Random Acts of Kindness Day

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day.   A day devoted to doing things that are kind.  Randomly.

I’m not explaining this very well.  You’re supposed to do something nice for someone.   That’s all.

The most brilliant thing about Random Acts of Kindness Day is it doesn’t have to cost you any money.  You don’t have to buy a gift and I’m pretty sure there isn’t a money grabbing Hallmark card for it.

Now sometimes, just coming up with an idea of what to do is enough to stop a lot of people from performing a Random Act of Kindness.  So, here’s a list of things you could do today for a complete stranger.  (Or someone you know … your choice)

Random Acts of Kindness

1.  Put money in an expired parking meter.

2.  Point out an expired parking meter to the meter monitor person.  (this particular act of kindness takes a very special person to do it)

3.  Pay for the drive through order of the person behind  you.  This is usually reserved for coffee drive throughs because paying for someone’s office lunch order might be a bit much.

4.  If it has snowed, brush off your neighbour’s car.   Don’t scratch the car though.   Getting caught hotwiring your neighbours car in order to get it to a repair shop really takes attention away from your Random Act of Kindness.

5.  Adopt a pet from an animal shelter.  This is a *big one* only meant for someone thinking about getting a pet.  DON’T go and adopt a pet on a whim.  But if you’re thinking of getting a cat or a dog … adopt one.  It’s one of the kindest things you can do.

6.  At the grocery store?  Let an old woman take the last Marble Rye.

7.  Compliment someone. How many times have you seen someone wearing a dress or a pair of boots you loved and you don’t say anything.  You just stare and wish they were yours.  Tell them.  If they’re wearing ugly clothing, compliment their hair or smile.  That is what I would do.

8.  Waiting in line?  Offer to give the person in front of you a head massage.  Warning.  This act of kindness isn’t always well received.  You can always just let someone behind you go ahead of you.  That might be the safer way to go, actually.

9.  Drop off a small gift to someone.  Retirement homes are a great place for this.  Just some flowers, or a potted hyacinth plant.  If you don’t know anyone at the retirement home, just go into the reception area and give it to the first person you see, or give it to the reception desk and have them distribute the flowers to whoever hasn’t had a visitor lately.   I know I said Random Acts of Kindness don’t have to cost any money, but sometimes they do.  Before you dismiss this as being too difficult I want you to picture yourself all alone, in a retirement home with no one visiting you and nothing to look forward to.

10.  Smile at someone.  Yup.  That’s all.  Just smile.

Have another idea?  Leave it here as inspiration for someone else.

Happy Random Acts of Kindness day.  My kindness to you?  I’m over here behind this computer  … smiling at you.  Your hair looks nice today, by the way.


  1. Parker says:

    Aww, this post made me laugh and then cry a little, heh.
    I’ve caught my 24 yo son doing RAK stuff, and it makes my heart flip-flop with pride. First I always hope he learned it from me, but then I think how much better if he does it from some depth of kindness in his own sweet self. Not that he’s a “sweet” guy – actually, you remind me of him a bit – lots of sass, some snark, lots of funny and mushy underneath.

  2. Diana @ frontyardfoodie says:

    Aww, I totally missed it. However, I found out that today is national wine drinking day…..so that’s friggin cool. haha

  3. Denise says:

    At the checkout of the grocery store, I purchase a candy bar with my items. When I’m handed my receipt I give the young clerk the candy bar. Always leave a shocked smile behind!

  4. Veronica says:

    an old family friend of my husband would pick out some one, or a couple at a restaurant and secretly by them dessert and would insist that the dessert receivers would not know who got it for them. He would do this on a fairly regular basis.

  5. Alisha says:

    One time in Vancouver I was walking along a residential street and there was a big box of cut flowers with a free sign. So I took a big yellow sunshine Dahlia and packed it around all day enjoying it. At the end of the day there was a lady sitting on a bench looking sad and I walked up and gave it to her. She started to cry and said it was her favourite flower. Broke my freakin heart. I’ve tried for RAK’s ever since but I’ll be honest … I was just tired of packing around that massive flower.

  6. Jennie says:

    I do #7 all the time.

    Another thing I do is when there’s a cost for a field trip for my son’s class, if I can, I turn in 2 x that cost, so another child who can’t afford it, can go.

