Tag Archives: pay it forward

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 6

7 Mar

Nobody knew why, or who, it was just something nice that happened to them. Something that made them smile. Something that made their day better. Something that helped turn it around.

And most of the time it was an anonymous blessing.

They had no idea. And I enjoyed the fact that they had no idea who I was, just that some stranger decided to change the course of their day with a small gesture.

But this time I felt the need to leave a note explaining why …

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

I don’t remember the exact age but I knew it was in middle school. It was graduation day when I got them. And it wasn’t those fake plastic ones you got in those Valentine’s Grams. They were real roses wrapped in cellophane and when he gave them to me it felt like one of those Sixteen Candles moments. And it felt good that someone liked me. It was a nice gesture and it made my day.

I placed them in a glass of water because we didn’t have a vase. But it didn’t matter, they looked awesome and I enjoyed them the whole week.

So when I saw the flowers hanging out in the last aisle at Costco and my daughter told me she wanted some because they made her happy, I thought why not.

I like to keep her happy.

And then I thought I could make someone else happy too. I wanted someone to have that Sixteen Candles moment, but I worried what if a guy got the flowers and his lady was with him, or what if a girl got the flowers from an anonymous somebody and her husband was with her and he freaked out. I don’t know the dynamics of people’s relationships, but I sure didn’t want my 40 Before 40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Act of Kindness to cause drama. I wanted it to cause happy.

So I had to leave a note this time.

I walked back to the car and put away my month’s supply of Arm & Hammer Detergent Soap, OxyClean, and other household items. Then I looked for a car that gave me a feeling. Nothing to fancy, just something for a regular person. I spotted the white Scion parked in the other lane. And it was the right vibe.

I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote my note. I wrapped it around the flowers then walked over and placed them snugly between the side mirror and driver’s side door.

 

Flowers always seem to brighten someone’s day.

They’re here because you’re awesome.

Hope you have a terrific Thursday.

🙂

40 Random Acts of Kindness Before I turn 40

 

 

Felt good knowing that as soon as they walked back to their car, from the long lines, from the packed aisles, from the trays that ran out of samples, that something nice was waiting for them. And no drama would follow.

 

 

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 4

13 Feb

I hate it when it happens.

Just sucks all the air out of my balloon, because nothing good comes out of it.

No.

Nothing.

You’re lying in bed all comfy cozy with your Martha Stewart quilt wrapped around you. Your pajamas are your best friends, and the cool side of the pillow feels like the best place to be at that very moment.

And then you realize what day it is and open your eyes.

You jolt out of bed only to stub your toe on a sharp corner of the dresser and your heart is beating even faster, because now it’s a race. You run out of the bedroom, put on some flip-flops, and grab the first hat in the closet to hide your morning hair.

You make a mad dash for it.

But once you make it to the street, you see it, and it’s too late.

The white envelope with red letters is hanging out underneath your windshield wipers.

Sigh.

You’ve just got a parking ticket.

An $85 dollar parking ticket courtesy of the city. Apparently, keeping the streets cleaned is pretty important. $85 dollars kind of important. That kind of importance really burns me out though. It’s money down the drain, money you never enjoyed spending. Money lost.

And it happens to people at least once a week. I mean there are signs up, but sometimes life it too hectic and crazy, so you forget about the street-sweeper and have a costly surprise waiting for you on the windshield.

This has happened to me and it sucks. So when I went out for my morning run yesterday, I noticed the black Mazda with its own windshield surprise. It made me sad for the owner. So in an effort to spread a little kindness their way, to alleviate the emotional blow caused by this unexpected financial deduction, I thought I’d leave my own little surprise, my own accidentally on purpose random act of kindness.

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

I put two lottery tickets, scratchers with the potential of giving you 1000 dollars a week for the rest of your life, in a blue envelope. And on the front I wrote: Sorry you got a ticket, hope this helps. I placed it under the windshield next to the ticket and went back home. I wanted to hide around the corner and wait to see the expression of the car owner, to see if it indeed helped at all. But I never saw them.

And even though I didn’t get a chance to see if the lottery tickets made them smile, I still smiled knowing that the bitterness of the ticket might have been sweetened a little by gesture.

The road to 40 is looking a little better, and I have this 40 Before 40 project to thank for it.

 

 

40 Before 40 … 40 Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindness … Continued

26 Jan

It’s called the thank-you wave.

You’re supposed to use it when someone is kind enough to let you merge into their lane. They’re basically giving you their future spot. A traffic sacrifice, if you will.

They don’t have to let you in.

But they do.

Then there’s the other situation. The one I was in … I was forced to merge. Minding my own business until I hit construction. The flashing orange arrows forcing me into the other lane.

Did I want to go there?

No. I didn’t. But city improvements forced my hand and I found myself turning on my blinker, which for some reason always seems to have the opposite effect around here. I’m letting people know way in advanced of my intentions, but they seem to speed up, even if they’re two cars away. People enjoy their personal space and the space they intend to inhabit with their vehicles.

So as you might have guessed cars started speeding up, behind me. However I realized that the cars in front of me had this pattern going on. Let one car in, other car drives through. Let one car in, other car drive through. Let one car in …

And so on …

But when I got to my place in the pattern, the cars sped up and created this no-pass zone. So all I could do was wait until the traffic died down.

So I waited. And so did my blinker.

I saw the line of cars in my rear view mirror and sighed.

I thought I would be there at least ten minutes. I prepared myself and changed the station, good music makes the wait go faster. Then as Tim McGraw started to sing sweet nothings into my ear this blue four-door Mazda paused.

Dude.

