Friday, April 30, 2010

Diane Day 4

TITLE: Sharing a Book

Date: February 8, 2010

Explanation of the act: For those of us who love to read, sharing our ideas and opinions of books that we have read comes easy. But sometimes sharing the book itself can be difficult. We may not always express it, but in our minds we are telling the person we are lending the book to, to be careful with it. And we really want the book back as soon as possible.

Event: I have a tendency to buy books with the intention of reading them later. As of now, I have about 5 books that I plan to read in the near future. But the other night, I was at a party and someone mentioned that she wanted to read the current book of a particular author. I happened to own the book and have not had a chance to read it. She then mentioned that she had a friend who also wanted to read the book and could not find it in the library. The next day, I gave the person the book, with no strings attached, and told her she could pass it along to her friend and whoever else wanted to read it. No strings, no instructions. Just enjoy the book.

Reactions: She seemed happy not to have to worry about returning the book to me and that she would be able to pass the book around to her friends that were anxious to read it.

Would I do it again? Definitely

Cost: $20. For the book
Effort: Driving to her house to give her the book

Time: 5 minutes

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diane Day 3


TITLE: An Elderly Lady Falls

Explanation of the Act: We all lead busy lives. Weekends, especially, seem to be the time that we need to catch up on all the chores that we did not manage to complete during the week. We rush about, then, take a quick break for lunch before we begin again. We rarely stop to focus on others unless something critical happens.

Date: October 2009

Event: As we were leaving a fast food restaurant a few months ago, on our way to a mall to buy something for the house, an elderly lady tripped and fell as she was entering the store. The sidewalk was constructed in such a way that the curb had some valleys in it and if you are not paying attention to the design, anyone could easily lose their footing. This woman went down with a thud. We helped her up, brought her back into the restaurant and sat with her. Needless to say, she was very upset. In a situation like that it’s hard to know what to do. She did not want us to call an ambulance, even though it was apparent she might have broken her wrist. She wanted to speak to the manager and asked us to track him down, which we did. She was hungry so we bought her lunch. We stayed with her until the manager assured us that he would make sure she got medical attention.

Reactions: She was elderly, but still wanted to be able to take care of herself. At first, she refused medical attention, but then realized that there was a good chance that she had broken a bone. We believe she accepted the manager’s offer to call an ambulance. We admired her independence and her spunk even though she was in pain. We discussed whether we should have taken her to a hospital, but when we realized that it was important to her to control her situation, we knew that we did the right thing by giving her support when she needed it and respected her wishes. I’m pretty sure she was not going to sit back and allow a dangerous sidewalk situation go unnoticed.

Would I do it again? Yes

Cost: About $6.00
Effort: Listening to someone who was really hurt and upset

Time: 30 min

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Diane Day 3


TITLE: An Elderly Lady Falls

Explanation of the Act: We all lead busy lives. Weekends, especially, seem to be the time that we need to catch up on all the chores that we did not manage to complete during the week. We rush about, then, take a quick break for lunch before we begin again. We rarely stop to focus on others unless something critical happens.

Date: October 2009

Event: As we were leaving a fast food restaurant a few months ago, on our way to a mall to buy something for the house, an elderly lady tripped and fell as she was entering the store. The sidewalk was constructed in such a way that the curb had some valleys in it and if you are not paying attention to the design, anyone could easily lose their footing. This woman went down with a thud. We helped her up, brought her back into the restaurant and sat with her. Needless to say, she was very upset. In a situation like that it’s hard to know what to do. She did not want us to call an ambulance, even though it was apparent she might have broken her wrist. She wanted to speak to the manager and asked us to track him down, which we did. She was hungry so we bought her lunch. We stayed with her until the manager assured us that he would make sure she got medical attention.

Reactions: She was elderly, but still wanted to be able to take care of herself. At first, she refused medical attention, but then realized that there was a good chance that she had broken a bone. We believe she accepted the manager’s offer to call an ambulance. We admired her independence and her spunk even though she was in pain. We discussed whether we should have taken her to a hospital, but when we realized that it was important to her to control her situation, we knew that we did the right thing by giving her support when she needed it and respected her wishes. I’m pretty sure she was not going to sit back and allow a dangerous sidewalk situation go unnoticed.

Would I do it again? Yes

Cost: About $6.00
Effort: Listening to someone who was really hurt and upset

Time: 30 min

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diane Day 2

TITLE: Return of the White Blouse

Date: February 1, 2010

Explanation of the Act: I am a big fan of dry cleaners. They do a wonderful job of pressing my clothes, which makes me look neat. One of my favorite outfit’s is pair of jeans with nice, crisp white blouse. In spite of what the fashion expert’s say, I send my white blouses to the dry cleaners.

