The unexpected joy

Yesterday I went to the Post Office and picked up all manner of stuff that had been there (man I hate going to the Post office and seem to get there way past when people have sent me stuff…soz!). In amongst all the packages was something that truly took my breath away. MY DIE.

Uberkate had sent me one of her cocktail rings in green amethyst (who knew?!) and I have been totally loving myself sick as I look down at my hands at all the pretty! Thank you Kate, I LOVE it and I won’t be taking it off my chubby mitts any time soon. Just reminds me of the Emerald City in Oz.

But that’s not the point of the story.
Well, not really. I mean, people giving people things is. So it kind of is.

You see I had to go to our local supermarket in the afternoon to grab some nappies and bits and pieces. This is a country supermarket, the Friendly Grocer, with overpriced goods but always a happy smile serving you. We’re lucky to have it, it reminded me of the supermarket in Goodwood (if any of you read that recently for my book club). So I grabbed the nappies, some ice creams for kids for afternoon tea when the gorgeous girl serving me commented on my new ring! And I was all like “HAVE YOU EVER?!” and we discussed where she could get one from Uberkate with a K and all that, and how people may start to think  that I am James Packer’s new fiancé (no thank you very much) and how I should tell people it’s a rare green diamond and how lucky I was etc etc. We were waiting for the Eftpos machine to work (it was extra slow) while the lady behind me stacked up her goods. I was making silly jokes to fill the time, apparently I think I am doing a stand up routine when in line entertaining all of the people. We were STILL waiting, so I said I’d pay cash and handed over the amount showing owing on the till. But it was for the next lady in line, but I had the cash so I said “let me pay it for you!” And she was all like NO! Don’t be silly! But it just hit me, go course pay the groceries. Look at what you got today! So I did. And I hugged her and said “I feel like Oprah! YOU GET FREE SAUSAGES! YOU GET FREE BACON!” and we all laughed and felt good, then I paid for my nappies and ice creams and left.

It feels SO good to do those unexpected acts of kindness for people. I know we often do it for people we know and love, but I think there’s something even better about doing it for people we don’t know. I remember thinking last year on the 23rd December or about then when I was doing that BIG shop, you know the one before Christmas where it feels like Armaggedon and that the shops will never be open again? THAT shop. And everyone was frazzled and tired and looking and lists and running off to get the capers that they forgot, and I thought, I should so just pay for the person in front of me. And I was SO going to do it, but then I got into a panic over whether that person needed it, or maybe there was someone else who needed it more. And then I just chickened out because I didn’t want to look like a tosser.

But this year I am SO going to do that. Shout someone their groceries. Maybe they don’t need it, maybe they do. But why not? There’s so many people doing it tough at these times of year, maybe make a donation, maybe volunteer your time, maybe go visit some old people in a nursing home, maybe drop something home made off to a neighbour you haven’t met.

There are too many places that need money and time and donations. Too many for me to list at least. Here’s some that I like to donate to when I can:

Share the Dignity (helping homeless women with sanitary items)
Red Cross Christmas Donation
Local Domestic Violence Shelters are always looking for donations (google to find yours)
Donate a toy to a kid in need
The Smith Family
World Vision

But like I said, there’s so many people in need, so google away or look in your own community at groups, people, families that are in need. Giving when we can not only makes us feel good, but it actually helps people in real need.

So I am going to shout those groceries when I can, make someone smile that you don’t know, hug a stranger or give to a group of people endlessly and tirelessly helping others because they can, and because they need it. Imagine what a better place this would be if we all did one small good deed?

Do you have a group or organisation that needs help?
Share it with us?
Done a good deed lately?
Imagine if you really could be Oprah and give more away than a packet of sausages!


  1. I was trying to pay for my parking at a hospital one day. I had just whipped in quickly to visit a friend and was zapping back out again when the person in front of me was having a hard time trying to pay for his parking ticket. The machine kept declining his credit card. He had obviously been there all day as his ticket was the maximum day value but I had cash and said to him, let me pay and so I did. He was so thankful and said he had been there all day with a very sick child. Makes you feel so good when you do stiff for complete strangers.

