By Nelson Rodriguez, merchandising analyst, for our Random Acts of Kindness blog series

When I heard about the Random Acts of Kindness Challenge at HRG, I was excited to participate. Collecting sports memorabilia and other collectibles most of my life, I immediately had an idea of how to use the majority of the $30 we were given.

I was selling at a show and wanted to find kids that were genuinely interested in collecting that I could help out. I gave $4 apiece to five random kids that looked like they were having trouble deciding what to buy for Christmas. The youngest one was at one of my friend’s tables that was right next to mine, looking through one of his bins of baseball cards. I heard him ask his dad, “Can I have a dollar? I want to get some cards for Christmas.” As his dad was reaching for his wallet, I took the opportunity to look at what his son was trying to buy and decided to approach them. I excused myself and asked his dad “What is your son buying?” to which he replied “A dollar’s worth of baseball cards.” I took out $4 and I told the young boy, “You don’t get to buy just one dollar’s worth of baseball cards, you get to buy 5 dollar’s worth of baseball cards.” His eyes got really big and his smile got even bigger as he and his dad thanked me. I explained that I was doing random acts of kindness with money that my company gave me. As I was speaking, I noticed that the kid had started digging into my friend’s bin. Finally, when he was finished, his hands were so full of cards he could barely carry them. It made me happy to encourage the excitement for a hobby that I have enjoyed so much throughout the years in this future generation.

I went to the strip mall by my house and as I was getting some things for my wife, decided to surprise some people with more random acts of kindness. First, I went to the grocery store and as I was about to checkout a family in front of me happened to be $9 and some change short. As they were reaching into pockets and purses for the additional money, I finished paying for their groceries with my challenge cash. They were thanking me over and over again as they smiled.

I then proceeded to a dollar store and I saw an elderly lady buying some Christmas decorations. I approached her, introduced myself, and gave her $5 towards the decorations. She blessed me and we wished each other a Merry Christmas.

Finally, while at a pizza place to get some gourmet dinner, a young lady came in with a little boy excited about getting pizza, holding a daughter who didn’t want her mom to put her down. Once she ordered, I approached her, introduced myself, and told her not to worry about paying for the food as I would pay for it. She was very appreciative and told me that she would not forget it and that she would pay it forward. The cashier was so surprised by the gesture she started asking about the company I work for.

A big thank you to HRG for facilitating us doing all these little random acts of kindness that have touched so many. It was very rewarding.