Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 31- Say thank you

Say thank you.

Saying thank you takes 1 second but it makes a huge difference in someone's day and in their opinion on you.

For today I am going to thank EVERYONE who made this blog possible.

In all honestly I didn't think I was going to make it, I didn't think I was going to follow through. But people kept coming up to me and saying they read the blog, it makes their day or they did something nice for someone.

So here is your chance to see your name (first names only) on the internet on a quasi important blog and you can say "Hey that's me." Hopeful it will make your day too.

This is in a sort of order and if I forget you, I'm very sorry.

Cindy- Your ideas made it into the blog more than anyone, you've been my constant cheerleader. Thanks for doing the coupons with me and giving me a shout out on a radio station. You're a rock star. Thank you for being there for me for my moment of fame.

Megan- Thank you for introducing this blog to your friends, for all your good deeds and giving me ideas. Thank you for your wonderful piece on The Nervous Breakdown.

Danielle- Thank you for updating your facebook status with the blog and giving me more "internet traffic" Thanks for commenting and keeping me on track. Thank you for all your help with my writing as well.

Alicia- Thanks for all your support, not just with this blog but with my borderline insanity about my writing. Thanks for blogging about me too.

Hubby- Thank you for reading the blog. Your opinion means more than anyone else's (sorry everyone else, I like you guys, but I LOVE him) Thanks for being a great guy.

Mom and Dad- thank you for reading everyday and giving me ideas. Thanks for commenting and all your support. Love ya.

Will- Thanks for going against your nature and doing something good for someone. :-) You're the man. Thanks for digging out your neighbor's car!

Bev- Thanks for reading and I hope your daughter liked it too. You've raised some great kids. Thank you for all your support.

Tara- You were the second person I looked up on facebook. Thanks for reading this. Some of my best childhood memories have you in them.

Jen M- Thanks for commenting on facebook.

Katy- Thanks for paying for the person behind you! Thanks for reading and passing on the goodness. You're an excellent person.

Colleen- Thanks for your support early on. You really gave me the motivation I needed.

Mike- You're a great guy and thank you for all your ideas

Mo- Thank you for your ideas and all your support. You were very important in the early stages of this project. Thank you

Chris- I don't know what a toast ranger is either. ;-)

Aunt Joanne- Thanks for all your love.

Followers- All these people follow the blog.

School support
Maureen- Thanks for being the first person to tell me you read this. Your words and your support has helped me in so many ways.

Carol- Thanks for reading this and all your fun e-mails about it.

Sam- Thanks for donating to and being a great guy.

Lori- I miss not seeing you everyday I hope this was a way you could still feel connected to the school. I'm going to miss my MSA buddy.

Mary- For doing nice things for strangers long before this was a thing.

Jeff- Thanks for reading and checking the site.

Cecilia- Thanks for making this the one blog you read.

Michelle- Thanks for being my sanity and for all your hard work. You make me a better teacher.

Kenya- Thanks being the first person to tell me you did something nice after reading my blog. You're a big reason I kept going with this

Patty- thanks for reading and commenting on my facebook status.

Craig- Thanks for being a good guy. You were a big part of the inspiration of this.

Kerry- Thanks for listening to my stories.

Liz- thanks for commenting and reading.

Debbie- for being one of the nicest people on the planet... the world is better with you on it.

Chris- For being the smartest person I know (seriously he is)

Leray- for reading and commenting

Kathy- NO, you're my idol. You make me smile every time we talk.

Hammond staff -- you're my second family. Thank you

My students- Thanks for to the kids who did something nice for someone or told their parents about this and did they in turn did something nice.

Martha- Thank you for asking me about my personal project every day. It was a great way to start my day.

Let's Talk Live, Natasha Barrett, Brianne Carter, Gillian R, Alison K Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to talk about my project.

98.7 WMZQ- Michael J- for talking about my blog on the air and making it possible for Gillian to hear about the blog.

Thank you all SO MUCH, everyone was kind, professional and cared about this project. Thank you thank you thank you.

People I don't know
The internet is an amazing thing and there were three people who found me and started reading this. This I have no idea who I am but they took the time to read the website and blog about it.

Clover: She's a nerdfighter which makes her made out of awesome

Contrafibularities: Blog here

KLO Blog here

TKAstle She's doing her own blog about the same thing starting in January.

Kelly: She's the one who found a note in the book Paper Towns

Jenn: She found me thanks to Let's Talk.

Jilly and Jess -I met through Meghan and I was super happy to tell them about Puppy Sized Elephants.

John Green- You're a huge inspiration to me, thank you.

So did you stop reading when you found your name?
Are you super annoyed that I didn't mention you? If I missed you, I am VERY sorry and I promise to edit the page to fix the mistake.

Thank you everyone. You're a big reason why this was a success.

One more update filled with the stats of this experiment, my favorite deeds and my overall thoughts of it.

Happy New Years.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 30- Paid for a metro card

Paid for a metro card.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from NewsChannel 8 to do a 6 minute segment about Be Nice To a Stranger. WOW! The epic tale starts off like this, my friend Cindy e-mailed a radio station about my blog. The DJ said he would talk about it on the air. Yesterday morning they talked about it. I didn't hear it, I was asleep. Then a producer for Let's Talk Live, heard the about the blog on drive to work. She connacted the radio station for my information, they gave her Cindy's info. Cindy called me and poof 24 hours later, I was being interviewed.

You can see it here

Yes I know I move a lot.

So now you know why I'm in DC.

Event:I was standing in the metro station waiting to buy my metro card. I put money one the card, it was the same basic process I had done plenty of times before. Then I did it again and place $5 onto a second metro card. There was a large crowd of people behind me. I called out to the crowd, "Anyone want a free metro card?" Blank stares. I'm getting the distrusting she's a crazy person look. Then I saw someone. I handed the card to her. I smiled at her. "Here, you're one of my former students, you take it."

OK I've been teaching for 9 years now. This week I've run into more former students then i have in six months. It's been crazy. I should also be stated I live about 30 minutes away from the metro, so it's pretty amazing I ran into my student.

She smiled and said it was weird to take something from a former teacher. I smiled at her and said, I'm going on TV today because I've been nice to strangers. Congrats you win."
She laughed and took the card.

Would I do it again: Sure.
Time: 30 seconds- I messed up making the card.
Effort: None
Cost $5.00

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 29 Spread the word-- and tax deductions.

Spread the word-- and tax deductions.

The good deed for today is to spread the word about great charities out there.

A few weeks ago Nerdfighters and the Vlog Brothers started this one day event called The Project for Awesome. It's where people posted videos about different charities and everyone else commented, favorited and rated the videos and basically they took over youtube. It was a huge success this year. It was tweeted about more the Avatar the James Cameron movie.

So here are some links to videos and different charities...

This is the charity my husband and I donated to this year.

There's a lot blogs right now doing things with this charity where if you comment on the blog then the blogger will donate to this charity. Nathan Bradford is doing it.

BTW Tessa (the girl in the youtube video WON!!!!!)

This video is pretty amazing. It is a great cause but there are better autism charities out there

Uncultured Project


There's TONS of people out there doing great things. Let's make their day together. My hubby and I already donated to one cause.
I will personally use some my of Christmas money to donate to one of the charities. I will donate one dollar for every comment below. The charity with the most votes will get the cash.

