anne mikolay 2012 120It's a holiday without a Hallmark card or little candy hearts with phrases printed on them. It has no decorations, no tree, no lights, no parade, no media fanfare. In fact, it's not even a “real” holiday and isn't well known (though it should be). It's Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Monday, February 17, 2014 is Random Acts of Kindness Day, an unofficial holiday encouraging gestures of kindness, selfless acts intended to bring happiness to another without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Whoa! Doing something for another person without the “what's in it for me?” attitude? Giving without receiving? Who the heck should do that?

We all should! Selflessness is not a popular credo these days, but imagine if it was! Imagine your neighbor shoveling your driveway without being asked. Imagine someone with a shopping cart overflowing with groceries stepping aside to let you pay for that one gallon of milk you ran into the store to buy. Imagine finding a “thinking of you” card in your mailbox from a friend you haven't heard from in a while. Imagine a stranger paying for your coffee or handing you a 30% off coupon in Kohls so you can save a little money. Imagine someone holding the door for you, picking up the book you dropped, bringing you home your favorite bakery treat, or simply saying “good morning” when you are feeling down. Imagine how you would feel if someone suddenly did something nice for you! No doubt, you would react positively and naturally seek to “pay it forward” and do a good turn for another. The domino effect of “paying it forward” would create a gentler, kinder world. The possibilities are endless!

But let's face it: a gentler, kinder world is fantasy. We're human. We're grumpy and insensitive. We're selfish and always in a hurry. Our primary concern is “me, myself, and I”. While it would be wonderful if we practiced random acts of kindness on a daily basis, we don't. We're not wired that way. On Monday, February 17th, however, you can make a difference in someone else's life and it need not cost you a dime. Look for little ways to make someone's day. And if you can't think of anything, just smile. Never under-estimate the power of a simple smile or kind word. It will make someone's day and, in turn, make your own.

The founder of Random Acts of Kindness Day is not known. He or she created a unique holiday to better mankind without acknowledgement or reward. How selfless was that?

The recognized non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness and dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness.