38 Acts of Kindness for my 38th Birthday

Traditionally, on my birthday, I get a fabulous breakfast in bed followed by a day of fun and a break from responsibilities.  It’s always a wonderful day!  This year, though, I was inspired by another blogger to make my birthday a day that has more of an impact.  I decided to spend my 38th birthday doing 38 Random Meticulously Planned Acts of Kindness (MPAK).  I am completely exhausted, but it was one of the most amazing days!  Here is how I spent today:

MPAK #1 – Gave the kids the day off of school and chocolate cake for breakfast!  (Yes, it is a heart shaped, super-duper, chocolate cake!)  Toby took the day off of work, too, so he could join us!  Awesome man!

Then we headed down the road to drop some chocolate covered bananas off at the neighbors (MPAK #2).  We tried to be sneaky and left the treats on the doorstep.  But, they figured it out 🙂

MPAK #3 – I mailed a letter to two special people who I haven’t talked to in a while, and left a thank you note and some chocolate in the mailbox for our mail lady (MPAK #4).

Next was off to the library, where I donated some books (#5), gave the librarians a thank you note and some goodies (#6), and left a few dollars for the next patron with overdue fees (#7).

At the grocery store, we had a great time helping people load their groceries into their cars (#8), and returning carts (#9).  People looked skeptically at us when we asked if we could help, but I can understand that.  Unfortunately, most of the time when someone you don’t know approaches you it’s for something they want, not for something they want to give to you.

I had written up a bunch of notes with inspirational sayings on them to pass out and put on cars. (#10)

Once we headed inside the store, we stocked up on a few things that we needed for the day: balloons, flowers, tea, pet food, litter, and a gift card for groceries, which we gave to a sweet lady in the line next to us (MPAK #11).  She looked stunned and I don’t think she was quite sure what to do with the thing. 🙂

Then, it was on to the laundromat, where we taped some coins on the machine for the next unsuspecting clothes washer (#12).

We veered from my detailed and ordered list then, to make a stop at the local hospital.  A dozen balloons in the back of a Prius makes for a bit of a driving hazard. So, we thought it might be a good idea to drop them off first.

We had hoped to give the balloons to the kids in the children’s ward, but we were turned away.  They were concerned about the latex in the balloons.  So, I headed up to the Labor and Delivery ward (where I use to work) and they were happy to give them to the mamas there (MPAK #13).

While we were there, we also dropped of some flowers and tea for the nurses (#14).  It was a wonderful treat for me, too, because I got to visit was some friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time!  Ok, really, this whole day was a wonderful treat for me.  How can you not feel happiness seeing all the smiles created by kindness?

Then we snuck into a few of the public bathrooms and taped inspirational notes in the stalls and on the mirrors (#15)

From the hospital, we headed over to a couple of friend’s houses to put love notes and a little chocolate on their doorsteps (#16).  Mmmmmm!  Chocolate!

By the time this was done, we were getting a bit hungry and headed to lunch.  While we were at the restaurant, Leif delivered some hand-made mint chocolate lip balm to a mama and her little boy, who were sitting at a table near us.  She was very thankful. (#17)  I also bought a white-chocolate brownie dessert and had it delivered to another table anonymously  (#18).  Because, again, who doesn’t need a little chocolate?  Then, along with a tip, we left a lottery ticket for our waitress. (#19)

From here, it was over to the park where the kids could play, and drop coins in the sand and all around for kids to find (#20).

Leif buried a few in the sand box and then dug them up himself, then ran over screaming about the silver treasure he’d found 🙂

We ended up seeing a friend of Kaia’s at the park and she joined us in spreading the coins.  She told me that I had to add that as a random act of kindness because she was having so much fun and it made her happy to join in the celebration. So, bam, #21!

We also saw the mama and little boy from the restaurant to whom we gave the lip balm.  She came over and said hello, let us know that she really liked it, and thanked us again.  By the time we were leaving the park, school was letting out and the park was filling up.  I wish I could have set up a secret camera to watch the kids find their booty.

