Happiness

50+ Random Acts of Kindness (The Ultimate List)

We have collected a list of random acts of kindness to show you that spreading kindness isn’t hard to do at all.

Theresa Siaw

Theresa Siaw
Community Activist | Owner, OMNI Medical Student Training Program

Random acts of kindness that have made my day are always simple, such as a stranger buying me a cup of coffee or even giving me a hug when I have needed one on a rough day.

It is the little things that make a big difference in life.

I try and reach out to others, as well. I make significant efforts to reach out to the community annually, such as:

  • Donating 300 book-bags for Back to School in Humboldt Park, Chicago.
  • Donating 300-700 turkeys each Thanksgiving.
  • Creating warming centers in my clinics for the cold days in Chicago.
  • Buying hats and gloves and distributed them to the homeless.
  • Stopping to speak to a homeless person, so they feel less lonely.

There are many ways that one can get involved in giving back and performing random acts of kindness, such as:

  • going through your closet and donating any clothes you don’t need
  • pass out food at your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • get involved with a local food bank

These simple acts can go a long way for those in need. They also can give you a sense of happiness and purpose.

Giving and receiving random acts of kindness is a positive two-way street. I have always found it essential to give back to others within the community. Random acts of kindness give me a sense of gratitude and purpose. Acts of kindness can be simple or extensive.

Both efforts create a positive outcome. I hope that more people will be motivated to give back this year!

Christine Scott-Hudson, MA MFT ATR

Christine Scott-Hudson
Owner, Create Your Life Studio | Art Therapist and Author of 150 Holiday Self-Care Activities

  • Write encouraging and uplifting messages on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk.
  • Buy doughnuts for everyone at work.
  • Leave an encouraging note in random places, like at the laundromat, library, or in your shopping cart.
  • Offer to drive someone’s kid home after practice.
  • Help the new person.
  • Leave big tips to kind servers.
  • Promote your friend’s work, art, or show.
  • Leave a five-star yelp review for a local, small business you frequent.
  • Bring tangerines for everyone in a boring meeting.
  • Mail a care package to a college student.
  • Leave a five-star review on Amazon for a book you enjoyed.
  • Text a friend a movie or book you think she would enjoy.
  • Pick up litter and trash everywhere you go.
  • Offer to drive.
  • Celebrate your family & friends’ tiny wins with a special coffee date or dessert date.
  • Call someone lonely and listen.
  • Let someone cut in front of you.
  • Let a car pass in front of you.
  • Throw “seed bombs” in empty fields.
  • Help tourists with directions.
  • Help your elderly neighbor shovel snow, do yard work, or bring them some fresh baked bread or cookies.
  • Watch your friends’ dogs or cats for free when they go on vacation.
  • Compliment strangers while waiting in long lines.
  • Send a handwritten thank you card.
  • Put your phone away and be present with your loved ones.
  • Share your magazines on long flights.
  • Write someone a letter.
  • Make “blessing bags” for people who are homeless. Fill Ziploc bags with items from the dollar store; like aspirin, rain poncho, beef jerky, tuna fish pouches, raisins, nuts, dry socks, puddings, apple sauces, winter hats, packaged cookies, crackers, water bottles, zip ties, gloves, warm scarves, plastic spoons, etc.
  • Give someone helpful some flowers.
  • Tell someone’s boss what a great job they are doing.
  • Leave quarters in toy vending machines.
  • Give a college kid a bag of quarters for laundry and snacks.
  • Put water out for birds and other animals.
  • Feed birds.
  • Give your partner or child a shoulder massage.
  • Feed parking meters so they don’t run out.
  • Have a birdbath.
  • Let your partner pick the movie and hold the remote.
  • Leave quarters in the soda machine coin slot.
  • Donate blood.
  • Leave a beautiful poem in the copy machine.
  • Make a homemade meal for a new mom.
  • Pass out gum in long training.
  • Give hot pizza or bags of hamburgers to people who are homeless.

