31 On My 31st

It’s my birthday.  I’m 29 31.  Woohoo.  I’m not really a fan of my birthday.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s the attention.  Maybe it’s because my birthday is one of the last things my Grandma and I ever talked about and it’s now just a reminder that she’s no longer here.  I don’t know.  But, this year I wanted to make it more fun for myself.  I came across this on Pinterest a couple of months ago and was inspired.  I loved what this super cute girl and her family did for her birthday.  I wasn’t really sure I could do it with 2 kids and during my busiest time of year, but I knew I wanted to try.  So I did.

I decided to do my random acts of kindness in the two days leading up to my birthday.  I knew I couldn’t do them all in one day with two young kids.  And with Brayden in school on Thursdays I wanted to make sure that he got to help.

Here are my 31 acts of random (and not so random) kindness:

1) I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  I bought a gift card.  When the clerk handed it to me I gave it right back to her and said, “Actually it’s for you”.  She asked, “Why?  What for?”.  I told her it was just because and she was always very kind to me when I shopped there.  She was extremely thankful and said it was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for her.  It was a great way to start.

2)  I bought lottery tickets from 7-11 and gave one back to the clerk after I bought it.  She didn’t really seem to care that much.  But, I really hope she won some huge prize!

3)  I tapped lottery tickets to the gas pump.  Someone pulled up right after I left so I drove around a couple of times to see their reaction.  Either the guy totally didn’t see them or didn’t care because he didn’t take one!  When I went back a few hours later they were all gone 🙂  My Grandma loved lottery tickets so it was fun to do.

4)  At our GAP Kids there is a particularly nice salesman.  When I was pregnant he would always tell me how great I looked and after I had Kennedy he had equally nice compliments.  And all of us moms know how nice it is to be complimented while you are pregnant and right after you’ve had a baby!  I took a thank you card for him, but he wasn’t there so I left it with another sales girl.  I’m pretty sure she thought I had a crush on him and was leaving him a love note or something.  It was awkward, but I hope the note encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing and making moms feel great.

5)  I went into several restrooms at the mall and left “You’re an awesome mom” post it’s on the changing table.

6)  I went to Sephora to buy moisturizer and the sales lady was particularly helpful and accommodating.  When checking out she gave me a survey to take.  I never do those things, but I took this one in hopes that it would help her in some way since she helped me.

7)  I made a conscious effort to make eye contact and smile with others at the mall.  Especially moms with crying kids 🙂  I know it always makes my day to get a smile from a stranger!

8)  I surprised Brayden with a UCLA pillow pet.  Because it was super cute and I knew he would love it.

9)  Brayden and I left coins in the candy machines at Babies R Us.

10)  And then we hid dollar bills in a couple of the toy dollar bins at Target.

11)  Left a Target gift card on a car with a note to “Be Awesome Today”.

12)  I left a thank you card for our mailman.

13)  Brayden and I made rainbow signs and left them around our neighborhood.  He’s a really awesome rainbow drawer.

14)  We went to the grocery store to buy flowers and bought an extra bouquet.  We gave it to the elderly lady who had been in line in front of us.  They were sunflowers.  My Grandma’s favorite.  The lady was so sweet.  She just had her first great granddaughter.  Tristan Riley.  She’s 2 1/2 weeks old.

15)  We drove through McDonald’s and bought the guy behind us lunch.  He was stoked!  Had a huge smile on his face.

16)  We brought flowers to my mom at work to say thanks for giving birth to me.

17)  While at Target the night before Brayden picked out two of his favorite movies and we donated them to the kids at our local Children’s hospital.  I was a patient at that hospital as a kid so that was fun to do.  And, wow, has that hospital grown since I was there!

18)  We left change next to the vending machine at the hospital.

19)  Held the elevator door open for people to get on the elevator even though I was the one with two kids.

20)  When leaving the hospital there was a mom going inside with her young baby.  She looked stressed and tired.  I couldn’t catch her before she went inside, but I did leave a Starbucks card and a picture Brayden drew on her car.  It’s a rainbow flower.  Because he’s awesome at drawing rainbow flowers too.

