When we decided to create the 21-Day Kindness Challenge, we had no idea what we were in for. We thought it would be nice for our friends and the KindSpring community to be a little bit more intentional about practicing kindness every day. There is something about doing things collectively, and cheering each other on that energizes us. After all, what could be more beautiful than spreading a few more smiles in the world?
Only that almost six-thousand people decided that they wanted in! We were thrilled that so many people are interested in being kinder human beings.
Five days into the challenge, lots of acts of kindness have been done -- and 1062 small acts have been shared on the KindSpring website. It has been a joy to wake up each morning and read these acts. Below are some of my favorites. Some are small, some are quite big, some followed our suggestion for the day, some created their own act. The important thing was that they’ve all brightened up the heart of the giver and the receiver.
"Everyday I walk to the coffee shop across the street. Everyday the same homeless person is there with a sign that is asking for anything that would help. He always has a warm smile for anyone who bothers to stop and say hello. There are a lot of homeless in my city. Young, old, veterans, addicts. I recognize how lucky I am to have lived my life of semi privilege. Today I took the time to finally stop and meet Rick. When I came out of the coffee shop I treated him to a sandwich and a cup of coffee. It doesn't change his situation but maybe it will help lift his spirits. It certainly lifted mine." –cmerge
"I purchased a pumpkin cheesecake bread at Starbucks for my manager. Put it in his mailbox. He came over to ask me if I knew who it was from. I said I had no idea. " -f.cuevas
"I left quarters with SMILE card taped to vending machine at work. (I was trying to be all sneaky, but two people came around the corner just as I was doing it! Hopefully they didn't notice!) I just walked by the vending machine and the quarters were gone and a $1 bill was in their place -- with the SMILE card still there." –dosomething
"I met a former student for breakfast this morning, as I was waiting an elderly man entered the cafe, he was dropped off by a local bus company that transports the elderly who can no longer drive. As I watched him walk across the room with his walker I decided to surprise him today by paying for his breakfast. I told my waitress I was going to take care of his bill, but not to tell him who was paying. After he left the waitress came over and said, he told me to tell you, "thank you and to let him know if you wanted a date". Great way to start this 21-day challenge. Brought smiles to both of us and the waitress!" -mrsbunch64
"When the elevator stopped on the third floor and the doors opened there was an older man getting ready to board. Unfortunately there was no place for him. I got out and gave him my place, I went down the stairs." -miller
“Today I escorted a young man to a local Technical College for a tour and meeting with an adviser. The young man lost his mother to murder when he was 5 and was sent to live with his grandmother that never really wanted him around and kicked him out after high school graduation. He has no one around to advise or help him and he really wants to continue his education. I met him a few years ago through a camp for children that have lost a loved one to homicide. I have acted as a mentor of sorts since we met and was honored when he asked me if I would attend the meeting and tour with him." -ryan.b
“I called my brother who suffers from bipolar disease and is waiting for a kidney transplant. I let him talk for as long as he wished about what was important to him." -carol1
"I wrote a letter to my sister, bought a pastry to share with co-workers AND my favorite - bought a gift card at a coffee shop and asked the barista to give it with a Smile card to the next person who walked in! He seemed really happy to be a part of my little kindness scheme. I've been going to this coffee shop for a while and FINALLY learned his name. Kindness creates connection and community. Excited for tomorrow!" -sparksliza534
"I sent an update to my family about my life, my work, my stresses and reliefs. I love them but I haven't really been in touch with them in years. Living so far away just starts building distance, and I decided to get back in touch with them finally because of yesterday's challenge. So thankful!" -Carlin
“Today I logged on through Facebook and searched for an old elementary friend Mike. After just 5 minutes I found him. He has been going through a rough patch in life. Struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. We chatted for over an hour! Reminisced about the good ole days, and about what the future may have in store for him! At the end of the conversation he told me he hasn't smiled that much in two months! I am so glad I chose to look him up!!!!" - Ruthie83
"I worked with the mentally challenged. I have a class of 60 students that range in age from 18 to 70. Each one has taken the pledge. I wanted to teach them that an act of kindness goes a long way. To give a little, that they would receive a lot back. So far out of the 60 students, (we are now on day 2) I have at least 15 that have done an act of kindness. I love the look on their faces when they realize how they have brightened someone else's day. They are making a huge difference, and we are loving every bit of it." -mamasam67
"I went through my bookshelf and identified a dozen plus books that are going to find a new home where they will be enjoyed and read. It was an act of kindness to myself to have created some space on my bookshelf. The books being given away have served me well and will hopefully be just as useful to the new owner/readers. I am a big fan of libraries and think that the same book being read by many people is such efficient use of the resources that the tress killed to make the paper the book is written on were not sacrificed in vain."-Ammi
