Always Practice Random Acts of Kindness
“Random Acts of Kindness” Week and Day coming up February 11-17
By Eugenia Jones
When Anne Herbert scribbled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty’ on a place mat in a California restaurant in 1982, she probably had no idea she was beginning a movement that would spread across the world and lead to holidays, websites, books, organizations, and media attention all devoted to strengthening the concept of spreading happiness and cheer by doing random acts of kindness (RAoK.) Most importantly, as her inspiring words spread around the world during the following decades, they unleashed countless random acts of kindness performed by ordinary people wanting nothing more than to lighten the load and brighten the day of another human being. Today, the compassionate movement is still going strong.
A random act of kindness (RAoK) is a thoughtful, selfless act performed by a person (or group) at a random time or to a random person with the only reason being to make the receiver a happier person. Random acts of kindness are often performed anonymously and/or to complete strangers. They are often simple, impulsive, and inexpensive acts with an element of surprise that uplifts the receiver’s mood and makes them smile. Receivers of a random act of kindness are encouraged to “pay it forward” by performing a random act of kindness to someone else at a later time.
This year, Random Acts of Kindness week will be celebrated February 11-17 with National Random Acts of Kindness Day 2018 falling on Saturday, February 17. Individuals and groups are encouraged to perform random acts of kindness every day during the special week and then carry the movement forward throughout the year. Ideas for random acts of kindness include: pay for someone’s food who is in line at the restaurant behind you, feed coins to a parking meter, hold the door open for someone struggling with packages, drop off snacks for the local community helpers (EMT, LEO, firefighters, etc.), tape quarters at the car wash, write someone a happy note and stick it in a library book, pick up litter, return someone’s shopping cart at the store, plant a tree, send someone a card, surprise someone in the nursing home with a visit or outing, or say hello and smile to someone who seems to be having a bad day. Remember! Random acts of kindness are limited only by your heart and imagination.
To bring attention to the RAoK movement in McCreary County and to prepare our readers for this year’s National RAoK Day and Week, The Voice is sharing some of the random acts of kindness received or performed by our citizens. In addition, next week, we will highlight individuals mentioned by our readers as being true examples of caring, kindness, and compassion.
The following McCreary County residents can vouch that it makes you feel good to be the recipient of a random act of kindness
“Judy Bruner paid for our food when we were at McDonalds. I paid it forward at the Mexican restaurant last week.”
– Michelle King
“I was walking out of Kroger’s and a car stopped and motioned for me to go ahead and cross over. Nice feeling!”
– Roger Branscum
“One day at McDonalds, a girl was in front of me. She waved and smiled at me. I couldn’t figure out why she was smiling and waving. When I got ready to pay for my food, she had already paid for it. I was having a rough day, and that really lifted me up and made me smile. It just made my day better!
– Michelle Ross
“As the children’s librarian, I am constantly with kids. They don’t see the stress or heartache their librarian may be carrying-they just see Mrs. Holly and the excitement of the library. One day, four year old Maddie came running up to me saying she was afraid she would lose me when she started school. She gave me this beautiful handmade book/card so I would have a piece of her at my desk every day. I’ve still got it hanging at my desk. The hugs, drawings, and simple gifts from the children mean the most.”
– Holly Daugherty
“I was touched when a copy of my CD was put in a soldier’s coffin to be buried with him.”
– Violet Boyatt
“My uncle, Columbus, had a stroke about a year ago. He is bed dependent and can’t speak. His act of kindness to me is when I go visit him and he smiles so big. For him to give me that big smile just makes my day.”
– Mindy Wilder
“We have had people send flowers to the library or share candy with us just because they want to do something nice. One woman who grew flowers would always come by in the spring with a fresh cut bouquet of her yellow daffodils. She always said she just wanted to share her flowers.”
– Kay Morrow
“The winter of ’77-’78, I was driving home from working the second shift at Tecumseh Products in Somerset, KY to King’s Mountain, KY. It was Friday morning about 1:00 a.m., and I was fighting below zero winds, snow, and ice. I pulled into Oran’s Truck Stop in Eubank. I was thankful I made it because I was below empty. It had been mine and my co-workers custom to stop after getting paid on Thursday night to cash our checks at Oran’s. I approached the counter to cash my check, so I could get gas. A new manager had just taken over. He yelled out and said they didn’t cash checks anymore. I had used the last of my money to buy lunch at work. I was penniless. I told the cashier I had an hour’s drive through desolate country and was out of gas. I told him I’d let him hold my entire check until the next day when I could return and pay for gas if he would just give me $5.00 of gas. He still refused and yelled some more. More to myself than anyone, I said, “I’ll never make it through this.” I walked to my car and got it started. I sat there a few minutes with my eyes closed, praying. I prayed for God to forgive my sins and that I hoped He would accept me into His kingdom because He would be seeing me that night. I still had my eyes closed when I heard a tap on my window and rolled it down. A guy in a work uniform handed me four $1.00 bills. He said it was all he had and hoped it helped. Obviously, he had been in the garage area and overheard me talking to the cashier. The manager never spoke when I paid for $4.00 of gas. It was a rough drive home, but I made it safe and sound. The following day, I brought $20.00 to pay the guy back for the $4.00. There is no doubt in my mind that man saved my life that night.”
– Michael Mann
“We were Christmas shopping and in a crowd of people at Walmart when someone handed me an envelope that said “a little something” on it. The envelope had ten dollars inside. I didn’t even get to really see the lady who gave it to me, but I heard her say, “It’s not much, but it helps!”
– Allison Cooper
Those on the receiving end of a random act of kindness are truly touched by the thoughtfulness; however, those who perform RAoKs find incredible joy in making others happy.
“My husband and I paid for an elderly couple’s dinner on one of our trips…just because….their smiles were awesome!”
– Debra Sierens
“An opportunity to do a random act of kindness happened to me when my daughter, Lily, was a few months old. A young mother who had forgotten her diaper bag at home was in the dollar store and was asking the clerk if they sold diapers individually because her daughter desperately needed one. They didn’t sell individual diapers, but her daughter happened to wear the same size as Lily. I gave her one of Lily’s diapers, and I’ll always remember just how thankful the young mother looked to be given such a small thing.”
– Erika Martin
“One of our servers who was pregnant wanted to take her other child to the Polar Express. She couldn’t afford it, so I gave her part of the fee. She never made it to the Polar with her son because she had her baby soon after. But I feel good because I know that what money she had went to food, rent, and taking care of the new baby!”
– Pam Gibson
“I was working as a charge nurse at a long term care facility (nursing home). The residents would remark about the home cooked lunches I took in. My husband and I got the idea to cook for them. We sought approval from the dietary department and chose breakfast as our meal. My son was about 15 at the time and helped us with the baking and serving. We made enough cat head biscuits, pan gravy, bacon, sausage, and eggs to feed about 125 people. Together we made about 200 biscuits and 8 gallons of my granny’s biscuit gravy. To complete our meal we served my homemade jellies and jams and a jar of my father in law’s (Herbert Kidd’s) honey. They loved the honey from my Kentucky home! My father-in-law really got a kick about that! The residents loved having my handsome, young son serve them. It was a wonderful experience. The residents loved it, but we got so much more from it than they did!”
– Teresa Kidd
“I was at a pizza place during Christmas week. There was an older couple sitting in the booth next to me. When my waitress came around I said I would like to pick up the other couple’s bill. The bill ended up being over $70! I was already committed to paying it—pizza, steak hoagies, drinks, and two bottles of wine! I got out my emergency credit card, paid it, and went on. It really was a random act of kindness!”
– Mark Vanover