One year at an old job, I was going through some work emails, and the company list of birthdays came up. I noticed my co-managers birthday was coming up soon. I thought it was a tad odd because she hadn't mentioned it in anyway as everyone else usually did, but I decided that I was going to do something special for it without her knowing. I rallied my staff and asked each of them to optionally bring an inexpensive gift or it could be something they made or a note of kindness for the following Friday for her birthday and to of course, keep it a secret. With the management team, we planned to each potluck something for breakfast and bring in a few of her favorite snacks and a small cake.
The day arrived and we went to town. We placed 40 balloons (the max we could blow up in time) all in and around her desk. Then we piled the dozens and dozens of gifts and cards there from staff and ourselves. We brought in her favorite Starbucks drink and snacks, and put all the food there along with the cake. Lastly, we put a large homemade Happy Birthday Banner up so it would hang down from the ceiling. It looked incredible and really festive.
When the lookout announced her approach, we all stood back and waited for her to open up the door. I thought she would be so surprised or happy, but she just automatically teared up and started to cry which was surprising because I'd never seen her show any sort of emotions like that. I ran up and gave her a hug and she said to me that she'd stopped caring or celebrating her birthday because no one else ever seemed to care about it, even her own family, so to see all of that from so many people, really just got to her and made her feel overwhelmed in a good way.
You just really never know what one random act of kindness can do for someone. I think we often erroneously assume that everyone is okay if they show up and can put a smile on their face but a lot of people, including ourselves, can be secretly going through so much and are left just hoping and wishing sometimes, that someone, anyone would be kind to us or understand our hurt. Sometimes its not even a matter of going through something, but rather feeling unappreciated, forgotten, unloved, or lonely in this big world.
I think what random acts of kindness do, is they truly show someone that someone out there cares about them. I think more people should stop every once in a while and take a little time out of your day to think about someone other than yourself and what others can do for you, but rather what you can do for others. Even if you do it anonymously, just dropping off a kind note of appreciation, or rolling a neighbors trashcan back, or leaving a nice cold drink on a co-workers desk, just because, it's that act of kindness that can really make a huge difference especially with all that is currently going on in the world. We all just need to stop and remember to be a little more loving towards one another and to lead with kindness in our hearts.
There are some really great RAK ideas here: