Random Acts of GratitudeDecember 18, 2010
Hey! I have a wacky idea! Want to play? Check this out: Random Acts of Gratitude.
I am really bad at writing thank you notes. I forget, I put it off, and then I forget totally. My friend Sophie Littlefield is the MASTER of them. If a stranger gives uup his seat to her on BART, he can expect a hand-written note within two days even if they never exchanged a word. I want to be more like that.
As with everything, though, I think I would get better at writing thank you notes with more practice. So here's how I'm going to work on them: I'm going to give them to people who don't expect them. And I'll do it once a week, for a year. (Seriously, this sounds so fun it makes me bounce in my seat.)
My first target:
Every day when I drive to and from home, I pass a house that I just love. It's almost hidden by the garden in front it, and the only word I can find to describe the garden is raucous. The fruit trees are overgrown, and the roses explode into bloom at the same time, and even in its exuberance, the care that is shown the garden is evident. It's loud, joyous landscaping, and it's wonderful. At Christmas, they string colored lights in a way that makes me heart-happy to my toes: It's as if they just go outside and throw the strings as high as they can, draping a million lights and colors in the tangles of the trees and vines.
A large family owns the house, and they park several similar trucks out on the street -- all the vehicles advertise their landscaping company (which, if I needed landscaping, I would use in a heartbeat). Last year, during that very important vote, they made a huge painted plywood billboard that read NO ON 8, and I fell in love with them even more.
It makes me so happy that they live in my neighborhood, and for years now I've been watching as I drive past to see if I can see anyone hanging out by the pickups -- I've had a vague goal of pulling over and thanking them for being AWESOME. But they're usually in their garden behind the fence, and it seems awkward and a little silly.
So I'm going to write a thank you note. I'll just sign my first name, and it'll say what I think when we pass their house, and then early one morning on my way to work this week, I'll tuck it under the windshield of one of their cars. Wouldn't that be nice? To get a card thanking you for making a stranger happy? I would love that if I were them, so I'm gonna do it.
Do you want to play? Do you want to leave a thank you note for someone who's not expecting it this week? Maybe for your postal carrier who never leaves packages in the rain, or for the guy at the coffee shop who knows your order without asking and makes the best lattes ever. And when you do it, will you leave me a comment telling me what you did? I'll pick a random winner and send that person a little gift (while none of us needs bribes to do something good, it's also fun to be part of a community of people doing something good together, isn't it?). (And even more fun for me to give a little present!)
I like this. Keep me posted, okay?
PS: Happy holidays, whichever of them you like to celebrate.