Monday, November 28, 2011

Do Good

’Tis supposed to be the season of good tidings and good will, but who has time for that? After all, you have to hang the lights before it gets too cold, Johnny needs a new 72” television for his room (even though he is 4), and you have to figure out gifts for all of your kids’ teachers (mug filled with hot chocolate mix anyone?).

Well, I have a story that reminds us that kindness is still the reason for the season.

I was in the drive thru at Starbucks this morning. I don't really like Starbucks coffee (can you say Star-burn?), but I drink it anyway. I got to the window, my arm hanging out, flashing my cash. The cashier told me the person in front of me had paid for my drink. {Dammit! Should have gone with the venti size instead of the tall}. I was really taken off guard. Good will from a total stranger who wanted nothing in return? Certainly he/she was waiting around the corner for a back rub (no happy endings) or, at the very least, an extra venti “thank you.”

Nope, no strings attached. In fact, the generous driver of that burgundy mini-van raced off into the distance and I couldn’t give him/her so much as a wave. This small gesture of kindness really did make my morning. It reminded me to get my head out of my ass and realize that one small act can have a very large impact. We never know how our actions affect others. We need to be mindful.

These days, we are often wary when a stranger does something nice. We suspect there is something wrong with them or that we might be in danger. The other night I was at Target. I was backing out of my parking spot when some guy gestured to me to roll down my window. RAPIST! I thought. This dude wants to abduct me right here on the spot. But, because I am a people pleaser and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I did roll down my window. The guy informed me that my rear tail light was out. That was it. No kidnapping, no gun pulling, no nothing.

On that note, here are a few ideas of things we can all do to extend that small gesture of good will (from HERE). Don’t mind my parenthetic additions. That’s just how I roll:

  • Write a note of appreciation to your mailman (but only when he brings packages)
  • Compliment a stranger sincerely (don’t be surprised if they look very afraid of you and make gestures to protect their children).
  • Look for something around you that can be fixed up, picked up, or attended i.e., put shopping carts up, pick up some trash laying around, pick up something that has fallen over
  • Give a lottery ticket to a stranger (but only if you’ve checked it and it’s not a winner)
  • Send handmade cards or a letter to someone you care for (use creepy cut out letters, ransom-style, from magazines to make it interesting).
  • Write a note to management or someone themself who has treated you nice while doing their job (waiter, clerk, sales person...etc.)
  • Cut coupons out and leave them at the grocer register for others (especially for maxi pads. Those things are pricey!)
  • Put a comment on someone's webpage that you really like...... let them know you enjoy it (you can do this right here, right now)
  • Start a conversation up with a co-worker that you don't know (unless they have a hairy back, then skip it)
  • Put change in a row of vending machines
  • Visit a nursing home. Spend time visiting with someone who doesn't get visitors (don’t focus on the smell of urine)
  • Put something you no longer need on Craig's list free spot for your area
  • Leave a book you have already finished somewhere for someone else to read
  • At post office leave some extra stamps at the stamp machine
  • Open the phone book, pick a name, and send them something (movie tickets, thank you card, you are appreciated card, book, etc.) anonymously
  • Take flowers to a hospital ward and give them to someone who hasn't had any visitors
  • Take some cake, chocolates, flowers etc. to the neighbors, or a senior citizen nearby
  • Send someone a small gift anonymously
  • Make a cd of your favorite songs and give to a friend
  • Invite someone who is alone over for dinner.
  • Send a thank you to the employees at a hospital, or anywhere else that a cheerful thank might add a smile
  • Feed a parking meter that has expired
  • Write a thank-you note to a person from your past who has made a difference in your life (I really LOVE this one)
  • Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them (and secretly sit and watch them fight over it)
  • Copy a favorite recipe and give it to someone
  • Buy a copy of your favorite book and donate it to your local library or hospital
  • Send a card to a friend or relative you haven't seen for some time. Include a photo of yourself and/or your family
  • Make a point of introducing yourself to someone you see all of the time but never say hello to
  • If you know someone who is having a hard time financially, pop a $5, $10 or $20 note in an envelope, disguise your writing or type the envelope, and post it to them
  • Offer to baby sit
  • Donate clothes to goodwill
  • Say “hello” to every runner you pass (I made that one up)

I don’t know if it will really happen, but I am going to try to do one of these things until Christmas (starting tomorrow, of course). If I don’t do it I will make my kids do it. And, I’m going to try to tell you about it, if I can remember.