Event: After returning from the dry cleaners today, I realized that the white blouse in my stack of clothes was not mine. A clothing company that has a reputation for producing high quality professional wear made the blouse. Translation: it was an expensive blouse. My blouse, however, was not purchased in such a store. Translation: my blouse was a lot cheaper in cost. I immediately returned to the dry cleaners with said blouse and explained that, while I appreciated the value of this particular blouse, it was not mine and I was pretty sure that the person who owned it would appreciate getting it back.

Reactions: The dry cleaning personnel were very happy to receive the blouse back. It made the job of tracking down the lost blouse when the owner finally realized it was missing, a lot easier. While I do not know when the owner claimed the article of clothing, I know, if it were I, I would be pretty happy.

Would I do it again? Yes

Cost: 0

Effort: Very little. Just a short drive in the car.

Time: 10 minutes

Monday, April 26, 2010

Diane Day 1

Erinn's Note: This week is VERY special because Diane is my Mom. Hi Mom! My mom is very shy and it's incredibly hard for her to go out of her comfort zone. Thank you SO much Mom. You are the best!

TITLE: Showing Appreciation for Our Troops

Date: February 3, 2010

Explanation of the act: We ask so much of our young men and women who choose to enlist in the armed services. They enter these services with youthful expectations of education, adventure and a desire to serve. I believe that as they begin to understand what is expected of them, they rise to the challenges and awaken in themselves a confidence and self-respect that can only come from putting yourself on the line for others. They deserve our respect, admiration and loyalty.

Event: I have just recently become addicted to a variety of games on Facebook. As most of you who are reading this already know, in order to increase your levels in the games, you either need a lot of friends or a lot of money. Since my personal friends amounted to all of about 15 (and that includes family), and I had already spent more money than I thought was reasonable on the games, I thought I would venture out into the scary world of finding friends I don’t actually know. I decided that I would read some profiles of people before I asked them to be my friend. I sent each person I chose a little note asking them to be my friend. To my delight, quite a few people responded. One of them was a soldier. After he accepted my invitation, I wrote back to him, thanking him for all that he is doing for our country.

Reactions: His response was, “Thank you for showing that you care”. I cried.

Would I do it again? Absolutely

Cost: 20 minutes searching for friends on Facebook

Effort: His response was well worth pushing past my comfort zone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stacy Day 7

Bracelets for diabetes research:

Good deed: A girl that is represented by the same agency as Morgan designed and is selling these in support of juvenile diabetes research. All proceeds will be donated, so I bought one!

Reaction: The mother of the girl selling them was very grateful for the support of her daughter, and hopefully children with diabetes will benefit from the donations!

Cost/effort: $12, and no effort

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stacy Day 6

Coloring book:

background: As parents, we have all been someplace at times, waiting with our children, with absolutely nothing to entertain them…. And you think, “Why did I leave the house without _________ (fill in the blank with any toy that’s ever been invented)!

Good deed: I bought a couple of coloring books complete with crayons and kept them in my diaper bag for whenever I saw a mom or dad in need…. Opportunity struck when I saw a dad waiting for his wife with his, what looked to be about 2 or 3 year old son, outside a store in the mall. The boy was getting impatient and running into “mall traffic”, so I handed the coloring book to Morgan, my four year old, and had her give it to the child.

Reaction: The dad was grateful, and the kid looked (at least for the moment) entertained.

Cost/effort: about $2, and little effort

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stacy Day 5

Smile signs:

Good deed: Sometimes it’s just nice to be complimented, so, with that in mind, I set off to my local Walmart with my compliment signs that I created ahead of time in tow. I placed signs on the mirrors for sale in the beauty section that read things like “Smile! You’re beautiful!” and “Smile! You’re perfect”

Reaction: I don’t know for sure, and I hope some people saw them. When I returned a few days later, all the compliment signs were taken off the mirrors, but I think one or two of them had been bought (hopefully with the signs still attached!)

Cost/effort: Absolutely free, and took just a few minutes to make!

ERINN'S EDITS: I LOVE THIS!!! What a wonderful idea!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stacy Day 4

Tiger Closet:

We have many needy students in the school where I teach; nearly 60% of our population is on the free/reduced lunch program. Here at CHS, we have what’s called the Tiger Closet. In it is kept donations of many things that the students and families of our students may need from time to time. Since I sponsor a community service club, I thought that our February project could help restock some of the much needed items that have been depleted. So, I organized a fundraiser that would get the whole school involved. Participating teachers would keep a jar on their desk for two weeks, and the teacher (from each academy) that collected the most money in their jar would have to dress up like a tiger for the day. We raised approx. $270 to replenish the closet, and unfortunately, I will be one of the teachers that has to wear a tiger costume. . . oh yeah, and I contributed money to the cause as well.