How do I comment? Click on the comment button, if you don't have a google, yahoo or AOL account you can comment anonymously. Please do NOT comment only on my facebook page. Please comment HERE.

Please comment like this;

Name, Charity and say something else.


Erinn- Cow are cool.

That equals $1 for the charity that wins.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME THE CHARITY. All the comments will help but I need to know which charity to donate to.

I will personally donate up to $100. I am using the money I never spent cat sitting my mother in law's cats over the summer.

If you donate to a cause too,(and mention that in the comments) I will donate TWO dollars. I will do this until December 31. There's not a lot of time to comment! Do it quickly.

This is my evil plan to see how many people are really reading this.

Will I do it again: We'll see how this one goes, but I really like the idea!
Time: one episode of Dora the Explore to type up this blog
Effort: well, it took one episode of Dora the Explore to type up this blog
Cost: Well it's up to you...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 28 Bought water for workers

Bought water for workers

As a parent, the single greatest places on the planet are indoor play centers.
A small fee (no, it's not a small fee, it's pretty over priced considering the whole thing is profit) and poof, you've a massive play area where your kid can run themselves to exhaustion meaning when you get home, your child needs a nap. Totally worth the not-so-small fee.

The workers there are super nice, they like kids and completely understand why their jobs are important to the sanity of the parents.

One of the workers was one of my former students. This student I remember her name. A totally redeemed myself from my student debacle from yesterday.

I went to the cafe and bought the workers bottled water.

Instantly smiles. I'm a big fan of instant smiles. There's also the smile of disbelief. I've been getting that one a lot too.

My daughter is taking a nap... totally worth it. Big smile on my face too.

Would I do it again. Yep.
Cost: $6
Effort: Not much, it was more work on for the girl scanning my credit card.
Time: 1 minute

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 27 Coupons galore

Coupons galore

done on 12-23

My number 1 cheerleader and idea giver, Cindy, texted me, "Since we have no school, you wanna get breakfast."
I texted back, "Since we're getting breakfast, you wanna help me do my nice thing?"

We meet for bagels, chatted, drank our coffee/iced tea and headed off to Harris Teeter.

We placed coupons on top of the items all around the store. $1.00 off soap. $.50 off of crackers and so on.

This was Cindy's idea back in November.
Maybe people would be excited to see a coupon for a product they were already going to buy. It was a like a very tiny gift, sprinkled all over the store.

No one asked us to stop or even what we were doing. According to Cindy we got some odd glances here and there, but I didn't see it.
I would like to think if someone was about to buy toliet paper and they saw a coupon sitting there they would be, like, "Score!" In my head they are also doing a happy dance. It's a delightful dance. You should see it sometime.

We did bump into a former student of mine, who I passed on the last stack of coupons and told him to spread them around the store. This was after I insulted him but not remembering his name.

Would I do it again: yes but I would change a few things. Cindy and I had ZERO plan of attack. Harris Teeter is not a store we shop at, we didn't organize the coupons at all and we were holding our drinks, which only gave us one hand.

If I would do it again, I would change all of that. Also I wanted to point out that all of Cindy's coupons were placed with care and love, strategically placed were someone would see them. Mine were slapped on top of the product.

Time: 30 minutes--- mostly due to the disorganization but once we got into our grove it was fun.
Effort: we had like a million coupons... or like seventy, yes it was a lot of work. But it was nice to have help with it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 26 Free laundry

Free laundry


Three weeks ago when I started this, I asked my friends and family for suggestions.
My dad suggested going to the laundry mat and give out quarters.

In case you haven't gathered by now, I don't live in the nicest of areas. My house is cute as a button and the street I live on is great, but just up the street it's a different story. It's a pretty vivid reminder that I am very lucky.

I've driven past the laundry mat at least a thousand times, but I've never been in.

I brought Zoey with me and I used the $5 I had left in my purse from the woman who paid for half of the medication.

I got changed and placed it in several machines.

Unknown but I can image how excited someone would be to go put money into a machine and see that it's already full. It's free laundry. In my head someone is VERY excited.

Would I do it again? It was fast and pretty easy to do.
Cost: $5 but it found money
Effort: Not much
Time: about a minute.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 25 Merry Christmas

Say you're sorry.

The whole purpose of this was to make someone's day. Most of the time it was stranger. Sometimes it was a neighbor. Other times it was my family or friends.

Today is a special day and I'm going to tell you a story.

Everything you read is 100% true.

I have a different perception of myself then what other people have. Despite how nice this blog is, I kinda a b word.

I like to feel like I'm better then people, and in my high school, there's wasn't too many people I could point to say "I might suck, but at least I'm better than that person."

There was one girl- She will remain namesless for the sake of this blog we will call her Jane Doe.

I didn't like Jane. There was no real reason to, expect that she was the person who I thought I was better then.

For those of you who are reading this blog and went to my high school you can correct me, but this is how I saw it.

In our high school the Varsity Jacket was an item of worship. It was worn from the first day of school to the last day. It was worn at Church, at funerals and at the doctors. If you were good enough to get one, you never took it off.

In our high school all the sports could get a varsity jacket, including band and color guard. This is not a place for me to vent about color gaurd but my opinion of it is not very high.

Color guard try outs were in the middle of November and they fell smack in the middle of ordering for the varsity jacket.

Jane Doe was trying out for the color guard, she bought a jacket, she didn't make the team.

Then Jane wore the jacket to school.

In my 30 years, this one moment that stands out to me and the meanest thing I have ever done.

I walked passed Jane while she was in the lunch line, I intentally went out of my way to walk past her. I said, loud enough for her to hear, "It takes some balls to wear a jacket to a team you didn't even make."

She never wore the jacket again.

I said something and it directly impacted her.

I don't know how much money her family had. That could have been her winter coat for the year.

Yes, I admit, I've said meaner things to people. But this was out of pure spite for no reason. It was an unproked attack.

I tell my students that story every year so they learn that their words effect people if the mean it or not.

They almost always ask, "Did you ever say you were sorry?"
I had to admit to them, "No, but if I knew where Jane was I would."

Flash foward a few years. I discovered Facebook.
Here was my chance to make things right.

The first person I looked for on Facebook was Jane.

I sent her this message
hi, I used to be Erinn C. You might not remember me, but I remember you. When looking back on my life, I am ashamed how I treated you. I was cruel to you. I made a horrible comment about you, and loud enough for you to hear.
I am now a teacher and often tell my students how I regret words, because school and teenage years are bad enough with people being mean.
I'm not looking for forgiveness or for you to be my "Friend" on facebook. I just wanted to say being sorry for being a brat.
I hope all is well.

I got back this message

Thank you for your thoughtful note. I must say that I have pleasant memories of you. I don't remember you being cruel. I remember going through a few years of CCD at Saint David's with you. The last time we had any classes together was in 8th grade- Team 8D.

I do forgive you for any comment you may have made. But, believe me, whatever it was, it wasn't "horrible" enough for me to commit to memory, or be scarred by it.

