Help someone find loose change
Leave a stack of quarters on a laundromat washing machine with a note saying they’re free for the taking. It is super frustrating to arrive at the laundromat and realize that you’ve forgotten your bag of change. This super simple act of kindness will prevent tired moms and dads from having a breakdown. Don’t miss these life-changing acts of kindness.
Pass on some luck
Give a lottery ticket to a stranger on the street. Win or lose, just receiving the ticket will surely brighten someone’s day. And who knows, your kind action may have just created a new millionaire! Don’t miss these secrets of real life lottery winners.
Help clear off a car
When you’re cleaning snow and ice off your car in a parking lot, clean off the next car as well. Not only are you helping out another driver, you’re making the roads safer for everyone.
Help a friend practice self-care
Slip an envelope containing a tea bag into a friend’s purse with a note inviting her to take some relaxing time for herself. Your kind action is now causing another—your friend can now be kind to herself. Don’t miss these other expert-approved stress management strategies.
Help a child in a time of stress
Buy colouring books and crayons and donate them to your local police department. When the police are called to a home where there are children, one officer can engage the kids while the other handles the situation. This is a great way to calm and distract children during what can be a very frightening experience. Check out more scientific evidence that colouring books can boost your health.
Praise a parent
Tell a parent they’re doing a good job. (They probably rarely hear that!) You are almost guaranteed to be rewarded with a shy but bright smile in return. Don’t miss this expert advice on how to become a more compassionate person.
Offer to take a photo
Whenever you see someone taking a family photo, offer to snap the shot so everyone can be included in the moment. You never know—that photo could be featured on their holiday card that year or become a treasured memento. And folks almost always offer to return the favour! Here are five more simple ways you can make the world a better, kinder place.
Leave a welcome note
When a new family moves into the neighbourhood, use chalk to leave welcome messages on the sidewalk in front of their home. It can be hard to settle into a new area. Chalk messages are great ways to show how warm and friendly the neighbourhood is and how excited everyone is to meet the new residents. Don’t miss these heartwarming stories of Canada’s best neighbours.
Make someone’s rainy day
Buy extra umbrellas and keep them in your car. When you see someone caught in a downpour, hand one over. You could be saving someone from walking into an interview or important meeting drenched. Here are four reasons being kind to others can be good for you, too!
Put the earth first
Be kind to the earth! Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, switch to paperless billing, recycle, use energy-efficient light bulbs, use a refillable water bottle, and bring cloth bags to the supermarket. We only have one planet, we need to keep it clean and protected!
Help a new homeowner
Moving? Tape a list with the names and numbers of local plumbers, electricians, and dry cleaners, along with other helpful information, on a kitchen cabinet for the new owners. The last thing a new homeowner has time for is researching reputable repair companies. Your list will eliminate a lot of hassle and stress. While you’re at it, check out these packing hacks, which will make your own move as stress-free as possible.
Take the time to learn the name of someone who regularly helps you out—whether it’s a security guard, a doorman, or a cashier at your grocery store. Greet them by name. This seemingly small gesture will demonstrate how greatly you value your local service people and your interactions with them. Don’t miss the inspiring story of how one Canadian student started a viral kindness revolution.
Leave reading material behind
Read magazines on a plane? Don’t dump them when you’re done—offer them to the flight attendants for their reading pleasure. These magazines can be great distractions for travel workers when they’re off far away from their loved ones. Before you do that, learn the one word you need to say to get your flight attendant to like you.
Make someone laugh
If you know someone who is having a hard time, text them a pun or a joke. You’ll brighten up their day and take their mind off difficult thoughts, even if it’s just for a moment. You can also text suggestions of funny podcasts for an added dose of comedy medicine. Need inspiration? Check out these 15 witty jokes anyone can remember.
Forgive a debt
Money is so often the root of stress and shame. Cancelling a debt can easily eliminate these feelings from a friendship and create a kinder, more loving relationship.
Bring extra bags
Besides remembering everything on your grocery list make it your mission to bring extra bags to the supermarket to share with people who’ve forgotten to bring their own. Shoppers, as well as Mother Earth, will thank you!
Invent your own holiday
You don’t have to wait until December to have fun! If you notice a pal is feeling down or your sister is stressed, create your own special occasion, like National Big Sister Day (or one of these seven silly holidays everyone should start celebrating). Shower her with flowers and small gifts. Invite family and friends to get in on it too.
Bubbles for all
The next time the kids want to go to the playground bring bottles of bubbles, large pieces of chalk, and stickers, and leave them in a central location for kids to help themselves. The kids will have a blast, you will get some well-needed rest and relaxation and other mothers and fathers on the playground will appreciate the kind gesture. Don’t miss these 12 children’s books that encourage kids to be nice.
Leave it behind
Do you want an easy way to pay it forward? When you’re finished reading a newspaper or magazine on a bus or train, leave it in the seat pocket so the next person who boards can read it for free. What an easy way to put a smile on someone’s face and cure commuter boredom with free entertainment! Don’t miss these tips on how to be a better person, according to science.
Treat a long distance friend
If you know someone special who is celebrating a birthday or promotion, send them money via e-transfer to buy coffee or lunch for themselves. This small act of kindness will demonstrate that you are thinking of them from afar and as the old saying goes, “the best ship of all is friendship.” Don’t miss these fascinating insights into the science of friendship.
Help a class stay healthy
On the first day of school, send your kid in with a bag of tissues, antibacterial wipes, and paper towels, which will help keep everyone healthy, safe, and clean. Here are more adorable ideas to make your kid’s first day of school extra special.
Call your parents and grandparents regularly
The days are slow but the years are fast, which means you should check in with the people who matter to you most. Picking up the phone for a check-in is a nice departure from a quick text message. Here are more tips on how you can help care for aging parents and grandparents.
Is your household the home to more arts and crafts tools than it can hold? Donate arts and crafts supplies to your local library for after-school fun. After a whole day spent at school, there is nothing more relaxing for some children than drawing away the afternoon! To make the clean sweep a bit easier, check out our room-by-room decluttering guide.
Pay for a student’s lunch
Call your local school’s social worker and offer to anonymously cover the cost of a needy student’s school breakfast or lunch, or their books for the year. Besides taking the burden off of a family in need just thinking about the smile on this child’s face is sure to brighten your day. Don’t miss the inspiring story of how this volunteer cook is making Montreal a better place for those in need.
Keep your word
It’s simple: if you say you’re going to do something, do it. Although this sounds straightforward many people simply forget to keep their word. Keeping a promise shows that you took the time to think about someone. Don’t miss these stories about ordinary people showing extraordinary generosity.
Be the best boss you can be
If you run a business, go the extra mile for your employees by giving everyone the day off on their birthday. By leading by example, you will foster an environment of both generosity and kindness. Take a few cues from the extraordinarily nice things these CEOs did for their employees.
Be a coupon fairy
The next time you are at the supermarket, leave a coupon on a grocery store item. The person finding it won’t expect it and it is a quick and delicious way to brighten their day. (Besides, there are plenty of other ways you can be saving on groceries!)
Donate baby clothes
You know those infant clothes that your baby outgrew in weeks? Pass them along to a new mom who will be grateful for the worn-in and heartfelt present. She can then pass it along to another new mother who can continue to pay it forward within the mom circle. (Just make sure to avoid saying these 10 things to a pregnant woman.)
Be a professional matchmaker
Think about two people whose professional skills complement each other and introduce them over dinner at your house. This is a nice way to introduce people who may not have met otherwise. And who knows, maybe the next best-selling business will be born right under your nose! Read on for 13 secrets of a professional matchmaker.
Susan Spencer is the editor-in-chief of Woman’s Day, where she oversees the development of the magazine’s content, including easy recipes, health topics, inspiring stories, beauty and style, personal finance advice, and much more. She’s the author of When Action Follows Heart: 365 Ways to Share Kindness.
Originally published as 30 Simple Acts of Kindness You Can Do in 2 Minutes or Less on ReadersDigest.com.