  2. Generosity feels so good doesn’t it? And I think it snowballs once we open our eyes to the opportunities around us. Make someone’s day, yeah!

    Good on you Beth! “Everybody gets a sausage”, I’d buy that tee!!

    Being out of work has meant that I have needed, and received, a LOT of kindness from people, and where it initially made me squirmy, I now simply receive it with deep gratitude, because there is NO WAY a person can survive on Newstart alone.

    Here’s to the death of “random” acts of kindness and the birth of deliberate, joyful acts of generosity – everything from paying for someone’s groceries, to gifting some gorgeous garden cuttings to letting someone slip in line ahead of you on Christmas Eve, to sharing our creativity and more.

  3. The gift of giving when you can rewards you with the most amazing feeling. I have many great stories to tell but will share my favourite. Lunching at a busy restaurant with my wonderful partner we noticed we were next to a large tableful of nurses from the RSL nursing home my partners late father lived. My partner went to the pay station and took care of the bill for the whole table of nurses and had bottles of champagne sent over to the table. The nurses all hugged and kissed my partner in front of the whole restaurant as thanks. As you can imagine that was reward enough 🙂

  4. Hi. What a thoughtful thing to do. I have done the same thing several times and man does it feel great. I remember an old guy at the checkout before me, they put his purchase through, poor love didn’t have enough money so he started taking out what he couldn’t afford, he took out meat, ice cream and bread and milk but made sure he had dog treats for his pet, so set on still providing for his pet, broke my heart so I pushed in and told the cashier to put the lot through and I paid, the old guy cried and I had a tear as well but I would hope that someday if I were in that position the same would be done for me. Give where you can and I truly believe that that good deed will bring you luck.

    • Donna, you made me cry! When I was younger my mum was that lady who had to put things back because she couldn’t afford all the things in her trolley but trying to make sure she had all the stuff us 6 kids needed for school & dinners & if someone had been kind enough to do what you did for her I know she would have been beyond grateful. Thank god for people like you xx

      • I think when I see people struggle it breaks my heart. Not that we are well off but just one act of kindness really does go along way. I can still see his face.

  5. That ring is the bomb!
    Last year on Christmas Eve I put about 20 coins in our little Aldi trolley bay. I was hoping that it would make a few people’s days not having to fish for a gold coin before the horrid grocery shop.

  6. ^^ dying at that story above where an old guy was sacrificing his stuff but keeping his dog treats.

    I feel like a wanker sharing this because it’s just what SHOULD happen. But I was on a short haul domestic flight recently and seated next to a darling elderly (82!!) gentleman. And what a gentleman he was too. Very polite and proper. I’m going to try to use some old school etiquette moving forward. Anyway. Naturally when the plane landed there was the whole going through the overhead lockers etc and the person in the row in front of us took his bag down. When he mentioned it was his, she went to put it back up. Now this man had a bandage on his head, was quite frail looking etc and even if he wasn’t, still! So firstly I asked her if she could just leave it down for him and then I carried it for him from the plane to the gate where his daughter was waiting.

    Of course because he was so gentlemanly he felt like he should be carrying MY bag but there would be none of that on my watch.

    I don’t have any grandparents left and my Labradors certainly would never make official therapy dogs but I’m going to call some of the nursing homes and see if they can come in for unofficial cuddles with the oldies.

    • I’m tearing up at your story Chelsea. Definitely not a wanker xxx

      • That’s a beautiful story Chelsea, and certainly not a wander. You are a kind hearted lady and I think the idea of taking an animal to the homes us a wonderful idea. There is so much anyone of us can do, not to be praised for doing it but just because it’s the right thing to do.