I think reflecting back on your teenage years is very wise. I hope you continue to encourage your students to treat each other with respect. I teach in a high school and I have seen it all.

You should read Odd Girl Out, which is one woman's study of teenage bullying. "Hidden aggression" as she says. It's a little dry, but it's worth having for reference.

I've been carrying my shame for ten years. And she didn't remember it.

I'd like to think that she saw my message and smiled, it made her day.
I know I feel better.

It takes nothing to say "You're sorry."
It costs nothing.
It's no effort.

Say you're sorry and forgive someone.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 24 Shoveled out a parking spot


Shoveled out a parking spot for my parents.

My parents are coming up for the holidays. Yes, and it snowed. I live on a street with zero parking. Well there is parking but it's taken up by residents with ten billion cars.

With all the snow, the streets are narrower and there is a lack of parking.

Remember when I said the snow that had been plowed and a tiny mountain of soul crushing snow? Well three days later it's still there and just as soul crushing.

I shoveled out a spot big enough for my parent's car and when they leave on Monday and the ice and snow will still be there, someone else will have a parking spot.

My mom said, "that was nice."

Would I do it again: To create extra parking for those who need in my hood, maybe. Yes I have helped a lot of them, but lots of the people in my neighbor only look out for themselves. This one is a we'll have to wait and see.
Cost: energy and my back
Effort: lots- the snow wasn't as light and fluffy as it was a few days ago. Melt water and refreezing had a role to play in that.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 23 Give credit where credit is due.

Give credit where credit is due.

Action done on 12-22

I was wrapping Christmas gifts and I ran out of tape. I drove to Walmart. Oh how I loathe Walmart close to the holidays. It's a pretty horrible place to be. My mission was simple, find tape, cards, a certain magazine that is a Walmart exclusive (which was the real reason why I went) and to buy something for my husbands gift.

It's tape, without tape wrapping paper is completely useless.

You would think there would be a giant flashing sign filled saying "here's the tape you need, Erinn."


I asked a stock person. This Walmart is not as well organized as other Walmarts in the area (there's 3 in a 10 mile radius in case you were wondering) He walked around half the store with me, helping me look for the tape. He finally asked the assistant manager.
He lead me to a back area- the garden supply area. Yep there was the tape. By the way, what a stupid place for TAPE.
He spent a good 5 minutes walking around with me chatting.

After I got the tape, I walked back to the assistant manager and told him how hard "Matt" worked.

The assistant manager smiled at me and thanked me for telling him. I figured during the holiday season it's easy for sales people to get overwhelmed. And really who doesn't like hearing someone who works for you did a good job.

Here's the thing, none of the Walmart employees were under the age of 30.

What's really hitting me about little experiment is how bad the economy is and how much people are struggling.

Would I do it again? yes.
Cost? None
Effort? not much, I had to walk past the manager to get where to the magazines anyway.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 22Call Customer Service Rep.

Task Call Customer Service Rep.

So I don't know if you've heard but it snowed.. oh wait I covered that already.

I was thinking, you know who is probably having a bad day, the claims people for car insurance.

First of all, who ever is calling them, is most likely in a pretty bad mood. It's not the claim's person fault, but they are getting the raw end of the deal. They have no control over the policies the company creates, or what policies the customer has chosen. Yet, most likely they get yelled at all day but people who are equally annoyed because they don't have control over the situation they are in.
Yes, they do get paid for their job, but how many of them dreamed as a child to be a car insurance claim person.

I'm just saying, it's probably not the most rewarding job.

So I called up Geico and thanked the first person I spoke to.
I said, "It's really nice to hear someone's voice and I'm not sure how your day is going but I wanted to thank you for being on the other end of the phone, sometimes it's nice to talk to a person, not a computer, you know."

Daniel from Geico said, "Well, I'm having a great day but thank you so much."

I laughed, "I"m sure some of your co-workers are having a rough day with all the claims that must be coming in."

He laughed, "That's for sure."

"Well, just let them know that you got a happy phone call and I think you're doing a great job."

"Thank you so much."

Ok true, I wasn't filing a claim, and I haven't gotten into my car yet today, nor have I ever had to deal with Geico in a negative fashion, so in all honestly, I don't know what it's like to work with them. But I just figured who doesn't like to hear they are doing a good job.

Will I do it again?: Sure, and the best part was, I didn't have to leave my house to do it.
Cost: Zero
Effort: Not much, I had to go to the website to get the phone number (the one in my cellphone is wrong)
Time: 2:50 second. About 1 minute to get through the menu.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 21 The great dig out

Digging out my neighbors
Event done on 12-20


I'm not sure if you're aware, but it snowed in Maryland. It snowed a lot. BWI got 21 inches, the average snow fall for the year is 19 inches.

So when I started to ask for ideas about what I could do for people, besides making cookies, the next most requested was shelve someone's driveway.

I started on Saturday at 9:30 am. I dug out my neighbor's driveway and his walkway. I also shelved the woman down the street who left car light on her walkway.

By 10 am, it was impossible to tell I had done anything at all.

Sunday, take two.

Ok so why am I so obsessed with helping the woman who left her light on? Last year, we had an ice storm. My hubby dug out our driveway and all the street in front of our house. We live on a street with 20 other houses. Only one other person came out to help him. For the life of me, I can't remember his name, I call him, Nice Guy. Nice Guy helped my husband. From what I've gathered Nice Guy is also in the military. AT one point he was supposed to do a few months in Afghanistan. I haven't seen in around since Halloween, which means, most likely, he's over seas.

Since having my daughter, I find myself constantly relying on my husband. I can't image not having him for a while.

Nice Guy is married to Lady who left her car lights on.

I felt it was my duty to help her dig out of her house. I dug a path from her car to her front door. Then I dug a path to her garage cans. And a started to dig out her car. She came out and said, 'You don't have to do that."
I told her her husband helped my husband last snow storm, its the very least I could do.

By the way, the snow plow came by at 7 pm last night and put a three foot wall in front of every drive. This snow isn't as light and fluff as the rest of the snow. the plowed snow is heartbreaking. Its so high, and sort of iced over and heavy. It's very overwhelming.

I pointed to it. "I'm leaving you the worst part." I laughed and she did too. But at least she had a head start. Here's the thing, some people don't like help, they interpret as pity. I didn't want to push the line between being nice and being annoying. So I respected her wishes while she was still happy.

As I walked back to my house, my NEW next door neighbor was shoveling the depressing mountain of plowed snow. I started to help him. I told him all about the blog. Maybe he's reading it now.

Who doesn't like it when there's a little less work for them to do? Both people were very grateful.

Would I do it again? I normally try to help out my neighbors when it snows.
Cost: None, but my back is a little sore.
Effort: Yeah it took a lot, but it is what it is and everyone had to dig out.
Time: about an hour.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 20 Puppy Size Elephants

Giving people a happy image in their head.
Event was done on 12-18

Logic: Life is a little stressful right now. People are grumpy, the holidays are coming and if you are like me, you are woefully unprepared for them.

Sometimes you need something happy to get you through the day.

Maybe you've been reading this blog and it makes you smile. But maybe you need something else. Maybe you need something so cute you can't help but smile and laugh.
Why else are all those happy baby laughing videos so popular on Youtube?