Do any good deeds lately or has anyone done something nice for you “just because”?shutupdogood

What’s one good deed you would add to the list?

Want to try the good-deed challenge with me? Feel free to add this button to your blog.



  1. I'm in tears.
    Love this.
    LOve this.

    It's. The. Little. Things.
    You rock.

  2. I just made a note to myself to send a thank you card tonight. A family friend had to put her dog down and she bagged up all the dog toys and gave them to my aunt to distribute to the family dogs. Most of them ended up coming to us and our dogs are loving it.

  3. The first time someone bought my coffee at Sbux, I was freaked out. Now I do it and it makes my day as well. It is really the little things. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great, great ideas! Be very wary of those peeps in nursing homes though. My best friend and I did a pre-confirmation project where we had to go room-to-room and scrub their sinks of all things. Let's just say it was an 'experience'.

  5. I love it! This is definitely the time when a small gesture can make a huge difference. Your additions are hilarious!

  6. Love this! I'm totally going to take up the challenge too! It is definitely the little things that make a world of difference!

  7. Thank you for the reminder. We all get so caught up in our own lives, that we forget it's the little things that could make a big difference to someone else.
    Recently, a co-worker (part-time) had to have a bunch of medical tests done. Not only was she worried about the results, but with no insurance, worried as to how she was going to pay for them. My mom and I put money in an envelope and put it on her desk (without our name on it).

  8. I just paid for the person behind me at starbucks last week....but we don't love near eachother so it wasn't me this time! I love doing it because it really is such a small gesture that COULD have the potential to do a lot. I always get weird looks from the cashier. They dont' get that often (I feel like I must be the only one?!) since they always ask me if I know the person and WHY would I do such a thing?! I simply answer "because I can, and sometimes you should."

  9. great ideas. so thoughtful! def gonna put some of these into practice!!

  10. I was reminded of the kindness of people this weekend when my mother & I went to a college football game. I'm on crutches (boo no running), and the parking situation was crazy and we ended up parking >1mi from the stadium. So as we were slowly making our way, some kind old man picked us up and drove us. Turns out he was a former high level administrator for that university, and he had an awesome parking pass and clout with the stadium staff, he made them let us in the "rich people's door" and use the elevator. It was soo friendly! Especially because we were for the visiting team, and completely decked out in our team colors (orange & maroon, go hokies!). Between that act of kindness and my team completely kicking butt, it was a great day. And your list has great suggestions for paying it forward. thanks!

  11. Just the other day this young mom was really struggling with her baby at the grocery store. The poor thing (maybe 6 months old) was just SO unhappy. The mom had no help and no easy way to hold the baby - who would only "kind of" stop screaming if she was being held. I saw them through out the store and couldn't think of a way to help. (I wanted to scoop that baby up because part of me thought maybe the momma was just too inexperienced for what she was up against). I had my own two kids with me so I was really at a loss. What a SHOULD have done (what SUAR would have done!) was offer to push her cart for her and have my kids push mine. We would have gone home w/out half the things we needed but she may have gotten through with a LOT less stress because she could have given the baby all the attention she needed. I am kicking myself that I didn't think of this before. Thanks for that list. I am almost always completely broke, but many of those things are free or basically free. I will Do Good every day till Christmas, too!


  12. My nicest surprise that happened to me once was.......

    I was pulling into the self serve car wash...this one cost $2.75 in all quarters of course. I parked, turned off the car, and was making my way back to the dollar change machine when I noticed quarters sitting on the ledge next to the slot for wash. (Of course I looked around a bit first expecting some one to come running and screaming saying they had forgot their quarters) (Or a camera to be taping me see if I really would take the quarters or not)

    But, nothing.

