Act of kindness #36: #BlueLightHappy

Today, I bought a tin of yummy Celebrations Chocolates and took it to our local Ambulance Service Station with a Kindness Card message saying: “Thank you for your service.”

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I’ve been wanting to do this act of kindness for quite a while, and am so glad I finally got the opportunity to do it.

As a paramedic let me into their building on this freezing cold day sandwiched in between Christmas and New Year, I explained that I’d bought the sweet treats to say thank you.

I added that I hoped that they weren’t already sick of chocolate with it being the festive period, but the paramedic gave me a big smile and assured me that they weren’t, and that the chocs will go down very well with a cuppa.

Yay!

The hashtag #BlueLightHappy started with paramedic, Rob Moore, back in November, to encourage the public to share stories of kindness about emergency service providers.

Moore tweeted: “There are lots of stories of people not being nice to us lately – it’s time for a morale boost!”

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You can read more about it here.

☆♡☆

Ambulance photo by derbyshiretimes.co.uk

Act of kindness #35: A Santa hat of festive treats

Having seen how busy the city is getting with Christmas Day so close, I thought I’d channel Santa’s Little Helper and do an act of kindness to show some of the hardworking people who help us with our Christmas shopping and serve us our festive refreshments, a little love and gratitude.

I bought a few chocolate bars and attached a Kindness Card to each with the message: You are doing a GREAT job – and if you ever forget that, please read this again”. And I popped them all inside a Santa Hat.

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As I ventured into the city this week, once to go to my Mindfulness Course and once to go  to my Cranial-Osteo appointment, I took the opportunity to offer harassed-looking shop staff and run-off-their-feet cafe workers a dip into the Santa Hat to pick out a festive treat.

My absolutely favourite response was at stationery shop Paperchase: the two girls were heads down, working diligently to serve the very long queue of lunchtime shoppers and when it got to my turn, I couldn’t wait to offer them the Santa Hat.

When each saw their sweet treat and kindness message, they both looked up and broke out into the biggest smiles – it made me so happy to see their reaction.  I left the shop with us wishing each other a Merry Christmas with huge grins on our faces and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

It was a similar reaction by the staff at the city’s main library, and with my last festive treat at the ready,  I nipped into the health shop to pick up some Apple Cider Vinegar. But before I could give the friendly assistant a festive treat, she kindly gave me a box of yummy Ginger Tea as a festive thank you for my custom!

Big smiles all around.

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #34: A kind school

Over the last year, I’ve been hearing from big-hearted teachers who’ve been using my monthly Kindness Calendars in their classrooms and saying how much the children enjoy following them. So I thought that this year I’d create a special Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids, as well as my usual one for grown ups.

A couple of weeks ago, I contacted the headteacher at my nephews’ school – Edgewood Primary and Nursery School – to see if they’d be interested in teaming up and using my calendar in the classrooms… and received a resounding YES!

WooHooo!

Then he invited me into the school to help launch this kindness initiative at their School Assembly on 1st December.

Eeeek!

I haven’t spoken about kindness in front of an audience before, not counting my radio/TV interviews, but this was to be standing in front of 300 children aged between 4 and 11 years.

And I was really hoping they wouldn’t be a tough crowd 🙂

Feeling more and more nervous as the big day approached, I can honestly say that it couldn’t have gone any better – it was absolutely brilliant and my heart is fit to burst.

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Headteacher Mr Seeley’s passion and enthusiasm for the school, the children, and focusing on the gift of kindness for the month of December, shines through and the school is such a friendly and welcoming place to be.

Before Assembly began, I was treated to a tour of the school, including a walk through the classrooms with some children preparing for their Christmas Faye or writing a Christmas story, while others were rehearsing for their Christmas Performance.

And then all of a sudden, it was time: I was standing in front of 300 pairs of inquisitive eyes and it was my turn to talk.

Gulp!!

After wondering if my talk would engage the children, I was deeply heartened to see that after every single question I invited them to answer (Who likes Christmas? Who has an Advent Calendar at home? What did you get for Day 1? What is kindness to you?) a sea of hands shot up in the air, everyone eager to share their answer.

After sharing my story and introducing the Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids, the headteacher and I talked about Day 1’s Kindness Act to ‘Share this Calendar with friends to spread kindness’.

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This weekend, every child will go home with a copy of the weekly newsletter which includes an explanation about my Kindness Advent Calendar and has the calendar printed on the back:

Edgwood Primary School Newsletter on KACK

And again, when asked who they can share the calendar with, a sea of hands shot up to tell us they will share it with friends, cousins, parents, aunties and uncles…

How fantastic!

We then practiced for Day 2’s Kindness Act to ‘Smile all day’, and it was such a pleasure to see 300 big beautiful smiles and hear the chorus of hellos and consequent giggles.