So I've been telling people this.

Once on this planet, when the water levels were different, there was an island on the coast of California.

This island had elephants. ELEPHANTS!

But as the water levels started to rise and the island shrank so did the elephants.

At one point on this planet there were puppy sized elephants.

Stop. Picture an elephant, perfectly proportionate but the size of a puppy.

Yes, that is the cutest thing in world.

Now stop and picture a HERD of puppy sized elephants.

Now picture that herd of elephants RUNNING.

Yes, now you have the cutest picture nature has ever produced, in your head.

You can hear more about it here.

Everyone I've told this to had the same exact reaction. INSTANT SMILE. Some laughed and held out their hand to picture the elephant. Most said, "awwwww" The squee of utter cuteness. Many people instantly wanted one for a pet.

It's amazing how quickly people jump to the same conclusion.

Would I do it again? Yes, maybe I'll find something else equally cute, but what I like about this fact is that it's pretty unknown, you have to use your imagination for it. Everyone comes up with a different image. Best part, it's real. It's a reminder of why the world is simply amazing.

Effort: 30 seconds to tell the story

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 19 Bought something for a cashier- take two

Bought something for a cashier- take two.
Event done on 12-17

I love Panera an whole fast food place filled with bread and salad. It's heaven.
Every other Thursday night, my writers group meets at Panera. We take up two tables and about two hours. There's been times where we've closed out the store.

The cashiers at Panera are AWESOME.

After writers group I walked up to one of the cashier. She immediately said she liked my shirt. Victory! It was the validation I needed.
"What's your favorite out of all the yummy desserts?" I pointed to the display of sugary goodness.
She smiled. "I love the bear claws."
"Great, can I have a bear claw?" I smiled.
She happily skipped over to the desserts. "Oh there's only one left. You're so lucky! Do you like almonds?"
She put it in a bag and handed it to me and loudly whispered, "You're getting pretty much the best thing we sell here."
I took it and handed it back to her.

The whole time she had been smiling and grinning but now she was practically glowing.
"Are you serious? For me?"
I nodded. "Yep."
"You came all the way here to buy me a bear claw?"
"Well, no, I came all the way here for my writers group and to buy you a bear claw. Happy holidays and happy Thursday."

Her reaction was so much like mine if someone did that for me. I couldn't stop smiling. I smiled the whole drive home.

Best of all it was something she REALLY wanted.

When I went back to my table to pack up, a long line of people magically appeared. The Cashier was in for a long night, but at least she had a bear claw waiting for her.

Would I do it again? Yes.
Cost: $1.79
Effort: Not much but I did have to pretend I was buying the bear claw for myself.

Friday, December 18, 2009

day 18- I hope you're all still with me.

Day 18
Bought the medication for the man in front of me.

Ok I will be the first to admit some of these "good deeds" have been pretty lame this last week. I thank anyone who has been keeping up with this blog, because YIKES, some of them have been lame with an extra side of lame sauce.

My excuse- I've been feeling like crap. No, wrong, crap is an understatement, I've been feeling like what a horse poops out after horsey thanksgiving dinner. I've been suffering in silence, only complaining to anyone who asks what's wrong. Today when the fire alarm went off in school I felt like I was going to puke and I suddenly realized how you can use sound as a weapon.
Ok I know when I post this on Friday, that it would be three day AFTER the fire alarm and hopefully by then I will be feeling better.

Anyway I went to the doctor and yep, I have a sinus infection, as I expected.

I was picking up my meds when this occurred.


There was an older man in front of me. For the record I am terrible with ages, people fall into four categories. Younger then me, ages 0-25 Kinda my age 25-35, slightly older then me, 35-45 and older then me, everyone else. So he was above 45,I guess.

He had four prescriptions. $5, $5, $10, $10. I have no idea what they were for, but anything more then two, in my eyes, is a lot and probably pretty serious.

He hesitated, "Um ok, I'm going to have to come back for some of these." He started to pick through the bottles trying to decided which of his medical needs would be met.

Yesterday I spent $18 on a CD. Yes I overpaid of the CD but it came with a bonus booklet with the bands autographs. I didn't think twice about buying it. I have NEVER had to prioritize my medical needs, my food or any of the things I need to survive.

I stepped up, "Sir, let me pay for your prescription."

He blinked at me, taken back, and probably a little embarrassed. "No, I couldn't."

"No, see I'm doing this thing this month where I'm nice to strangers and you qualify.
I blog about it." I pointed to the meds, "Which ones do you have left to pay for?"

"I'm getting the 2 $5 ones. The rest is pretty expensive."

This is where I could have lost him, if I didn't play my card right. Too eager and it might be insulting. "How about this, I'll pay for one. That's $10, the same amount as you paid."

He smiled, "It is hard to turn down free money." He started to pick through the remaining medications. "I guess I'll take the one for pain."

This is when my heart broke for a second time--- he was going to live in PAIN because he didn't have the money to pay for it.

The cashier started to ring him up. The man handed the cashier is debit card, "There isn't enough money in the account for twenty." The cashier charged him for $10 and I handed over my card for the remaining ten.

"I guess it would be rude, if I didn't ask you your name."

"I'm Erinn." I said. Once the transaction was over and he had his meds, we said our goodbyes.

The cashier smiled at me (I had been there a lot lately since my daughter has been sick-I think he recognized me) "That was very nice."
"Oh, its no problem. Every time I'm here you guys are so nice to me, why should I be nice to someone else." I think that's what I wanted to say. But my throbbing headache wouldn't let me. I had used up all my energy on the older gentleman. I think I said, "It's no problem."

I got my meds and turned to leave. Not the woman directly behind me, but the woman behind her, stopped me.

"Excuse, I'd like to pay for half of what you paid for that man's medication."

What? Really? "Oh, no, that's not necessary." I said.

She shook her head and dug through her wallet. "No, you just made my day by helping that man."

I smiled, "Oh good! that was the whole reason why I started this experiment." Although I'm not sure if she understood what I was talking about.

"It's nice to see that people are looking out for each other." She handed me the money.

I paused, should I take it? "I will only take it if it makes you feel good to give it." I said. I know how good it make me feel to pay for little thing for people, who was I to deny her that happiness. I certainly didn't do help the older gentleman so I could gain $5 for the woman behind me.

She smiled, "it really would." She handed me the money. "Happy holidays."

"Thank you, you too."

I made TWO people's day with one action. It's a ripple effect.

Would I do it again? yes, no one should ever have to choose between being healthy and not. <-- that wasn't my political views about the Health Care overhaul. I stopped paying attention to that a few weeks ago. Don't read into my good deed as my views on a hot button topic.

Effort: Handing over my card and explain why I was going to pay.
Time spent: about 2 extra minutes to pay for it.
Money spent: $10 originally but I was reimbursed $5.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 17 Helped a neighbor get her dog back

Helped a neighbor get her dog back

I've been very nice to my neighbors this week.

Action done on 12-14
So there's a couple who lives down the street from me. They have a big old hound dog who is often running out the house. Charlie (that's the dog) is very hype and I don't think I've ever seen him stand still. But he won't let you get close enough to him either.

