It's World Kindness Day -- How Are You Going to Pay it Forward?

In reality, showing kindness doesn't need to be a grand gesture, and the best acts of kindness are the random ones that happen every day in ways you may not even realize. For example, an act of kindness could be as simple as giving someone a smile.
11/17/2015 05:36 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2016

Some people think they need to perform grandiose gestures to show kindness on World Kindness Day. In reality, showing kindness doesn't need to be a grand gesture, and the best acts of kindness are the random ones that happen every day in ways you may not even realize. For example, an act of kindness could be as simple as giving someone a smile. When you smile at someone, you immediately change their disposition and impact them for the rest of their day. That simple act of kindness may be just what they needed.

You've probably interacted with people who always look unhappy. I know I have, and I often wonder what causes them to feel so miserable that they don't even look me in the eye, much less smile. Here's a recent example: I shop at a popular thriving supermarket. But every time I go there, the employees look unhappy. In an effort to lighten their mood and show my appreciation for all they do, I tried to tip them, but the supermarket has a strict no tipping policy. So instead, I told them a joke. Some got it and smiled, while others didn't.

As busy as they are with the many patrons they serve each day, I wondered if they felt unappreciated for what they do. That gave me an idea. I printed up small pieces of paper--fortune cookie size--with the words, 'You Are Appreciated.' The next time I went to the store, I gave the employees I interacted with that small piece of paper. You'd be surprised at their reactions. It was as if I'd given them a piece of gold. Their entire face brightened up with a huge smile. Some proceeded to tell me that I had no idea how much my little note meant to them. Mark Twain summed it up when he said, "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and blind can see."

I read a blog where a woman carried twenty-dollar gift cards in her purse and gave them out to people in need. While that's a wonderful gesture, acts of kindness don't have to be expensive--not all of us can afford it. Here are some ideas how you can make a difference with small acts of kindness.
  1.  Smile and say 'good morning' or 'good afternoon' to everyone you meet.
  2.  Give at least three people a compliment.
  3.  Hold the door open, whether it's an elevator door or an entry door.
  4.  Hail a cab and let the person behind you have it.
  5.  Leave hand-written notes thanking people for being themselves.
  6.  Leave wait staff a generous tip at a restaurant.
  7.  Text or email someone and tell them how awesome they are.
  8.  Buy someone a cup of coffee.
  9.  When going through a car wash, pay for the car behind you.
  10. Buy a lottery ticket for a stranger.
We've all heard the phrase, "What goes around comes around." Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone did just one act of simple kindness. Spread kindness today--and every day--and watch what happens.