30 Random Acts of Kindness for Father’s Day

This being Father’s Day, I’d like to wish my stepdad a happy, peaceful, relaxing day. We get along well, he and I, but have vastly different world views. I believe most people are basically good and want to do the right thing. He believes most people have ulterior motives until proven otherwise. I believe if you send positive energy out, that’s what you get in return and vice versa. He believes I’m naive. I would rather be naive than jaded, rather look at the world through rose-colored glasses than with hopelessness. And so we agree to disagree.

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m putting some positive juju into the world and hope that it reaches him. Here, you can take some for yourself. There’s enough to go around.

1. Say “Good morning” to a person standing next to you in the elevator.

2. Pay the toll for the driver behind you.

3. Take a minute to direct someone who is lost, even though you’re rushing.

4. Write a old-fashioned letter to someone. Remember how good it feels to get mail from someone you care about (not bills or catalogs)?

5. Offer to pick up groceries for a neighbor in need.

6. Give a homeless person your doggie bag.

7. Say “I love you” to someone you love.

8. Put a coin in an expired meter.

9. Help a mother carry her baby stroller up the subway stairs, or hold a door open for her.

10. Each time you get a new item of clothing, give away something old.

11. Offer baby sitting services to a parent who could use a break.

12. Bring a box of doughnuts to share at the office.

13. Say “please” and “thank you”—and really mean it.

14. When you’re on a crowded train or bus, offer your seat to an elderly, disabled or pregnant person.

15. Don’t interrupt when someone is explaining herself, or mentally prepare your next comments.

16. Let a fellow driver merge into your lane.

17. Write a thoughtful letter of recommendation for someone.

18. Put your shopping cart back in its place.

19. Call or write to a teacher who changed your life.

20. Forgive someone a debt–and never bring it up again.

21. Write a note to the boss of someone who helps you, and explain how great a job that person is doing.

22. Simply say “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong.

23. Throw away your trash—and someone else’s—after a movie, picnic or visit to a park.

24. Volunteer to take care of a friend’s pet (or pick up the mail/water the plants) while he is vacationing.

25. Help a friend pack for a move.

26. Ask someone “How are you really doing?”—and then really listen to her response.

27. Offer change when the person in front of you at the register comes up short.

28. Leave a generous tip for a pleasant waiter.

29. Pass along a great book you’ve just finished reading.

30. Pay it forward.

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