Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 31: Bake Sale for Good Cause

In nine days I will be jumping in a frozen lake for a good cause.  Today, with the help of a lot of great co-workers, I raised money to ensure my boss will be jumping in with me.  The event is called the "Polar Plunge, Toss Your Boss" and its goal is to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. In order to "toss your boss" in the lake, the team is required to raise a minimum of $1000.  When my co-worker and I originally took this proposition to our boss, he was hesitant to the idea,  but since it is for a good cause he agreed that if we could raise the money, he would jump in the lake.  Part of me thinks the reason he accepted is because he didn't think we would get the money raised. He was wrong.

My co-workers and I decided to organize a bake sale for today.  Fortunately for me, I work with people who are so quick to help. We ended today by raising $750! On top of that, my company matched the first $500 we raised.  So in total we raised $1250.  And my boss is going in the drink!

If anyone would like to contribute to this cause and donate to the Special Olympics that would be great.  You can click here and it will take you to my team's donation page.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30: Shoveled

Well I'm ready for winter to be over.  Today we got about 10 inches of snow.  This amount of snow makes practically everything more difficult, i.e., getting to work, leaving the house, exercising the dog, watching satellite tv, etc.  Plus the amount of time it takes to shovel the driveway and sidewalk can be a hassle.  So today, for my act of kindness, when I was done shoveling my driveway, I decided to shovel my neighbor's driveway as well.  Hopefully this will make this snowstorm a little bit less of a hassle for them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 29: Letter to My Daughter

Today I wrote a letter to my daughter.  This particular letter she won't open and read until her 16th birthday.  There are only so many things that pictures or videos can express so I wanted to take some time and write to her about how happy she has made me, and how excited I am to see the person she has become.  I also took a picture of Emma on my shoulders the night I wrote the letter. It will be a fun trip down memory lane to have her read this letter in over 15 years.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28: Big Brothers/Big Sisters

So I know I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was going to try and limit the donations to about once a week....well this week's donation is used up.  I woke up this morning and turned on the local news.  The station was having an all day telethon for Big Brother/Big Sisters.  I was a big brother the last couple years of high school.  I'm not sure I grasped how important this role was at the time, but it is so important for little kids to have people to look up to for role models. I was lucky enough to have a great dad and brother to look up to as my role models when I was a kid.  I can't imagine how different my life would have been without them in it. So, today for my act of kindness, I called into the telethon and donated some money.  I am hoping that I will be able to volunteer my time later in the year for this organization as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 27: Donation to "Pizzas for Patriots"

Ever since I started this blog I have been getting a fair amount or charities and fundraisers brought to my attention, which I love so keep them coming.  However, it is just not practical for me to be able to do something for each one, so I am going to try and do something once per week for a specific cause.

Today, for my act of kindness, I made a small donation to, "Pizzas for Patriots." This is a non-profit organization that was started five years ago by retired Air Force master sergeant, Mark Evans. Through the years this organization has helped feed almost a half a million troops on holidays like Independence Day and Veteran's Day.  His upcoming project is to send 20,000 pizzas to troops for the Super Bowl.  If you would like to donate or learn more about "Pizzas for Patriots" just click on the link below.  After all, what is the Super Bowl without pizza!

Link to homepage:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26: Handy Man

I am not a handy person.  I blame this on my dad.  He has taught me so many great things, but, "how to be handy" was not one of them.  I have improved my skills a ton since owning a house but there is still a long way to go. A lot of times I make a lot of stupid mistakes.  Take this for example; about a year ago I spent an afternoon assembling a crib for my soon to be born daughter.  I was so proud of myself when I was finished, sure it took a couple hours longer than it probably should have, but I did it and the crib looked glorious.  There was just one problem that I soon realized; I assembled the crib in the living room so I could watch tv during the construction.  When I went to move the crib to the nursery, I realized there was no way it was going to fit through the door.  I had take apart the crib and re-assemble it in the nursery.  This is an example of the mistakes I make.

