Rima’s Random Acts of Kindness

 

Rima Younes, a 22-year-old Ryerson University student from Mississauga, is spreading cheer around the city by committing daily random acts of kindess (or RAKs). She appeared on our show earlier this week to talk about her project, and she chronicles her daily deeds in her blog:
http://rimayounesrak.wordpress.com/ 

We recently sat down for a Q&A with Rima. Here’s what she had to say:

  

What inspired you to start this Random Acts of Kindness movement in Mississauga?

First of all, I've always had a passion for helping people and making people happy. So in any given situation, I'll usually go out of my way to help someone out. It wasn't really a specific moment that inspired me -- however, I did have a couple of small ones. Initially, I started doing random acts of kindness occasionally and I realized that something so little to me could mean the world to someone else. Also, it really taught me how to genuinely love. It taught me how to give and not expect anything back, and it made me so happy! I feel like nowadays, people are too focused on the bigger things in life that we sometimes forget to stop and appreciate the little things. The random acts of kindness are great gestures, but I feel that there's a deeper message to them. I'm trying to spread the kindness and put a smile on people's faces; but also remind them to stop stressing out, stop worrying about their issues, and really just take in and appreciate the small simple things that we have and take for granted everyday. There is significant evidence to suggest that a smile or a friendly hello can save someone's life. By holding the door open and smiling at someone, you could've just brightened their day in ways you can't relate to. You really never know what someone may be going through, so never be too quick to judge, and instead "overwhelm them with your kindness."


What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had while committing RAKs around the city? Is there an incident that’s stood out for you? Has one person’s reaction been particularly memorable? 

Overall, I've had many very rewarding reactions! Many surprised faces, many kind words, and many thank you's. However, one that stood out the most was my last RAK of 2012. I went to my local florist and bought three bouquets of flowers and wrote three cards that said "Happy New Year, Stay positive and keep smiling- Love a stranger" and decided to bring them to the Credit Valley Hospital Cancer Wing. I've always really sympathized with family members who can't spend their holidays or New Years with their friends, families and loved ones. So I wanted to brighten their day any way I could. I brought the flowers to the Credit Valley Hospital and approached one of the nurses at the front desk and asked her to kindly give these bouquets out to the patients that needed to be cheered up the most. She didn't really understand what I asked at first, but I just repeated myself and she was speechless. I thanked her and left. I have no idea how those three patients reacted. I just hope they were able to have something to smile about. That was definitely the most rewarding experience.


Has anyone ever responded negatively to a RAK?  

Only once, but he didn't know any English and wouldn't accept my gesture when I was trying to give him a Timothy's coffee gift card. Otherwise, I only received positive reactions!


What are your main go-to RAKS? Giving random gift cards? Visiting strangers in hospitals? Both? 

I personally love the RAK where I pay for the persons coffee or order behind me in the drive through, It's so simple but one of the greatest surprises! Also, It's what originally got me started with the RAK's. Another one of my favorites is paying for a random person's bill at a restaurant. I'll usually do it if they're dining alone. The way I see it, whether it's just a business man from out of town having dinner or someone who just got stood up on a date, it's bound to make their day. You never know what people may be going through, so a kind gesture goes a long way.


What places in Mississauga are most in need of RAKs?

Random Acts of Kindness are needed anywhere and everywhere. It definitely encourages positivity, a more loving community and creates more smiles! I would love to see RAKS in more densely populated areas like Hurontario and Dundas where there's many small businesses. Whenever I am there, I definitely notice it is a very stressful environment. So I feel that it would make a great difference there.


What’s a good RAK for someone who’s shy and feels uncomfortable approaching strangers?

Anything from leaving gift cards on someone's car, in someone's mail box, paying for someone's coffee in the drive through or paying for someone's bill at a restaurant. However, it doesn't always have to be done with a monetary value! How about leaving a nice note (on paper) on someone's car windshield, leaving encouraging notes around your school, donating blood, and donating clothes to a nearby charity? There are endless things people could do to give back.


What’s a good RAK for someone who doesn’t have money for, say, a gift card or extra coffee, but who would love to brighten a stranger’s day?

I get asked this a lot! I think the non-monetary RAK's can sometimes be the most meaningful. As I mentioned earlier, there's donating blood, donating clothes to a nearby charity, or leaving positive notes around your school. Even simple everyday things such as holding the door open for people, letting someone go in front of you in line, helping an elderly person across the street, going out of your way to help someone with their groceries to their car and even a smile goes a long way!


Have you ever been the recipient of a RAK? If yes, can you tell us the story?

There's been a couple RAK's that I've been a part of. One that stood out occurred at my work (&Company Resto Bar). This young man was at my bar paying for his bill, and as we were waiting for the receipt to print, he looked at me and said, "I know who you are, you're the girl who has the blog and does random acts of kindness!" As he walked away he pointed to his receipt and said "I decided to pay it forward". I looked at my receipt and noticed he left a nice big tip! What a way to end my night!


What’s the greatest benefit of doing a daily RAK? 

It is definitely very self-rewarding. Also, it encourages an optimistic attitude for the giver as well as the recipient. Ever since I started doing my RAKS I've definitely been a happier person overall, and I've also learn a lot about myself! I've learned to genuinely love, to give and not expect anything back and I've learned to be happy and maintain a positive attitude in any given situation. It also gives you a piece of mind knowing you made someone smile that day. The new person I've become from it is definitely the most rewarding. I recommend anyone who may be going through a hard time, or just needs something to brighten up their mood to do a couple RAK's this month, you'll notice how amazing it will make you feel and the difference it will make! A RAK a day, keeps the negativity away. Merry Christmas!

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