This past December, with just days before Christmas, Hartland resident Lori Gaines was in the midst of her own hustle and bustle of the holidays, running errands and checking off items from her To Do list.
Stopping in at the Hartland Hallmark, Gaines had picked up a last-minute card to send to a relative and requested to buy a single stamp so she could mail the card that day. Being told only a book of stamps was available, Gaines says she was reaching into her wallet to pay when she was told by the Hallmark employee to read the note wrapped around the stamps.
“These stamps are for you. A random act of kindness in honor of Josephine, age 7. She was a victim of the tragedy in Newtown, CT. May you have a blessed Christmas.”
“I saw the name of the little girl who was killed in Connecticut and I immediately teared up," Gaines said. "It was one of those perspective things that sometimes happens to you.”
Choked up and with tears in her eyes, Gaines said the simple note was a big reminder of not only the recent suffering that was still on the “minds and hearts” of many, but also to "slow down" and appreciate how an act of kindness can affect someone's day.
“It was a small, simple kind of thing to brighten someone’s day,” Gaines said. “And I felt like we should all do this a little more often for each other.”
After the Sandy Hook shootings, many people across the nation seemed to feel that more acts of kindess were needed, including NBC-TV-Reporter Ann Curry who was inspired to create the #26Acts Movement, which turned into an "amazing and inspiring collection of Tweets of acts of kindness," according to a press release from the Livingston County United Way.
Inspired from this movement the Livingston County United Way hopes to continue the trend and looks to showcase more random acts of kindness and is asking for people to share their stories.
According to LCUW Executive Director Nancy Rosso, the stories can be submitted and signed or turned in anonymously. The local stories will be showcased at the LCUW Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition Breakfast scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at Crystal Gardens in Brighton.
“These stories serve as an example of the good in our county, and will hopefully inspire others to take good ideas and pay it forward,” Rosso said in a press release. “Our ‘ask’ is for people to share their stories with us - whether they’ve been the recipient of such a special act or the initiator.”
As for Gaines, with 19 stamps left, the Hartland resident says she does have plans to repay her random act of kindness with 19 ones of her own.
"I'm kind of holding onto them (stamps) for when I feel someone needs a card or a word of encouragement," she said. "Not that people don't need that daily, I just feel like I will be kind of moved and I will know when I need to send them."
You can submit your Random Act of Kindness story by email or mail to Rosso at 2980 Dorr Road, Brighton, MI 48116 or Nrosso@lcunitedway.org.
The National Random Acts of Kindness week takes place Feb. 11-17. How will you participate? Tell us in comments.