Random Acts of Kindness Day falls this weekend in New Zealand.
It’s Monday morning, you are waiting in line to pay for your morning coffee, mulling over the mountain of work that has been piling up over the weekend. Finally, you’re at the front of the line and the barista tells you that the coffee today will be free as the stranger in front of you has paid for it. Congratulations – you’ve just been RAK’d!

RAK or Random Acts of Kindness began in California where a woman wrote ‘practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty’ on a placemat in a restaurant. It grew to bumper stickers and then a book in 1993 which outlined true stories of kindness that were completely random. Media loved it and it spread through the newspapers of the United States.

Back in New Zealand a group of friends sat in Auckland traffic watching an irate driver and discussed, “What if everyone one in New Zealand was randomly kind all on the same day”. And so they set about founding a national RAK Day in New Zealand in 2005.

“It’s a fantastic concept because let’s face it, everyone could do with a little kindness in their life – it’s contagious. A smile from a stranger, a cupcake, or someone paying for your coffee – it’s the unexpected that brightens your day, giving you a warm fuzzy, that’s the key,” says Megan Singleton, co-founder.

September 1 is RAK day in New Zealand and Singleton is encouraging Kiwis to take advantage of it to create a friendly uplifting environment.

“Our main aim with RAK Day is to raise the kindness temperature in New Zealand. Over the years so many groups have jumped in from school groups, communities, businesses, and churches.”

This year Singleton will be at it again, this time paying it forward at the airport surprising hassled travellers with a soothing coffee and is encouraging New Zealanders to embrace it.

“Why not join me in your neighbourhood – perhaps you’re heading to the sports field with your kids on Saturday morning so bake something and share it with people you don’t know. The ideas actually don’t have to cost anything, something as simple as a smile or holding the door open for someone could be an example of a RAK.”

Singleton is putting the challenge out; “Imagine the impact if 4.7 million Kiwis decided to partake in Random Acts of Kindness Day this year? Get your thermometers ready because this Saturday New Zealand’s kindness temperature is going to be through the roof”.

For more ‘RAK’ ideas visit rak.co.nz

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