Sophie Brannigan

Research Manager

Random acts of kindness

17 February 2017

“Dublin Street Art And Graffiti – Be Kind” by William Murphy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Last week I missed my train to London by 2 minutes and psyched myself up for the usual ‘that will be £X for a new ticket please’. To my surprise and oxytocin firing brain, the ticket attendant didn’t ask me to pay but instead said I could travel on the next train with my current ticket, adding a thank you note to my ticket so I wasn’t questioned.

I was surprised at how much this random act of kindness affected the rest of my day. I felt happy, warm, grateful and that there are good people in the world. I also ended up wanting to act kindly to others too, passing on this warm glow I was experiencing.

Here at Public Knowledge we are interested in behaviour and perceptions and helping our clients to understand those of their audiences. In a recent project we found people don’t feel part of a community anymore, blaming busy lifestyles as the reason.

In a mission to change this public perception, this week, the world has been encouraged to perform random acts to spread a little kindness in celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, leading up to National Random Acts of Kindness Day today!

BBC breakfast ran a news story earlier in the week that scientists have found those doing, receiving and witnessing! the acts all get the same feel good boost. These deeds don’t have to involve money or grand gestures, just little acts that can have big effects. So I’m hoping by sharing some of the random acts of kindness our team and panellists have experienced we pass on a little of this warmth and perhaps inspire you to help spread kindness today too.

“Every year I knit small Christmas decorations with a tag saying please take me home, merry Christmas. Then me and my three young children hang one around our neighbourhood every day till Christmas day”

“I paid for someone’s coffee when I was in London yesterday (their card wasn’t working and they had that face full of panic)”

“Someone leaving a car park gave me their ticket which had money remaining”

“I always compliment people, if I like something they’re wearing, I’ll tell them, you never know how you can affect how someone’s day”

“A lady passenger gave us a free ticket on a tram in France because we could not understand the machine”

“I was buying wood this morning and the wood yard guy gave me some large rounds of wood for free for my chickens to climb on”

“Someone put my bin out while I was on holiday”

“I helped a woman find her car keys she had been searching everywhere for ages, we eventually found them tangled up in the trollies”

“Someone let me in front of them in a shopping queue”