So, today for my act, I helped my brother-in-law assemble this exact same crib and a dresser.  I'm sure he wouldn't have made the same mistake I did, but at least we were able to get it done quicker with two people.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 25: Box Tops for Education

I've said it before, but I come from a home of educators.  My mom is a retired teacher and my wife currently teaches for the Madison school district, so I am always looking for ways to support teachers and schools.  Today, my wife told me about box tops for education.  This is fundraising effort for schools where all people need to do is look for the "box top for education" logo on various products such as cereal, hamburger helper, kleenex, etc., then they need to cut out the logo and bring it to their school.  Last year, schools raised over $74 million and $475 million since 1996!  So, today for my act of kindness, my wife and I promised to start cutting the box tops out whenever we see them to do our part.  We have a bowl in the kitchen we will put these in and hand them in at the end of each month.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 24: Lottery Tickets

So I am typically that person who only plays the lottery when it gets to some absurd amount like $300 million.  It's like I am saying, "Wow now that it is that amount, now it makes sense to buy a ticket." But when it's at like $90 million, that's just too small of amount to buy a ticket for. I don't get it, but that's just how I am with the lottery.  Another thing I tend to do is the whole day prior to the drawing I find myself daydreaming about how I am going to spend the money such as, what family members and friends I'm going to give money to, what charities I would help, how many houses I would buy and some other fun things.  I find it unusually enjoyable to think about these things.  And then right before the drawing, I get to the point where I feel like I'm really going to win.  And then the numbers are drawn and I am lucky to match one number and I am brought back to reality.  However, I think it is still fun leading up to it.  So, today for my act of kindness, I bought a few lottery tickets and handed them out to the first three people I had conversations with at work.  I'm hoping they win big, but if not, I hope it at least adds a little bit of enjoyment to their day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 23: Vending Machine

I love food.  I am pretty much constantly eating throughout the day at work.  Especially because all the people that sit around me tend to bring in baked goods every day which is awesome and terrible at the same time.  We also have a couple vending machines in the building that I visit often.  Today, for my act of kindness, I loaded one of the machines with a few dollars and attached the note above in the picture.  Hopefully a few people were able to get free snacks on me today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22: Letter to Old Boss

So, I'm sure just like everyone else, I've had some great bosses and some not so great ones.  Depending on what type of boss you get can make or break a job, or a career for that matter.  Today, for my act I took a few minutes and wrote a letter to a former boss of mine who I really thought was great. During my time working for him I probably didn't let him know how much I enjoyed/appreciated his leadership.  I hope this letter can express that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21: Warmed Up a Car

So winter in Wisconsin can be pretty rough. Whether it's 15 inch snowfalls or 0 degree weather, winter seems to drag on forever around here.  One of the most annoying parts of winter for me is how freezing my car gets.  Sometimes I feel as if the inside of my car is colder than it is outside. Not to mention it takes forever to warm up.  It's a coldness that cuts straight to the bone.  So, today for my act of kindness, I warmed up the car of one of my co-workers. I also dropped off her car at the front door so she wouldn't need to walk through the parking lot.  She is one of the nicest people I know and it was fun doing something small to make her day a little easier  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 20: Free Movie

One of my favorite things to do is go to the movies.  However, ever since Emma was born, my trips to the theater have taken a hit.  During the week we don't have time, and on the weekends we have other things going on, or we can't find a sitter, or we are too tired.   Recently however we've found that if we go on Sunday mornings we can still get everything done in the day that we want. It is also much easier to find a sitter and we still have energy to want to leave the house. Win Win Win

So, today for my act of kindness, I bought a movie ticket for the person behind me. The best part about this was the person I bought the ticket for was so happy she said that she would pass on the kindness and do something similar! That was great to hear because that is such a huge part of why I am doing this; so others will be inspired to do the same.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 19: Helped the Homeless

Madison, Wisconsin is not a huge city, but it is a big college town.  The campus of the University of Wisconsin is intertwined with downtown. The most popular street in the area is State Street.  For about a 10 block stretch where no cars are allowed, you will find restaurants, theaters, bars and locally owned retail shops. With all the options, plus with the street being on campus, there is a huge variety of people you will find in the area, including homeless people.  

