27 Random Acts of Kindness on My 27th Birthday

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Yesterday, I spent the day alone- just me and the baby. This happens a lot, but I was sad about it since Scott had to be gone all day long and it was my birthday.
Instead of sitting at home HOPING that Scott would have some magical time to give me, I got proactive to make my birthday awesome. I planned 27 random acts of kindness to celebrate my 27th year of life.

I can honestly tell you that this was one of my best birthdays ever. Ever.
Here's what happened:

1-10. Buy a bouquet of flowers and then leave one flower on 10 different cars with a note. 
I found the best bouquet of 10 stunning sunflowers at the grocery store and knew they were perfect. Who doesn't love a sunflower? I tried really hard to think of who would NEED a sunflower the most. I took some to the parking lot of an insta-care place. I put one on a car parked outside of a dentist office. I dropped them off on cars next to me that had out-of-state license plates. I placed them on cars that were totally random. I also thought this Meals on Wheels van deserved a flower.

I tried to place them all anonymously.
At one point, while in Wal-Mart, I was putting a flower on a windshield when I heard: "EXCUSE ME?!" And I jumped (looking incredibly guilty) and this lady with her 8 year old daughter were just glaring at me for an explanation as to why I was messing with their car. I quickly explained how I was trying to spend my birthday and handed her the flower. She looked so confused. I was glad that I had a note on the flower because it wasn't until she read "Please enjoy this random act of kindness" that she softened.
"This. Is the COOLEST idea! This is so great! Thank you! This made my day! This really made my day!"
I was trying to run off when I heard her yell, one more time, and with a lump in her throat: "You need to know this REALLY made my day!"

11. Leave some cold water at the construction by my house for the workers there. 
Also left a note and gave packaged, bottled water. I left it on the truck, and tried to take a picture from my car. I didn't have much time to take a good picture since I was trying not to get caught.

12. Leave cookies for the librarians.
Again, I tried to be sneaky, but I heard a librarian shout after me: "Thank you!"

13. Leave a free Redbox code on a Redbox kiosk.
I did this with two codes (written on the back), and saw a man pull up and look at me funny when he saw me run off.

14. Pay for the person behind me at a fast food place.
This was probably my favorite. I have paid for the people behind me before, but it has usually been moms in a van or tired looking teenagers. This time, as I pulled into McDonalds, someone cut in front of me in line. I had to laugh at that. Little did they know that if they had let me go in front, I would have paid for them!
I saw that the people behind me were two huge, burly looking guys. They looked like big construction workers. For some reason I thought "I hope they appreciate this..."
I paid for both of their meals and told the cashier to please hand them one of my random acts of kindness cards when she told them it was paid for. While I was waiting for my soda, I glimpsed in review mirror and saw these two guys just freaking out. Hootin' and hollerin' and high-fiving each other. I could tell they were trying to see my face, so I put my hand up to acknowledge them and they waved their arms outside their windows and honked their horn. Apparently, they were really pleased to have someone pay for their lunch.

15. Leave some change taped to a washing machine at a laundry mat. 
Walked in, put it on a machine, walked out. When I drove by 20 minutes later, I could see the machine through the window and the change was gone :)

16. Leave a dollar in the toy section of the dollar store.
Hopefully some little girl will get a dollar store barbie.

17. Give a homeless person a "blessing bag"
A blessing bag is a bag full of extra samples Scott gets in the mail that we give to homeless people who ask for money. It's just like a hygiene kit only with some snacks in it too. This blessing bag was looking a little sad, so I threw $5 in it. Normally, I would have made the $5 be a phone card or a gift card, but I didn't have time. Anyway, there was a man with a sign at the end of a freeway exit. The light turned green while I was still a ways back, so as I drove up, I hung it out the window and, luckily, he noticed. I ended up pretty much THROWING the bag at him and heard him shout "God Bless!" as I drove away.

18. Leave a good book in a public park with a note for someone to find.
I chose to leave the book at a bus stop instead of a park. I hope someone enjoys To Kill Mockingbird :)

19. Leave quarters on a playground for kids to find. Remember how thrilling that was?
While I was tossing a $1.50 of quarters all over this play area, Georgia happily walked up to me- so excited that she had found a quarter haha! Whoops! Those are for the other kids! I tossed one into the splash pad where kids were playing, and as I left the park a few minutes later, I heard a girl shout: "I FOUND A QUARTER!" Mission accomplished.

20. Tape a funny joke inside an elevator of a business building. 
I got scared at this one and just taped it inside an elevator at the mall.
"Why was 6 afraid of 7? ... Because 7 8 9"

21. Send a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in my life. 
I did this while Georgia took her afternoon nap. It felt very good.

