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.