perform a Random Act of Kindness every day, for an entire year. Can you do it?

Archive for the ‘April’ tag

The value of small acts of kindness

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When I was in high school one of my friends launched a group called Random Acts of Kindness, built on a simple principle of sharing small gestures of humanity with other peers on campus. It seemed a silly idea to me at the time.

Some days the students stood at the entrance to our cafeteria, offering hugs to kids bustling between classes. Another morning they placed yellow daffodils on the desks of each teacher. When my friend asked me to help with one of their projects — handing out small care packages before final exams — I scoffed at the idea. How much impact could these silly gestures have? Besides, I didn’t know half the students I was trading glances with.

But in light of recent tragedies — the bombing in Boston and countless other misfortunes that don’t always command the same media attention — these small acts of kindness seem to take on a new meaning, especially in an increasingly anonymous world. Like many people after hearing news of the bombings, I felt a wave of despair.

Social media sites seemed to erupt with the same anguish – users claiming they’d given up on humanity and couldn’t understand the source of such evil. “Where is the love?” shared one friend over Facebook. That frustration was hardly misplaced, but in addition to the usual fundraisers that crop up around these tragedies, there’s something to be said for such small acts of kindness.

Walking through the University of Washington campus Monday afternoon I can remember simmering in my own sadness after getting off the phone with a friend who’d be in the marathon. Rounding the corner, I came across a small cluster of students handing out flowers. One smiled ear-to-ear before passing me a tulip. The gesture was so effortless and genuine, it caught me off guard, and put me strangely at ease.

“Have a good day,” she said, as if to a friend.

Empathy can make itself felt in many small ways. It’s understandable and even important to feel moments of grief after these events, but I think one of the greatest ways to heal is to remind ourselves of the humanity around us.

I often forget it myself. Waiting for the bus at the end of a long day, my usual stance is to plug in my earphones and block out the world, shrugging my shoulders when somebody asks for bus money, even though I know I have at least a dollar to spare in pocket change.

But in an increasingly anonymous world, even a smile can go a long way. And as my high school friend understood, these gestures shouldn’t be limited to moments of tragedy.


Contact Bellevue Reporter Staff writer Celina Kareiva at or 425-453-4290.

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Written by RAKproject

April 18th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

RAK #107 – Paid for Stranger’s Lunch

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RAK #107 – another old standby…I paid for the car behind me in line at the drive-thru. I didn’t have any RAKnotes with me, but told the cashier to tell the other car’s owner to ‘pay it forward’, so I’m hoping this made their day.


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April 17th, 2013 at 3:23 pm

#26Acts2: Acts of kindness in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy

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After the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., NBC News National and International Correspondent Ann Curry asked the public to perform 26 acts of kindness: one for each shooting victim. Now, in #26Acts2, she is on Twitter again asking for more random acts of kindness, this time in honor of victims of the bombings at the 26th mile of the Boston Marathon.

Tag your acts of kindness with hashtag #26Acts2.

Read more HERE.

Written by RAKproject

April 16th, 2013 at 10:54 am

RAK #104 – Washed and Detailed Wife’s Car

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RAK #104 – I borrowed my wife’s car today to have it washed and detailed; she is often too busy to get these things done, and I wanted to do something nice for her. She loved it!


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April 14th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

RAK #102 – Helped a Friend

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RAK #102 – tonight I helped a friend with some car issues; her children somehow managed to jam the car keys into the outside door lock, and we could not get them out.  I stayed with her for a while until her ex-husband could bring the extra set of keys to her, and she was really grateful not to be alone.  Just a simple gesture for a friend.


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April 12th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

RAK #101 – Random RAKnotes

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RAK #101 – another old standby…I left some inspirational RAKnotes in random places for strangers to find at the grocery store…in carts, on shelves. Hopefully it helps make someone’s day who needs it.


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April 12th, 2013 at 10:01 pm

RAK #97 – Thanked a Soldier

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RAK #97 – on my way into a store, I noticed a soldier loading groceries into her car.  I told her ‘thank you’ and that I appreciate her service as I walked by.  She responded “wow, thanks!” with a huge smile.  Such a simple act of kindness, and it brightened someone’s day.

I encourage you to do this for someone today!  It doesn’t have to be someone in the armed forces – police officers, firemen and women, postal workers – c’mon, be creative!


Written by RAKproject

April 7th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

RAK #96 – Helped Strangers with Car Battery

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RAK #96 – Earlier this week, I stopped and offered help to a stranger that didn’t need assistance.  Tonight was a different story.

At a local shopping center, I noticed a car in the parking lot with a raised hood and a teenage girl holding it up.  A storm was moving in, and it was cold and windy, and not very fun to be outdoors.  I got into my car, and decided to offer help, so I drove over to the car, and noticed that another car was there, attached with battery cables.

I parked, got out, and walked over the group.  It turned out to be a Mom and daughter had a dead battery, and they called a friend to help jumpstart the car, but it wasn’t working.  I stayed with them for about 20 minutes, while they called an auto parts store to buy a new battery.  It was near closing, and they couldn’t make it in time, but I suggested they have the store leave the battery outside, and that they can go pick it up with the friend and replace the current battery themselves.  I helped them remove the current dead car battery, and explained how to install the new battery, and sent them on their way.  They were very grateful for the help.

Yes, it was cold, and windy, and not very fun, but it was the right thing to do.  It’s never too cold or too windy to help someone.


Written by RAKproject

April 5th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

RAK Roundup: Why we should care about Random Acts of Kindness

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Imagine this: you’re sitting in your car after a long day at work, waiting for your turn in the Tim Hortons drive-thru and when you get to the window you find out that your coffee has already been taken care of.

“The person ahead of you paid for it,” the cashier tells you.

Suddenly, the long – and possibly bad – day you’ve been having is all the brighter. And so you decide to do the same, paying the bill for the person behind you.

And it goes on. And on.

There’s an epidemic taking over Tim Hortons’ drive-thrus lately, and people are calling it “pouring it forward.”

Read More:

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April 4th, 2013 at 11:52 pm

RAK #95 – Bought Lunch for Stranger

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RAK #95 – while stopping for some grub at a local unhealthy restaurant chain, I bought lunch for the person in the car behind me, and also gave the employee in the drive-thru a RAKnote and candy.  This may not be a new idea, but it’s always a great one.

If I were really smart, I’d stop eating the junk food and just do the RAK…


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April 4th, 2013 at 11:40 pm