Project Kindness (Day 2)

Thursdays are my long days at work. When the twins were born, I decided to scale back my hours as a technical editor and have been logging about 25 hours a week ever since. I have worked for the same company now for 16 (yikes!) years so I am ever grateful that I have been granted this flexible schedule. The opportunity to pick up my kids from school and enjoy them for a few hours before bed time is one of the gifts for which I am extremely thankful. For the last several weeks, I have been working on a project that requires me to ask many annoying thorough questions of my subject matter experts. As always, they make time for me. To date, I haven’t missed a major deadline, in large part, because of their help. What better way to thank industrious, helpful, and available co-workers than…dozens of Krispy Kreme donuts bought and delivered while the Hot Now sign was on?! OK, so maybe it wasn’t the most original way of thanking office mates, but they seemed to enjoy it plenty. Here are a few samples from my inbox that appeared seconds after the smell of sticky, sugary goodness wafted in.

  • “Mmmm…Donuts GOOOOOOD!”
  • “These donuts are like crack!” (in a good way, i think)
  • “Thank you SOOOO much!”
  • “You did good.”

For the record, I intended again to pay for the person’s order behind me in the drive-thru line until I learned that she ordered four dozen assorted donuts. I think this is uniquely an American experience.

My husband, who usually lets me wander off on tangents, reminded me gently this morning that while it is a nice goal to go forth and provide happiness to others, I should remember that we still need to afford our own grocery bill. Point taken. Now that I have a couple of easy episodes under my belt, I started a spreadsheet (because I am a spreadsheet strumpet)  to help me document other creative ways to act kindly that won’t cost a dime.

Here are some more rambling thoughts…

Yesterday, I shared my act of kindness with the person I felt most deserving on the premises. Today, I shared my act of kindness with people to whom I am grateful. People I wanted to feel appreciated. So far, I think I’ve sampled some of the proverbial low-hanging fruit in the department of being kind. It’s pretty comfortable and easy to be kind to people who are kind to you first. I like those people. Maybe I should seek out a few curmudgeons and see how that feels. Better yet, I have some neighbors (who,while wearing hooded robes, routinely perform rituals based on the moon cycle in their backyard 20 feet from where I rest my head) that I am very anxious to kill with kindness. Did I mention their bulldog who never ever ever stops barking?  Ah, I digress. I should also try dabbling with anonymity. Is it just as rewarding, or even more so, to do something generous, throw it out into the universe and see where it lands? Am I more satisfied by the act of giving or the reaction from the people to whom I have given? I was chatting with my dad tonight who brought up another very good point. Sometimes we feel warm and fuzzy just watching someone be kind to another. When we witness a selfless act, we ourselves want to be a part of that benevolent picture. The ripple effect is huge. Huge.

Last but not least, thanks to Lisa for sending me this story today. Thumbs up to Panera for trying something different and trusting a community to play fair. Very cool.

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4 thoughts on “Project Kindness (Day 2)

  1. Possible non-monetary ways to express kindness that spring to mind:
    – Telling someone BEFORE they leave the restroom that their tag is out, their skirt is tucked in their underpants, there is toilet paper on their shoe
    – Telling someone no matter where you see them any of the above
    – Telling the truth (nicely!), even if it’s a hard truth, if it might be beneficial to them moving forward (for example, telling the woman in the dressing room who asks your opinion that no, those pants aren’t particularly flattering, or perhaps a different shade would complement their skin tone or eye color more)
    – Complimenting the behavior of a child in public, made especially more poignant based on the level to which the mother looks harried and/or the number of children she has
    – Waiting to hold a door for someone who might need it – a parent with a stroller, someone with a heavy package – even if it takes you out of your stride or delays you
    – Complimenting a stranger randomly, for any reason

    As you know, I am an apostle to the project. You have always made the world a nicer place for me, but love your concerted idea as it applies to society as a whole and think we should all try to implement it in some way or another.

    • I love that these suggestions are so uniquely yours. You are so that friend who would tell me I have spinach between my teeth. And you’re right, I would be most grateful. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for potential bathroom faux pas!

  2. Inspired by you and your journey I did my own little act of kindness yesterday. I sold my crib mattresses and when the buyer came to pick them up I gave her sheets and mattresses pad covers for FREE! She was excited and so was I. It was a wonderful moment for both of us. What if everyone decided to perform random acts of kindness? Thanks Erin!

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