Random Acts of Kindness

A Random Act of Kindness (or RAOK) is doing something simple to show care for someone else.

Have you ever noticed how truly grateful you felt when someone took a moment to extend kindness your way? A Random Act of Kindness, usually a surprise, happens without any expectations. Try this out today -- just smile at someone you don’t know. Smiling is a great RAOK, and it doesn’t cost anything!

Here’s how it works.

Choose a RAOK you can do by yourself, or with family and friends. Check out the ideas below.

  • Bag groceries for a parent standing in line with antsy children
  • Mow your neighbor’s lawn or shovel their sidewalk
  • Give a compliment to someone at work or school
  • Leave bubbles at the park
  • Donate your books to the library
  • Pick up litter
  • Pay for someone’s coffee behind you in the drive-through
  • Stop at a child’s lemonade stand and buy a glass—then leave a tip!

The possibilities are endless!


Because it boosts your happiness, doing a RAOK is an investment in you. Studies show that a person receiving a RAOK experiences positive benefits that last for 24 hours. The person performing the act gains these positive benefits for two weeks.

When you do a random act of kindness, the hormone oxytocin is produced in your body. Often called the “feel good hormone,” oxytocin is released when you hug people or shake hands. It promotes bonding and is released during a RAOK! More and more RAOKs will create vibrant communities with high levels of social connections and civic engagement. Happiness can be contagious!

Studies show that Random Acts of Kindness will:

  • Decrease anxiety, stress and depression
  • Protect your heart and improve your immune system
  • Make you happier
  • Help add 10 years to your life
  • Diminish pain perception


  • Leave a snack and a thank you note in the mailbox for your mail carrier
  • Put together a dinner package and leave it on your neighbor’s porch
  • Buy a stranger a coffee
  • Tape money to a vending machine with a note stating, “This snack is on me.”
  • Buy and send dessert to a table at a restaurant
  • Bring treats to work for your co-workers
  • Make your spouse/partner/child their favorite meal
  • Pick up the tab at lunch
  • Bring food to the food shelf
  • Bake a special treat for someone
  • Stop at a child’s lemonade stand and purchase a glass – leave a tip!
  • Leave money in the gumball machine


  • You are doing a fabulous job. Keep it up!
  • You look great today!
  • Smile! Yes, I’m talking to you.
  • Dream BIG!
  • You are amazing!
  • You are more important than you realize!
  • Have a super day!
  • This # does not measure how beautiful you are (put on a scale).
  • You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.
  • Be the change you wish to see in the world.
  • Have a beautiful day!
  • Keep shining!
  • This smile is contagious. Be a carrier!
  • Your face shows where you were, are, and where you will go. Now that is beautiful!


  • Buy a stranger a lottery ticket
  • Bring flowers to a nursing home
  • Leave money at the laundromat with a note – "This load is on me."
  • Let somebody go ahead of you in line
  • Send a faraway friend a $5 gift card to get coffee
  • Slip money in a book at the bookstore
  • Leave a diaper and wipes on a changing table
  • Leave bubbles at the park
  • Donate your books to the library
  • Pick up litter

FREE! (or darn close to it)

  • Write chalk messages on the sidewalk
  • Become an organ donor
  • Compliment everybody you encounter in a day
  • Write a handwritten note to somebody
  • Volunteer
  • Encourage somebody you see working really hard at the gym
  • Leave random notes of happiness
  • Leave the closer parking spot for somebody else
  • Hug somebody like you mean it
  • Sincerely compliment someone on their character
  • Treat yourself to a long bath
  • Donate your used clothing
  • Help somebody with yard work
  • Collect canned food for a food shelf
  • Visit somebody who is sick
  • Write a letter to a person from your past that impacted your life


  • Write chalk messages on the sidewalk
  • Decorate the inside of your mailbox, so your mail carriers smile every time they open it.
  • Record a video love-note and text it to grandparents.
  • Leave a note and candy or microwave popcorn on a DVD rental machine.
  • Help someone load their groceries into their car.
  • Go outside when the garbage truck comes and wave your little hearts out.
  • Tape change to a parking meter, or run around looking for any that are about to expire and buy the driver more time!
  • Dry the slides at the park after it rains.
  • Take in a neighbor’s trashcans—or the whole street of them!
  • Take your child’s teacher a box of tissues or a bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • Bury treasure at the playground. A container filled with small toys or goodies is sure to light up a child’s eyes sometime in the future.
  • Sponsor a child. Your monthly contribution covers medical and school fees, healthy food, and more. You can also send and receive letters from your child, which makes the experience much more real for children and adults alike.


  • Be Kind
  • Be Cheerful
  • Be Tolerant
  • Be an Organ Donor
  • Be a Welcoming Neighbor
  • Be Generous with Compliments
  • Be Polite on the Road
  • Be a Designated Driver
  • Be Someone’s Day Brightener
  • Be Thankful for Being You
  • Be the Bearer of Instant Joy!