Recently the AfterShokz company had a campaign to “Deliver Happiness” to their customers. They wanted to do some things to make their purchases a little more special. So they included a free gift and a hand written “thank you” card with each purchase. It made me think of how they were simple gestures, but surely they were appreciated by the recipients. I got the idea to try my own hand at Delivering Happiness by doing a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) every day for the month of February.
I’ve been the recipient of RAKs before and was always blown away when it happened. I have had coffees or meals paid for me by the cars ahead of me in the drive thru line. Many years ago my husband and I stopped at a fancy bakery to get a treat, when we went to pay we found out the guy in line ahead of us paid for our purchase for us. I’m not sure if the guy could see the sorrow on our faces or if possibly he heard us discussing the recent loss of our dog, but his gesture was so appreciated at a time we were both heartbroken.
I discovered that Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day is February 17th, so I figured the month of February would be the perfect time to take on this challenge. Initially, I was going to just do the act and not tell anyone about it, like most people do. But after a lot of thought, I decided to post the acts on my Instagram and Facebook so my friends and followers could see what I was doing. I’m sure a few people thought it was boastful, but that was not the reason why I did it. I did it publicly in hopes it would inspire others to do their own RAKs.
As each day passed, I posted photos of me buying someone’s breakfast, surprising a person with flowers, or mailing a hand written card. Then I’d see a comment from a friend that said I inspired them to buy lunch for two police officers they saw at the restaurant table next to them. Another time I left a huge tip for someone, then the following day a friend posted she did the same. After a week I was seeing messages like this all the time. I decided to take it a step further. In a Facebook group, I told everyone what I was doing. While a few people said they would never post publicly about doing a RAK, the majority of them saw the power of suggestion by making their own public post. The chain reaction was staggering. There are nearly 1,000 people in that Facebook group and I’ll bet I got tagged by several hundred of them. It was amazing to see the posts and watch how my posts helped make people around the country happy.
I tried my best to come up with a new RAK each day, somedays I was more creative than others. Here’s my list:
Day 1- Bought breakfast for guy behind me in line at McDonald’s. Cost = $7.20
Day 2- Sent a card to someone just to tell them I love them and appreciate them being in my life. Cost = $0.50 postage
Day 3- Gave a 200% tip to our dog groomer after a nail trim. Cost = $20
Day 4- Tried to let a person in line ahead of me at the post office. But they were in less of a hurry than me and declined the offer. So I donated a 10 pound box of dog treatsto the humane society. Cost = $14
Day 5- Cooked breakfast for a friend, let a driver pull out in front of me when he was clearly in the wrong lane. Free
Day 6- Brought a coworker her favorite treat, gummy bears. Cost = $1.50
Day 7- Paid every person I talked to in person a compliment, even strangers. Free
Day 8- Brought cookies to the local fire department. Cost = $4.50 (Then oddly enough two weeks later this fire department responded when my husband broke his leg at our home.)
Day 9- Left a Hershey bar and a note in the mailbox for the postal carrier. Cost = $1 (The mail carrier now waves at me every time I see her.)
Day 10- Sold something online and donated the proceeds to a favorite charity. Cost = $20
Day 11- Sent toiletries and coffee to military members serving overseas. Also a blanket to a veterans facility. Cost = $9
Day 12- Mailed out some of my favorite tea to two friends that have been working very hard and could use some relaxation. Cost = $7
Day 13- Left a post it note on a public bathroom mirror that said “You are Amazing.” I hope someone found it and it made their day. Free
Day 14- Brought flowers and chocolate to my hair stylist. Cost = $6
Day 15- Got stuck in construction with three lanes of traffic merging into one and there was in a long backup. Even though I was running late, I let a few cars in front of me. Free
Day 16- Donated a book to a Little Free Library and tucked a dollar in it as a bookmark. Cost = $1
Day 17- Donated all my Recycle Bank reward points to local schools. Free
Day 18- Brought cookies and a hand written thank you card to our veterinarian. Cost = $8
Day 19- Left a bunch of five star reviews on Google for local businesses that I love, also for Aftershokz headphones on their website and Amazon. Free
Day 20- Sent a hand written letter to someone in need of some encouragement thru MoreLoveLetter.com. Cost = $0.50
Day 21- Posted on Facebook that I was giving something away, this started a chain of about 15 people giving away similar items to others that wanted them for no charge. Cost = $4
Day 22- Held the door open for a stranger. Also sent two handwritten cards to friends and tucked a lottery ticket inside. Cost = $11
Day 23- Mailed out two 2 for 1 lunch coupons to a friend. Cost = $0.50
Day 24- Forgiveness. Today I forgave someone for doing something really crappy to me. Free
Day 25- Donated to a friends fundraiser for a veteran’s group. $10
Day 26- Wrote inspirational and empowering things on scraps of paper and stuffed them into a mason jar. I gave to a friend for when she needs a little extra support and I’m not with her. Free
Day 27- I had received flowers from someone but I was also leaving town the next day. Instead of letting them go to waste I brought them to another friend to enjoy. Free
Day 28- Gave away a pair of AfterShokz headphones. Cost = $65
Personally, February was a really tough month for me. I was under a lot of stress trying to sell my home and my husband fell and broke his leg. But I found while I was doing this challenge, I was more appreciative of things other people did for me. I noticed the little things that might have slipped past me before. Things like a friend coming to sit with me at the hospital during my husbands surgery or a phone call from a friend just to see how I was holding up. I felt that I was more appreciative of these things. During the month I had someone give me flowers, one brought me a good book, and another brought over enough food to feed an army so that I didn’t have to cook while caring for my husband.
After 28 days of doing RAKs, here is what I learned. One thing. Just one simple thing. It costs zero dollars to be nice.