Being on the receiving end of a random act of generosity and kindness – big or small – leaves us feeling grateful. It does the same for the person who performs the good deed.
To spread a little cheer, I started the Create Magic Challenge in December. I sent out a challenge each day to more than 100 participants, which created the potential for nearly 3,500 acts of kindness in our communities across the country. People from as far away as Arizona and Michigan accepted the challenge.
Those challenges ranged from leaving little unexpected gifts – anonymously – to donating time or money. A few of the challenges I issued were:
1. Send someone in the military a care package or a thank-you note through OperationGratitude.com.
2. Leave a 100 percent tip for a great waiter or waitress. Make their day with a note to let them know what a great job they’re doing.
3. Write a little love note. Even just one sentence (“You deserve to be happy”) is fine. Take your little love note and choose a random car in a parking lot. Slip your note under the windshield wiper with the message facing in so the driver can read it.
Throughout the month, participants shared stories – on a private Facebook page – of how their challenges went. Some participated alone; others got their families involved and enjoyed discussing what they did to give back that day over dinner.
Participants found that once they started giving back, it created more and more magic. For instance, one participant noticed a man carrying a store sign at the corner of a busy street. She could not help but notice his tattered shoes were taped together. She struck up a conversation with him and offered him money for new shoes. She said, “The astonished, grateful look and tears in his eyes (and mine) said it all.”
Others found that paying it forward had a surprising boomerang effect. “My ‘magic’ just keeps coming back to me. Every time I reach out to do something for someone else, it is returned within days,” said another.
The challenge has been so gratifying, I plan to offer it every December. Katie Mattson, Charlotte
As told to Page Leggett
Share your story
Did a stranger step in to offer you help out of the blue? Email email@example.com. Include name, hometown and daytime number. Or mail Everyday Angels, Charlotte Observer, 600 S. Tryon, Charlotte, NC 28230. Roland Wilkerson