Random Acts of Kindness

National Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17th, 2020, fittingly sharing the same date as Family Day 2020 in Canada!

National Random Acts of Kindness Day is coming next week and is one of my absolutely favorite days!  The movement of offering random gestures of kindness is one that, for some reason, speaks to my spirit – the essence of who I am!

I remember back when I was in elementary and high school, we would have special days, where you could purchase candy or flowers for as little as $0.25 cents, and anonymously have those items sent to a friend or teacher.  Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day and festive days offered the opportunity to give a secret gift to fellow-students.  My friends and I would often organize these events as fundraisers for various causes. In preparation for these special days, I would make lists, far in advance, of friends, acquaintances and also of fellow-students who I knew that no one would think of, to share these gestures with. I loved that it was a secret – no one would know that the candy or flowers came from you. Except for you. These special random (or not-so-random) acts of kindness days made a difference at my school.  Not just on that day, but somehow, the ripple effect spread throughout the year, and people were nicer to one another.

Kindness is a currency, just like money or time, and it’s something we could all use a little more of, not just when we were kids in school, but today.  And every day. 

National Random Acts of Kindness Day began in 1995 and is a day to celebrate and encourage random acts of kindness, to embrace the pay it forward movement by offering gestures of kindness to loved ones, family, friends, colleagues at work, in addition to random strangers and people in need.

Even though National Random Acts of Kindness Day began in 1995, the concept came to life many years earlier, when, in 1982, a visionary named Ann Herbert scribbled a very special phrase on a place mat as she sat in a Sausalito California restaurant. She wrote Practice random kindness & senseless acts of beauty.”  This action by Ann was in reaction to the ‘random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty’ that she saw in the world around her.  And she wanted to change it!

The world took notice! A subtle movement began as thousands embraced this philosophy and practice of sharing random acts of kindness.  Stories were shared through media outlets around the world, highlighting the incredible generosity of countless random acts of kindness that were being shared, often by complete strangers. A ripple effect was created with impact felt around the globe! From spontaneously smiling at a stranger or paying for the car behind you in a drive-through restaurant line to much more expensive and elaborate ideas, kindness makes a difference – not only for the recipient but also for the sender.

Something that a group of friends and I did recently was a more elaborate and not-so-random acts of kindness gesture. The concept is simple:

  1. Gather your friends
  2. Save your coffee money
  3. Find a worthy recipient
  4. Get creative

Check out the video and get started on creating your own movement!


The time is now and the world is waiting!  The world is made better and brighter because of kindness! Our lives are made better, brighter and filled with greater meaning because of kindness.

One of the most popular kindness campaigns is “FREE HUGS”, started by Juan Mann, who wanted to reach out and hug strangers simply to brighten up their lives.  It has been replicated around the world, and Kelowna residents have likely even seen the recognizable “FREE HUGS” signs when local groups offer free hugs annually to anyone passing by.

free hugs

Some of the most impactful gestures of kindness cost nothing, yet can change the world! Juan Mann created a movement around the globe with nothing but a large piece of paper and some duct tape – and a desire to reach out and hug a stranger to make their day brighter.  It was also, perhaps, to brighten his own life as he had just returned to Sydney from London and had no one to come home to. Feeling disconnected and alone, this idea came to him and his life and the world will be forever changed.

Seeing the simplicity of ideas like this one, and the potential impact, I’ve been creating a “Gratitude & Wishing Tree” every year in Kelowna for the past number of years.  In the past year, we started using ‘seed paper’ that contains seeds of wildflowers, that we hope will grow in spring.  You may have seen the most recent tree if you hike at Knox Mountain in Kelowna.

A new Gratitude & Wishing Tree will be popping up again soon so keep your eyes open for the blue ribbons that will guide you to it!

Many years ago, a friend and I decided to go out and do some random acts of kindness.  It was a cold, windy day in autumn, and I asked her if she wanted to go rake leaves in a stranger’s yard or go to Tim Hortons and buy some coupons to give out randomly to people.  It was very chilly out, and she hates raking leaves.  Off to Tim Hortons we went. It was back at a time where Tim Hortons had $1 coupons in booklets.  We bought $20 worth and proceeded to walk up to strangers or knock on office windows and give each person a $1 coupon.  Who knew that just $1 could make someone so happy?  Who knew that $20 could change our lives in immeasurable ways?  It is a day that I will fondly remember, forever.

Since that time, we made these Imagine The Ripple Effect cards – to be given out when a random act of kindness is shared, so that the recipient then receives the card and passes it on as they share their own random act of kindness.  Thousands of these cards have been purchased (you can buy 52 in a deck – one for each week of the year).  All proceeds go to charity. You can also read up on 101 Ideas To Create A Ripple Effect here: https://crystalflaman.com/inspiration-corner/

You were born to make the world better and brighter! Could National Random Acts of Kindness Day, on February 17th, 2020, be a day to share a little of your time, talent, or simply – your smile with family, friends, loved ones and even strangers? May this year’s National Random Acts of Kindness Day and Family Day be a day that changes someone’s life – including your own!

