Pause. Close your eyes and think about the last time someone did something kind for you. Really think about it… What was it? How did it make you feel? What did it make you want to do in return?
Was the kindness something big, or something small?
Kindness can actually be quite small and simple and have a massive impact. A week ago, the man at the ice cream store added sprinkles to my oldest child’s ice cream cone even after we paid. A few days ago, I saw a gentleman in a parking lot heading to his car stop and offer to return the cart for a family that was loading groceries. Yesterday a friend went through the toll booth, and the worker let her know her toll had already been paid.
Sprinkles for a kid. A few minutes saved for a mom. A couple of dollars from a stranger. These are not huge! But I remember every one of these stories, because however small the act, their emotional impact is significant. Kindness is powerful – random acts of kindness even more so, since they are so unexpected. And kindness is something that is achievable by everyone; it doesn’t care if you have a job or not, are old or young, where you live, or any other characteristic that we traditionally use to define ourselves. It’s something we can all embrace, no matter what got us here.
- Kindness can be small.
- Kindness can be free.
- Kindness can be spontaneous.
In my last post about extinguishing fear and bringing back random acts of kindness, I talked about some of the reasons our society has been slowly shifting away from being kind. But while it’s helpful to understand the why, just as important is knowing how we can make a change back to kind, supportive, caring communities. I’m already starting to see that change happen – an interesting, unanticipated byproduct of the havoc the pandemic has brought on our country.
Our own Lasagna Love community is a powerful example. The kindness we’ve seen extends far beyond our lasagna chefs, to incredible stories of those receiving lasagnas turning around and paying it forward in their own communities. That’s the extraordinary thing about kindness: it spreads. It multiplies. It inspires. Lasagna Love has become about more than simply delivering home-cooked meals. Our mission has deepened: to weave kindness back into the fabric of our everyday lives.
So today, in celebration of National Random Acts of Kindness Day, we’re launching our Kindness Pledge. Our goal is for 10,000 people to sign on by March 28th: the anniversary of our first lasagna delivery and the random act of kindness that started a national movement. Would you do Lasagna Love (and me!) the honor of being one of the first to sign?
Hooray, I’ve signed! So what’s next?
To celebrate today’s felicitous holiday let’s start small. Kindness can be letting a pregnant woman go ahead of you in line for the bathroom (ok, maybe that one is selfish given my third trimester status!). Kindness can be calling a friend simply to ask “how are you?”, or picking up a discarded coffee cup in the park and throwing it away. It can be delivering a home-cooked lasagna, or dropping off a few cans of tomato sauce as a surprise to a neighbor who you know is a lasagna chef. It can be a hug. A smile. What you might think of as small, to someone else could completely change their day.
Here are a few stories shared with me yesterday of very small acts of kindness, but they meant so much to the person on the receiving end.
- “It’s so small but means so much to me – my boyfriend makes our coffee every day, and has done so since the beginning of covid. He even prepares it the evening before! Something I appreciate so much, and I <3 waking up to the smell of coffee brewing.” – Marybeth A
- “Our house caught on fire 8/26/2003. We lost everything. While I was meeting with the insurance agent at a neighbors house that night trying to sort out where we would live and how I could clothe and feed my kids a little voice came up behind me and said “excuse me, we wanted to give these to your girls so they can have a stuffy to keep them company tonight”. Talk about BAWLING and over something as simple and seemingly insignificant as a teddy bear. Those bears gave my girls so much comfort and really warmed my heart on a very difficult day.” – Amy D
- “One day I was having a horrendous morning. Toddler was running amok and I just wasn’t prepared to handle the rollercoaster of a day that it ended up being. I posted a picture of what motherhood looked like that particular day for me on Instagram. About an hour later, I received the sweetest notification on my phone from an old childhood friend… She sent me $5 so I could treat myself, accompanied by a beyond amazing note to go with it. I burst into tears. Sometimes all you need is someone to reach out and tell you that they see you and that they understand.” – Cori T
Coffee. A teddy bear. A note. Kindness can be so simple! Your first simple act: sign the Kindness Pledge. After that, open your mind and your heart and see what inspires you today. I can’t wait to hear your stories, and to see the impact we can have on our neighbors, our communities, and our country.