Random Acts of Kindness Month

DSC01396.JPGYesterday at lunch, Knitting Daughter (aka Starbucks Barista) was telling us about a lady who comes through the drive-through line for her coffee and frequently pays for the person behind her, too. Now wouldn’t it be fun to drive up to the window and hear, “Yours is free today – the lady ahead of you took care of it.”? Since I frequent Starbucks quite a bit once in awhile, I decided that I’d do that on occasion, too. Not all the time. But maybe once a week. Which got me to thinking about other Random Acts of Kindness that I could be doing during this season of giving. And then I started thinking about how fun it would be if we all did that from now until the end of December! So we going to sponsor “Random Acts of Kindness Month” here at The Loopy Ewe. Each Monday, we’d love to have you leave a comment about a random act of kindness that you did during the past week. Some people like to do this anonymously (like me), but rest assured that the people you are being kind to probably have never heard of this blog, so you’re safe in sharing it with us. Not only will you enter yourself into a weekly drawing here, but you will inspire all of the rest of us with your ideas and kindness. (And really – inspiring others to random acts is, in itself, an act of kindness, right?) Since you’ve had no warning for today’s contest, I think it’d be great if you’d leave a comment about a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) that someone has done for you. That will give all of us some great new ideas. (Or if you do one today, enter it today.)
The prizes? Each week we’ll pull one name from the list (and if you do more than one act, leave more than one comment – you can be entered more than once) and we’re going to send you a fun Loopy Loot package worth at least $75. (Hey all of you book authors that are Loopy customers – and there are a lot of you! – if you’d like to donate an autographed copy of one of your books to put into one of these 6 drawings, we’d love that! Ditto to all of our Loopy indie dyers and Loopy indie artisans. I’m not going to email you and solicit products – we are happy to stuff the packages right from inventory here, too, but if you want to contribute, it could be your RAK for the week!) We will ship all winners at the same time – on January 2nd. That way we can make sure that all 6 packages are of equal value. We’ll do drawings for the next six Monday posts (including today and ending 12/31. We’ll draw on Tuesdays, so that all of the Monday comments will be included.)

I did go through the drive through today and I did pay for the person behind me. I was hoping that someone who really needed a free coffee would pull up behind me. Instead, a guy in a fancy sports car pulled up. What to do? Because of course I was making judgements about him and his fancy car and the fact that he could well afford his own coffee I wondered if he’d appreciate it? Then I stopped myself. I decided he must need a kindness today, so I went ahead and paid for him and then sped off as fast as I could so I would stay anonymous! And, unbelievably, on the back of my Starbucks cup today, I noticed that it says: “Pass the Cheer. A good way to pass the cheer when you’re on the road is to pay the toll for the car behind you. Do this and you might start to look at stoplights as holiday lights instead. Red means to stop and be thankful for a moment. Green means to out and do nice things.” What a coincidence! But you don’t have to spend money to show a RAK. How about letting the person behind you in the grocery line go first? Or go to the manager of the next store you shop at to tell him or her something nice about the person who checked you out. Or …. well, you get the idea. Share your other ideas with us.

Speaking of winning things, I totally forgot to announce the winner of our November Blog Contest last Friday. I think I was too involved with getting my holiday rules down (and you all added some very good ones to the list – thank you.) The winner of the November blog contest is: Genny. Genny has a fun Loopy credit in her account to spend on her next order. Thank you again for all of your great musical suggestions!

Lastly, we have more fun yarn coming from Cherry Tree Hill. We’ll be getting some very special Supersock, at a really good price (a savings which of course we pass right along to you.) More details when they arrive! We also just got a large shipment of Lorna’s Laces today, which we’ll be putting up. And we’re still working on this week’s Sneak Up for you. It’ll be a good one.

Sheri can’twaittohearaboutallofyourwonderfulkindnessesinthecomingmonth!