    Oh, and the drive-through thing is great for toll booths. You pay for the person behind you.

  7. Cleme says:

    Hi, Karen!! Love Love Love Your Site! Read it every day at work, everyoone wonders what I’m giggling about after we have lunch, haha!
    This post totally speaks to me, I love doing Random Acts of Kindness, specially for strangers, is the most awesome feeling you can get.
    I remember particularly, once I was backpacking through Europe, and while we were sightseeing in Bruges, I saw an old couple havind trouble unfolding a foldable bike (haha, sounds funny) anyways, a lot of people walked right passed them, including our guide/host. So, I decided I would stop and help them, even though I’d never unfolded one of those things. The look on their surprised faces was like a reward, and yet, I took the better surprise. See, I’m from Mexico, and as it turns out this couple, indeed they were from Belgium, had lived for years in Argeninta, so we had the most pleasant conversation in my natal language. That´s my favourite kind of RAK, when you are rewarded with a friendship, am I right?

  8. Theresa says:

    check out help.org – it a community to share things like random acts of kindness- its very uplifting and its interestring to see someone elses ideas.
    Say thank you – my 8yrs old always stops and ( at the top of his lungs) thanks the city bus driver- he loves riding the bus and is thrilled everytime- thus the thank you to the driver who made it possible – perks ’em up each time.

  9. Tina says:

    I love this post and will post something similiar next month. Great job! I did my little deed last night. A class I am taking was cancelled and I had already purcahsed my parking permit so I waited for someone to walk up to the machine and handed it over so they wouldn’t have to fork over the few bucks. Bonus, the guy I gave it to was cute. :-)

  10. Pam says:

    Litter Robot looks like a kitty spaceship. RAC? Give the Litter robot a day off and clean the litter box yourself for a day.

  11. Devin says:

    A. I LOVE that picture. I think I’m going to have to buy myself some flowers and try and recreate a copycat picture.

    B. I’m pretty sure that number 1 on your RAK list is actually illegal

    C. Montreal has new, electronic parking meters that don’t display when your time is expired (ok, now I’m just ranting)

    D. Your list has inspired me to do a RAK today. Maybe I will see an elderly person on the metro on my way home so that I can give them my seat.

  12. Julie shinnick says:

    I am a RAK addict! But I am not trying to kick the habit,
    I get such a kick out of it!
    Even when someone is rude/obnoxious out on the road and they are getting angry about nothing I kindly say this rhyme
    “What you wish for me, I wish for you Times three (X3)”
    Heh heh that puts the responsibility back in their court!
    If they are wishing something nice it’s good for them!
    If not….welllll…. not my problem!

  13. Amy says:

    I did an RAC yesterday, before I even know there was a special day for it.

    I moved a trash can out of the way for someone as I was walking by– she was trying to maneuver her car out of a parking spot without knocking it over, since the trash-can-owner had placed it at the curb directly in front of this lady’s car, and there was no room behind the car.

    Totally a specific situation, but in the spirit of the whole thing! She looked so relieved, though, and gave me a little wave.

    • Karen says:

      Amy – Yup. That’d be a random act of kindness. I actually remember my very first and it’s similar to yours! When I was 11 or 12, my father and I were in the parking lot of a grocery store. Someone was looking for a parking spot, but the only one left had a shopping cart in the middle of it so I ran and moved it out of the way. When I got back to my father was taken aback and said not many kids would have done that. He was not known for sentimentality, so that compliment has stuck with me. I will never, ever forget that compliment and therefore, that act of kindness. :) ~ karen

  14. Amanda says:

    “Let an old woman take the last marble rye”? That has got to be a reference to that Seinfeld episode where Jerry steals a marble rye away from an old woman on the street only to learn she is a friend of his parents!

    I love your sense of humor. Acts of kindness mixed in with subliminal acts of hilarity.

    • Karen says:

      Amanda – Thanks! Yes. I’m very funny. And I do have my sappy moments. I’m a sucker for old people and animals. And laughing. :) ~ karen

  15. Charles Lange says:


    My random act of kindness was to you. I clicked on all your ads. I know this is how you bloggers get paid so now you can take that money a put it in others parking meters.

  16. cred says:

    Make everyone happy~ put the money in the expired meter just before the metermaid gets there but then tell her how nice her hair looks!

