On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School. To honor those that lost their lives, Ann Curry, NBC news correspondent, suggested performing 26 random acts of kindness.
Because she proposed her idea via social media, the concept went viral. Acts have ranged from leaving a 100% tip for a waiter to buying 26 children new laptops for school. Those who participated in the challenge have uploaded photos to the Facebook page or tweeted their specific act.
When my mom heard about the movement she became completely devoted to it. She sat me down and we brainstormed “acts” we could do in remembrance of the Sandy Hook tragedy. We also typed up small handouts to describe our motives to our future recipients.
Our first act included anonymously giving a struggling family a grocery gift card attached to one of our handouts. Because we wanted to stay unknown to the family, we asked someone else to drop the card off at their house.
Our second act started at the Kroger grocery store as my mom explained to the clerk why we were buying so many flowers. When she heard about our 26 acts, the clerk discounted every dozen of flowers we bought, which was an act of kindness in itself.
From Kroger we travelled to fourth and fifth floors of Rex Hospital, where we knocked on every door and delivered a carnation with our message attached to it. The joy that this miniscule gift brought these patients was breathtaking. A single flower and piece of paper gave the patients hope and possibly brightened their family’s holidays. I suddenly saw the impact of the 26 acts of kindness on myself and the 60 recipients.
We continued our acts by buying fleece blankets and giving them to the homeless in Raleigh. This was probably my favorite act because we were able to give strangers the gift of some warmth during such a cold season.
By posting some of our acts to her Facebook, my mom was able to get five of her friends to start their own 26 acts. Although our small acts of kindness will never replace or bring back the lives lost from such a tragedy, I feel that what we did was a small commemorative gesture.
I hope that in the future, I will continue these acts of kindness even when devastation does not strike.