Sometimes it only takes a small act of kindness to make a big difference. At IRON ON STICKER, people create custom shirts for so many fun and important life events. But we particularly love when gear is customized for doing some good. This got us thinking—how can we do something good, too? It can be as simple as saying thank you or as heartfelt as buying a stranger a coffee. Or if you have a cause you want to support, check out Custom Ink Fundraising. It’s easy to sell custom tees, collect donations, and make a difference. World Kindness Day is November 13. If you want to take part, below are some of our favorite random acts of kindness to inspire you.
Write someone a letter
We know it’s 2017 and all but, sometimes it’s nice to still receive a handwritten letter in lieu of that group text. Maybe you want to tell a friend you were thinking about them, or send a family member some positive words to get them through a tough time. No matter how short, a letter written by you shows you care and is sure to make someone’s day.
Pay it forward at the coffee shop
This is kind of the random act of kindness that started it all, so we had to mention it! You’ve probably heard about people paying for the person’s coffee in the drive-thru or line behind them. Then, that person is supposed to pay for the person behind them, and so on. If you’re not the face-to-face type, this is the perfect act of kindness to get you started. You never know how meaningful it might be to that person behind you to have you pay for their drink.
Say thank you
People don’t say thank you enough. And sometimes being thanked is all someone really needs. Thank your kid’s teacher for working so hard to educate them. Thank you mailman for braving the cold to get you your letters. Thank the cashier at the grocery store for being so patient. Or even thank a family member or friend for always having your back. Two little words can mean a lot to someone who hasn’t heard them in a while!
Run an errand for a busy friend
Everyone is busy at one point or another, but when you’re not, consider helping someone out who is. A friend who’s getting married? A new mom? A colleague who is on a tight deadline? If you’re headed to the store or coffee shop, ask that busy person in your life if you can get them some things, too. Picking up some milk and bread for a busy mom could give her a few extra minutes she needs to get her day on track.
Donate supplies to a school
Nowadays, teachers provide supplies for their classrooms themselves—pens, paper, glue, tissues. It’s a lot of extra planning on top of teaching our future generations! Help out by putting together a bag of supplies and dropping it at your local school to share with their classrooms. We’re sure the teachers and the kids will be thankful!
Shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway
Deep snow and ice are obstacles for anyone, but especially for the elderly. Have an older couple in your neighborhood? Think of them when it snows or the weather gets grim and lend a hand. Shovel their walkway or bring over your snow blower for their driveway. Not only will this save them a lot of time and the risk of getting hurt, but it shows your neighborly love.
Set a kind reminder in a loved one’s phone
It might be hard to take a break from our phones and social media, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be put to good use! Use the reminder or calendar app in your significant other’s, friend’s, or family member’s phone to leave them an encouraging message for a later time. “You’re doing great!” during their sports game or “you’ve got this!” before their big meeting. It’s a quick gesture that just might make their day.
Leave quarters by the vending machine
We’ve all been there—walking by the vending machine to see your FAVORITE treat. Maybe it’s Oreos, maybe it’s Starburst. But you don’t always have change on you, so you walk away in defeat. You can change this fate for someone else! Leave a stack of quarters on a vending machine, or tape a dollar to the front. We’re sure that person who spots their favorite treat will be psyched to see your kind gift so that they can indulge.
Post motivational sticky notes
For this one all you need is a pen and a pad of sticky notes! Leave motivational notes around your house for loved ones like “you are beautiful” on the mirror or “you’re the best cook ever” on the fridge. Take your kind messages out into the world and leave nice messages for strangers like “you are the best” on a mailbox or “drive safe” on a car.
Tell a mom she’s doing great
Being a mom ain’t always easy. And don’t get us started on all the mom shaming. Next time you see a mom with her toddler throwing a tantrum, or newborn crying at the airport, let her know she’s doing great. It can be as simple as “you’re such a good mom,” telling them how great they are, and or asking if they need a hand.
Offer a cold drink
Not everyone gets to spend their days working in a temperature controlled office. On those summer scorchers, think about the police officers or crossing guards that are braving the heat to keep you safe. Pick up some cold water bottles or sports drinks and hand them out to these people you see working hard.