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I honestly couldn’t have been any happier and am excited to see how they find, and hopefully have fun with, the rest of the kindness acts on the calendar.

Then it was time for the week’s Achievers to come up to the stage and receive their Achiever Certificates and a round of applause from their peers and teachers alike.

This week’s theme being kindness, the children read out why they’d been awarded this prestigious accolade, such as being kind and caring to other children, being helpful, and having a big smile for everyone.

My smile couldn’t have got any bigger, nor my clapping any louder 🙂

The children then filed out of the hall to the tune of Heather Small’s Proud with the apt lyrics “What have you done today to make me feel proud.”.

Perfect.

Later that day, headteacher Mr Seeley emailed to tell me there’s a buzz going around the school about the Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids, which is just brilliant. I’m really looking forward to popping back in a couple of weeks to see how it’s all going.

And in the meantime, kindness advocates Radio Nottingham are visiting the school next week to chat to the pupils about kindness. It will be played on Mark Dennison’s morning show one day soon – I hope to post the audio here once it goes out.

Unsurprisingly, I’m now back on bed-rest with a CFS symptom flare up and need to take a few quiet days to rest, restore and recuperate from all the excitement and exertion of launching my Kindness Advent Calendars – but of course, it’s all absolutely completely worth it.

☆♡☆

If you’d like to share my Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids with your school, you can download it here for free – just scroll past the one for grown ups! And please do let me know how it goes in the comments below, I always love to hear from you…

Act of kindness #33: Vending machine goodies

I’ve been itching to do this kindness act for quite a while now, and have been waiting for the opportunity.

I was inspired after seeing how an anonymous donor left free treats in a vending machine at Christie’s cancer hospital in Manchester (see here). I’ve left money taped to a public vending machine before, but this is different.

I wanted to find a vending machine frequently used by the doctors, nurses and staff in a hospital. And today as I had a hospital appointment, l finally got that chance.

After my appointment, I set about searching for a vending machine staff which used, but was told that there are only vending machines in public areas.

And I really wanted the hardworking hospital staff to benefit from this act of kindness.

So I kept asking.

Eventually, someone overheard me talking to the main receptionist and suggested I try the theatre reception, as she thought there was a vending machine which the public didn’t have access too – but warned I may have difficultly being allowed into the ‘staff only’ area.

Bingo!

So back up the long corridor I went in search of the theatre reception, but got a little confused by all the different signs and entrances. Then, I saw a nurse about to go into the theatre area and thought I’d ask her for help.

As she turned around, I realised it was an old childhood friend I haven’t seen in oodles of years!

What are the odds!!

She works in theatre and was just returning from a meeting. As I explained my kindness mission, she kindly let me go with her into the ‘staff only’ area and stayed with me throughout.

WooHoo!!!!

I bought a selection of chocolate bars and stuck a note on the front to explain why there are goodies lying in the bottom of the machine.

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My friend took a photo and emailed it to the theatre department to let them know. I hope a few of them got to enjoy a sweet snack on this rainy Tuesday afternoon, and know that they are very much appreciated for the incredible job that they do.

☆♡☆

ps if you found one of the snacks, I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

Act of kindness #32: Lovely letters

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing letters for the ‘One Million Lovely Letters Exhibition’.

The organiser, big-hearted Jodi Ann Bickley, started her One Million Lovely Letters project with the simple but gorgeous idea to send a lovely letter to anyone who needs a little lift.

It’s become a huge success and she has written and sent oodles and oodles of lovely letters to people all over the world.

Now, she is asking for help.

Jodi’s first exhibition is at Centrala in Digbeth, Birmingham (UK) from 10th April.  And she’d like folks to write a ‘Dear You’ letter to be included in the exhibition.

As Jodi explains, they need to be “letters of positivity that will be put up in the exhibition that any one that visits will be able to read and take the letter they feel speaks to them at that specific moment in time”.

The theme of this exhibition is “A letter to my younger self; a letter full of hope to a stranger or a letter of guidance to a younger, lost you.”

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It’s such a brilliant idea, I couldn’t resist writing and sending a few lovely letters…

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Here’s the info with the address if you fancy sending a letter or two to be included in one of Jodi’s fabulous exhibitions.

Or if you’d like to receive a letter from Jodi, or would like to nominate someone who’d appreciate one, please send an email with the address and reason to: onemillionlovelyletters@gmail.com

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #31: Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday, hooray!

And to celebrate, I’m giving away 3 copies of ‘The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around The World’*  by Leon Logothetis.

29th Kindness Diaries Bday Giveaway

It’s also my little way of saying a big THANK YOU for all your kindness and support, it really means a lot.