Before we left the park parking lot, Kaia and I ran across the street and left a bouquet of flowers on a random doorstep (#22).  As we were getting in the car, we saw a woman and a girl come out of the house and pick up the flowers.  They both had huge smiles on their faces.  It was very sweet to see.

From the park, we headed to the Y where we handed out locally made soap to all the sweaty people (#23).  They all loved it.  One sweet man told me he couldn’t take the soap (this one was a little brown soap).  He said, “I’m fat and you’re trying to give me chocolate?”  He happily took it when I reassured him that it was only soap.  Each soap was individually packaged with the information about the local soap business on the baggie. Free advertising for the soap makers (MPAK #24).  Again, we met up with friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time and got to do a little catching up!

Then, it was off to the women’s shelter to bring some goody bags with toiletries. (#25)

Leif was getting pretty tired from all the running around decided to take a snooze in the car.

So, Toby dropped Kaia and I off at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, while he and Leif hung out in the car and relaxed.  We brought them some dog food and litter (#26), then played with the kitties and a sweet dog named Ruby (#27).  We also changed the littler boxes in the cat room (#28).  Before leaving, I bought a raffle ticket, in Toby’s name, for a car! (#29)  I have to admit to you that if he wins the car, we will selfishly be keeping it 🙂

Our next stop was downtown Asheville.  I put on a sign that said “It’s my birthday!  FREE HUGS!” and headed out into the streets.  We gave flowers to strangers (#30).  When we ran out of flowers, we gave inspirational notes (#31). When we ran out of notes, we gave chocolate (#32).  I was stopped a few times by friendly souls looking for hugs (#33).  One couple was super excited to see what we were doing, stopped to talk and gave us huge hugs and lots of smiles. (Yes, I have put crazy blur glasses on them because I forgot to ask if it was ok to use their picture on my blog.  But, you can see their great smiles.)

One woman that I gave a flower to asked for a hug and then began to cry on my shoulder.  I held on as long as she needed and then gave her another flower.  I wish I could have given more.

We taped quarters to phone booths (#34), and put quarters in parking meters that were about to run out (#35).

I got a couple of movie tickets at the Fine Arts Theater and then left them for the next person with a little inspirational note. (#36)  We stopped by the fire station and brought a thank you note and chocolate covered bananas for the firemen (they were very thankful) (#37)

As we were leaving the parking deck, I paid for the next person leaving the deck (#38).

That’s 38!  But, we weren’t done yet.  I still had a box of books in the back of my car that was destined for a friend’s house.  So, off we went to bring her some homeschooling books that she has really been wanting but wasn’t able to purchase.   (#39!!)  She was super happy and said she felt like she was on a TV show with someone delivering a big prize to her doorstep.  We visited for a while and then, after a wonderfully long day, headed home… for more cake!

It was an amazing day for all of us.  Kaia is already planning the 9 deeds she wants to do on her birthday (Yay for role modeling)!  But in the end, I know I’ve received more than anyone else today, and I think I will be high on all the hugs and smiles for many days to come.

Oh, by the way, Random Act of Kindness Week is Feb 13th – 17th.  So, if you are feeling inspired, I challenge you to go for it!  During RAOK week, or any time!!!  And please leave me a note letting me know!!

Love to you all!











37 thoughts on “38 Acts of Kindness for my 38th Birthday

  1. That is so awesome! I choked up a bit reading about the lady who cried on your shoulder. Happy Birthday! 🙂

  2. Maria, I cried reading this – it is so beautiful, and I’m inspired!

  3. Wow…just…wow – this is so inspiring! We teach our children simple things like holding the door open, manners – but to dedicate an entire day to (AND it’s your HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY Birthday!!!). Thank you so much for the wonderful idea.
    I’ve looked at the Random Acts of Kindness site AND I thought it was interesting about using Leap Day as a RAK day, since it is a whole day that we typically wouldn’t have 🙂
    GREAT ideas – you are a great Mama!!!