21)  When I handed my money to the parking lot attendant I also handed her a Starbucks card.  It’s cold in that little booth!  And she got a huge smile on her face.

22)  These next two are my favorite.  I brought cupcakes to the nurses on the mother baby unit at the hospital where I delivered Kennedy.  I thought I would just drop them off and didn’t expect to see any of my nurses.  I ended up seeing my favorite nurse.  Michelle.  She was awesome and totally remembered me, which I thought was crazy.  I think I hugged her 5 times.  Nurses on the mother baby floor are special people.  I really appreciated mine and I’m glad at least one of them got to see Kennedy.

23)  I brought flowers and asked the nurses to give them to a mom who might need a little pick me up.  I started crying when I did this one.

24)  I stopped at the cafeteria and bought a cup of coffee to the parking lot attendant.  Again, it’s cold in those little booths!  I don’t think he liked coffee though.

25)  I sent a note of encouragement to a fellow mom blogger along with a gift card that I thought might give her a little pick me up.

26)  I left a book that I enjoyed reading on a bus stop.

27)  On the way to do number 27 Brayden and I saw people camping out in front of the movie theater.  Twihards.  We went to Starbucks, bought hot chocolate, and walked it over to them.  Brayden was the one who actually talked to them and handed it out.  He was so proud of himself and all 4 people that we gave it to were SO appreciative.  I was very proud of my boy.

28)  I’m not sure this one counts, but while at Starbucks the barista asked me what we were up to.  I hadn’t told anyone what I was really doing, but for some reason I told her that I was doing 31 acts of random (and not so random) kindness for my 31st birthday.  She asked a lot of questions and when we left she said she was so moved and inspired and she was going to do the same thing on her birthday.  I thought that was pretty cool.

29)  This was my least favorite and I’m glad I did this almost last as I think it would have discouraged me from continuing if I would have done it first.  We went to the downtown area of our town to pass out balloons.  Brayden was so excited to do this.  He passed out the first three and had great responses.  After that it totally went downhill.  He either was completely ignored or people wouldn’t take the balloon from him.  One dad was downright rude.  How can you be rude to a cute 3 year old trying to give your kid a balloon?  It made my heart hurt and we ended up only handing out 3 of the 7 balloons.  I didn’t want Brayden to get his feelings hurt anymore.  But, I learned a lesson from this one.  From now on, I will do my best to make eye contact with everyone who attempts to stop and talk to me.  Whether it be the annoying people in the mall who want to curl my hair or a homeless person asking for money.  I will not ignore them.  Because getting ignored and treated like crap sucks.

30)  We picked up liter in the parking garage.

31)  Gave a Starbucks gift card to the janitor who was working downtown.  Thought he could use a coffee to warm up.

This was a hard project.  It was tiring physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I was surprised in both positive and negative ways by peoples reactions.  The hardest tasks were the ones where I had to interact with people.  It’s easy to leave something for someone to find.  It was harder to interact with someone, make eye contact and explain why I was doing what I was doing. But, those were also the most rewarding tasks.

I’m glad I was able to complete the 31 acts.  It did make my birthday fun.  Rather than going and buying a new outfit for myself I was able to spend that money to make others happy.  And  making others happy is what makes me happy.

For my birthday I would love if you could perform just one random act of kindness today.  It would make my heart happy and I’m sure it will make yours happy as well!  And I would love it if you would leave a comment saying what you did!  Happy 11/17!


  1. Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Drew!!! What an amazing idea. You are so awesome!!!!

  2. Soulmaz says

    Yes you did it again, made me cry in a very good way, once on brydan’s back to school , now your Bday (Happy Bday) oh how sweet u are, I’m definitely motivated not only to do so but to spread the word as well. If u were here I would have hugged u, lots of kisses & a big HUG from Toronto

  3. Awesome idea! I loved reading all of these. Happy Birthday to you!
    Bobbie Brown´s last blog post ..Silas and Canyon

  4. oh, and since I am seeing this late, I’ll try to do my random act of kindness tomorrow and then let ya know!
    Bobbie Brown´s last blog post ..Silas and Canyon

  5. DebZorn says

    Happy Birthday!. This was a wonderful, thoughtful, kind thing to do. Such a wonderful time to spend with your children.

