134 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness

random acts of kindness ideas

The devastation of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy has prompted people to start asking themselves, “What can I do to change this?” and “How can we prevent this from happening again?”

Ann Curry says, “If you do good, you’ll feel good.” She suggests that we all perform 26 Acts of Kindness, 1 act of kindness for every single life that was lost in the shooting (can’t help but cry as I write this).

Here are some ideas to help you spread the kindness. Not everyone is bad. Don’t lose your faith in humanity.

Let’s do what we can, right now, today.

134 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness…

1. Befriend the lonely person

2. Introduce yourself to your neighbors

3. Compliment a stranger

4. Sing Christmas Carols at a nursing home - Then have everyone over to your house after for cookies and cocoa

5. Adopt an animal from the pound

6. Donate your talents

7. Send paper thank you notes

8. Pay for the coffee, the toll, or the bus fare for the person behind you

9. Let the person who seems rushed cut in front of you

10. Hold your tongue - Pause before speaking or writing when you are mad, agitated or doubtful

11. Be empathetic - Really try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes

12. Be thoughtful - Did your co-worker have a bad day today? Bring her a coffee tomorrow morning.

13. Hold the door open for someone

14. Play cupid - You know those two people who would totally be great together and they just haven’t met yet? Get them in the same room together and let nature take it’s course. Helpful hint from a wannabe match-maker (me) don’t tell them you want to set them up and then sit there and watch them all night long to see how it’s going and if you were right (been there, done that, totally doesn’t work. All I’ve got to say about that is, hello awkward!). Introduce them and then bring up the common ground that they share. “Betty Sue, you’re from New Orleans just like Tim Bob here!” (you like those names don’t you). They just might be a match, and then, at their wedding (we’re going full-on optimist here) you’ll be able to tell everyone, “Told you so!”

15. Give your boxes to someone who is moving

16. Be thankful

17. Be encouraging

18. Let people merge-in during traffic

19. Help people move

20. Say “Thank you”, a lot - Everyone works hard. Thanks are especially important to the postal worker, the government employee, the DMW clerk, the bus driver, the grocery store cashiers (especially when you bring up all that produce and they have to look-up every single code) and baggers

21. Call your parents and tell them you love them

22. Let your partner watch their show - And don’t roll your eyes or huff and puff about it

23. Don’t be annoying - Make a conscious effort to avoid doing the things you know annoy your spouse (or roommates)

24. Send your friend a letter

25. Volunteer at a department of corrections or juvenile hall

26. Spread your skills - If you have a skill (photography, outfit styling, cooking, website programming, etc.) and you know someone who has expressed an interest in what you do offer to teacher them what you know

27. Give freely - Go through your things and give freely to those in need

28. Have a shirt that your friend always compliments you on? Why not give it to her?

29. Offer to get groceries for your friend or relative who has a broken leg or other mobility problem

30. Make extra copies of photos and send them to the people who are in the images

31. Offer to help your friend unpack

32. Call everyone you know and tell them you love them

33. Give warm clothes, shoes, and boots to the homeless

34. Help someone whose car has broken down

35. Connect people to each other

36. Walk the cart back to the front of the store

37. Reach out to a person who has made a difference in your life

38. Send a care package to a solider

39. Listen when no one else wants to

40. Be patient

41. Try to find goodness in the person you don’t like

42. Ask someone if they’ve lost some weight or tell them that they’re “just glowing”

43. Know someone who just had a baby or other major life event? - Bring a meal, offer to clean up their house or do a load of laundry for them.

44. Do you know that your partner hates doing the dishes but you don’t really mind doing them? Do them.

45. Don’t nag - Even if you really, really, really want to

46. Be kind to yourself - Make peace with your past mistakes. Use that knowledge to help others who might be going through the same thing.

47. Let it go

48. Be someone’s cheerleader

49. Already sweeping leaves or shoveling the snow off your sidewalk? - Do your neighbors sidewalk too.

50. Do nice things and don’t tell anyone about it

51. Notice a kid being well-behaved? - Tell their parents how good they are while the kid is standing there. It will encourage the kid to continue being good, and will make the parents feel good.

52. (Along the same lines as #51) Compliment people in front of others - For some reason compliments hold more weight when they’re done in front of others.

