That’s right, an entire day dedicated to encouraging us to perform a selfless act to assist or cheer someone up. ‘How nice,’ I thought, as it popped up on my calender. And it is, a little saccharine, but nice.
I did a little digging and found the concept began with a guy named Josh in Auckland, as he was sat in traffic one morning. He was watching the irate drivers around him getting into a bit of a road rage scuffle and thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if, for one day, everybody did something kind for someone else?’ I’ve often had the same thought, but I’ve never been inspired to create an international day of recognition. But that didn’t stop Josh. Not only did he decree the day, he also built a website. The RAK website - that’s Random Acts of Kindness to you and I - which features a handy list of ideas for ways you can be a better person this February 17.
Top of the list was putting a nice note inside a library book when you return it. I really hate to be ‘that’ girl, but there are approximately 17 things wrong with this sentence - I’ll just go with the top ones. 1) Nobody reads library books anymore. 2) Any note would be removed and destroyed by the lender on its return. 3) If I opened a library book to find a note wishing me a ‘great day,’ I’d conclude I had a stalker, close all my blinds and sit cowering in the dark until my husband came home to save me.
Next on the list, ‘send an encouraging note to somebody.’ Hmmmm. ‘Dear Pauline, don’t listen to what other people are saying, I think your new hairstyle is very flattering, mullets may well be making a comeback - you go girl!’
Next: ‘Leave an encouraging note in your neighbour’s letterbox.’ We’re back to the stalking issue; moving on.
‘Take a group of people to sing in an old people’s home.’ Ah c’mon, leave the old people out of it, they haven’t done anything to deserve that.
Josh I’m sure you’re a lovely guy, and I’m really not as cynical as I may seem - I think it’s a nice idea, in theory, but these are very different times we live in. When the annoying clipboard-holding charity collectors on Fargate let me pass by without trying to make eye contact or shake my hand? That’s a kindness I appreciate. Or when somebody in the queue infront of me isn’t talking loudly on their phone while the barista is trying to take their order, that warms my heart. And if you’re going to do lovely things, which I hope you are - buy a stranger a cup of coffee or mow your elderly neighbour’s lawn - don’t wait a whole year to do it.