“Thanks for sharing this. I am clearing out things in my home and was not sure what to do with my books. Libraries are great, but I kind of wanted to do something different. Now I can.” -cindyg
"I'm going through my bookshelf and sharing books that have deeply touched my heart. Some I will send as surprise packages to people I know will resonate, others I will place in public spaces for whomever the universe decides needs them most. I love this idea! Thank you KindSpring for the ongoing Inspiration! Hug from my heart to yours!" -bubblehugfairy
"Yesterday I decided to throw a little birthday party for a little boy who just turned 2 on September 12. He comes from a low-income family, and his parents couldn't afford to spend much to celebrate the boy's birthday. So I got a cake and a couple of presents for him. He was squealing with delight as he ran around wearing his new Angry Bird outfit with a little tail sticking out of his little bottom. I saw the look on his mother's eyes and I was glad I did what I did." -foetami
"My wife and I have had a traumatic week; we literally looked to Heaven and wondered what we had done to deserve this. As the storm clouds started slowly to roll away, leaving only occasional rumblings of thunder, I knew I needed to make her smile. I made a special trip, bought her favorite, extravagant, scented candle and a greetings card saying bold and loud "LOVE". I drove to her train-station car-park and left them on her car seat, so as soon as she got off the train from work she would see her surprise gift. Last night she smiled again." –tarkamoore
“Day #3: This morning while my husband prepared to go to work I tucked a envelope into his lunchbox. The outside contained a red heart and read: ""Open Me: When you need to know how much I love you." Inside was a letter expressing how much he means to me and to our family!" -sksterling58
“Left a Dunkin Donut gift card for our mail-carrier today, with a note on a smile card. "Just a show of gratitude, because among the bills and things we'd rather not receive, you bring us smiles in form of cards from family and friends, and magazines with articles we enjoy. There is always happiness inside our mailbox because of you. So here is a smile for you, hope it brings you some happiness, and a thank you for all you do!"
Came home from the kids soccer practice to find our card gone and a note inside the mailbox..."thank you for the kindness, your note brought a smile to my face. And that was gift enough. So to pay it forward I will use this gift card to buy donuts for the Post Office break room. Have a great day." -mpghome2
"18 years ago our family decided that we wanted to show gratitude to the people who make our lives easier. We leave frozen drinks in 100 plus summers and/or snacks for our garbage men weekly. We also have drinks for the mailman and Orkin man. In the winter we put aside $5.00 weekly for the garbage men so they can get hot coffee. Kindness is 24/7 and I am grateful this site practices that." –Patriciamr
"Today this sweet little pack of monkeys delivered a basket of muffins and sang "You Are My Sunshine" to our totally awesome neighbor." -S.J. (pictured on the right)
"I left plates of home-baked cookies on top of my garbage can and recycle bin, with a 'thank you' note for the collection guys. It was fun to hide behind the curtains and watch the looks of surprise and delight on their faces when they discovered the cookies!" -kkeess
"I went looking for my security guard to gift him a t-shirt, but instead found another person in duty. For a moment I thought I will find the person and give him later but then the other thought came that every moment is the right moment and every person is the right person, so i gifted him instead and thanked him for all he did. I realized "love when shared without comparison frees the spirit". -maktub
"Yesterday, my sister and I had a garage sale at our parent's home. We are in charge of their estate and both passed away in the past few months. It was emotionally challenging to sell our mother's hand-made items and crafting supplies, but we were happy to GIVE away things to families that appeared to truly need things. At the end of the day, we took a truck load of towels and blankets to a local (no-kill) animal shelter and two truck loads of goods to a thrift store run by the Rescue Mission. We don't plan to profit from the selling of our parent's things - they gave us much already." -DrewBob
"The woman who lives across the street is in her late 80's and 2 years ago I was gifted with the chance to help her a few days a week, and we became great friends. She is a kindred spirit. Lately she has been down in the dumps, telling me that she is just tired of being alive. She feels very lonely and frustrated with her inability to 'do' much of anything anymore. We have begun talking about stages of life, and the final stage being one where we our bodies become less able, and we learn to focus on our spirits. Following the prompt yesterday, I passed on a book to her that talks about caterpillars who just know that there is more to life than the simple fills of crawling and eating--eventually they take a chance and become butterflies! It seemed to fit for where she is--I know this must be her time to fly because her spirit deserves so much joy. It seems she needs to go through this, while it is hard for me to see her down. I love the moments where I can feel us holding each other, our load lighter on both ends. And then we breathe into this wild reality. Thank you for this suggestion." -amneaves
"We are only into this challenge for 5 days and the unexpected JOY that I have received back from my simple acts of kindness has been overwhelming! How life changing it is! People have been shocked by small acts of kindness, but the BIG change seems to be with ME! Looking forward to each new day and it opportunities!" -rsbowen830