  4. Thank you so much. I think you could even post #40, making the blog! You have helped me to start my day with love in my heart, a smile on my face, and tears that are blurring the screen! Really special…I loved reading about how you had a plan and accomplished your RAOK and documented it…. 🙂 justine

  5. OH, I forgot to post one of my favorite inspirational quotes from the day:

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

  6. I have to say that I just wandered into this blog via Small Measure (which is a gas itself), and this post made my day. Bless you!

  7. this is just amazing. you’re such a wonderful, kind, generous soul. i’m happy to know that there are people like you, and that i am fortunate enough to be able to call you a friend. happy, happy birthday, sweet woman!!!

  8. Maria~You have to be the coolest person I know. Happy birthday to you! You definitely make the world a brighter place. 🙂

  9. Look at the picture of Kaia in the balloons, so priceless!! I bet she will always remember your 38th birthday and look back with such pride in her amazing mama! <3

  10. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I read your blog. Such good vibrations coming from you and your family. HI to Toby, Kaia & Leif.
    Blessings be upon thee.

  11. This is just wonderful. You have inspired me–I have a birthday coming up soon and I might try this. Thank you.
    (and to put a spin on one of the other comments above, you have to be the coolest person I don’t know!) : )

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  13. Oh how much fun is this, I just love doing RAOK in secret…..
    You do get so much out of it…….

    Loved reading your post and it’s wonderful that your daughter is thinking about what she can do for others.
    If more people thought about doing this sort of thing, wouldn’t the world be a happier place….

    Claire :}

  14. Wow! This is my first visit to your site (I found it through Small Measure). This is such an amazing way to spend your special day. I am pretty sure that most don’t do that many kind things in a year. I really love it. It is very moving. Your children are so blessed to witness this. Happy Birthday!

  15. Wow! What an amazing day! Happy Birthday, I am sure you feel your blessings grow tenfold! What an inspiration to your children, and us all! Really awesome!!!

  16. How inspiring! I love these ideas! do you mind if i steal some of them and try them out myself? I will give you credit for the idea of course 🙂 sounds like you have a very good birthday! i loved the “free hug” sign

  17. Awesome, funny, extremely moving!
    Sitting down tonight to have planning session with my family! Hubby already agreed to take day off to help me – so excited!

  18. Cant wait to make my plan. I do some of these things on a regular basis but palnning to do 53 in a day..wow!! Should I make it a week??? LOL

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  20. This is an awesome idea. I am a teacher and I would love to incorporate this idea into my classroom somehow. So cool!

  21. Today’s may 38th b-day, a bit depressed (not about my age) more so on the time I’ve wasted, so I decided to look for some funny quotes or jokes about 38th birthdays and came across your page..I love it! We aren’t doing so great money wise but there are a few other things I can do to be kind that wont cost a dime!
    -Inspired <3

  22. Happy Birthday, Christine! I hope you are able to create a wonderful day for yourself! And don’t be depressed about what you haven’t done, or time waisted! Just recognize that you want to make a change and go for it!! Many blessings in this next year of your life!

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  24. very inspirational!, I have to do some acts of kindness for karate class and your idea’s will help.Thats another good deed of yours ha.

  25. What a beautiful way to teach our kids to be kind and caring! Thank you for this inspiration Maria!
    Wishing you the BEST!


  26. What a wonderful idea to celebrate your B’day with your kids Maria I appreciated a lot n thanks for sharing n giving a fabulous idea for us too..God bless you.

  27. Hi!
    So man great ideas, so much love…
    I’m very inspired to do such little things here too.
    Thank you and have many nice days!

  28. Oh my word darling I couldn’t finish reading I was in tears from your beautiful article (I’m at the office so I can’t be balling my eyes out else people will think I’m all hormonal or something). I ended up here looking for some inspiration on what to do on MY 38th this Friday. Well done and for teaching your kids how much being kind can be so much fun. God bless you!

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