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

Archive for the ‘RAK Ideas’ tag

A kind word and a smile don’t cost a penny…and yet, they’re a priceless gift

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Anne McTavishCALGARY, AB, May 30, 2013/Troy Media/ – My Uncle Fred died recently, and the world lost a truly kindhearted man. His presence will be missed, but his legacy of kindness will live on.

His wasn’t the big-event, the splashy show of doing something good, the type of thing that dazzles your mind but that you quickly forget. His was the small, apt kindness that warmed your heart and snuggled into your memory. A kind word. A smile. And often, just being there for you.

More than ever, we need kindness. Our society is becoming more aggressively competitive. Today, it’s only winning that counts. How you play the game only matters when it helps you win the game.

We are entertained by violent actions and by violent language. It’s the cutting comment and putdown that get the applause.

These are not the types of behaviours that foster acceptance, respect or trust, attributes that are essential for social cohesion. In other words, our social fabric is fraying because aggression, competitiveness and violence are shredding our social bonds.

But we are not powerless. We can do something to counteract the shredding.

We can be kind.

It can be as easy and simple as saying thank you. Whenever I buy lunch from a fast food outlet, I make a point of saying, “Thank you for making my lunch.” Invariably, they break out into a smile. I’ve just made their day, in a positive way, and their smile warms my heart.

We can practice random acts of kindness. When we notice an attractive outfit, it’s easy to compliment the person on their outfit. We can buy a few $5 gift certificates from a coffee shop and hand them out at random. We can hold the door open for someone, or let someone who seems to be in a hurry go ahead of us in line. We can donate used books to a school library or nursing home or seniors’ residence.

The idea for random acts of kindness apparently started in 1982 in Sausalito, California, when Anne Herbert scrawled “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat. The idea caught on because the act of kindness benefits the giver as well as the receiver.

Acts of kindness trigger good feelings and reduce stress. An act of kindness triggers the release of dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter) and oxytocin (the social bonding hormone). It also triggers the vagus nerve, whose effects are known as the relaxation response.

And those are just the effects it has on the giver and the receiver. Each act of kindness re-weaves a thread in our social fabric.

The idea of random acts of kindness has grown to the point that The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has its own website with ideas, information and resources.

Remember, it doesn’t take a huge effort or big dollars to be kind. A kind word and a smile don’t cost a penny and yet, they’re a priceless gift.

Thank you, Uncle Fred.

Troy Media columnist Anne McTavish is a conflict coach and lawyer, and her website is Her book, Beyond Anger Management, is due for release shortly.

Written by RAKproject

May 30th, 2013 at 11:57 am

Random Acts of Kindness surprises Quad City shoppers

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It was a lucky day for Quad City shoppers who found themselves on the receiving end of some random acts of kindness Monday.

Laura Bettenhausen’s morning stop at the gas pump got a whole lot brighter when Jennifer Naeve surprised her with $20 towards her purchase.

“$20 is great, $20 for anything is great, much less gas. Definitely have to pay it forward,” said Bettenhausen.

In celebration of their branch’s grand opening, workers from Ascentra Credit Union spent the day surprising their Bettendorf neighbors with the random acts of kindness. They called the program “Stepping Up,” and made stops paying for gas bills, drinks and snacks, and lunch tabs at restaurants near their new 53rd Avenue location.

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Written by RAKproject

May 13th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

“Be Delightful,” get McDonald’s reward

without comments through the end of May, McDonald’s wants you to practice being kind.

McDonald’s is Tampa Bay, Florida, is challenging residents to perform random acts of kindness as part of a “Be Delightful” campaign. During the month of May, participating fans will be rewarded with a gift card for a new Egg White Delight McMuffin when they tweet @McDTampaBay an act of kindness that includes the tag #BeDelightful.

Each unique random act of kindness a person shares on Twitter – holding the door open for a stranger, helping a neighbor, letting a car ahead of you in traffic, etc. – must include a tag with @McDTampaBay and include #BeDelightful.

An example of a qualifying tweet would be “@McDTampaBay you would be so proud of me! I rescued a kitten from a tree today #BeDelightful.”

The free food offer is redeemable in Tampa Bay only and will expire Dec. 31, 2013.

To read the full participant guidelines, visit


Written by RAKproject

May 2nd, 2013 at 11:23 am

‘Random Acts of Pizza’ sent to thank Boston-area first responders

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