Someone Cares: Adventures in Kindness

Helping others through random acts of kindness became the best way to heal her heartache.

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- Posted on May 27, 2021

Illustrations of various acts of kindness; Illustration by Coco Masuda

My mom always made birthdays special. She died of cancer when I was 32. After that, I dreaded my birthday because she wasn’t here to celebrate with me. As I approached 40, I decided that I wanted to have joyful birthdays again. A friend told me that she’d read about someone who spent their birthday doing random acts of kindness. My mom would have loved that. Why not give it a try? I thought.

I organized a scavenger hunt. Instead of finding things on a list, my friends and I performed acts of kindness. We split into two teams and had two hours to complete as many kind deeds as possible. We used chalk to write encouraging messages on the sidewalk. We hid dollar bills in the toy section at the dollar store and taped money to vending machines and washers at the laundromat. We left a package of diapers on the porch for some new parents we knew. We wrote affirmations on sticky notes and left them on mirrors in store dressing rooms and public bathrooms.

We met up for dinner afterward and shared our adventures in kindness. It was a birthday I’ll never forget. Helping others turned out to be the best way to heal my own heartache.

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