Happiness is a funny thing: The more you share it, the more of it you have. Inspired by the 2011 documentary "Happy," one Iowa woman opted to celebrate her 34th birthday with 34 acts of kindness, hoping to spread happiness by helping others.
"Me, if I can do it, then anybody can do it," Katie Jones told KCCI-TV, adding that she hopes that people think about "how that would change the dynamics of our own community, if people were just taking care of each other."
She left a bag of quarters at a local laundromat. Dropped a $5 bill on the floor at the dollar store. Stocked the baby changing area at a local Target with disposable wipes. Handed out Subway restaurant gift cards to homeless people. And thanked firefighters with boxes of chocolates. And along with each anonymous act of kindness, she left a handmade calling card, urging others to pay it forward.
“Hi, my name is Katie," the card read. "In celebration of my 34th birthday, I’m doing 34 acts of kindness. Enjoy the kindness and try to pass kindness along in your own way.”
A medical support assistant at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, Jones told the Urbandale Patch that her father, who died when she was 17, taught her how giving to others can make you feel happier yourself.
“We are all connected," she told the Urbandale Patch. "You don’t need to be part of an organization or anything beyond personal motivation."
She's shelled out about $300 on her kindness campaign since her birthday on May 16, but Jones says it was money well spent. And now that she's completed all 34 acts, she has one last present for herself: A tattoo on her wrist, as a reminder of what her 34th birthday was all about.
It reads: "Be Kind."
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Acts of Kindness in the Wake of the Boston Marathon Bombings
One Random Act of Kindness Turned $93 Into $100,000