Making Kindness the Norm
I imagine you have heard the term Random Acts of Kindness (RAK), but did you know that every February there is a week dedicated to RAK? I think this is awesome because anything that promotes showing kindness to others is a win in my book. In my blog, The Kindness Experiment, I talk about how I believe showing kindness truly could change the world. Today I share stories of kindness shown in normal everyday life.
In an effort to help us all make kindness the norm and not the exception, I hope to inspire you today with 25 real-life stories of random acts of kindness. I hope this list encourages you to notice those around you and become aware of how you can bring sunshine to someone’s life.
Interesting side-note before we begin
I asked my staff to share with me their personal stories of kindness and also asked this question, “What is the nicest thing someone ever did for you?” on social media. The list below is a compilation of the TRUE LIFE stories I received. As people thought of stories to share, they mentioned that they were surprised how these times when kindness was both shown to them and by them stuck out in their memories. I imagine this is true for two reasons. First – Kindness carries that much impact. Second – It is not the norm.
Random Acts of Kindness – Inspirational Stories
We can show kindness anywhere and anytime. Don't miss the chance to seize the opportunity wherever you are!
Ideas for Showing Kindness at a Store:
- I was walking through Target and my two-year-old was throwing a tantrum and another woman walked past me, smiled and said “Don’t worry. You’re a great mom.” Just the encouragement I needed.
- An elderly gentleman was attempting to carry six Styrofoam coolers to his car on a windy day. As I watched, they all started to blow across the parking lot. Together we began chasing coolers, laughing at ourselves and somehow managed to get them all into his car.
- I overheard a woman that was crying and upset as I was shopping for purses in a TJ Maxx. She was talking on the phone about getting fired from a restaurant due to a misunderstanding about missing money. She had walked to the TJ Maxx and didn’t have gas in her car to get home or any money for the week. I felt the Lord tugging on my heart. He told me not to judge her, not worry about why she was fired or what she would do with the money. He said help her. After her phone conversation was over I walked up to her, hugged her and gave her the $40 cash that was in my purse. I told her I would pray for her and that God loved her. She lit up and couldn’t believe it! She was so thankful that someone cared.
- It was my daughter's 1st birthday and I went to purchase a birthday cookie and cupcakes. I was so embarrassed when my debit card was declined, that I just left the store. As I was getting into my car, a gentleman who was behind me in line came out and gave me the cookie and cupcakes and said it was on him. I cried and hugged him. How do you thank someone enough?
- I was checking out at Wal-Mart and the cashier had the most beautiful color of vibrant pink dyed hair that I had ever seen. So I told her I loved her hair color. She went from a blank look as she scanned my groceries to an engaging smile as we proceeded to talk about how she was able to achieve that color.
- We were going into Kroger Marketplace one day and saw gentlemen riding in one of the electric chairs the store provides. It was raining and he had a basket full of groceries. I felt this need to help him. So I went over and asked if he wanted help putting his groceries in his car. He happily agreed. I noticed he had a Korean War Veteran hat on so when he asked if I would take $5 for my help, I told him no, his service was thanks enough. He was surprised. I told him to have a good day and took the electric chair back inside.
- On a day that I was really low on cash and ran into two of my friends at the store. I didn't tell them I was having financial problems, but had only $100 for the whole month. I filled my cart and prayed the entire time I was shopping. As I was checking out, I ran into them again and they paid for my whole cart of food. They said they both heard God tell them to pay for it for me!
- I am a cashier at Walmart. I had a gentleman come in, and he told me that he had to pay a large sum of money for some sort of unexpected life event. He looked like he was lacking a few days of sleep, and was stressed. With the little money he had leftover, he planned to buy a DVD player. When he went to pay for it, it was 58 dollars. He only had $38. He looked disappointed. I went around the counter to where he was, and paid off what else he owed on the DVD player. He had tears to his eyes and thanked me for my act of kindness. That was the best moment of my career at Walmart.
How to Show Kindness at a Restaurant:
- During my college years, I worked as a waitress and one night I spilled an entire pitcher of ice water on a lady in my booth. I was mortified and did my best to help her dry off. I couldn’t stop apologizing. She was very gracious and kept telling me, “It’s O.K. sweetie.” At the end of the night, I went to clear off her table. She had left me a note on the back of her ticket that said, “You did a great job. Remember God Loves You.” Along with my biggest tip of the night!
- I was finishing my internship at Walt Disney World so my mom flew down to spend a few days with me before we had to pack my things and fly back. We had a reservation at one of the park restaurants, and as we were seated, we began talking to this family at the table next to us. They were extremely nice and asked all kinds of questions about my internship. They were finishing up so our conversation was a brief five minutes. Mom and I had a nice dinner, and when we requested the bill, our server informed us that the family next to us paid for our entire bill. My mom, bless her heart, broke down with tears of happiness, and I shed a few myself. I will never ever forget that moment. (Facebook)
- My granddaughter (10 years old) and I were Christmas shopping and stopped at the Mall’s food court for a quick lunch. We wanted different things so she when to get Pizza. She struck up a conversation with the woman in front of her. When she got to the front of the line the woman had paid for her food. My granddaughter was amazed and tried to insist that she pay for her own. The woman simply told her to study hard and pass it on when she got the opportunity.
