I love the idea of performing “random acts of kindness,” and although it’s become today’s catch phrase, that doesn’t diminish its appeal to me. So often our day-to-day routine becomes an anxious rush to complete “to-dos,” and a tiny, unexpected favor from a friend or stranger can lift a mood or even change a perspective. National “Random Act of Kindness” day (Yes, they actually have a day for it) is Feb. 17, so if you want to lift someone up — even a total stranger — today or any day, here are a few ways you can do just that.
• A simple way to pass along a kindness is to pick up someone’s tab, whether it’s for lunch, dinner or dry cleaning. But for those on a budget (and who isn’t?), a more inexpensive option is to buy the latte of the person behind you at your favorite espresso drive-through. That five bucks can add a little bit of happy to someone’s whole day.
• Compliment someone, anyone. Who doesn’t like a compliment? The key here is to be sincere and to actually verbalize the compliment instead of saying it in your head (which is what I do). When you see a co-worker whose dress you admire, say it. If your neighbor grows gorgeous begonias, tell him. It takes little effort, no money and has lots of impact.
• Write, wrap and give. Every time I hear Maria sing “Brown paper packages tied up in strings” in The Sound of Music, I imagine those delicious little packages. The gift could be as simple as a great paperback you just finished … simply wrap it up in brown wrapping paper, doodle on the outside and send it to someone in your circle of friends and family. Even a letter or card would be fun, too — for no other reason than to tell someone you hope they have a great day.