Want to do a random act of kindness? Leave me alone!

There is a movement afoot to be kind to strangers, hold the door for someone, to pass it forward. I am guilty of suggesting a similar such thing but now I have had enough of it. If you really are going to be kind, you don’t wait for a special day, for a radio commercial to suggest it, you simply do it.

With the viral nature of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, it seems that one persons half assed idea can become viral and therefore appear on my Facebook wall in minutes. Most of the time, the posts are dumb, stupid, not thought out either by the originator or the person who forwarded it to me. Someone has an idea to have a special day to be nice to a stranger and everyone seems to think it is an amazing and unique idea.

Here’s an idea, the special day where you are nice to strangers and friend equally is called TODAY!

If you hold the door open for someone, don’t waste my time by posting about it on Facebook or Twitter. Doing one act of kindness doesn’t make you some kind of saint or better person and if you have to make an announcement every time you do something nice, it doesn’t leave much time to repeat your unexpected kindness.

Shouldn’t everyone be nice and then we could hold a ‘Don’t be nice to anyone day’ or maybe a ‘Sod everyone else, I am going to have a me day!’ where we just look after ourselves and ignore everyone else.

I don’t want to sound as if I do regular acts of kindness because, a) people who know me would never believe it and b) I don’t want to be like all those other annoying people. I may or may not do random and not so random acts of kindness, I am not going to tell you either way because it is none of your damned business.

In the UK, when you are in a pub you usually buy the barman/woman/keep a drink if you have at the pub been there for any significant amount of time drunking. Should we post when we do that? How about tipping the wait staff of your favourite restaurant? Surely leaving a tip is more significant than simply holding a door open.

So from now on, every time I see someone boasting about how randomly kind they have been I will make my own random act of kindness, I won’t grab a snow shovel and hit them over the head with it. Not only would that be enjoyable but it would be a kindness to all that feel as I do, that kindness should be built in to your everyday life, a bit like airbags and seatbelts in new cars.

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  1. Hi Carrie,

    I certainly didn’t know that it was in honor of your mother. I would never want to offend you for that. I didn’t deride the day of kindness, simply wonder why it wasn’t every day. The ROCK day (perhaps the coolest abbreviation ever) was a great idea, and one I am sure will go on for many years. I don’t post nice things that I do, but neither do I like to post when nice things are done to me. While I don’t expect nice things done for me, I do appreciate them, I just don’t want to let everyone else think that it happened to me and not them.

    In my twisted mind, holding a door open, or letting a pedestrian cross in front of your vehicle on a wet day isn’t a kindness, rather something that is normal and natural.

    Again, if I at all offended you, or the memory of your mother, please be assured that I would never intentionally do that and I am sorry if I did. The posts I saw concerning ROCK day did not mention anything concerning that.


    Nathan Leeds

  2. You are right to think Nathan didn’t know about the meaning behind this specific Random Acts of kindness day, but what you are wrong about is the tone he was taking.

    There has been another “St.Thomas Acts of Kindness Group” in existence for nearly a year now and the purpose of that group is “to acknowledge the small and sometimes big things that others do for us. Whether that be a total stranger, a friend or family member that has gone above and beyond what they needed to do. Please feel free to post any ACTS OF KINDNESS that has happened to yourself or have seen within St.Thomas. Always pay it forward :)”

    And from what I understand his frustration is more from people going around TELLING everyone about the kindness they do or doing it because it has been pointed out to them that there is a special day for kindness.

    I leave quarters in the carts at Fresh Co. and I used to put money in expired parking meters…these are truly random acts because I don’t care who benefits from it, and with the case of the parking meters…even the person who benefited may not have even realized the deed was done.

    Maybe someone should explain to those who don’t know the importance of this day what it was for. No one who complained so far has bothered to.

  3. I believe Carrie posted a link to the TJ article about the meaning behind this event on her page and maybe it is showing up here somewhere and I am just not seeing it. Anyways, I think the reason the comments upset me the most was that this is simply a movement asking for people to be nice, and thoughtful and in turn it makes the person feel good about themselves. Yes, there are some who will post anything they do for someone else on any social feed they can find, whatever it is, however it is only meant to inspire good. It is great that there is another group in St. Thomas promoting small acts of kindness, the more the merrier, but this one in particular was meant to honor someone’s mother and grandmother, sister, aunt and co worker. It is not that anyone is not bothering to explain the meaning, I think many of us are just trying to support Carrie first and foremost. Imagine how you would feel if a blog representing itself as THE St. Thomas blog put a negative spin something that you started to honour a loved one, in particular your mother… imagine how you would feel if you lost a co worker, who every day went out of their way to make someone, or many people feel good and opened your lap top to read someone negatively discussing any aspect of the movement to remember that person. While many of us have misunderstood the tone of the original comments, I believe you have misunderstood the tone of posting a Random Act of Kindness, whether you completed it yourself for someone else or whether someone did something good to you, it is comment/post that was meant to inspire or make someone think. People post about these things to bring more awareness to the idea. What is wrong with someone saying ‘fell pretty good right now, just bought the coffee for the person standing behind me in line’… that one comment could make 3 more people do something good for someone else. Opinions are opinions, I guess it was just nice to have one thing out there that was not thought of negatively to look at everyday, it is nice to hear about people just doing things to be nice. I leave quarters in the carts at Freshco too, but I tell everyone about it, because maybe just one of those people I told will do the same and really help someone out… maybe that person will help an overwhelmed mom by giving them a quarter for their cart instead of having to dig through every area of their diaper bag while trying to hold onto a wild 2 year old and small baby… that one random act could mean alot, and inspire a chain reaction. So I guess I just don’t see a reason to be so negative, and that is just my opinion. I just think anything that is encouraging people to be good for the sake of being good should be left alone… it is nice to read about people doing good things.

