Many years ago, when I was still living with my dad, I remember him mentioning a book that he was reading about random acts of kindness. I don't recall the name of the book, although a search on Amazon.com turns up quite a few on the subject. Like many of us, I find myself doing the occasional nice deed, and every time I've gone a bit out of my way for someone, it inevitably makes me feel really good too. So, as the holidays were approaching this year, I thought it'd be fun to make a practice of it.
To make the process one that can easily recur, I thought I'd print up some "business cards" to hand out when I did a good deed. This way, the recipient wouldn't be completely confused, and they'd be able to "pay it forward" to someone else. I can't take credit for this card idea...I'm sure I've heard about it somewhere else. Regardless, after a few internet searches, I wasn't able to find much.
Most of what I did find came from The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. They provide some good resources for starting clubs, community groups, and integrating the concepts into a classroom. Their Free Graphics section provides some ideas, and I used them as inspiration for the cards that I ended up designing. There's a link to download them at the end of this post.
So far, I've used one card on a Victoria Clipper trip my wife and I took to Victoria, BC this past weekend (to purchase the next person's dinner). Yesterday, I used one in the Taco Time drive-thru in Sammamish, Washington. Drive-thrus make it easy...just pay for the person behind you and instruct the employee to hand the card to them. Today, I used one at Starbuck's. These are all monetary examples, but there are many other possibilities. It's refreshing to condition your mind to think primarily in terms of what other people get out of the experience.
Anyway, if you want to make other people happy and bring yourself some personal joy, I highly recommend downloading and printing your own Random Act of Kindness cards (84KB PDF). Happy holidays!