In recent years, a trend of sorts has sprung up and continues to happen at random in coffee shops everywhere. It’s referred to as “paying it forward” and simply put, is a large ripple effect of kindness: one paying customer decides to pick up the tab of the next customer, who decides to do the same for the next, and so on. Extending for up to several hours, the occurrence transforms the morning lull of a coffee shop into a morning love fest. Spontaneous kindness at its finest.
This week, officially Random Acts of Kindness Week, the coffeehouse phenomenon may be set to happen a little more than usual. The weeklong celebration encourages kindness towards loved ones and complete strangers alike, out of the sheer goodness of the heart – a reminder that good Samaritans are everywhere, and that a little bit of kindness can go a long way.
And while you don’t have to start any hours-long chain reactions of kindness to make your mark this week, perform a few random acts of kindness and who knows, you just might. Start by trying a few of these:
Study with someone
On a college campus opportunities to help are everywhere. Among students, help with studying is always a welcome aid. To lighten the load for you and a few classmates, organize a study session for an upcoming exam where the work can be split up, and the group can feed off each other’s knowledge. If you feel comfortable enough in a subject, you can even try to volunteer at your school’s tutoring center and really help someone out.
Clean out your closet
It’s not quite spring yet, but a little bit of housecleaning can go a long way. Sort through your closet or garage and see what items you’ve outgrown or don’t use anymore and donate them to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or a local shelter. In the cold winter months, donating clothes is an especially appreciated act of kindness.
Send someone something just because
When’s the last time you sent a handwritten letter to a friend, a care package to someone not feeling well, or a letter of appreciation to a service member? Sending something spontaneously is one of the most genuine kind gestures out there. You can show a very personal care you have for someone and, for a soldier, make his or her tour a lot more bearable.
Donate to a charity
These days, there’s a charity for everything – and just as many ways to donate, Say yes when you’re asked to donate some change at the checkout line, or find a charity you want to donate to online. You can even donate your time to causes and they’ll handle the funding part for you. Charity Miles is an app that donates money for exercising, and Free Rice donates rice for the completion of vocabulary tests. Do something great and get something out of it!
Do the little things
Thank a librarian or teacher, tell a custodian a room looks clean, and round up when you’re tipping. Doing the little things is what allows a complete stranger to brighten someone else’s entire day; it’s also what changes “random acts” of kindness into to habits.
We want to hear about your random acts of kindness! What do you plan on doing? Has there been someone else who has done something memorable for you? Share your acts and stories with us now on Twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org