Last week, my grandfather would have turned 100. He passed just two months and change before his 98th birthday and every year since, on his birthday, I have gone to Panera and bought breakfast for the folks behind me to honor his memory. This year, I wanted to do something special to celebrate 100. So I crafted a list of 10 ideas to spread kindness that could be replicated. My hope is that 10 folks will be inspired by each of the 10 ideas and go out into their community to spread love. Thanks for reading. And thanks, Grandpa, for the inspiration.
Food for a Friend
My grandpa was very Italian and as such, was happiest when we were eating. The first act of kindness was to deliver food (cake, pizza, and fruit) to the porch of a family friend. Because they aren’t in my “bubble” I wasn’t able to visit, but the act of dropping off food is a little reminder that someone is thinking of them.
Pay it Forward at the Cafe
My grandpa loved tea and coffee and I have memories of raiding his tea drawer and reheating cups of joe. Next, we went to a coffee shop where we bought a gift card and left it with the barista to cover the next folks that came in for breakfast.
Clean Your Bookshelf
My grandpa taught history formally but also taught each of his kids and grandkids at any given opportunity. I took a few books off my bookcase and dropped them at a “Little Free Library” so that others may enjoy them as much as I did.
Flowers to Loved Ones
My grandpa loved all things gardening and nature-based. We picked up some flowers and delivered them to my grandma at her senior living facility. Unfortunately, we couldn’t deliver them in person, but I know they were well received.
Treats for Essential Workers
My grandpa spent the last few months of his life at that senior living facility, so I wanted to do something nice for the staff that cared for him so deeply. We dropped off a bunch of cookies from a local grocery store bakery as a way to thank them for keeping our loved ones safe in a crazy year.
Clean Up Nice
My grandpa was a sharp dresser. He prided himself on looking nice and always matched his collared shirt to his sweater. We dropped off new laundry soap at a laundromat with bows and a note that they were there for the taking.
Biscuits at the Dog Park
My grandpa was a sucker for puppy eyes. He loved all dogs so for this kind act, we dropped off a few boxes of dog biscuits under the pavilion at the dog park with a note confirming that yes, these were for the pups!
Donate Old Glasses
My grandpa was a fervent supporter of Doctors Without Borders and similar organizations so when I found a local nonprofit that collects old eyeglasses to get them to folks who might not otherwise have access, I scourged the house for eyeglasses. We had 6 pairs of old glasses to donate.
Fuel Up at the Gas Pump
My grandpa picked up a lot of hitchhikers. One of my favorite stories is about how he picked up a man leaving a home improvement shop and when he got home, realized the man had left his bag in the car. My grandma swears the bag couldn’t have had more than a couple dollars worth of merchandise but she said my grandpa drove around all night looking for him. That’s just who he was. For this kind act, we bought a gas station gift card and taped it to the pump.
Make a Donation
Finally, my grandpa volunteered at his local food bank every week for as long as I can remember and well into his 80s and maybe even 90s. There is no better way to honor his memory, perhaps, than to make a donation to the food bank—which we did as our 10th act of kindness.
I hope you see something in this text that inspires you. I hope it brings to mind ideas of your own. Spending a day on kindness is always fun… and adding the layer of memory and honor makes it extra special. Thank you for sharing it with us.