Kindness: How Good Grows

Kindness. The word evokes something inside us all. It may remind you of a person who is the epitome of kindness, like my late grandmother, or a single act that someone did (maybe even you). Add in the word random and kindness takes on a whole new meaning.

Random acts of kindness don’t have to involve money, or even much time, they can be as simple as letting someone turn into school from the main road (thank you dude in the SUV this morning), or something as huge as working your tail off to make sure kids have toys for the holidays. The main thing they have in common, the acts of kindness touch people’s hearts and encourage them to go out and do the same.

You may be reminded of that insurance company commercial where one act of kindness leads to another, and another, and another. What that has to do with insurance I don’t know, but the emotional point of the commercial is true. When we give to others good grows.

As a member of the Yahoo! Motherboard I was given the amazing gift of good. As you may know our family’s budget is tight, and while we give when we can being gifted $100 to perform my own random acts of kindness moved me so much. I was thrilled at the opportunity.

How Good Grows -- Start a ripple of kindness and see how good grows

When the check arrived, and I cashed it. And I sat here day after day thinking about what would make the biggest impact.

I could give it all to one person and allow them to make their holiday wishes come true.

I could pay for someone’s groceries.

I could buy someone’s cup of coffee.

I could give it to local families in need.

I had so much I wanted to do, but it was only $100. How could I do something amazing with it?

I was paralyzed by over thinking kindness. As friends, and people I admire started sharing their acts of kindness I was still unsure of what to do. I was doubtful. What could I do that would mean anything?

Then I started thinking about all the ways people have been kind to me, and I started listing them, and then the list was so long it took up more than a page on my computer, and I stopped.

There were so many things:

  • someone paying for gas when I was far from home and forgot my wallet
  • someone buying me coffee when I left my cash at home
  • getting a coupon from a fellow shopper that saved me $20
  • an older gentleman holding the door for my kids
  • a friend passing off a swag item she didn’t want that I knew my kids would love
  • a neighbor telling me to call if I ever needed help after finding out I was stuck at home one day
  • meals delivered after new babies
  • baby gifts from people I had never met-they were just filled with joy at new life coming into the world
  • condolences when someone important to me passed away offered by people I was working with
  • anyone who has ever said, “I understand, family comes first.”
  • surprise flowers showing up at the door

One of the most meaningful acts of kindness was a card and baby outfit I received from a friend’s mom when she learned my hubby and I were expecting our first baby. At that point we were young, and scared, and having someone do that for me made me realize it would all be ok (and it was and is).

I read it my list, and realized what I had to do. I had to stop thinking, and just go do.

I started this morning with buying coffee for my fellow Starbucks addicts. $20 may not go a long way, but it is kindness to spread caffeine to those in need. The barista couldn’t have been more excited. She was really touched, and I was excited for her since she would get to see people’s reactions.

Today I’m off to do more good, and will be vlogging as I go-expect some video tomorrow.

Now it’s your turn! You can get $25 “seed” money for your own random act of kindness!

Serendipitously a check arrived from my business that will allow me to offer you, my amazingly kind readers (if only for reading all my ramblings) the opportunity to do your own good. So how does your good grow? Over on my Facebook page I am offering 4 random commenters on this thread the opportunity to spread their own kindness with a $25 from me, and The Centsible Life. I’ll choose the folks Saturday at noon, and you’ll have paypal money (or similar if you don’t have Paypal) soon after. I hope that if you “win” you choose to come back and share your good here and at Yahoo.

May kindness follow you everywhere you go this holiday season.


Disclosure: I was given $100 to perform my own random acts of kindness by Yahoo!, but the random acts are all my own choosing, and I plan to make this a regular part of my life, and hopefully my blog. :)

About Kelly

Kelly Whalen is the founder and editor of the Centsible Life blog. She started the blog 6 years ago as her family faced a mountain of debt. The blog became a resource to readers and a hub for everything you need in life for less. Kelly lives in the Philadelphia area with her superhero husband, 4 awesome kids, and one adorable dog. She still believes you can have it all....just not all at once.


  1. Christina D says

    This is a nice post and reminds me of all the good things people have done for me in the past. We did a website for a client who is trying to spread good wishes with a Christmas song she created. You can visit it here: . It is all about paying it forward.

  2. Anonymous says

    I love, love, love random acts of kindness. Even when it doesn’t involve money. Carrying someone’s groceries. Letting someone with one item go in front of you. I think it’s evidence that people are lacking and more importantly CRAVING the goodness we all have in our hearts. Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. says

    I have been similarly shown random acts of kindness like the ones you’ve described, and the effect is incredible. You never know how much a simple thing like paying a toll or sharing a coupon can mean for somebody. I remember a letter that a friend of mine shared with me. A girl at her college wrote that she had been feeling like she had no reason to live, and prayed for a sign that someone cared. Another girl happened to be studying near by and offered her a twizzler. It was a simple gesture, but enough of a sign for this girl to continue on.

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