Sherry Richert Belul

Sherry-Richert-Belul
Founder, Simply Celebrate |
Author, Say it Now: 33 Creative Ways to Say I LOVE YOU to the Most Important People in Your Life

Send love letters to strangers

Every year to celebrate my birthday, I send as many letters as to how old I am. (Next year I turn 56, so I will send 56 letters in 56 days to 56 strangers.) People share with me the name and mailing address of someone in their life who is grieving, ill, lost, lonely, or disappointed.

I send that person a letter — usually anonymously, from “The Universe.” This practice has brought me a deep sense of connection, not only to the person to whom I send the letter but also to the one who requested it. Usually, the person who requests the message is also having a tough time.

I try to offer them some love and compassion, too. I used to be someone who lived with depression and anxiety. I know how much a single gesture of kindness or love can help. I call these “pinpricks of light.” Each pinprick of light can help us find our way when we are lost in the dark.

Now that I am fortunate enough to have found my way through the darkness, I am dedicated to offering those pinpricks of light to others. And, as you might guess, for every love letter I post in the mail, I am filled with a sense of connection and love.

Adina Mahalli

Adina Mahalli
Mental Health Consultant and Relationship Expert | Founder, Enlightened Reality

Pay for a homeless person’s next meal

Restaurants in certain areas frequently have homeless people asking for food. Go to that restaurant and tell them you want to pay for the next homeless person that asks them for a meal, then pay for it.

Hopefully, someone in the line behind you will catch on, and you could start a whole chain of RAC’s! This could be a homeless person’s only meal for the day, and all it takes is a few minutes and dollars spared.

Thank people that probably aren’t thanked enough

The people that help keep our streets and offices clean work very hard and are rarely acknowledged for it. So be that person and offer genuine gratitude the next time you see someone who provides this type of service for the public.

Research has shown that receiving appreciation can improve a person’s health. This means that not only is your ‘thank you’ giving them recognition, but it’s also physically improving their well-being!

Carrie C. Mead, MS

Carrie C. Mead
Professional Life Coach & Usui Reiki Practitioner, Curiosity Life Coaching

Here are some suggestions for your list:

  • If you know that your neighbor will be away on vacation, on the day of their arrival back home, leave a basket of staples such as milk, bread, fruit, muffins and gourmet coffee grounds on their porch. They won’t have to rush to the store upon arriving home and breakfast the next morning is taken care of.
  • If the loved one of a friend or colleague is in the hospital, leave them an envelope with a little cash to cover the price of parking garages, coffees, and the extra gas needed for their unexpected trips to the hospital.
  • Surprise the janitorial staff at your child’s school or your office with baked goods, dinner, or a gift card as a simple way to say ‘thank you’ to these behind-the-scenes employees.
  • If you notice something beautiful about a person like a nice hair cut, a cute colored sweater, or beautiful eyes, tell them. Don’t hold back compliments for fear of being creeping or upsetting the person. If your response is genuine, it will be taken as such.
  • Keep small gift cards or trinkets on-hand to give out if you observe a citizen doing a good deed or acting in an exemplary way.
  • Make eye contact and smile at everyone, no matter what!

Amie Devero

Amie Devero
Managing Director, Amie Devero Coaching and Consulting

Finding ways to do good in small and intimate ways is a great way both to give back to others and to improve your outlook. There is significant data that we are personally enriched by performing acts of kindness or charity. People are fundamentally driven to contribute and cooperate – and we all want to believe we make a difference.

I try to do things in my neighborhood or my community that are small and easily unnoticed. The goal, at least for me, is to establish a steady rhythm of acting kindly toward the people who make up my daily life without us ever meeting.

But these work in larger settings too. Helping people get their baggage off the carousel in an airport, or allowing the person behind you in the TSA line to go first simply because they look more grumpy than you feel are great things to do while traveling.

Here are a few things that I often do and have caught others doing, too:

  • Bring someone’s trash or recycling bin up from the curb, saving them the effort (I do this while walking the dog).
  • Also, during dog walks, I deliver people’s newspapers to their doorstep instead of leaving them in the driveway where they were tossed.
  • Go to the grocery store with a post-it pad. Leave a $5 bill stuck to the check out counter with a note saying, “This is for you. Have a great day!” I did this a lot during the recession in hopes that someone would buy one additional item that they hadn’t been able to afford.

