friendly friday: put on your workboots

After a heart-check last week, I decided to do something(s) anonymously this week.

The idea that started friendly friday in my head was a local radio station that encourages listeners to pay for the drive-through order of the car behind you. Going back to this, I set out to find little acts of kindness this week that were anonymous, some big and some small. I:

  • Walked a few carts back to the corral when on a solo grocery trip.
  • Donated a hat I crocheted.
  • Left a “You are beautiful!” post-it on a changing room mirror.
  • Paid for the coffee of the car behind me…which ended up not being anonymous because he pulled up next to me at a signal and rolled down his window to say that he passed it on to the car behind him. (How cool is that?)

The last one is my favorite. How beautiful is it that one small $3.50 act was multiplied by more kindness and went on to bless someone else? It is truly a great feeling to get to be part of that – and it makes me wonder how many cars took part.

There’s something about the anonymity of the acts that make them more just everyday choices and not something elaborate. It was a good reminder that acts of kindness can be seamlessly interwoven into my week; it doesn’t have to be a production, just an awareness.

To be honest, last week I was more than discouraged by this weekly link-up. I’m sure it was compounded by a ‘failed’ attempt at an act of kindness,  but it got to me that there’s been very little interaction (linking up) or even comments on these posts. When I first posted about doing this friendly post every week, the comments were so encouraging! They said great idea! We need more of this in the world! Can’t wait to be part of it!

But now?


I know that it is hard to add more to our to-do lists each week – believe me. And if you have 45 seconds to walk an extra cart back but exactly zero free seconds to blog about it and encourage others to do the same, trust me I get it. But I would be remiss not to take this opportunity to challenge you to fit kindess into your weeks, days, hours, and then when you can, share that kindness with others. We give each other ideas, spur each other on, and even bless each other just by hearing that yes, there is someone out there who cares and acts on that care.

Join me?

:: :: :: :: :: ::

Did you step out and do a friendly act this week? I would love to read about it. Please link up here. Only rules are 1) that you link to the post about your act of kindness, not just to your main blog url, that way if people are surfing through in the future, they’ll still find your post. Then, 2) within your post, link back to this post so that others can come join in the giving and the sharing and the love.

(Any links that don’t follow the rulesies will be deleted. Capiche?)

So? Go ahead! Warm fuzzies all around! Link up below:

44 Responses to “friendly friday: put on your workboots”

  1. Jenny

    What an awesome story about the coffee drive-thru. I am native Minnesotan living away from “home” right now, so I especially appreciate hearing those stories. I love that you are doing these posts, and wish that I had a way to contribute. Being in a country such as the Netherlands, where I don’t know the language (and frankly am not enjoying it) it is hard to remember to do random acts of kindness (plus, we are at home a lot). Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, when we are finally in Scotland, it will be a bit easier. I did tell the DHL guy the other day that he “made my day”. Does that count? :-) Hope you have a lovely, Minnesota weekend.

  2. Erin

    I love the 3rd one on your list, Allison! I’m inspired to stash some Post-It notes in my purse now for such opportunities.

  3. michelleJ

    Whoa, I love the note in the changing room idea! I don’t find myself shopping for clothes that often but….. okay. I just tucked some post-it notes in my purse so that I’m ready for next time. What a neat idea.

    Much more often ;-) I find myself in the drive-through lane though. Next time I’ll try to remember to treat the person behind me!

    • michelleJ

      Okay so I actually DID find myself in a dept store changing room this evening, go figure. I had walked about 10 steps away when I remembered! So I went back and left a “you are beautiful” note!
      (Sorry, no blog, so I guess I can’t link up).

  4. Heidi Leanne

    I have been guilty of enjoying reading your posts, taking a more conscious effort to do acts of kindness in my daily life, and not commenting or linking. My trouble isn’t finding the acts of kindness to do, its about writing about it and linking here. I will make more of a conscious effort to write something for next week to link up. :)

    I love the drive-thru story! And that he flagged you down at the light to tell you. How cool is that?

  5. Sarah Robbins

    I’ve paid for the coffee or fast food before. It’s one of my favorites. I really like that you are doing this. It’s made me think about doing more acts of kindness, even though I haven’t commented. My blog is private, too (we had a creeper start reading after we had our daughter), or I would link up.

