One random act of kindness can be infectious when a tragedy strikes. All it takes is one person to start the domino effect, and then others will follow. That’s what has happened since 26 innocent lives were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last week.
There have been several people who started the “wave” on the internet with #26Acts and #20Acts of kindness. The gesture is to help those of us who feel helpless during this national tragedy. By doing 26 random acts of kindness, one for each of the victims at Sandy Hook, then we can feel better by making a small difference in someone else’s life.
Tom Cavanaugh, a dispatcher in Los Angeles is one hero that has helped trigger this movement. All he did was call the Newtown General Store and purchase 100 cups of coffee for Newtown residents. He charged it to his card, and he felt like he was making a difference. He was letting the residents in Newtown know that their pain is felt across the nation. When his story was told across major newscasts, others called the Newtown General Store and bought doughnuts, and candy for the kids. Cavanaugh’s one act of kindness began to accumulate.
Warren Tidwell, an auto parts salesman in Auburn, Alabama is another person who wanted to do something nice by paying it forward. He logged into his Facebook account and started posting 26 Acts of Kindness. Tidwell says he felt empowered instead of helpless by doing 26 acts of kindness. He had no idea how fast his idea would catch on.
And don’t forget NBC’s News Correspondent, Ann Curry who covered the Sandy Hook shootings and felt the need to do something. She says, “Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for each precious life lost. An act of kindness big or small. Are you in?” Curry’s thoughtful statement got the attention of many journalists and broadcast stations across the US. NBC has been promoting #26Acts and #20Acts continuously to spread the word.
Random Acts of Kindness
A random act of kindness does not need to cost money. A simple smile, handshake, compliment, or hug are all big motivators on the list. In case you haven’t read some of the stories, here’s some acts of kindness that people are sharing:
- Donate a toy to the children’s ward of your local hospital
- Deliver a baked goody to your local first responders
- Bake cookies for your local firemen
- Pay someone a compliment
- Thank teachers with a homemade gift, baked goodies, or a handwritten note
- Call the Newtown General Store and cover the cost of a cup of coffee or a bag of candy (203 426-9901)
- Visit your local blood bank and give the gift of life
- Donate a coat or hold a coat drive in your community
- Donate frequent flyer miles to military families or other volunteers on their way to help
- Volunteer at your local soup kitchen
- Surprise a family in need with free food
- Visit an ailing neighbor and read them a story
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter—pets need friends too
- Spend time with a neighbor or senior citizen
- Give someone a hug
- Smile at strangers
- Shake the hand of anyone in a military uniform
- Give someone in military uniform a gift card to Starbuck’s
- Leave a nice tip to a struggling waiter or waitress
- Donate to your local food bank
- Give your crossing guard a box of chocolates
- Give someone who least expects it, a box of chocolates
- Give your umbrella to someone standing in the rain
- Shovel someone’s driveway
- Buy 26 roses, carnations, or whatever, and give 26 people a single flower
The list is never ending and each of us can come up with many other random acts of kindness. This simple #26Acts can be done in any country. When tragedies like mass shootings happen, everyone feels the pain.
So, are you in?
References: US News on NBC