Part of what makes all of these so powerful is the fact that they are done anonymously.

Whether the newspapers or the trash bins or the cash left behind, not being there to see the person enjoy it is part of the charm.

You get to spend the day hoping that you added a tiny bit of delight to someone else’s experience. What a great gift to give yourself!

Katie Ziskind, LMFT, RYT500

Katie Ziskind
Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling

Simple acts of kindness go far in your marriage, with friends, and coworkers.

Bring a basket of fresh fruit to the office in the morning

Stock up on clementines, bananas, and grace with apples to brighten your coworker’s days.

You could also bring everyone a cute pair of fuzzy socks found at the dollar store. You don’t have to make these things expensive. You could even write a thoughtful handwritten note to one of your good friends and send it in the mail. Getting a letter from the pen pal can bring a bright smile to your friend’s face.

Little acts of kindness are all about showing others that you appreciate them, and you don’t need anything from them in return.

Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards
Nutritionist, The Candida Diet

Being intentional about showing kindness is a simple step in improving the lives and moods of others around you as well as yourself. This can be done through gifts, courtesy, a kind word, and inviting body language.

Offer gifts that will improve their mood immediately, but also over time

Nutrient-dense foods and snacks, along with supplements, are a great gift to improve the lives of those around you. Fruit baskets are an excellent way to show kindness that will make someone feel special and thought of while possibly giving them exposure to a food they haven’t tried in the past.

You can prepare a nutrient-dense meal for your friends during times of sickness that will increase their immunity, speed up recovery, and also make them feel considered.

Processed convenience foods wreak havoc on our health from the mood to gastrointestinal conditions. Giving the gift of whole foods and snacks without refined carbohydrates and sugar are a gift that shows you care about them as a whole person.

Abbie Mirata

Abbie Mirata
Founder, Kyndly, Inc

Show a little gratitude for construction workers

We all want the result from a big road project or an improvement to our community. However, we tend to be annoyed with the process of it.

Our streets get blocked, we get redirected, traffic builds up and all kinds of inconveniences. Typically, these guys and gals are out there in the elements, doing hard labor and trying to stay out of the way of the cars and angry drivers!

Go early in the morning and find the head foreman. Pullover into a safe area and drop off donuts, containers of hot coffee, or bottles of water. Let them know how much you appreciate how hard they work and what they are doing to improve your community!

Nicole Black

Nicole Black
Owner and Creator, Coffee and Carpool: Raising Kind Kids

Simple toys and gifts that can be hidden in a park or playground

But here’s the trick, our kids will leave the park knowing their hidden toy is going to brighten someone else’s day, but they won’t get to see the results.

We don’t do it to get praise or a reward. We don’t get to see which kid finds it. And we won’t know when they find it, which is tricky for our kids.

Because we hide these little random acts of kindness as a surprise, we have to leave knowing that someone will find it, and someone will get happiness from it. Our kids will know that another kid who comes to the park after them will find the toy, and it will bring joy or excitement or a smile to their day.

Dr. Herman Williams

Dr. Herman Williams
Author, “CLEAR!” Living the Life You Didn’t Dream Of

My top random acts of kindness:

  • Buying a coffee for the person behind me at the coffee shop.
  • Sending my wife a dozen roses for “Just Being Who She Is.”
  • Buying meals for celebrities I see out around town.
  • Helping traveling mom’s with kids with their bags at the airport.
  • Buying a coffee for the security guard at my office and bringing it to his station in front.
  • Buying a meal for police officers when I see them getting a bite to eat in restaurants to show them how much we appreciate what they do.
  • Donating a copy of my book to the entering class of the local medical school.
  • Volunteering at a Soup Kitchen.
  • Picking up any garbage I see around me.
  • Always open the door for anyone and allowing them to enter first.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams

Rasheda Kamaria Williams
Mentor, Author, and Chief Empowering Officer, Empowered Flower Girl

Two years ago, I signed up to be a RAKtivist – a Random Acts of Kindness activist! In doing so, I challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone and be the change.