The first post I wrote for this blog I mentioned the type of person I want my daughter to be when she grows up. I wrote that I want her to be someone who is slow to judge but quick to help.  When it comes to homeless people, I think it can be very easy to judge and look the other way, which is not the right thing to do.  I have no idea what has happened in these individuals life to put them on the streets, and in almost all cases, it shouldn't matter.  All that matters is they are people in need of help.  So, today for my act of kindness, my wife and I made some turkey sandwiches and gave them out to a group of homeless people on State Street. They were very appreciative and thanked us several times as we were walking away.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18: Gift Card to Strangers

My wife and I along with Emma went out to dinner tonight at one of our favorite restaurants.  Fortunately for us, my grandparents had given us a gift card for Xmas for this place.  Fortunately for the strangers sitting next to us, our meal did not cover the amount on the gift card.  So, today for my act of kindness, I gave the balance of our gift card ($8) to the couple sitting next to us when we left.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 17: Became a Tipping Machine

Especially when I am on the road, I find that when dealing with customer service people I tend to put myself on autopilot. So today I wanted to show appreciation to some people that don't necessarily get it even though they deal with hundreds of people per day.  So, for my act, I became a tipping machine for the day.  First, when I checked out of my hotel, I tipped both the cleaning crew and the receptionist at the front desk. Then, when dropping off my rental at the airport, I tipped the employee who helped me clean out the car.  Next, I put a couple dollars in the tip jar when ordering lunch. Finally, when getting drinks on both my flights, I tipped the flight attendants.  Even though the tips were small amounts  I could tell that each person appreciated it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 16: Reconnected with an Old Friend

With all the social media nowadays it is pretty easy to stay connected with friends if you want to. It doesn't matter if they live in your neighborhood, or if they live in a different country, there really is no excuse to lose connection with someone you care about.  That being said, I haven't talked to one of my old friends in a few years and it was completely my fault.  I wasn't the best of friends to this person and instead of calling them up to apologize, I instead just dismissed the issue and went on with my life.  I always had the intention of reconnecting with them but the more time that went on the more awkward it felt.  So, today for my act, I tracked down my old friend's number and called to apologize. It was really nice to catch up with them and I think they appreciated my apology. Hopefully it won't be a few years before we talk again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 15: Equality for All

My brother told me he was gay about 10 years ago.  I remember this day pretty well, along with how I was feeling about it. I remember the overwhelming feeling was sadness; not because of the news my brother is gay, but because how I knew he would be treated and judged by other people.  I could not care less about his sexual orientation, but I did care that his life was going to be considerably harder because of it. People can be so mean to strangers just because they don’t look or act like them.

 I do not want this blog to be a political forum, however all I will say is I believe everyone should be treated equally.  Whether a person is applying for a job or trying to marry the person they love, their sexual orientation should have nothing to do with it. So today for my act of kindness I ordered an “equality” sticker and will have it on my car as soon as it is delivered.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14: Offer My Seat

I am on the road a decent amount.  I find that when I travel there are a lot of opportunities to help complete strangers.  It is just a matter of keeping an eye out for a situation to help.  Today, when I was boarding my flight I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I was going to have the whole row to myself.  Those seats are pretty narrow and although I am a fairly small person I was looking forward to the extra room.  However, I noticed there was a guy across the aisle that could use the extra space a little more.  He was a little bit on the bigger side and I could tell that not only him, but the person next to him were preparing for a pretty uncomfortable flight.  Now, I was a little worried that I might offend this person by asking if they would like more space, but I figured my heart was in the right place so what the heck.  It turned out he was very grateful of my offer and we switched seats.  He thanked me four separate times throughout the flight.  I was happy I could make his flight a better experience.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 13: Cookies for a Friend's Dad

