20 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

There’s nothing quite like being the recipient of a random act of kindness. Sometimes these acts are completely random, done for you by a perfect stranger who knows nothing of you but still does something nice. Other random acts of kindness are spontaneous shows of love or affection from someone close to you who knows what you would like and makes a special effort to make you happy.

Here are twenty ideas for random acts of kindness – some that you can plan for a loved one, and some you can shower on unsuspecting strangers.

1. Pay for the next person’s order. This is a standby, well-known random act of kindness, but it’s popular for a reason: it’s easy, it’s not expensive, and it will totally make someone’s day.

2. Say thank you to safety workers like firemen, policemen, and military. They do a lot to protect us, and it’s kind of us to remember to say thanks.

3. Write a letter. It could be to someone you know, expressing what it is that you value in that person, or it could be to someone you only have observed, expressing what it is that is so noticeable or impressive about that person.

4. Visit the elderly. Whether you go alone or with a group, your visit to the old folks’ home or a neighborhood shut-in will likely be well-received. If you aren’t sure where to start, contact a local church to see where they might sing carols during Christmas time, and then contact those places to see if they accept visits at other times of the year.

5. Pick up trash in a neighbor’s yard, a nearby park, or on the street as you’re walking. It’s not always an act that is directed toward a particular person, but it’s still kind to everyone who comes into contact with that place.

6. Pay for a cab. If someone has had too much to drink and doesn’t seem to have a reliable way to get home, put him or her in a cab and pay for it. This ensures that everyone is a little safer for the night, and you have done a great service.

7. Let someone go in front of you in line. It’s especially kind if this someone has his or her hands full, perhaps with a bundle of packages or a small child. It’s especially random if it’s someone who doesn’t appear that way.

8. Bring a gift back when you travel. If you see a small token or souvenir that you think someone might like, bring it back for that person. It will be completely unexpected and a sweet gift of friendship.

9. Make a meal, either for or with someone. There is a lot of fun to be had in cooking together, especially if it’s a particularly comforting or exciting recipe. There’s also something to be said for dropping a meal off and leaving, especially if that person is having a rough time and is in no state for company.

10. Give away a ticket. If you have tickets to an event and you can’t go at the last minute, give your tickets away instead of trying to make a buck reselling them. You will give someone else an unforgettable experience and you will have the satisfaction of doing something really great.

11. Hide some cash in a friend’s wallet. If your friend has been struggling financially, the gift of cash can really make a big difference, even if it’s just a little bit. Your friend may not even know it was you who slipped in a $20 bill, but it will be extremely meaningful nonetheless.

12. Leave a gift in the mailbox. Mail carriers are hard workers, and it’s nice to remind them every now and then that we appreciate the hard job they do day in and day out. The gift could be a favorite candy or snack, or maybe a gift card to the nearby coffee shop or to a popular online store like iTunes or Amazon.com.

13. Shovel or rake for a neighbor. If you’re clearing your own driveway or yard, do the one next door while you’re at it. It’s an unexpected surprise that will go a long way.

14. Share the bounty. When your garden explodes with more tomatoes than you can handle, or you found yourself with enough ripe bananas to make three loaves of banana bread, share some of your surplus with the people around you.

15. Compliment a frazzled parent. If there’s a parent in your life – maybe someone who has a couple of very young kids, or a single mom who is struggling to get everything done – offer that person a compliment on his or her offspring. Every parent likes to hear that they’re doing a good job even when everything appears to be chaos, and yet almost no one offers that compliment.

16. Fill up the gas tank when you borrow a car from someone. It might not be expected, and it’s definitely a nice thing to do.

17. Offer some gum or a mint. If you’re pulling out your pack of Altoids for a post-lunch refresher, offer one to the person next to you. It’s a sweet surprise that hardly costs a thing and can really brighten someone’s day.

18. Write a funny quote or joke on a note and share it. Put a joke with a sticky note on a coworker’s computer monitor. Write a goofy pun on the napkin in your kid’s lunch. Stick a romantic poem on an index card into your spouse’s pocket.

19. Pass along a book you liked. If you’ve got a book that you read and enjoyed, why not give it to a friend who might also like it? You could inscribe the cover with a note, or even give it anonymously to add to the mystery and enjoyment.

20. Give school supplies to the teacher in your life, especially if he or she is bumping up against budget cuts. Maybe a pack of chalk or dry erase markers could work, or perhaps some die cuts or stickers, or consider a gift certificate to the local teacher supply store.

There are countless ways to share kindness, and not all of them have to be random. If any of these inspired you to go out and make someone’s day, let us know in the comments!



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