8 Random Acts of Kindness That Cost Less Than $10

Linda Sharps | Jul 28, 2014 Healthy Living
8 Random Acts of Kindness That Cost Less Than $10

 a woman feeding a parking meter

Years ago I was standing at our library's parking payment kiosk and rooting frantically through my purse to find some change for the parking meter when a passing woman stopped and handed me a few quarters. "Here you go," she said cheerfully. Such a small gesture, but I've never forgotten it.

A tiny act of unexpected kindness has the ability to change the trajectory of your entire day, don't you think? In the spirit of spreading more of those good feelings around, here are 8 under-$10 ways you can easily bring some happiness to a stranger's life (and your own, of course, because making other people happy feels awesome).

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Have you ever done something like this? What would you add to the list?

inspiring random acts of kindness

Image ©iStock.com/cnicbc

  • Leave flowers on someone's car


    Image ©iStock.com/joanek

    Maybe outside a grocery store, where you can easily grab an inexpensive pretty bouquet. Maybe even look for a car with carseats or a minivan, so you know it's likely a mom will be returning with a cart full of food she still has to unload and put away. Add a little note: "Dear total stranger, I don't know you and you don't know me, but I hope you have a fantastic day."

  • Put some cash in a library book


    Image ©iStock.com/janka3147

    A friendly note and a $5 or $10 bill slipped into the last novel you read that completely blew you away -- or maybe your favorite children's book. I'm pretty sure if my kids found something like this, they'd actually explode with joy.

  • Treat the person in line behind you


    Image ©iStock.com/RyanJLane

    This obviously won't work if you're in line at, like, Nordstrom, but if you're buying coffee or sitting in a drive-through line, why not throw in a little extra cash for the person behind you? You're the Starbucks Batman who just put a huge smile on someone's face, and maybe it's Monday and that person was having a really crappy morning.

  • Leave some cash taped to a vending machine


    Image via Shawnna P.

    Attach your envelope to the vending machine with a note to enjoy a free drink or snack.

  • Tip your server the full amount on an inexpensive meal


    Image ©iStock.com/joebelanger

    Your meal cost $8.99? Tip your server nine bucks. It doesn't cost you much in the long run and hopefully will add some cheer to his or her day.

  • Donate a chemo care package to a local oncology center


    Image via Isle Concierge/Flickr

    Ideas to include in the package: hard candies, lip balm, warm fuzzy socks, an iTunes gift card, a handwritten note of encouragement, bottled water, a soft hat, chemo-friendly mouth gel, Queasy Pops, trashy magazines, aromatherapy bottles, unscented hand lotion, chocolate, hand sanitizer ...

  • Attach a bag of popcorn to a Redbox machine


    Image via Greg Goebel/Flickr

    I love this idea but I wonder how many people would worry that the popcorn was poisoned or something? Well, let's assume the sealed bag would reassure them.

  • Compliment someone


    Image ©iStock.com/Mlenny

    This seems like such a no-duh, but if you're like me, the idea of randomly approaching a stranger and blurting out something -- even a complimentary something -- is a social challenge on par with summiting Everest. And yet being on the receiving end of a surprise compliment is so incredibly wonderful. I still remember the woman who stopped me on the street in downtown Seattle over a decade ago to tell me she loved the flower pin I was wearing in my hair. I remember the kindly older couple sharing a row with me on my flight to Washington, D.C., who told me what a treat it was to sit near my well-behaved son. I remember each and every time someone has pointed to my armband and said, "Wow, love your tattoo." Why am I not better about paying these treasured moments forward? Shyness for sure, but that's really no excuse. Such a little thing to do, such a big impact.

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