A Rotorua woman wasn't sure what to expect when she joined the Random Acts of Kindness Facebook page three months ago, but she knew that making a difference in people's lives is something she has always been passionate about, and it's a trait she wants to pass down to her daughter.

Now, Philippa Mackenzie says the daily posts from people sharing the stories of helping others inspires her to want to do more in her community.

"I'm not sure how I even came across the page, but upon reading what they had been doing, it was like I knew that that's what I wanted to be doing. It was great to see people helping others and sharing what they had done.

"I have always tried to help people where I can, like giving the lady at the supermarket checkout an extra $10 to go towards the groceries of the person behind me, or helping someone down the street to get safely where they need to go. It's about paying it forward, and creating that legacy for my daughter."


The 30-year-old solo mother says she has grown up with good morals and values, and helping people should be the norm.

"I've grown up seeing random acts of kindness, watching my family doing things for others and not expecting anything in return. And I've also experienced that - people helping me when I've needed help. I'm not rich, I don't have a lot, life is hard, but I am blessed enough to have what I have and if I can help someone else, I will."

Random Acts of Kindness Facebook page creator Phil Hands says the idea for the page started around a year ago when he was on a field trip with his students.

"I am a year 9 and 10 tutor at an alternative education centre in Pukekohe. We deal with youth who have been excluded from mainstream schools. As well as that, I am the van driver for the out-of-district youth. About a year ago, I was transporting my students from Waiuku to back home and was on my way to drop off the Tuakau boys. I had already been through the road work area with the guys manning the lollipop signs. The weather was awful - rain, wind and freezing cold. So, on impulse, I stopped at the Z station and bought two hot chocolates," he says.

"When we got to the guys, I wound my window down and passed the first guy his ... 'Thanks bro' was all he said but his smile was saying so much more. The second guy was way more reserved, and was reluctant to accept my free offering, until I explained it was just a random act of kindness. I think he was wondering about what the catch was."

Phil says because of the influence of the media, it's easier for people to accept the bad things that happen in the world than an act of kindness to a stranger.

"I think my students wondered why I had done that and also wondered about the differing reactions from the men to my generosity. We then discussed how when bad stuff happens, we expect it, yet when the good stuff happens, we are surprised. It was also around that time we were hearing about ISIS, and people being beheaded, on the news.

"To my mind, the only way to defeat hate in the world is with love, but how do we show the love? As a praying Christian, I believe I was led by God to start the page. If we could do kindness in the small stuff and share it, then by osmosis, people would be thoughtful in their kindness and share it, and so on. Basically, kindness inspires kindness," he says.


"From small beginnings we now have a page with more than 1000 members from all over the world. It's working, and I am so proud of what people are doing and then sharing on the page to inspire others. Such a simple concept really, but the best ideas usually are."

Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on September 1 by doing something nice for someone else.