top of page


The other day I was browsing though FaceBook when I came across a post that said that 2015 wasn’t all that bad. Pictured was a small child dressed in a peanut costume with a sign on their back that said, “I dress myself”. Hmmm. FaceBook intriguing. So I clicked.

It ended up being a compilation of pictures put together by Buzzfeed. There were 28 in total and by the end of scrolling, I was sobbing like a toddler, tears flowing uncontrollably, snot coming out in bubbles from my nostrils. Total picture moment.

The reason for said crying? Surely it couldn’t be from the picture of the peanut child. True, peanut didn’t do it for me. It was the beautiful stories that the pictures portrayed. Acts of kindness, clever ways of lending an unseen helping hand, sweet and simple moments that pushed a smile onto my lips. In a year where so many headlines just made me want to shake my head in sadness, these moments still took place, demonstrating that people everywhere have a heart for giving. And it inspired me. I wanted to be a part of those moments.

That spawned the big question of how. What was my giving eco-system going to look like? Would I wait on street corners looking for little old ladies that had too many bags to carry and needed help crossing to the other side? What if I ran around putting quarters in everyone’s parking meters? I’d be down with that if someone did that for me. A Couple of problems with these scenarios; 1- I might be waiting on street corners for quite some time, which could end up eliciting the wrong response from passer-by’s. Not that my normal street attire is questionable… 2- I live in Texas, out in the middle of nowhere. Not a lot of meters need to be fed in these here parts. Ok, first couple of ideas down the drain.

So thinking back on the list, there was one idea that I thought was so clever and so simple. Someone put gloves and scarves or hats in baggies, taped them to posts and wrote on the bags, “I’m not lost. Take me if you need me.” Bam! Whoever thought of that one- genius! Pure genius! I was even tempted to be the copy cat giver. Again, I live in Texas and our current weather has been in the 70’s. Not really glove and scarf weather. Back to the drawing board.

When in doubt, talk it out. This is probably the A-Man’s least favorite mantra of mine since it usually means that he has to listen to my random stream-of-conscious thoughts on the matter while I hash it out with my brain. I also have a tendency to speak half of my sentences and then jump to the next thought, which I believe he is totally capable of following along with. That, as well as the fact that I expect him to chime in. But he’s a good sport and plays along, so brownie points for him! What could we do that would be simple and effective?

After some hemming and hawing and some bleh ideas, we finally came to one that resonated with both of us. We would make little “Hug” notes. We would put little Hershey’s Hugs, along with $10 and a note that said “Lunch is on me today. Thank you for making me smile.” That way we could carry them around and whenever we saw the right person, we could slyly get the envelope to them. I liked it! We make a great team, the A-Man and I. Good thing I married him.

After a little more thought on the matter, there were a couple of things that didn’t sit quite right with me. First, maybe putting in candy wasn’t the best idea. People might not eat it thinking some wack-o may have done something to it, thus defeating the purpose. Second, I wasn’t really excited about just putting cash in the envelope. I could see it being cool- who wouldn’t want a random $10? Maybe they didn’t need lunch, but could use it for gas or something. I don’t know, there was just something about it that I wasn’t super fond of. This whole random acts of giving thing was becoming more complicated than it needed to be.

I realized what the whole thing comes down to is just doing something. For example, over the holidays, the A-Man and I had an ugly Christmas sweater party to go to. Naturally, we head down to the local thrift shop to see what we can put together. While we were there, we had to wait to check out for a couple ahead of us. I was somewhat in my own little world, but aware enough to notice that they had a whole cart of toys and their total came out to $33. This included a cool bike still in the box. I was actually impressed and thinking I ought to utilize the thrift shop more often. After they left, it finally dawned on me that they just did their whole Christmas shopping at the second-hand store. The $33 was probably all they could afford. Why didn’t I just step in and pay for it? That would have been an awesome random act of kindness. I was just too stuck in my little world to notice the opportunity.

And there’s the rub.

It really just comes down to noticing opportunities. Well, noticing and then doing something about it. It’s about stepping outside of my own little mental world and being aware that there are constantly moments that a simple act can make all the difference. It’s not to say that I haven’t opened doors for people, given up a chair and that sort of thing, but that’s just common courtesy.

I still went out and bought some cute cards. I got some Subway giftcards, instead. I figure there is pretty much a Subway local to anywhere that accomplishes the lunch part, but doesn’t just have cash. I also got these little things that I’ll make key rings out of that have a fun little saying. I’ll address the envelopes to “This is for You” and on the back it will say, “Yes, the one who picked this up.” So maybe it will be a random lunch or just a word of encouragement along with a keepsake to remind them. Those will be for my moments when maybe I can’t just step in and pay for someone’s Christmas, but I can still change someone’s day who might be needing it. It might even be for someone who doesn’t necessarily need it, but still appreciates being thought of anyway. Who knows? That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes me giggle like a school kid thinking about it.

I’d love to hear your stories of how you made someone smile. Make sure to share those moments in the comments so everyone can enjoy the moment. We’ll create our community of random givers and smile makers! Here’s to the journey.

bottom of page