I did something spontaneous the other day; I paid for a stranger’s breakfast.

Now before you go thinking this is really more than it is, the breakfast only cost $1 because I was at Ikea. But nevertheless, when the cashier jokingly said “Your total is 105 pennies or you could give me $1 more for the person behind you”, I chuckled. Then I looked down at the changed I had fished out only to realize I was holding a toonie already. So I handed it to him with a dime, flashed a smile at the woman behind me and went about my business. For a dollar, there were smiles all around.

I’ve always wanted to do something like that. I know people that have left extra money for the person behind them in the drive thru. I have a friend who at Christmas bought a $100 gift card, handed it to the Barista at Starbucks and asked her to use it for every customer until it ran out. I love random acts of kindness!

How can we start finding random acts of kindness? We can tip someone who doesn’t expect it (like a McDonald’s cashier) or make sure we hold doors open and smile while people walk through. We can help someone load groceries into their car. We can do what my friend did and buy a coffee for total strangers. We can buy an extra bag of groceries and leave it in the food bin today, not because it’s Christmas time or they’re doing a food drive, but today for no reason other than doing something for someone. We can give a homeless person our change without thinking of what negative things they might do with it and hope they will use it for food. We can spread some shopping cart karma and leave the quarter in the cart.

I think it does our children good to see us giving randomly and freely. If I spontaneously decide to take my kids to the Dairy Queen after school, they don’t necessarily appreciate that it’s a treat. But if I hand the clerk a $5 as a thank you after the fact, they will see that and ask me why. A great teaching opportunity arises!

What random acts of kindness have you given or received recently? What can we do to pay it forward?