by Donna Boulieu, senior product & pricing analyst, for our Random Acts of Kindness blog series

When HRG issued the Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, it immediately felt like the right thing to do. My husband Bruce and I both work at HRG, and we signed up to spread goodwill. It was a great opportunity because, although we have the best of intentions, this challenge gave us a welcome push.

My first random act was when I bought the $3 ticket for the next person in line at a high school craft fair. She was an elderly lady who thought it was very nice, and we even talked about “paying it forward.” Every admission ticket was entered into a raffle and they chose someone every hour to receive $20. One of the first numbers called was #196. My ticket was #195, so the lady I bought the ticket for won $20! Maybe she paid it forward.spreading goodwill

When we were out to eat one night, I gave $5 to a college student working really hard busing tables. She smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas.

With the last of my money, I purchased two $5.99 bags of food bank groceries at the store, and gave an elderly lady walking on the street $10 wrapped in a “Merry Christmas” note. I saw her as we were out one day and we pulled over so I could give her the money. She was pushing a wheeled basket and I noticed she was also carrying a number of plastic bags with aluminum cans. I approached her, said “hello,” and handed her the note and money. At first she was taken back, but then she was so happy to receive the money and also just chat. I discovered she grew up in the same neighborhood as I did, (and I thought afterwards it would have been nice to take the time to have a cup of coffee and talk more). She asked me to stop if I saw her again so she could give me one of the keychains or wreaths she crochets and gives away to her friends (she had yarn and hooks in her basket). I learned a lot about her in those few minutes. It was a really nice connection.

Bruce donated his first $10 to St. Jude’s while we were shopping at a retailer that was collecting for the hospital. He then gave $10 to a mother and daughter in Wal-mart who were spending a lot of time mulling over what they could purchase. He handed them the money and wished them a “Merry Christmas.” It brought big smiles all around.

While out driving we saw a man wearing a Marine Vietnam veteran jacket, riding a kid’s bike in the slushy snow. Bruce stopped to thank him for his service, shook his hand, and gave him $10. He told Bruce a bit about his time in the service. He seemed very happy to have the interaction and grateful for the gift.

We had some fun and some moving experiences. Random acts of kindness certainly work both ways!