Where’s your Nice RAK? (Random Acts of Kindness)

The concept of Random Acts of Kindness (or a Nice RAK, as I like to refer to them) are really important to me. I call them Nice RAKs because…well…I think they’re your best asset as a human being and who doesn’t appreciate a Nice RAK? Just saying.

Photo Courtesy of DoSomething.org

But these little RAKs have been important to me ever since I was little and was on the receiving end. And I will never forget the day when my dad came home shocked that someone in the McDonald’s drive-thru line had purchased his meal for him before he even drove up to the window. He responded by paying that kindness forward and doing the same for someone else later on. And then this year during our personal finance class with Dave Ramsey, Hubs and I listened as one of our classmates talked about how a woman randomly handed them $100 because they wanted to help buy these people’s daughter new shoes as her monthly RAK.

Each time I hear about, or see for myself, or  even receive this kind of kindness, my whole world changes.

There is a lot of  bad stuff in the world, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not even know how to begin to combat the world’s hunger, disease, and war issues. And the truth is, sometimes it’s not within our limited, individual power to make that huge dent in the world we dreamt of making when we were kids. That’s not to say don’t stop trying. After all, every little bit does help.

But you know what you can do today and right now in this very moment? You have the power to help someone NOT have a crappy day.

You have the power to show people that despite our disconnectedness living in our technological society– you do know they exist beyond a screen, beyond a statistic and beyond a car that cut you off on the highway.

You have the power to remind someone else that there is still good in the world and they are not forgotten or ever truly alone.

After all, if we can’t count on each other, then what do we have as a society? A very dark, dreary and scary place. And I’m not going to lie…. lately, our world seems to be getting scarier and scarier.

With the tragic school shooting that happened at Sandy Hook in Newtown,Connecticut, many people are doing 26 random acts of kindness– one for each victim. I think it’s a beautiful way to honor their memory, and an amazing movement that is happening all over our country.

But what if it didn’t stop there after 26? What if there was a 27th or a 28th? What if instead, people caught the good-will bug and couldn’t stop the movement? What if people dedicated one Nice RAK per month? Or even everyday?

Wouldn’t the world be a better place? Wouldn’t you become a better person?

I know I sometimes get caught up in what’s going on in my own personal bubble. But if we all made a conscientious effort to think outside of ourselves on a regular basis? It would completely revolutionize the way we think, the way we see people, and the way we connect with the world.

Society may seem like it’s falling apart from every angle, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the power to hold it together.

So where’s your Nice RAK? Isn’t it time you flaunt your best assets? Trust me, the world will never be the same.

One of the most powerful sayings I’ve ever heard, said by a coworker in my department, is “See a need. Fill a need.” Why can’t that be everyone’s motto?

To get you started, here’s a list of simple things you can do. Some of these have been inspired by friends. Some of them cost no money at all. My personal favorite I try to do whenever I hear of a need is to make a meal for someone who is sick, going through a rough time or just had a baby, etc. Cooking is one of my favorite things in the world and it usually doesn’t cost too much or take that much time to bake a ziti or something else yummy.

  • Make a meal for someone in need
  • Buy a random person’s lunch
  • Pay for the person’s meal in the car behind you in the drive-thru
  • Pay for the person’s coffee that is standing in line behind you
  • Write an encouraging card to a coworker and leave it anonymously on their desk
  • Hand out cash (large or small amounts…doesn’t matter. Always a favorite)
  • Pay for someone else’s gas/ leave money on the pump
  • Help someone repair a flat tire on the side of the road
  • Instead of passing a homeless person or giving them money, offer to buy them a meal or groceries
  • Offer to babysit a new mom’s child so she can have a day or evening to herself/with her husband
  • Bake muffins for your coworkers for breakfast “just because”
  • Pay for the person’s groceries in front of you
  • Leave an obscenely large tip for a waiter or waitress to make their day
  • Mow or weed a neighbor’s lawn/garden for free
  • Make a craft/card for a person (or two, or three or four) at a nursing home
  • (If you’re rich) Purchase a catered buffet dinner on a holiday for ICU patients’ families (I heard of this one before and it’s on my own person bucket list)
  • Bring coffee or cocoa to a worker who has a late shift or is outside and cold (hotel concierge, valet, nurse, security guard/police man etc)
  • Look your cashier in the eye and actually talk with them and say thank you and ask them how their day is
  • Go out of your way to thank a stranger who’s job serves you in some way (firefighter, policeman, etc)
  • Leave a surprise in your mailbox for your mailman
  • Instead of getting angry in traffic, blow a bubble wand to pass the time. (It’ll help you keep your cool and amuse the people around you as a result).
  • Give up a weekend to help someone out without them even having to ask
  • Make an effort to compliment someone on something whether it’s their outfit or something they said, etc
  • Take the time to call an old friend or family member and just chat with them for a little while on the phone and remind them you’re thinking about them
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