I turned 30 on October 29th and I wanted to do something a little different. I have seen a lot of different ideas for doing acts of kindness in blogland and I thought that this would be a perfect way to spend my birthday. I happened to take the day off since parent/teacher conferences were scheduled for that Friday and I do not work on Fridays. My husband decided to take the day off as well, so we made it a family day.
I started planning a few weeks before my birthday so that I could figure out the logistics and start gathering supplies. I tried to come up with multiple acts of kindness for each place so that we weren't running all over town, going to 30 different places. The planning didn't take all that long, but the night before I started to feel a little overwhelmed. But I pushed through and went with it.
The morning of my birthday, we met my mother-in-law at St. Louis Bread Co (Panera) to buy her a coffee and pick up some coffee carafes. I also picked up a few gift cards to leave for the letter carrier, trash collector, and recycling collector. We then went to the local police/fire/city hall to drop off the coffee and some homemade pumpkin spice muffins.
At home I dropped off flowers for our neighbors and went to visit an elderly neighbor that was just recently widowed. I also dropped off some adult clothes at Goodwill and took some baby clothes and diapers to a local emergency women and children's shelter.
The best part of the day happened at the grocery store. I bought some balloons and we passed them out to little kids we passed in the aisles. Two little girls got so excited that they ran through the store. Their mom joked with us, "How could we lose them? They have balloons!" While we were in line, the man in front of us was trying to pay and needed change. For some reason, the checkout clerk did not have a full till so she could not provide any change. The man had plenty of money but was about $3 short of having exact change. I just blurted out that I would pay his $3. He and the clerk looked at me funny. I explained that it was my birthday and that I wanted to do an act of kindness for him. He was taken aback. He shook my hand and thanked me for helping him get on his way and said that he didn't think that there were still people that did random acts of kindness like that.
After he left, I explained to the clerk that I wanted to buy a gift card but that I wanted her to give it to someone in need. I started to get choked up and my husband stepped in to explain the birthday idea. I think it was a culmination of all of the things we had done that day and the idea that someone shopping at my local store, that I shop at each week, may not have enough money to pay for their groceries. It took a few explanations for the clerk to understand what we were doing but then she said that she would personally make sure that the right person would get our gift card. I really liked the idea that she was going to get to pass on our act of kindness.
Looking back, I think that this was the best birthday I have had in recent memory. It took a lot of planning, but it was well worth it. I definitely think that I will be doing something similar, probably on a smaller scale, each year. And I really like how my husband and daughter were involved. That's definitely something that I want to instill in my daughter from an early age. It was definitely a birthday that I will remember!