267 comments

  1. A couple of years ago, when I was a new mom and stressed out about work and babies and everything else, I was also cooking dinner for our local homeless shelter about once a month. On this particular time, the two people who were supposed to help me cook had bailed; the car had no gas in it; and both my kids were crying about not wanting to go for a car ride. As I struggled to load my car with kids and hot food, and struggled not to cry from stress, my neighbor pulled up and asked if she could help. I said, “No, no, I can do it – it’s just…” and then spent 5 minutes bending her ear. At the end, she said, “I’ll do it” and calmly loaded all the food out of my car and into hers. Now, it was about a 25 minutes drive to the shelter! I’ve moved away and lost touch with her, but that moment still sticks in my mind.

  2. What a great “contest” for December! When I used to live in a city that had toll bridges, I pulled up one day to be told that someone had paid my toll already (as prices had recently doubled, this was a really nice treat). After that, I would occasionally do the same thing — it made me feel so good I figured I should pass it on. I have one more that happened to me today: I was having lunch with some work colleagues, and one of them told me that a former student of mine (he kept the student anonymous) had told him that all students should be required to take my class because he thought it was so good. I tell you, it absolutely made my day!

  3. RAK have always been a part of my family’s life. My mom never drove but we always had a way home from where ever, thanks to friends folks. Brownies are to do a good deed every day, and to have it count as a “good deed” it must be done without fanfare or sometimes with the person not knowing who did the deed. My husband and I donate blood and are designated as organ donors. We have done this for years, just because it seemed the thing to do. Six years ago my brother became quite ill very suddenly and we we were told he would need a heart transplant. After only 2 days on the list, he received an organ from someone who did the most gracious RAK of all. For this I give thanks every day and will forever be in debt for my personal miracle. I was always told that one did not repay a kindness but paid ahead for one that would be done for us. It will take a lifetime to pay ahead for this gift.

  4. My DH (who is referred to as HIM) took his new sleeping bag to the truck stop (he is a trucker) to give to a homeless man. He didn’t make a fuss, just told me he was going to do it. That is why I married him. He just does these things. I have a whole list of similar acts. He is my hero. Quiet, self-effacing, kind. Oh, and sexy too.

  5. We all go around doing random acts of kindness even when we aren’t aware of it, like it’s a habit to do that thing, but it’s a kindness to the person it’s done for. For example, today in the Supermarket with my sister, while we were talking, I noticed a guy coming out of, I think it was, the storeroom with a whole load of bags of stuff in his hand and two of them fell, so while still talking quite animatedly to my sister, I pick them up for him and barely noticed him say thanks. I’m used to doing that, it’s automatic for me, like if I’m in a clothing store (in the States) and I see stuff on the floor I take it up and rehang it.

  6. I was the recipient of an act of kindness today! Our trash is usually picked up on Thursday. since Thanksgiving was on Thursday my husband put the trash out on Friday – no pick up so he lugged it back out on Saturday – no pick up. This morning as I was pulling up the shades in the greenhouse the trash man drove up & he must have seen the look on my face – but he stopped & waved for me to bring out my trash & then came up & helped me carry out the last 2 bags!!!!! Now that’s what I call exceptional customer service!!!!!! But ya know what – that is just his normal behavior – he is always going beyond what you’d expect!!

  7. Through the grapevine, I heard of a family who could not afford a Thanksgiving meal. So, I purchased a 21 pound Butterball Bird, dressing mixes, cans of cranberries, a bag of potatoes, boxes of jellos, etc. etc. etc. and left it in a big box on their doorstep. They had EVERYTHING they needed to prepare a wonderful meal. They have four children and the father lost his job and the mother is suffering from breast cancer. I rang the doorbell and then got in my car and sped off. But, I did peek around the corner to make sure they answered the door and got the goodies.

  8. To me- After my knee replacement 2 yrs ago, friends came in and changed the sheets on my bed, straightened the house, and left flowers for me to find on my return from the hospital.

    From me-We have many out of state tourists who buy groceries here, but don’t have the “value” card that allows them significant savings. I always let the person ahead of me use mine, if she doesn’t have one.

    I always thank people in service jobs for working that day, especially on holidays.

    RKAs are really great-we never know how far one will travel…..