Cost/effort: $5 and a couple hours in the planning/implementing

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stacy Day 3

Make a child smile:

When trying to find inspiration for Project Nice, I came across a website, that I simply love. They feature three children at a time, but have a database of many terminally ill children. All they are asking is for you to simply send a card to one of the many children to make them smile. Who doesn’t love to get the good kind of mail, right? So I chose two of the kids that I personally sent cards to, and offered extra credit to my students to choose a child from the website and send a card to. We ended up sending out about 12 cards. This is something I will probably continually do periodically. Such a simple thing, sending someone a smile through the mail!

Reaction: Many of my students were inspired to do good deeds themselves, if that counts as a reaction… I won’t see the reaction of the intended recipient.

Cost/effort: about $3, and a few minutes

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stacy Day 2

Baked Goods:

Background: I teach in a school where we have many disadvantaged children, and I’ve taught many students that are part of the foster system. There is one home in particular called the Waccamaw Youth Center that has been home to several of my former students. This home houses 16 or so boys.

Good deed: I baked a couple batches of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, a batch of brownies, and 48 cupcakes and delivered them to the youth center.

Reaction: I did not see the reaction of the boys, but I was received with thanks by the worker on duty.

Cost/effort: probably about $15 and a few hours, but definitely worth it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stacy Day 1

When I volunteered for this project, I was excited. I wanted to do something nice for people just to do it. I mean, how often do you consciously do nice things for others? Not your everyday nice like opening doors and saying yes ma’am, but your A-game nice. I put a lot of thought into this project, and I wanted to focus my efforts on a particular group of people… not anyone I knew, but people I could relate to… moms and children. Moms have a tough job. That is not to say dads don’t, but a mom is always on, always juggling, from the moment that baby is born. So, here is my story of how I was nice to 7 random moms and children in the month of February.

Hospital Basket:

Background: When I had my oldest daughter Morgan, I found myself unexpectedly single. My husband had decided at some point during the course of my planned pregnancy (probably when he started his affair a month into it) that this was not the life he wanted. He told me 5 months later. Facing child birth (although he was physically in the hospital at times) and parenthood alone was scary. I am so thankful and proud of that experience, but it was definitely a leap of faith.

Good deed: I gathered up all the baby items that had been given to me when I recently had my youngest daughter but had never been used, plus some extras that I had around the house. These items included a baby picture frame, bottles, baby powder, wipes, and baby wash. I paired that with some chocolates I bought and a travel size cosmetic bag from Bath and Body Works that had been given to me but never used. I placed all the items into a wicker basket, wrote an inspirational note about motherhood and dropped it off at the hospital I had given birth both times. I instructed the nurses to give it to a single first-time mom as sort of an unexpected pick me up.

Reaction: The nurses greeted me with very intimidating expressions, but after I explained my intent, they responded warmly. I did not see the reaction of the intended recipient.

Cost/effort: Approx $4 plus the goodies I already had at the house. I grabbed a thing or two on my usual trip shopping, put it in the basket, and was in and out of the hospital in about 5 minutes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meghan BONUS! Asking a friend to help in PN

TITLE: JILLY’S NICE THING – The Emergency Room Adventure

DATE: February 12, 2010

One of Jilly’s co-workers, who is very new to the area, called from Baltimore to say she was very sick and needed to go to the emergency room, but was afraid to go by herself.

Jilly, who was supposed to go out that night, instead packed up her things and drove to Baltimore to take her co-worker to the emergency room. They ended up sitting there for six hours before another friend came by to relieve Jilly.

Jilly’s co-worker couldn’t thank her enough. The whole time, Jilly kept her calm by making her laugh and taking her mind off the whole thing.

WOULD SHE DO IT AGAIN? Of course, that’s what friends are for.

COST: $5.00 for parking

EFFORT: The drive into Baltimore.

TIME: 6 hours – the emergency room was really backed up that night.

Meghan Day 7

TITLE: NICE THING #7 – Paying a Toll

DATE: February 27, 2010

I was headed north to Vermont for my writer’s retreat and along the way, there’s a toll for a bridge in New York state. A couple of years ago, while making the same trip north to visit my family in New Hampshire, I got to the toll booth with my dollar out and was told that the person in front of me had paid my toll. It made my day, to think a stranger would do something like that for me.

