Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

RAK up an act of kindness and make someone feel special

Pastors Trent and Jade Membrey. Photo / C3 Church
Pastors Trent and Jade Membrey. Photo / C3 Church

Thinking about doing something nice for someone you love, or even someone you don't know? Random Acts of Kindness Day on Thursday is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

RAK Day was inspired by Auckland business manager Josh de Jong, after he got fed up watching drivers indulging in pointless road rage.

It has been running for the past 12 years in New Zealand, and we are the only country known to have a day specially dedicated to being nice to other people.

This year, organiser Megan Singleton has invited more than 2000 schools nationwide to take part in RAK Day.

"It is amazing how good doing something nice for someone can make you feel, and it doesn't have to be for anyone you know," she said.

"Doing something simple like sending an order of pizza to your local fire station or ambulance service gives everyone involved a boost."

In past years people have reported being RAKed by strangers buying them coffee, paying for their parking, neighbours arriving with gift hampers, and companies shouting huge giveaways including flights and cruises.

"Like Mother's Day or Father's Day, we can all do something together that makes an impact," Singleton said.

C3 church has thrown free parties at schools to mark RAK Day for a number of years.

Pastor Trent Membrey said the church was hosting surprise bashes at low-decile schools in South and East Auckland this time around.

"The kids get great music, food, games and entertainment and we will also have pamper rooms where teachers and parents will be well looked after," he said.

The church is also throwing a party in Manukau for kids whose parents are in prison.

"There are something like 20,000 children in New Zealand whose mum or dad is in jail," Membrey said.

"These are not just very special moments for the kids and families but for us as well."

The idea behind RAK Day was popular when the Herald on Sunday hit the streets yesterday.

Frances Sinclair. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Frances Sinclair. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Physiotherapy student Frances Sinclair, 21, from Auckland's North Shore, reckoned people should be kind to each other more often.

"I just gave a woman directions to get to a bus stop and I felt a little bit better for doing it," she said.

"It is always nice to be nice."

She had a few suggestions for anyone who might want to send their RAK her way on Thursday.

"If someone was to do something random for me, it would be good if they tidied out my place, did the vacuuming and washed the dishes. But I'm not holding my breath."

Her friend, Timothy Clark, also 21, and originally from Tauranga, equated kindness with free beer.

"Strangers have done this for me when I'm broke and I have been very grateful," he said.

"I have also been very relieved when my car has broken down and someone I have never met has stopped to help me push it.

"It is little things like that that brighten up your day."

Ten ideas for RAK Day

• Put the neighbour's wheelie bin out.
• Put toothpaste on your partner's brush.
• Wind the bathroom scales back for your partner.
• Email your boss to say how great it is to work for them.
• Pay for the coffees of a table next to you in a cafe.
• Make scones to take to the office.
• Weed your neighbour's garden or mow their lawn while they are at work.
• Sort through your wardrobe and donate clothes to charity.
• Let someone into traffic.
• Kids, give parents a voucher saying you will do the dishes for a week.

- Herald on Sunday

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