Give more compliments to friends, coworkers, and even passersby

And not just superficial “You’re beautiful” compliments. Like compliments that inspire humanity and love. I’ll tell people, “your smile made my day,” or “the world is a better place because you’re in it.” It’s nice to see these uplifting phrases as social media posts, but they are even more powerful spoken to real people.

If you’re too shy to say it, write it on a post-it note or as a letter and leave it in your coworker’s cubes, kids’ lunch bags, or neighbor’s mailbox.

Murray Seward

Murray Seward
CEO, Outback Team Building & Training

Acts of kindness can be as simple as surprising one of your co-workers or friends with a coffee or with a fancy beverage, which they typically wouldn’t have time to get themselves. With that being said, an act of kindness doesn’t have to result in giving someone a physical product.

Take the initiative of finishing someone’s work task to help them with their workload

By doing so, you’ll most likely be reducing their stress and helping them get out of the office at a reasonable hour.

Next, be inclusive. You can either bring a new co-worker to a meeting, which will make them feel a part of the team or include them in your lunch group. Once the day is over, offer someone a ride home, particularly if they always have to take the bus or walk home.

However, don’t stop there. If you have a new neighbor, give them a warm welcome by inviting them over for dinner or drinks to introduce them to the neighborhood.

Lisa Swift-Young

Lisa Swift-Young
Speaker and Philanthropist | Author, Pause 2 Praise

Wouldn’t it be great if each day we texted three people and told them why we are grateful for them?

At this time of the year, we often reflect on the things and people for which we are thankful. However, we rarely directly share these thoughts with the actual person or persons.

We reflect on their good deeds or kind words. However, we neglect to share our admiration for those who contributed to this reflective moment. Yet it seems commonplace to tell others of these good deeds at a funeral or special recognition event.

Today take the challenge to text, call, or tell three people why you are grateful for them. Kindness is going outside of your comfort zone to let people know that they are important and loved.

Dr. Peace Uche, Pharm.D.

Dr. Peace Uche
Peace Doctor | Spoken Word Poet

A simple smile is the greatest act of kindness

When you dare to break in smile
Let the good vibe stay awhile
Let it reach your eyes,
Spread deep down to your soul
And in time you will find
It will connect to your heart
And your soulful smile will be
A heartfelt declaration of love.

See, our vibes are poignant,
like an aroma
And how like begets like, you attract
what you exude

A smile to yourself in the mirror or to a beautiful soul walking beside you goes a long way. Send out some good vibrations today!

It’s just a smile…

Brighten up!

Tyler Sellers

Tyler Sellers
CEO-cum-Editor-in-Chief, Total Shape

Kindness doesn’t need special education or a specific financial status. Kindness is like a shaft of light in the dark world of hardship and annoyance.

Babysitting

If you know how to babysit, then its an inevitable act of kindness if someone asks you for it, you can offer to babysit as a gift too as it is one of the most expensive services. You could be a volunteer to babysit on weekends or in your free days as a community service.

For parents who have a busy work schedule and have difficulty to manage kids on their overt or maybe they are expecting another baby and need external support to take care of elder ones, you could be the best option.

You can facilitate parents by attending kids at their home, or you can ask them to drop off at your place.
Babysitting is an excellent learning, as well. It’s a win-win situation as you contributing your kindness as well as gaining experience.

Wendy Gonzalez, ASID, NCIDQ, Assoc. IES

Wendy Gonzalez, ASID, NCIDQ, Assoc. IES
Interior + Lighting Designer and Home Decor Retailer, Modern Ornament LLC

Random acts of kindness are so meaningful to those who receive them. Need help getting started? Look around your circles and find a person who is going through a hard season.

Gather thought cards

Distribute blank cards to some of the people in their life that care about them and ask them to write a little note about how they have inspired them in the past or have helped them grow in an area of their life. Gather the cards, be sure to include your own within the mix, package them nicely, and gift them to that special person they speak so much about.

It will speak so much encouragement into their life every time they read the cards.

Lindsey Marx

Lindsey Marx
Content Strategist, Best Company

Smile

One of the biggest and most important random acts of kindness people can do is smile. Smiling brings about positive vibes and energy and always helps someone else to feel better and have a better day.

