Sometimes the nicest gifts are those that are totally unexpected. Today’s post is an ode to paying it forward. Challenge yourself to do one unexpected act of kindness each day this week. Here are some ideas:
1) Buy a few gift cards at your local coffee shop and let the employees hand them out during the day.
2) Tell the manager when an employee was helpful. If you don’t hesitate to give negative feedback, you shouldn’t hesitate to give positive feedback either.
3) Compliment someone at work. One of my pet peeves is people who take credit when they don’t deserve it. Help reverse the curse by giving credit where it is due. The important part is to be sincere. Self-serving flattery of one’s boss doesn’t count.
4) Send a note (emails are good but the real thing is better) to a friend or loved one just to say “I miss you” or “I’m thinking of you”.
5) Shovel your neighbor’s driveway or brush the snow off the car next to yours.
6) Offer to babysit (for free of course) so a friend or loved one can do something fun for an evening.
7) Buy your friend or loved one a plane ticket to come see you. Sometimes a break from the usual routine and a weekend with an old friend or loved one can go a long way.
8) Give your tickets to the game (or your company’s tickets) to someone who would otherwise never have the chance to go (or to sit so close!).
9) Donate funds to your favorite summer camp so that a child who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go can have all the fun you did. (You can also donate to Summer Fund)
10) Tip really well. If you’ve never waited tables or tended bar, you have no idea how hard it is. Trust me, not everyone is as nice as you are. Every once in a while, leave a really nice tip.
11) This spring, if you know someone who is elderly or housebound, plant a garden or window box he or she can enjoy.
12) At every gathering there is an odd person out. Find that person and be nice.
13) Help your friends job-hunt. Looking for a job is often miserable under the best of circumstances, so get a copy of your friend’s resume and keep an eye out. Your recommendation could go a long way.
14) Help someone move. Yes, moving is awful, but that’s why people appreciate the help! If they have movers, bring them dinner and some essentials to help them get by until they can unpack (plastic silverware and paper plates, toilet paper, a few lightbulbs, a bottle of wine and opener).
“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” — Henry David Thoreau