I saw him while I was telling my other neighbor about the car light.

I went back home and grabbed a dog treat and headed back out into the cold. Again.

Charlie was sitting on the drive way, looking at the house, but not ready to go in.
I walked over to him, "Hey Charlie, do you want a cookie?"
He bounced, jumped and ran around. Clearly he was still ready to play.

It wasn't long before his "mom" came out. The two of us together was able to get the dog into the car. Once he was contained, she could get his leash.

She thanked me and we started talking. Not just a "hi" or "cold weather, huh?"
She told me she was pregnant, I gave her a hug and we chatted about mommyhood. And I finally learned her name. I've "known" each other for 5 years now and never took the time to learn each others name. That was even better then saving her dog. I promised her a copy of my "Advice for New Moms"

Would I do it again: Sure, chances are the dog will run away again.
Cost: None
Effort: Not much

Also Remember day 1? Well someone did it, bigger and better.
It makes me want to go out and do pay for the food behind me again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 16 Nice to a Neighbor Take 2

Nice to a Neighbor.

There's very nice family in my neighborhood, I rarely speak to the mother, but I speak to the husband and 4 year old. As I was walking pass their house I noticed a light was on in their car.

I returned my dog to our house and headed back out into the cold.

I knocked on the door and told the mom about it.

She was very nice and very grateful. Apparently her daughter had turned it on.

Will I do it again: Sure.
Effort: None
Cost: none

Ok here's the thing, I do this action a lot. At least four times I've knocked on neighbors' doors to tell them something was wrong with their car. It's just being a good neighbor, it's not overly kind.

After 16 days of this, I've noticed that people are mistaking being a polite human being with kindness.

Everyday I talk to students and say hello, or tell them to have a good day, or to learn something. I personalize each comment to the student. I try to let them know I care. But that's my job. Isn't it?

Holding the door open is a part of polite society. Saying hello, smiling, saying please and thank you is what is expected, isn't it?

Yes, this personal project was designed to do something nice, and not see the rewards of it. To Pay it forward as so many people have been point it out to me.
Politeness does go a long way with people.

So thank you for reading this. Let's all be good people.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 15 Nice to new neighbors

Nice to new neighbors.

For the past year and half the house attached to mine has been empty. I won't lie, despite the decreasing property value, it's been wonderful. No banging screaming kid, no pretending I can't hear my neighbor's fighting, and extra parking. It's been glorious.

But all good thing must come to an end.

My new neighbors moved in yesterday.

If I was REALLY nice I would have helped the physically move their stuff, but if I hate to do that for my own stuff, I"m not about to do that for a stranger. Besides, people can be weird about touching their stuff.

I brought over an apple tart from Trader Joes.

I joked around with them and said, "I didn't bake it, I just reheated it. If you like it, you can thank Trader Joes."

They laughed and I think it was good impression.

Would I do it again: Sure, if someone else moves in next door to me.
Cost: Don't know, probably under $5
Time: 20 minutes to bake it, 3 minutes to deliver and chat.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 14 family in need

Bought food for a family in need.

I work in a upper middle class area and it's hard to remember that we have students whose families need help.

Kids coming to school without backpacks or food, that doesn't happen in our school, in other schools, sure, but not mine.


True the population isn't a huge number, but it's more then 1 and really 1 is too many.

Each year the school puts a paper Christmas tree filled with ornaments. We "adopt" three families. These ornament are pieces of paper with items written on them that a family needs.

One family asked for, "gift card for food, socks and underwear."
My heart broke.

No, this was supposed to happen in Baltimore and in DC, not here.

I picked the ornament for a the food.

I drove to a grocery store near the school and bought a $25 gift card. $25 isn't going to get the family far. But I was going to include all the coupons from the newspapers for the weekend and hopefully that will help out

Will I do it again?: How could I not?

How much did it cost me? $25 and $2.50 for a newspaper
How much time did it take? 20 minutes to drive to the store and buy the card.
How much effort? A little bit more then other activities.

Also how can you do something good with NO Effort at all?
First go here and watch the video explaining the importance of eyelash research verses Malaria research. It's awesome. Then click here and watch her video. If she wins she's going to pay for college and buy an arc.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 13 Bought lottery tickets

Bought lottery tickets

Yes, I know I was supposed to go a week of doing free things for people. And I still have a few mentally planned.

So my friend and a big cheerleader of mine, Cindy gave me this idea.

I was at Bloom (for reasons you will learn tomorrow)

I bought my food and stuff, I asked for cash back and instead of a twenty I wanted a ten and two fives. But my brain stopped functioning and I said "Um can I have a ten and um..." then nothing. No words.
The cashier smiled, "Two fives."
"Yep that's what I wanted to say."

Meanwhile, my daughter was being the same loud person she always is, and yelled, "hi!" to the person behind her.
The woman smiled and had a nice little conversation with my daughter while I paid and put the bags into the cart.

Then I walked over to the lottery scratch off and put my five in. I got 5 scratch offs and handed them out.

First to the cashier, the to the woman behind me. They both smiled and thanked me. Then I passed them out to people I had zero inteactions with.

I walked away, I didn't want them to feel obligated to do anything right then and there.

As I was staring the ten minute process of unloading my car, putting the cart away and getting my daughter into the car, I saw the woman behind me in the parking lot.
"Did you win?" I asked.
"No, but the cashier won $2."

Will I do it again?: Sure, it was fun and easy.

How much did it cost me? $5.00
How much time did it take? 1 minute
How much effort? the hardest thing was remember to ask for a 5 dollar bill.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

day 12 Nice to my hubby

Pack my hubby lunch.

Action done on 12-8

What you need to know:
My hubby is a wonderful man. There's a reason why I married him. He is always placing me and our daughter above his needs.

We've been together for 8 and half years now.

I don't pack his lunch in the morning.

Here's the thing, I didn't know that was something women did. I assumed, "he's a grown man, he's got a job, and a college degree, he can put his own food in a bag." What I didn't know was every other man at work, had his wife pack him lunch.
Jim brought this to my attention a few years ago.
I made his lunch for about a three days.
Then I stopped.

This was my logic:
1) He gets up at 4 am.
2) I don't know if he's planning on packing lunch or buying it.
3) I'm not sure what he would like.
4) He's a big boy and he can put his own food in a bag.
5) HE GETS UP AT 4 AM!!!!!!

He got up at 4 am.
I was awake. Below was my internal debate:

I don't want to get out of bed. No. I'm not getting up. Ugh, all I have to do is move. I don't want to move. The air is cold and the bed is warm. Nope I'm not leaving. The difference between an A student and a C student is the A student does the work, crap that was what I was going to tell my students today in class. Ok get up. You can't lecture your students if you can't get out of bed and make your husband breakfast. 4:25 CRAP. I spent 25 minutes debating if I should get out of bed. I could have been OUT of bed or sleeping. MMMM sleeping is nice. But really what are the odds of me falling a sleep. Not much.

I got out of bed. I walked down stairs and I made my hubby breakfast, lunch and a snack. now when I say I made him breakfast, lunch and a snack, I mean I went to the freezer pulled out some stuff, placed it on the counter neatly.
I didn't cook anything.
BUT I did leave him a note. "I love you, you're my best friend and best husband." He's my only husband... but there is that guy out in Utah.... Just kidding.


