celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘act

First, let me apologize for my delay in keeping up with my blog.  This time of year is always crazy busy in my job and there are many days where I don’t know if I am coming or going!  I am sure many of you can relate.  Each time I do another random act of kindness, I want to shout it to the world and celebrate the joy!!  But alas, the reality of working full-time, being a mom, and keeping up with a non-stop schedule prevents me from taking the time to elaborate on each and every RAK I complete.

But here I sit, looking through photos on my phone, carving out time to remember, reflect, and rejoice.  Yes, rejoice!  RAKs make me happy!  How can I keep this all happiness to myself?!

So it’s with that spirit that I will be posting several RAKs in a row.  I was tempted to just lump them all together in one blog post (after all, that would be MUCH easier and quicker, too!) but I was reminded yesterday that EACH random act of kindness I complete is special and deserving of its own page.  A humbling reminder that quick and easy isn’t always best.

RAK #8 happened a few weeks ago, on a bright Sunday afternoon.  I was changing purses (I love to carry cute little handbags when the weather gets warmer) and I discovered a gift card for Subway I had received as a birthday gift that had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle of other items in my purse.  (In full disclosure, it was wedged at the bottom of my bag in between a sheet of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stickers, a sticky, red Matchbox car, and a 20% off coupon for Kohl’s that had expired in November.  Needless to say, I carry the same purse around all winter and it becomes a traveling toy box as well, lol.)

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How exciting!  And perfect timing, too, because I was STARVING and the kids were hungry, too.  Perfect!  I packed the kids in the car, drove to the nearest Subway, and delightfully placed my order.  Normally I get something inexpensive like a 6 inch veggie sub, but today I decided to splurge and got a 6 inch chicken teriyaki, a drink, a bag of chips, the works!  Oh, how fun to discover a forgotten gift card – it was almost like giving myself a RAK!  Ha!

After paying for my meal and my children’s meals, there was still a little bit of money left on the gift card.  I decided to bless someone else with the store credit.  I wrote a quick note on a napkin and asked the cashier to give it to the person behind me in line.

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It wasn’t a lot of money, only a few dollars, but I figured it could still be a blessing anyway.  And, in a way, it was like sharing my birthday with someone else all over again!  Fun!

As I was grabbing napkins for the kids and putting straws in plastic drink lids, a gentleman about my age approached me with a smile on his face.  He pointed to his bag and said simply, “Thanks so much.  That was very nice!”  Even as I watched him walk out of the door, his smile still lit up the room.

Being kind doesn’t have to cost money and it isn’t always about 100% self-sacrifice.  Sometimes I feel guilty when I do something for myself that I could have done for someone else instead.  But this RAK reminded me that it’s OK to enjoy the generosity of others (my Subway birthday gift card) because sometimes there will be enough for two blessings instead of just one.

Random Act of Kindness #8 is dedicated to Dylan Hockley, age 6.  According to Dylan’s family, “his beaming smile would light up any room and his laugh was the sweetest music.”  Seeing the smile of my RAK recipient in Subway was almost like catching a glimpse of Dylan’s smile, too.  It simply warmed your heart and made you happy.  I hope Dylan’s family will know that his memory, and smile, will live on through the random acts of kindness shown to others.

Be blessed, dear friends, and share your joy!  Check back soon because I have more RAKs to post!  🙂

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One of our favorite family traditions is visiting Krispy Kreme when the children receive their report cards.  “One free doughnut for every A” is the incentive Krispy Kreme offers and they never disappoint! Ever since our daughter started Kindergarten eight years ago, we have made the trek across town to the only Krispy Kreme restaurant around, to watch the doughnuts transform from gooey round balls to puffed up delicacies.  We love staring at the baked doughnuts sliding down the conveyor belt with sweet anticipation of seeing them being smothered in warm, slick icing.

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Yes, a visit to Krispy Kreme is quite the treat for our family indeed, especially because we don’t live nearby.  This past week we piled the kids in the car, report cards in hand, and made our way to this little piece of heaven on earth.

Traveling side roads, main roads, and interstates, we finally approached our destination.  My son piped up from the back seat,”Mommy… what does that sign say?”  He was pointing to a girl standing on the side of street who was holding up a sign asking for help.  “We don’t need rocks, we need socks!” declared the sign.  She was a bit disheveled in her mismatched layers of clothes, trying to keep the biting wind away from her bare skin.  “What does that mean, Mommy?  I don’t get it!”  Well, I could have spent the next two hours talking about that sign and the greater issues in our society that the sign represented, but I answered simply, “I think she just wants a little bit of help, sweetie.”