  9. I’m going to brag on my daughter – 15, high school sophomore – She has started her own RAK for her youth group leader. Every month she gives her a little anonymous gift, some cards, a mug, bubble bath. My daughter found someone to help her get these things to her and who can sometimes pass back the reactions. It is so fun to see my little girl growing into a generous, thoughtful young woman.:)

  10. I always try to do some sort of random kindness on a daily basis. It gives you such a good feeling to do things without thought of reward. Recently I found a wallet on the ground and took it to the police station. I also said no thanks to the reward offered. Yesterday after dialysis my mother asked me to mend a hole in her crocheted slippers. While she slept, I made her a new pair and hung them on her door handle so she’d be surprised when she awoke.
    I also give to the needy regularly. 🙂

  11. well, i hope i’m not spoiling the surprise, as i think it would have arrived to you all, today… but spurred on by your recent request for music suggestion, last week i had my top choice mailed to your loopy office! 😉 does that count?

  12. Today after reading this, I made sure to let a few people merge in front of me while coming home in rush-hour traffic. I really hope that they return the kindness to someone else if they get a chance. 🙂

  13. I’ve really enjoyed reading others’ comments. Teh RAK I usually do is if I find myself in a grocery store on my lunch break I try to pick up little treats for my coworkers to help the afternoon go by faster.

  14. I feel like this is so small compared to the other RAK’s out there, but I always hold doors for people, especially if they look like they’ve got full hands, but just in general. I’m usually not in so much of a hurry that I don’t have the additional 30 seconds to help out someone else and it nearly always makes me feel good if I can help anyone else out.

  15. Here in NYC, I buy a monthly MetroCard which costs a flat rate for unlimited rides, so long as they are 20 or so minutes apart. When I get off the train, I look to see if there is someone who needs to be swiped in. It costs me nothing but saves the other person $2.00, which is often more than the person can afford, or saves the other person time waiting for the next train they can’t find their card and would miss the train. It pays me back to know that I live in a city where people do nice things for others–and that I’m contributing to that!

  16. Whenever I see someone at a stoplight asking for help, I often stop and ask them their name, and introduce myself and my 5-year-old son. I help if I can, but I always tell them that there are people in the world who love them, that I am one of those people, and that my son and I will pray for them if that’s allright with them. It’s odd, but so often, the people I meet are moved, sometimes to tears, to have someone ask them their name.

    I have been moved myself, sometimes to the point of jumping out of the car to give them a great big hug! My son always remembers them in his prayers, asking God to keep them safe and to make sure that they are healthy and that they have a place to sleep. It’s nothing, really, and yet it has really deepened our appreciation for the incredible gifts we’ve been given, and also our compassion for those who feel forgotten.

  17. There is one Random Act of Knitting kindness I’d like to acknowledge and that is from a woman named Angie M. in Indiana. I have a couple of physical problems that make knitting difficult at times. Knowing this, Angie insisted that she pick up where I left off and knit a beautiful Chevron scarf, with each stitch meant to represent her healing hope for me. She recently sent me the completed scarf, wrapped around specially selected chocolates. I can’t tell you what this means to me :o)

    I’ve only met Angie once but I can tell you that she is one in a million!

  18. I have a great RAK story:

    When my dh and I were dating, we had a weekend where we were both broke. We wanted to go out, so we hit my then boyfriend’s coin jar and pulled out enough for us to split a sundae at IHOP.

    So here we are at IHOP enjoying our pocketchange sundae and having a great conversation, and it was time to pay. So we started counting our change (while giggling the whole way through). This 40ish gentleman came up to us and plopped a $ 20 bill on our table and said, “I had someone do this for me one time, and now I want to do it for you too.” He went on to tell us a story about how someone paid for his gas.

    We were so shocked, and we were thankful for the RAK. I’ll never forget this and it always brings me back great memories.

  19. My RAK of the week would be helping a person out at the store, she had dropped quite a few items; everyone breezed by her, I halted everyone around her and helped her pick up everything, she was so thank ful. as I was to at least help her!