  4. Nathan,

    I cannot say anything that hasn’t already been said by the supportive respondents of this post. Unfortunately your words were spit out of pure ignorance, and if you had taken a moment to research beyond the “Random Act of Kindness” posts that you were annoyed by, you would have discovered the wonderful woman (and her daughter) behind the idea. Though I understand the premise of your arguments (that kindness should be an expectation and not a rare celebrated occurrence) I know that such a notion of boasting petty acts is not the driving force behind this event.

    The stories I’ve read through social media have been heart-felt and encouraging. They have ranged from something as small as paying for a coffee to helping those in desperate need. In a World overridden by technology, where social expectations and common courtesy are now being overlooked by many, this group gives hope that the kindness of others is not a dead concept. You say that having a door opened for you should not be praised. On the same note, should the person holding the door then not be thanked? Think about it.

    To me a random act of kindness should be celebrated and encouraged. Every time a door is held, a “coffee chain” begins, or I witness the extension of someone’s kindness, I smile and think of Laurie. I’ll praise any act, no matter how big or small, because I know these acts come from a good heart, not bragging rights.

  5. Jessica,

    the random acts of kindness posts I was referring to had nothing to do with the ROCK day. I was talking about ever day posts, not one particular day. I think people are mis-reading the post. I didn’t deride it, I simply asked why isn’t every day a day to be kind to others.

    Going on your basis that if someone comments about doing a kindness or receiving one, that others may follow, shouldn’t we post when we donate to charity in hopes that others follow?

    If people require posts to make them think about being nice and kind, then there is a larger issue here. You, and I don’t mean you specifically, shouldn’t have to make a big deal over an every day thing. The problem is that for many people, it isn’t an everyday thing.

    The easiest kindness possible is simply to smile, it makes others smile, and it can reach more people quickly.

    Again, since I guess people have mis-read the post as to be attacking ROCK day, it wasn’t although from reading people’s comments I can see why perhaps they might think that. It was simply that society needs to be encouraged and reminded to be nice to one another and I don’t understand why things have gotten so bad.

    I have already apologized to Carrie for any offense caused as I certainly wasn’t looking to offend anyone, I simply was stating my opinion on the whole issue, not just one day. Others who read this post on Facebook had a totally different reaction, it seems those involved or who had a personal connection with Carrie’s mother or Carrie herself have taken the post one way, and others have taken it another.

    I also find it funny that I was accused of being lonely, not a nice person, not even using my last name, and not researching the ROCK day, while no one bothered to read anything else on the Blog before forming their opinion. So what I have been accused of, others are equally guilty of following the post.

    Anyone who knows me knows that I am not lonely, sad, evil, try to avoid being known, or spiteful, and to base opinion on one post is, well, a little sad.

    Anyhoo, time to head out into the world and see what happiness I can spread.


    Nathan ‘the grinch’ Leeds

    PS, there are some wonderfully written comments here, it is a shame that the writers don’t share their talents with more readers. If anyone ever would like to write an article upon any subject at all, I am sure the Blog would love to post it!

  6. Hello Nathan,

    I completely agree with you that nice things should be done for people everyday. Laurie Houston did these things for people everyday and never asked for anything in return. I was on the receiving end of Laurie’s kindness on a few occasions. Carrie (in my opinion only) wanted a special way to honor her mother for the wonderful and amazing women she was. I see a lot of Laurie in Carrie. She is an amazing person and one of the most caring people I know. I think it took a lot for you to apologize on here and for that I thank you. I am not going to lie I was extremely offended by the words that were written and the way it was written. I am only speaking for myself but I think before posting about a special event or day maybe look into the spirit behind it first. Research is just as important as the words you

    Thanks You
    Christina Hoffer

  7. Nathan…Just wanted to clear one thing up…It is Random Acts of Kindness RAOK not ROCK.

  8. You are correct…. Not sure what I was thinking…. probably something with Jack Black…

  9. The post was not about the RAOK day though, it was the everyday things, not the special day. My point was that society apparently has to be reminded to be nice to one another. I mentioned RAOK once and that was it. I didn’t refer to it, and as I was writing, I was not even thinking about that particular day.

  10. I would totally love for someone to write an article on Laurie Houston. She sounds like a wonderful woman and sorely missed by all.

  11. Thank you. That was a very good article.

  12. You’re welcome.

    I hope that the article offered a little more clarity on the day’s importance to the people who replied to your blog and why we celebrate story sharing. It’s not just a one-day event, it’s for a lifetime.