Random Acts of Kindness: Who REALLY Benefits?

Random Acts of Kindness: Who REALLY Benefits?

Yesterday I learned that a friend ordered a meal at the drive through at a Dallas area Chick Fil A restaurant and received quite a surprise. The person ahead of her in the line paid for her food before she reached the window. The individual picking up the tab was a total stranger at that! Can you imagine what it would feel like to be in her shoes? How does such a random act of kindness impact your entire day?

As I have pondered her unexpected experience at this fast food establishment, I do have one question. Who received more benefit from that experience? Obviously my friend enjoyed a quick windfall. Her chicken sandwich and waffle fries no doubt tasted even better than usual. (Chick Fil A is my favorite fast food restaurant by the way.) I am actually of a mind that the person who initiated such generosity benefited even more.

If he has a vivid imagination like I do, then he must have had a great time running over in his mind what her reaction was like when she was told that her meal was already paid for. But more importantly it no doubt brought him great joy to know without a doubt that he made someone else’s day. When I lived in a small town, it was not at all uncommon for friends or kind neighbors to grab my check at the local restaurant. That was a perk of rural West Texas life. But for someone to do that for a total stranger in Dallas is indeed unusual.

This report of random kindness at Chick Fil A has prompted the wheels in my brain to start turning. What can I do on behalf of a total stranger that would qualify as a random act of kindness? Paying for someone’s meal in the fast food line may not qualify, because in Granbury I often know the person behind me in line! What can be done with complete anonymity?

Here are a few ideas. I would challenge my readers to add your own initiatives and not postpone putting them into action. What fun will we have in the process!

• Pay the fees on a toll road for the person behind you. (I have a friend who does this when he travels on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike leading into Oklahoma City.)
• Mow a neighbor’s grass.
• Send someone an anonymous letter or card with a kind message.
• Send an elderly person living on a fixed income a gift card.
• Visit someone in a nursing home who has no family.
• Give another driver your parking spot.
• Give flowers to be delivered with meals on wheels.
• Have pizza delivered to a nurses station at the hospital, the police dept. or a nearby fire station.
• Send a gift card for fuel to someone who is traveling regularly to care for a loved one who is seriously ill.

Have fun! And enjoy the joy that comes from initiating random acts of kindness.

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