I looked up and smiled. He didn’t have to do it,  the line was still long, but he did.  I maneuvered my way into the lane and stopped at the red light ahead of me. I looked in the rear-view mirror and gave him the thank-you wave. But I still felt that wasn’t enough.

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

So I looked into my glove compartment and raided my chocolate stash. I found my tastiest piece of cacao treasure and made a mad dash for the blue Mazda. I tapped the window and asked him to roll it down. Now normally people don’t do this in my neck of the woods, we keep our doors and windows locked at all times. But I got the friendly California smile that makes you trust a person like myself.

He rolled down his window and looked concerned.

I waved the magic of chocolate before his eyes and handed it to him.

“Thanks for letting me pass through,” I said.

Then I got back into my car and drove away.

It was the first time I had seen the response to one of my kind acts. The last couple of times, nobody had seen me or knew who had bestowed a kind gesture upon them, but this time was different.

And his reaction was awesome.

I was so glad to have witnessed it. Made my 40 before 40 adventure even better. It was something little, but it made a significant enough impact to change his state. Chocolate has the effect.

I was grateful for that.

 

 

40 Before 40 … 40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40

19 Jan

I had never met him, but I saw him every Friday afternoon.

He was always alone.

I imagined it was too hard for anyone to see him.

He was only nine years old.

Heartbreaking, really.

Pablo. His name was Pablo.

I didn’t know how he had died, whether it was an accident or illness. I just knew that it must’ve been painful for his family. I hadn’t seen anyone in over three years. And the only time I had seen flowers at his side was in June, on his birthday. Other than that he seemed alone.

He was buried next to my Dad.

Being a mom I imagined it was the most painful thing in life, to bury her son. Soul crushing. Probably really difficult to come see him, which was why his grave marker was caked in dirt and deer hoof prints. The sun beating down on it didn’t seem to do it any favors either. Looked like he had been there ten years without a cleaning.

And I felt bad.

I imagine he was a free-spirited kid, just like the portrait on his marker, running away from the waves smiling. Looked like that would have been his favorite thing to do, considering they captured it in bronze.

But it wasn’t supposed to look old, weathered, and uncared for … just didn’t seem right.

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

I grabbed my soapy water and brush and began the process. I worked the corners, letters, and portrait, making sure the layers of dirt washed away. After rinsing and drying it, I rubbed mineral oil on it and sat down. The sun warmed my back and shone on his marker. I felt better about helping him out, even if he would never know, even his family would never know. My heart felt less heavy now.

The situation was still heartbreaking, but I felt like I did the only thing I could do. Tough thing losing a kid, beyond words really. But you can still spread a little kindness in hopes that the tiny ripples make a difference.

I said a little prayer and wished Pablo well.

Then, I sat next to my Dad and had a conversation about life.

 

 

40 Before 40

10 Jan

Maybe she was doing just fine after the heartache and then she heard that song on the radio … the one that was theirs and she just couldn’t take it, and she broke down.

Maybe her brother died.

Maybe she got a call from the doctor and the results were positive.

Maybe she got fired.

Maybe it was her birthday and that someone special actually forgot.

Maybe she didn’t pass the BAR exam and it was her second attempt.

I don’t know what it was, I really don’t but there she was, in her silver 1990s Honda Civic, clutching the wheel with one hand and holding her forehead with the other. I turned because for some reason that’s what I do when I’m at a stoplight and there she was right next to me having a quiet moment of desperation among all the traffic.

Crying, really crying.

And I felt bad.

I sat there looking at her thinking what I could do to help her out, because I knew … I knew exactly how she felt, hiding behind those sunglasses. I’ve had moments like these when I’m driving and then all of a sudden it hits me, which his probably why I don’t like answering the phone while I’m on the road. I saw her and I knew that she was heartbroken and I felt bad.

I looked for my emergency stash of chocolate in the car, maybe I could just roll down my window and make some kind of gesture in hopes that she could find a moment of peace, but I had nothing in my stash. I didn’t want to roll the window down and ask ‘are you all right?’ because she obviously was not, and even if I did ask she probably would have waved me off and said she was O.K.

I felt like I had to at least ask, though. But as I rolled down my window someone honked their horn. She vroomed it out of there, I tried to follow but she turned down the street and I had no idea where she had gone.

I don’t know where she is now, but I’m hoping she’s better.

But me?

I was left feeling impotent. Wishing I could have done something nice for someone who was in so much pain, so I came up with an idea. Maybe I could help someone else.

40 before 40.

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts Of Kindness Before I Turn 40.

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

Yeah.

Definitely.

That would be good thing.

Maybe I’ll make someone’s day less miserable. Maybe they’re having a moment and that little something nice will give them a break from the craziness of their life. Maybe it’ll be the something that’ll turn their day around. Maybe they’ll find a little peace in the small gesture that was meant to make them smile.

Don’t know, but maybe.

40 before 40. That would be a good present. Doing something for someone else.

So I did it.

I started the adventure.

I went to the first place I could think of to do something nice for someone else. I went to the drive-thru, something I rarely do, and ordered something for my kids. As I paid for my order I looked at the guy and said …

“I got theirs too,” pointing to the minivan behind me.

“You know them?” he asked.

“No. I don’t. But I got it. But can you do me a favor though? Tell them I said ‘Happy New Year.'”

I grabbed my receipt and drove away.

I know it wasn’t something big, but it was something I thought would make someone smile. Even if it wasn’t the lady that I had originally seen, I was still able to do something nice for someone.

And now I’m hoping. Just hoping I can run into her again, and hoping that she’s in a better state, and if she isn’t, hoping that this time I’ll be able to do something to help.

I’m replenishing my emergency car stash, just in case.