22. Put away all of the stray shopping carts in a parking lot. 
Okay, I do this anyway when I see a stray shopping cart by my car, but I never do the ENTIRE lot. This was by far the hardest and most time consuming random act of kindness. Probably because I was by myself with a baby on my hip and for whatever reason, chose the biggest parking lot ever. Georgia and I put away 11 shopping carts, including this one:

Who does that?

23. Leave a thank you note and cookies for the mailman
The note said: "Thank you for bringing happiness and packages to our home!"

24. Write a meaningful testimony of my favorite book and leave it in the book at the library. 
East of Eden is ONE of my most favorite books, so I left a note all about why. Wouldn't you love to pick up a book from the library and find a note like that? I would.

25. Leave coupons at the grocery store next to those items for someone to find. 

26. Let a manager know how helpful an employee was.
Whenever I get really good customer service, I almost always find the time to tell their manager. This time, I asked a Wal-Mart employee a question, she answered it, and then I went to her manager and GUSHED about her. The manager told me that she is a pretty quiet person, but a good worker and that it will mean a lot to her that someone said something nice.

27. Leave a bottle of bubbles in the waiting area of a tire center. Because there is nothing more boring that waiting for an oil change. 
When I did this, I was trying to be anonymous again, but it's kind of hard to be stealth and not look like you are doing something illegal. One of the guys at the tire center called me out, and I explained how I was spending my birthday and that I had left a bottle of bubbles with a note. They gave me a balloon.

... ... ...

All in all, the whole day was a raging success.

The biggest thing I realized yesterday was just how many people I can serve. We come in contact with so many people everyday, and if we take just a little bit of time, we have the opportunity to touch so many. I also saw how there are GOOD people in this world. When I took the time to really observe, I saw much service and kindness in all of people who were scurrying around me. The world is full of so much kindness.

I also asked my friends on facebook to please do a random act of kindness yesterday in my honor and to tell me about when they wished me happy birthday. I had so many great responses!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that participated. I think we made yesterday a good day for a lot of people :)

Please read through and see how incredible my friends and family are.

Linda: Happy Birthday! For your birthday, I volunteered in a friend's kindergarten class today. I am your mom's cousin. Hope your birthday is grand.

Albert: Happy Birthday Carrie. What a great idea. Random acts of kindness... I tried to help an old lady across the street, but Aura (his wife) just kicked me in the shin, then told me I was Number one using sign language. ;)

Beth: Happy Birthday to my friends Carrie who is turning 27 today and Lorrie who just turned 29....This Random Act of Kindness (RAK) was done in your honor. This is one of the tables at the local elementary school that I put candy and a sign on! FUN!!! I got so excited about doing this one, now I'm working on 3 others.

Beth #2: "RAK" #2...this is a drawer from my husbands workshop that has been broken for over 15 years. I secretly repaired it for him!

Beth #3:  "RAK" #3...This is a sign I just made for my neighbors. I have to wait til it's dry to give it to them. They're moving in a week and we're going to miss them!

Beth also did this Random Act of Kindness, but ANOTHER friend of mine (Emily) found it before Beth posted about it, took a picture and said “Thanks for the popcorn.”

Beth #5: My friend, Claudia & I went to give out free water on the Cushman Trail as my 5th RAK. We had the opportunity to be kinder than we had planned. This fellow had been skateboarding and had fallen. He messed up his knee and couldn't move it. Another passer-by called 911 and we stayed with him until the Fire Fighters took him to the hospital. I had to RUN to his car to get his cell phone before he left for the hospital and also RUN to find out the cross street so the FD could find us. While we waited, we handed out free water! What an exciting and unexpected turn of events!

Lorna (Madre): My Random Act of Kindness in honor of Carrie Sylvester- Chapman birthday is complete. It was so fun I may have to think of something else to do. : ) I chose to give flowers and a card to a friend who has been experiencing some tough days because this is the time of year her son passed away.

Tiana: Happy Birthday Carrie!! And for your birthday, my one good deed today was that I helped my neighbor get her dog back in the house after he escaped while I was taking Gabriel to school this morning. She had two little girls with her and her toddler son in her arms, trying to keep them out of the road while trying to catch her dog and he came running over to me so I held him until she could come get him.

Alecia: Happy Happy Birthday girly! I am trying to serve people :)

Nicole: Happy Brithday, Carrie! Today, in honor of your birthday, my children and I gave out ice cold water to runners that passed us on our walk this morning. Hope you have a good day!

Nathan: My nice act was not slapping my bosses boss for being a fugly biotch with an attitude problem this morning. Happy birthday.

Leslie: Happy birthday! Does it count that I let my kids pick raspberries to take home, along with taking some of our food? :) I will keep trying. I did clean up disgusting dog poop in the basement and didn't kill the dogs. That might just make me an idiot.

Heather: does changing a diaper count as an act of kindness? KIDDING! Happy Birthday!

Alyssa: oh. I hope you have such a lovely day. Today I gave a homeless guy by the university of utah a powerade in your honor.

