A grand gesture may be nice, but it doesn’t take much to make the world a better place.
Sure, if you’re a millionaire, you could donate a bunch of money to a library, homeless shelter, or another worthy cause…but you don’t have to be rich to make a difference. You don’t have to take a bunch of time out of your day, either. In fact, you can brighten up your little corner of the globe for free in a matter of seconds.
A recent AskReddit thread asked people to share their favorite random acts of kindness that are actually doable. You won’t find millionaires here; just kind people who want to make the world slightly better…which actually makes the world a lot better.
As you read through their suggestions, you might start feeling inspired. Maybe choose one to do every single day this week. Not only will you make other people feel great; you’ll also make yourself happy! It’s a total win-win!
The coupon fairy.
I’m old so I still have the newspaper delivered on Sunday.
It is loaded with inserts that have money off coupons for various things. I cut them out and take them to Walmart and lay them on the shelf next to the products they are for.
Not a big deal, but I think everybody likes to save a buck or two.
When I was in college, we used to go in the rough parts of town and replace old or nonexistent basketball nets with brand new ones.
If you like it, say so.
If you like someone’s work — artist, writer, online commenter, YouTuber, whatever — then tell them, especially if they’re a small producer.
When you’re starting out, getting positive feedback from the community is a big boost.
Compliment random people on things you notice about them.
Be like this teacher:
I remember a teacher stopping me in the hall (not my teacher, he didn’t even know me), pointing to my shirt and saying “THAT’S your color!”
I walked a little taller for the rest of the day. I still remember even though it was well over 40 years ago.
I’m sure these parents appreciate it:
When I eat at a fast food restaurant, I like to buy the coupons that they often have for free food (like how you can get a little book of coupons for free Wendy’s Frosties, for example) and then hand the coupons out to people with kids.
Where I work we have a “just because” Google sheet with everyone’s name listed and favorite things.
Snack, drink, candy, favorite place to get a gift card for, etc. It’s lovely because when you want to treat someone you know exactly what they’ll like the most!
I also keep notes on my family/friends’ favorite drinks whenever I find them out. I make a note of what they get in their contact on my phone.
Thank the drivers for stopping for you.
Pay it forward.
Pay for the next person’s coffee, food, etc.
Usually doesn’t cost more than $10, and warms hearts all around.
This is so nice!
I take my elderly neighbor (she’s 95, and uses a walker) to the cemetery twice per year to visit her husband’s grave.
It’s a small thing, but it means a lot to her. We plant flowers and she shares memories with me. I actually feel as though she’s doing me the kindness to allow me to be part of it.
(And don’t litter in the first place!)
Pick up litter.
It only takes a second!
Say good morning/afternoon/evening to strangers.
I love this one:
At the gym, I slide the weights on the scale over to around 400 pounds so when someone gets on there they get to move them back and can think, “Hey, at least I don’t weigh as much as whoever was on here last.”
If you have a bus ticket that is valid all day and you don’t need it anymore, offer it to someone waiting at the stop when you get off.
I regularly walk by a kids’ playground.
If it’s empty, and nobody is watching, I throw in some coins I might have in my pocket.
Never seen one get found, but I imagine it gets a smile.
I paint rocks with cute little characters or designs, then hide them around the park for children to find.
I always write “keep or hide, you decide” on the back so they know they can take them.
Most of them do, but this week someone actually hid one in a different spot than where I left it, and that made me really happy lol.
Probably not something most people realize…
Donate feminine hygiene supplies to any local women’s or family shelters.
They almost always need them.
Stay cozy, everyone!
Give socks, warm hats, and gloves to the homeless.
You can buy in bulk and make little bundles to give to sign holders. It gets cold at night even in the summer!
The flower fairy.
My wife loves making bouquets of flowers.
She makes several a week and leaves them on random peoples porches when we walk the dog at 5:30 or 6 am.
We hope that these people love them. Waiting for her to get busted on Nextdoor as the reverse flower bandit.
This would have made my day as a child.
It’s kind of first-world-y, but I like to put quarters in the slots of those toy machines at the front of grocery stores and just leave them there.
The kids can take the money or get the toy as they please.
The key is doing it before being asked to.
Do some chores without being asked.
This one is free!
Make time for others and truly give them attention if they try to talk to you.
At the same time, respect their boundaries if they seem nervous.
Bonus: You get to enjoy nature.
Weed your elderly neighbors’ flower beds.
You could save someone’s life!
Donate blood if you can!
Leave a comment card.
If I have a really good interaction or lots of help from someone who works in customer service, I love to write a note about what a great employee they are.
I can usually do it online when I get home and I know it means so much to those who are out busting their butts taking care of assholes all day.
I had the most incredible pharmacy tech recently (at WalMart) who was able to quickly process a very complex transaction that another big chain could not figure out how to do.
I was looking for customer comment cards and didn’t see any, so asked the lady at customer service. She looked panicked and asked me if I needed help. I told her that I just wanted to send a note to let the department know how fabulous that tech was.
The poor woman looked like she wanted to cry. She said they only ever hear complaints. That is sad.
Leave the place better than you found it.
When I take my dog to the park, I pick up one or two dog log piles that inconsiderate dog owners left behind.
Parents can always use a break.
If you’re in a line and someone behind you has small children, let them go ahead of you.
Chances are the parent is just trying to get out of the store before the kid kicks up a fuss. You’ll never meet a more grateful person that a harried parent.
This advice goes double if you’re in a restroom line.
Just one piece.
I pick up one piece of trash every day.
Just one (occasionally more if I feel like it), but it makes a difference.
At the end of the year, I’ve picked up at least 365 pieces of trash, and that’s more than I would have done otherwise.
What a class act!
I pick up fallen over bicycles every day.
This one is super easy to do if you’re walking into the store, anyway.
Return shopping carts for people, especially in lousy weather.
Feeling inspired? Pick one of these easy acts and do it for someone! And don’t forget to share your own ideas in the comment section!