I went back to bed. Hubby was still in the bathroom and was completly unaware I had done this. He kissed me goodbye and went down stairs. He came back up, kissed me again said,"thank you."

Would I do it again?
Sure. He's a good guy and I like him.
How much did it cost me? Nothing
How much time did it take? twenty five minutes of mental debating and five minutes to make it.
How much effort? Not much, but I knew as soon as I did it he would ask, "So are you going to do this for me every day?"
He did by the way... while we were eating dinner.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 11 Thank someone with a thankless job

Task Thank someone with a thankless job- at the Gym.

Action done on 12-8

I go to the most amazing gym on the planet. Lifetime Fitness. This place has marble walls, a rock wall (not to be confused with the marble walls), two pools, an amazing daycare center and seven trillion cardio machines. It's what Heaven's gym must be like.

Its easy to get wrapped up in the beauty of it. (I didn't even discuss the steam room.)
However there are many people constantly working, cleaning up, folding towels, wiping up after the "members." They move silently, I've rarely heard them speak English. To most of the members of the gym, they are invisible. However, in my two and half years going to the gym, I've never seen them sitting around, I've never seen them goofing off.

I drove over to the gym, I had intentions of working out. But I was starting to get a headache and opted to just to this instead. I walked over to customer service. One of the employees there was a former student. I smiled at her and asked to speak to a manager.
One popped out from the back.
"how can I help you."
"I just wanted to tell you, that every time I'm here, the support staff is working incredble hard and I thought I should tell someone."
He smiles, "Thank you. Many of our members are well off and our support staff tends to struggle, so its really nice that someone noticed."
"I don't think there's ever been a time where I didn't see someone working hard. The gym looks so great."
"Thank you, I'm going to tell the other managers that at our meeting." He pulled out a small card.
"Can I fill something out?"
"That would be great."

I filled out the card, it took about a minute to say nice things and to thank them for all their hard work.
The manager came back and said, "Thank you for coming by. We hear negetive feedback all the time, it's really nice to hear something positive."
"I know. Have a great day."
I would like to say I worked out.
But instead I walked out.

Will I do it again?:

How much did it cost me?
How much time did it take? About three minutes total
How much effort? I did have to hand write something- which I hate to do because I have bad handwriting.

The lesson for the day, thank someone who would normally be invisible or go unthanked.
Keep your eyes open and you can see some great things.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 10 Daughter Day

Daughter Day

So overall it's been things that I've done to make someone happy. I never thought that it would have an out reaching effect on other people doing something to make people happy.

The gentleman behind me in Target was not having a good day. I had seen him earlier in the store and he was a little grumpy. My daughter was with me because she was home sick with a double ear infection and strep. She's amazing, she really is. You'd never know at all that she was sick.

Her face was a mess, all crusted what God knows what. But she has this smile that shows through her whole face. Even her eye shine. I've never seen anyone else like it. I thought it was some bad writers cliche with "sparkling eyes." But it's a real thing and my kid has it. And when she says "hi" her whole body says hi. It's big and loud and it makes your day.

She said Hi to the gentleman behind me in Target. Then she pointed to her shoes, "My Shoes." But it came out, "mmmm sshhhoooo"

I translated for him.

He laughed, "That just made my day, looking at her face, her smile. She made my day."

YAY- there was one and I didn't even have to try!

"Thank you so much." I said. "You just made my day."
My daughter went back to talking about her shoes.

Since starting this blog I've had people come up to me and tell me they did something nice for a stranger. Good that was the whole point of this little experiment.

Look you don't have to be nice to everyone, or even all day. JUst pick one person and be nice to them for 30 seconds. You never know what that can do for someone.

One woman came up to me and said, "I was in the post office waiting in this huge slow line when I heard the woman behind me say,'I guess if I'm going to wait in this line I might as well buy a whole book of stamps,' I turned to her and asked, "You still but individual stamps?' She said yes, she needed three. I said, 'Shoot I've got three stamps.' And I thought of your blog while I was doing it. "


Little things make a big difference.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 9 happy notes inside books

Task Place happy notes inside books at a book store

This event was done on 12-7-09
So this was the nice needed that reminded me NOT ALL people are being nice to strangers this month. Note to the world, if you see a woman with a stroller, please DO NOT Slammed the door in her face. Strollers and doors do NOT get along.

Also Borders, I understand the publishing industry is in a state of upheaval right now, but you are not helping matters with isles that are not accessible with a stroller or your YA section that apparently doesn't follow the rules of the alphabet.

That being said, my task was an different sort of one. I took this idea from an on-line community called Nerdfighters. On my other blog I I wrote all about them.

I placed notes in book I've enjoyed reading. There were ten different notes ranging in comments like, "This book was amazing, I hope you enjoy it." to "Smile it's free."

My feeling thought was it would be cool to read a good book and find a little note inside from someone else who read the book.

On the back of the note had this website on it. Maybe people will read the note and post to the website.

Some of the books were
Paper Towns by John Green

The Book Thief

Sloppy First

Reaction: Unknown at this time. This one is something that will take time. Maybe it will work, maybe not.

How much did it cost me? The act itself was fine, and free, the trip to Borders I could have done with
How much time did it take? Total time about 10 minutes
How much effort? This took the most effort, between writing out the notes, cutting and pasting the info about the blog, driving to the store and dealing with my child.

Will I do it again?: We'll see how this goes. I think it's a cool idea.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 8 Hold the door open for strangers

Task Hold the door open for strangers

It's the easier one to do. Hold the door open for someone.

I went to the mall to get my laptop fixed. I ended up leaving the mall because I left my wallet on my car seat. Normally I'm not that much so space cadet, but I've had a lot on my mind. I ended up leaving using the mall's doors 4 times. Each time I held the door open for the people around me.

I even walked to the opposite side of the mall where I know a lot of people come with strollers and I held the door open.

I ended up holding the door open for about ten people.
Hardly a monumental task, but still, it's little things that count in the moment.

Everyone expect one woman, said thank you.

Will I do it again?: Sure, I do it every time I go to the mall or any store where I need to open the door. For some reason I better with strangers then the people I know. When it comes to holding the door for a friend, I don't know what to do. I spaz and end up making it more complicated then it needs to me.

How much did it cost me? Nothing
How much time did it take? about 10 seconds per person.
How much effort? None, but I did get a little cold

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 7 Nice to a pregnant lady


So last week I forked over some money to make people happy. This week I wanted to things that didn't cost me anything.

Nice to a pregnant lady.

I hated being pregnant. It was awful. Seriously, I felt betrayed by all mothers everywhere because no one told me the truth. Pregnancy SUCKS. Your back hurts, you can't see your feet, you get acid reflux, and you can't sleep.

Now I whenever I see a pregnant woman I go out of my way to be nice to her.

The only good thing about preganacy was that strangers were much nicer to you. But once you walked anywhere with a stroller, they turn mean again.

So I went to the mall to buy shampoo, well I went to do other things and one of those things happened to be buy shampoo.