My good friend's dad recently had surgery to remove a portion of his large intestine. He has been in the hospital recovering for 5+ days. Personally, I am not a big fan of hospitals, so thinking of needing to be in one for five days made me want to do something nice for him.  So, today for my act of kindness, my wife and I sent a get "get well" card and home-made cookies his way.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 12: Canine for Caden

So, a lot of people so far have asked me why I decided to document my acts of kindness.  There are two simple answers to that:

             1. To keep me accountable to not missing a day.
             2. To help raise awareness for kind acts and hopefully inspire people to do the same.

Today, I am hoping my act and this blog will help raise awareness for a good cause.  An 8 year-old boy named Caden and his story was brought to my attention this morning.  This boy has a rare condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta aka Brittle Bone Disorder.  That means that his bones are so weak that they fracture under little stress.  If you are familiar with the movie, "Unbreakable" that is what he has. The family is looking to get Caden a canine companion to help him with his needs.  As you can imagine finding and paying for a dog with those skills is not easy.  Well, the family has found a dog named Hunter.  His unique disposition and skill set has made him an ideal fit for Caden and they have already started training together.  The only problem is Hunter does not come cheap ($4,000). A friend of the family has set up a contribution site to try and help this family since their insurance is most likely not going to cover the costs.

So, today for my act of kindness, I made a contribution for Caden in hopes of bringing him that much closer to bringing home Hunter.  If you are interested in reading more about his story or contributing to this cause, please visit

Also, If you can share this page with your friends to raise awareness that would be helpful as well!
Thank you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11: Spa Day

I am not going to divulge any of the details, but I was in the delivery room 7 1/2 months ago when my daughter was born.  To say that I have a new appreciation for all mothers would be the greatest understatement I could ever make.  It is amazing to see the sacrifice, both physically and mentally, a woman makes during and after pregnancy.  So, today for my act of kindness, I sat down with my wife and we picked out a spa package for her.  The package includes, among other things, an hour massage, facial and steam shower.  I know she will enjoy it, and to say she deserves it would be another huge understatement.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10: Donation for CF

My RA from college has cystic fibrosis. Before meeting him, I really didn't know too much about the disease.  For those who don't know cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.  The predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is in the late 30s.  I haven't spoken with my old RA for about 10 years, but I still remember he had such a good personality and an amazing outlook on life.  I did see through social media that he just became a father to twins and I was really happy to see that.  

On my way back from a business trip today I stopped at a gas station.  When I went in to pay they had these "hearts" on the counter to help raise awareness for CF and for people to make donations.  When I saw this, I immediately thought of my RA and decided to make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for my kind act today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9: Drive-thru Kindness

So yesterday I gave out a free pizza to a complete stranger.  I really enjoyed doing something kind for a person I didn't know because it is so unexpected by them. It made me feel really good because I could see the genuine gratitude that this person had for this kind act.

Today,  I wanted to keep the complete stranger theme going.  I went through a drive-thru at lunch today and decided to pay for the person's food in the car behind me.  This was a drive-thru that had two windows; one to pay at and the next to get the food.  When I was at the second window I looked in my rear-view mirror and I could have sworn the lady was nearly half out her car window trying to get my attention by waiving at me.  She had a huge smile on her face while thanking me with excessive waiving.  Again, this made me feel really good to see something so small, relatively speaking,  make someone so happy.  I hope it made her day.  I know it made mine.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 8: Free Pizza

Today I wanted to do something nice for a complete stranger.  I ordered food from Topper’s last week and they only delivered about half of what I ordered so I was given a coupon for a free large pizza. So after work today I went to Topper's parking lot in search of a stranger I could help.  Within 5 minutes or so I met a guy named Chuck who was about to walk in and pay for a large pizza. He was very happy when I offered him the coupon and I was happy that I could do something nice for a complete stranger. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7: Gifts to Daycare

Both my wife and I have full-time jobs.  We are lucky enough to have our parents be able to watch Emma three of the five days out of the week.  The other two days she goes to an in-home daycare.  We thought it was going to be much more difficult than it has been leaving her for those two days, and the main reason it has been easier than we thought is because Emma absolutely loves the other kids at the  in-home daycare.  Plus, the teacher/owner does an amazing job with the kids.  Emma gets so excited every time we drop her off that it makes it much less painful leaving her those two days.  So, today for my act of kindness my wife and I bought a book for each one of the kids, wrapped them up and delivered them this morning.    