- A friend of mine and I went to lunch together and we could see our waitress was struggling. So we asked how she was doing. She said she was fine at first, but after some persuasion, she told us she was a single mom and didn’t have the money to cover her electric bill due that day. We asked how much she owed. We relayed our sympathies to her and went back to eating lunch. However, we both felt God tugging at our hearts to help her. I left the restaurant to go get cash and my friend spoke to the manager. The manager said she was a hard-working, honest person and he would allow her to take a break so she could go and pay her electric bill. When we gave her the money, her face was priceless. She told us how grateful she was as tears welled up in her eyes.
How to be kind at an airport:
- A friend was walking through the airport with her 2-year-old and 3 months old, carrying a car seat and diaper bag and she was struggling to make her way to the baggage claim without losing her 2-year-old. No one paid her any attention. Finally – as she was nearing the baggage claim another lady offered to carry her car seat so she could hold her two-year old’s hand and it made all the difference.
- Read Houston’s story – Would you stop to comfort a lady sobbing at the airport? Houston's Story
- One time on a very long flight from the states to Russia, I was assigned a seat next to a Russian young woman and her small child. It was a long flight and the child sat quietly for a while but then got bored and started trying to get out of his seat. His mom was calm, but you could see she was getting worn out trying to keep him entertained. Even though we couldn’t speak the same language, I started playing games with him. We drew pictures in my notebook. We had a lot of fun and before I knew it, we arrived. His mom gave me the biggest hug and I could see the gratefulness in her eyes
Examples of Kindness to students:
- During my senior year of high school, I had a part-time job but didn’t have much money for extras. I really wanted a yearbook but they were $50 and I just couldn’t afford it. The day came when yearbooks were being passed out. I had my little notebook of blank paper so I still get everyone’s signatures. When I heard my name called to go and pick up a yearbook, I just knew it had to be a mistake but I went ahead to check it out. The lady handing them out said with a smile, “Here’s your yearbook, someone anonymously paid for you.” I was blown away. Still to this day, I don’t know who paid for it.
- As a sophomore, Sabrina Ma started an Acts of Random Kindness Club at her school as a way to deal with her own internal strife and help others - Acts of Random Kindness Club
- When my parents were going through a divorce in middle school, my 7th-grade teacher didn't make a fuss when I misplaced a HUGE homework packet. She whispered to me later that she believed I did it and gave me an A. I wanted to fall apart every day during middle school, but she was a huge light in those dark times.
- At the end of a year in college, I had just enough money for gas to get me back home for the summer. The air conditioner in my car wasn’t working and since it was the end of May and I had a long trip home, I asked a mechanic to check it out. He couldn’t fix the air conditioner in time, but when he brought the car back to me, he had filled the car with gas and left $7 stuck on the steering column. Not only was it a random act of kindness to me, but another assurance that God-loving provides for His children.
- Read Rachel's story of the incredible impact just saying "hi" can have. Just Say "Hi"
Showing Kindness in Your Community & Neighborhood:
- There is a town in frigid South Dakota where residents put stocking caps on all the statues in town with the known purpose that the homeless can help themselves to a hat.
- My neighbor was fighting breast cancer and I saw this super-soft, long-sleeved t-shirt on-line that said: “It is Well With My Soul.” I knew that quote meant a lot to her, so I ordered it and dropped it off one day with a book of prayer.
- The nicest thing anyone has done for me was when a new neighbor, to whom I had been ministering, told me that she could see Jesus in me because no one had ever shown her love the way I had shown it!
- One evening as my daughter and I were leaving our church a family pulled into the parking lot in their station wagon. They were hoping to get a hot shower at the church before heading on to Indiana. As we talked, the lady shared that her husband had been laid off for some time. I could see that she was weary and losing hope. They were trying to make it to Indiana as her husband had a job waiting for him, but the trip had cost them more money than they expected. She asked if we could help her with gas. I rarely carry cash, but I had stopped at the ATM on my way. This encounter was not random. I believe our heavenly Father allowed an opportunity to bless us both with an act of kindness.
- At a Christian women’s conference that I was attending with my mom and sister, I saw a lady walk in by herself. She looked lost as she scanned the crowd for a place to sit. I felt God prompting me to go and invite her to sit by us. She immediately gave me a hug and said I was an answer to prayer. Her neighbor was supposed to attend the conference with her, but had backed out at the last minute. She almost didn’t come because going alone felt lonely. However, she found the courage to attend the event by herself. Her husband had passed away and she knew she would find encouragement and comfort if she went.
- I was driving home from college in a heavy rain one dark spring night in the pre-cellphone era. Suddenly, I had a flat tire about three miles from the small town where my parents lived. Sadly, I hadn’t paid attention during the tire-changing demonstration in a driver's education class, so I was essentially helpless. However, just as I parked on the shoulder of the county road, I saw headlights behind me. It was a young man, accompanied by his wife. He got out and asked if I needed help, which was an understatement. He got plenty muddy and soaking wet over the next fifteen minutes as he put on my spare, while I stood there twiddling my thumbs. Then the young husband quietly returned to their car and waited until I drove off.
- I was losing my hearing and was struggling to do my job as a teacher/trainer. I began to withdraw due to my loss of hearing. So I made an appointment with a company that would allow me to borrow a pair of hearing aids. They made such a difference and I wanted to purchase them, but they were very expensive. Unbelievably, two friends told me they would cover the total cost. My life has been radically changed due to this gift of hearing via hearing aids.
Are you inspired yet? I hope so! Please inspire others by commenting below – let us know how someone has shared kindness with you when you weren’t expecting it or how you showed kindness to someone else.