi came to the US, I knew all about it. 🙂 In Philadelphia where our younger daughter lives, children will ask if they can take your cart back for you and then keep the quarter. Entrepreneurs.

      As for your small things, they do count and you don’t have any idea how much of an impact they might make on the other person. I let people ahead of me in line if they have only a few things because I’ve been in line behind someone with a cart filled with groceries when I have two things or at the post office behind someone who has 25 things that all need to be weighed while I have one and have had that person completely ignore me.

  4. Wonderful thoughts, Janet. I smiled because I’ve been doing the same with grocery carts for a long time. I also like taking one from the outside on my way into the store. I also move the rocks on the sidewalk – although we have fewer than you encounter.

    Shortly after we moved into our current residence, I was outside during trash pickup. I asked the worker which way he preferred the trash cans face – handles toward the street or away from the street? The answer is the opposite of what most people do – handles along the street. Have a good week.

  5. Very nice post, Janet, which gets us all thinking about being part of society and what we do to make that a positive experience. I send cards, but if I don’t get it in the mail in time, I usually send a wordy email. I also return carts, try to let cars get in line in front of me, and try to include others if I know they may not be aware of an event or activity. Thanks for reminding us we can always do more, and it usually costs us nothing except a moment of time.

    • You’re right. Many acts of kindness don’t involve much time or money but can make a difference to someone on the receiving end who maybe is having a bad day. There’s so much negativity out there these days that every positive thing we can do can only help, even if it seems small.

  6. kathy70 says:

    Sending cards or postcards is my favorite and some are sent weekly. Returning carts I was told once not to do. That is sometimes the job of a specific employee who may not do other things. I do make sure if it is one left in the middle of a space to move it out of the way. Happy Monday.

    • Good for you for sending real mail, Kathy! If you were asked not to return carts for that reason, I get it. Here there are often so many carts that if there is one designated person, s/he isn’t keeping up. So I figure one cart won’t put them out of a job. 🙂

  7. scr4pl80 says:

    As a small business owner who makes handmade greeting cards I appreciate you sending snail mail! As for random acts of kindness, I always try to smile and acknowledge the customer service people I come in contact with and call them by name if they are wearing name tags. I do the kicking rocks thing too when I’m walking Benny. Great reminder, Janet.

    • Being nice to customer service people is something I do as well, other Janet. However, I have once or twice spoken to a manager about a customer non-service person who was rude. I always ask how their day’s going and if it’s not going well, commiserate with them a bit and tell them as I leave that I hope it gets better. They have a tough job as there are lots of obnoxious customers, even before Covid madness hit.

      I do try to buy cards from individuals when I can although I admit to getting many at Half Price Books. 🙂

  8. Your autocorrect issue with syphilis sounds about like the one I had when trying to ask a coworker if he was at the warehouse… it kept giving me ‘whorehouse’. Not exactly a good swap, either! My random acts of kindness are spontaneous. I help those in scooters at the grocery store to get items they can’t reach whenever I see them struggling, open doors whenever it makes sense, smile at people for no reason, … that sort of thing. I have to admit that I don’t do a whole lot of premeditated acts of kindness, though. I love getting unexpected missives from friends in the snail mail, though I rarely write them myself. It is something I’d like to do more often though, especially to my grandchildren, because I have a handful of letters from my grandmother she wrote to me once I’d left for college, and I treasure those. Great thought-provoking post, Janet.

    • Madison, I got a good laugh from your autocorrect issue. I’ve learned (mostly) to check texts and emails before sending but every once in awhile something slips by. I use dictation for many texts as typing on a phone is so annoying so autocorrect has a good chance of getting something not quite right.

      Great story about the letters from your grandmother. Going through my parents’ things after they both passed away this year, I found some letters Mom wrote to Dad when he was in the army. It was so moving to read things that made them not just parents. I think that alone should make us consider writing a letter or two at least a few times a year to the ones we love. I kept many letters from friends and significant others for many years before finally tossing them. I still sometimes wish I hadn’t. But no one is going to be saving emails and texts for years.

  9. I always take the carts back to the place they want them in the parking lot and if I feel like one has been left too close to someone’s car I take that one back too. Plus you get a few extra steps in for the day.
    I let people turn or pull out ahead of me while driving all the time, open doors for people, and help people who are too short to reach the top shelves in stores get something down.

    I don’t write real letters very often anymore, but I do love to receive them. I should start then maybe it will become a habit again.

    • Not long ago I asked a random tall man in Walmart if he would get something from that very top shelf for me, the one where the things are that are waiting to restock. We enjoyed a few minutes of banter from that.

      I do let drivers in most of the time but I admit that if I’m quite sure they were just trying to “jump the queue” as it were, I sometimes don’t. In these days of road rage, it’s probably not a good idea and I’m working hard to get over it. 🙂

      Madison had a good point about people cherishing letters that their parents/grandparents/etc. wrote. Maybe a good reason to send a letter or two soon.

  10. Jet Eliot says:

    I enjoyed your post on random acts of kindness, Janet. Writing a post is a random act of kindness, which I very much appreciate receiving and doing. Thanks and cheers to you.

  11. ledrakenoir says:

    Meeting face to face should be part of natural social life, but there are other ways too. Have many old friends spread all over the world (almost) – some dating back to pre-teen days. Although this contact is relatively close, there is not so much face to face. But we know where we have each other.
    With regard to people who are not in the social circle – i.e. those who are called strangers (never been crazy about this english word) then it is actually possible to make contact without breaking the necessary safety dstances (both for others and for one’s own sake) even with a mask on . There are other ways to show empathy than kisses and hugs. 🙂

  12. marianallen says:

    Around here, a penny on the ground tail up is bad luck, so I turn any tail-up pennies to face up and leave them as good luck for somebody else to find. Also, I was in the ladies’ room the other day when the woman in the stall next to me exclaimed that there was no toilet paper in her stall, so I pulled a wad off my roll and passed it to her. Sisterhood, yo!

    • Yeah for the TP thing. I’ve done that before. It’s not a good feeling to need TP and find there isn’t any. 🙂 As for the pennies, I always pick them up, so…bad luck for someone else. 🙂

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