1. This is SO neat. I think a lot of great things can happen in life when you go out of your way to be nice to someone. 🙂

    The best act of kindness I’ve ever heard was from my stepmom, actually. Years ago she saved up lots of money and bought a very nice (and expensive) winter coat. It was gorgeous and thick and warm.

    My stepmom shopped regularly at a particular Walmart for her weekly groceries. One day, she saw a woman shivering in the cold outside the store. It was obvious that the woman was homeless and had a severe mental illness. It was about 10 degrees outside, so my stepmom gave this woman the jacket.

    She didn’t see the woman again for a while, and figured she had moved on.

    But one day my stepmom went back to the Walmart, and that same woman was there–still wearing the coat.

    There’s a lot you can tell about a person based on how they treat people who can’t give anything in return. 🙂

    • That’s a great story and thanks for sharing! I think people can be scared to “get close” or share with those with mental illnesses. I work with a number of families that have individuals who have significant mental illnesses. They don’t get the same treatment as those with physical illnesses.
      I did something similar as your #3 Penny. Each time we shopped we bought “meals” for families through our local grocery store. They match every meal bought too.

      • Vicki, I love that you found a store that will “match” your donations. That’s really cool. And you’re right. It is abhorrent how poorly we treat, respond to, and care for people with mental illnesses.

    • This is such a beautiful story, Mrs. Picky Pincher! What a kind and beautiful soul she has. We could ALL learn a lesson from her!

      Our city has a shockingly high homeless population for how affluent of a suburb it is. In high school, a homeless man used to hang out on a bench outside of Dunkin’ Donuts. Every time we went, we’d buy him food and something warm to drink when it was cold out. They eventually got rid of the bench, though 🙁

  2. This is great! I did a post a few months ago reviewing the science on how acts of kindness increase our happiness, and it found that doing a lot of little things and keeping up a wide variety of different acts makes us the most happy. This is a solid list that we could all emulate. Thanks for leading by example, Penny!

    • I don’t know how much leading I’m doing, but it’s been fun to fill out a blank calendar every day with something like this! It made me especially cognizant of how I treat others when doing things like holiday shopping. Turns out, it won’t kill me if I let someone else have the better parking space or double back to hold open a door 😉

  3. I LOVE this, Penny! I’ve been looking for as many ways as I can to do random acts of kindness lately. I committed to doing more of this in 2017 (and plan to hold myself accountable).

    On Christmas Eve, we were on the receiving end. My husband ran to the store for some last minute groceries and a kind stranger paid for them. Hubby said he felt guilty, knowing we didn’t need the groceries purchased for us, but he was so grateful for the kindness from this stranger. When he told me what had happened, I was beside myself – I can’t describe my feelings (joy, love, gratitude!?), but told him “this is what it’s about”. We are paying it forward, for sure, and spreading the kindness as much as possible.

    • That is SO cool! Once, I dropped my debit card in Aldi. The man who found it didn’t speak a language I recognized, but I gestured the best I could and paid for his few groceries. It was only maybe $10, but it saved me so much aggravation, it was the least I could do. I hadn’t thought to do a pay-it-forward thing in the grocery store before your comment, though. That’s a neat idea!

  4. Thanks for sharing some of your challenge results! I definitely want to practice more kindness this year and will be looking for ways I can do more. Enjoy your holiday time, relax, and I’ll look forward to more great posts from you in the new year.

  5. I still remember moving across the country–driving a giant truck and towing my car. I stopped to get gas and managed to wrap the car trailer around the pump so I couldn’t get out. I didn’t hit anything, but I was stuck.
    A super-kind truck driver came over and talked me through backing out and saved the day. He didn’t have to get involved, and I’m sure he was tired and had a long day, but I don’t know what I would have done without his help.

  6. That’s a great list of accomplishments for a month, and showed you made a lot of folks happy.

    My favorite act of kindness this year was taking a birthday card and balloon last month to a neighbor who was feeling poorly and was unable to travel to see her family. Not a big thing, and it only took a minute to brighten someone’s day. I need to do more of this kinda thing.

  7. One thing I like to do is ‘pay it forward’ at the coffee shop drive thru. So, when I get to the window, I’ll ask what the person’s total is behind me, and pay for their order. I’ve had people do the same for me a few times, and it’s created such a wonderful feeling.
    Sometimes it even sets off a chain reaction in the drive thru.

    Here’s a an example of how far this act of kindness can spread! 🙂


  8. Very inspiring, Penny. I love number 6. I’m always letting someone go in front of me, especially when they’re trying to merge onto the highway. And it’s funny. For years I would get upset if I didn’t get a wave or a “thank you.” But now, just being kind is reward enough. If I get a wave or a “thank you” now, it’s a bonus. For 2017, in addition to our usual acts of kindness and charity, Mrs. G and I are going to get 10-15 $20 gift cards and randomly hand them out to strangers. Thank you for the great post. Hope you have an awesome 2017.

  9. I love this. I think we should all be calling our relatives more, even friends that we haven’t spoken to in awhile. I haven’t heard from a few of my high school friends in awhile and I miss them so much!

  10. Oh kind Penny, I truly hope you inspire others to be nicer to each other <3

    Mr. Smith and I have been going crazy with all the discourteous actions we see on a daily basis. He has always been the one to hold open doors for people and strike up conversations with the grocery store clerk, just trying to make their day a little nicer. I actually credit him with encouraging me to be kinder to strangers. I hate seeing people only thinking of themselves.

    One of my goals is to find new ways to contribute and help others this year. First thing on my list is to donate a crocheted baby blanket from the disastrous craft sale (I have different ones planned for the twins). I have to figure out if the local NICU will take it or if I should send it somewhere else – maybe cancer treatment hospital?

    • I love that idea, Harmony! I wish I could craft. And Mr. Smith is awesome. I try to always pay genuine compliments to strangers, especially if they are helping me (ringing up a purchase, etc.). It’s amazing to me how pointing out someone’s manicure or necklace can make them smile. I guess I worked retail long enough to know you kind of feel invisible…unless someone is mad!

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