Have you ever been the beneficiary of a Random Act of Kindness? I certainly have and I aspire to be that person who not only doles them out, but accepts them graciously. Sometimes accepting them is the harder thing to do.

When I really stop and think about it, my list of kindnesses that have been bestowed on me, is immense. I’ve been so fortunate. But what I love about this wonderful cycle is that kindness begets kindness. I believe that in order to truly and fully realize a RAK, you have to have an open heart in both the giving and receiving.

With regards to cosmetics, it was my mother-in-law, Sandy, who had a belief in me and my pursuing a career in beauty. It was she who purchased my first makeup kit in 1991. . .Mary Kay! “You never know until you try,” she said. That was the beginning of my formal career in this field.

The attorney who hired me for my job during our years in Maryland was a great believer in doling out kindnesses. It’s easy to do things for family, but she is my inspiration for doing things for complete strangers. This lady let me play hooky from work one day so I could attend the presidential inauguration. . . she knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me. This was just a drop in the bucket of the myriad things she did for me. I haven’t seen her in many years, but we still keep in touch and she remains a role model beyond compare.

Everyone should be so lucky as to have an Uncle Steve. He’s one of the “Pay it Forward” dudes. I remember a time when we had just relocated to Charleston; a family of four trying to make ends meet on my husband’s residency salary was tough. There were no extras, no luxuries, but there was always so much laughter and love. One day, out of the blue, a letter and check arrived in the mail. The letter said “keep on doing what you’re doing, and you’ll have the chance to pay this forward.”

Random acts of kindness most definitely do not have to be about or involve money. Sometimes just being a good listener is quite a gift. Holding a door for someone with a heavy load, being a courteous driver, or smiling back at someone. . . these are all RAK. They cost so little, but may mean so much.

So, I challenge myself and you to do more. Offer more of yourself. Practice a random act of kindness. It just feels good.

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