For your chance to win, simply comment on this post.

That’s it 🙂

To double your chances and get TWO entries, finish this sentence in the comments:

“Kindness is __________”

The winners – one each from here, my ‘Spreading a little kindness’ Facebook community page, and on Twitter – will be chosen at random on Friday and posted in the comments below.

Please make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog, so I can contact you if you’re a winner.

Good luck my lovelies.

☆♡☆

The Kindness Diaries is an inspiring true story of how Leon Logothetis “circumnavigated the globe on his vintage yellow motorbike Kindness One, giving life changing gifts along the way to unsuspecting good Samaritans. All of this whilst relying on the kindness of strangers. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.”

Act of kindness #30: Litter picking

A kind-hearted Facebook friend recently wrote this post on her inspiring kindness page:

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And it really hit home. HARD!

I completely identified with the first part of the post:

“We were walking home and I walked past a whole lot of litter that was left from the parade that was on in the week. Guess what I thought? ‘the council didn’t do a very good job cleaning up afterwards, that’s a real mess at the top of my street’ AND I KEPT ON WALKING… yep. I walked past it.”

Yep, whenever I see litter, I say to myself how awful it is, and I keep on walking. And I imagine most people do the very same.

But now, I want to identify with the second part of Ally’s post:

“Then I thought, actually I keep harping on “Be the change in the world” and wondered how many other people had walked past this litter. I turned around, and walked back and with that thought in mind, I had a small plastic bag in my bag, and with Roux [Ally’s dog] on her leash (more hindrance than help) I picked up the litter.”

So rather than tut-tutting about the amount of litter I see strewn around my neighbourhood and feeling outrage at the person/s responsible for the rubbish, I will simply pick it up.

[image: downtownarlington.org]

It’s that easy!

Due to a CFS symptom flare up, I haven’t been feeling well enough to go out for a soul stroll these past few days (my kindness calendar suggested this act for Tuesday) but today, I felt up to taking a gentle walk around my neighbourhood.

And before I set off, I stuffed an empty bag into my coat pocket, ready to pick up any litter I came across.

Like this…

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And this…

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At one point a woman walking her dog shouted to me over the brook: “What are you doing?”. When I explained, she replied: “Thank goodness there are people like you in the world!” and came over for a little natter.

As I came back home I picked up a little litter in our front garden, and came across my dad’s peugeot car badge which he thought had disappeared forever! We’re guessing it had come loose and had been  blown onto the garden.

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Result!!

So from my 10 minute stroll around the green space near my home, this is my haul…

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I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised how much I found.

Just think, if every person in the world picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 7 billion fewer pieces of litter in the world. If every person in the world picked up just 10 pieces of litter today, there would be over 70 billion fewer pieces of litter. And if we did this every day, my mind boggles at the number of fewer pieces of litter around our communities!!

And the good news is that we don’t even have to make a massive effort to do this.

Here are my 3 favourite tips I’ve gathered from litter picking campaigns:

1. Watch and share this inspiring video:
keepbritaintidy.org

2. “You can make a big difference by ‘adopting’ somewhere and committing to litter pick it on a regular basis, say once every 2-3 weeks.”
litterheroes.co.uk

3. 7 Keys for a Successful Cleanup Project

1) be willing to do the activity alone, and enjoy it
2) make the time, place and duration explicitly clear to everyone you tell about it

3) INVITE people. Don’t coerce, try to sell it to them, or overly control their participation. When invited, most people will bring something to the clean up effort that really makes really work.
4) keep it simple. Cleaning up trash is easy. All you need are garbage bags, places to put the trash, and gloves (rakes and shovels can’t hurt either!) Tell potential participants that these are the raw materials, but bring enough yourself to cover half-a-dozen people who come without .
5) have fun doing it. After all, you and everyone else will be actively making the world a better place… really.
6) tell lots of people, including the press. Just call them up and tell them what, when, where you are doing what you are doing. Even if you wind up alone out there, you will still peak interest, and people may want to join you next time.
7) remind people and yourself that what you are doing matters by telling incidents and specifics about how it matters to you. Just the simple truth will inspire others.
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Thank you Ally for inspiring me to spread a little kindness around my neighbourhood to help make my community a better, cleaner place to be.

☆♡☆

 

Act of Kindness #29: Free chocolate, anyone?

Happy Random Act of Kindness (RAK) Day!

Today, I wanted to do something a little bit more special, while still taking into consideration the limitations of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

And so I decided to hand out a few chocolate bars to strangers in the street!

As my budget is also very limited, I thought I’d email a few of the larger confectionary companies to see if they’d be happy to help me by donating a few bars.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t heard back from them… but I imagine they must receive lots of requests like mine.

