Random Acts of Kindness day is February 17th. I asked a few people to share some stories with me for inspiration and motivation in preparation for this day. Although, we shouldn’t need an official day to spread kindness.
A random act of kindness can be something super simple, like holding the door open for a mom holding an infant and a hand of a toddler. Helping a mom of three maneuver her loaded stroller up the stairs at Caras Park. These were little acts that others performed for me, and I have greatly appreciated them! RAoKs can also be grand gestures, such as donating time, money, food to charity.
There is no shortage of kind people in our city. I have encountered so many over my 15 years living here. Here are a few stories I was told over the past couple weeks and a few I found in a local mommy group. I am keeping all stories anonymous as that was the majority request. These people aren’t looking for recognition, they just wanted to share their stories and experiences.
1. “We had a stranger buy us a hotel room last night since we’re in our truck. Otherwise we would’ve been pretty chilly.”
2. “My son (3) and I drove past a construction crew every day last summer and quickly nicknamed a lady "pink worker" because of her bright pink construction hat. My son was obsessed with their job and we talked each day about how hard they worked in the sun, leading him to say, "She needs a cold drink." That afternoon we went and got her a City Brew gift card to deliver to her the next day on our drive. My son also gave her a card with it that said, "Dear pink worker, thank you for your red sign. Thank you for working hard in the sun. Get a cold drink one day. I like lemonade."
3. “I want to share several random acts of kindness I have received. I have experienced so much Grace in my life 😊. Ok... when I was 15 years old, I ran away from home. I was with my boyfriend, and we were missing for 6, almost 7 weeks before we got caught. We were caught in Nevada. However, between Chester and Nevada, we were homeless and living on the streets. We first went to Spokane, where we spent about a week. When we got into Spokane we went to the homeless shelter, which actually wasn’t a shelter at that time, it was just a soup kitchen. We got some food and hang around, waiting until the next meal. As we were standing in line, we were surrounded by many homeless men, there were no women then, who told us where to sleep, times for meals, things to do during the day, and how to basically survive. None of them suggested that we join them, sleep on the streets near them, or come to their encampment. They advised us to walk a distance to residential areas, they told us of a church that didn’t lock it’s doors at nights, that we could sleep in the basement of. They told us about getting into peoples backyard after they had gone to sleep and sleep there. We did so. We never destroyed anyone’s property or tried to break into their houses or steel from them or anything like that, but we slept safely. When we would get back downtown to the soup kitchen and there were more people for them to feed than they had food for, they would give the next 50 people a loaf of bread, who didn’t get in. These homeless men would sneak us out food, or share their loaf of bread with us. And every day, many of them would go to the unemployment office, looking for work. None of them tried to take advantage of us, none of them tried to hurt us in anyway. I am so incredibly grateful for all of those homeless men who looked out for us and helped us. Then, we headed south and ended up in Nevada. We ran out of gas at a little country grocery store/convenience store gas station/movie store/ laundromat/bar/restaurant/post office and we had no money to get any more gas. We went in asking for a job and a trucker from Texas gave us $20. I asked for his address so that we could send it back when we were able and he said, “don’t worry about paying me back, pay it forward. When you’re in a better situation and you can afford to help somebody else, do it! Do it and think of me as you’re doing it.” We got some gas and then went in to share a bowl of soup. It was packed inside and there was only one place to sit. We sat down next to a man who hired <boyfriend> right then and there and found us a place to stay until <boyfriend>’s first paycheck and then we moved into a motel until we got busted.”
4. “Randomly buying people’s coffees/lunches etc just because.”
5. “During Christmas season, a local organization that assists homeless veterans called me because I volunteer with Toys for Tots along with my office. They wanted to know if it was too late to sign up. Sadly, it was too late and this family who was finally getting into a home wouldn’t have any gifts for their son. I told my contact to hold for an evening and I would have gifts by the next morning. I put together gifts and cash for the whole family. I plan to call this organization this year and every year going forward to randomly adopt two more veteran families who need help and missed deadlines for official gift giving.”
6. “The other day a mom reached out anonymously on Missoula Moms for help. She was just getting out of an abusive situation, had just dropped all her money on an apartment to get her and her baby away. That left her with no money for essentials: diapers and food. So I grabbed a couple boxes of diapers, an $80 gift card to the grocery store along with the same in cash in case she needed gas or other items, some chocolate and roses to celebrate her strength leaving a dangerous situation and a new start in a new home. It was an incredible morning!”
