It’s the holiday season! I’ve always loved Christmas. Everyone seems happy. It’s so festive with bright lights everywhere! December is also very special to me… it’s my birth month! :) My birthday is always about spending time with my loved ones. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it or have big parties. This year, I wanted it to be different… well I always want to do something out of the ordinary for my birthday. A year ago, I read this post from a photographer I admire. The idea is to do random acts of kindness (raok) for others. Ever since then, I knew I had to do it for my birthday. I was supposed to do it last year, but for some reason I could not remember, it didn’t push through. I only have the evening to prepare and plan the random things I’ll do the next day. I found some ideas online and from the list of others who did the same. I actually doubted myself for a bit if I can pull this off being the shy person that I am especially with strangers. I always want to do this and I knew I would eventually… and so I did, today. :)
Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear that I am not posting this to brag or to show people how nice I am. I am simply sharing the idea, the same way I was inspired. One small act will lead to another, and before you know it, we would all be doing simple acts of kindness without needing a special day to do it. I’ve been very blessed and just want to share with others. :)
The big Bday!!! This is a very looong post, by the way. Are you ready? :)
- SMILE more. I made it a point to make eye contact and smile. Sending good vibes to people I’ll encounter. Not the usual me. heheh I’ll try to make it a habit now. :)
- Jeepney drivers are one of my main beneficiaries for today. haha! What I did was, before getting off their jeep, I paid extra and leave the change. First ride was a short one. I did not see the driver’s reaction after I paid.
- Rode another jeep to my first stop. It’s morning and the jeep is full of passengers. I paid a little extra and went down. I’m not sure, but I think he honks his horn, maybe to get my attention regarding my change? Not sure, but I just walked straight and didn’t look. :)
- This next one is kind of awkward and I’m a little embarrassed yet happy that I was able to do it. :D I went to a small grocery store to buy some food that I will give out for the day. I lined up next to a lady in her 40s, after the cashier finishes with her groceries and she’s getting ready to pay, I told her that I will be paying for it. She was surprised (of course!). Then I immediately told her that today’s my birthday and it’s my simple treat for her. She was so nice and very grateful. It’s a great start and I was so inspired than ever to continue with my random acts of kindness throughout the day. :)
- Aside from the drivers, I made it a point to buy from sidewalk vendors. After buying some groceries, I went out and bought apples from a local fruit stand. I paid extra and didn’t get the change. He was so thankful. :)
- I couldn’t pass the day without visiting the church. I walked going to the church and on my way I saw a man sitting alone, decided to give him one of the apples I bought.
- Walking passed him, I saw an old man sitting in his pedicab. He is counting his earnings and probably resting. I approached him and gave him an apple too.
- Just across, I saw a lady sweeping the street. It’s a hot day and I gave her one of the bottled water I bought. At first she refuses nicely, but I insisted anyway. :) I finally went inside Molo Church. I prayed and thanked God for all his blessings and asked him to show people who would be needing my help in any way. From there, I decided to open the biscuits and candies I bought. I made a little goodie bag so I can give it out to some kids I’ll be meeting along the way. I also prepared 3 envelopes and put a simple note in it. Will give this to people who I think needed a little extra. One of which I decided to give to the old man I saw earlier in his pedicab. Unfortunately when I went out, he isn’t there anymore.
- This next one is my favorite of the day. :) I was waiting for a jeep to take me to my next destination. While waiting, an old lady, in her 80s, went down and stood beside me. I felt she needed some help and so I asked her where she’s going. At first, I thought she’s going to the church, I’d gladly take her back there. She told me she’s going to her old boss near the terminal to ask for help. Her daughter just got out of the hospital and can’t do any work to support them. Her daughter washes clothes for a living. I asked the pedicab driver to take her there and paid a little extra for bringing Lola to the terminal. Before she left, I gave her one of my special envelope. I hope it helps them in some way. :)
- Next stop, I’m really not sure. Decided to ride a jeep going to a mall. It’s noon time, before paying the driver I told him “Indi mgpagutom” (Don’t go hungry) It sounded kind of weird. haha! Well, my intention was to tell him not to overwork and go have lunch. heheh…
- After getting off the jeep, I saw a man sitting in the sidewalk. I’m always hesitant to give alms to beggars, but today is different. I walk back and gave him water and food. :)
- Before entering the mall, all person needs to pass by security. There’s a long queue since it’s lunch break. I saw this as an opportunity to do my raok by letting the lady behind me go ahead in line. She smiled. :)
- This next one is special. First time I did something like this. My boyfriend doesn’t have any idea what I was up to. I never told him about my raok, even now. hehehe! To surprise him, I ordered his lunch and delivered to his office. I even told him a white lie saying I was just at home. :D I told the delivery guy not to say it was from me. haha! When he finally got it, he texted me and asked if I was the one who ordered it. I denied it at first but admitted it in the end coz he said he was going to return it if it’s not from me. :p I’ve got a lot of things on my list that I haven’t done yet. Don’t know where to start with the others. I bought some more food from the supermarket and continued with my mission. Decided to run an errand first and see if an opportunity opens up for me to help.
