celebrate kindness

Archive for the ‘AMOK’ Category

If you are looking to sprinkle kindness like confetti, this weekend was made for you!  The Annual Melee of Kindness (#AMOK2016), hosted by Random Acts, is a bit like a flash mob of kindness with people all across the world doing nice things for others and sharing their stories on Facebook and Twitter. It’s so inspiring to read all the awesome things strangers are doing for one another!

My #AMOK was inspired by my daughter’s recent choral competition. Their theme focused on Disney princesses with each section representing a different princess, who showcased their “strengths” through choreographed dances and acapella ballads. There was one girl in the middle, who wore a black dress, an outcast of sorts who didn’t fit in to any of the traditional princess roles. As the story is showcased, each princess group tries to convince the girl to be like them, rotating around her and emphasizing their strengths. The girl finally comes to the realization that she can be her own princess, taking pride in the strengths that make her unique. The show ends with all the princesses shining the spotlight on her and her black dress is transformed to one of gold.

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I know I’m biased in saying this, but it’s a spectacular show!

My daughter showed me the shirt they wore at their competition and I immediately thought of Renee Parr, a 1st grade teacher at my school who died suddenly in the summer of 2014. She loved princesses and always wore a tiara at any opportunity to shine. Even at her funeral, her mom wore a tiara and spoke of Renee’s living legacy as a princess in her heart.

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My daughter’s shirt also reminded me of my college sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, whose colors are turquoise and silver. One of ZTA’s key symbols is a five pointed crown and their motto is “Seek the Noblest.” How ironic that my daughter’s show choir would have symbols of the sisterhood I held so dear!

I knew right then that my #AMOK2016 had to have a princess theme.

I decided to spread kindness at a playground and stopped by The Dollar Tree to pick up a few things to give away. As if I needed any more confirmation about the princess theme choice, this is what I saw in the window:

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I couldn’t believe my eyes – an entire row of princesses stared back at me, just waiting to be bought and given away.

I scooped up some from the window, then added a few tiaras and sparkly butterfly wings. I even picked up a few butterfly catchers for any princes who might be playing at the playground, too.

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Before walking out of the store with my purchases, I left a few surprises to be discovered: money in the gumball machines and a few hidden dollars in the toy section.

My next stop was a local playground, but before I could even get there another playground caught my eye. It was old and faded, tucked in a bed of sticks and pine needles. I felt drawn to that location, so I made a quick stop and left a princess crown and butterfly catcher there.

Then, on a whim, I opened my wallet and took all the change I had and tossed it in the air, watching it scatter among the pine cones. Do you remember the thrill of finding money on the ground when you were young?

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I got back in my car and traveled to my final destination and left my treasures all around the playground equipment. There were a few children running about and it gave me such a smile to know they might get to enjoy the surprises I had brought.IMG_5043

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A tiara at the top of the tower.

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Butterfly wings for a princess.

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A butterfly catcher placed on a ramp.

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A princess toy waiting for a princess to swing.

I even placed a tiara on a frog, my mom’s favorite animal. Hopefully no one kisses him; I can guarantee he won’t turn into a prince!

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As I placed my final items around the playground, a dad caught my eye and said, “I have a pretty purple princess who would love to have whatever you’re passing out.” I smiled and pointed at the bench near the front of the park. “Please take those! They’re free! I’m doing random acts of kindness today, so take what you like!” His smile grew even wider as he replied, “Thank you!”

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Doing random acts of kindness always brightens someone’s day! If you missed out on #AMOK2016, then pick your own day to spread kindness to others and share out when you do. Every day is a perfect day to be kind!

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When you tell someone you spent the morning running amok, you are sure to receive some odd looks. After all, who announces their seemingly uncontrollable behavior with such joy? This is when I wish little speech bubbles would appear above our heads when we talk, so people can see that I’m referencing #AMOK, the Annual Melee of Kindness. This annual event, sponsored by RandomActs, is a global flash mob of sorts; people all across the world complete random acts of kindness for two designated days and share their stories with others. (Go ahead. Search the hashtag #AMOK on Twitter and see all the awesome ways people are being kind!)

This morning, in less time it takes for me to vacuum my house, I completed 6 RAKs for #AMOK. It was so much fun! Here are the things I did:

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1.  I went to Starbucks to purchase a few gift cards. While in the drive through waiting to reach the cashier, a small feather floated across my windshield (very Forrest Gump-like.) I watched it, mesmerized, as it skimmed the slight breeze, flitting right, then left, then right again, to finally rest inside my side door window.

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Now you may not believe in signs from above, and that’s fine, but for me, this was like a smile from heaven to start my RAKs #AMOK! When I finally made it to the cashier to purchase my gift cards, I bought the drink of the person in the car behind me and passed along this note:

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2. My next stop was to purchase three lottery tickets from a local convenience store. Then I went to Kroger to see who deserved a chance of hitting it big.

