What Is Your Favorite Random Act of Kindness?

January 7, 2013 | By | Comments (34)

Hands holding a paper heartHappy Monday, everyone! We want to start your week off right with a question from our print editors. They want to know: What has been your favorite random act of kindness that you’ve either given, received, or witnessed recently?

Share your stories in the comments below, and we’ll share a selection of them in an upcoming issue!

And if you need some inspiration for starting a few acts of your own, we have ideas here: Small Helpful Gestures, With a Big Impact and What’s the Nicest Thing Anyone Has Ever Done for You?


  1. Meredith Sinclair

    When I was in college and had zero extra money my boyfriend’s mom, who would later become my amazing MIL, would now and again drop a full bag of groceries at my apartment unexpectedly. Just things she “knew I liked”. It saved me from many another Ramen noodle dinner.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm
  2. nlanzoni

    Over Thanksgiving, my 18 yr old son paid for the turkey for the woman ahead of him in line at the grocery store when she didn’t have enough money to buy it.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm
  3. Erin McNaughton

    For Christmas, I gave a server at my favorite ethnic restaurant a 300% tip because they’re always so good to me. I also bought two pine wreaths and offered the second to someone else walking out of the store. Both made me feel really great.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm
  4. Andrea Buczynski

    I came home from a trip and the next morning, discovered I was out of coffee. just happened to post it on my FB, kind of laughing at myself– I mean, who runs out of coffee? that very day, an anonymous someone left a package on my doorknob. You guessed it- my favorite kind of coffee. it was so thoughtful and kind.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm
  5. Karen Eddleman

    I was at the doughnut shop one morning after Christmas buying for my family. I saw an elderly woman walk up to the counter to pay for her and her husband’s breakfast. The clerk told her that the gentleman who was just there paid for it. I saw the man but didn’t hear the conversation between he and the clerk. The elderly couple wanted to know who he was and why he would do that for them. The clerk said, “I have no idea.” The couple seemed extremely surprised anyone would do that without acknowledgment. I could see they were touched. That random stranger made my day and reminded me that being kind really makes a difference in people’s lives. If he had been my husband or son, I would have been very proud of him.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm
  6. jessi

    I had left home with my backpack wide open–wallet exposed. When I got onto a crowded city bus a few blocks later, instead of stealing my wallet, a stranger zipped up my backpack for me and patted me on the back to let me know that she had closed my bag and that my wallet was still in there. In an urban city like San Francisco, that is no small act of kindness!

    January 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm
  7. Kristin Walters

    Two years ago I spent a few months backpacking around Europe by myself. Around the corner from my hostel in Vienna was a little market that also functioned as an internet cafe and call center. I telephoned my boyfriend in Chicago and found out that he would not be able to meet me in Greece as we had planned. I wouldn’t see him until I arrived back to the States. After weeks of traveling alone, I had begun relying on the prospect of soon seeing his familiar face. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t come so I suffered through the rest of the phone call with a smile. But after I hung up, I completely broke down. As I was exiting the shop, wiping tears from my face, the owner caught my arm and motioned to the beverage case. “Please,” he said. “Anything you’d like. For free.” I declined at first but he insisted. So I picked an orange pop. He handed me a straw and pulled a chair from behind the counter for me. He spoke excellent English and I told him how lonely I had become on the road–not something I wanted to admit, not something a young woman should announce to strange men in foreign countries, but something I could hold in no longer. He listened intently and after I was through he told me of his immigration story, how he had come from Iraq where the rest of his family lived and how his wife had left him shortly after they arrived in Austria. After his story I felt silly for my feelings but he was in no way belittling them. He was just assuring me that everything would be ok, and I believed him. We started to talk about Vienna and other cities I had visited. I finished my soda, rehydrated, and after weeks of casual conversations in broken English and long silent train rides, I felt like someone finally understood. I wasn’t alone.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm
  8. Trixie Bradley

    After a sudden tragic bereavement in our family last year, I was trying to get out of a door, with my trolley shopping and the wheels just wouldn’t work. The door handle wouldn’t work, the trolley slipped and the shopping was everywhere. I broke down in tears and then, I felt a woman’s hand on my arm,,, she picked up my shopping, opened the door, gave me the biggest hug, for what felt like an eternity. I will never forget that woman, the simplest hug at that time meant so much. I felt so desperately sad and she allowed me to cry as I hadn’t been able to do so before as I was in so much shock.
    Simple, warm, random act of human kindness – which makes us what we are…