The time is now! The world needs you – and it’s waiting!



Crystal Flaman is an international keynote speaker and social entrepreneur, inspiring you to discover your dreams and the difference you can create in the world. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Believe in your dreams. Do what you love and be fearlessly you

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“All I can say is WOW! Crystal Flaman you were on fire at the recent Vernon Women in Business Leadership Conference. Your ability to tie the conference theme into your inspirational messaging. You had the entire room captivated with the interactive activities you brought to help solidify your messages. As the MC, it is my job to mind the room and the time slot. Your expert storytelling had us all captivated from beginning to end. Thank you! I would highly recommend you for any event where the group is looking to elevate their team and individual performances.”
Faith Wood, Inspiring Minds Consulting Ltd, Owner
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Caren Leinwant, Green Shield Canada, Individual Business Services Manager
“I have known and worked with Crystal for the past 20 years.  She is an amazing person!  Crystal is a great speaker – engaging, humourous, and has the ability to appeal to many different audiences – young and old.   She is always prepared and willing to be flexible depending on the needs of her clients.  She has worked with many start up businesses over the years to provide information and guidance.   I would not hesitate to hire or refer Crystal for any speaking, mentoring or coaching opportunities for businesses in my community.  I know you won’t be disappointed.”
Wendy McCulloch, Community Futures Boundary, General Manager
“Crystal is creative, innovative, passionate, and inspirational. She planned special, memorable, and meaningful activities for our students that helped them to recognize their talents, boost their self-esteem, and prepare them for their transition to middle school. Both staff and students were so impressed by Crystal. The students were excited about the gifts they received and these special tokens will forever remind them of the lessons learned during their time with Crystal.  It truly was an honour to work with Crystal and experience all that she has to teach and offer. Our students are better, more confident people because of the time spent with Crystal.”
Mrs Lara Davies, Teacher, North Glenmore Elementary School
“Her physical and mental strength is only matched by the kindness of her heart. Crystal Flaman is a talented entrepreneur and athlete who has combined her passion for humanity with sport. Every opportunity is used to promote the well-being of her fellow man whether it be at home or abroad. A gifted speaker who can inspire you to tears, or better yet action, uses her magnetic energy to promote positive change. Crystal is hard working, committed and her tenacity is evident in many of her successful projects. Working with Crystal will be one of the best decisions you have ever made. “
Laura Thurnheer, Associate Dean, Okanagan College
“The Diva retreat was the most amazing week of my year. I am new to yoga, so was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up but Amelie was an amazing instructor and paced the class to include all abilities. It was a beautiful way to start the day! Crystal guided the workshops in her bright and positive way. Each day we meet for a workshop in a safe and supportive environment, with great materials to take away. She created a warm and welcoming place to talk and share experiences. The group of ladies – new to me – became friends I am still in contact with.  We each were able to laugh, share and feel validated.

The location was gorgeous and we had ample free time to explore the village, head to the beach or hang out at the resort. I loved the balance of yoga, workshops and free time.

I would highly recommend the retreat to give yourself time to pause, reflect and refocus.”
Dianne Bondaroff, DIVA Retreat 2018 participant, Artist, Entrepreneur, Change Maker
“I have known Crystal for over 15 years as a colleague and good friend. She is a key component of the instruction team for the Leisure Development Course, a unique three-year professional development program for parks, recreation and community development personnel. Crystal’s presentations are always inspirational, sensitive, insightful and tailored to the needs of the respective students. She is one of the most passionate and enthusiastic individuals I have had the pleasure of working with and would not hesitate in recommending Crystal for whatever endeavor she wishes to undertake.”
Chris Nelson, Coordinator, Leisure Development Course
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Louise Sarauer, Administrative Professional, Saskatoon, SK
“I have known Crystal for over 10 years and in that time I have had the pleasure of being a participant in her workshops and presentations as well as being a fellow presenter. Her unwavering enthusiasm for her topics and her sincere, heartfelt messages for her participants, makes her presentations exciting and meaningful to her audiences. She uses her own life challenges and successes as the back-drop for her messages allowing her to use humour to engage and connect with those in the room. Often using a variety of props and techniques, participants are continuously engaged in her presentations. As a result, Crystal is an effective speaker, focused on sharing her passion and beliefs to motivate participants to take action in their own lives, towards their goals and aspirations.”
Deb Comfort, Facilities Supervisor, Dept. of Recreation, Parks and Culture, Red Deer, AB

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