#26Acts of Kindness: It’s a Start

Two weeks ago, I was wondering what I could do to help. Most of the world was. There are still so many more questions than answers (although I can think of many things that are certainly not the answer), but one positive movement has come about: Ann Curry started the idea of doing 20 (now 26) acts of kindness in honor of the victims, no matter where you are. It’s gone viral and I’m so happy – relieved, even – to be taking part.

Let’s spread the word: We are better than this. This is a good world after all.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1: Sponsored a package through Project Night Night, which will provide a book, stuffed animal and security blanket to a homeless child. I actually heard about this through The Bloggess a while ago; this provided the extra push I needed to make the donation.

2. Donated canned goods to a food drive (hosted at my friend’s Cookie Swap Party, so really a win-win for everyone).

3. Bought coffee for all of my coworkers. This was not an act of kindness for the poor trainee behind the counter at Caribou, however. “I need one medium northern lite hazelnut latte, one large white berry sugar free raspberry mocha with no whip, one regular latte with an extra shot…” She did great.

4. Bought a coffee for the man behind me in line. He was…startled. But agreed that karma is a good thing.

5 – 8. This one is my favorite so far. I went to my favorite children’s bookstore in all the world, the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, and picked out four of my favorite children’s books in all the world: “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney (for obvious reasons), “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech (who I also met at the Red Balloon once), “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery, and “Matilda” by Roald Dahl.

Four children's books

I immediately donated them to the Red Balloon’s book-donation program. It felt awesome. I could have spent all of my time and money in this store (er, which is why at least the next few of my Acts of Kindness will be on the free side).

9. Gave out candy canes and cards to everyone in my building. Well, almost everyone. I was shy one candy cane, so…

Have a VERY merry Christmas.

Special moments made…specialer.

10. Helped serve ice cream at the nursing home with my mom. And did not eat all of the ice cream myself. That’s not exactly a good deed, but I still feel like I deserve some sort of medal. I really like ice cream.

11. Made lunch for my family one day over Christmas weekend – nacho bar! At one point I had to stir some sort of meat in a pan and two (2) of my four (4) immediate family members were compelled to take pictures. Yeah, yeah. Laugh at the vegetarian. See if I offer to be nice to you ever again.

The rest of the weekend/early week was spent hanging out with my family, and it’s hard to count any time spent together as an “act of kindness” when I enjoy it as much as they do (probably more, because I only cooked that one (1) meal in four days. Thanks for feeding me, mom).

Back to looking for random acts and random recipients. Any suggestions?

My fifteen minutes of @Caribou_Coffee fame

I make a pretty decent cup of coffee.  From what I remember, anyway — I haven’t made more than one or two cups at home in the past month.  Instead, first thing every morning, I walk down the street to Caribou Coffee.  The baristas are the first people I see every day, and they know my usual — a medium dark roast with room.  I’m not getting anything fancy (at that hour, anyway), and although it’s a short hike from my place to Caribou, I literally cut through the parking lot of another coffee shop to get there.

I recognize how crazy that sounds.  So what keeps me going back to Caribou day after day?

My name on a Caribou cup

At the top, the cup reads: "Trivia nights with friends, Rachel P." You are in the presence of coffee royalty. Also this smoothie tasted better than it photographed.

Adding to my general addiction to coffee, Caribou does a great job with marketing.  Their slogan is catchy: “Life is short. Stay awake for it.”  Their Facebook and Twitter accounts keep me up to date on sales and events.  The website, like the store itself, includes a trivia section and a section for suggestions.  And the new frequency cards were call-the-family newsworthy.

If I sound like a poster child for Caribou Coffee, it’s only because I am.  A few months ago, Caribou started a “What do you stay awake for?” campaign, and my submission is featured on the large cold cups.  The day I got an email saying my name would appear on “millions of cups” was one of the best of my life, at least until the frequency cards arrived.

Do I just love the product so much I couldn’t help but participate in their marketing campaign?  Or is their marketing campaign so good, I just couldn’t help but want to participate?  I honestly think it’s a little of both.  I don’t mind hitting the “like” button for a product I actually love, and I don’t mind a daily bit of marketing if it comes with a bit of fun.  And a bit of caffeine.