Being kind is something I try to be on a regular basis. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail miserably. Kindness, I have found, has many different levels. It’s pretty easy to be polite in society, but it takes a whole new level of skill to actually approach random strangers and offer your kindness in some way.
If someone told me to walk up to a complete stranger and show them some kindness, I would probably run in the opposite direction. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to be friendly; I would just panic with the complexities of it all.
So when Brad suggested we go smother people with kindness I wasn’t completely on board. Would I be holding doors for the elderly all day? Setting up a free car wash? Throwing cash at people? I think he sensed my panic and found the perfect method for accomplishing random kindness, which was getting less random by the minute.
Making supper for our friends was the perfect stepping-stone to stranger kindness. Cooking for people can always be a little scary, but when you find a recipe that’s semi-impressive (basically anything wrapped in bacon) and easy to make, the stress is minimized. It also helps if your friends aren’t picky eaters. Seriously, I think we could have slapped raw potatoes with a side of marmite in front of them and they would have screamed for joy. We have great friends.
I really enjoyed being kind. It seems like such a simple thing, yet we don’t seem to act on it nearly enough. I’m glad we challenged ourselves to go beyond friendly smiles and manners and actually do something for someone.
A few months ago Susan and I were at the mall doing some shopping. As we were minding our own business walking through a store, the lady in front of us had some money fall out of her purse. She had no idea what happened as she kept walking towards the door to go to her car. Susan ran ahead and stopped her while I picked the money up off the floor to give back to her. What happened next left me completely shocked. As I was picking up the money (it was enough money that it was worth stealing if I was the stealing type), the people passing by were literally exclaiming out loud how amazed they were that I was returning the money. I guess they just assumed most people would steal it. I don’t tell you this story to pat ourselves on the back, but because it absolutely amazed me at how shocked the other people were to see someone simply doing the right thing. It was kind of sad.
That’s why I think the random act of kindness idea is so great. Most people spend so much time “looking out for number one” (we’re all guilty from time to time) that they can forget to just be nice. The wonderful part of it all is that it doesn’t take a lot of planning and effort to be nice to someone.
Since Susan was a little nervous of approaching a stranger, we simply made as nice a dinner as we know how for some friends. One of our least favourite things to do is to try and think of supper ideas. So, we thought it would be nice to alleviate that decision-making stress for someone else, even if just for one meal. We decided to do as much of the preparation at home as possible so that we wouldn’t dirty up their kitchen. We then brought everything over to their house, set the table, finished cooking the meal, and cleaned up afterwards. The hardest part of the whole thing was knowing how much food to cook for five people since we’re used to cooking for two. It all worked out well in the end though. The meal tasted great and everyone got enough food.
To be honest, it feels weird to do something nice for someone with the right motives, and then tell the whole world about it on the internet. But if it causes you to take part in a random act of kindness, either for a friend or a stranger, it’s worth it. Don’t feel like you have to do what we did either. There is an endless amount of things you can do to make someone’s day a little nicer. You could buy coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks, or bring some nice homemade food to a neighbour who might need it, or simply try to be extra nice to the people you interact with throughout the day, whether they deserve it or not. If you’re looking for another date idea that helps someone in need, check out our Charity Date post.
I think you’ll likely see a “Random Act of Kindness Part 2” post around here at some point. This was a good place for us to start, but I’d really like to go out of our way to do something for someone who isn’t a close friend, especially someone in need.
For anyone who is interested in what we cooked for dinner, check out the recipe for incredibly easy to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin. It was delicious!