Extra! Extra! The Cincinnati Post Plugs the 'Kindness Pass-Along Gift Cards'. Read all about it! »
Print a Free Sheet of
10 Kindness Gift Cards Now!
Get Your Own Random Acts of Kindness Pass-Along Gift Cards Posted Apr-25-2007
On my birthday several weeks ago I decided to turn the whole gift-giving tradition on its head and conduct an experiment in "reverse gift-giving." Before meeting two friends for lunch, I put on my graphic artist hat and in a "pay it forward" mindset designed a small, business-sized card with a message that read:
--- * ---
You’ve just been gifted
with an anonymous
act of kindness.
It’s amazing how much
a free cup of coffee from
a complete stranger brings
more sunshine into your
day, isn’t it? Enjoy!
Kindness: Pass it on!
--- * ---
After meeting my friends at the restaurant I discreetly handed the card to our server with two dollars when she took our beverage order and requested that "the next person in the restaurant to order a cup of coffee should be gifted with card and informed that their coffee had been paid for by an anonymous patron as a random act of kindness." (To be sure, I requested that she not tell them who the anonymous patron was. I could have also requested that the coffee be charged to my bill if I had any reservations about my money being pocketed.)
Our server smiled and played along and came back a few minutes later asking where I got the card because she and her friends at her college were looking for ways to do similar "kindness" things. So I pulled out several more cards from my wallet and gave them to her, appreciating her interest and informing her that she was free to use them to spread more kindness around our community. My experiment was already working!
Intentional Acts of Kindness
My intention for the card was not only to gift someone with a free cup of coffee, but to intentionally sow "seeds of kindness" and plant the inspiration in the receiver to "pass it on." Yes, I wanted to be part of a ripple effect! Who knows, maybe the receiver of my gift was unthankful and thought little of the complimentary coffee and promptly tore up my card and threw it away. But isn't that the risk we take every time we do a kind deed for someone? Sometimes it's appreciated, and sometime's it's not.
But what if the receiver of that act of kindness was at their wits end with their job or personal life that day? A free cup of coffee won't make their problems go away, but that kind act in itself has the potential to shift their focus and change their perspective at least for a little while. And maybe that small break in their day gave them some relief or produced a burst of positiveness that changed their outlook. And it's no secret that doing kind deeds is also good medicine for the giver, so if they chose to pass it on, maybe their whole week got brighter!
For me, it is that knowing and the excitement of letting the card go out into the universe like a helium balloon with a postcard attached to the end that makes it all worthwhile.You don't know where it's going to land, but chances are, it's going to make someone smile. And just maybe, it will inspire them to pass it on, and the next thing you know, good energy is being spread all over! Yes, that's the ripple effect, like a small pebble being tossed into a pond, its ripples keep circling outward bigger and bigger.
Well now, if this little story has touched your heart, how about conducting your own kindness experiments in your community? I invite you to download and print one or both of my free sheets of 10 Random Acts of Kindness Pass-Along Gift Cards from the Creativity Portal Kindness Printables page. There's a card for beverages, and a card for all-purpose acts of kindness. C'mon, play along. It'll be fun, I promise. And aren't you just dying to be part of a kind and worthwhile ripple effect? •
© 2007 Chris Dunmire www.chrisdunmire.com. All rights reserved.