family, kindness

Kindness Scavenger Hunt

On Christmas Day, I received a plain, white envelope from my middle child, Daniel. Inside was a cryptic note with $3 attached – money he provided from his own wallet. “It’s a Kindness Scavenger Hunt,” he announced. “It starts at Dunkin’ Donuts tomorrow!”

The next day we jumped into my car – just he and I – to jumpstart a journey of joy!

The adventure begins!
“Welcome to the Scavenger hunt adventure, but as you will see this isn’t your normal spelling bee.
Whenever you’re ready, let’s go Mommy, to buy someone’s Dunkin’ Donut coffee.”
Our first stop!

Dunkin’ Delight – RAK 1

I wrote a quick note for the stranger explaining why they were getting a free coffee, then Daniel and I walked into the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop.

I approached the counter as the cashier smiled, ready to take my order. “I would like to buy a coffee, please, but not for myself. I want to prepay for a coffee and you can surprise someone with it instead.”

The cashier was a little confused by my request at first, so I elaborated. “I have three dollars to spend and I want to buy someone’s coffee but nobody is in here. Can I just buy the coffee now and the next person that comes in and orders a coffee is good to go because I already paid for them? You can put any change in your tip jar if you like!”

He glanced at the drive-thru window and said, “Someone just ordered a coffee! You can buy it for them!” How exciting to complete this act of kindness right in the moment! I quickly gave him my money, then asked if I could take his photo as he handed my note to the guest in the drive-thru.

My note for the stranger with cash for the coffee.
The cashier giving the note to the stranger in the drive-thru.

How fun was that? This quick RAK brought us such joy! As we turned to make our way out of the coffee shop, Daniel directed my attention to the light switch by the door.

Another clue.

Another RAK.

The adventure continues!

“Round and round the gumballs will show, but where will these four quarters go?”
Four quarters were taped to the back of the clue.

Kroger Candy – RAK 2

It was very convenient that our local Kroger supermarket was in the same shopping plaza as Dunkin’ Donuts – and the first place I could think of that still had old-fashioned gumball machines! Daniel and I headed that way and filled the machines with quarters to create a joyful surprise for some kiddos who would visit soon.

We picked the gumball machines lowest to the floor for little eyes to discover.
Then we added two quarters to this one – a jackpot win for one little kiddo!

(If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know how much I adore our local Kroger. Other acts of kindness here include Remembering Mr. Leon, First Birthday in Heaven and even my very first act of kindness for Celebrate Kindness!)

This time my next clue was taped to the plastic bag recycling bin beside the sliding doors. Where would our adventures take us next?

“A meal that kids eat a bit, and I think that they are lovin’ it!”
Money taped to the back of the clue.

Happy Meal Joy – RAK 3

If you guessed “McDonald’s” as the location of our next act of kindness, you would be correct! It was time to surprise someone with a paid Happy Meal!

Daniel and I right before we performed our next RAK.

As a mom of three, I know how excited little kids get to receive a happy meal. I also know that this RAK would bring joy to a mom or dad, too, because everyone enjoys a free meal, especially when it’s an unexpected surprise!

We prepaid for the Happy Meal with the cashier shouting to the drive-thru crew, “Don’t make that happy meal – she’s paying for someone else!”

As we started to leave the restaurant, lo and behold there was another clue hanging on the Christmas tree in the lobby, this one leading us back to our home.

“The last gift cannot be beat, located at… (our address)”

As we made our way back home, it was impossible to contain our smiles and laughter. “Are you having so much fun?” Daniel asked.


So. Much. Fun!

Homemade Happiness – RAK 4

When we arrived home, I told Daniel we needed to take a photo by the door. He agreed, then after the fourth selfie of the day (you KNOW how much I adore selfies!), Daniel whispered, “Look down.”

There, at my feet, was another clue waiting to be discovered.

Home again!
“The ‘happy place’ is what it’s called; the first drawer is where it’s installed.”

My happy place.

Do you have a happy place in your home? A special area that you can call your own, that brings you immense joy every time you sit or stand there? A place that fills your heart, calms your soul, and reminds you that everything is right with the world?

I do.

It’s my writing desk in my Joy Room.

My writing desk

Following the clue, I opened the top desk drawer to discover… another clue!

“Happiness is found along the way… not at the end of the journey” ~Darunee Williams

“But if you want your actual present, it is located in the drawer below this segment.”

So I opened the bottom drawer and discovered a personalized gift for ME:

“This coupon is redeemable for two hours with the thermostat at 78 degrees or lower.”

I laughed so hard at this coupon, I nearly fell on the floor!

See, in my house there is an ongoing war about what temperature the thermostat should be set on. I am the ONLY person in the entire house who is constantly cold. In fact, I even wear fleece jackets in the blazing heat of summer. (Shhhh – don’t tell!)

Since my husband is a conservationist, I am never afforded the luxury of blasting the heat in my home to my heart’s content. Instead, you will often find me bundled up under blankets, curled up in the corner of my sofa, trying to stay warm.

As you might guess, winter is my least favorite season.

This coupon was a gift of indulgence.

As my incredible Kindness Scavenger Hunt came to a close, I hugged my sweet fifteen-year-old son and thanked him for the unexpected joy in the journey. His creativity, ingenuity, and thoughtfulness took kindness to a whole new level.

When you begin to live your life as a Kindness Cultivator, others take notice and want to help you scatter seeds of kindness, too.

Perhaps this story will inspire you to create a Kindness Scavenger Hunt of your own. If you do, let me know! I’m sure it will create ripples of kindness every place you go!


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8 thoughts on “Kindness Scavenger Hunt”

  1. Best present ever. I’m sure u r so
    Proud of that boy. Very thoughtful 15 yr old… it comes from the top and ripples down. Good job mom! ❤️

    1. Awww, thanks Vicki! I love that image of kindness rippling down. Those little actions make a huge impact! Thanks for reading and responding!

    2. I love this and I LOVE you! I knew from the moment we met you were one of the special friends I would cherish always! ZLAM

      1. Awww, Sutessa, we were destined to be sisters of the heart! I will always treasure our long conversations back and forth from college to home and love that we are still connected decades later! Once a ZTA, always a ZTA! “Seek the noblest!” Thanks for always reading and supporting me in so many ways!

  2. This is way awesome! Very inspiring that a 15 year old cares so much about cultivating Kindness. Not only because it is the right thing to do-to br kind that is- but also, because he knows how much his Mumma would Love it!
    Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Thanks for reading, Jason, and taking the time to share your thoughts! I was very impressed – this Momma’s heart just melted!

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