inspiration : a stranger

3 – Do Something Kind For a Stranger

To inspire you to consider ways to be kind to strangers, I offer the website Year of Giving. The person behind it lost his job and decided to defy the conventional wisdom of needing to save his money since he was out of work. Instead, he started giving it away, $10 to a random person each day! The website is his record of his experience. My link takes you his overview page which helps the reader better understand his rationale for taking on the project. Then click on the “Home” link in the upper left. You’ll see his description of his most recent act on top, with the others below it. It’s fascinating reading and, I hope, inspiring.

On that note, in another of my kindness classes a student was inspired to do something similar. She connected this theme to a book she had recently read in which the author tells the story of undoing his life’s top 20 regrets. She was inspired by the author talking about a man who over the last 25 years has given away $100,000. She posted, “Okay, I’m not secretly wealthy — but my plan is to send out $10 in cash via US Mail to five random people (via the phone book) with a note that they’ve been the recipient of a random act of kindness.”

Try to imagine how you’d feel if you randomly received $10 in the mail. What would you do with the money? How could you not be inspired to be more aware of the kindnesses going on around us at all times?

When you’re ready, take a look at this theme’s reflections.

2 thoughts on “inspiration : a stranger

  1. My sister recently began this project where, in return for a survey, she received $5. Then, in return for a journal of her TV viewing practices, she received $10. Each time I was mystified…there just had to be a catch. People do not just give away money for nothing (or not much). I even asked her if she was sure that the money was real. While this event may not seem to have anything to do with a random act of kindness, it speaks to a sad reality regarding the modern world. We do not expect kindness at the hands of a stranger. We immediately begin to wonder what the catch may be, what could the ulterior motive possibly be behind the action? How did we get to such a point that we expect the worst (or at best indifference) from others?
    At the same time a simple, little act of kindness can have a profound effect on another’s day. Simple little things such as a smile, a kind word, a positive presence, holding a door…really fundamental, seemingly unimportant, actions can make all the difference to another person.

    • Sara, you sound like the perfect candidate to help turn the tide of the “sad reality” of which you speak. Your smile, kind words and positive presence are all that it takes. Simple things, yes. Added up, they are huge! So glad to have you involved with this module. I hope you’ll consider joining a full-blown class some time in the future. Let me know if you’d like more information.

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