Sheridan (sister): Random Act of Kindness: I made cookies and wrote a note for my RA and left them at her door.

Rebekah: Well I took Rosie outside to play for a while (something we don't get to do often because of the Mosquitos) I set up the grill to give my mom a break before I put the food on. A two for one and cuz I can here is the food.

Emily (upon finding the following): Thanks for the popcorn!

Aunt Michelle:  I didn't scream at someone when they went 20 miles UNDER the speed limit in the FAST lane...but after seeing this cute idea...mine doesn't seem to count!

Kade (brother): Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister Carrie Sylvester- Chapman. In honor of her birthday my Random Act of Kindness was to give flowers to a young mother. I just chose someone who was loading a lot of kids in the car and tried to sneak them in her car but she caught me. Turns out it was Whitney Syphus Smith!

Krystal: Happy birthday Carrie!!! Today, I helped my mom take my friend's mom to get her radiation done today, and afterward, when she vomited all over the place, I gladly helped clean everything up and keep her feeling positive and lighthearted about it all! It was a great day of service. Luv ya!

Kevin (Padre): Happy Birthday Carrie Sylvester- Chapman. I love you! Today for my Random Act of Kindness I gave out Redbox promotional codes. Two were random but the other two were to students heading to college.

Terra: Happy Birthday!!! For our random act of kindness we stopped to chat with a couple different elderly ladies in the grocery store that looked like they could use some cheering up. They were both admiring the girls and lit up when we stopped to say hi and ask how they were doing. :)

Anna: I decorated my kitchen for my sister-in-law to welcome her back from Alaska

Pamela: And my random act..washing and drying all the laundry at my friends house w/o them knowing.

Nola: Carrie, I took my little lady out for ice-cream!! She loves chocolate!!! Thanks for inspiring me!!!

Liz: Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you mine! It's little, but it was fun. I paid for the person behind me in the Wendy's drive-through. =)

Sawyer: I was wheel-less yesterday, so I couldn't get out and about, but I did take time for a friend & co-worker who was having a very crappy day, and needed a listening ear. When we were through she was actually laughing. Mission accomplished.

Scott: I gave up my seat on the bus for a girl who was carrying a lot of books.

Kate: I thought of you as I let people merge in front of me in traffic. And by let them merge, I mean I didn't honk and flip them the bird when they cut me off.

Later that evening, after I picked Scott up from work, we went to Benihana for dinner (hey- I'm not totally selfless!) with family. 

I also got some great presents- like a massage gift certificate and some bubble bath from Scott, a pair of Sperry's I got a while ago, Degrassi Season 1 from Anna, and a lamination machine from Madre. Oh- and this awesome paper cutter than I used to cut out my random acts of kindness cards.
You can find the free printable here

This was a long post, but it is full of so many awesome stories and I am sure I will come to treasure it. Thank you again to everyone who made my birthday the best :)


  1. inspirational :) sounds like you had a blast

  2. Carrie, I also forgot to tell you mine. It was just little but it was something. There is an older lady here at work who lost her husband a few months back and lives all alone now. She also has this tiny office and barely sees anyone during the day. When I got off work I stopped in her office to talk with her for an hour before going home. She let me know that she had been wishing I would stop in and chat with her, so it felt nice. :) P.S. This idea is the cutest most inspirational things I've seen. I love you!

  3. Thank you Carrie for making your birthday a celebration that all of us enjoyed. Note to Scott: Being the daughter of a city bus driver if I wouldn't get up for anyone older than me or struggling with something I would have not wanted to go home to face my dad...I hope you can practice your RAK every day when riding the bus. : )

  4. Mom- I know, when Scott told me his RAK, I was like "you do that every time" and he said: "yeah, but today it was for YOU"

  5. Ok fine I did another RAK to make it count. I stuck a dollar in a vending machine for the next person.

  6. Carrie you don't know me but I work with your Mom and I love her and I think you are definately a product of your wonderful mother. Thanks for the inspiration. I got a little lump in my throat reading these!

  7. Carrie this was so inspirational. I didn't do anything crazy to honor you, but I took the dog for a walk, which is usually done by my sister.

    But I am totally taking your idea for my birthday next month! Such a wonderful, and enjoyable birthday gift!

    Love you!

  8. This was so fun to read and so inspirational! What a wonderful birthday :)


  9. What a great idea! I especially love the leaving quarters for kids one. When you started to tell about paying for the construction workers, my first thought was, "Oh no -- they're on a lunch run for their whole crew!" But they weren't. Phew.

    Also, happy birthday. :)

  10. This is Awesome! Thank you. I was inspired to do a similar thing. Here is my story on it http://livedeap.blogspot.com/2013/06/26actsofkindness-sharing-stories.html

    And Happy Bday!!!


I like to hear all of the beautiful things you have to say.