Sometimes it’s fun to give something back to the world, especially if it’s done in ways that people don’t expect. It’s like ninja niceness, sneaky sweetness or, as I prefer to call it, Jedi gentility, because I own a thesaurus and words are like candy for the less fortunate. Or something. So here are a few ideas to get you started on your charm offensive…
- Literary Scribbles
Imagine you’re having a pretty crappy day. Your hair won’t sit right, you’re almost certain your boss hates you, and you might have left the gas on and therefore be going back to a burning wreck of a house and a toasted poodle. In short, life is not like happy. So what do you do when life sucks? You buy books, of course! And imagine finding a note inside your sniff-worthy copy of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, (because someone’s always got it worse than you) telling you what an awesome person you are. That would fix everything! Ok, it might not fix everything, but when your boss summons you into his office to fire you, you could shove the note right down his throat, and that would be pretty damn sweet.
- Gladiolas for Gladys
I used to have this awesome, little-old-lady neighbour. She was super sweet and taught me how to tell the time. She also slipped me candy like it was crack. Old ladies do that, they have a lot of candy. But what old ladies don’t have is flowers, at least the single ones. Don’t go presenting a taken lady with a bouquet or you’re bound to find a slipper up your ass. My favourite technique is to leave a bunch of flowers on the doorstep and wait. That way, the old dear won’t know who loves her, but she’ll know that she is loved, meaning every stranger is a possible sweetheart.
- Noms for the Nomless
Obviously I don’t need to tell you that if someone’s homeless, then they’re probably hungry. A lot of people don’t like to give homeless people money, since it could be spent on dodgy dealings, so food is a lovely idea to keep someone warm and healthy and simply make their day. It’s best if you speak to the person first to ask them what they’re into. Just because someone’s homeless, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be vegetarian or lactose-intolerant, and you don’t wanna give them something that will be wasted or make them ill. A sandwich is all it takes to make the world that tiniest bit better, especially if it’s PB+J. Peanut butter will save the world one day, you heard it here first.
- Retail Recompense
If you have a job, you’ll know how sucky it is to have to go to it every day, especially when all you want to do is stay home in your underwear, watching every episode of Game of Thrones, whilst tossing popcorn in the vague direction of your mouth. But you go and that is awesome. Well done you! Working in a service role is even harder than just relocating your body from bed to desk. Serving people sucks. Spare a thought then, for the people who, despite constant encouragement, don’t go on murder rampages after the millionth customer throws all of their food onto the floor or yells at them for not stocking a product that they have no control over. Just one kind review can make someone’s day, make it really sweet and you can cancel out a week’s worth of meanness. You have the power here, wield it wisely and judge justly.
- Be Santa
Obviously this depends on how dodgy you look and how panicky their parents are, but kids love balloons. Seriously. If they had to choose between candy and a balloon, the balloon wins every time. You could steal their candy, give them a balloon and they wouldn’t be in the least bit bothered. Obviously I don’t recommend this because we’re going for nice here, and stealing isn’t nice unless you’re wearing tights. Fact.
- Chat Up Compliment a Stranger
Do they have a cool T-shirt, yummy-smelling perfume or awesome eyebrows? Let them know that you’ve noticed. Yeah, we all dress for ourselves and everything, but it’s nice to know that our hard work has paid off. Try to focus on the same gender here, otherwise you’re basically chatting them up. Remember, you don’t get anything out of this but a rosy glow. If you get a phone number, you lose the game of loveliness, but you win at being a stud. You go Glen Coco!
Coffee cures all things. Ok, maybe not the big things, like war and plague and stuff, but coffee’s pretty sweet. The next time you’re in a coffee shop, getting your caffeine fix, why not offer to buy a drink for the next person in line? Especially the ones wearing shades indoors, they will love you forever. Or you could get into the whole suspended coffee thang, which is an idea that started in Naples, where you pay for a coffee that is then donated to someone needy, like a homeless person or someone who’s having sucky luck, basically anyone who could do with a good cup of Joe.
- Cake Cures All Ills
Do you know someone who’s having a pretty crappy life right now? Maybe their boyfriend dumped them or called them fat. Ugh, that guy. No cake for that guy. But what’s a better antidote to implied fatness than cake? Cake says ‘you’re not fat, you’re curvy, maybe even skinny. Yep, you’re definitely wasting away. Get some cake inside you before you disappear and we have to call in the FBI.’ In fact, cake is the answer to all of life’s problems, especially hunger, and, chances are, if someone’s not happy, they’re probably hungry. So bake a cake. Even if you’re not exactly an artist, I bet you could cook up something half decent and smother it with frosting. Sad people will squeeze through your cat flap for a slice of anything baked. Trust me
- Lurk Menacingly in the Make-up Aisle
Do you ever get vouchers thrust your way by over-excited shop staff, telling you that there’s an amazing amount off something you would never buy in your life? Ugh. Well guess what. There are people that actually buy that stuff. You might not know them, (for obvious reasons) but they definitely exist. So this is what I do, in a non-creepy way, (if that’s possible for you, I try, I do, just, it’s not in me to seem normal) hang around the area that your voucher corresponds to, eye up shoppers fingering the merchandise, and if anyone seems about to buy, hand them the voucher, smile and run. Together, we can start a creepy lurking trend that might just become a make-up counter epidemic.
- Paws for Thought
When you’re planning your random acts of awesome, don’t just think two legs good, four legs bad. Animals can also appreciate your kindness. If you see a dog tied up outside a store, why not say hello? In winter, leave food out for birds and bunnies to feed on. It’s hard to hunt out nomage when the ground is covered in snow. If you’re feeling super lovely, you could hang out at an animal shelter, or even adopt an animal rather than buying one that’s been bred. And remember, you’ll never know more gratitude than a mutt drowning you in saliva and love.
- Breakfast in Bed
This one applies ONLY if you know and love the person. Think of someone who wouldn’t murder you for breaking into their house and getting crumbs all over the sheets. Other lovely things that aren’t really geared towards strangers include: Running a bath, massaging their feet, writing passionate love letters and dumping a ton of rose petals onto their bed. Though I suppose it depends on how strange your strangers are…