  20. A RAK that someone did for me was that a friend that I was still just getting to know sent me a wonderful skein of sock yarn she had dyed herself just because, she said, the colors reminded her of me. As for the RAK I do for someone else, I make it a regular habit to let folk go ahead of me in line at the super market. One time there was lady ahead of me in line that I heard say what a great sale the stoer had on chiken. Her little girl was sitting in the front of the cart holding a container with a single cup cake in it and it was one of the last things to be run up. When the total was more money than the lady had she said some thing had to go back. I could see the torn look on the ladies face while she considered putting back the cupcake and/or the chicken. I leaned over to the cashier and said I would pay whatever the amount was that she needed. The lady just looked at me like I was nuts, she just couldn’t believe I would do something like that for a complete stranger. I told her that the $4 or $5 that I was spending on her chicken was the best meal I paid for all week and that there was no way I was going to let her daughter not have her cupcake.

  21. I have to share a lovely thing that my kids did several years ago– hopefully it will inspire someone else. The kids all had money set aside to buy Christmas gifts for each other. My neighbor had taken temporary custody of her niece and nephew and she came over almost in tears one day because she didn’t know how she could afford Christmas gifts for her family that now totaled 8. My lovely, wonderful, sweet kids heard me tell my (then) husband about my friend’s angst. They pooled their money together, come to me and asked if they could buy gifts for the nieghbors instead buying for themselves. My friend AND her husband actually cried when the kids came over with the wrapped presents.

  22. I have knitted 6 stocking hats for charity this holiday season, and I’ll probably knit a few more, and maybe some mittens, too.

  23. I try to help people when I’m out shopping, getting things from shelves that are too high, picking up dropped items, opening doors, the usual courtesy things that so many have forgotten about.

    I’m also taking a gift up to my spinning teacher later this week. She’s celebrating the first anniversary of her shop. (And yes, Sheri, it will resemble a certain pie plate.)

    I was on the receiving end a few weeks ago. I helped an artist friend buy a new 24″ iMac and move files around so that he could pass his old 20″ to his wife. They surprised me with an iPod touch. This was over and above what I get paid to maintain their computer network.

  24. Today at Barnes & Noble I was looking around for nothing in particular and then saw a display asking people to buy a book for a child for Christmas. I think all children should have books to call their own. I went to the counter and picked a price range and got “Charlie age 5” and bought the book that will be given to him. I hope he likes it!

  25. I love the idea!! I teach at a middle school in a low socioeconomic area so I have lots of opportunities. I buy school supplies and clothing for my kids. In return, I get lots of little dawings, hugs, and bright smiles. So all you teachers out there—hug a kid or find something positive to say a student who needs to hear it! It may be the only place they are going to hear it,

  26. I think this is a great idea. My principal got me pirate stuff while she was out holiday shopping last week. She told me she saw it and thought of me. That’s why I work for her, she’s always thinking about the staff and the students.

  27. Oh, this is right up my alley – DH and I just *love* doing this kind of stuff!

    When DH was unemployed the second time (shudder) we got a supermarket gift card in the mail “from your friends” and I was able to do Easter Baskets for the girls. I never forgot that feeling, and now that I’m on the giving end, it feels even better.

  28. We have this completely horribe intersection at our new grocery store (city planners where high when the designed the exit), and cars back up to the store front trying to get out. There were only a couple of cars behind me (I had the right-of-way, the cars in line did not). I just set the car in park and let almost a dozen cars get out of the parking lot. I know it doesnt count ’cause the guys in back of me were seriously ticked, but it takes me 30 seconds to get into the parking lot and 15 minutes to get out.

  29. I feel strange leaving more than one comment, so I’ll just include both of them in this one. I’m sure that probably messes up the drawing numbers, but I feel weird enough actually talking about random kindness, since I’m not terribly comfortable with personal recognition. Anyway, I’ll stop squirming and just spill.

    Act 1: I bought a book for a friend of mine who recently broke up with his girlfriend. It’s the latest Discworld novel. We met in an online RPG where I played DEATH, a character from the book. Just a nice way to let him know that people are thinking of him. Also, no one can read a Discworld book and not laugh.

    Act 2: I sold my spinning wheel recently and quoted $20 dollars for shipping. I discovered today that the shipping was going to be twice that, since I forgot to take into account box dimensions. She got the extra shipping free.

  30. My sister-in-law went out shopping Friday morning specifically to get a copy of Shrek 2. She told me later she didn’t get it because Target was out of the widescreen version. She was so tired and exhausted, and that was the only thing she was out looking for.

