The Kindness of Strangers…

By Melissa Sandgren

Probably the easiest thing anyone can do is a random act of kindness. It’s basically any selfless act done for the benefit of someone else, either spontaneous or planned, solely to make the other person smile. It’s usually for a stranger, and I can personally attest to its power.

It seems like such an obvious example of how we can all make giving a part of our everyday life, but it’s definitely an undervalued notion.

A classic example is when a person pays for the car behind them after going through a tollbooth, but you could easily think of dozens more. Paying for the coffee of the person behind you, giving someone a pre-paid bus pass, handing someone a single flower – these are all inexpensive ways to encourage happiness in your community and the world around you. There is a great new site called Daily Challenge dedicated to just this sort of thing and the premise is simple: ‘Do one good, daily.’

So what random act of kindness happened to me? I’m sure I’ve had many, but the one that stands out in my mind happened about five years ago when I was having a particular stressful week. I sat alone drinking my coffee at a small café and when I returned from the restroom to pay my tab, I found a small flower with the word “smile” written on a napkin below it. I looked all around the little café, but no one made eyes with me about it. Obviously it stuck in my mind, and even now, it makes me smile.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we forget others are living theirs too.  This week why not make it a goal to perform one random act of kindness, and if you need more ideas, check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.


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