In honor of my recent birthday, I invited friends and blog readers to join me in celebrating my special day by doing Random Acts of Kindness toward others. The response was overwhelming! Not only was I blessed, but many friends and strangers received gifts of encouragement, friendship, food, and money.
I loved celebrating my birthday this way!
RAK fun … all around the town
First, let me report on my own day of RAK adventures!
Before I left home, I made up and printed a couple dozen small cards explaining the gift I handed out, hid, or left in plain sight. These came in handy as I zig-zagged around town, having more fun than any 58-year-old should be allowed.
1. Dollar Tree Hide-and-Seek! My first stop was the Dollar Tree, where I wrapped dollar bills around a “You’ve Been RAKed” note and hid them under items at the Dollar Tree: a bag of pinto beans, bottle of laundry detergent, a box of candy, etc. I also gave some $5 bills to random shoppers. Loved the expressions on their faces!
2. Pass It Back. Between other errands, I bought gift cards at several locations for the people in line behind me. At McD’s I ordered a $1 Diet Coke and a gift card. When I picked up my gift card at the drive-thru window, I tucked in one of my RAK cards and asked the attendant to hand it to the car behind me. At Wendy’s, I bought myself a $1 burger and repeated the gift-card fun.
I also visited Starbucks and Juice It Up, where I bought gift cards inside and handed them to the next person in line.)
3. Bake and Take. I delivered homemade brownies to two different city fire stations. As a bonus, I was greeted by an old friend from our former church, and he gave me a personal tour of the beautiful Jersey fire station.
4. Brighten a Child’s Day. I took a few minutes to write a letter to our sponsored Compassion child, Mercy. I love the option of sending her letters online. She gets them right away, and I can attach photos of the grandkids and us.
5. More Hide-and-Seek Fun! I hid a few $1 bills around Walmart. It was pretty funny watching some of the “hot spots.” Several people picked the box or can right next to the hidden dollar. Another picked up the box and didn’t even see the little treasure hiding underneath! I love that, because it reminds me of how God chose each person who was meant to find it!
6. Just Because. I handed Walmart gift cards to two random (and very surprised!) shoppers. One lucky mama got her card because I heard her little preschooler singing “Happy Birthday” two aisles away. I hurried toward that sweet voice and told her, “Thank you for singing that song. Today is my birthday!” As the little girl beamed, I handed her surprised mom the gift card.
7. Washing Away the Blues. At the laundromat, I left piles of quarters on the dryers. I haven’t been to the laundromat in a long time. Man, it’s expensive to dry a load!
8. Lift Spirits. I took a moment to compliment a store worker who was tidying up seriously messy shelves at Walmart. Her eyes absolutely lit up!
9. You’ve Got Mail. We shipped a free book to someone in dire financial need. Coincidence that we chatted with this mom on my RAK birthday? I think not!
10. It’s On Me! Taped quarters to a vending machine. I loved watching people walk by as if the coins were invisible. They were just sitting there waiting for the right person to discover them!
11. Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella! I smiled at a sad person. How easy is that?
12. Hold it! I stood at the exit and just held doors for people. And smiled.
13. I Can Use the Exercise! I parked in spots that were farther away or less convenient. Besides, I was in such a lighthearted mood that even the extra walking made me happy!
14. Gas Gift. I tried buying gas gift cards at a couple of gas stations, but they didn’t sell them in smaller denominations. I had already planned out my cash, so instead of skipping the gas station altogether, I got the idea of stuffing a RAK note and some cash in the credit-card slot at a gas station.
15. Cheer Up! I wrote a note of encouragement to a friend.
16. Look, Mom! What child doesn’t love to find money? So I went to the park and dropped some quarters under the play equipment for surprised children to discover. My daughter told me this was her favorite of all my RAKs!
The gift that keeps on giving…
I wasn’t the only one doing Random Acts of Kindness! Exactly 58 of my friends joined me to do a RAK in honor of my birthday! Here are just a few of their stories:
- The lady in front of me at Wal*Mart kept having her ATM card rejected … I paid her grocery bill. ~Erin
- My daughter bought food for the animal shelter in honor of your birthday. ~Sharra
- Surprised some folks with $5 bills at Sprouts this evening in your honor. Big, wide-eyed looks, then smiles and laughs when I said, “Happy birthday to my friend… she said to give it to you!” ~Arleen
- I am taking an Anatomy and Physiology course and our professor posts lecture notes online. There are always several students that didn’t have time to print out the notes. In anticipation of that, I made 3 extra copies and handed them out to 3 that forgot to do it. ~Denise
- Helping someone move. We were not asked, but we are jumping in. ~Teri
- McDonald’s cards for a some special ladies and helped one lady sew a purse. ~Susan
- The Lord put it on my heart to purchase a bunch of socks and t-shirts at Costco. I wrapped each gift with a bow and a RAK note that said, “You are important to this life and massively loved by God. He wanted you to know that today.” Then I drove to different areas with and distributed the little gifts. ~Debbie
- My husband picked up In-N-Out for dinner and got a gift card for the car behind him. He could hear the guy loudly exclaiming, “What, no way!!” So fun! ~Christen
- I collected the carts in the 99 Cent Store parking lot. ~Barb
- Is anyone/everyone else feeling as I am–why don’t I do this more often, every day? The homeless guy with the sign, when I handed him $20 and the peaches I had cut up for my snack: “Hey! That’s a h*** of a lot of money!” ~Jenni
- Today we helped pay for care packages being sent to our troops! Love you Kim, happy birthday!! ~Laurel
- Cookies delivered to the neighbors! ~Janel
- Three bags of books packed up to donate to a local church library. ~Heidi
- Sent 2 encouraging notes this morning to friends going through difficult times. This afternoon I will serve with “Big Brothers/Big Sisters” at Camp Pendleton. ~Mary
- I got a $15 gas card, then spun around and handed it to the guy behind us. He couldn’t believe it. Even came out a few mins later as I was buckling her in to check that I really was giving it to him and asked why. I said it was for my friends birthday. He loved it! That was fun! ~Christie
- Got a meal prepared and in fridge for pick up tomorrow for a stressed friend. ~Maggie
- I paid a friend’s overdue gas bill before their gas was turned off. ~Rachel
- At the airport … personally thanked some brave soldiers for their service! ~Pam
- I was the recipient of one of those RAK’s. I was at Taco Bell and the person in front of me in the drive-thru paid for my order. It really made me feel good for the rest of the day. My bill wasn’t even $3, but it did a lot for my attitude! ~Gail
And we have a winner!
I’m sorry it took so long to post the winner of the RAK Birthday Giveaway. When I didn’t hear back from the first winner by the end of last week, I drew a new name. Congratulations to Lisa G!
A special thanks to each one of you who not only entered the drawing, but who took time to do a Random Act of Kindness as well. The results blew me away! It was the best birthday in recent memory.