What an exciting day! Today, February 17, is National Random Acts of Kindness Day and one of my favorite days of the year. An entire day spotlighting the good in our world? COUNT ME IN!
This day of celebration was first created in 2004 by Josh de Jong of New Zealand and has grown in popularity all around the world ever since. Some countries, like New Zealand, celebrate RAK Day on September 1 (the start of Spring); other countries, like the United States, celebrate on February 17.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation extends this focus as a weeklong event, which varies from year to year, but always includes February 17. This year, the kindness initiative began Sunday, February 16 and continues through Saturday, February 22, 2020.
As a #RAKtivist with the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, I choose to perform acts of kindness all year long and share what I do through social media. If you have read my book, A Passion for Kindness, then you know I am extremely passionate about inspiring the world with kindness! Each of us has the power to transform someone else’s day – we simply need to take action!
In my world, RAK Day is even more incredible because it is just a few days after my book was released to the world in 2019. This year was my first “book birthday” and – WOW – what a celebration indeed! Did I mention that my book birthday is also Valentine’s Day, too? SO. MUCH. JOY!
This year I asked those who had read my book to share their location so I could create a map of all the places kindness had scattered. People from all across the world took time out of their day to respond to my simple question – a RAK in and of itself! Currently we have readers in 90 locations with more locations added each day!
If you were inspired by A Passion for Kindness and want your location added to the map, visit http://bit.ly/APFKworld and complete the Google Form. To view the current map with all locations, visit http://bit.ly/scatterkindnessmap. Zoom in to see locations, then tap the location details to see the first names of readers from that location. It’s been so exciting (and humbling!) to see how one book can make such a huge impact on others!
To celebrate my first book birthday and kick off Random Acts of Kindness Week, my forever friend, Lisa, drove to my hometown to join in the fun. If you’ve read the book, you might remember her from Chapter 2 as she was the gal who sat beside me and said, “Hey! I think you should start a blog!” Eight years later, I’m still writing and celebrating kindness wherever I go. What an incredible journey it’s been!
She was only in town for 24 hours so we knew we would need to maximize our time while. On the way to dinner, we saw a car with a kindness-themed license plate and knew it was a sign that we were starting yet another grand adventure!
We ate a delicious meal at YaYa’s Cookbook in Short Pump with the kindest wait staff, then as we were finishing our dessert, the chef surprised us with a gourmet fruit plate. In the center of the plate was an orange carved to look like a panda bear holding the top of a rose in its arms. It made our night!
I started chatting with a stranger who, lo and behold, was from my hometown and actually lived in my mom’s neighborhood a few years ago. We also discovered that we shared the same name, just spelled differently (Her first name is Sheree, my middle name is Cherée, but both are pronounced “Sure-EE”). What are the chances? When I told her I wrote a book about kindness, she excitedly talked about the need for a kindness club for adults in our local area, so I can’t wait to see where this will lead!
On Sunday, the first official day of RAK Week, Lisa and I hit the road and rocked out several acts of kindness. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen our Instagram Live and Story videos throughout the day. We left dollar bills to be discovered at The Dollar Tree and bought six balloons to leave at the playground (just like I did on p.33 in memory of Noah Pozner from Sandy Hook Elementary School). We also left a gift card at Panera and filled a wallet with money and inspirational goodies to leave in a grocery store cart with a note that the wallet was free to take for whoever found it.
We had SO much fun doing these acts of kindness together! We also discovered that being kind sometimes takes work (like untangling all those balloon strings to hang on the fence) and patience (like when we couldn’t figure out how to broadcast live on Instagram and Facebook at the same time.) When we ran out of time to complete all the acts of kindness we had planned, we simply decided to keep RAKing all week long in our separate locations!
This morning I went to school a little early and filled the copy machines with full reams of paper. It was a small RAK, but one that might bring a smile to a teacher’s day. I continued my kindness by greeting students and staff, smiling at everyone I met, and complimenting several people throughout the day.
This afternoon I decided to stop in my favorite little coffee shop, The Local Cup, (to write this blog post!) and paid for a coffee to be given to a stranger. Even though I may never see who receives my little acts of kindness, just knowing that I put a little more good into the world makes all the difference to me!
Since kindness is contagious, I’m offering a little kindness challenge of my own! On Friday, February 21, 2020, I will be doing a giveaway of my book A Passion for Kindness for someone to keep or give away. If you would like to be entered in the drawing, visit http://bit.ly/APFKgiveaway and share how you have shown kindness to the world this week. I will take all the responses and share them out at the end of the week on Padlet, then choose a winner at 6pm EST!
I hope your week is overflowing with love, joy and all things kind. YOU are an inspiration each and every day! Happy RAK Day, friends!