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The first car I saw was parked diagonally from me. You could tell from the door that the person had been in an accident and had their car fixed with spare parts. I thought they might deserve a chance at some better luck, so I placed my note with one lottery ticket under their windshield wiper.

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The next car that caught my eye had a personalized plate focused on children. That made me smile, so I left them a lottery ticket, too.

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My third lottery ticket went to a van parked in the special parking place reserved for adults with small children. I remember the times I’ve had to go grocery shopping with little ones in tow and it is never a relaxing task. I thought maybe a lottery ticket on their dash might brighten their day, too.

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3.  With a pocketful of quarters, I made my way into Kroger. I stocked the bottom row of candy and toy dispensers to surprise any children who may be shopping with their parents that day.

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Did you know that some of the bottom row dispensers cost MORE than the ones right beside them? ME NEITHER! How frustrating for a child OR parent to have to understand that logic! I went ahead and added a few more quarters so no one would be disappointed.

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4.  I left money on a Redbox machine to pay for someone’s movie for the day. I even hid it behind the screen so there would be an element of surprise! (I love surprises!)

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5.  Who can resist Girl Scout cookies? Often, when I’m entering or exiting a store, I’m consumed by an overwhelming sense of guilt because these sweet girls are trying to raise money for their troop, but we’ve already bought cookies from our niece. (Heaven knows we do NOT need any more cookies in this house!) Today, however, I went right up to the table, money in hand, and asked if I could by a box to donate to someone else. Thankfully, they were prepared for my request with a box already designated for donations to the Hanover Safe Place. I let the Girl Scout choose her favorite box (Samoas!) to donate on behalf of #AMOK.

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(Yes, her mom gave verbal permission for me to post these photos!)

6.  My final random act of kindness was done as I was heading back to my car. I saw one of the Kroger workers gathering all the shopping carts to return to the store. I recognized him instantly (I shop at Kroger a lot), and approached him with a smile. “Hi,” I began, as he turned his head in my direction. “I know you never ask for tips and this is just part of your job, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all you do. You remind me a lot of Mr. Leon who used to work here; I’m sure he would be proud of all you do to help others.” With that, I placed $5.00 in his hand as the smile spread across his face. “Thank you ma’am,” he replied, as I quickly turned and walked to my car.



My morning RAKs were quick little sprinklings of kindness here and there; nothing outrageous or grand, but small reminders to others that there is still good in this world. Imagine how wonderful this world would be if EVERYONE ran #AMOK with kindness!

Did you know that today, March 1, 2014, is the Annual Melee of Kindness? According to http://www.therandomact.org, over 498 participants in 18 countries performed 156 acts of kindness all in one day last year.  How fun!

This year, I’m adding two of my own acts to the list.  Read below to find out what I did!

AMOK RAK #1

My niece has a severe dairy allergy that prevents her from enjoying many of the sweet treats children take for granted. Ice cream. Chocolate. Cookies. Cake.  Sure, there are substitutes out there she can have but nothing can compare to a surprise trip to an ice cream parlor like Sweet Frog or Coldstone.  We were chatting one afternoon and being almost 7 she said that she was too scared to get retested because she knew it would hurt.  I told her if she went ahead with the test and found out she wasn’t allergic to dairy anymore that I would take her out and she could get any ice cream she wanted!

Well, my brave little niece went ahead and got retested only to discover she had not outgrown her allergy.  No ice cream allowed. Poor thing!  I found out what her favorite candies were (that she was allowed to eat) and made her this candy gift instead.  It wasn’t much, but it was the least I could do to reward her bravery!

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AMOK RAK #2

In preparation of making the candy treat above, I went to our local grocery store to purchase the items needed.  As I was walking through the busy parking lot, I heard an older gentleman asking for directions.  “Excuse me, can you help me find Fed Ex?”  He was holding a piece of paper, pointing to something circled, the Fed Ex emblem bright enough to see several feet away.

Now let me stop here to say I am cautious about speaking to strangers, especially when I am alone.  However, this was a very busy parking lot with cars and people all around, and something prompted me to smile and offer my assistance.  “Absolutely!” I responded.  I walked towards him and sure enough, the item circled on his paper was a street address for Fed Ex.  I really had no idea how to get there, so I pulled out my cell phone, located my favorite traffic/navigation app, Waze, and punched in the address.

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“Ahhh – that’s why you are lost… this street actually stops at a dead end, then picks back up on the other side of a neighborhood.”  I could see the relief flood through his eyes.  “Thank you so much!” he replied.  “I’ve been driving up and down the road and thought I had lost my mind!”

I explained to him exactly where to go, then we parted ways with smiles on both our faces.  It felt good to help out someone in need!

I hope you are blessed by my stories and inspired to do your own RAK today in celebration of AMOK!  🙂

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