Generous stranger performs random acts of kindness

Sarah Coles
Leyland RAOK
Leyland RAOK

A woman in Leyland in Lancashire, has been carrying out 'random acts of kindness' in her hometown, to brighten people's days. She has left little envelopes around town - in shops, pinned to trees, and even taped to a parking meter. Inside are lottery scratch cards, cash for parking, or note to pay for a coffee for the next customer through the doors of a coffee shop. She says wants to remain anonymous - and hasn't even told her husband about what she's doing.

The Leyland ROAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Facebook page explains her simple aim is to: "Spread the joy. Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone today. Share your kindness, tell the world".

Her acts have been warmly received, and a number of people posting to her page have said how they have been inspired to 'pay it forward' by the campaign, while others said it helped restore their faith in humanity. The recipient of her coffee in the coffee shop also wrote to the page to thank her and say they were donating the money to charity.

The Daily Mail has identified her as a mother of two - but gave no further details. It quotes her as saying: "'I've only told one friend, and that was to see what she thought and to help me come up with ideas." She added: "'I don't have lots of money, I'm keeping it to simple things, but it's a nice thing that people aren't expecting."

The Lancashire Evening Post reported that she intended to make this a long-term commitment. However, the media coverage is bringing an end to her endeavours. Her post at 10pm on Monday showed a letter to a bakery, along with cash for a cupcake for the next customer. She added the comment that this was the "last one I'll be posting, press/publicity is scary, I wish to remain anonymous."

Random acts of kindness

The practice of doing small things for strangers has been around for as long as there have been civilisations on earth, but the first time the phrase is known to have been used was in 1982 by peace activist Anne Herbert, who encouraged people to 'practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty."

The Random Acts of Kindness movement really started in earnest when Dr Chuck Wall, a professor at Bakersfield College, set his students the task of committing 'one random act of senseless kindness' for their homework. He has since copyrighted the phrase.

In the years since, there has been a growing movement, and next week has been officially designated as Random Acts of Kindness week. The RAK organisation suggests this can be something as simple as sending a handwritten thank you note, bringing in treats for the office or your class, shovelling snow for a neighbour, putting unwanted coupons next to the relevant items in the supermarket, or saying good morning to people on the way in to work.

But what do you think? Do you feel inspired to join the movement next week, or would you rather target your random acts more towards people who are specifically in need? Let us know in the comments.

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