Offer to do a favor

Offering to do a favor is a sure way to help out and make a difference in someone else’s life. Often it is tough to ask someone for help because we feel embarrassed or ashamed. By offering without being asked, we become more trustworthy, and it helps us as well as others to feel better.

Send a handwritten note

Handwritten notes are so hard to come by now. It is rare and often invokes the most important of feelings. Handwritten notes are an excellent way to make someone else feel loved and important.

Text out of the blue

I don’t know about you, but I love getting random texts out of the blue from people. It makes me feel special and cared for. Send someone a text wishing them for a happy day or to meet up for lunch or a drink or something. It will make you happier as well as your friend.

Make food

I love to make and decorate cookies and take them to my neighbors to let them know that I am thinking about them and spreading kindness.

Tiffany Mason

Tiffany Mason
Blogger, The Hygge Mama

Visit nursing homes

As a homeschool mama, I try to be as intentional as I can to teach my boys random acts of kindness.

The other day, I took my boys and a group of homeschooling families to a nearby nursing home where we did a fun show and tell for the elderly. This made their day, and the children learned this valuable life lesson of being kind to others.

Janice Holly Booth

Janice Holly
National Geographic Author and Speaker

The best vehicle for this is a letter, a well-crafted, genuine expression of appreciation for what that person has meant to you.

It could be a third-grade teacher who complimented you on your drawings, or a boss who always made you strive for more: your big sister, your former best friend. Imagine opening your mailbox to find such a letter. It would be a gift that you could return to, again and again, that will remind you that yes, you DO make a difference in the world.

Miriam Dorsett

Miriam Dorsett
Founder, Chibur

Whenever you think of someone, don’t ignore it

Send them a text, or even better dial them on the phone. Say, “hi, I was thinking of you. How are you doing?”

Ask a follow-up question to whatever they say, which will typically be the standard “good” reply.

Karen M. Leonard, Ph.D.

Karen M. Leonard
Professor of Management and Faculty Senate Representative, University of Arkansas Little Rock

Pay for others

One thing that I find fun is to leave a little extra money with the cashier at our university Starbucks. It helps students who may not have quite enough money for the tax.

Another is the often-reported “pay for those behind you,” where you pay for the order behind you in a fast food line. It is always fun, but sometimes the cashiers don’t understand.

Leah Remillet

Leah Remillet
Founder and CEO, The CEO Kid

As a family, each year, we buy supplies to make “Bright Spot Kits” These are gallon size bags filled with socks, gloves, gum, trail mix, jerky, a toothbrush, etc. Then my husband and I divide the finished bags up, and each keeps them in our cars.

When we pull up to a street corner to someone holding a sign about needing help, we are ready! Last week one of my clients mention an excellent idea of paying the tip to whatever the total bill was, I loved the idea and couldn’t wait to try it out the next time I had incredible service.

Jaquetta T. Ragland

Jaquetta T. Ragland
Owner, StayatHomeMomco.com

One random act of kindness I would suggest is to go to the nursery of your local hospital, find a new mom who just had a baby, and hire a cleaner for her. This would take away some of the stress of bringing a new baby home.

Mary Potter Kenyon

Mary Potter Kenyon
Program Coordinator, Shalom Spirituality Center | Author, Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace

I often pay for the person behind me in line at a fast-food place or purchase a piece of pie for someone sitting alone in a restaurant. Still, it was my granddaughter’s idea to put one dollar and a random act of kindness card inside a plastic baggie and tape to pop machines or two quarters and a card at a car wash for the vacuum cleaner.

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith
Owner, Bicycle 2 Work

Make your roommate, spouse, significant other lunch to take to work without asking. It’s a simple way to show that you care about them, and doesn’t take that much time in the morning to do. If you want to go above and beyond, write a short note with one thing that you like about them.

Bracha Goetz

Bracha Goetz
Author, Searching for God in the Garbage

Visit residents of assisted living facilities, especially the ones who are sitting around in the public areas, as they are usually the people most longing for social interaction – especially from the outside world.

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