I have heard two messages recently about giving random acts of kindness (I’ll use RAK for short). I recall last year when someone paid for my groceries when I was a little short. And on my daughter’s birthday, strangers will come up and hand her $20 bills. I know how it feels to be the recipient of a RAK, and this week I was thrust into a RAK without planning it.
Getting the Boot
After leaving a nice networking event with Nicci Gilbert in midtown Atlanta, I got back to my car near the entrance of a parking garage close by and found it booted, along with a lady who sat next to me at the event (she was parked next to me as well). The parking receipt I received upon entry was supposedly good until 1 pm the next day, but I happened to park in a space designated for 2 hours only. The time of the event was 2 hours, and I didn’t anticipate overstaying, but I stayed 3 hours because I was networking and not paying attention. As I walked toward my car, the lady was on her phone trying to figure out what to do, and instinctively I asked her if she was ok (the boots were present on the other side of the car that I couldn’t see yet). I barely talked to her inside the lounge, but she recognized me (we had both asked Nicci questions during the event).
We found the dude who was booting. He only took card payments but she had a checkbook. She wasn’t sure if she had $75 on her card or not. Without thinking twice I paid for both of us and she wrote me a check. Even if it bounces, I’m not worried about it. Funny thing is, the only reason I had the money on my card is because of two situations earlier in the day where I was supposed to have spent that money (it was earmarked for two important things) but had the opportunity to defer both of those purchases and keep my money. I felt nothing but compassion (and a little stupidity because the sign on the wall in front of me about 2 hours only should have registered more than the receipt printed with the next day’s date). I have learned a valuable lesson about parking for limited times!
How to Do a RAK
So how can you get creative a do a random act of kindness–just because, and on purpose? Here are some ideas:
- Write a glowing letter to a company acknowledging a person who gave you great customer service.
- Offer someone to skip you while waiting in line.
- Let someone out of a parking lot when there’s heavy traffic behind you.
- Allow someone to take your seat on the bus, subway, or airport transit (especially an older person or a person struggling with bags, packages, kids, and/or luggage). This may seem like common courtesy, but unfortunately it’s not that common these days.
- Give away something nice that you hadn’t planned to give up (being led by and obedient to the Holy Spirit).
- Pay for someone else’s groceries or gas whom you will never see again.
- Walk up to a stranger and hand him/her a $5/$10/$20 bill and wish them a nice day.
- Give someone a sincere compliment.
- Pick up a dining neighbor’s tab.
- Call someone who is on your mind, someone you haven’t talked to in a while, and say hi so they know you thought of them. I didn’t do that last year and regret it.
There are endless possibilities to bring joy to a random person for no specific reason. Not all of them require money.
Have you ever been blessed with or blessed someone with a RAK? What happened and how did you feel afterward?