7. “On our way to visit <husband>’s family for Christmas, we stopped at a random restaurant that looked like a local business to eat lunch. It was a little bit off the interstate which isn’t normal for us but we didn’t want chain food. As we were sitting at our table with the kids waiting for our food to be delivered, a lady walked around quickly and dropped off Christmas cards to a few tables including ours. She left the building right after she dropped them off and I had picked up the card thinking someone wanted to wish others Merry Christmas or share the story of Jesus, etc. When I opened the card, there was a gift card for $25 in it and a note from the kind lady saying that it was her parent’s favorite place to eat, that they would go weekly for lunch and she had lost both of them in the last year. Her dad always enjoyed hearing stories of people randomly paying it forward, so she wanted to honor their memory and do this on a weekday before Christmas. I glanced up to see if she was still in the building but she was driving off in her car. “It was super touching for me as <husband> lost his dad in May last year and I had just lost my mom in November. It was a nice reminder about enjoying things that they had done for others as well. Oh, we gave the waitress a $25 tip on top of the normal tip to pay it forward that day.”
8. “I was on a 7:30 pm flight from Missoula to Seattle to Oakland(ca) with my 2 girls. There were 2 seats to a row and my 5-year-old wanted to sit across the aisle from me, which I was fine with because she was less than an arm’s length away and in my direct line of sight. (Although, I felt bad for the person next to her because of how social she is. Lol.) Anyways…the guy sitting next to her was the kindest, most patient and engaging man. I thought he HAD to work with children (or was a creep 😬🤣 Don't worry...my eyes were always on her!) With about 10 minutes left to get to Seattle, my daughter starts puking. 🤢 No warning signs. I panicked and froze for a moment. 😳😖 And, being 7 months pregnant, my turn radius and mobility on a tiny plane weren't great. Ha. This guy started catching her throw up in his hands 🤢, getting the barf bags out for her and holding them, and consoling her while I was scatterbrained and obviously trying to mom too. I kept apologizing to him…because, gross!.. and he said "It's OK. I work in Pediatrics.” 🔔Makes sense.🔔 He was also on our next flight and even told them about the situation and that we would probably be late and rushing to get there. He was such a Godsend and huge blessing to me!”
9. “Last summer I attended Kid’s Fest with my three small children. I had my infant in the stroller most of the time, which I had to maneuver up and down the stairs to get into and out of Caras Park. In the struggle, I lost my wallet. I thought for sure that it was gone forever. I’ve had that wallet since high school. It didn’t have much in it, but it was sentimental to me. The next day, I got a call from the police department letting me know that my wallet was handed in during Kid Fest. I was and still am extremely grateful to the honest people of Missoula! Nothing was missing, even the very little bit of cash. Apparently, it had fallen out of my stroller as I was struggling to get it up the stairs.”
10. “One day, my husband took our kids to the new arcade in the mall. When he realized how expensive it was, they were just going to play a couple of games and then leave. Just to not disappoint the kids too much. Our daughter was admiring the stuffed animals that could be won, when a young boy got a pink winged unicorn and gave it to her. It was so sweet! She loves that silly flying unicorn!”
11. “I love to keep $5 coffee cards in my car and if I see someone doing another act of kindness or a policeman or firefighter, crossing guard etc, we will give them a coffee card that says, “thanks!” Simple act but so fun!!”
12. “One day when it was getting cold, we handed out cards to every one of the recess guards, crossing guards etc at the girls’ school! My girls love it also—always keeping an eye out for someone deserving or just to brighten someone’s day.”
13. “If I see a fire truck or policeman sitting at a coffee place, I’ll drive around to the opposite window and pay for theirs.”
Most of these stories are super simple examples of Random Acts of Kindness. They don't have to be anything extravagant. Anything that makes someone's day a little better or makes them smile. I hope these stories have inspired you to go out and perform your own random acts of kindness. Just find a way to make someone smile, in turn it will inevitably make you smile. Make it a daily practice. If someone does something kind for you, pay it forward.
I hope the rest of your February is fantastic!