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Perform a random act of kindness

Published December 26. 2016 02:46PM

Last week, while I was doing my daily morning walk, a car pulled alongside me. The passenger called me over. Naturally, I was suspicious, but, on occasion, a passing motorist will ask for directions.

The woman tried to hand me a Subway gift card. At first, I didn't take it. "What is this for?" I asked with great suspicion. "Merry Christmas," the woman said. "Please take it, buy something that you like, and, most important, please perform a random act of kindness for a stranger."

She had a pack of gift cards in her hand, so I suspect that I was one of many who would be targeted by her kind and gracious holiday greeting.

I was floored. I mean it was just $5, but it meant so much more than that - a perfect stranger reaching out to a stranger to brighten his day. And did it ever!

I must have told 50 family members and friends in the past week, and now I am telling you.

I have been deliberating about how I would pay forward this random act of kindness. Should I get a gift card and distribute it as was done with me, or should I try something a little more creative and personal?

I am still working on options, but I will reach out to someone before the end of the year, along with the suggestion that he or she pays it forward, too.

Here are 10 suggestions I am considering:

• Pay the toll for the person behind me.

• Give a warm drink to the person ringing the Salvation Army bell.

• Take home-baked pastries to my police and fire departments.

• Donate stuffed animals to hospitals to be used during emergencies to help frightened children.

• Pay for someone's layaway.

• Put change in a parking meter that is about to expire.

• Buy dessert for a person eating alone at a restaurant

• Leave a sizable tip for a server who provided extraordinary service.

• Write a "thank you" note expressing my gratitude for someone who has done something nice for me.

• Hold the door open for a mom with a handful of children, and wish all of them a happy holiday and a happy new year.

We all know the uplifting feeling we get when we do something nice for others. It's not difficult to live a kind life, especially at this time of year, and do for others. In doing so, you will begin to see that you will inspire others to emulate your simple acts of kindness.

A random act of kindness has been defined as a premeditated or nonpremeditated action to offer kindness toward the outside world. It was Ann Herbert who first used the term on a place mat in Sausalito, California, in 1982.

From that humble beginning, the concept has grown into an international movement. In fact, Random Acts of Kindness is celebrated with its own special week. The next one comes up Feb. 12-17.

By Bruce Frassinelli | tneditor@tnonline.com

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