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Ahhh, Pay It Forward. Who remembers this film? Released in 2000, it stars the impossibly cute (or kind of creepy?) Haley Joel Osment as a kid who creates a social revolution for his school assignment.
Or something like that. Let’s face it, the movie was forgettable – the idea, however, is still gold. If you did three nice things for a stranger, expecting nothing in return, and each of them did three nice things for strangers, can you imagine what sort of place the world would become?
While it may sound like a pie-in-the-sky dream, a Random Act of Kindness doesn’t have to be world-changing to change the world of one person – your small act of kindness might be all it takes to turn a bad day around. Not sure where to start? I’ve rounded up a few ideas to send you on your way.
-Buy a coffee for the person behind you The classic! Can you imagine how great your morning would be if you got to the front of the queue, went to hand over your card, and discovered your coffee was free?? For just a few dollars, you can bring that joy to someone else.
-Leave a book in a public place You know that book you love? I bet someone else would love it too! Releasing a book into the wild not only brings joy to a stranger, it can be a great way to give a book a second life. Programs like Book Crossing and Books on the Rail here in Australia can give you a great place to start, but it’s not necessary to over-complicate matters. Got a book in great condition? Write a cute note explaining that it’s looking for a new reader, and set it free.
-Leave some coins on a parking meter Because free parking is never a bad thing – ever.
-Leave a pre-paid treat in the vending machine See above, because I think that free food might be even less of a bad thing.
-Make a donation pack You know those endless boxes of tampons you don’t use anymore, or those tiny toiletries that seem to be breeding in your bathroom? They could be bundled together to make a pack to leave with someone less fortunate the next time you’re asked for change on the street. Essentials like toothpaste, nutritious food, and reading material can make all the difference when life gets rough – this post has some great first-hand insight on what else could be included.
-Leave positive notes in unexpected places In the pages of a library book, on the seat of the train, in the pocket of a jacket you try on (retail people – I would love this, but make sure tell me if it would make your life hell). Sometimes an encouraging word from a complete stranger is all it takes to make the day better.
-Make a quality clothing donation Yup. It’s time to admit that no-one wants that baggy festival t-shirt that you got at that one weekend event three years ago. What they do want is that amazing dress you impulse-bought and never quite got around to wearing. Companies like Dress for Success and Fitted for Work are always looking for quality, lightly-worn work gear that can change the life of someone that needs it, and don’t you think
-Give something away for free A smile. A favour. A compliment. Do something with absolutely no expectation of something in return, just because you can