It’s time to be randomly kind to strangers

By Dale Johnson Posted: February 14, 2017 9:15 a.m.

 Olivia Arnal (l) and Jamie Prisciak are organizers for Random Acts of Kindness Week.
Olivia Arnal (l) and Jamie Prisciak are organizers for Random Acts of Kindness Week. Photo: External Relations

This is Random Acts of Kindness Week – and that could include such things as plugging someone’s parking meter, buying a friend a coffee, buying a meal for a stranger if their debit card gets declined, or getting flowers delivered to someone.

“It can be as simple as a smile to a stranger in the hallway, to acknowledge their presence,” says Jamie Prisciak, a third-year kinesiology students and co-ordinator for this year’s activities at the U of R.

She’s working with Olivia Arnal, a third-year business student, and they’re both in the UR Guarantee program.

“Take those positive experiences and pass them on to somebody else, so they can feel that as well,” says Arnal.

The highlight of the week is Wednesday, Feb. 15, when everyone is encouraged to perform a random act of kindness.

New this year are random letters to strangers.

“We’ll do up letters with inspirational, feel-good notes. We’ll hide them on Tuesday night – and then when students come into their classrooms on Wednesday, they might find these notes on their seats or under their keyboards,” says Arnal.

And some of these notes may not be found right away.

“We’ll put some of these letters in books in the library – and if the books aren’t used for a while, then the notes will be found later,” she says.

“They’re just to make a person’s day a little bit better,” explains Prisciak.

Arnal says a random act of kindness can brighten the day of a stranger – and that’s important when a lot of people are self-centred and focus only on what’s affecting them. “We don’t take the time to consider that maybe someone else is having a bad day. Maybe they were late for class because they got some horrible news in the morning. Instead, we’re just frustrated with them because they interrupted the lecture. You really have no idea what someone else’s story is until you take the time to listen.”

Although it’s often human nature to recall negative experiences and interactions, Arnal is hoping that “we would love to have is people go home at the end of the day still smiling because of something nice somebody did for them.”

No matter how big or how small your random act of kindness might be, share your experiences at #UofRraks.

And the hope is that random acts of kindness will continue to be part of campus life, rather than just for a day or a week.

“I really do think that being kinder to each other can benefit our society as a whole,” says Arnal.