    Keep it up! :)

  6. Sarah Robbins

    Oh! I totally forgot! We did a fun kindness this week. We started Boo grams in our neighborhood. It’s kind of late for others to start it, but it’s so fun.

    You leave a secret bag of treats on two neighbors doorsteps, along with a not to pass it on and a sign to hang on their front door/window. The goal is for everyone in the neighborhood to have a boo sign by Halloween. Here’s the link if others want to play along.

  7. Jen

    Don’t give up! It may take a while for other to catch on to blogging about this but I think this is going to be great. It’s hard for people to talk about their good deeds. It might feel like bragging to some but it so is not. I hesitated posting my story partially for that reason. If it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have ever posted it.

  8. Melissa @ the pleated polka dot

    I actually thought of you twice this week as I unlocked my trunk to get out jumper cables. Twice this week I was able to lend a hand. Then a friend had to come jump my car and another friend bought my breakfast as he was a couple cara ahead of me in the drive through. More and more I see that we are the hands and feet of god. We show his goodness through our kindness. He is using us. And he wants to do it more often. Thanks for these posts. They have been so encouraging!!

  9. Sarah

    I love that last one! How sweet of him to pass it on!
    I find I have a hard time blogging about the *extra out-of-the-way* kind things I do because it’s hard for me to write it in a way that won’t seem all “look what I did”. I absolutely LOVE helping others and doing kind things, but I don’t want to come across the wrong way. YOU write it so well! I’ll try hard for next week!

  10. Gretchen

    I’ll do my best to get something posted next week. I’ve read all your Friendly Fridays and am always so encouraged by them! Keep it up and I’ll be joining soon. You can even tweet remind me if you want :) @ThatMamaG

  11. Lindsay N.

    I don’t have a blog, but I read yours & many others….ever since you started the ‘friendly friday’ thing, it’s made me more aware of helping others….I’m starting small, with my family. Made a few thoughtful home-cooked dinners for my husband & son. Baked a loaf of blueberry lemon bread – had enough for 2 so I made another loaf for my parents. My in-laws are moving, and their kitchen stuff is all packed up…so when I made some bacon/egg/cheese biscuit breakfast things for my husband, myself and our son, I took some over to my in-laws and they were so appreciative. The other night, I baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (saw the recipe on another blog, but I can’t remember which one!), I brought in a bag for folks at work – they loved them….But I just put them in the kitchen w/a note saying what type of cookies they were, and didn’t put my name on them.

    Keep up the good work, you have to start small and start somewhere! :)

  12. Elizabeth

    Your post -it note act of kindness reminded me of this website –
    It encourages people to leave anonymous nice notes in public bathrooms, changing rooms, public places etc. to help pass along the message that we are beautiful, just the way we are!

    My little act of kindness this week was taking an older woman’s cart back to the store for her after she was done unloading her things into her car. I am also teaching my 4 year old little boy to always hold doors open for people. He gets such a kick out of it.

  13. Jules

    I thought of you this morning as i was grocery shopping. I had all good intentions of of doing some random kindness, but I got lost in the hurry-up, and made it home without one done. And looking back I see so many opportunities now! I could’ve left some change in the parking meter at the library. i could’ve let that other driver go in front of me. Well, i still have another outing today, and will keep my heart ‘open’ to see what comes up.

  14. jill

    instead of sharing how folks were friendly, what about inviting people to link up if they share a story about how someone was friendly to them? i think we more naturally share stories of when someone went of their way to be kind to us, and those stories inspire more acts of kindness as well. you’re right, it’s an awareness thing, being aware of how others helped and cared for you throughout the week/day is a good posture, esp. as folks with resources, we tend to think we need to be the ones to “help”.

  15. Erin

    Ok don’t totally hate my act of kindness bc it is kinda lame. I don’t blog so I don’t participate in link-ups. But your good work and questions above made me want to jump in. So I thought back over the week, and the only thing I can think of is that I gave my gardener a big tip this week. Doesnt really count I know but I’ll be back next week with something real!

