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Random Acts of Kindness

by David Noreen

Posted: May 30, 2015

Occasionally we read of some good dead to a stranger with "no strings attached"…

Dave Noreen wrote this article in 2012 and submitted it to help with the relaunch of SeniorLifestyle in May 2015.


Occasionally we read of some good deed to a stranger with “no strings attached.” A gift is offered without asking anything in return. This usually happens anonymously….no credit expected.    When that occurs we are taken by surprise, for this isn’t a regular practice. It’s quite foreign to a secular culture, and, one might say, to much of Christendom as well.

Such good deeds, of course, have always existed by generous people, but it became something of a “contemporary movement” in the 1980’s, with the tag line, ‘Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty”.

It may have started as grafitti scribbled on the side of a building in California.  No one knows for sure. The story goes that a lady traveling from San Francisco saw the words on a warehouse…backed up her car…wrote them down and posted them at home on her refrigerator. Together with a friend, they began to follow that suggestion and see what might happen. Their experiences became public, and eventually an English professor in Bakersfield suggested that such acts might be the basis of an essay.  Although the class snickered a bit, questioning the assignment, they eventually wrote some amazing papers.

Through the years we’ve read of such acts:  “A lady pulls up to a toll booth, offering to pay for the next 6 cars in line…. In a Midwest coffee shop the waitress tells a customer that someone had already paid for 20 cups, and “you’re number 8.”…Daffodils are planted along a highway….farmers gather to harvest crops when a neighbor dies.” School children in Mobile, AL. recorded some 8000 acts of kindness, like removing weeds from the playground, making their beds without being told(!); and writing cheering notes to elderly.

Research papers have been written on this subject. Invariably the results include wonderment and surprise, with a noticeable change of heart.  Such “Guerilla Goodness” continues on by grateful recipients.  It’s “paying forward”. Kindness builds upon itself. 

Recently one of our dearly loved friend passed away.   She left a big legacy of random acts of kindness; so often involved in “doing good deeds” spontaneously.  She had many, many friends who were on the receiving end of that love.  She talked often about her life’s work, and the appreciation she had for the company for whom she was employed. All in all, she portrayed a lifestyle that was “over and above work expectations”.  She will be remembered for practicing “Random Acts of Kindness”.


Rev. David Noreen is retired, but remains active in senior ministry, especially in the area of stewardship. He served as Administrator of Christian Education for the Evangelical Covenant Church and before that as a pastor in the Midwest.

E-mail the author (moc.loa@neerond*)

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Posted: May 30, 2015   Accessed 479 times

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