I also asked my kind-hearted local Co-op Foods as they’ve given members of our local community – including lucky ole me!- goody bags filled with lovely things around Christmas-time.

I was thrilled when they said YES!

And I was over-the-moon when they delivered 88 bars of their yummy chocolate (and it really is yummy if you haven’t already discovered it!).

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Then a big-hearted friend said she would donate £50 of her own hard-earned cash to buy chocolate bars with. And on behalf of RAK Day, I simply couldn’t refuse her kind offer.  (THANK YOU my lovely!)

And believe me when I tell you I had a LOT Of fun choosing which choccies to buy and couldn’t believe my eyes when I loaded up my trolley with 205 bars – thanks to a brilliant offer on at the supermarket!

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This makes an incredible, grand total of 300 chocolate bars for my RAK Day giveaway.

WooHoooo!!

I wanted to attach one of my kindness cards to each bar, explaining what the give-away was all about. And I’m so thankful for my lovely mum for helping me write them and then attach them to the bars.

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We couldn’t believe it when we filled up the rucksack-on-wheels my sis lent me for the occasion. And then filled up half a carrier bag too!!

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This morning, I recruited the much-needed and deeply appreciated help of my lovely mum and 8 yr-old nephew Callum, and we all headed down to our city’s Old Market Square.

And they were such kindness superstars. (THANK YOU mum and Callum ♡)

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At first Callum was a little too shy to hand out any bars with us, but it wasn’t long before he joined in the fun and then really got into the spirit of it, which was really heart-warming to see.

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My mum was absolutely brilliant and was happy to go into some of the city centre shops to hand out bars to the hand-working staff.

Mum+Callum in tram centre

As we stood in the Old Market Square offering bars of chocolates to passersby, some people practically ran away from us. Some people were a little suspicious at first, but then seemed happy to accept a chocolate bar once we explained what we were doing. And some people happily accepted straight away.

We got a few hugs, lots of thank yous, and oodles of big smiles.

Hooray 🙂

We were even joined by our city’s newspaper, the Nottingham Post, who’d come along to capture the choc-fest fun! Click here to see what they wrote.

With only a few bars left, we were feeling rather hungry and headed for a celebratory lunch. Then after giving all the staff a chocolate bar, we slipped into a city centre car park and popped the rest onto cars so that their owners can enjoy a sweet surprise when they return after a hard day’s shopping.

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And now as I’m utterly wiped out after all this RAK Week fun, I’m heading to bed for a few days to recover.

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But I do so with a happy heart and the hope that we’ve made a few people smile this week, and brightened up a few people’s days.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of chocolate bars – thank you for visiting! I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huuuuuuge thanks again to both the big-hearted Kerry at Co-Op Foods Hucknall, and my kind-hearted friend who wishes to remain anonymous. Today wouldn’t have been possible without your kind donations ♡

ppps please forgive any mistakes as I’m super-duper tired whilst writing this, but I wanted to post before I zonk out! Night, night!!

Act of kindness #28: A Valentine’s rose

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And Happy International Random Act of Kindness Week!

What a perfect opportunity to spread some love-filled kindness.

As it’s the school holidays, I have the sweetest little helper in the form of my 4-year-old nephew, Thomas.

Could this day get any better!

And as it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a lovely idea to give a few flowers to strangers to show them some love and make them smile.

Last week, I approached our local florist, Kerry’s Florist, to see if they would be interested in donating a few flowers for the occasion.

And even though it’s most probably their busiest day of the year, they said YES!

WooHooo!!

So, yesterday I collected 20 gorgeous red roses, and was really touched to see that the lovely Kerry and Shania had wrapped every single rose beautifully.

I attached one of my Kindness Cards to each rose with the message: “Happy Valentine’s Day: You are AMAZING. Kindly donated by ‘Kerry’s Florist’ to celebrate RAK Week.”

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Earlier this morning, my little helper and I happily made our way down to our local GP surgery. Here’s a little video I made of us.

And we had the loveliest time placing our Valentine’s surprises on car windscreens.

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We even had the chance to give a few people coming out of the doctor’s surgery a Valentine’s rose in person.

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It was touching to see Thomas happily handing each person a red rose, and most of the recipients seemed really touched. One lady in particular had tears in her eyes, and it was clear we’d really made her day. We both gave her a big hug.

We hope that the flowers are a LOVEly surprise for all the car owners when they return to their vehicles after their Doctor’s appointment.

And we really hope our little act of kindness will make them smile and feel a little bit better and brighter, especially on this love-filled day.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of our Valentine’s red roses, I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huge thanks again to the big-hearted Kerry and Shania at Kerry’s Florist for generously donating the roses and wrapping them so beautifully. You are both AMAZING.