- I called a cab though it’s not necessary. I paid him extra and gave him some of the snacks I bought from the grocery. Thankful and happy cabbie right there. :) After my errand, I chose to walk, still unsure where I was going. I passed by an old mall and went inside. I’m not exactly sure what I was going to do until I thought of buying 2 pairs of slippers. Maybe someone might need it.
- After buying the slippers, I went out and saw a lady vendor and her daughter at the entrance. I gave the little girl one of my goodie bags. She was shy, but they’re happy. :) Walking downtown, I figured I should go to a nearby church and plaza and see if there’s anyone I can help. I looked around, strolled, went inside the church. Nada. I was supposed to give one of my goodie bags to this girl running around, probably entertaining herself while she waits for her mom to finish work. There were people around and I don’t want to come off as some weird stranger giving out candies to little kids. heheh I ditched the idea and looked for another. There’s this old man sitting on the bench watching some teens play basketball. I walked towards him with my umbrella and sat beside him. I tried to make a conversation and said, “Grabe init nu?” He looked blankly at me. I want to give him some of the food I have, before I can even do that, he left. Hard to get si manong. haha! I was getting tired, didn’t eat lunch yet, plus the heat is killing me!… but since it’s my birthday and I should be happy, I still continued and wore a smile. :) Now on to the next!
- Another thankful driver. Paid him extra and gave him some snacks and water. :)
- Walking to my unknown destination, I passed by a kid sleeping on the sidewalk. I left him one of my goodie bags and placed it beside him.
- While walking, I saw a lady sitting on the sidewalk with two baskets of her snacks for sale. I ordered for three people. I paid and told her one of it is for her. The other two, I gave it to the two guys nearby, selling fruits. The other guy refuses, but I left it to them anyway. Not sure if they ate it or not, I didn’t look back. The lady was thankful though and surprised! heheh
- Still walking on the sidewalks, I saw a vendor and his crying little boy. I gave him one of my goodie bags, but the kid won’t take it. He’s too busy crying heheh I handed it over to his dad and he thanked me for it. :)
- More and more walking until I saw a blind girl sitting on the sidewalk asking for alms. Gave her one of my goodie bags and placed it in her hands. I really feel sorry for her.
- Another raok, offered my umbrella to a stranger. She was thankful for the simple gesture. :)
- Rode a jeep, paid extra. :)
- Went to Jaro Church and gave some to the two ladies. I also saw two kids and gave them my last goodie bag and an apple.
- On my way back downtown, I rode another jeep. This one is different from the others. One of the passengers paid him, but he’s got no change. I checked on my wallet to see if I have a change, but I didn’t have enough. So I decided to just pay for the girl and I ask the driver to keep my change. He was happy and thankful. :)
- I found myself in the public market. I took the wrong jeep, but that’s okay. A little boy is asking for alms. I smiled and asked him if he likes apples. He nodded, and I gave him the last apple I have with me. :)
- Walking, and more walking, I saw a young girl eating ketchup, the one from fastfood chains. I asked her if she already ate, she said no. I then gave her some of my snacks and candies.
- I also passed by a boy in a wheelchair. I gave him one of my special envelopes.
- Remember the slippers I bought? I gave a pair to a woman I saw sleeping on the sidewalk. I also put some snacks and the last envelope I have. I placed everything inside a plastic bag and left it beside her.
- I’m about to meet my boyfriend. On my way, an old lady in her 70s was selling some fruits and other food items. I stopped by and asked about the price of the fruit. I paid her, but I left the fruit with her. I told her to sell it again. As I was walking away, she called to thank me and wanted to give me some of the chips she’s selling. I just smiled and told her not to bother. :) Met with my bf and we ate. I’m starving! haha and sweaty too! Eeew. Boyfriend got no clue what I was up to the whole morning hehe..
- My last raok on the streets. My bf and I were walking and we saw a man with a disability asking for alms. Some people might be familiar with him. We both decided to give him our extra food and I also put some cash in his can.
- After a long loooong day, we are finally on our way home. My mom prepared something, just a small feast for the family. We got into a cab with a grumpy cabbie hehehe.. I still gave him a tip despite his crankiness. :D
- Gave all my 4 dogs a special treat for today. They were all very excited! :)
- Three more things to do before I end my raok. I gave a friend, and two of my aunts load in their mobile phones. They’re probably wondering who sent it, or they must’ve thought someone typed the wrong number. :D
- Gave sincere and positive comments to some blogs I follow. :)
- Last deed of the day, I donated to two WordPress plugin creators. A simple way of supporting them for their generous work in the community. :)
Indeed, this day was so amazing! It’s always a wonderful feeling to be able to help others and show kindness even in the simplest ways. This day definitely changed my outlook towards facing my everyday life. Thank you so so much Lord for all the blessings I have received! I couldn’t have done all of this without your guidance. When I got home, my brother and nieces were there, my mom preparing the food, and my dogs so jolly to see me, as always! :D Ending my day with a simple dinner to wrapp up my awesome birthday celebration!!! Cheers!!! :) PS: I wrote this post way back December 10, on my birthday, but decided to publish it this Christmas eve. I want to remember how I celebrated my birthday, but also Christ’s own birthday. :)
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens