Today K and I made our yearly Christmas trip into Chicago. We usually go to several places on our Christmas trip day, but this time we ended up just staying at the Lincoln Park Zoo all day. We looked at the animals, had several different talks with zoo staff about various animals, ate some lunch, then strolled around the place a couple more times after the zoo lights came on. We had meant to park at the zoo, take a bus downtown and check out the Bean, the Macy’s windows, some other sites we usually see at Christmas time, then get back to the zoo in the evening to see the zoo lights, but it didn’t happen that way. At one point we just looked at each other and both kind of said we were having a great time, a very relaxing time, just wandering around, no rush, nice and mellow. It was awesome. While we were there we also decided to put our money where our mouths are and donate a bit to the conservation and research programs the zoo participates in. Kindness through conservation.
Everyone loves cookies and it just so happens my honey makes great M&M cookies. Today’s kindness was a simple one. She made cookies and we delivered them to three of our neighbors. Needless to say they were surprised and very happy to get them. Nothing like seeing people with big smiles on their faces. Kindness through sugar overload. That’s what we’re talking about.
We decided to go with a fun act of kindness today. We taped a couple of packages of microwave popcorn to a Redbox outside a local Walgreens. The signs said, “Enjoy some popcorn with your movie”. We hope someone does!
We found a big package of handwarmers at the bottom of our hat/scarf bin in our closet. At some point we bought them in bulk. Each little package is a pack of two handwarmers. It’s very cold out today so our act of kindness was to drive around our towns, both Champaign and Urbana, for a couple of hours handing out packs of handwarmers to people at bus stops and other people just walking around who looked really cold. We would pull up and K would roll down her window or jump out and offer up a package of handwarmers to the person. Some took them, others didn’t. One guy said he didn’t need them because he had socks on his hands. K tried to convince him socks weren’t warm enough. He smiled, laughed a little, and still refused. We gave that pack to the next cold looking person we saw. Even the people who refused them smiled at us. The people that took them were very grateful. Small kindnesses mean something.
We are very corny. Silly even. It’s something both K and I share, a genuine dorkiness. It makes our lives fun, we laugh a lot. Because we love to laugh, we love to make other people laugh. Sharing laughter is a kindness. To yourself, and to the person you shared the laugh with. So today we recorded ourselves doing really corny knock knock jokes and sent them out to some people. We totally cracked ourselves up. I hope we made our people laugh as well.
We go to the library a lot. I’m a huge fan. All sorts of people use the libary, which is one of the things that makes it so awesome. It’s an amazing resource. One of the things we thought we would do as we go forward with this whole kindness adventure was to write out a bunch of positive notes on post-its and randomly place them around for people to find. Since we go to the library a lot, and since there are all sorts of people there, we thought it would be a good place to put the notes. Today was the day. We note-bombed the library. I don’t know how many notes we made up, there were a lot of them. We each took part of the pack of them and snuck around putting them in places like seats, and on the copier, and on a book I was returning, and in the elevators. We put them all over. They all said different things, like “you have a beautiful smile” or “you are braver than you know” or “you are loved”. It was so much fun. Everyone loves hearing something nice. We hope there will be a few extra smiles today at the library.
Sometimes the kind thing is a thing you might do anyway. Something as simple as helping out someone when they’re in need. Kindness doesn’t have to be done in big grand gestures or deliberate acts for someone you don’t know. It can be simple, and right at home. The kid’s water heater went out. They’ve had a couple of days of no hot water, which they’ve managed to deal with pretty well, but the one thing they couldn’t get done at home were baths for the kids. So today they came over and the littles had a bath. Kindness can be about just being there for someone when they need you to be. And in fact, we should be kind like that as much as we can be.