    • AllisonO of O My Family

      THAT COUNTS. It seriously all counts and I am so encouraged by you sharing that on here! Thank you. I am so bad with tips, I’m not sure why. I think part of me thinks that the establishment that is paying their check should just increase their pay, but, well, yea. Hello, selfishness on my part. Thank you for encouraging me to loosen my grip on my money in this area. xoxo

  16. Susan

    I love your Friday column and while I do blog, I have only 5 followers and I don’t quite see the point anymore. Anyway, this last post got me thinking about all the people who make a difference in this world, and never really know that they have. Perhaps you are falling into that catergory with this idea. Clearly (based on the comments) you are motivating people to live more intentionally – whether they write about it or not.

  17. Kelster

    I read your initial post and thought WOW, that’s great. I want to do that. But then I thought, but how? How do I do this? And then I allowed myself to think that it’s just too hard to think of one act of kindness each week. I just don’t have the time. See what I did? I made it a burden to be kind! I am going to challenge myself to do this. Maybe it won’t be one each week but I have to do this.

    • AllisonO of O My Family

      That is wonderful. Don’t over think it – just do! Even if it doesn’t go how you planned, you will be acting in faith and you will be blessed by living with eyes open for ways you can help others. Good luck!

  18. kodi

    It was the last week of a bible study I was in at church and the same ladies have done nursery every week. I brought them both $5 Starbucks cards…something I would’ve never thought of before, but you’ve inspired me to show appreciation for things others take for granted—like nursery workers.

  19. Helen Davies

    Can I be honest? I am so nervous to try out these ideas. I mean the cart one, icould do, maybe even the note on the mirror, but paying for the next persons coffee? No way. What if they don’t order coffee but something else that costs more? Then the server won’t know what to do. Or what if the server refuses to do it? I know it sounds pathetic but my head fills with all these horror stories when I think of doing something! Sigh. I will try, ideally will. Sorry for the negativity- think I am asking for some encourGment.

    • Margaret

      Helen, I have had the same apprehension when I paid for the next person, too. I’ve only tried this in a drive-thru when there is someone behind me who has already ordered by the time I get to the payment window. I haven’t had problems, even with employees who CLEARLY have never accommodated that request before! The employees often seem shocked but most are just plain excited to get to share the good news with the next car! If you’re unable to pay for the entire order, perhaps you could say something like, “I would like to pay $5 toward the order behind me.” One time my husband and I went out on a limb to pay for a van-load of people behind us because they seemed to be struggling to round up the money (seemed like there was a lot of scrounging going on!). Their total turned out to only be $1.06! Ha ha ha Anyway, it seems potentially confusing in the heat of the moment, but I want to encourage you to try it! I think it could make as much of an impact on the employee you interact with as the driver of the car behind you.

    • AllisonO of O My Family

      Helen, you are precious. Thank you for sharing your honesty here. I completely understand the nervousness (says the woman who once drove to her husbands office to get jumper cables only to come back and find things not going how I planned).

      The only complication I have ever had is that at McDonalds, if you are paying with a credit card, the manager will have to come to the register to approve a “double swipe”. Most window tellers know this and take care of it with ease. The other thing about not knowing how much it will cost to cover the car behind you: one option is leaving a $5 gift card if the amount spent is a large concern (or if a car hasn’t ordered behind you yet). The other way to think of it is the more they order, the more you are blessing them. Once I had decided to pay for the next car at McDonalds and a van that looked full of people pulled up behind me. ::gulp:: It was an act of faith to say “and I’d like to pay for the car behind me, too” without knowing how much I was about to pay. It ended up being $19 – and just think – that was probably a whole family’s meal.

      Another way to think about it, is even if it might be awkward or require a manager to come to the register for a moment, you are being an encouragement to the TELLER, too! S/he is seeing first hand a very cool act of kindness, and s/he even gets to be the one to give the good news. I’ve had employees ask me why I’m paying and I get to just say that I want to bless someone. They are always excited to be a part of it.

      Good luck finding a way to step out in kindness this week! One small act can have a large impact. :)

      • Helen Davies

        I did it!!! The mcdonalds thing- I did it!! It totally freaked me out but I gritted my teeth and hopefully blessed someone!

  20. Shelley

    I agree with some other commenters…it’s hard to do a post about this without feeling like bragging. Even though it’s totally encouraging to read someone else’s post. I like the idea of being able to link up with a kindness bestowed to you as well.

  21. Margaret

    I’m not sure if you are OK with stories in the comments rather than link-ups, but I don’t blog regularly — mostly just to keep family without Facebook updated on our little one. However, your series has encouraged me to think of (and carry out) something friendly each week! This week I sent a card of encouragement to someone who has been struggling with recovery after surgery. It was out of my comfort zone because the recipient is a FB friend from my hometown who I haven’t seen in, oh, about 16 years. :)

  22. Boomskilpaadjie

    So, I’m a reader all the way in South East Asia…thought I’d let you know that your Friendly Friday post has totally inspired me too (likewise have stashed post its in my purse). I did something similar during Lent this year. In addition to giving something up (my beloved chocolate), I made an extra sandwich each morning to give to a more deserving person on my way in to work. Not even an extra two minutes out of my day and it was always so appreciated.

  23. Megan

    Hey Allison. I tried linking to your post, but my link thing isn’t working AT ALL. So, I just put the URL for this page on the post. Still trying to figure out that stupid link thing.


  24. Natassia

    This is a great idea! I hadn’t seen the first one. Do you happen to have a button for this? I love the dressing room idea! I want to do this the next time I go shopping! If I can get out of the house I will attempt some thing and link up!

    Keep it going!!!

  25. jenny

    I’ve been smiling more in public and towards people in public. Usually, I keep my face forward and not focused on anyone person. Whether others smile back or not – I just wanted to let them know that others around them aren’t completely mean. Sometimes when others smile at me in public it makes me feel better…

  26. Nina

    I didn’t think about what I was doing when i did it, but I guess I did do something nice today:) Our grocery store has a cart that looks like a racecar…my son LOVES it and it makes shopping sooo much more fun. The problem is they only have one and if I can’t find it shopping is not so fun. This morning my daughter was going on a field trip so I stopped at Subway to get us lunch. Subway is at the opposite end of the plaza as the grocery store. As I was walking to my car I saw the racecar down at the wrong end kinda hiding behind a vending machine. I thought no momma walking into the grocery would have ever found it so I couldn’t leave it:) I walked it back down the the grocery store even though I was running late for the field trip. Hopfully some momma was thankful to find it this morning!!

    Thanks for inspiring us all to do more good! I always try to do kind things, but being more aware just makes more good things happen:)

  27. Megan

    Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.- Anthony Robbins.

  28. Kaycee

    I know in our world right now it feels like everyone has a blog, but if it helps with those crickets I am someone who does not have a blog (I’m a teacher so I choose not to blog) and so I can’t link up. Of course that also doesn’t excuse me from not commenting (whoops) at least. But I would like to say that these posts are SUCH an encouragement to me. Like one of the other comments, paying for the person behind me has made me nervous too – just in process for how it works and if the cashier would get it. But I can get over that, I will get over it! I also like the gift card idea, that’s a simple way to me to do it without the worry so I will have to try that! I must admit, the more anonymous the act is the more I prefer it. I return carts to the cart corral, I scrape the snow off the car next to me in the winter, I donate online to people adopting & other charities, I purchase products that make donations to things like that on my behalf too. I am more the type to send a cashier’s check to someone in the mail I know needs help than to walk up to them and hand them the money. I need to both think of more anonymous ways I can be friendly and also step outside my comfort zone a bit and try some less anonymous options. :) Please keep posting these. And know even when you think you are hearing crickets you really are still making an impact by making those of us reading think more about doing these sorts of things. Even when we are slackers and we don’t comment. :)

  29. Erin

    One of my friends organizes the delivery of meals to families after a baby is born using CareCalendar…http://carecalendar.org/. I’ll be forever grateful for so much kindness and delicious food that we received just over a year ago when our son was born. I had the privelege Monday evening of taking dinner to some friends who welcomed their second son last Wednesday and even took a couple of puzzles for his big brother. This kind of…well, kindness can be given to someone who has had surgery or otherwise fallen on hard times, too. The possibilities are endless!


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