Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

Over the past weekend I've heard of three occasions where a random stranger paid another’s bill, twice at a restaurant and once at a gas station.

What a wonderful way to start the holiday season. I don’t know how the benefactor felt, but the recipients were absolutely floored by this random gift, this gift given anonymously with no strings attached.

As I pulled out cash for lunch in The Commons a while back, the student behind me in line ‘swiped’ twice and paid for my lunch. I didn’t know him. Not sure of his motivation, maybe he just didn’t want to wait for the clerk to make change, but I’ll always remember how blessed I felt by his act of generosity.

On Twitter yesterday I started seeing references to #givingTuesday. My initial sarcastic thought, after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday – who has anything left to give?

A little research revealed that yesterday was the second annual #givingTuesday, created as a day to “encourage charitable activities that support non-profit organizations.” Interesting idea.

Reading further revealed that comparing giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving 2011 to the first #givingTuesday in 2012, there was a nearly 50 percent increase in online donations to nonprofits through Blackbaud and DonorPerfect, (two popular online donation sites) and #givingTuesday trended on Twitter. Obviously this interesting idea is meeting a human need to support something bigger than ourselves.

While we may have missed the official #givingTuesday of 2013, luckily we don’t need to confine random acts of kindness, or giving, to a certain day. Any day can become a #givingDay.

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