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Start a Revolution: Say Hello
There's this woman who I think is living my shadow life, or else I'm living hers: we see each other everywhere. I literally see her every day, and not at the same places either -- one day it was the library, the next day the coffee shop, the day after it was on the street in completely different neighborhood than where we usually see one another. But it took a Boom Boom! card suggesting the act of kindness to get me to introduce myself.
If you would like to become acquainted with someone in a very awkward way, I suggest interrupting her nice coffee break and then asking to take a photograph of her with some card in front on her face. That said, shouldn't we all just do this? Introduce ourselves, like normal human beings, instead of shuffling around not making eye contact with people, or spending years greeting familiar faces, "Hey! Hello...you...!"
About the Boom Boom cards. Each deck contains suggestions for kindness, which in my deck (Original Flavor) amounted to basic politeness I probably should employ every day but don't. Hold open a door. Call someone you haven't spoken with in a while. Apologize. Pick up some litter.
To this card, I say: If picking up dog poop is a revolutionary, call me Che Guevara. I guess it doesn't count as much if it's your own dog though.
Next! I think anyone who has ever worked in customer service can appreciate this one:
This one feels good, it really does. I wish every day, everywhere, I could tip extravagantly and often. I would burn through my budget real fast though, so I think on most days a really earnest smile and thank you will have to suffice. Still, it's one of the only kinds of spending money that actually feels nice. Well, that and:
The cutest aspect of these rather cute cards is how they turn kindness into a game. You register your deck (or individual card) online, and track your kindnesses, writing a little story (and including a photo or video if you like) about each card. What's coolest about this is reading other people's additions. I bought coffee for someone and felt kind of nervous the whole time; she was a little confused, but then again, this is New York City and it probably seemed like a weird scam. Then there's Denise in Jacksonville, Illinois, for example, who also bought someone coffee and reports that the recipient thanked her profusely and vowed to pay it forward. Kindness is catching, and the game-like aspect of these cards makes the small good deeds (and I appreciate how imminently do-able they are) feel even more fun. I found myself wanting to give the cards to people, too, because it struck me that the most fun part was the weird, warming act of buying a stranger coffee, picking up some litter -- it was the feeling of putting good energy into the air that I wanted most to share. Which I guess is the whole point.
Find out more about Boom Boom! Cards and read about people's kind acts here.
Play Oprah's Kindness Game!
Stories of Modern Kindness
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