A VERY pregnant lady stopped doing some man's hair and helped me check out.
"How far along are you?"
She rubbed her basketball belly and frowned "9 months."
"Oh you've hit that point where you just want the kid out of you, haven't you."
She looked so tired, but her hair and make up was still perfect. "Yes. You have no idea."
"Is this your first?"
"Nope, it's my third."
WHAT! I have one kid and I look like I just rolled out of bed, this woman has two kids and one on the way and she looks like a model. Me: "Did anyone tell you that you're cute pregnant?"

She smiled. "No, but you just made my day."
"Seriously you look adorable."
Then I told her how I got my daughter to come out a month early. I yelled at one of my students for asking me, "what if the plastic forks go bad?" Three hours later I was in the hospital.

Will I do it again? Yes.
How much did it cost me? Nothing
How much time did it take? Total time about 2 minutes
How much effort? none

Reflections on Blogging:
I've found myself constantly LOOKING for opportunities to be nice to people. Stopping people and telling them what a nice coat they have, smiling at people, saying please and thank you, telling everyone to have a nice day.
After every interaction I wonder if its was "big" enough to blog about.

So I wonder, has this little experience affected you? Have you done something nice to someone you might not normally have? Let me know.

I want to THANK EVERYONE who has read this blog and posted a comment or said something directly to me. It made such a huge difference how I've been treating this whole thing. Thank you.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 6 Homeless person

Help a homeless person.
This was done on 12-4

I decided to do this back in November and I asked my 8th grade students to help me come up with ideas.
I received the following suggestions multiple times.
Bake cookie <-- I think they wanted cookies
Donate (clothes, books or time)<-- I do this a few times a year, I don't really see it as being nice and I get a tax write off for it)
Help a homeless person. <-- In my rose color glasses, there aren't homeless people in Howard County. Now I know for a fact this isn't true. But when I read the suggestions I thought, "where the hell am I going to find a homeless person?"

I was driving to the drug store to drop off an RX for my daughter (She had an ear infection) and I thought to myself, I should do something nice for someone. I walk trough the drug store and sadly no niceness opportunities rises, besides my normal, "thank you and have a nice day."

I walked back to my car and start to pull out of the parking stop when I see him. He's older then I am, maybe in his 50's but clearly his life has been hard and it shows all over his weather worn face.
"Excuse me." he calls out.
I'm half way out of my parking spot and I roll down my window. He's keeping his distance.
"I hate to ask, I really do." He starts off. "I've lost my job with Chrysler and my wife and I are trying to get a room for the night."
Honestly my first thought: He picked me on a good month.
"It's getting cold."
It was, I loathe winter, and the thought of being outside more then 10 minutes makes me grumpy. I looked down at my car display, 43 degrees.
I dug through my purse. I knew I had cash, but a woefully small amount. I'm a debt card sort of girl, cash reminds me of how clumsy I am.
I hand me all my money, which I'm pretty sure was 4 dollars. "I'm so sorry, I wish I could give you more."
"No, thank you God bless you." This God bless you doesn't give me the same feeling it normally does. Normally I'm flustered and flattered. This one makes me sad.

"Good luck, sir." I said, mostly because I couldn't think of anything else. My normal have a nice day isn't going to cut it.
"We need it." He said.

I pulled away but he clung to my brain. Wasn't there more I could do? But how far should I go? The cynical side of me thinks he's just going to use my money for drugs. But there's the side of me that believes everything everyone says. Should I go to the ATM and withdraw twenty dollars? Should I go to the motel near by and pay for a room?

As I was pumping my gas, I looked across the street and saw the Dunkin Donuts. (BTW there's a lot of Dunkin Donuts where I live and work- not as many as in Boston.
I had a gift card I had bought my friend for completing NANOWRIMO (Check out my other blog which explains it)
Sorry Alicia, but I think this guys needs a warm cup of coffee more.

So I drove back to the parking lot, ready to give him the gift card. But he was gone.

I went later that night to pick up my daughter's RX and still no sight of him.

Will I do it again?
If I can find him again, I'll give him the gift card. If not Alicia get's it.
How much did it cost me? $4.00 and guilt.
How much time did it take? 30 seconds and I drove back around for a minute.
How much effort? Not much

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 5 Thank the elementary school

Task: Thank the elementary school

This action was completed on December 3.

Here's what you need to know. My school is really two school attached to each other.
I work on the middle school side. I NEVER cross over to the Elementary school side. The two schools share one common area where the copy machines are located. Middle school teachers NEVER use the elementary school's copy machine NOR do we ever cross over to their side of the building. We might smile and exchange quick pleasantries but despite sharing the same air for 180 days of the year, we are complete strangers. Or at the very least, I am.

Elementary school is not a place I could ever work. It's not my thing and I have a huge amount of respect for those who do.

So the day I went to Dunkin Donuts to buy coffee for strangers, I also bought Munchkins for the Elementary staff.

Do you remember the Cashier from Day 3? Well she was the one who stuff the munchkin box. It was over stuffed with muchkins.

I also printed out a little note that said, "All my students know how to read. Thank you, HMS teacher."

Unknown. I did not see their reactions because I was in a team meeting when the teachers would have filtered in. That's fine. I know by the end of the day the box of donuts were gone and the note was still on the table. The next day was business as usual.

Will I do it again?:
How much did it cost me? $5.00
How much time did it take? 2 minutes, to buy the donuts, to type out the note, to print out the note and to walk it into the elementary staff lounge.
How much effort? Not a whole lot.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 4 Buy something for a cashier.

Task Buy something for a cashier.

This action was done on December 1. But I am posting it now. It's my game and I can change the rules. :-)

What happened:
I have a 22 month old baby girl, who loves to run around. I went to Target to buy coffee creamer and undershirts for her. I feel dumb walking around with her in a shopping cart when I only have two things I need to buy. So I let her run around. A parenting mistake for sure, since about half way through the shopping experience she decided to be that little girl who goes spread eagle on the floor and now I"m the mom who has to coax her up.

Anyway we get to the line and I see the candy display. I picked up two packages of Turtle Candies, because I love them and I though maybe someone else would like them too.

I was the third person in line. The woman checking out was having a very difficult time, her gift cards didn't have as much money on them as she thought and her credit card was declined. Yikes. The cashier never lost her cool, she helped the woman along. All in all the transaction took much longer then it should have.

Meanwhile my daughter is now sitting on the conveyor belt saying Hi to everyone.

The next woman in front of me had 3 fake flowers and none of them had price tags.
Again a long transaction.

Then came our turn. She started scanning my items. As she scanned the candy I said, "One of those are for you."
She looked up at me, "Excuse me?"
"I picked that one up for you. You were so nice to all the people in front of me, you never lost your cool. It's the holidays and I'm sure people are a little cranky right now."