53. Bring donuts or other delicious sweets to work

54. Give chocolate generously and often;)

55. Tell your boss how much you like working for them and how much you’ve learned from them over the years

56. Bake a cake for the birthday person

57. Don’t complain

58. Be the eternal optimist of the group 

59. Recognize the good in others

60. Look for the best in the situation

61. Leave nice comments on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook

62. Stand up for the underdog

63. Come to the rescue of someone in need

64. Smile easily and laugh - Even at the so-so jokes

65. Share - Even if you don’t really want to

66. Let someone else have your seat on the crowded bus, light-rail or subway

67. Rather than throwing away obviously lost items turn them into the “Lost and Found” desk

68. Do the task no one else wants to do

69. Create a happy book - Gather all your good memories and thoughts into 1 spot

70. Keep a pen on hand - Lend it to people when needed

71. Don’t leave others waiting for you - Be on time

72. Fill up the gas tank and/or wash the car for your partner and then leave candy on the dashboard for them to find in the morning before work.

73. Tell your partner how amazingly “hot” they are

74. Tell your partner what a good hair/butt day they’re having

75. Tell your partners parents how talented your partner is at something

76. Tip generously 

77. Say “Hi” to strangers

78. Smile at people

79. Help lost people - See tourists wandering around lost? Help them out. Be their new local friend. Someone did this for us once and we were so, so thankful.

80. Offer a ride to someone who is car-less

81. Help that stressed parent by offering to babysit

82. If the work-day is running late and you know your co-worker has somewhere they have to be offer to stay late so they don’t have to worry about figuring it out

83. Thank your co-workers for doing a good job, for getting extra supplies, for thinking ahead, for being easy to work with

84. Donate your old car and clothes to charities

85. Go to your friend’s kid’s event

86. Buy the stuff the neighbor kid is selling - Moderately, of course;)

87. Stop at the neighbor kid’s lemonade stand and make a purchase

88. Create a “Dress-Up” box for a kid

89. Skype or FaceTime with the kids in your life - My nieces and nephews LOVE FaceTiming and I love to see them smiling and showing off their latest creation or other things that they’re prod of :)

90. Pick up the tab - Go up to the waiter and pay when no one is watching (of course only if you’re in the financial situation to do so)

91. Avoid gossip - No need to spread any negativity

92. Give the painter, electrician, or handyman a glass of water or offer them a pop

93. Be understanding - Assume the best in others. If someone is running late or has called in sick don’t assume they’re trying to get out of something.

94. Go to your friends art opening

95. Spread the word - If you know someone who takes pictures, paints interiors, is a super nanny, a wonderful accountant, etc. Let others know. People who work for themselves need word of mouth referrals more than anyone else.

96. Be inviting - Ask people to do something with you

97. Leave extra time in the parking meter

98. Don’t write the complaint letter that you’re thinking about writing

99. Hang out with the person who just moved to town

100. Drop quarters on the sidewalk for people to find

101. Leave a whole bunch of pennies heads-up for kids to find on the sidewalk or other public places - Kids love finding heads-up pennies

102. Be understanding of traveling parents with the grumpy or noisy kids

103. Pack extra snacks and offer them to your co-workers or friends

104. Leave good books (or other nice stuff) for your fellow apartment dwellers to take from your shared common spaces

105. Compliment people on their homes

106. Forgive the person you used to hate back in the day

107. Make amends for the wrongs you have done

108. Respect your partner and don’t make decisions without their input

109. Let someone else have their way without putting up a fight about it

110. Donate your vacation or sick days to a person at work who is struggling with cancer or another horrible illness

111. Participate - The people who organize events always worry that no one will take part. That ugly sweater contest or bake-off needs you!

112. Respond timely – Even if you have to say, “Hey, just wanted to let you know I got your email and I’ll get right back to you.” People like to know they’re not being ignored.

113. Don’t leave people hanging - If you’re not into something someone suggests just tell them so (especially in a professional or work-related situation – don’t act like they’re a date that you want to stand-up/avoid- not professional or cool, at all. Be kind.)

114. Lend your expertise - Know intellectual property law? Help out a friend who really needs that assist.

115. Give CD’s to your friends that have your favorite songs on them

116. Send a surprise book to someone from an online retailer

117. Don’t let your friends (or co-workers or acquaintances) be alone on the holidays

118. Listen to someone’s life story - Yes, the whole thing

119. Be friendly on public transportation

120. Keep your bad attitude to yourself

121. Decorate for the holidays

122. Be happy for others

123. Be super enthusiastic when people have good news!

124. Don’t butt-in or give advice when you’re not asked for it - Have confidence in others; trust that they are fully capable of being in charge of their own lives.

125. Mind your own business

126. Selflessly help (and promote) others

127. Give a glowing recommendation

128. Tell the person who is looking for a job when you hear about an opening

129. Know that someone was Valedictorian, Homecoming Queen, or Prom King in high school? Tell others because they can’t tell people themselves (without it sounding like they’re bragging)

130. Call your in-laws

131. Help people out who might be feeling awkward

132. Generously give your knowledge

133. Have you discovered something that has changed your life? - Share what you know and inspire others to change their lives too

134. Spread the goodness - Let others know you are on a mission to spread kindness and they will be inspired to do the same

 

You can be the change you want to see. Let’s do what we can, together.

 

How do you spread kindness? What are your ideas for random acts of kindness and will you be doing the 26 Acts of Kindness challenge? 

 

illustration (sans text) giovana milanezi

33 comments

in Social, Take Action, Things To Do

33 Comments

  1. Allie // December 19, 2012

    This is a sweet and special post.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Budget and the Beach // December 20, 2012

    Thank you for spreading this message!

    • anonomous // May 23, 2014

      Wow, you are really pretty

  3. ReeRee Rockette // December 20, 2012

    The small things always matter. If we all tried to do the tiny things,some of the big things would never materialise.

    Super cute illustration.

  4. CHris Howes // December 21, 2012

    Thank you, great ideas!

  5. Marianney // December 21, 2012

    I love this! Was just checking out the 26Acts facebook page this morning. I am so inspired by this project! I hope it keeps going all year.

  6. Alice // December 22, 2012

    Thank you for sharing these. They are great and the movement is inspiring. In a convergence of kindness and frugality that I think you might appreciate, I recently had an extra coupon for 50% off any item at a craft store and knew I would not be able to use it, so I gave it away to the person behind me in line. The recipient said, “You’re awesome! Thank you!” It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day a little better, and your day will almost certainly be better for it too.

  7. Heather // December 23, 2012

    I like this movement. Especially since the town is saying to please not send anything else and to do something in the name of the victims. I also like the idea of helping out those in need in your own home town. That is the spirit of what Christmas was initially about – not the super hyper “buy, buy, buy” mentality that it has become for most. I especially like the idea of donating time to someone else. Volunteering to watch a toddler for free is a big blessing for many young couples, especially those that do not have family close by. I also like the idea of tipping and / or over-tipping those who perform services for you. Be careful about home baked goods though. Unfortunately, many school districts now have mandates that ALL HOMEMADE GOODS BE THROWN OUT RATHER THAN CONSUMED. They claim that it is a safety issue.

  8. Lauren // December 23, 2012

    what a great list…and one I think i will keep referring to! :)

  9. Alicia @HumbleFoodie // December 26, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing the #26acts idea. Reading this post and then the NBC page with all the pictures and screen captures of wonderful things people are doing for strangers made me cry in the best possible way. It’s beautiful that people can try to bring something positive out of such a tragedy. I really appreciate your many frugal ideas- I’m not in a place to spend a lot of money but I’m still wholeheartedly participating. Thank you!

  10. Marge McCleary // December 26, 2012

    Wonderful list! I,m going to make copies to share . Thank you so much

  11. Vickii // December 28, 2012

    I LOVE this! Love it love it love it! I’ve printed it out, I’ll carry it around with me so it’s in my consciousness and I’ll try and do as many as I can. Thank you :)

  12. Shel // December 28, 2012

    There were 27 victims that day… let’s not forget the mother… (should be 27 acts of kindness)

    • Anna Newell Jones // December 28, 2012

      That’s a really good point. I mistakenly thought the mother was included in the count of 26.