I spent 20 years of my life working with at-risk kids. It was challenging work, but also very rewarding. Initially I worked for several years with kids at a youth correction facility. Later, and for most of my years doing the work, I worked as a Juvenile Probation Officer. That involved a lot of things, one of those being sometimes trying to find a residential placement for a kid who needed treatment, or safety, or both. I know a lot about residential kids, I have a huge place in my heart for them. Which brings us to today’s act of kindness. There is a residential program here in our town, the Cunningham Children’s Home. We know someone who works there and asked her if they were accepting donations for the holidays. She told us yes, gave us a few suggestions, then told us where to go to drop off the stuff (thanks so much, Evelyne!). We just got done dropping off the goods. If you are local here, consider a donation to Cunningham. Kids in placement don’t usually have very much, they frequently feel unwanted, forgotten, and less-than. They aren’t, but they don’t know that. Just getting to pick out some cool stuff around the holidays helps a little.
Today’s act of kindness involved sending a few notes to a few people we were thinking of and just wanted to say hello to. Getting mail is cool. It makes people smile. Let’s them know you were thinking of them. Mail is kind. Send mail.
As most everyone can tell, we love our pups very much. They bring so much light, joy, and love into our lives. We also know we aren’t the only ones who feel this way about our furry family members. Because of this we wanted to do something kind for other people’s dog and cats. We found out about an event put on by a local organization called Hospice Hearts that is meant to help out low income people by offering vet service, grooming services, and food at reduced rates. So we bought some food and just dropped it off for the organizers to use at the event. We have to remember to be kind to everyone, including our furry friends. Spread the love.
Sebastian is an amazing little guy. Has always been. He started kindergarten this year and he’s flourished there, growing and maturing as the year has gone on. Teaching is a hard business, and teaching kindergarten must be impossible at times. Hopefully it’s also rewarding. We think Sebastian’s teacher has been great with him, and his class, this year. It has been a good first step for him into the regular school system and a large part of that has been due to her work. So today’s act of kindness is to show our appreciation to her by giving her a gift card good for a couple of cups of coffee or tea or hot cocoa at a local coffee place. It’s a small token for such a big thing.
We were at the library, where we go frequently. I’m a huge fan of the library. We probably go there a couple of times a week. Anyway, we were in the parking lot, which has meters, and we noticed the meter enforcement person pull up. She got out and walked over to a car and started writing a ticket. So K jumped out of our Jeep, ran over to her with a bag of change we keep in the Jeep for parking, and asked her if instead of giving tickets she would put change in the meters, K offered up our change. The meter lady told K she couldn’t do that, and in fact her bosses had told her specifically not to do it. She could put her job in jeopardy. We definitely didn’t want that. Then she says, “I haven’t gotten to that row yet”, and sort of gestured over to another row. We took the hint. We started moving around the lot trying to spot meters that had expired and if we found one we put change in it. The meter lady was sort of sour when K initially approached her, but by the time they finished chatting, and she suggested the other row, she had a big grin on her face. Sometimes acts of kindness just have to be seen to be appreciated, to lift spirits, and to make people smile.
Point is, we like coffee. Today we decided to spread love and kindness through coffee. We went through a drive-thru and paid for the person behind us. We were going to do it no matter who it was, but in the rear view it looked like a college student. They ordered two drinks. We didn’t know that when we told the girl at the window we wanted to pay for the person behind us, we just figured there were two by how much it was. That made us even happier. The kid behind us was taking a drink to someone else, spreading the joy even further than just his car in that moment.
We pretty much take our dogs for a walk everyday. The length varies, depending on weather and our schedule, but for the most part we try to get them out for a jaunt on a daily basis. When we walk we choose routes in our area of town, in our neighborhood. During today’s walk we decided, as our daily act of kindness, that we would take a trash bag along and pick up garbage. We walked about a mile and a half and ended picking up nearly an entire large kitchen sized bag of garbage. We couldn’t believe some of the stuff we found. Everything from an empty liquor bottle to what looked like old rags that had flown off a truck. A plethora of refuse, just around this particular route in our neighborhood. It made us feel good to do it. We actually wondered why we hadn’t done it before. Just think of how great it would be if everyone did this on theirs walks, even once a week.