    There were actually $3.50 in quarters...more than I needed...I used $2.75 and left the rest b/c that's the kind of girl I am. ;-)

    I am going to try and do some thing nice every day til Christmas...starting Dec. 1 of course!

  13. I love this. Not just this season but all year long.

    I will do some of those for sure.
    thank you for this post.

  14. Just pinned this on pinterest. Awesome.

  15. This is awesome. Thank you for pointing these little things out. I am starting today with this nice comment:

    You are the best fart blogger out there!

    One down and onto tomorrow.

    Awesome post. Thanks.

  16. I love this. Every year my family picks a "theme" for the season and gets hoodies made up with it embroidered on them. A few years ago was "pass the cheer" and this year is "share the merry" with both of these thoughts in mind I have done this many times at starbucks or dunkin donuts.
    I will take your list of ideas and incorporate them when I "share the merry" this season!

  17. love this! My fav is the card to the random person in the phone book. Plus i like the drive thru one someone did for you ~ very nice!
    runner_girl5k at yahoo dot com

  18. I am happy to say I actually do a bunch of these but thanks for the other suggestions!

    I usually like to spice it up and say Hello, Hi, Good Morning, Howdy...;-)

  19. I love it (and your additions as well). Some of these things just take a second but can really make someone's day.

    I agree, it is Star-burns, but we don't have many other options here do we? I miss Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They have some in Vegas and I recommend getting coffee there when you are in Vegas!

  20. Random acts of kindness, love it! Just the other day,the drive through at my local Starbucks had a chain going to buy the coffee of the person behind you. Such a great feeling to be able to give and to receive...a small gesture, but it had me beaming all morning! :-)

  21. Beautiful post! I've added the Shut Up + Do Good to our blog ( We'll be following suit. Thanks for inspiring us...and so many others!

  22. A few years ago, my neighbor was very sick at Christmastime from the effects of chemo and radiation for her aggressive breast cancer. She was only in her early 30's at the time and had two young children- 2 and 4. I happened to run into her parents a couple of days before Christmas and they mentioned that the family hadn't even put up a Christmas tree this year- it was just too much. I was thinking about that on Christmas Eve as we Santa'd up our own place, and decided to do something about it. I raced down to Walgreen's before they closed and bought a pre-lit display tree. The hubs and I set it up on the neighbor's porch, plugged it in, rang the bell and ran away! They still put it up every year as the "kid's tree," and they have no idea that we left it. And best of all, after 8 years, she's in perfect health!

  23. Am I allowed to say that I think this is your best post ever?

    <3 it!

  24. Checking this one off the list now:
    "Put a comment on someone's webpage that you really like...... let them know you enjoy it"

    Love this post and many of your others! Thanks for sharing. I tend to stop by your page when I'm looking for a good laugh. You're a funny one. :)

  25. It makes me sad when so many sources of information are all about how unhappy other people are, or how to make other people unhappy. We quickly come to think the worst of the people around us, and start treating them like that.

    It's nice to see so many suggestions to bring a little kindness into the world.

  26. you are making me so verklempt!

    this is one of my favourite posts of all time. love this!!!!

  27. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. I love with these little Random Acts of Kindness stories come through Dear Abby or Ann Landers or whatever. Your story was just as nice. I love the idea of Shutting up and Doing Good this holiday season.

  28. I'm going to add two to your list:

    Pay the bridge toll for the car behind you.

    Stop and let pedestrians cross the street/parking lot.

    (Some random stranger paid my bridge toll earlier this summer. Made. My. WEEK. And drivers so rarely stop for pedestrians -- even at intersections where they should -- it makes me happy every time one does!)

  29. First things first: I really do enjoy your posts and look forward to reading them. Thanks for taking the time to keep up your blog.

    I like to think that I try and keep this kind of spirit all year round. Not because I'm awesome, but because that is the way I was raised. I'm one of seven kids and we never had extra money, but my mom always chose to give and we ended up just fine. There are so many people that could use some sort of pick me up or even just a listening ear. Handwritten thank you cards are one of my all time favorite things!