    So later, when I went to a different store, I saw the widescreen edition, and bought it for her.

  31. This wasn’t done for me but a friend of mine’s daughter and granddaughter. They were driving home for Thanksgiving and neded up being run off the road by a truck. Luckily they were both fine but a couple people stopped to make sure they were OK and wait with them until the police came and all.

    Many years ago, I had a car that wasn’t entirely reliable. It stalled, at night, on a hill at a stop light in a weird intersection. I called my Mom and step-dad to come “rescue” me and they recommended getting out of the car in case it got hit, I wouldn’t be injured. A couple people slowed down to make sure I had help coming but one man stopped his car in a nearby parking lot, and walked over to where I was sitting to make sure that I was OK and to see if I needed any help. It turned out he lived near me, I saw him the next day and he asked how my car was 🙂

  32. RAKs are most awesome! And a sure way to cheer both parties involved up.

    Not sure if this qualifies, but, today, I paid for someone on my bus. She’s a regular rider (and knitter) who was in a rush to get back to work after being off for 4 days. Between trying to get her 4 year old out the door AND make the bus, the wallet got left behind. So, I paid…and made sure she had fare for the way home as well!

  33. A certin someone who does a podcast that combines craft and liturature had mentioned that she needed some help with the cost of producing the cast. I didn’t have any extra money that week or the next but I did have some fiber that I could spin into yarn. I offered the yarn to that certin someone for a ramdom drawing of the listeners who donated to the podcast that month. Now that certin someone has become a friend and I think I got the better end of deal.

  34. This is a great thread! I’m going to have to grab a nice latte and spend more time reading all the entries later.

    I love doing RAKs and probably really started after grad school. I was having a very difficult time then, including the death of one of my BILs (he was a fireman). Some very dear friends PAID for my plane ticket home (nearly 3,000 miles from family) and then gave me a check that they called “just because” – a true pass it forward offering to help me that year at Christmas. And I have really tried to honor that thoughtfulness as I have been more settled in MY life in helping others. There is a young man here at work who is just starting out with a young wife and new baby, and I like to pass them movie tickets or other gift certificates occasionally so they can just go have an evening out (because I know their very tight budget doesn’t allow for any of those little luxuries). Or my neighbor John, a retired Marine who probably couldn’t bake to save his soul, but “helps me out” me when I bake a cake or cookies or whatever and have “more than I can eat” 🙂 There are just so many things we can do (and yes! those ones that don’t cost any money!)

  35. I recently helped a stranger. I saw her online complaint that her computer and iPod were no longer cooperating. I pointed her toward some instructions I thought would help and she was very grateful to have all her music back.

  36. Thanksgiving day I was at Hollywood video with a Rent One get one free no limit coupon. They only had one of my two DVD’s I wanted. So after I checked out, I approached a harried mother with at least 5 kids and a huge stack of kids DVDs, handed her the coupon and left before she could protest. My hope is that she got several hours of peace and quiet to enjoy for herself.

  37. Today I found one of those little keychain jump drives on the floor inside the vestibule in my building. It looks like it must’ve fallen off of somebody’s keyring cause there’s no lid on it. Now, I could have easily kept this jump drive (It’s got quite a large amount of storage, and I have to admit, I’ve been wanting one for a while) but I realized that somebody might be missing an important file or two and knowing how much it would suck if I were on the other side of this situation, I took it home, checked it out for something identifying, and made up a found poster using one of the photos I found on the drive. Hopefully it’ll get back to it’s owner soon!

  38. What a great idea Sheri! Tonight on my way home I offered to drop a co-worker at the train station so she wouldn’t have to wait on the bus. Then I found out she hasn’t been feeling too well so maybe I helped her get home a little faster and rest a little sooner. On the way out we saw our boss who was loaded down with bags so we helped her carry them to her car.

  39. I had hoped to take my coworker to lunch today because it was her birthday. Instead she was very kind and supportive and encouraged me to go home early to take care of our dog, Harley, who’s health has been declining all summer. She even agreed to cover my desk hours so that I could go home early. I am very grateful for her support. I was able to spend Harley’s last day at home with him, showing him how much he was loved and making sure he was comfortable.