  6. Jennifer Claire says

    So moving, trying to keep the tears from rolling down my desk. My best friend knows me so well and sent me your link saying this is something I would totally do… I am so proud of you and feel so grateful to read it and carry it with me this weekend. I am traveling out of state on Saturday for a funeral, my hubby lost his dear friend in a car wreck, and you’ve just inspired me to see our trip a little differently. I can’t wait to see how many people we can reach out to in 250 miles.

  7. Marla Maxfield says

    I saw this on pinterest as well so perfect!! I am glad it filled your heart as it did mine reading your wonderful day! Happy Birthday TO YOU”!!!!!! and this is my random act of kindness to a total stranger! god bless!

  8. Jen James says

    Saw this posted from a friend of mine on Facebook. Love this! I have been doing “yearly goals” for the last 10 years and love this idea. It might just be one of my future goals. Thanks for the great idea and for your inspiration!

  9. Happy Birthday to you! I love this, brought a tear to my eye. I also, occasionally try to do a few random acts of kindness, I don’t always get a great response and some people are rude. But, it still makes me feel good to try and pass the good will along 🙂

  10. Lisa A says

    How amazing! You are truly inspiring Drew! I love to see people with a heart of gold. Happy Birthday!!!
    Lisa A´s last blog post ..For Lack of Better Words

  11. April says

    Really blessed by your pursuit of love! Thank you for such an encouraging outreach! I will definitely do this someday!
    April´s last blog post ..Fall Sunset

  12. Totally inspired by this post. Cried through most of it. These things were so nice of you to do. With you in mind, this morning I went to Home Depot garden center and the cashier was all bundled up with a hat, scarf, shawl, gloves and was still shivering. She was a little grumpy towards me so I felt a little nervous about doing it and almost didn’t, but I figured I’d probably be grumpy too if I had to work out there in the cold. I left there and went to Starbucks to get myself a coffee and got her one too, and my 3-year-old daughter and I walked the coffee back in to her. I told Audrey to say, “this is just for you” and she did, and handed her the coffee. Her face lit up, and she said, “you are a Godsend!” to Audrey, and thanked us kindly and we left feeling very good. And I totally cried on my way out. I guess I need to do stuff like this more often! Happy Birthday, Drew!

  13. Amber Joy says

    Thank you. This made me choke up, too. I’ve been trying to teach my kids about RAK and paying it forward. This gave me some ideas for some things that we will do. I appreciate you.

  14. missyg says

    What an amazing thing you did and a great lesson that you have taught your son. I am seeing this late but I will try to do some random act of kindness in honor of your birthday!

  15. Happy birthday! What an amazing thing to teach your son. You have really inspired me. I think of things like this often but don’t do as much as I should. With a 3 year old myself, I am going to make a point in the coming weeks to follow your example!

  16. NurseMarta says

    This is wonderful. I think i will steal this idea. The husband and I have been thinking of different ways of celebrating holidays, birthdays and anniversary without filling the house up with more things. These gestures of kindness and caring go much farther than gifts. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Jen says

    Love love this and you have inspired me to do this on dec 8 th for my 40th bray…I will for sure need help from my kids too! Great idea!

  18. Astrid says

    Hi Drew! I discover this blog on pinterest and have lurked it since. This is the first time I’m leaving comment. Reasons: my birthday is Nov. 3rd, so happy belated birthday fellow scorpio; I wanted to give back in some way so I donated blood at Hoag Hospital. Reading your ramdom acts of kindness has inspired me to do similar acts for Christmas! I have a 28 month old and a 3 month but I’m sure it will be a learning experience for all of us! Hugs!

