Friday, October 16, 2009


And so Good Friday is upon began in the most un-holy of ways, which is waking up at 4:30am for no apparent reason with my two year old and not being able to fall back asleep. It could only go up from there really.

But truthfully, I was sort of stumped today. I contemplated many random acts of kindness for the day, but couldn't figure out what sort of connected with me. First thing I did was figure out I wasn't really sick. I mean, no cough today, only a mild headache, so yes, I could visit my friend with newborn twins. I began scouring recipes trying to figure out what the best dish would be to take over there. I decided on a warm French stew with crusty bread and Zinfandel. I don't often make stew. It is not in my repertoire. But after Lucy died, I got only two meals--my friend Laura made my favorite spinach pie she does so well, and another acquaintance brought a picnic basket with lamb stew, crusty bread, and red wine. It was January and colder than a witch's tetita. It was a beautiful night for my husband and I; we felt warmed and loved and remembered. I wanted to give her that feeling too, of being loved and warmed.

So, off I went to the market. I decided this was my random act of kindness. In the parking lot of my market is a Starbuck's. I always very very occasionally stop off before shopping for a latte. So, I stumbled up. "Uh, I know this sounds strange, but today I would like to do some random acts of kindness for strangers, and I wanted to buy two five dollar gift certificates to give to strangers so they can buy themselves a coffee. It is sort of pissing down rain out there, so leaving it on a car seems wrong. Can I pay for them and leave them for you? Then the next two people that come in after I leave, can you please use it towards their order?" And she beamed.
"Wow, that is the coolest thing I have ever heard. Sure I can."
"Can you wait until I leave, because I don't want anyone to think they have to thank me?"
"Sure." She concocted my drink, and putzed around back there for a few minutes, then came back to the counter. "Um, Starbucks would like to pay for this project for you today."
"It really is such a great thing. People don't care about others anymore. Starbucks wants to support you."

This is the thing about doing random acts of kindness. People do kind things for you right back. In fact, after my last post, I received this email:

Thank you for your great words regarding the kindness of strangers as well as sharing your world with so many. It’s good to be reminded and to remember.

Au Bon Pain would like to share some kindness with you and your family. Please send me your address and we will mail some treats.

You know, I mentioned the bakery in my last post, and truth be told, yes, my loving devotion to a company is easily won through free baked goods.I heart you, Au Bon Pain.

Back to today, I ended up buying an extra five dollar gift certificate from Starbies, and writing this note:

hi, i know this must seem strange, but i have decided to do some random acts of kindness for strangers today. so on this rainy friday, treat yourself to a coffee, tea, baked good or whatever. enjoy it and remember be kind to someone today.

I would like to say I picked a random vehicle, but truth is, I picked a hybrid, because karmically, it balances my SUV. I put it on the door handle, and went to do my shopping. How can doing something so pollyanish feel so revolutionary? I had this conspiratorial feeling walking through the market. Was it her car? His? The fish monger? Who? I had a temptation to ask them to send me an email, but in the end, I decided against it. I want it to be anonymous and thankless. The card was still on the car, now soaked when I went to my vehicle. I do wonder what happened, but I just have to assume someone somewhere enjoyed a mochaccino or some other gooey froufrou drink that they never splurge on.

I even donated the $1 to a food bank when the cashier asked. Hey, I was trying to be good.

I returned home, sort of buzzing. On my front porch is a beautiful bouquet of flowers.I bounced on my toes. YIPPEE. Flowers! I opened the card to read this:

Dear Angie, Here is the our International Babyloss Convention Random Act of Kindness for you. With love, Sall and Jess.

You know, Sally and Jess, you made my morning. Thank you for your act of kindness. I haven't stopped smiling.

So now it is your turn. What happened today during your random act of kindness? Did you get anything back? How did you feel? Did you see a reaction? Tell me.

*I wish I could take credit for this phrase and Good Friday, but this was coined by Danny Wallace, the author of Join Me. The book that gave me this idea. I still think he wouldn't mind me stealing it in the name of RAoKs.

EDITED TO ADD: I totally forgot that I took a picture of my daughter this morning in a gorgeous shirt made my my lovely, extremely talented co-clicker Jen. She is amazing and kind, and just sent it to us, you know, just about random acts of kindness. She has opened an ETSY shop called Little Star Shop. Go spread the love, folks. Maybe surprise someone you love with a handmade shirt. And get a load of my little baby in her beautiful shirt. OH, Jen also sewed a little butterfly button on the cuff for Lucy. Talk about making a lady cry.


