One small, thoughtful gesture can make someone else’s day…
1. Say “Good morning” to a person standing next to you in the elevator.
2. Pay the toll for the driver behind you.
3. Take a minute to direct someone who is lost, even though you’re rushing.
4. Write a letter to a child who could use some extra attention. Kids love getting mail.
5. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, especially in extreme weather.
6. Give a homeless person your doggie bag.
7. Say “I love you” to someone you love.
8. Put a coin in an expired meter.
9. Help a mother carry her baby stroller up the subway stairs, or hold a door open for her.
10. Each time you get a new item of clothing, give away something old.
11. Take someone’s shift as the car-pool parent.
12. Bring your assistant coffee.
13. Out of the blue, send flowers to a friend.
14. Say “please” and “thank you”—and really mean it.
15. When you’re on a crowded train or bus, offer your seat to an elderly, disabled or pregnant person.
16. Don’t interrupt when someone is explaining herself.
17. Let a fellow driver merge into your lane.
18. Offer to baby-sit for a single mom.
19. Put your shopping cart back in its place.
20. Call or write to a teacher who changed your life.
21. Bring a box of doughnuts to share at the office.
22. Forgive someone a debt–and never bring it up again.
23. Listen with all your senses.
24. Write a note to the boss of someone who helps you, and explain how great a job that person is doing.
25. Simply say “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong.
26. Throw away your trash—and someone else’s—after a movie, picnic or visit to a park.
27. Encourage someone who seems despondent.
28. Volunteer to take care of a friend’s dog while he is vacationing.
29. Help a friend pack for a move.
30. Ask someone “How are you really doing?”—and then really listen to her response.
31. Offer change when the person in front of you at the register comes up short.
32. Before a friend moves away, give her your favorite recipe or quote and a photo of the two of you together.
33. Leave a generous tip for a pleasant waiter.
34. At work, offer to transfer a caller who needs help from another department.
35. Pass along a great book you’ve just finished reading.
More Ways To Spread Smiles
From the December 2000 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.