Random Act of Kindness Challenge

There is a photo floating around on the Internet, as they often do, that has gone a little bit viral. I featured it on the Bitchy Waiter Facebook page yesterday and it was shared by over 500 people and seen by over 127,000 others. The photo shows a very generous tip for a waiter along with this explanation:

A random act of love in memory of our son Joel. He brightened everyone’s day. May this brighten yours. Thank you.

I don’t know who Joel was or which server was on the receiving end of this act of kindness, but isn’t it amazing how something as simple as a $50 tip can make all the difference in the world? Fifty dollars is not going to change anyone’s financial situation, but the fact that it was given under such wonderful circumstances can in fact change someone’s life. Let’s think about this.

Joel obviously left a huge hole in the lives of the people who loved him and the way they have chosen to fill that void is to offer random acts of kindness in his memory. The fact that photo has been seen by so many people is a testament to what a wonderful idea it is. As for the server, we know that he or she was no doubt excited to receive a 150% tip, but we can be fairly certain that it changed the way they look at things. Maybe that server took that offering of goodwill and did their own good deed later that day. I would imagine it would be hard to not want to give that feeling to someone else after someone gave it to you. And I’m not talking about the money.

Of the 127,000 people who saw this photo, I wonder how many of them were inspired enough to do something equally kind and no, clicking “like” or sharing it on Twitter does not count as a random act of kindness.

Here is my challenge to you: I challenge anyone who reads this blog to come up with their own random act of kindness. We don’t all have fifty extra dollars to leave to a server, but there are hundreds of other ways to be kind to strangers. Think of something and then do it.

  • Maybe the next time you are in the drive through at McDonald’s just tell the cashier that you want to pay for the car behind you. 
  • Or if you are waiting for the 7 train and you can see the N train is coming but the doors are going to close before those people have time to cross the platform, hold the doors open and let hundreds of people make that connection.
  • If you see an old woman trying to get her push cart over the curb, take two seconds to do it for her.
  • At work, do the sidework for someone else and see how happy you make them.
  • If at work you see someone’s coat fall off the back of the chair and onto the floor, pick it up and place it back on the chair without telling them. 
  • Make an extra sandwich or have an extra bottled water to give to someone you see who may need it. It’s just a sandwich and chances are you’re gonna throw out half of that lunch meat next week anyway.
  • Let someone get in front of you in the line at the post office.
  • If you use the last of the paper towels, change the roll. 

What makes all of these random acts of kindness so special is that they sometimes go without being acknowledged. People may never know who did them that favor. It’s part of human nature to want validation for something done right but on the other hand nobody likes a person who’s all, “Hey listen to this good deed I just did. Aren’t I great?” So do it without expecting a thank you. If you must have people know what you did, then write it here in an anonymous comment. That way people will see what a wonderful human being you are but by remaining anonymous you won’t look all needy.

I vow that today I will do at least one random act of kindness. Hopefully, the person who is on the receiving end will then do one as well. Think how wonderful a world we could live in if everyone kept doing random acts of kindness for people and then all those people did it too. It would never stop.

Yes, this blog post is uncharacteristically non-bitchy, but sometimes we have to stop and be thankful. There is not one person who is reading this who does not have the ability to be kind to a stranger today. Not one. So do it and see how it affects your day. I have been known to be kind before and I can guarantee that it makes you really happy. Don’t believe me? Try it and find out for yourself.

I hope you will share this so we can get the word out about how important it is to be kind to one another at least once in a while. Take the day off from being the cynical bitch you usually are and let that old man have the seat on the bus. Your legs may be tired but your soul will feel refreshed.

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23 thoughts on “Random Act of Kindness Challenge

  1. Anonymous

    I'm giving out gift cards for grocery stores before Christmas. I buy them through my church, they get 2% back, and then I'll pass them on. I don't need any credit. Just posting this as an idea for people.

  2. Anonymous

    I always try to help elderly people with simple tasks that we take for granted, eg the other day at the grocery store I saw a little old lady who was vision inpared trying to find the things on her list, generally looking lost. I just went up and introduced myself, offered my arm and assisted her with finding what she needed. It took 5 minutes, but I like to think that someone would do the same thing for my darling gran if they saw her struggling.I also help mothers struggling with the door/shopping etc while they are wrangling with their kids and strollers etc. It takes seconds out of my day, and I've found it takes away some of my own bitterness at being unable to have children myself. I guess on second thoughts that doesn't make it a selfless act of kindness, but at least it is a nicer way to deal with hurt than being jealous and nasty.

  3. Etherealize Me

    I love this challenge, doing good things always feels great even if you don't get a "thank you". I always change the toilet paper roll in my house when it's running low and I see no one else is willing to do it. I don't know if that counts as a RANDOM act since I need it too, but I find myself the only one doing so. Oh well.I'll comment back if I find something else I can do soon 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    A lady I order custom knitted hats from has been having a financially hard time. Her husband works full time but with the recession it's still hard. She knits 15-17 hours a day and keeps asking the "man above" to help her get through another month. So rather than feel sorry for her, I'm sending her my tax refund. Sure I could spend it but do I really need another purse, does my husband really need a new gadget nope. I'm not telling her who its from just mailing it with a note wishing her a bright 2013.

  5. Trippmadam

    They say, that in Naples (Italy) people used to buy one cup of coffee, but payed for two, so the waiter was able to give a free cup to some poor guy who could not afford coffee. I am not sure if this is true, or if they still do it, but it does sound nice.

  6. KDog

    I love it when you get sentimental, BW. Underneath all that bitterness that the restaurant industry breeds, you really do have a heart of gold. I do my best to be good to strangers whenever I can, it really is the little things that can change your day. Anyways, thanks for another great posting 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    I bought an elderly woman a sandwich when she came into my work. It felt really good; at my old job where I was an actual waitress I bought people desserts when I felt like being nice. Most of the time it went without being aknowledged, yet it still felt good to me that I could brighten someone's day with something as simple as buying a scoop of ice cream or a piece of cheesecake for someone. Thanks for the post!

  8. CityGirl

    Yesterday I had a tough day at work, lots of stress. A kind client gave me a box of chocolates as a thank you gift. I cried with gratitude and the day felt a little easier.

  9. Joanne

    Thank you for this. I am so grateful when someone helps me for a second or two when I have my hands full and am with my kids. I once struggled with an akward door and the stroller when my eldest was an infant. A mother and daughter passing by watched. The mom then scoffed and asked her daughter, "Do you think she needed help?" Dear Daughter answered, "Right?" Another time, I was struggling the stroller through the door to get into the restroom. A woman in a pantsuit was jabbering away on her phone and actually tried to step over my baby to get into the restroom ahead of me.I always try to help out someone that's struggling. It doesn't take much of my time and it is just the right thing to do.

  10. Anonymous

    Hey, thanks for this post. The other night at work I got a 🙁 tip on a credit card. I really didn't understand, as the customers didn't seem to be upset or wanting for anything through their entire meal. It was one of those "If I don't even notice when things are going wrong, am I even good at this job at all?" moments and that, combined with all this frackus out there about major chain restaurants charging "Obamacare" surcharges that they encourage patrons to subtract from the tip to pay (some Denny's) and cutting more employees hours to make sure people don't work full time (Papa John's Applebee's, Olive Garden…)I felt absolutely like servers are viewed as "non-people" and had the grumps real bad! When I just logged on and saw this post, it really lightened my mood about the whole situation. People CAN be rude, but, on the whole, aren't. Bosses CAN be greedy a-holes, but many, like mine, just aren't. Thanks for this hearty reminder about positivity. I think it helps count toward your act of kindness– and I promise to pass it on tonight at work myself! –SV

  11. Anonymous

    I paid a customers ticket that I disappointed a couple weeks ago, it was a $2000 shift with 2 new people and I had over $80 in to-go's that were disorganized and no help until after the district yelled for people to step up their game. The customer just so happened to come in the middle of the mess. I messed up and I admit it. Later that week they ran after a to-go lady that spent over $135 and left with half their food. I think the $16 on my behalf was a small act of kindness for my mess-up and their help.

  12. Anonymous

    Writing a note to the owners of a restaurant telling them how wonderful the servers were, tipping generously, getting a grocery item for an elderly woman on a very long line she had asked me where I got the item, she looked at a loss. So without telling her I went and got it gave it to her and kept on shopping. bringing in packages for neighbors who dont say hello, baking cookies for new neighbors, bringing goodies to my doctors staff who are overworked and were rude in the beginning but I realized all they need is to feel appreciated, making a homemade chicken soup for a friends sister who just found out she has cancer, making another specialty food for another friends partner w ho couldnt really eat but was craving this food although she was going thru a terrible illness. I also dont sell things I may have that are fairly new and have no use for it I will give it away I always feel it is the right thing to do. I just want to see people smile and hope people pay it foward.

  13. Anonymous

    I have a regular customer who always separately tips the hostess, busgirl and leaves a tip in the checkbook on the table and then hands it to me with a $100 bill folded on top for an average check totaling $185. He's my favorite person to see walking thru our doors – super nice, not concerned if we are slamming and his app takes a bit longer, loves everything, etc. Thanks Mr F!


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