  1. Brilliant :) This post has made me smile and cry at the same time. I think tomorrow will be my day for RAOK, it sounds like a wonderful idea


  2. Oh Angie that is so wondeful! I love that you are getting RAOKs thrown your way too! (I believe the man who started the whole RAOK thing is from the town I live in...not positive, but I do know a professor at one of the colleges did do something with this.) Anyway, I do have plans for this, but Emma & I are sick, so not sure I will be able to do it today, but I definitely will get to it!!! xx

  3. Gosh, this sounds lame - but I have not interacted with anyone yet! I woke late, with a heavy heart, and came to work where I've been alone all day.
    Yesterday, our waitress was on her last shift before she leaves for the Air Force, and we gave her a $20 tip on a $25 bill, because I thought she should be able to have a surprise bit of fun before boot camp - I wish we had been able to see her face, but we left asap. So it's not quite what I wanted, and not on the right day, but it's what I've got for now, and I've got a half a day left to rock!

  4. well, after forgetting today was random acts of kindness day then being reminded after speaking to you today i did two things. first thing was i called starbucks and told them it was our random acts of kindness friday and the next twenty dollars worth of coffee was on me!!! also, i asked them to pass it on and tell everyone that the only stipulation was to pass on the kindness. and then i hung up and thought, 'those poor starbucks workers aren't getting anything!' so i sent them an extra-large pizza for lunch! woo-hoo!

  5. I'm glad you liked the flowers although it wasn't really a random act of kindness on our part, more a very specific gift for a wonderful and caring friend!

    As for my other acts, well they were thwarted somewhat by not actually going anywhere other than the park and my parents' house, but I secretly cleaned their bathroom and left a smiley face picture stuck to the mirror so hopefully that counts! I've promised myself to do something nice for a stranger at the very next opportunity!

    I think I'm going to try and have Good Friday every week from now on.


  6. As I read the first sentence, I was like "I know I am not so good at all those holidays, but I am pretty sure that is in the spring...."

    It's hard to force kindness, to fit it to a schedule, so don't stress over picking a great one!. Should you not help that old lady at the grocery store, just because it's monday?

    But it sounds like you had a great karma loop today!

    and what a cutie- in galoshes!

  7. Wow, so exciting the RAoKs are coming in.

    Ya Chun, really, being kind everyday is the goal, but RAoKs are about going above and beyond. While i would love to be able to donate to the food bank every day, or buy gift cards every day, it simply is not realistic for me. But personally, I always hold open the door for people. The day itself isn't important, be it a Monday or a Friday, just that it is a conscious choice to do something kind for someone else, surprise them, make their day nicer without expectation of getting anything in return. Most everyone here graces blogs of grieving mothers with beautiful, supportive comments daily. That is certainly a RAoK in and of itself. Just my thoughts. My previous post might explain it better.

  8. Ahh, so cool Angie! And a great way to cap off what was a pretty shitty week for me, for reasons I don't need to go in to here.
    So glad you liked the flowers, even if my pregnant brain messed up and let you in on the secret. Seriously. My RAoK wasn't a huge feat by any means. I sent Simon off to work with a batch of double chocolate pecan brownies. Everyone was pretty impressed I'm told and kept asking Simon, so why did your wife bake these again? "Just because" he told them. It does feel nice. Thanks for inspiring us.
    ps: if your sister wants my address to send me pizza, I can so give it to her!!!!

  9. I love random acts of kindness. I love knowing that I can make someone's day just a little brighter. I had a super busy day at work and I always go home afterward so no chance to do one now.

  10. Well, I don't want to make excuses, but being bedrested in the hospital meant I couldn't do something as cool as I wanted to, but my mom did bake and deliver two loaves of bread (banana chocolate chip and cranberry orange) to the nurses.

    I love this idea, I think what happened to you at Starbucks is magical. This made my day, Ang:)

  11. I did almost the same random act of kindness that you did, without reading this first. I am just about to post on my blog!

  12. well, i had to remind myself to be nice today as i found myself getting irritable. i couldn't figure out what to do, that would be anonymous. and then i knew it needed to involve ice-cream. so i went to a grocery store bought 4 packs of ice-cream bars and told the check out guy that i was doing a random acts of kindness project and wanted him to give the next 20 people free ice-cream bars. he wasn't so down with the idea though, said he wasn't allowed to do that, blah blah, then said i should talk to the manager who was very happy about it and said of course. but still the check out guy was lame, so i hope he actually did it. but i forgot to say anything about passing it on...anyways hope people enjoyed getting ice-cream on this strangely hot october day.

    i love hearing your story about starbucks angie, that was awesome.
    thanks for putting this in motion.


  13. Aaarrg, I so totally wanted to do this. I will officially make tomorrow my ROAK day. I love the idea. So much kindness has been sent our way these last 9 weeks, and actually since May when we found out about Caydens troubles. I want to pay it forward to the universe. I will be back tomorrow to let you know what you inspired.

  14. WOW. Wow to you, your friends, and your living proof that "corporation" does not = bad. It's all about people, and you are watering their good seeds. Look at 'em bloom.

    I did a very small little something today, about forty-five minutes ago when my first downtime since bkfst opened it up, but it feels too small to tell here. Still, thank you for inspiring me to do it. A great spiritual practice in so many ways.

