Random acts of kindness: Without expectation

July 28, 2017By Acts of Kindness, Behind the Shelf Blog, Random Acts of Kindness blog series

by Dave Wendland, for our Random Acts of Kindness blog series

Lady Diana, the late Princess of Wales, is quoted as saying, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Such is the case with the annual Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) Challenge sponsored by Hamacher Resource Group (HRG). That is certainly the understanding with which I have been honored to participate, although I must admit that a portion of my RAOK for 2016 was more pre-planned than random.

Sitting at the kitchen table over the Thanksgiving holiday, my children and I were discussing how fortunate we have been in our lives: warm home, the benefit of warm meals, family, friends, and a comfortable lifestyle. It is at that moment that we decided we needed to provide comfort to fellow citizens in need. This was especially apparent given the weather forecast suggesting a cold snap that would drive many in the Milwaukee area to seek shelter.

So, here’s how we planned our act of kindness. Gathering six gently used winter coats, we prepared goodie bags to include a warm hat, a pair a warm hat, a pair of winter gloves,of winter gloves, hand warmers, some soup packets, and an envelope containing five dollars and a holiday blessing. These were then given to a family shelter to be distributed as needed during the upcoming days. To see the expression on the volunteers working the shelter that evening and the handful of homeless huddled near a fireplace in the main room was a tremendously heartwarming reward.

My daughter commented that this did not seem overly random to remain in step with the intent of the RAOK challenge, so I tucked a five dollar bill in my coat pocket and said that we would share this gift the first opportunity that presented itself. No sooner had we walked out of the store on that particular Wednesday night – another unseasonably cold one, even for Milwaukee – when a gentleman approached us telling us that his car had no gas and he had no money that evening to put enough in to get home to his family. You can guess how quickly that folded five dollars emerged from my pocket with a smile and a hearty Merry Christmas greeting. His mouth agape, I could see that he had renewed faith in good-hearted people.

So, Princess Di was right when she said that random acts of kindness should demand no expectation of reward in return. Know that the act of giving and the appreciation of those receiving conclude with the same smile and an encouraging reminder that lives change when kindness prevails.