Random acts of kindness.
Have you ever performed one?
Have you ever been the beneficiary of one?
Earlier this month I was thrilled to be a part of an afternoon full of random acts of kindness, sponsored by Chevy in conjunction with an organization called ePIFanyNow.org. (The “PIF” stands for “Pass It Forward”.) It was a great opportunity, and a memorable day for many reasons.
When I received the invitation, I was asked to put together a team. Each team would be driving a Chevy Volt around town, on their way to putting smiles on strangers’ faces. My team? Rita from Look, It’s Megryansmom!, Amy from ParentSphere, and Dawn from Dishin’ With Dawndi.
When we arrived at the Chevy dealer in Naperville (which served as home base), we were given $40 in gift cards and a sheet full of suggestions on good deeds we could perform. My team decided to get 40 scratch-off lottery tickets and hand them out in downtown Naperville.
But first? We had to check out our beautiful ride, which happened to be my favorite color.
The Volt was awesome. I had been wanting to test drive one for months: when I drove the Tahoe Hybrid back in May, the guys who dropped it off and picked it up a week later arrived in a Volt and gave me lots of information about it. I was intrigued, to say the least. The idea of a car that you can plug in (and drive for something like forty miles per charge, without using gas!) is so “Jetsons-like” to me. I’m totally fascinated. The cost of a Volt is, depending on the options you choose, in the thirty thousands, but because it is so energy efficient, buyers get a $7500 tax credit, which is nothing to sneeze at!
When my team climbed into the Volt, I was surprised to discover that, although it is a small car, my back seat passengers were quite comfortable. That’s definitely a plus: nobody likes to sit in the back seat of a car when their knees have to be pulled in towards their chest, and this was not happening to Rita and Dawn: they were fine back there! (Yay!)
The dashboard is sleek and easy to use, and the display screen gives you more information than you can imagine including how far you can go on the power you have left as well as traditional readings like the speedometer, odometer, and other creature comforts. It’s got a push-button start, which I love.
One of my favorite things about the Volt is that it’s surprisingly quiet. I mean QUIET. We could hardly tell it was running, to be honest, and when we drove, err, coasted out of the dealer’s lot, we were all in awe of this vehicle.
We drove to a grocery store first, and while we were there we picked up (on our own dime) a big box of Cub Scout popcorn (18 individual packets), to hand out to families. We figured it was nice to support the scouts, and when I realized that these boys were from the same Cub Scout Pack that my boys were a part of, it meant even more to me.
We headed to downtown Naperville and immediately started approaching people with our lottery tickets and popcorn, basically telling them that we were out doing good deeds for the afternoon and we just asked that they consider passing it forward.
What was interesting to me was the variety of ways people reacted. It said lots about where we are today as a society. While some of the people seemed to be completely accepting of a stranger (or four) approaching them, there were just as many who sped up their stride, looked at us in fear, clutched their belongings a little closer, or even refused a free lottery ticket! It made me long for the olden days, when people weren’t so suspicious, but it also made me want to perform more good deeds, because it feels good to make somebody smile.
We covered a lot of ground, and we all took turns giving away the lottery tickets. Doing this in a group was fun, too. We laughed, a LOT.
I was a little worried about Rita, because she was darting in and out of traffic in order to give away her lottery tickets, approaching clueless drivers and motorcycle riders with wild abandon. She’s amazing, that Rita.
About halfway through our afternoon, we were making our way down the riverwalk when I saw something in the distance, on the street. Before I even knew what was happening, I heard someone scream “CUPCAAAAAKES!” (that was me) and I took off, running to the Flirty Cupcakes truck. Of course, my girls followed, and we had a red velvet cupcake break. (We gave the Flirty Cupcake girl a lottery ticket, too!)
Okay, so I’d be lying if I didn’t report that, a while after the cupcake break, we also stopped at Cookie Dough Creations for cookie dough, to go. (What?)
When we returned to the Chevy dealer, all of the teams gathered around and reported about all of their good deeds. It was a tremendously rewarding afternoon, and I highly recommend it. You don’t have to wait for an event like this, either. Go to EPIFanyNow.org to read more about this organization, and get inspired to get out there and spread some smiles!