  15. Still working on it. My little brain has been turning since your original post.
    I loved the story of the man who paid for you and your friends to have dinner!
    I'm sure your friend appreciated the meal and just imagine how pleased those Starbuck recipients were. And there were extra ones because of your initial act!
    Glad that you also received lots of kindness xo

  16. Dear Angie & all: I loved your stories...

    I have to admit... I had such a stressful day at work, I totally forgot about it. I just wanted to cry the whole day...

    Then - coming home in the evening and being cold, wet and miserable - I found a envelope (from Italy) in my mailbox. I opened it and it contains a handmade, silver seahorse on a beautiful necklace. I was stunned, laughing and crying... utter disbelief.

    Turns out this is from a lady I never met in RL but she felt like she wanted to thank me for the support I gave her online/on the phone. She is in an abusive relationship and needs to get out. I help her to do so (well, as far as one can help).

    That was my RAOK-day. Not exactly what I planned on. But I'm still beaming and admiring my beautiful seahorse... My time to give back will come.

  17. What a great way to spend the day! I have to work on this!!!

  18. Lovely. I'm so impressed by Starbucks! Wow.

    My random act of kindness is small, but when we were out and about yesterday I had the opportunity to take parking spots close to the store and then the bank and it was rainy and grey here. I waved other drivers to take the spots and parked further away. My younger two enjoyed splashing in the puddles on our walk through the rain and others got to dash in and out quickly.

    You are inspired! Glad you thought of this.

  19. Great idea, Angie.

    Incidentally I had the opportunity to complete a long-delayed good deed on Thursday. For various reasons it just couldn't wait a day but I thought of your post as I worked on my somewhat-less-than-random act.

    Glad you got to be on the receiving end too. Just like that story about the warm fuzzies.

  20. I bought munchkins for my office. Not so random I guess, but people seemed to appreciate a sweet treat. But then some of them yelled at me for ruining their diets. Maybe I need to find a different route!

  21. I did a few things, mostly involving making anonymous donations to good causes in honor of people who are missing someone they love. (By the way, check this out and read the mothers' bios for some perspective on being treated poorly after a great sorrow:

    On reflection, though, i have decided that my natural shyness and reticence about talking to strangers made me take too comfortable a route with this- it's easier to write a check than to show up face to face. So I am declaring a do-over and challenging myself to do something a little more direct and local this week.

  22. HI Angie

    Well my random act of kindness day was... different than i had planned. J and I went to the cinema on our anniversary outing and i thought, I'd buy a pair of tickts fro someone in the line behind us... but there was no line behind us!! As a matter of fact, it was a private viewing (not planned! ) we went to a 4:50 viewing on Fri afternoon and the entire cinema was empty (at least screen 7 (I don't know about the others!)...
    So I didn't get to do it...

    So Saturday I went to my local grocery shop and I was cueing up and noticed one of my fav check-out people being on duty, we always laugh about our "drugs" in my case fruit&nut bags. She loves chocolate bears<-- that's her thing. Anyway I parked my trolly, started loading the belt and then ran back to the sweet section and grabbed a bag of her favorite sweets to give to her as a present after i had bagged and paid for my groceries.

    I know, nothing big... and not anonymous , random in that it wasn't planned and it was only after I got into my car i realized this one might count as my RAOK... does it?

    xx Ines

  23. I loved this post Angie... it made me all warm and fuzzy. Doing for others always feels good. I have this thing where any time I am out, if there is someone eating in military uniform, I go to the front and pay their tab... same thing, I ask them not to tell them until I have left. You know that person (your coffee recipient, my soldier) will remember that. When people are kind, we remember.

    You are a karma superstar!

  24. I just love these comments y'all. I mean, everyone did such great gestures of kindness. Oh, Ines, what you did was totally a RAoK. My friend Kitt on here told me in an email she wrote notes and posted them in anonymous places, and I love that too. It reminds me of that You are beautiful campaign I read about a few months ago. I think the most important part of RAoK are simply being mindful of kindness and making someone's life a little easier, or more fun, or happier, or Once a Mother, that you do that every time you see a soldier is amazing. I hope we get more rolling in the next few days. With much love to all of you beautiful do-gooders.

  25. My friend and I decided that we wanted to get in the spirit of your post so on Friday, we went to McDonalds and got some $1 gift certificates (they are actually the Trick or Treat packs but whatever). We walked around downtown and handed them out to people we saw who looked liked they might need a cup of coffee or a bite to eat - surprising number of homeless in Raleigh but anywho. When people asked me why, I said, "I'm honoring my boys." It was really nice.

  26. I can't believe I missed this! Damn at&t. I was out of internet for 11 days. It was horrible.
    Perhaps I'll do it anyway soon. Love feeling (umm..reading) the energy in your attitude.


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