I’m sure most people are familiar with the concept of random acts of kindness – you unexpectedly do something nice for someone, like help a little old lady cross a street, or hold the door open for someone (which good manners dictates you should be doing anyways), or give a ride to that kid you always see waiting for the bus in the morning.
Related to that is paying it forward – you pay for the coffee of the person behind you, who pays for the coffee of the person behind him, who pays for the coffee for the person behind her, etc. Or you give a kid $20 to spend on any charity he wants, and he spends it on stamps for letters asking for donations to a homeless shelter and ends up collecting $1300 worth of stuff. And then you make a movie about the whole concept starring Kevin Spacey and that kid who sees dead people.
Well, I’m introducing a new concept – guerrilla acts of kindness. This is where you do something nice for someone, without them knowing about it, and you feel really good in part because you know you did it to help someone and not for the recognition. This happened at Christmas this year at K-Marts all across the country, when anonymous strangers paid off people’s layaways so their kids could get Christmas presents.
To raise awareness of guerrilla acts of kindness, I’m going to have a little contest here on my blog. The grand prize will be a critique of a work of your choice (either short story or novel chapter), up to about 3000 words. Or someone else’s work, if you want to continue the guerrilla acts of kindness. :)
Here’s how it works:
- Leave a comment on this post about the best guerrilla act of kindness you or a “friend” has performed, or that’s been done for you, along with your email or other way to contact you. Or email me at edmartin(dot)writer(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll post it for you. Entries are due next Sunday at midnight CST.
- Next Monday, January 16th, I’ll read through them all. The one I find the most inspiring will win the crit. And who knows, if there are several awesome ones, there might be several winners (hey, it’s my contest and I can give out as many prizes as I want).
- Please be honest. Obviously there’s no way I can verify if the stories are true, and I know that as writers we like to exaggerate details some time. If you want to tell me about something big, please go do it first. This isn’t just about winning a crit; it’s about making the world a better, cheesier place (and yes, I realize having a contest rewarding anonymous acts kinda takes away the anonymity part, but again, it’s my contest :) ).
So, that’s it! Good luck to everyone!