Leave a generous tip
While we’re sitting enjoying our celebratory brunches or date night dinners, servers are working hard! If you have a particularly awesome waiter or waitress, or know one who always goes above and beyond, leave them something extra when you can. Whether it’s $20 on a $5 coffee order or $100 on lunch around the holidays, giving that little extra shows your appreciation and could really help someone out.
Leave a note in an old book
Whether it’s a school book or leisure reading book, leave a message for the next reader! Just got done with your tough nursing or law school tests? Leave a note in the first page of your study book like “Hi, I was where you are right now, and you’ll get through this! You’ll crush this test and it will all be worth it!” In the stress of it all, that could just be the message that keeps them going.
Ask the new kid/guy to lunch
It’s not easy being the new guy. So if you see someone new at school or work, ask them to sit with you at lunch, or go grab lunch together! It could take such a weight off of his or her shoulders to not have to figure it out on their own. And you could even make a great new friend!
Send a care package
Care packages aren’t a new concept but they’re still just as fun to get! Maybe you’re far from family or a friend and they need a little pick me up. Fill a box with some of their favorite things and include a heartfelt card. It’ll make their day when they receive the unexpected package.
Support a local business
Go local! Sure, the Targets and Starbucks of the world are great, but local businesses are great, too. If you have the chance, go to the local coffee shop or the family-run store in your town. Even giving them your business a few times a year, or around the holidays, could make a big difference! Take it a step further and if you love them, give them a great review online so others check them out as well.
Keep a waiting dog company
We’ve all seen that pup waiting for his or her owner outside the store or coffee shop. Give them some company while they wait! Do make sure the dog is friendly, and don’t touch it unless it comes to you, but just standing there and saying “hi!” and letting it know you’re there can make the time pass more quickly for fido.
Send a supportive tweet
There’s a lot of cyberbullying out there, but you can work to stop it. If you see someone being bullied online, or someone who might just need a little support, send a thoughtful tweet their way! Even if it’s just to tell them their blog post was great, or to tell them not to listen to the haters, your kind words will be appreciated.
Put extra money in the parking meter
Finding parking in a busy area? Ugh! Paying for said parking? Double ugh! Make someone’s day and pay for their sweet parking spot. When you leave the spot you were parked in, put some more money in the meter for whoever arrives next! They’ll be so excited to get the spot for free.
Give yourself a compliment
You should be kind to yourself, too! We can be our own harshest critics, so sometimes it’s important to remember self love. Having a hard day or feeling down on yourself? Look in the mirror and say something positive. Or write yourself encouraging notes. You can even take our post-it note idea and do it for yourself! Leave motivational notes around your house to remind yourself that you’ve got this!
Smile at a stranger
Life moves fast when we’re running errands, commuting to work, or grabbing lunch. Look up from your phone or to do list and take a second to smile at someone. Maybe it’s the cashier or the barista, but taking a second to be friendly puts a positive spin on everyone’s day.
Give away your Christmas tree
Not everyone can afford a Christmas tree. Traveling for the holidays and won’t be able to put your tree to its best use? Put it on the curb with a “free tree!” sign, or post it on Craigslist for a family who might be in need. It could make someone’s holiday to be able to give their kids a tree when they otherwise might not have been able to.
Bring your “person” a treat
We all have them. A shoe guy, an eyebrow girl, your dry cleaning woman. They keep your shoes shiny, your brows on fleek, and your shirts crisp. We often forget how much these little services add up so that we have more time in our lives. Show your appreciation for how much they really do with a coffee, a muffin, or even a flower. It’ll be a nice break in their day of getting things done for the rest of us!
Buy a nurse a coffee
Nurses work hard and don’t always get the glory. Stop by your local hospital and drop off some coffee gift cards at the nurses station with a note to thank them for all their hard work. Nurses work long shifts and a complimentary coffee is sure to put a little more pep in their step!
Bring toys to the animal shelter
While shelter animals are looking for their furever homes, they need to play, too! Shelter animals get a lot of hand me down toys and blankets, so make them feel like a million bucks with some new gear. No matter how much or little you can give them, a shiny new toy or soft new bed will make that shelter dog or cat’s day.