#26 Acts: Just Saying Yes

I came back from lunch to an unexpected voice mail: A fan of our Dementia Care Facebook Page had called up our toll-free number to find me. I listened to the message, talked it over with my mentor, and called her back.

Here’s why:

Her mother had passed away from dementia in 2011, and the Alzheimer’s Society where she lived had been exceptional in their care of both her and her mother, including setting up a respite services program.

She and her mother had been exceedingly close, and she missed her every day. She started a small business and Facebook Page so she could donate a portion of her proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Society, both to thank them for their care and to help them help others going through the same thing.

She asked if I’d mind if she posted a link to her Page on my Page in the hopes of directing potential customers her way. She understood if she couldn’t, that we as a business had to be careful about endorsing other businesses.

She just didn’t know, she said, anything about advertising or getting people to know her page existed, and she so hoped to be able to help out the place that had helped her so much.

I said yes. It was that simple to me. From her taking the time to ask me in person (as it were) to her heartbreaking and heartwarming story, I had no problem with her posting on my page, and I told her so.

The gratitude in her voice nearly overwhelmed me.mother_daughter

Not long after, I received this message from her through my Page: “Thank you Becky. You are very sweet. So nice talking to you. Let’s keep in touch.”

All I did was listen and radiate sympathy and support. At the time I didn’t think I did much of anything, really. Yet somehow this meant a lot to her, and finding that out made me feel good—very good.

Without even knowing it, I had done an act of kindness.

#26Acts: Saving a Little Tree

The other day, I committed an inadvertent act of kindness: I rescued a little pine tree shoved in the garbage can in the lunchroom at work.

It was nothing I expected to see. I went in to refill my water bottle and there was a bristly, dark green tree in a pot, still laden with its red sequin-dusted Christmas decor, sticking out of the can. At first I thought it was fake, but something made me look closer. Nope. This little guy was alive and perfectly well.

I plucked it out of the bin, this gift no one wanted, denuded it of its sad finery and set it on my desk. Just looking at it made me feel better than I had before, on what was a fairly long, back-from-vacation day at work.


I gradually became aware that this tree represented something that went beyond me. Its capacity for giving joy seemed boundless. Work friends came by to admire it in person. Facebook friends admired it from afar. It wasn’t just me feeling good, it was other people not even around it!

This tree has the potential to give people outside my corner of the world happiness, too. If I plant it outside, it will provide shade, beauty, oxygen, peace, or everything all at once; and things I haven’t even touched on or considered yet.

It may also just make someone smile who badly needs to smile.

One of the things I love about the 26 Acts of Kindness movement is that any act of kindness counts. None of the usual things seem to get in the way. Size, gender, religion, species; there is no limit, nor should there be one. Everything has a ripple effect that goes beyond what our immediate vision can see and perceive.

If you follow the #26Acts Twitter stream, you’ll see all sorts of examples:26-acts-of-kindess-hands

  • “I bought toys for homeless children.” #26acts
  • “I bought coffee for the person behind me in line.” #26acts
  • “Gonna donate blood.” #26acts
  • “Just saved a bird that flew in the café.” #26acts

Another great thing about this movement is I haven’t seen people deriding other people’s choice of acts. There seems to be no misconception that just because a person saves a bird or a tree, they don’t also care about saving a person, or are ignorant or uncaring about other causes too, as if one’s capacity to love is finite.

I see that ridiculous assumption over and over everywhere else–but not for this. #26Acts are allowed to be exactly what they are: Doing something good, no matter what.

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