  7. When we were first married & struggling we were blessed to have bags left on our doorstep with the expensive essentials (loo paper, toothpaste type stuff) to help us along from an anonymous friend. Our church has also supplied a very generous christmas hamper one particularly lean year. This year I was really happy to be in a position where I had saved a bit over the year & could take part in Share the dignity’s “in the bag” collection. It was great to be able to give after knowing how great it felt to be given to in tough times & what a relief it can be

  8. Great post and loving the comments (wish there was a like/love button!). Agree and I do try to help when I see someone in need but all I want to say is, even if you can’t afford to help, perhaps just a lovely smile and “good morning”. A smile and acknowledgement can change someone’s (and your) day…and it costs nothing. Let’s have more smiles and ” ‘mooornin’!” when out on our morning walk or rush to the station. Imagine what a nicer place it would be 🙂

  9. Michelle Cains says

    I recently popped a collection of goodies in a used but still in good condidition handbag and dropped it off for the #itsinthebag collection, I hope it adds a bit of brightness to the day of a woman in need.

    And a couple of times this year circumstances have arisen where I have been able to pass along some of my families good fortune to those less fortunate – very cathartic as it made me go through the baby clothes and ‘stuff’, and the vast multitude of toys and books and pass along good quality used things to people it will really make a difference to – one lot was a church collecting for a couple of refugee families imminently expecting babies, and another was a family of four kids who had been taken in by a family member and who basically arrived in what they were wearing, no clothes, toys, etc.

  10. I’m excited,as I will be working Xmas evening (after a big extended family lunch, so no feeling sorry for me) visiting the elderly at home alone.
    I cannot emphasis enough that if you donate a can of spaghetti in sauce or shortbreads etc to any of the big charities, Smith Family, Salvos etc they get to the right people. I am the indirect beneficiary of the occasional shortbread in the course of my shift…
    Be kind
    and share your good fortune, a smile, a pack of mince pies in a charity bin, hold a door open for a pregnant lady…
    You are gorgeous Beth, I love the ring too!

  11. I recently gave a bag to the Share the Dignity #itsinthebag & for a moment when I was in the shop buying all the things I thought should go in there I hesitated because we are not flush with cash ( & certainly not at this time of year ) but we have food in our pantry, a comfy home & the joy of knowing there is a pay coming in each week. So I gave each of my toddlers a basket to drag around the shop & we filled them up. I added a handmade scarf & a book that has sat, unread, on my bookshelf since I bought it years ago & dropped it off.I felt so good doing that small gesture. Its the same when I give a mum with a screaming toddler in the supermarket a pat on the back with some kinds words, or when I compliment a stranger on their hair or skirt, such tiny tiny things but they are good things to do.

  12. How lovely of you. I think you should do it anyway. Even if the person doesn’t need it, you can tell them to pay it forward! Spread that love!
    I used to buy an all day parking ticket when I was at uni. I’d pass it onto the next person when I was leaving (it would last until late that night). I scared people running up and saying, “DON’T PUT YOUR MONEY IN THE MACHINE!” Hahaha.
    But once they understood what I was doing, their smiles were so worth it. I think the first time I actually underestimated how much it would be appreciated.
    I think I’d like to work on giving more compliments to strangers. More kind words. I usually freak out and think they’ll decide I’m a weirdo. But I will. Because I don’t always have the money to buy someone’s groceries or pass on a financial donation, but I can always give kindness x

  13. I volunteer every year at the Salvation Army, filling up the sacks of toys for those less fortunate at Christmas. Every time I choose a toy I imagine the happy little faces of the. Children on Christmas morning.

  14. I also donated a couple of bags to Share the Dignity- I only intended to give one but then I read that teenagers are often short of hygiene products so I shopped around for lots of fun things for a young girl- I must say I really enjoyed thinking about what someone would need, as well as a colouring book and pencils. I have previously donated lots of things via Givit as I know they go directly to people who need them- they always looking for washing machines, fridges and other household items, so give them a thought if you have surplus stuff.

  15. I know it’s a little different but a couple of years ago my poor mum had her purse stolen out of the trolley in the supermarket. She only realised after she had unloaded everything & went to pay, but it turned out the lady in line behind her was a girl who had grown up in the same area as Mum & remembered her & she paid for the lot. What a wonderful thing to do.