    January 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm
  9. Sarah

    There are homeless people around my house much of the time.. that fact alone has been weighing on my mind until I came across the idea of making care packages for homeless people. My husband and I made a list, put together some packages, and not whenever we see someone with one of those signs that breaks our hearts, we pass them out with a smile and a kind word. I’m pretty sure it does more for my heart than it does the receiver, but I’m so thankful I came across this idea.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm
  10. Kacy

    When I first moved to a city I didn’t recognize during the height of the recession for a job I wasn’t too sure about, I had to work during the holidays. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. It was just one of many sacrifices I’m sure many people made to make ends meet. Thanksgiving Day I took myself out to a diner that was open that day before going into work the evening shift. As I sat by myself, I started to get a little homesick and it hit me I was 400 miles from my family that day. Needless to say, I was pretty sad. When I requested the check, the waitress informed me that someone had already taken care of it. It really turned my day around, and made me feel a whole lot less alone. I wanted to repay them, but they had wanted to remain anonymous. I’ve never forgotten that act of kindness and I doubt I ever will. I looked around the room and realized I was not the only one in the diner alone, I paid for their dinner and left feeling so much better than I’d ever thought I could while spending a holiday alone.

    January 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm
  11. Jenna K

    Once everyother day or everyday that I am out, I find one person that looks like they are having a problem and I wink at them and smile. It takes just a few seconds and it doesn’t cost anything. It is a win win, that person normally smiles and eyes get wider, but I walk away knowing I improved their mood even if just for five minutes.

    January 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm
  12. Golden Receiver Club

    The greatest random act of kindness I ever did took place one freezing cold winter night outside of a large grocery store. I had just finished shopping for the week and had about 12 bags of groceries in my cart. As I left the store, I spotted a woman with two children huddled together. In front of them was a sign that simply said, “We are hungry. Please help.” I gave them everything in my cart and a lift home as well.

    The greatest act of kindness I ever received was from a woman who gave me her bicycle. I was in my first year of graduate school and had worked long hours all summer in order to buy a racing bike I admired. One month after arriving at school, my bicycle was stolen. This kind person realized how important bicycling was to me at the time and just gave away her own.

    January 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm
  13. sarah

    The other day, I walked into my grocery store, and passed an employee who was stacking fruit in the produce section. I smiled “hello,” and he smiled back at me. He had a big, bright, and very genuine smile. It actually took me by surprise! So, I told him, “you have a terrific smile!” He closed his eyes and shook his head, and said, “you just made my day.”

    January 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm
  14. redhatlady

    I love to give my extra coupons away! I always cut out all the craft store coupons in my newspapers and carry them with me. When I am in the checkout line at the stores, I always ask those around me if they have a coupon; if they do not, they get some of mine! I am always thanked. I do the same at the fast food places. Families with little children especially appreciate the coupons for happy meals, etc.! It’s just a little thing, but little kindnesses paid forward really do make a difference! Happy New Year everyone.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm
  15. Cheri Rasmussen

    When we recently went to In and Out Burger there stood an elderly man looking downtrodden. We secretely paid for his order. The shock, and joy on his face was WELL worth it!

    January 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm
  16. Adie Horowitz

    A woman came in recently with her two small children completely infested with head lice. The clinicians at Licenders treated the two kids and then the mother paid and started to cry hysterically. We asked the mother what’s the matter. The mother said that she’s happy the kids are cleaned out but she herself still has lice and can’t afford to treat herself. And now she has to get the kids home and to bed and start figuring out what to do about her lice. We told the mother to call her husband so that he can bring the kids home and take care of them, and Licenders will clean her out free of charge! The mother was so completely taken aback from this “act of kindess”. She was so thankful. And here’s the great part. The mother went home and the next day told the school the story. Turns out that the school referred 8 other cases of head lice to Licenders for treatment.

    The lesson of this story is that every kindness you are doing, you think you are doing for someone else but really you get right back. What you send out to the world, you get right back exponentially!

    January 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm
  17. Angela

    Gave an elderly woman at store a rose out of the arrangement I was picking up for my mom’s memorial. I was prompted to do so because she commented that they were beautiful and I said they were for my mother and asked if she thought my mom would like them. She replied “your mother will love them,” without knowing they were for a funeral. She seemed so confident about it that I knew my mom would want me to share with her, and so I did. She was genuinely pleased and it made my day.

