celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘lottery

I have to ask – have you bought your Powerball ticket yet?

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As many of you know, tonight is a history-making night for the Powerball Lottery. It’s the first time the North American lottery has surpassed the 1 billion mark and people are flocking to have a chance to make their dreams come true.

This week my social media news feed has been filled with chatter about the Powerball. What people would buy. Who would split their winnings. Which numbers are lucky or cursed.

I’ve never bought a Powerball ticket in my life, but I couldn’t resist the charm of “What if?” So there I stood, in a crowded 7-Eleven, asking the gentleman standing beside me to show me how to complete the automated bubble sheet.

I successfully chose my numbers, and requested two sections to be computer generated. The gentleman who had helped me earlier was joking with the cashier, and both complimented me on my precise bubbling skills. (“The product of years of standardized test prep,” I chuckled to myself.)

Tonight I decided to pay-it-forward before the numbers were even pulled. I grabbed a few dollar bills and wrote a quick note, then attached the money to two Powerball sheets.

“I hope this random act of kindness makes you smile! Go pick your numbers and win big!”

Then I stuck the Powerball sheets back with the others for a stranger to discover after I had left.

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While I doubt I’ll win the grand prize in tonight’s drawing, it’s been fun to hope and dream. It gives me joy to know that two more people out there already “won” a little something tonight!

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AMOK2

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!

You gotta love April Fool’s Day.  It’s the one day of the year where you can pull a prank on someone else and it’s not only laughed away in silliness, but actually encouraged!  Now if you are not silly in nature, I’m sure this yearly occurrence is nothing short of annoying. Either way, when you flip that calendar page from March to April, you know there’s a chance you will get tricked!

Well, I decided to do something a little different this April Fool’s Day – something like a reverse prank.  Instead of having a “gotcha” moment that might result in embarrassment, I wanted to do something to make someone else smile with joy instead! It was a simple RAK, actually.  I stopped by the local 7-Eleven and bought three lottery tickets, then wrote this note on the back of one of my business cards:

"This isn't an April Fool's joke - I really did buy you lottery tickets"!

“This isn’t an April Fool’s joke – I really did buy you lottery tickets”!

I placed the note and the lottery tickets in a small ziploc bag and left it on the front of a car in the parking lot.  What fun!

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My “prank victim”

My surprise

My surprise 🙂

 

This RAK took less than 5 minutes to complete, but it left me with a VERY happy heart!

Be blessed, dear readers, and enjoy this day of foolery!  🙂

This week I received a random act of kindness from someone at my school:  a note in my mailbox stating, “You are worth a million!  Good Luck”, attached to a lottery ticket.  What a delightful surprise!  It’s kind of funny to be on the receiving end of a RAK – I was humbled that someone might want to bless ME instead of the other way around!

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Little does this person know, but lottery tickets have a special meaning for me and my family.  In fact, I’ve been scratching lottery tickets since I was a child (shhhhh… don’t tell!)  See, my grandmother thought lottery tickets were the most amazing surprises in the world.  She loved the anticipation that led up to the “big reveal”.  Each Christmas, she would line up our “lotto stockings” (small stockings just big enough for a few lottery tickets to slide inside) and hide a quarter or dollar coin inside.  She knew it would be the first thing we looked for coming to her house on Christmas Eve.  We would talk about all the wonderous things we would buy with our winnings.  I’d promise to take her to the mountains in the winter to watch the snow fall and she’d promise to take me to a tropical island where we would sip fancy drinks all day long.

We never won more than a few dollars here or there with our lotto stockings, but I later realized the real joy wasn’t in the end result, but everything that led up to that moment.  Lotto stockings, for me, were about sharing hopes and dreams with my grandma.

Although my grandma went to live with Jesus more than ten years ago, we still keep the lotto stockings tradition alive through my dad, affectionately known as Pappy.  Here are a few pictures of my sister and I scratching our tickets this past Christmas (I won $6!  Woo-Hoo!!)

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lotto tam

Which brings me back to my blessings received – the mystery lotto ticket in my mailbox.  As soon as I realized it was a lottery ticket, it brought a smile to my heart because of two reasons:  1) someone thought I was worthy of a note and a surprise and 2) lottery tickets always, always, ALWAYS remind me of my grandma, which always makes me smile.  🙂

So I grabbed a coin and scratched away.

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Unfortunately, despite the well wishes of my RAK giver, I am not worth a million today.  However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am worth MORE than a million to some little kiddos who share my home.  To them, I am worth the stars and the moon, forever and a day, as they for me.  🙂

Thank you, kind stranger, for spending your own time and money so that I might have a moment of joy.  You are a blessing to me!  I promise to pay it forward, so don’t be surprised when you see one of my #26acts as a copycat of your RAK today!  🙂

Now that my 40th Birthday Project is complete, I find myself in “Random Act of Kindness Withdrawal” (if there even is such a thing!)  I have read many articles and blogs about people doing kind things for others in rememberance of the 26 students and teachers who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on December 14, 2012.  As a teacher myself, this hits very close to home.   It simply broke my heart to learn of this tragedy and I am still affected daily when I see my children and students returning back to school after the holiday break.

I have decided to perform another 26 random acts of kindness, but this time each act will be either student or teacher focused.  I will create new website cards with a dedication section so each recipient will know the purpose of the act and whose memory is being honored.  I also plan to send a card to the Sandy Hook post office for each act of kindness I perform with hopes that they will forward the card to the appropriate family.  I want each and every one of them to know their child/family member continues to make a difference in the lives of others despite this horrible tragedy.

Join me on my mission!  If you perform an act of kindness, please post to Twitter with hashtag #26acts.  If you are a Facebook junkie, you can “like” the pages 26 Acts or Acts of Kindness, then post to their wall the things you are doing.

All it takes is one act of kindness to make a difference in the life of someone else.  Be the change!  Make a difference!  Start small.  Even something as simple as a smile or a compliment can have amazing impact on someone’s day.

Be inspired and join in on the fun!  🙂

 


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