She smiled, "God Bless you child." <-- I should say I love it when people say this to me. "God bless you" isn't a phrase I use very much unless someone is sneezing. I never say "God bless you" as a thank you. And when people say that to me, I like to think not only are they thanking me but they are bringing in the Higher Up, the Big Guy. For me, its a little bit more meaningful then just a thank you. "Oh thank you." I said. "Turtles are my favorite." "Good I was worried you wouldn't like them." "Honey, I've been working since Black Friday with no days off. Thank you." We finished the transaction with smiles. Here's the thing, the woman behind me was smiling too. What I've been finding with this is that it's not just making one stranger happy but anyone who is witnessing the even too.
Will I do it again?:
How much did it cost me? $.99
How much time did it take? 10 seconds.
How much effort? Reaching for two bars instead on one.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 3 Buy people coffee

Buy people coffee

Task: I will buy the people behind me coffee.
Today I drive to Dunkin Donuts to do really two nice things. But I will talk about the coffee today.

I walked in and sighed, it was a ghost town again. UGH! Universe, what are you trying to do to me?
I figured at the very least I could do my back up of one nice thing and I could come back some other time and buy coffee.
I walked up to the front and placed my order. Then a man walked in. YES! Thank you Universe. We'll call him Man#1. He started to place his order. Man#2 walked in a few seconds later.
As I was finishing my order, I smiled and added, "I would like to pay for these two gentleman's coffee."
The cashier smiled, "Really? Are you sure?"
Man#2 "Wow thanks. Why?"
She paused and told the other cashier, "stop your order, she's going to pay for his coffee."
Man#1 blinked, stunned, "Really?"

I explained I was doing something nice for strangers and I'm going to blog about it.
The cashier took their order.
Man#1 "Wow that's really great I'm going to pass this on."
Me "Wonderful, that's the whole point. A little thing can make someone's day."
Man#2 is this like those two college kids?

Interesting side note: Since I started doing this, lots of people have been coming up to me and telling me about other good deeds. So the more hear about the more I will post up here.

Me: No, but its in the spirit.
Cashier hands them their coffee. Man#2 thanks me, takes his coffee and leaves.

Man#1 was waiting for his breakfast sandwich and I was waiting for my bagel. Man #1 says, "This is really great."
Me, "Thank you."
Man#1 "Do you feel like you get enough appreciation in your life?"
Me, laughing, "I;m a teacher, I never get appreciation, but I'm happy."
Man#1 "I"m going to give you a gift."
Me: No, that's not why I'm doing this.
Man#1, he looked me in the eye and with complete honesty in his voice he said, "You are prefect the way you are. I am going to bow to you." And he bowed. It was like a Japanese bow of respect. I started to tear up.

Here in Laurel Maryland, in a Dunkin Donuts a stranger bowed to me.
Now because I'm me, and my personality, I wasn't embarrassed, I didn't blush or shun away. The cashier looked just as amazed and moved by the situation as I was.

Will I do it again?:
YES YES YES and I will not be expecting someone to bow to me.

How much did it cost me? 2 coffees = $3.00
How much time did it take? Under 1 minute to order and explain what I was doing
How much effort? One sentence and swiping my ATM Card.

Lesson of the day, people are awesome.

has this blog brightened your day? Have you done something nice since reading this?

UPDATE: DAY 2's EVENT IS BACK ON! I spoke to the person who was offended by the sign, we're cool with each other. A new take a nickel, leave a nickle sign is up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 2 Leave a penny, take a penny.

Leave a penny, take a penny.

We have a vending machine at work. It only takes EXACT change and it's counter intuitive to what you would expect.

I am leaving a small container of change, filled with what was sitting at the bottom on my purse.

I'll keep an eye on how much money is in it every once and a while.

I posted a sign about the cup, "Take a nickel leave a nickel. Let's face it this machine eats our money, let's help each other out."

Reaction: It lasted a grand total of 10 minutes.
Someone was offended by the sign and I took it down. I believe it was the wording of the sign. For that it was a poor choice on my part.

Will I do it again?: Nope.
How much did it cost me? my pride
How much time did it take? 1 minute total
How much effort? Not much but on further refection I would rewrite the sign.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 1 Chick-fil-a


Task: I will buy chick- fil- a for the car behind me in in the drive thru line. Maybe the person behind me will buy for someone else. Maybe not, but worst comes to worst, I made the day for the person behind me.

What happened:

I got up early, I dropped by child off at daycare early and drove to Chick- fil-A. Every other time I've been there, 100 million cars are there. Today. It was a ghost town. Didn't the universe know I was trying to be nice today? Grrr. So I pulled into the drive thru, very slow. I spoke into the speaker slowly, "Um, I would like, er, um, Chick- fil- A chicken biscuit and um, I, er I guess a fruit salad."

No one was behind me. I drove slowly around the corner. No one. I watched my mirror the entire time and as I was planning to come back for lunch a car pulled up behind me. I pumped my fists up the in air and of course the woman could see me, but she had no idea she was the reason why I was happy. The car in front of me pulled forward and it was my turn at the window. "That will be $4.75."
"Can I pay for the person behind me."
"Sure. That will be $2.50" I handed him my card.
It was that easy!

I got my food, my card and drove away.

I was stopped at the traffic light and the woman pulled up behind me.

She had no idea I was the one who paid for her food. She was smiling. Not one of those hey a got something for free smile, but a smile so big it reached her eyes. It was one of those smiles that you see from someone and it makes you smile.

I made her day. That was the whole point of this.

She made mine. Because every time something went wrong today, then I thought about her smile.

Will I do it again?: Yes.

How much did it cost me? $2.50

How much effort did it take? None- I was doing it anyway, I had to say one more sentence.

How much time did it take? 5 seconds.

Truth be told I did one more nice thing today, but I will be posting it on another day. The important thing to do is post something every day.

Best part, I don't have to super nice to everyone, at all times. One person for 5 seconds and its that easy.

I'm not about to do something impressive like this.

But one little thing to make the world a slightly nicer place.

Does anyone have any suggestions

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why Am I doing this?

If you've seen my other blog, you know I have a lot on my plate. I'm a mom, a teacher, a wife, a daughter and a struggling writer. I can also be very snarky and some what of pessimist, depending on my mood.

But I'm also a big believer of little things make a big difference.

I recycle and feel guilty when I don't. I or more accurately had my husband change the light bulbs to those fancy more expensive one.

I smile and say thank you to everyone who helps me.


Because you never know what a little thing can do.

One snide comment to a stranger could ruin his or her day, who then passes his or her crappy mood to someone else. It becomes a cycle of crappiness.

On the flip side, one nice thing from a stranger could make someone's day.

A few weeks ago I bought a woman a cookie. Sounds simple enough. She was having a bad day and announced to the entire store that very fact. I smiled at her and said "you should get a cookie." Then I purchased my items, including a cookie for her.
She started to tear up.

Later she told me, she co-signed for a car loan for her daughter. Her daughter missed a few payments, which came to this woman's attention when she was rejected for a loan because her credit score dropped nearly 200 points.

I'm not saying this cookie saved her day, but it might have saved this woman's daughter's life.

This inspired me to do "Be Nice to a Stranger (or my family) Month" I wanted to help people who I would never see again or people I often neglect.

It's not about forcing someone to say thank you, or making people think I'm a nice person, but to do something nice for someone, just because I can.

I'm not expecting a life changing experience, I'm not expecting a world wide movement of niceness. But maybe for a month, someone reading this will do something nice for someone else.

Not because it's the holidays, but because its easy and it can make a small difference.