Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Day 21 - The Assist

My intention for day 21 was to give someone else the opportunity to give.  I was fortunate enough to have some lululemon gift cards, so they were handed out for our team to distribute throughout the day.  Each had the amount and "Pay It Forward" written on the back.  I kept one as I am now addicted to giving at this point, needed my daily fix ya know?

The guests we chose were surprised and appreciative as expected. I loved seeing the faces of our team when they made someone's day.  It made me realize that we can have this feeling every day when we aim to make the people around us happy - this comes around full circle.

I gave mine to a guest who came in the store to shop for his girlfriend - he was calm (this isn't easy on Dec 21), prepared and was very friendly when going through the possible gift ideas.  He was present.  I handed him the gift card while he was in line to cash out and after he finished paying he came to find me in the store to thank me and wished me a Merry Christmas.  I told him to pay it forward and he assured me he would.  Awesome.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Day 20 - All Hugged Out

Day 20 was my favourite by far.  I stood outside of our store with a sign that read "Free Hug If Needed." I had some great responses "What about kisses?"  "Who could ever pass up a hug" "Well isn't this a great way to make friends" "I'm a hugger myself actually" "That's hilarious, are people actually hugging you?"  Another woman even pulled out all of the change from her pocket and handed it to me because she thought I was begging, I appreciated the thought but politely declined.

I was expecting the majority of the huggers to be women, but I was definitely proven wrong throughout the day. I also had plenty of parents sending their kids to give me hugs, one little boy even handed me a granola bar and wished me a Merry Christmas (made my day).

Now the rejections were entertaining as well: "No sorry, I'm married"  I then replied "Well I'm not asking for a date."  I had a lady all excited to get a hug while holding her husband's hand and he actually pulled her in the opposite direction.

The most satisfying part of the day was that out the people who didn't get or give a hug, most either looked back and smiled at the thought or laughed [with] me, either way I made their day just a little lighter.

Overall I hugged 150 strangers in a 3 hour window.  Afterwards I felt content, relaxed, loved and definitely cold.  Day 20 was definitely a success!
Day 19 - It's a Wash

My good friend Sarah gave me the idea to purchase car wash tickets and put them on the windshields of dirty cars as a random act of kindness.  So this is exactly what I did.  I chose to do this in downtown Oakville, where parking tickets are handed out like candy and at least this way the "victim" would assume the worst - then BAM! here's a clean car pass.  I walked around the parking lot making sure I picked the dirtiest cars and did I ever.  The one car was a deep navy turned dust grey and the other looked as if they just got back from being a pace car in a monster truck rally, do those even exist?  Regardless, I felt good about this act and I 'soap' they enjoy it too...
Day 18 - Pay it Forward

This past week I discovered I had a $50 gift card to .  Initially, I debated whether or not to buy something just because I had the credit.  But on Thursday I woke up and decided that as a random act of kindness I was going to tweet the gift card number. An hour later, I received a tweet from Mike, a friend of mine who I went to school with in Ohio and is currently working at Oklahoma State University.  He asked if the card was still available.  After I confirmed it was, I received this text shortly after:

"Hey - I'll explain in person but I wanted you to know I used the money to send a physical $50 gift card to some people in need that I help sponsor.  A girl and her daughter who now live in the states but are from a very abusive household in Belize.  Thought you might want to know that your act of kindness has gone farther.  They will be very appreciative!"

Mike's kindness is a confirmation that every day small gestures can lead to something greater and can end up helping someone who actually needs it.  I love it.  
Day 17 - The Question

I wanted to spark some positive thinking in others through a question.  I have learned the most effective way to do this is to ask is "What's the best thing that happened to you today?" It's amazing how many people know right away what the worst thing that happened was, but once they flip their mindset, a lot of fun responses come up.   Everyone I ask takes a few seconds to really think about it, and I find that just in digging for the answer, it slowly gets them to shift into positive mode.  I ask this question every day to the guests in our store, but I put some more emphasis on this for day 17.  Here are a few responses:

"Well I woke up, is that good enough?"

"I had coffee with a friend I haven't seen in a while"

"I'm a grandmother as of yesterday"

"Seeing you" (sarcastic or not, I always follow this one up with a hug)

"I just got out of the hospital after 3 months of treatment"

"I had my last exam"

I love seeing a shift in a stranger just by asking this and about half of the people who had a legitimate response thanked me for asking with a smile on their face.  Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 16 - The Visit

When I think of what makes me happy, the first thing that pops into my head is visiting my little cousins Anthony and Nathan. It doesn't matter how tired or down I am, I can always rely on them for a smile.  Day 16 was about giving presence to them.  It started with a game of "magic magic" where Anthony usually gives me a small object and chants "magic, magic make it disappear!"  I then have to strategically make it disappear.  After it's gone - Anthony and Nathan run around the house checking under couches, inside of cabinets and sometimes in their clothes.  It then turns up in various locations in the house, sometimes I even pull it out of their ears.  This rarely fails, except for the odd time when Anthony sees me hide the object in my pants (Thanks lulu, those hidden pockets have come in handy).  After we finished this particular game, Nathan found my cell phone and somehow turned it on.  With the help of Anthony, they found the camera and started snapping some selfies (Picture #1).   While Nathan went to bed, Anthony and I hung out for a little bit and he read me the bed time story of Me Too (Picture #2).   Finally,  he wanted to show me that he could brush his teeth all on his own so I took a picture to show that he's telling the 'tooth,'  I was at a 'floss' for words... (Picture #3).

 I always get a hug and kiss from each of them before they go to bed and I always leave happier than when I arrived.   Not many things make me more present than these two.
Day 15 - Lorenzo

Since I started this blog, I had the intention of committing a random act of kindness for every day leading up to Christmas.  I have since caught myself trying too hard in seeking new ways to make people's days - a.k.a. assigned acts of kindness.  On day 15, I told myself I was just going to be present and see what happened...

There he was, standing at the front of the store at 3 feet tall, bright brown eyes and a smirk on his face as if he were up to something.  I, along with a few members of our team waved to him and as we all greeted him at once, he spun around to look at everyone and said "whoa, who are you guys?"  Based on his mannerisms, it was as if a 30 year old man was trapped in a 3 year old's body.  I asked him what his name was, he replied with excitement "Lorenzo!" I told him mine was Vinchenzo, he loved it.  I asked him if he had a girlfriend,  he threw his arms up in the air and rolled his eyes to his mom as if I should have known the answer "Of course I do, her name is Ellie."  As his visit continued, he introduced himself to just about everyone on our team.  When he got to Annie, she joked that she had the same mittens as him - Lorenzo dropped to his knees with his arms up in the air (again) and said "OH MY GOSH NO WAY." It's safe to say it was the most entertaining visit we've ever had from a 3 year old.   On his way out of the store, he went and hugged the legs of everyone he met on the way in.  It was then I realized, day 15 wasn't about giving presence, it was about receiving it.