It’s really not that difficult, you know. Taking a couple extra seconds out of your day in order to make someone else’s a little brighter. It could be as simple as holding a door open for someone, helping to shovel a neighbour’s driveway or even just saying “thank you” or “have a great day”.
All of these things take only a couple minutes or even seconds and cost you nothing but the time involved. I was fortunate enough to have been contacted by my friends at Tim Horton’s, who wanted me to be a part of their Random Cups of Kindness program. My life plate was pretty full at the time but it sounded like fun, so I agreed to take part.
They sent me fifty $5 gift cards that I was allowed to distribute however I saw fit. Even after receiving the gift cards in the mail, I had no idea how great this journey was going to end up being, but I figured it out very quickly. I left gift cards at the drive thru every day that week for the person behind me to enjoy. I handed them out to firemen, teachers, crossing guards, volunteer workers, moms and I even gave one to Santa Claus because, let’s face it, the man works hard!
The best and worst day of the program came when my 2 year old daughter tripped and cut her mouth pretty badly. I rushed her to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and we took our seats for the 2-3 hour emergency room wait. Sounds brutal, right? Well, she perked up after about half an hour and then I realized that I had a bunch of gift cards in my pocket. My daughter and I spent the next hour wandering around the hospital, handing out gift cards to nurses, patient’s parents and anyone else who looked like they could use the pick me up.
That experience alone was worth the entire campaign. The time I got to spend not only with my daughter but also teaching her the value of giving, is something that I will never forget. The smiles and confusion on people’s faces while we handed out the cards, mixed with the excitement in my daughter’s face as she chose the next recipient has helped me to see things in a completely different light.
I had been in a bit of a funk in the weeks leading up to the Random Cups of Kindness program. The whole family had been sick for almost a month. Unspeakable tragedy had just struck in a small U.S. town. I’d been questioning my blogging, my career and just generally wondering where my place was in the world. This campaign helped me realize that, not only do I have it pretty good, but that there is endless fulfillment in doing good for others.
From the moment I ran out of gift cards, I have been searching for small ways that I can help my fellow man. It may not always be a grand gesture such as paying for someone’s bill but I am finding that the small acts of kindness are really helping with my overall mood. I hope they are helping the people on the receiving end as well, but I think personal happiness is just as important. The next step for me is to instill this mindset into my children, so they can grow up understanding the importance of being kind and compassionate.
Do you practice Random Acts of Kindness? If so, please share your ideas with our readers.