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Do Tell: What Random Acts of Kindness Have You Practiced?

I remember when I first saw the bumper sticker that read, "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." (Also a book.) I had two responses. The cynic in me: "Oh, give me a break. How corny." The realist: "Why should kind acts be random, or beautiful acts senseless? Why not be deliberate in your generosity and volunteer somewhere — to a homeless shelter, to help the elderly, or to foster kittens?" (OK, fostering kittens would not be a sacrifice! But I digress.)

Now that I'd like to think I'm older and wiser, my response is a little different. I've done volunteer work a couple times, but never for an extended period of time. One of these days, I will do that, but in the meantime, a random act of kindness can remind me of that intention and act as a bridge between the nascent do-gooder and the person who actually devotes time to others.

For example, there's a homeless woman I see almost every day on my way to work. In the past, I've walked by her, feeling awful but doing nothing. Now? I know I can't give her money every day, but sometimes I do, and sometimes, since I'm on a tangerine kick, I'll reach into my satchel and give her one. We now acknowledge each other every morning, and it feels anything but random.

Do you ever practice random acts of kindness? What is your proudest moment?

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