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10 easy things to do on National Random Acts of Kindness Day

Fred Rogers, aka Mister Rogers, was very kind. Hey, you can be kind too!
Fred Rogers, aka Mister Rogers, was very kind. Hey, you can be kind too! (Photo: fredrogers.org)

Mister Rogers, the famously friendly television personality, once said of Milwaukee, "It is the kindest city the world has ever known." Now, that isn’t true, but if it were it would be incredibly high praise indeed and a lofty standard of compassion to which we should all rightly aspire.

Nevertheless, we don’t need quotes from Mister Rogers to be good and do good. Observed during Random Acts of Kindness Week on Feb. 17, Friday is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the country – which is to say anytime, because anytime is a great time to be kind. If you’re looking for a special occasion to do something particularly nice, though, now is your opportunity.

Certainly, some of the best things people can do are generously donate time, money and items to those in need and charitable organizations. But you can also be kind, brighten someone’s day and make Milwaukee a better place with the sort of smaller, more casual examples of thoughtfulness, caring and humanity for which the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation established the Day.

We thought we’d offer some ideas of our own just for your regular day. Go out and please be kind, Milwaukee!

1. Pay it forward

If you’re buying coffee or getting on the bus or going to see a movie, pay for the person behind you. Maybe they’ll keep the deed going and pay for the person behind them!

2. Smile at a stranger

Just don’t be weird about it. If you see someone on the street, look at them like a human, smile and offer just a little more happiness to the world.

3. Tell a grownup you’re proud of them

Adults tell kids they’re proud of them all the time, but rarely do they tell other adults. Hearing a peer – friend, family member, coworker – is proud of you is a great feeling.

4. Hold the door

Seriously. It’s a small gesture, but it makes a difference.

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5. Be polite to servers

"May I please have _" and "thank you very much" are much more pleasant ways to talk to human beings at restaurants than "Yeah, let me get the _" and "(grunt)."

6. Call loved ones

Call your mom. Or your dad. Or your siblings or grandparents. Or the aunt/uncle/cousins you rarely talk to. Call them all! Tell them you love them and you’re grateful to have them in your life. Family matters, man.

7. Be a nice driver

Why can being in a car make people the ugliest versions of themselves? Let that slow driver merge on the freeway; stop so that family can cross the street; try not to swear at everyone for the day. Removing rage from the road is not only good for the road, but also your health.

8. Write to a mentor

Remember, back before you were a successful professional, that person who took a chance on hiring you or giving you an internship 10 years ago? Write them an out-of-the-blue letter or email and thank them for what they did to help you in your career.

9. Shovel for your neighbor

It’s been an unseasonably warm winter, but we’re definitely due for a couple more major snowfalls in Milwaukee, and if you’re already out there, go ahead and shovel your neighbor’s driveway too. Think about how wide they’ll smile and much stronger you’ll get!

10. Bring doughnuts to work

Trust us. It’s one of the kindest things you can do.