  16. I work with a lovely lady whose BF was diagonised with ovarian cancer earlier this year, she is now in final stages and putting “her life in order” organising her funeral gifting her possessions, some of them very precious to her family and friends being so strong and upbeat about her fate, I put together a gift bag of a beautiful candle from L’Occitane and some of their lovely treats, handcream, soap smellies, my colleague gave them to her and her and she sent me a lovely txt expressing her gratitude, so lovely. She came into work yesterday, we finally met, we had the biggest hug and chatted like old friends, she couldn’t thank me enough for one small act I had tears, such a lovely soul. My new mission us to make at least one stranger a day smile, positive acts of thoughtfulness xx

  17. I recently bought gifts for a 15 year old boy in care through a program run by our local op shop. The shops were crazy this Sunday and I sat at a cafe and wrote his a note wishing him the best and that I hoped his Christmas was okay etc etc. When I got home I didn’t have the bag! I think it was about $180 worth of vouchers and stuff from Rebel Sport. I immediately rang the coffee shop; not there; rang centre management and all the stores in went in to and it wasn’t there. Yesterday i rang David Jones on the off chance it was there as they have their own lost property. It was! Not only that but when I went to collect it today DJ’s had read my note and added clothes, books and a bag to my gifts with no fanfare! I didn’t even know until I was outside. I’m still crying now thinking of it. Big snaps to you DJ’s at Indro and good kharma to whoever handed it in.

  18. I went to the supermarket today with my 12 year old and we chose groceries to give to Anglicare to go in food hampers for Christmas. I called and asked what was best and they suggested staples like pasta and jars of sauce, some Christmas treats, we put in several Santa hats too. I loved doing this with my daughter and we then delivered the bags together to Anglicare. I good practical way to remind her how very fortunate we are and give her an active role in thinking what children would like to receive. Made me feel good in the middle of such a busy time. I’ve done the same sort of thing in the past with my older children when they were smaller and it works well with kids from about 4 years old up. I run a retail business so we are very focussed on selling things at present. This was a lovely balance.

  19. I never ever comment but I want to today. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Redkite do amazing work. They a national charity provide essential services to families where a child or young person (0-24 years) has been diagnosed with cancer. Every day kids, parents and teens sit in oncology wards across the country worried sick not only about their child being enormously close to death, but in many cases, worrying about those left at home and how they’re coping, worried about how to pay for their electricity bill when they can’t work and are staring down the barrel of 6 months of chemo (fairly common).

    Cancer is shitty and Redkite help provide red bags in hospitals with essentials for families helicoptered in from rural areas and people that arrive in the middle of the night with nothing (again, not uncommon). They provide financial assistance for families going through cancer with their child. They fund a national team of social workers in hospitals to look after broken families. They fund music therapists which for many kids are the key to them being able to tolerate a tonne of procedures. Among other things, Redkite also help families who are bereaved to pay for funeral costs and provide support on what would be the hardest of journeys.

    They’re pretty amazing. You can donate this Christmas directly at any Coles cash register (just buy a card!) or you can donate to their Christmas appeal here and help families like Hayden’s.

    • Also just wanted to say that I *know* the above is a bit of a plug, but I really believe in the kind of work they do. It could be any one of us that’s staring down the barrel of a cancer diagnosis with their kid. “There but for the grace of God…” and all that.

      I think there’s also a good deed to be done by chatting to someone who might need a bit of human contact, especially at this time of year. Christmas can be hard for people who are remembering those they wish were here, so a kind word and a little bit of time can really mean a lot.

      xx Mrs P23.

  20. I once saw an elderly man struggling to push his trolley up the hill at the shopping centre so I offered to push it back to his car. Little did I know that he had walked and lived a 15 minute walk away. Up several hills I pushed that trolley, huffing and puffing while doing that thing we all do when we are puffed out but don’t want people to see we are dying. Ha! I pushed that trolley all the way to his house then pushed the empty trolley all the way back to the supermarket. Well played.

  21. beautiful acts of kindness are priceless beth!
    you have a good heart!
    I especially like to be my higher self at Christmas time!
    much love m:)X

  22. We had a little soup leftover the other night at Mr Perkins and my husband thought that he would do a good deed and offer it to the homeless man outside the Pavilion… but then the homeless guy wouldn’t take the soup because he said that he was vegan {only in Bondi}.

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