Blessing Others

Random Act of Kindness – ISTE Ignite

If you’ve read my Pollyanna blog, you have some background knowledge of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.  I was chosen as an Ignite presenter, which was such an honor, and challenged me in so many ways as a motivational speaker and educational presenter.

My presentation, only 5 minutes and 20 slides in length per Ignite specifications, focused on Blogging Random Acts of Kindness.  I wanted to share my experiences on a global platform – not only my personal contributions with doing random acts for others, but how this concept translates into the classroom with student bloggers.  (You can view my presentation here thanks to my friend, Stacie, for capturing it on her cell phone!)

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Prior to my presentation, I wanted to do a Random Act of Kindness which I felt would be a perfect way to calm my nerves and share my joy of being at this conference.  A few weeks prior, the company Atomic Learning sent me two shirts with the note below:

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I couldn’t wait to pay it forward by giving away the shirt!  But the Ignite session was shared by several presenters, so I couldn’t do a drawing… and tossing it out to the audience didn’t seem like an appropriate choice either. I finally decided to put the shirt in a brown bag along with a 100 Grand candy bar that included notes like “I think you are worth 100 Grand” and “You are Tweet Worthy”.  I also included a handwritten note for the recipient to tweet out the RAK using the hashtag #ISTE2014RAK and to pass the shirt along to someone else if it didn’t fit.  When we arrived in the Murphy Ballroom, at the Georgia World Conference Center, I asked my friend, Heather, to put the bag on someone’s chair somewhere in the middle of the room.

Many times when I do a random act of kindness, I don’t have the privilege of seeing the reaction live.  I often wonder, “What did they think when they got my surprise?  Did they smile?  Did they laugh?  Did it brighten their day?”  Today, however, I got to experience the reaction with full gusto!

About 5 minutes before the Ignite Round 2 session began, I saw my friend Heather approaching my chair.  “Ummm… I think someone discovered your random act of kindness!”  There was a sense of excitement and awe in her voice, and I turned to see what she was pointing at.  Sure enough, there was a lady standing up in the center of the room exclaiming her joy in my RAK!  Oh my goodness, what an amazing feeling to know that someone was experiencing such joy because of something I did!  WOW!

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Without even thinking, I got out of my chair and approached the woman and introduced myself.  “YOU did this?  How wonderful!  I love it!”  We laughed, hugged, and even had someone take our picture together.  It was an AMAZING way to begin the Ignite session and, quite frankly, I forgot about the fear and nervousness that had inched its way into my brain that morning.

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I returned to my seat with barely a few moments to spare, and as I was reviewing my notecards one last time, I heard a polite, “Excuse me…” and looked up to see a different woman kneeling in front of me.  “I was sitting behind the gal who got your random act of kindness… My name is Susan Williams and I’m with Atomic Learning…”  Wait… what??  You’re with the same company who actually sent me the shirt to give away in my session?  And you ended up sitting directly behind the gal who received the RAK? What are the chances of THAT happening?!

The gal sitting beside me captured this moment. :)
This moment was captured by the gal sitting beside me. 🙂

My Ignite presentation went well, I remembered all my speaking points and ended right on time.  It was an exhilarating moment to be on stage, facing so many people, sharing my experiences with random acts of kindness.  In fact, when I got to the part at the end of my speech where I said, “Maybe even you’ve experienced a random act of kindness at ISTE” the crowd erupted in applause! WOW!

As I stated in my presentation, I truly believe there is good in this world.  I am so blessed to be living in such a connected, digital age where I can share my stories with others and inspire more good to be done.  YOU are a blessing to me as well.  Knowing you are reading my blog holds me accountable for not only working to perfect my writing skills, but to find fun, creative, and easy ways to bless others.

“Imagine how much good we could put back into this world if we all committed to doing just

one random act of kindness a week.”

Be inspired!  Share your stories with others!  You will be surprised how good it makes YOU feel to share in kindness.  And maybe, just maybe, in all your days of doing RAKs… you might just get RAK’d back.  🙂

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POSTSCRIPT:  The gal who received my RAK in the session did pay it forward by leaving the bag for someone else.  How did I find out about it?  On Twitter, of course!  The new recipient tweeted this pic which only added to my joy!  🙂

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