Lately my son and I have had a few conversations about that age-old concept of being a little kinder than is necessary. We’ve talked a lot about acts of kindness; how they can be simple to do and yet mean so much.
My son and I talked about a guy I knew from childhood. From the time we were young, he had it all. He was handsome, athletic, charming, and brilliant – none of which changed into adulthood. He had a thriving medical practice, an outstanding family, and money beyond his wildest dreams. His had everything anyone could want, until one day he was gone. Since his passing, I have read no less than a hundred tributes to this man, and not one of them mentions money, athleticism, looks, or notoriety. Instead every single tribute talks what he did for others and how much he treasured his family. Though his time here may be up, the acts of kindness he did for others continue to live on.
The world really could use a little more kindness right now, and as Anne Frank once said, no one has ever become poor by giving. So, in honor of that old childhood friend, here are 85 easy acts of kindness ideas:
85 Acts of Kindness Ideas
* Give someone a compliment. It only takes a moment to make somebody’s day.
* Use your manners.
* Wish someone a great day or a wonderful weekend.
* Send an email to a store manager to show your appreciation or thanks for an employee’s service.
* Connect two people in business.
* Compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is when you see them in a public place.
* Thank a police officer or firefighter.
* Like a charity on Facebook and post on the wall why the organization has made a difference in your life.
* Stand up for those who are being bullied.
* Write a thank you note to someone who has influenced you in a positive way.
* Endorse a colleague on Linkedin.
* Call your grandparent(s) or other special family members.
* Support elimination of the r-word from everyday speech. Promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities.
* Offer to take a picture for tourists, or help them with directions.
* Listen intently. Don’t interrupt.
* Clean up litter.
* Hold the door open for someone.
* Let someone go in front of you in line.
* Give an extra large tip to someone for great service.
* Hold the door open for those behind you.
* Carry reusable bags, canteens, and containers.
* Offer to take your neighbor’s dog for a walk.
* Invite someone new over for a play-date or coffee.
* Volunteer to be a tutor or mentor.
* Send someone an anonymous gift.
* Color a picture, make a craft, or send a treat to a senior center or nursing home.
* Pay off someone’s lay away.
* Hand a stranger a $2 bill and tell them that you hope it will bring them luck.
* Volunteer with a charitable organization.
* Help serve meals at a local food bank or organization.
* Treat a friend (or someone else) to a cup of coffee.
* Show your support of our troops, veterans and military families. Here are 20 ways to support our military.
* Check on elderly neighbors.
* Help someone with at the supermarket load groceries into the car.
* Give someone a tissue.
* Got some time and a web browser? Head over to http://www.care2.com/click-to-donate/. All you have to do is click around and money will be donated to charitable causes.
* Offer a homeless person your leftovers bag from a restaurant. Don’t let them go to waste.
* Pay someone’s toll at the toll booth.
* Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru or coffee shop.
* Adopt a classroom or help a teacher out at AdoptAClassroom.org or DonorsChoose.org, which makes it easy to help a school in need.
* Drop off baked goods or a gift certificate to the local police or fire department.
* Leave extra change in the vending machine.
* Love to sew or quilt? Use those skills for charity by volunteering with http://www.sewmuchcomfort.org/ or http://www.quiltsforkids.org.
* Bake some cookies or pastries and take them to a local senior center or firehouse.
* Support your favorite charitable organization by starting your shopping at http://smile.amazon.com. Amazon automatically donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the organization of your choice.
* Bring American flags or flowers to the cemetery, and place them at unadorned stones.
* Offer to watch a friend’s kids for a little while so she can have some time to herself.
* Take a meal to a family who could use a nice surprise.
* Collect Box Tops for Education to help raise money for your school.
* Help an elderly or disabled person cross the street.
* Let a car merge in front of you. Be a patient driver.
* Help rebuild destroyed homes, participate in a community cleanup, or remove graffiti from your town.
* Help a friend hunt for a job or move to a new home.
* Going for a run? Offer to take your neighbor’s dog along with you for some exercise.
* Bring doughnuts, bagels or another treat to work for your colleagues.
* Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
* Send dessert or a drink to another table at a restaurant.
* Turn photos of your friends into an album or put one on a frame.
* Purchase from brands that give back. For example, look for buy one, give one companies and purchase items that give twice.
* Volunteer at or participate in a local 5k or 10k for charity. You can find upcoming events in your area at Active.com.
* Extend yourself to the new neighbor who just moved to town.
* Be patient. Cut someone some slack.
* Mow your neighbors’ lawns, water their plants or shovel their driveway while they are out of town.
* Go to the zoo, aquarium, or a museum. The vast majority are not-for-profit organizations that benefit from memberships, ticket purchases and, of course, donations.
* Return a lost item to its owner.
* Make a symbolic animal adoption through the World Wildlife Fund.
* Sign up to be an organ or bone marrow donor.
* Manufacturers coupons can be used on overseas military bases for up to six months past their expiration date. Send active and expired coupons to https://www.couponcabin.com/troops/ who will get them to our service men and women.
* Purchase non-perishables or household items for people in need, such as diapers or baby supplies for a women’s shelter.
* Make a monetary charitable donation to an organization that matters to you.
* Donate non-perishable foods and personal items to your local food bank.
* Donate blood. Go to the Red Cross website for information.
* Donate books to a local library or senior center.
* Donate your old laptop and electronics (or recycle them).
* Purchase an extra toy and donate it to for Toys for Tots.
* Donate a tweet at http://justcoz.org/.
* Donate toys to a local women’s shelter for the children.
* Donate magazines to a local hospital so patients and family have something current to read.
* Bring pet food or new pet supplies to a local animal shelter.
* Donate a tree to be planted in someone’s honor or memory at http://arborday.org.
* Donate unused airline miles to charitable organizations.
* Donate clothes to people in need. Click here for some ideas of where you can donate clothing and accessories.
* Donate your old cell phones. You can drop them off at a local Verizon store or police department, or send them to Cell Phones for Soldiers.
* Donate old eyeglasses to an organization that recycles them for people in need.
* Donate your hair to http://www.locksoflove.org.
As you can see, there are acts of kindness ideas for everyone. So be a little kinder than is necessary, because it can make somebody’s day.
And that somebody may just be you.
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