31 August 2010

Random Acts of Kindness by Danny Wallace

This is a small book that may be placed on a table so that people will hopefully pick it up and be given ideas of nice things they can do for others.

Danny Wallace is an author and tv/film personality from the UK. I am working my way through all of his projects.

Some things in this book are simply silliness. I really think he should have preserved the sense of giving with each suggestion; the suggestions that are based on kindness are still, at times, humourous. He lost me when he included suggestions that were simply silliness. I would have rated the book MUCH higher if he had stuck to his original intention of inspiring others to be a simple but real help to others, even with a bit of humor sometimes included.

Some are just offensive, as:

Compliment a lesbian couple on their haircuts.
Really? And what if they don't have nice haircuts? Do you think they won't know you're being a 'smart arse'?

Here, however, are some of my favourite ideas from the book:

Take your leftovers from a meal in a restaurant and hand them to someone who appears to need them more than you. (This would be easy to do in England as there are street people within easy access. They tend not to be very scary. London is not so cold a place that they are forced to take shelter which would put them out of site more likely. To a truly hungry person een someone else's leftovers might be welcome.)

Similar ideas are to hand out lollies (lollipops) to strangers. I think this could be easily done and probably appreciated on a train into or out from London. British people tend to keep to themselves, especially on trains, but a kindness is always acknowledged and can start up a pleasant conversation.
Play 'knock down ginger' (what we would call doorbell ditching, but is known by many names throughout the world -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knock,_Knock,_Ginger ) but leave a gift for the person who answers the door.

Buy a copy of The Big Issue and then give it back to the seller.
Somehow I always thought The Big Issue was probably Muslim propaganda. I was wrong. It is street newspaper sold in eight countries. Only homeless or vulnerably housed people may sell it. The news/mag is written by professionals. The publishers assist the sellers by putting them in touch with services which can help them move forward in life. I often saw a young woman selling The Big Issue outside of Budgens in Virginia Water. Even though I didn't think the magazine was something I would support or be interested in I often thought of speaking to her...but I neer did. I did, however, always smile at her and she always smiled back. I wish I'd supported her sales.

This is probably my favorite suggestion in the book!
Visit http://www.goodgifts.org/ for many selfless ways to be a big help to others.

Send a postcard to one of the most remote lighthouses in the world!
Lighthouse Keeper
South Solitary Lighthouse
near Coffs Harbour

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