  13. nautiluscarly // December 28, 2012

    Love this :)

  14. Samantha // December 29, 2012

    There are so many things people can do to help others. This year I’m finishing up 366 random acts of kindness. Some of the things I did was
    give toys to a local group collecting for foster kids
    take food to a food bank
    leave coins in kids books at the library
    Commented on people’s blogs
    Smiled at everyone
    Held the door
    Gave directions and a map to someone who was lost.
    Ordered magazine subscriptions for a nursing home.
    Shopped local. Supported local crafters, farmers, and businesses.

  15. Heidi S. // December 31, 2012

    Thank you for sharing these ideas! I am just beginning a year of kindness for 2013. I have also started a blog to document my year. I included a link to your blog to share your fabulous ideas. Thanks again!

  16. Rachel // January 2, 2013

    I love this post! So many great ideas that I’ll definitely be using as I embark on my own challenge of 365 RAOK :)

  17. Helena // January 21, 2013

    LOVE this. Just reading them made me all excited to be little more thoughtful. Esp. love the idea to drop quarters on the ground, for people to find. Finding them always makes me feel lucky!!

    • Anna Newell Jones // January 28, 2013

      it is super fun to find coins huh! makes me feel like a kid whenever i find them.

  18. Cate // January 31, 2013

    This is the most beautiful thing that I have found on a blog or website in a long time (including all the pretty, pretty things on pinterest)! Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  19. Chris // March 19, 2013

    This is just amazing! Thank you!

  20. Lauren // March 25, 2013

    I’m so so happy that people are doing the 26 acts of kindness! I know I’m really late… But it’s never too late to be nice, right?? :D another idea I had (because I’m in eighth grade) was, with my best friend, put an inspirational note in every locker in the locker room on the last week of school. We aren’t going to tell anyone except the pe teacher, and I’m really excited!! I think the 26 acts of kindness is a GREAT way to show respect and love for all the families affected by the sandy hook tragedy, thank you so much <3 :)

  21. megan // April 2, 2013

    Per idea #42, be sensitive about people’s feelings on the topic. As an overweight person, I personally do not like comments about weight loss. Not everyone will feel the same way and, despite recognizing their good intentions, when people tell me that I’ve lost weight or that I look “better” or “great” now, I get a little sad that I didn’t warrant a comment like that when I was heavier. Weight is a prickly subject for us that struggle with it. I love so many of the other ideas, just know your audience with this one. If someone has publicly been working on their weight loss goals, this would be a great compliment. If not, maybe leave out the “lost weight” part and just tell them they look good without emphasis on their weight.

  22. TILDA // October 16, 2013

    Thank you for those suggested items of kindness. They are truly wonderful and I’ll use some of them in my business and ministry. Blest and highly favored You are!
    Tilda King- Martin

  23. maury // January 24, 2014

    You will never believe this; but a mutual friend suggested a “get-to-know-you” ice cream date with a co-worker three years ago. After two HOURS, we knew we were soul mates and married 15 months later. She was an honored guest at our wedding! I had declared over and over for for years that I would never get married again…then I made a liar out of myself at 57!

  24. meli // February 9, 2014

    very special. easy to forget, nice to remember and keep in mind. have bookmarked this to read it frequently
    thank you <3

  25. Crystal R // February 25, 2014

    I have always been a kind person, almost to a fault. After having my home robbed by people I had been helping who lived near my neighborhood, everything changed. My other neighbors no longer would speak to me and my husband blamed me for being TOO KIND and never spoke to me again. It is now 3 yrs. later. I have been alone but never gave up my sense of being kind. I recently had a delivery from winning all 12 days of Ellen DeGeneres prizes and do not have 1 friend or relative to share these rewards. It is my mission to find those people who have never flown in an airplane, never stayed in a hotel, or who do not own a computer, to share all of this joy. People need to remember that kindness does not cost a thing and will be remembered for eternity. Perhaps I can save myself while I am helping others. God has been carrying me for a long time and now it is my turn to carry others. Mahalo for this special page filled with wonderful thoughts and ideas. We do not need to wait for something terrible to happen to show a little kindness towards one another. Opening a door or saying please and thank you can make all the difference in the world to the other person. Try it.

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 3, 2014

      Those little kindnesses do go such a long way. Especially because we have no idea how much it might mean to the other person if they’re going through a particularly tough time it could make a big difference in their day, or a little kindness could make their good day even better!

  26. Sarah Adams // March 7, 2014

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas! I will make an effort to do these things at home, work, gym and every where else I go.

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