  19. what a fantastic idea. i would have a very hard time talking to people too. i get it. 🙂

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! you’re gonna love 31. it’s fab. 😉

  20. Amy says

    This is so wonderful!! Wondering if you had Kennedy at St. Jude? I had my son there in february and had an AMAZING nurse named Michelle who was the most kind and loving nurse I think I have ever had for anything! Happy birthday Drew!

  21. Kimmie says

    Hi Drew! Happy Birthday – I loved reading your blog and excited because we have the same Birthday!! I turned 30 this year and have two small kids too 🙂 My random act of kindness was buying lunch today for a homeless person outside of McDonalds. I made sure to look him in the eye and chat for a bit. It was the perfect start to a beautiful day. Thanks for the challenge and next year I will for sure do 31 for 31!
    P.S. I LOVE your blog and hope to set up an appointment soon.

  22. Amber says

    Wow, I’m so impressed by this Drew! I love most that you included Brayden. He’s a lucky boy!

  23. carly says

    Happy birthday! That sounds like an awesome way to celebrate your birthday. You really took random acts of kindness to a whole new level. 🙂
    carly´s last blog post ..My Beaverton dentist

  24. Emma Ellis says

    This is so inspirational! Can’t wait until my birthday so I can do something like this too 🙂
    Emma Ellis´s last blog post ..My favourite fruit

  25. sofia says

    love love love absolutely love this! well done, very inspiring.

  26. Happy belated birthday Drew! I feel like I tell you every year that its my hubby’s birthday too, so I think its a pretty awesome day 😉
    So this post totally warmed my heart, and I think you are such a wonderful person! I know if I were to have been a recipiat of any of these random acts of kindness, I would have cried some happy tears and would have been so thankful (times are tuff!). You were SUCH a blessing to so many on your birthday!! 🙂
    Blair Van Bussel´s last blog post ..Orange County Family Photographer – {The Brown Family – Mini Session!}

  27. mary says

    wowie. just read this, shared it, and this is how i’m using it: i’m making an “advent tree” with my boys, 6 and 2, with something to do each day. instead of sweets and treats, we’re treating others and using a lot of your acts of kindness as well. one a day on our countdown to christmas to share the spirit of the holidays. just love this!
    mary´s last blog post ..Ozzy’s rocking it once again.

  28. Jenna says

    Thanks for the inspiration! It was my 31st birthday today and I just spent the whole day celebrating with acts of kindness that were inspired by this post 🙂 What a great example of how special a birthday truly can be 🙂

  29. sooki says

    Wow. First time commenter and had to comment at your truly inspiring post. You are an amazing mom and photographer!!

  30. holdon says

    This is awesome! During the holidays my mom used to cut up strips of paper. At the end of each day we would each write down a good deed we had done that day and string them together. It was a wonderful tradition that made the holidays about others and helped develop the foundation for intentional living later on. This is a wonderful exercise. Your children are lucky to have you:)

  31. Kelly says

    I love this idea! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  32. ally says

    what a nice thing to do! it reminds me of what i’ve been doing. i’ve had a hard year- lots of deaths in my family, but i’ve been spending a lot of time with one of my friends who always makes gifts and notes for people. seeing how happy she makes me and other people, i’ve been trying to do the same. for christmas gifts, i made my friends hot cocoa packs and also i drew some pictures for some guys who have been really good friends. i see now that what makes me the happiest is making others happy. doing good deeds is a great way to spend your birthday. thanks for sharing 🙂

  33. what a great idea! I think this must be a movement, as I had one of these random acts happen to me. It surprized me and
    inspired me to do the same. thanks!!

  34. Chelsea T. says

    I just love this blog post. My birthday is next month (FEB), and I will definitely make this happen! And I plan to post this on my FB page to spread the word even further!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  35. Carmen says

    What an awesome idea – SO inspiring!! I wouldn’t have thought to do the the hospital where my daughter was born but that’s such a great idea. I’m turning 30 this year – and I hope you don’t mind if I steal this idea to do myself.

  36. erica says

    love love love this …you inspired me to do the same!!!