We turned into the Krispy Kreme parking lot and made our way into the restaurant, but the image of the girl holding the sign wouldn’t leave my mind.  When was the last time she ate?  Had a shower?  I noticed that there was a dog sitting by her feet.  When was the last time he ate?  As we made our way through the line to the front display with all the different varieties of sprinkled and iced donuts, I knew exactly what I needed to do.

The Krispy Kreme worker checked off the A’s on the children’s report cards and packed the free glazed doughnuts into a sturdy box to take back home.  Each child also chose one “fancy” doughnut of their choice which we purchased with milk to be consumed now.  I pointed to the red, pink, and white sprinkled heart-shaped doughnut in the front and asked, “May I have this one to go?  With a coffee and a cup of water, too?”  Gathering napkins, cream, sugar, and a stir stick, I told my husband, “I’ll be right back” and walked out of the front door as my children made their way to the back of the store with their dad to eat their special treats.

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“Excuse me.  Hi,” I said to the girl on the street corner, who was leaning over rubbing her dog.  “Hi!”  she reponded, eye opening wide.  I held out the drinks and doughnut.  “Your sign made me smile.  I wanted you to have these.”  Her smile was bright and cheerful despite her clothes and surroundings.  “And the water is for your dog,” I added as an after thought.

I caught movement from the corner of my eye and turned to see two more people on the corner, another young girl and an older gentleman, hunched and worn with age.  “Oh no!” I exclaimed.  “I didn’t know you had friends with you!  I thought it was only you!”  The second girl came closer and showed me the dog she had hidden inside her coat.  “I have a dog, too!” she said, proudly drawing attention to the little scruffy head peeking from within.  “Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!  I only brought one doughnut and coffee, thinking there was only one person here!  I am so sorry!”  The girls laughed, still smiling, with the first girl easing my embarrassment.  “Oh, it’s OK.  This is my sister.  We can share.  It was nice of you to bring us a treat!”

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As I turned to make my way back to my family, nestled in the warm restaurant devouring their doughnuts with sticky fingers and milk-stained mouths, I heard the girl offer her doughnut to the older gentleman who had stayed hidden in the shadows.  “Pat, you want part of this?  You can have some if you want.”  Almost out of earshot, I heard Pat respond, “No, no, girls, you have it.  I get me something soon.  You eat.”

It almost broke my heart.

As the tears started to sting the corners of my eyes, I pushed open the door to Krispy Kreme and sat with my family.  “What did she say?”  “Was she excited?”  “Did the dog drink all the water?”  The kids had dozens of questions, clearly interested and concerned at the same time.  After retelling my random act of kindness, I couldn’t overcome the simple lesson I myself had learned from the experience.  These girls, whose lives were obviously more challenged than mine, had received an unexpected surprise and yet were willing to share it with someone else who might be more in need than them.  Priceless.

In that moment, I knew I had more to do.  I got back in line, purchased two more doughnuts, coffees, and waters, and made my way back to the street corner.  I wanted to bless both sisters and their older friend, Pat.

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“Hi.  I’m back.”  I held out the treats as an offering for forgiveness.  “Now you don’t have to share!”  They were surprised by my return and the older girl exclaimed, “Oh wow!”  I pulled out the cream, sugar and stir sticks from my pocket.  “Stay warm and know you are loved.  Be blessed!”  I quickly turned and walked away before they could see the tears inching out of my eyes yet again.

I know there has been a lot of conversation and debate within our local community about homeless people standing on the sides of streets, signs in hand, asking for help or handouts.  In this moment, it didn’t matter.   None of it made a difference to me.  It was simply a moment in time where I saw an opportunity to bless someone else with kindness.  I could have just as easily purchased doughnuts and coffee for a stranger in the restaurant.  I wasn’t there to debate the legalities of their actions, nor their purpose or intent.  All that was important was that I acted on my heart and did what I felt was the right thing, in the right time.

This random act of kindness is dedicated to Caroline Previdi, age 6, whose neighbor told the Associated Press that “Caroline was always wanting others to smile.”  I can relate.  It really does brighten your day to know you made someone else smile.  I hope there’s an endless supply of pretty sprinkled doughnuts in heaven for this sweet little girl.  I also hope her parents know that her legacy lives on with this simple act of kindness.

Be blessed, my friends, and never let an opportunity pass to bless a strangers.  I promise you will be more blessed in return!


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