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6: Drop-off to Goodwill

I am a creature of habit.  If I am not at work you can be sure that I am wearing either one of my two sweatpants with one of my three fleeces.  I honestly don't remember the last time I bought an article of clothing for myself that wasn't for work.  With that being said, I still have a ton of clothes.  Most of them just sit at the bottom or my drawer and never get worn.  So, today for my act of kindness, I went through my drawers and pulled out the clothes that I don't wear.  I then took them over to Goodwill where they will hopefully get much more use.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5: Care Package to New Parents

My wife and I are relatively new parents. My daughter, Emma, was born in May, 2012. Being a parent has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done in our lives.  However it has not always been smooth sailing. Having a little baby who is entirely dependent on you can lead to some long nights and stressful moments. But all those moments really help make me appreciate all the parents out there. I really had no idea what it was going to be like to be a parent until I became one seven months ago.  So, today for my act of kindness my wife and I put together a baby care package and sent it out to a couple of friends that recently had a baby.  The package included a bottle, a couple pacifiers, wipes and a blanket that my wife made.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 4: No Change Wasted

Whenever I get change back after buying something it always seems to eventually disappear.  It might end up in the couch cushion; possibly somewhere under my car seat; or randomly dispersed around the house.  To be honest I'm not really sure where it all goes but I do know one thing, it is not being used   effectively.  So, today for my act of kindness, I am going to pledge to start saving this money each day. I have a jar with "Day 4" written on it. Every time I get change I will put it in this jar.  At the end of 2013 I will take all the money that has been saved and put it towards a good cause.  I have a few charities in mind today, but I have a feeling that over the course of this year I am going to come across many good causes, charities and people that are very deserving of getting a little extra help.  So I am going to wait to decide where this money will go but I will post at the end of the year what I've decided.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3: Gave Flowers to My Receptionist at Work

I work in a building with about 1,000 other people.  Whenever I walk in or out of the building there is a receptionist who I say “hi” or “goodbye” to.  This person has always been very friendly to me, but I have never really taken the time to introduce myself or say more than one or two words to.  So, today for my act of kindness I brought flowers to Bonnie, one of the receptionists at my work.  I wanted her to know that she is appreciated.  I hope this made her day a little bit better.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 2: Wrote A Letter to a Teacher

I come from a home of educators.  My wife is an early childhood teacher and my mom, now retired, taught 5th grade for 30+ years.  I have seen first-hand how this career is much more than a job.  Great teachers put all they have into their classrooms and are so invested in their students that they almost become an extension of their family. A lot of times these teachers go unappreciated.  So, for my act of kindness today, I wrote a letter to my 4th grade teacher thanking her for being great.  Although it has been 20 years since I was in her class, I wanted her to know that she made a huge positive impact on my life.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 1: Returned A Lost Phone

I have gotten into the habit of reciting in my head, "phone, keys, wallet" whenever I get out of a taxi.  I have never lost any of these things and I think my habit as a big reason why.  Last night, after celebrating the the new year, my wife and I took a taxi.  When we were getting out I noticed an iPhone on the floor.  This morning I looked through the contacts and sent a text to "Dad" letting him know I had his daughter's phone.  They reached out to me later that morning and came and got the phone.  I thought it was kind of funny how I spent a lot of time thinking about what I was going to do for my first act and it turned out this one took care of itself about 15 minutes into 2013.