What Will Be Your Random Acts of Kindness?

With the recent act of violence in Boston we thought it was helpful to our hearts to remember Joanne’s post following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Now more than ever we need Random Acts of Kindness …


As I left the Renaissance Center and walked to my car in the Beaubien Street garage I noticed a white envelope stuck under the windshield wiper.

Perplexed, I stood there and opened it.  Reading it caused me to burst into tears.

Inside was a note and a five dollar bill.

It said “Pay this kindness forward.  Life is short.  Enjoy a coffee and snack on me.”

This ‘random act of kindness’ brought me to tears – something like this had never happened to me before.











I had just been reading a few articles in the paper about random acts of kindness in the wake of the heartbreaking shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Quite frankly, I never thought I’d be the recipient of one.  It came as a complete surprise.

Overwhelmed by this generosity, I vowed to pay the kindness forward in a variety of ways.

To date, I have proactively and consciously done several acts of kindness, some anonymously, others quietly face to face.

The reactions are stunning.  Sometimes they are emotional with people saying they would remember the moment forever – for the smallest act.

Here are a few of mine.

  • Stopping to answer a question a person had about parking meters.  I walked her to the meter, showed her how to do it and put my own money in.  She said she lived in the suburbs and couldn’t wait to tell her friends that this happened.
  • An older gentlemen dropped his grocery bag in the rain.  I helped him gather the items and ran back in the store to get another bag.  He couldn’t thank me enough.
  • Anonymously gave a cashier a ten dollar bill and told her quietly to take that amount off the couple’s bill in line in back of me.  She said I wasn’t the first one to do this. Kindness was “cropping up” to use her term.
  • Put a similar note to the one I got with the five dollar bill on another person’s car in a parking garage.
  • Met a woman in a hotel who wanted to walk down to see the Christmas tree in Campus Martius at night but was “afraid” to do it alone.  I walked with her and when she saw all the people skating and having fun, she said she could walk back by herself.  She was from Boston and had no idea Detroit was so “pretty.”  Her word.
  • Started keeping just a few dollar bills in my jacket when I’m out for a walk so that if I truly want to give one to a homeless person, it makes it easier.
  • Vowed to stop when someone calls out to me on the street instead of just walking on by.  This has led to great interaction with fellow citizens.  Not everyone asks for money.

The randomness of it all has opened my world and made it especially joyful.

What will be your random act of kindness?  We invite you to tell us about it in our comments section or on facebook and twitter (@ShetroitDetroit).

Shine a light.  Peace in 2013.



About Joanne

Joanne McNary qualifies as having a full-on case of “Detroit-itis,” a condition characterized by swooning at the sight of new business openings, cheering on women leaders and going gaga over local theatre. She grew up in the city and found her way back four years ago - now dwelling in downtown. Joanne's "Deeply Detroit" blog highlights Detroit's crazy patchwork of neighborhoods percolating with the miracles that are breathing new life into the city. She revels always in the warmth of her family. Her children, their spouses and one spectacular granddaughter are her treasures. In Joanne's mind, Twitter rules. Follow her on @DetroitRocks.

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