    I also routinely buy a fast food meal for homeless people as I run into them. The act of giving always makes me feel so fulfilled!

    January 8, 2013 at 1:29 am
  18. Jaime Shine

    It’s amazing how easily you can brighten someone’s day. While returning an item this morning, I told the customer service desk representative that I liked her hair bow. She stopped what she was doing, made eye contact, smiled and said a genuine thank you. There are a lot of great ways you can pay it forward, but don’t forget the most basic ones. Sometimes a heartfelt compliment, thank you or holding a door open can make someone’s day.

    January 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm
  19. TEM

    Bought a WalMart gift card, handed it back to the lady checking me out, and said, “give this to whomever you think would most appreciate it.” A moment my three young boys thought…”wow, that’s what a random act of kindness feels like.” They asked me, “who will she give it to Dad?” I looked right at the lady and my boys and said, “she’ll know exactly who to give it to.” And she smiled. Awesome! Firm believer random acts of kindness are not all monetary in nature, but it felt right then.

    January 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm
  20. Linda

    I live in a town of about 10,000 people. When an accident happens, it’s posted in our small hometown newspaper. I read about a 16 yr. old boy who was killed in a car accident. After about a year, I was still remembering the accident and even thought I didn’t know the mother who lost her son, I mailed her a card, telling her that her son was not forgotten. I told her I still think of her and her loss and am hoping that she is coping and her heart is healing. For that past several years I have mailed her these cards, each one with a small note letting her know that she is not alone and others think of her loss. I wasn’t sure how she felt about the cards but I met her remaining son at Kiwanis in Dec. of this year and he told me how much the cards meant to his mom and thanked me. Then I saw her at the store one day. She came over and gave me a huge hug and thanked me so much. She said her son had pointed me out to me at church one day. You never know how much difference a smile, a compliment or a small card can make in the life of one person. I just wanted her to not feel so lonely.

    February 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm
  21. Colleen

    When I come in early to my job and then need to go down to get some coffee from the deli on the first floor, I always like to ask at least one person if they would like for me to get them something while I am there. Simple right? But you would not believe how wonderful it makes them feel just to be asked, they always seem suprised that someone might just want to be nice………………

    April 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm
  22. maureen v.

    I was in line at walmart to pick up a prescription; the man in front of me was unable to pay for medicine that was needed for his child; he left the store; when it came my turn to be waited on, I asked the pharmacist if I could pay for his meds ($190); she said she’d take my payment and call the customer; his cell phone number apparently was not working, and so she called his doctor’s office and left a message; she told me that he may never get the message and may never get the meds as a result; I thanked her for her help and prayed for the man and his child, and let it go; about 2 weeks later I returned to the walmart for another prescript, and the pharmacist remembered me and told me that the man came back and got the meds and she thanked me for what I did; I was so grateful his child received the medicine. It made my entire day any the power of prayer is amazing!

    April 12, 2013 at 10:08 am
  23. Karen

    When I went to my doctor for my well visit, I paid for another patient’s co-pay and left it to the practice to determine the recipient.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:22 am
  24. Stephanie Bouchard

    One of my student told me I looked lovely the other day. I had been gone for a few days because I was sick and I still didn’t feel that well or pretty when I came back to work, but that nice compliment put sunshine in my day.

    April 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm
  25. Liz K

    One of my battle buddies lost her mother in law to a ten year battle against cancer. She couldnt afford her ticket home so I gave her the 400 dollars she needed to get home to be with her family. She told ke she could never thank me enough. I told her there was no need for thanks that s her family needed her. It was a good feeling.

    April 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm
  26. Jennifer Webb

    My husband and I had been married just days when we decided to take his granddaughter to the aquarium for her birthday. After dealing with traffic jams, and an enormously long line for parking, all we wanted to do was get inside the aquarium and relax. As we stood in yet another long line waiting to buy a ticket a wonderful gentleman walked up to us and handed us his extra ticket. His sweet gesture certainly made our trip even more memorable.