  17. Todd says:

    “Let an old woman take the last Marble Rye.”

    ‘Cause you just never know when you might run into her again in Del Boca Vista Phase II.

    My RAC for today: Don’t yell at, or make obscene gestures to people doing 5 MPH under the speed limit in the left hand lane… Ok, I didn’t stick to the plan this morning, but I’ll definitely do it this afternoon.

  18. Susan Whelan says:

    Oh, you’ve got an awful sense of humour and I love it.
    When you think about it, meter maids (and meter men) probably share the same appreciation as cold callers and Revenue Canada agents. It wouldn’t be nice to rat anybody out to them but they’d certainly be people who wouldn’t get many acts of kindness, random or not, in the course of a day.
    The best reward that comes from random kind acts is that people spend the rest of the day wondering what you’re up to.
    Seriously, I’ve been both the giver and the recipient, and it’s the nicest kind of virus to spread.

  19. Beth says:

    Put something on Freecycle. You give it away to someone who needs it and you get some much-needed breathing room in your own home! No money changes hands.

  20. Farquist says:

    Last night my husband told me I look like my mother. It wasn’t random act of kindness day yet and I now plan to grow out my hair and always wear a turtle neck. Any suggestions for what I can do for him in return?

    • Pam says:

      Randomly tell him he’s acting like his mother.

    • Angela says:

      While it may not have seemed kind at the time, maybe it was actually a helpful thing for him to say. It was a not-so-gentle reminder to start thinking about using a different line of skincare (one for fixing things instead of just keeping them looking good) or buy some new clothes because yours are looking a little dated. Or maybe your mom is hot. Or maybe he meant that you look like your mom did 20 years ago when she was a super model. Or maybe he had a brain fart and meant to say that you look like Shiloh Pitt’s mom.

      At least he didn’t say that you look like HIS mother…

      • Farquist says:

        Yea, telling me I looked like his mother? Yikes! I bought a scarf from vintagedutchgirl and it arrived yesterday. A thing of beauty! Highly recommend them. If you someone wearing an argyle patterned fleece scarf in July, that would be me. Covers up the old neck beautifully but doesn’t do much for the hot flashes.

  21. Carol-Anne says:

    You’re a day ahead of me on this post. I’ve just recently (1.5 weeks ago) started a job downtown Toronto. Everyday when I catch the GO train, there is a homeless man who holds the door open for everyone on the evening commute. He holds his cup out and says to everyone who passes through; have a good night or if it’s Friday have a nice weekend, I decided the other day that every Friday I would drop at least a toonie into his cup. He was not at the door last night and it kind of concerned me. So if he’s there tonight I will drop a toonie in from you, and will drop another one tomorrow night from myself.

    • Karen says:

      Carol-Anne – Thx! That genuinely made me smile! ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      Carol-Anne – Thx! That genuinely made me smile. When I used to work downtown Toronto there was a nice, old, homelessman at the bottom of the Spadina exit I used to give money to. ~ karen

  22. amy says:

    If you’re going through a drive-thru, and your total is $2.50; give the person taking your moo-la $5.00, and tell them to keep the change! Yes, this one costs a little bit of money, but it always bring such a smile to that person’s face!

  23. Pam'a says:

    I’m going to practice asking in my nicest voice, “Excuse me… Would you like me to massage your head?” and see how that goes.


  24. I am confused by the irony of act of kindness 1 vs. 2. Who are we trying to help here? And if faced with this situation, which would YOU choose, Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Alexandra – Ah! You noticed the riddle. Screw the metermaid. I’d put the money in the meter. Although … being a metermaid doesn’t make them a bad person … and let’s face it … if someone needs an act of kindness it’s probably the guy giving out tickets for expired parking meters. I mean, you know he doesn’t get a smile and nice comments on a daily basis. Crud. Dunno what the right answer is. Adopt a dog, I think. ~ karen

      • sera says:

        they knew what they were getting into when they took the job. I think that’s why they give them segway’s in my town.

        • One of my favorite things in the world is a person in a uniform riding a Segway. God bless the Segway for giving me hours of entertainment and a laughing ab workout while I walk around the local outdoor mall watching security guards zoom past on an electric scooter.

          No one looks intimidating on a Segway. NO ONE.

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