On New Year's day I was presented with an idea. Sheila Wilimitis and Heidi Olson, two of the women I admire most, decided that this year we all need to twenty-twelve-it. What a brilliant plan. Move forward! Upgrade! Expand! Launch Ahead! It's a new verb, a new vibe, a new movement. We all need to move on and embrace the New Thing that is ahead. Twenty-Twelve your phone, your attitude, your habits, your relationships, your outlook. How are you going to twenty-twelve-it?
So I have been thinking about how I will twenty-twelve-it when I got a letter from my friend Grace McGill last night. She wrote, "Do you have a New Year's resolution? I think I'm going to put some effort into being a more consistent friend and do more random acts of kindness. The other day I was returning a book to the library late so I had a $1.60 fine to pay. I reached into my purse to pay for it, but to my surprise the woman behind me in line handed two singles to the librarian before I gathered the money from my own purse. I stammered a little, I think it was because I felt uncomfortable with her charity and I was a little shocked at a stranger being so sweet. I tried to politely pay her back or pay the fine myself, but the woman just smiled and insisted. I thanked her and said a prayer for her as I left the library. I was astonished the whole drive home and vowed to pay it forward. It's kind of strange how shocked I felt receiving a random act of kindness. What if everyone vowed to perform a random act of kindness this year? Just one per person--can you imagine how much good that would create?"
Grace's story inspired me-- I decided that today I would make sure to carry out a random act of kindness. But I kept thinking about the bigger picture that Heidi, Sheila and Grace all dreamed of. What if not just me, but tons of people did random acts of kindness today? How much of a difference could we all make in just one day?
I quickly spread the word to friends of all ages all over the place that today's mission was to complete a random act of kindness. I have been amazed all day as people's reports of doing something kind for someone else keep flooding in.
-I was in line in the cafeteria in the morning to check out and this kid in front of me who I didn't know and he didn't have enough money to pay for breakfast so I bought his.
-I sprinkled a couple dollars of spare change all over the sidewalk when I went on a walk for some lucky person to find.
-I mailed something to one of my friends that I know will make her laugh when she gets it in a couple days.
-I left a cupcake for my friend in her mailbox just to brighten her day.
-I taped a friendship bracelet and a note to a car window when I saw a high school girl that looked like she'd appreciate one walk into the store.
-I put up Operation Beautiful post-it notes in Target. My favorite? "You are beautiful. If someone makes you think otherwise then they're mean."
-I helped a girl in my photography class. She was printing her photo and couldn't get it to focus right on our enlargers so I helped her with it cause my teacher way busy.
-I was talking to a 9-year-old boy who was diagnosed with cancer today and we got on the topic of highs and lows of our day and he told me, "My favorite part of everyday is everything because I'm alive and thankful for that." Not a random act of kindness, but camp related and humbling.
-I helped a kid who dropped their books in the hallway.
-I made a delicious batch of brownies with extra chocolate for my friends.
-There's a new girl at school on my volleyball team that people are being mean to. So I talked to her about the upcoming season and tried to make her feel welcome.
-Yesterday I helped an old man to his car when he picked up food from where I work. Today my friend Henry bought my friend and I Subway at lunch- just to be nice!
-I gave the kid behind me the last bag of cheddar Ruffles because he asked for them and I had taken the last ones.
-My friend was really upset because he got grounded for grades. So I offered to help him with a few of the classes that I'm good at.
-I left dollar bills in random places all over town for people to find.
-I made brownies for a class today and gave out all my extras rather than keeping them to myself.
-I offered to tutor the kid who doesn't talk much in my chemistry class during our work time.
-I sat with a special needs girl at lunch. Then I stopped and gave a homeless man some money on my way home from school.
-I befriended a girl who I had never met before but had done some stuff that effected me. She was really nervous at first because she didn't know if I would be mean but I totally shocked her and was 100% nice and welcoming.
-I delivered plates of cookies to all of my friends stuck studying for finals. I have barely seen some of them since we split up for High School and it was so fun to surprise them all.
-I bought a $5 gift card to Starbucks for the next person who came in after me.
-It was our first day back from school and I saw a new kid who looked lost so I guided him to his classes. Also I got to translate between Spanish and English for a mom of a student and the office.
-I put dollars under people's windshields with a note that says, "Have a great day."
-I went to a girls' basketball game to cheer them on because no one ever goes and they won! I helped my brother on this huge project for an hour.
-I texted my friend Abby and told her how great she is and then left a note for my friend Deanna on her desk.
All of this good happened in just one day. So many people's days were made brighter and better just because. Let's keep this up. Let's believe that we can make a difference in the lives of both the friends and strangers around us. Twenty-twelve-it.