Random Acts of Kindness - In Germany

This week is Random Acts of Kindness week (RAOK -or- it is called RAK -or- as Evan Almighty would say ARK).  It is also the week after my Birthday, which inspired me to look at ideas like The Birthday Project and Making Life Whimsical – Kindness Inspires Kindness Birthday
Act of Random Kindness from Evan Almighty and gone movie credit.bmpSince I am here in Germany, the inspiration had to be slightly altered to fit the location and because of the language barrier and how long it takes me to accomplish anything here - I decided to give myself lots of time to complete any / all ideas.  Finally, I am soooo thankful for everyone that helped me along the way to complete these Random Acts of Kindness.  Hopefully there are more Random Acts of Kindness posts to come…

One idea I had was to leave Euro coins in the shopping carts.  Here in Germany, you have to put a coin into the handle of the shopping cart in order to release the chain holding the carts together.  This ensures that everyone will return their cart, instead of leaving them scattered around the parking lot.  I know that it would make my day if someone randomly left a coin in a shopping cart.

Gute Inspiriert Zu Gute - Kindness Inspires Kindness in Germn
First I made some “Kindness Inspires Kindness” badges  in German "Güte Inspiriert Zu Güte".  My new tutor helped me translate the saying AND she also did a Random Act of Kindness too.  After our first lesson, she left my house, went to Aldi, and then came back and surprised me with a package of scrapbooking paper.  That was really sweet of her to do that!  Especially since it isn’t easy to find things like scrapbooking paper here. 

Next, Chris got about 10 Euro coins when he went to the grocery store the day before. 

Finally, on Valentine’s day, I decided to let the day unfold and see what would happen.  It turns out that it made the most sense to do this Random Act of Kindness on the way back from attending a baby/mom group.  Especially since I had a friend to help me and we didn’t have to take the babies out of their car seats – just pull up next to the shopping carts, put in the coins, tie the tags on, and get the heck out of there while snapping some last minute photos.

Here’s what happened:
  • IMG_0727We started tying the ribbons and putting the coins in the carts, but it got confusing because people were trying to take and return carts while we were doing this.  (you can see the top of the pink ribbon on the carts)

  • One girl looked really mad when she couldn’t put her own coin into the cart.  She ended up taking a cart that didn’t have a coin / tag.  After about 2 minutes, she came back out – still looking frustrated and angry.  She exchanged her cart with a cart that had a tag and coin in it and stormed off back into the store.  No idea what that was all about.

  • A really nice gentleman, didn’t realize what was happening and he ran after an older lady – yelling – YOU FORGOT YOUR COIN (in German of course)!  She then informed him that it wasn’t her coin and they stood there looking very confused for several minutes.
IMG_0726What I learned!  If you are going to put coins into the carts as a Random Act of Kindness in Germany then I would recommend going first thing in the morning, right before the store opens.  That way there is less confusion with people coming and going with the carts as you are trying to put the coins and tags onto the carts  (see man looking confused in the photo to the right).
Another idea is to scale it down and just do one cart at a time.  Next time I am shopping maybe I will leave my coin in there and tie a tag onto the cart.  That would draw less attention and hopefully cause less confusion.

I am glad that I did this, but in the end I think that I frustrated more people than I actually cheered up.  But here is to trying to make people smile :)

Lots of Love – Judi

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