    April 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm
  27. Andrea Cruz

    I won a $30 gas station gift card at work, and didn’t use it for a while. My sister-in-law was going through a rough time so one day, when she was not home, I put the gift card into an envelope and put it in her front door. I didn’t sign my name or anything, so it was totally anonymous. A few weeks later, at Thanksgiving, we were all sitting down and eating and talking and she starts telling us about how thankful she is that someone would give her a gas card. She was going on and on about how awesome it was that someone would do that, and I sat there and didn’t say a word. It was a great feeling.

    April 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm
  28. Shirley Baker

    At the mall with my infant triplets. Came back to the car to go home. A bee had gotten in. How was I going to get 3 babies in a car with a bee?! A passing man saw my plight and took care of the bee for me.

    April 28, 2013 at 9:32 am
  29. Jessica Falk

    My husband and I went out to dinner last night at a local restaurant, which has become a rare treat since the birth of our twin sons, Liam and Nolan. We had a good meal, great conversation, and a lovely time sharing the smiles that our babies were bringing to many of the other patrons. As we began to pack up and get ready to pay the bill, our waiter came over and informed us that another customer, who wished to remain anonymous, had already paid our bill. We were so shocked and touched by this gesture that we have already vowed to return the favor for another young family one day. It wasn’t the world’s fanciest restaurant or most expensive bill, but the richness of spirit that a stranger showed us when we least expected it is an act of kindness that my family will never forget.

    April 28, 2013 at 9:57 pm
  30. Zondra Dell Barricks

    We are a Jewish family so we don’t celebrate Easter. My daughter always loved arts and crafts projects and every year yearned to decorate Easter eggs. When she was 9 I surprised her with an egg decorating kit and we painted beautiful eggs. We put them in a lovely straw basket in what looked like a nest and very early Easter morning, I placed it at the door of a neighbor who had just had a baby and already had a young child whose Christening we had attended. About 10 years later, I was at a neighborhood mom’s gathering. People were sharing stories and my neighbor told one about her family opening the door on Easter morning and finding this beautiful basket of eggs. She said they never found out where it came from and talked about how much they all loved it!

    June 1, 2013 at 7:52 pm
  31. Carissa Heine

    My car sat at the side of the road as I desperately leafed through the map, lost on the way to a roller skating party. A black car pulled up beside me and the passenger window rolled down. I rolled mine down too. “Are you lost?” he asked. Half an hour later, I had safely arrived at my destination, escorted by this incredibly compassionate young man. So many things could have gone wrong for a teenage girl trustingly following a complete stranger to an unknown address. But all was well. I was safe, and as he pulled away, I couldn’t help but think “He must be my guardian angel.” I haven’t seen him since, but I am forever grateful.

    June 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm
  32. kathy veazey

    A 45 year old father of two and well known coach from a small Montana town fought a two year battle with colon cancer. His ex-wife, mother of the their children and her new husband graciously opened their home so he could be close to his children while receiving treatment. On June 13th, he passed away surrounded by many family and friends.

    August 5, 2013 at 11:59 am
  33. Arielle

    My daughter and I do a planned “random act of kindness” event every weekend. This past Sunday we hit a very popular park and passed out bags and bags of lollipops to all the kids and water bottles and chip bags to all the homeless people. You can actually watch the videos on my blog: http://www.livedeap.blogspot.com :D I would say my favorite one though was done with a good friend of mine. He has a jar where he throws all his coins in and one day decided to give the whole thing to a wonderful lady sitting in a wheelchair on the street side. That video is also on my blog as well (The Kindess Jar)

    Also I decided to do a Giveaway geared towards those that are Giving. Do you mind sharing it on your blog? You can read about it at http://www.livedeap.blogspot.com
    Any one can share a kindness story and be automatically entered into a free giveaway. Deadline is 9.13.13 Thank you! Keep spreading love

    August 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm
  34. katie

    My act of kindness was random. It started out as I went down my driveway to get my paper and thought about the elderly lady who lived across the street. She had recently lost her husband. She was also an only child, and she and her husband had no children. I felt a bit of compassion stir in my heart and decided to go get two cups and saucers and a couple of tea bags. I knocked on her door, and invited her to have a sip of tea…at her house! She was so delighted to have some company. Our elderly have not much to do or people to socialize with. I was happy that I had made her morning less lonely. I plan on visiting her now monthly, as well as the other elderly and widowed women in my neighborhood that hide inside their homes. A cup of tea always warms the soul.

    December 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm

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