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anne mikolay 2012 120If the internet is to be believed, every day is a holiday. Bet you didn't know September 28th was National Good Neighbor Day and National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, and September 29th was National Coffee Day. When you were putting out your pumpkins on October 1st, it was National Homemade Cookies Day. October 2nd was National Name Your Car Day and National Fried Scallops Day. I have no idea who comes up with these things, but here's one I can get behind: Saturday, October 5th is National Do Something Nice for Someone Day.

Local communities mobilized last fall to assist one another after Hurricane Sandy, but since then, have you spontaneously done something nice for someone, perhaps a stranger? I'm not talking about donating tons of money to charity or making grand altruistic gestures. I mean doing something small to make another person smile. When you enter a store, hold the door for someone behind you. If you admire someone's hair style or outfit, tell them. If a service person goes the extra mile, leave a bit more of a tip and let the manager know you were pleased. Bring home a favorite treat for a family member. Cut your elderly neighbor's grass or bring them a quart of soup. Take your mom to a movie. There are a million ways you could make a difference in someone else's life.

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us; $16.92 will provide six dinners for the homeless at the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission in Asbury Park. Jersey Shore Rescue ministers to the homeless and those in need throughout the year. They have 27 overnight shelter beds and ten beds for their residential drug and alcohol program. Their website, jsrescue.org, lists various ways you can assist. This Saturday, why not write a check for Thanksgiving meals for those less fortunate?

National Do Something Nice is a perfect day to take advantage of Star 99.1 Radio's Drive Thru Difference challenge, a simple way to truly put a smile on a stranger's face. As you go about your day, if you find yourself at a drive-thru purchasing coffee or lunch, show a little kindness and pay the bill for the person behind you. Star 99.1's website provides a brief explanatory note you can hand to the cashier (who will then pass the note, rather than a bill, to the customer behind you). You will drive away knowing you made a difference in someone's day.

Doing something nice for a stranger can turn a so-so day into a great one and uplift the spirit. When an employee in a local market went the extra mile to assist me without being asked, I was admittedly startled but grateful. I left the store with a smile on my face. And when a total stranger in a parking lot paid me an unexpected compliment, she made my day. Being nice doesn't take much effort; the rewards are plentiful.

This Saturday, October 5th, make a point to do something nice for someone else. And don't forget: Sunday, October 6th is National Middle Aged Lady Day, so be extra nice to members of the “over-the-hill-generation”, like me.

Nah! I made that one up!