  30. Thank you so much for posting this today!! We are doing 25 days of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness starting on Thursday and I'm having trouble thinking up good ideas for the girls. You rock and have helped me so much!!

  31. I really like your blog! OK, that's a start ... You have a way of kick-starting my day, and that's a great gift in itself, and I love some of these ideas. But greeting other runners? Isn't that a bit radical? It certainly is in London.

  32. this is hilarious! so true though, especially about the 'stranger, raper, DANGER!!' feeling from the get-go.

    small things really perk me up, i'd like to add this one: if i have a huge cart of groceries and the person behind me only has one or two i let them cut in front. i've been on the opposite end and it always makes my day. :P

  33. Thanks for the reminder - we are hoping to establish a family tradition to do some act of generosity or kindess for Christmas to remind of the "reason for the season" (love this phrase!) - but it's nice to remember that even doing little things will make someone's day. :)

  34. And Starbucks = Starburn = LOLOL! I totally agree!

  35. LOVE this idea!! I try to do good but then I always expect the reward and people telling me how awesome I did. I never thought of paying for somebody else and just leave before they say thank you, that is truly amazing!! I'm in for the challenge!

  36. That's a great list, and this is a really nice reminder this time of year. I find myself sitting here smiling and thinking of little things I can do. Thank you!

  37. Loved this one and posted a link on facebook. ;-)

  38. Love it. Great ideas, and they say being grateful is a surefire way to increase your sense of happiness and satisfaction. WIN WIN!

  39. I am totally with you! Doing this too. Kindness... pass it on... :)
    Thanks for the motivation.

  40. Great post- going to do some of those myself. Love your site- you make me laugh!

  41. THis is a great post, society has really moved away from being nice and sometimes nice deeds are viewed with not so nice replies back, I dont know where society decided to take a turn for the worse, but its awesome to see there atill nice people

  42. Clap, clap!!!! Keep telling this!!!!!!!!

  43. This exact same incident happened to me the day before Thanksgiving in the Sbucks drive-thru. The man in front of me paid for my frothy (and pricey) beverage because I allowed him to go ahead of me. I have vowed to pay it forward at least once a month...just because.

  44. I LOVE this.

    Something REALLY awesome happened to me recently.

    I REALLY wanted to go to Thailand with our church, on a mission trip to an orphanage, but the cost was $2700 and beyond our budget.

    Just a month ago, our pastor's wife came up to me and told me a secret person had pain for my entire trip, and they didn't want me to know who they were.

    So......I'm going to Thailand at the end of Jan. because of a very generous person.

    What a blessing!! (and a shock because I only told 1 person I even wanted to go)

  45. Perfect time for this post. I love it and a good reminder that it is the little things that count.

  46. Great post! I'll admit that I'm not a people person, at all (you should see my sidewalk rage, and grocery store aisle rage, and general rage), and I tend to be totally suspicious too. I learned the same lesson through experience once when I made a post on Craigslist in the free section for lotions/shower gels/hair stuff that I was dying to get out of my bathroom without wastefully throwing away. The woman who picked them up emailed me later saying she's been laid off for awhile and really short on money and she was expecting a few half used bottles of shampoo and would have been fine with that, but she was blown away by this box filled with probably 30 bottles of stuff, most of them brand new and high end, and how it was so generous of me to give everything away to a stranger and it was going to be such a luxury for her. My motives were far more about me ("I don't want to add to landfills.") than about someone else, but her appreciation made me feel great and I made a mental note to be more giving.

  47. I love random acts of kindness.

    Last Tuesday when I went grocery shopping, there was a panhandler who tried to hit me up. Actually, he was selling homeless newspapers. I had bought one from the same guy the morning before, and I jovially reminded him of that. He recognized my blazing blue Kinvaras and smiled, complimenting my shoes and remembering. When I came out of the store, I started talking with him...asking him where he'd be going for the holiday...did he have a place to go? We chatted for about 10 minutes and then I just gave him a big hug. For me, it really humanized what is usually the annoyance of panhandlers...and he started crying because no one had hugged him in a really long time. Okay... I'm crying just remembering this...gotta go.

