29 October 2012

7 Random Acts of Kindness

There are two schools of thought; one that say that a random act of kindness can't really be random if you tell everyone; it needs to be done quietly and not lorded about. I think I'm more aligned with the second school of thought - share it, and who knows what you may influence, even subconsciously.

I like a challenge which is why I picked 7 in 7 days; and have tried to carry out kindnesses that can have an effect on a personal level. Just recently I've had a random middle-aged lady look up at me and smile. The Londoner in me didn't quite know what to do for a moment, before my brain engaged and I was awkwardly grinning back. It really brightened up my morning commute, and cost nobody anything (though did make me wonder if I had something green in my teeth for a second!)


Day 1. Smile genuinely at 5 people
I like to set myself a challenge (hence 7 in 7 days) but I hadn't quite counted on the frozen countenances of London commuters. London commuters generally have one facial setting "ohcrapImreallyreallylateandIhaveahugedeadlinewhyisthatweirdgirlsmilingatmeaaarghitsmybusquickquick" with various settings of intensity - I should have realised this, as I have settled into it myself. Then you have the robots with cords hanging out of their ears, computers/phones/mp3 devices in hand. It was really hard to catch anyone's eye, let alone hold it long enough to smile at them. Thank goodness for 2 last ditch attempts walking to our gym in the 'burbs. Mission successful. Whew!

Day 2. Pick up Litter
Todays act was completed within the mile walk from my train station to my office. It was kinda gross really how easy it was - 3 items in quick succession. And I work in quite a nice area. One man even tore the clear plastic wrapper off his cigarettes, walked past a bin, dropped it on the ground before lighting up and shoving the pack in his pocket.

Day 3. Make time to be silly
My “Tomorrow it’s my Birthday dance” put a smile on a sad colleagues face. Oh the things we do…

Day 4. Buy a coffee for a homeless person
Seeing as it's my birthday, I wanted to pass on the karma from the lovely gifts I have received - I've gifted a local Big Issue seller with a coffee gift card. It's cold, it's misty and he must be feeling miserable.

Day 5. Write a thank you note
Written to a dear friend for the many kindnesses she does for me all the time.

Day 6. Let 3 people ahead of me in line
Doesn't really need any explaination, I hope...

Day 7. Gave up my seat
This I do normally and have a bug bear about – I’ve seen young people blatantly sitting in in a designated seat ignore pregnant ladies or older people who clearly need it more. To challenge myself I wanted to do it as often as I could – ending up 3 times. (Btw I think the 'Baby on Board badges are genius, it takes all the embarrassment out of giving your seat up).

You do feel good about doing these small things, I won’t lie. I do some of the above anyway, but wanted to challenge what I normally do. I haven’t recorded this to get a pat on the back – who knows what the actual acts themselves inspire.

Another 101 in 1001 goal down!

When did you last experience a random act of kindness?

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