  37. Natalie says

    You have just inspired me to do this on my 32nd…. Thanks for this! And my birthday is Nov 18 😉
    Natalie´s last blog post ..My Top 10 Books

  38. Joy! says

    I am so inspired by you. I lost my job recently and have been feeling a bit sorry for myself. You are BLESSED.
    I am going to do this RAOK on my next birthday. I am sure I will feel good about it and that others will be blessed by my blessings.
    Thank you 🙂

  39. Carol Ann says

    GIRL!! You are SUCH an INSPIRATION!!! OMG! I will be 55 in July so I am going to do this. It will take me more than 2 days though! Lol!! Thank you for making my heart smile!! YOU are an AWESOME mom & woman!!

  40. Carol Ann R says

    I was so inspired by this that I want to do the same thing. I do occasionally-consciously-do Random Acts of Kindness. I try to be that way in general. But…I will be 55 on July 14, 2012, so I am going to start tomorrow & try to do as many Random Acts of Kindness as I can through my birthday. I hope I can do as well as you did reaching the amount of your age. That’s why I decided to start at the beginning of the week! Lol!! Thank you so much for such an inspiration! I’d much rather make it about someone else instead of myself…even though I LOVE birthdays!! When I turned 40 I was so excited! My husband hates having birthdays. He said,” Just wish yourself into that nursing home!” I thought I would never stop laughing!!

  41. Nicole says

    I saw your blog post many months ago randomly and thought it was an awesome way to celebrate a birthday! I haven’t forgot after all this time! My 23rd birthday is in 3 weeks and I’m starting to plan some of my special kindness acts. Luckily, I was able to find your post again for some ideas and encouragement! I am getting very excited! My biggest plan is to donate my hair to locks of love! Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!

  42. Donna says

    I love all of your ideas! I have started “A Year of Kindness” with my four kids and have been searching for ideas to do with them. Thanks.

  43. Alicia says

    I just finished reading your list and started crying. It’s so easy to think that everything is about you on your birthday but this is just a reminder that there are selfless people in this world and you make this a much better place to live.

  44. Skyler says

    Wow just wanted to say I LOVED this blog post! It’s so awesome to see there are amazing people out there like you and your family. It motivated me to do one random act of kindness for this whole month of December. This may not be much, but I am about to pack my boyfriend some lunch for work tomorrow without him even knowing. I know he will be happy to see I did that when he wakes up. It’s almost midnight where I live so I couldn’t do anything major but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Thanks again for your amazing acts of kindness. We definitely need more people like you in this world! Have a Merry Christmas. <3

  45. Stacey says

    Thinking I might make this a New Year’s resolution.
    Since I don’t do resolutions, this is an awesome alternative!

  46. lizette says

    I’m going to be 32!! CRAZY lol Jan.7 I LALALALOOVE Todd I’m going to do this as well with my 2 kids wish I had seen this before too do it for my daughter’s bday she turned 12!!.CRAZY too LOL on X-mas DAY… Will comment my experience I will.do 32 acts of kindness 🙂 I might steal some ideas but it’s the acts that count right? LOL

  47. Elizabeth says

    Such a lovely, heartwarming idea! I will try to do the same when I am 58 in November! You CAN teach a (semi) old dog new tricks!

  48. Marlene says

    Love, love, love this idea. I’m going to be 68 in a month and a half and I would love to spend Friday afternoons with my granddaughters (Sarah,7 yrs and Kaitlyn, 11 yrs) doing the same thing, I can already see the expression on the face of the 11 yr old, quizzing me about why we are doing this, and the 7 yr old totally getting in the groove and ready to get started. If you can’t tell, I’m the different Grandma and we sometimes do crazy things like dancing in the rain (if we ever get some). Maybe we will plan ahead and make some actual greeting cards. They Love to make crafts at my house.

  49. Eunice says

    This is so awesome. You are so awesome. You are teaching your son some awesome lessons that will forever be ingrained in his heart. Thank you so much for this post and for being amazing.

  50. Em says

    I know I’m super late commenting on this but I just discovered this post. You are an incredible person and what you did was amazing. It’s wonderful that you’re teaching your children such great lessons!