  40. I prepaid for some books at my kindergartener’s book fair for kids who couldn’t afford to buy one. It drives me crazy that they parade the kids through the library to see all the books only to have some children really disappointed because they cannot buy one. I left $20 and told them to let a child who couldn’t afford one select a free book as our holiday gift.

  41. How wonderful Sherri, the acts and encouraging others to do the same.

    I hang out with a large group of parents in my area, we keep in touch through message boards and through lots of real life activities. As the cold weather sinks in, several families who, like ours, don’t have a lot of money have been looking for coats for growing kids. This week has turned into a flurry of coat swapping – I passed on a large one my older boys have outgrown, someone gave me one for my toddler. It’s so great to see everyone working together that way, helping and supporting each other. Community at its best!

  42. About three years ago, we were struggling financially. I mentioned it to a friend of mine and a few days later, I found a card in the mail with $100 from her. When I told her I couldn’t accept the money, she asked me to please take it, and if it made me feel better, to pay it forward when I was in a position to do so.

    Today I was able to finally pay it forward. I have a friend who is struggling financially. She’s been very upset about it. I sent her $100. Knowing that she was going to say that she couldn’t accept it, I asked her to accept it, because I was paying forward a kind act done for me, and that if she ever wanted to and found herself in the position to do so, to please pay it forward as well.

  43. My sister’s mother- and father-in-law have always been wonderful to me. At the ages of 84 and 87 they are, for what seems the first time, noticeably less vigorous and I wanted to do something to let them know how much I appreciated them so I gave them both hand-knit scarves at Thanksgiving without saying why except that I had been thinking of them. Not exactly an RAK since it wasn’t random and I stayed up late the night before to finish one of the scarves, but an act of kindness, I hope, nonetheless.

    And, in common with many of the people who commented, I frequently let people merge into the lane I’m in – not always popular with the drivers behind me on our very large, very congested urban highways – because I feel so good when someone does it for me. I definitely feel I’m paying it forward when I do that.

  44. First — you have a drive-thru Starbucks! Oh the great ideas! Now the random act of kindness: I am reserving a ticket for Rachael Ray for a friend with a sick mom just in case she can get away from the hospital and use it.

  45. This is a small one, but…

    On Friday at work, there was almost no one there that day (not everyone can take off the day after Thanksgiving though) and the highest-ranking person sent everyone home at 2:30. Two people who were there live in the city and take the train in, and the earliest bus from the office to the train station is at 4:30. There was a 3:35 train downtown, so I left at 3:05 and took them to the train station. It was only 5 minutes out of my way as I was already going in that general direction that day, but it was huge for them since the “train people” often don’t get to leave early when everyone else does. It was no big deal for me, but they were still talking today about what a really nice gesture that was and it got their weekend started on a good note.

  46. My RAK was this evening. I ordered my favorite Mexican Chicken Salad from Chicken Kitchen for dinner tonight. The delivery guy was new and not the sharpest DPN in the skein, you know?

    The poor thing called me FIVE TIMES trying to find my place that is about a mile away.
    He finally got to my door and when I asked for change of a $20 he “left it in the car”!!

    He ran down to get my change and despite my urge to tear him a new one (you don’t mess with a hungry fluffy girl!!) I smiled and gave him a BIG tip – I figured he needed a little cheer! 🙂

  47. Many years ago, my family was the recipient of RAKs. At a particular difficult time in our life, we received a Christmas card with a $100 bill in it. That was anonymous as were the numerous gifts delivered for our 2 sons. I never forgot that and have been able to pass the $100 onto a couple other folks, anonymously. The many comments here have been inspiring to read and gives us more ideas of RAKs. Thank you, Sheri.

  48. The other day , right before I was leaving for Thanksgiving break, I passed one of the many homeless men who hang around the Metro station. I was in a really good mood and decided that, for once, I would stop thinking about doing something about it and actually do something about it. It sounds so stupid to say, but I got the guy a hotdog and a Coke. He laughed at me when I was apologetic ’cause I put ketchup and mustard on it but didn’t know what he liked. I don’t like to give money, but food is another story all together. I should stuff like that more often. I really like this month’s blog challenge.

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