  48. I was paying for the car after yours! Damnit........ LOL, great post and idea........

  49. This is awesome. I TOTALLY LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!!!

    Not too long ago someone ahead of me paid my then I just paid the person's toll who was behind me....and I don't know what happened but it made my day that someone did that. I always wondered how far back that carried...

  50. I haven't had anyone be randomly nice to me, but I did donate a ton of breastmilk to the milk bank for those sick little babies. I feel good about that!

  51. I found a guys wallet in a restaurant. When the guy came back, he offered me $20. I told him to pay it forward to someone else. I felt good about that act of kindness for a week! Good lesson for the kiddos too!

  52. One Christmas we won the big stocking at the local grocery store and it was full of toys. I grew up in a town of 200 people, so this was a BIG deal. We went down there, and my mom told the owner to give it to a family that really needed it and pretend that they won the drawing. Every year, I donate gifts to small towns in the name of my mom!

  53. The small gestures sure make the difference! Never had someone buy coffee for me, sure would appreciate though...think I may give that a go sometime this season, sure it would make someone's day like it did for you....

  54. Great list! Great blog! It always puts me in a good mood.

    To add to the list - a fun way to make someone's day is to go to a restaurant, and after getting the check, give the waitress a larger tip than expected (this may fluctuate greatly depending on how many margaritas I've had) and then write a little message on the receipt about what a good job she or he did. You can often tell when a waitress is having a tough night, so I like to think this gives them a little joy in the midst of the craziness.

    I once did this at a Texas Roadhouse, and on my way out I caught a glimpse of the waitress showing off her receipt to a coworker.

  55. Doing good deeds have a way of spreading and leaving a feeling of happiness in their wake.

  56. I used to work at Starbucks, and it always made my day when I had someone do that in the drive thru. I only got to see it two or three times, but it was touching each time it happened. It's little things like that that give me hope for humanity.

  57. My husband and I saw a gal eating breakfast solo at our favorite breakfast joint. She just so happened to be reading one of our favorite books and out of nowhere my husband suggested we buy her breakfast. Keep in mind we SHARED breakfast as we were under a tight budget at the time. We went away feeling amazing!

    The week we got married we went to a hibachi restaurant and as we went to leave, we found out a couple seated across from us had paid for it -- I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude for this neat couple and vowed to do that it when I could one day.

  58. I say hello to every runner I pass and some walker too! I now know a few of the regulars on my route.

    But I love this post! Have you seen the movie Pay it Forward? Check it out, it the same idea and is a great movie.
    Also, KIND bar does a similar thing and they have these cards you can get to give to someone when you do something nice for them and then you go to the website and enter your card ID to track how and where you got it. I got one from a friend that had put it in a lunch he bought me randomly and looked up the card ID and it had been all over CA. I haven't decided how I'll pass it on yet.

    To add to the list, one of my favorite things to do for people is pay for their toll!

  59. Ah Beth, this is great. So worth getting on the blog world for a bit.

  60. Im printing your list as we speak...or type I guess. I will strive to check each one off I as I do them this month. Thanx for my new "to do " list ;)

  61. Who doesn't do this stuff all the time?

  62. omg, why am I bawling?!?! Argh... I love this list. Merry Christmas. Jeesh am I the biggest dork ever?@@?


  63. thought about you today..I went to Starbucks...I decided I would do good and pay for the car behind me...I had the $$ ready and then...I see in my mirror the gal lights up a that took the goodness out of my heart....will try again this week...just could not do it...selective good doing ...I am not proud of it.

  64. I am so sharing this. Thank you for posting this wonderful message.

  65. Love this! Except for maybe the babysitting part, that'd probably be to traumatic for all parties involved! :)

  66. I "Pay it forward" at least once a month ! I just paid for the coffee of the guy behind me in the Tim Hortons drive thru (best coffee in Canada) because he let me in the line ! (what the hell with it wih "line hogs" anyway?).
    Love the feeling it gives you!