Gift Lab: Boom Boom in the New Year
The Random Acts of Kindness Kit is a game with no winners. Just pull a card out of the deck, follow its suggestion, and do something nice for a fellow human being. Then pass the card on to a friend or stranger and suggest they do the same. You can track how far your act of kindness spreads, by registering your deck online with the Boom Boom Revolution.
What better way to start off 2011? Norma tries out a card from the deck, and winds up meeting a new friend.
1. Product Name: RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS KIT (Boom Boom Cards)
2. Research Question: What does it take to be kind to someone just for a moment and how does that affect them?
3. Hypothesis: The Random Acts of Kindness Kit offers the opportunity for me to make a difference in a person’s life, just by being kind to them or by showing my appreciation for what s/he did for me. I hope to also encourage environmental awareness and reach out to others.
4. Experiment: After following the instructions to register my deck of Boom Boom
Cards, in order to trace my impact, I had to decide which act of kindness or philanthropy I wanted to do first. I was so enthusiastic I wanted to do all of them right away, but I realized that would defeat the purpose. I chose to start small and buy a stranger a cup of coffee.
5. Results: It wasn’t as easy I thought it would be. I became shy for the first time in my life. Standing in line at Starbucks, I looked around and set my sights on a mom with toddler in tow.
But when I got to the register I chickened out. Why couldn’t I do it? Was I afraid she would think I was strange, or did I think it was a silly gesture? I had to regroup and try again.
My next few visits to various coffee vendors were also unsuccessful. I found myself seeking the perfect person and judging the outcome. What did I want to accomplish by committing a random act of kindness?
I wanted to be kind for a moment to someone unsuspecting, with no judgment of deserving, for no reason at all.
One chilly morning as I headed to UncommonGoods to start my day, I dropped by my friendly neighborhood bagel shop. I poured my hazelnut morning fix and was paying for my toasted everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese when I heard a booming Brooklynite voice behind me.
“Hey whaddo I owe you?” he said, as he held up the unmistakable blue and white New York Greek coffee cup.
I paid for it! As he tried to figure out if I was trying to pick him up, I handed him the Boom Boom Card and asked him to read the card and pass it on. His other burly friends giggled like little school girls and encircled him they read it together and I heard him say “Ah…hey that’s cool” and another one said, “You give it way and then you can see where it goes.”
6. Conclusion: Buying this stranger a cup of coffee was uneventful and low key. He didn’t grovel and I doubt if I drastically changed his life. But he is going to keep it in mind for a few days. I saw him stick that card in the pocket of his coat and one morning as he is about to purchase his own cup of joe, he might reach in and pull it out. My hope is that he will remember and want to do the same for the commuter lass in front of him.
I thought I wanted to do this for someone else, but in the long run I realize I did it because it made me feel good.