Photo: Child giving parent a flower

A few years ago, when I was a high school teacher in Australia, I assigned my homeroom students a task to each come up with a random act of kindness and write it on a small card. On the other side of the card were the words “You’ve been hit with a random act of kindness. Please feel free to pass it on.” The criteria of the acts of kindness were that they should be done anonymously if possible, and they should be generic enough that anyone could achieve them. We then placed all the cards in a box and each of us drew a card randomly. I gave the class a week to complete the random acts of kindness.

The testimonies that followed were nothing short of heartwarming. I had the privilege of participating in the challenge and watched a woman’s face light up when she found out her gas was paid for (in Australia, you pay after filling up). My students spoke of a stranger beaming when given a hand-picked bouquet of fresh flowers, a homeless man enjoying a home-cooked meal, a neighbor gobbling up a freshly baked cookie, just to mention a few.

As holiday season approaches, I’m choosing to implement more acts of kindness into my lifestyle and I’m inviting you to join me! To get you started, I’ve listed a few different ways you could make someone’s day, in no particular order:

  • Bring in your neighbor’s rubbish bins.
  • Text a friend and tell them why you’re grateful for them.
  • Leave a thank you note in your mailbox for your mailman.
  • Put some change in an expired meter for someone.
  • Leave your change in a vending machine.
  • Pay for someone’s meal in the line behind you.
  • Let someone cut ahead of you in rush hour Honolulu traffic and throw a shaka at them.

The great thing about acts of kindness is that they don’t have to be wild or costly. I challenge you to change the world with me, one act of kindness at a time. “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop.