Apparently tiny acts of kindness are contagious. Studies have shown that a single good act, like spontaneously giving someone a flower, can influence dozens more.
So I thought I would experiment with that idea. I took a "Kindness Day" off from work, pledging secretly to commit at least 10 acts of kindness. The goal was to generate 100 more. I have to admit that I was also in it for the personal feel good.
My first small act was to place a short note of appreciation on the car seats of my wife and kids. Other activities included leaving a handful of change at a payphone, contacting a high school teacher to thank him for his influence on my life, and some time spent chatting with a couple of solitary homeless folks I came across down the street.
One attempt didn't work out exactly as planned. I placed a flower and a small note on the doorsteps of seven of my surrounding neighbors. The anonymous note read "Thanks for being such a great neighbor." While apparently it did spur some appreciative and long overdue conversations between neighbors, one neighbor caused a stir by speculating the flowers and notes might be the doings of a stalker.
My favorite that day happened at my local library. I stopped off to thank the librarians for all their great work. I handed each of the librarians a rose and did my best to express my thanks. Most of them stood shocked and just smiled, but one actually teared up.