I paid the Hamilton Fish Bridge toll for myself and the car behind me.

I don’t know, as I didn’t stick around to find out, but the guy at the toll booth smiled and told me I had done a good deed for the day.


COST: $2.00 (my car and the car behind me)


TIME: Less than a minute.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meghan Day 6

TITLE: NICE THING #6 – Cookies, Cookies, Everywhere

DATE: February 21 & 22, 2010

There are plenty of people in the world who go unappreciated, who never get a “thank you” for the work they do.

I baked cookies and brought half of them to the guys over at The Lube Center in Columbia, where I take my car for service. They always do a great job and my car has been running really well ever since I started bringing it there for oil changes and engine service.

The other half I brought to my former colleagues at the Howard County Police Department’s Research & Planning Section. They do a lot of work for the agency that either goes unnoticed or unappreciated and I thought they deserved a little bit of appreciation.

Both the guys at The Lube Center and the ladies at Research & Planning were surprised and thankful for the cookies. There were lots of smiles.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely – those smiles were a definite highlight in both my Sunday and Monday.

COST: $5.00 for ingredients

EFFORT: Little effort, just baking the cookies.

TIME: About 2 hours – it turned out to be a recipe that made 4 dozen cookies…which I didn’t realize when I started making them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Meghan Day 5

TITLE: NICE THING #5 – The Beef Stew Incident

DATE: January 2010

I work with a lot of older guys at my job. The bulk of them are Domestic Violence Unit deputies who don’t always have time to stop for a healthy lunch or even eat something that wasn’t prepared three days earlier and is long overdue on being thrown out. When Jilly is on nights, I have a tendency to make meals that will last us the week, and the one thing I’ve discovered I’m really good at making is Belgian Beer Beef Stew.

I packed an extra plastic container full of enough beef stew for two deputies and when the evening shift rolled in (the guys who basically work through dinner and well into the middle of the night), I handed them the plastic container full of stew and told them to have a good night.

They were so incredibly thankful. These are two guys I don’t often interact with because of their schedule at work so it was nice to do something for a couple of “strangers”. They were all smiles and the next day both of them came into work a few minutes early just so they could tell me how great the stew was and how appreciative they were of my thoughtfulness.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely! Those guys do the ugly work of domestic violence and get very little thanks for it, both from the community and from other law enforcement officers. Beef stew isn’t a public pat on the back, but it’s still a small way of saying thanks for sticking your neck out every day.

COST: $0.00

EFFORT: Packing up the stew that I’d made the night before.

TIME: About 10 minutes – 5 minutes to pack it up in the morning and 5 minutes to explain the point of it when the guys got in that afternoon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Meghan Day 4

TITLE: NICE THING #4 – Beer Cake for Co-Workers

DATE: February 23, 2010

I was getting ready to leave for a two week writing residency in Vermont and decided to do something nice for the people I work with, especially because I wouldn’t see them again for those two weeks. Plus, my boss had willingly and easily agreed to let me go on the sabbatical – not all bosses would allow an employee to just take off for two weeks in the middle of the busy season.

I made my world famous lemon beer cake and brought it in for everyone in the office.

Everyone was super excited to see the beer cake and I received a lot of compliments on how well it had turned out. A few people asked why I’d brought it in and when I said it was just for the heck of it, they smiled and said it had made their day. The cake didn’t last long, either, which was definitely a good sign!

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely. I love baking and the crowd at my office love being used as guinea pigs when it comes to food.

COST: $3.00 (cake mix, pudding mix, and lemons)

EFFORT: Baking a cake and bringing it into the office.

TIME: With preparation and baking, a little over 1 hour.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meghan Day 3

TITLE: NICE THING #3 – An Alumni Donation

DATE: February 12, 2010

I graduated from a really small private university in the middle of nowhere Vermont that relies entirely on alumni donations to stay in operation. I was a psychology student there, a member of the School of Social Sciences, and our Department was always broke. The science departments were the money makers and the remainder of the school fed off the scraps left behind.

While I was there, I was mentored by a man named Dr. Milt Hammond (a.k.a. Doc). He became like a second father to me and I remember that he fought long and hard to establish a scholarship fund for the School of Social Sciences. He passed away in 2005, long before he ever had a chance to see the scholarship fund come to fruition.

Recently, the head of the Department sent out requests to alumni asking for donations toward their newly approved $250,000 scholarship fund.

I donated money to the scholarship fund, not just because I was a student there, but because it was something Doc always wanted to see happen and didn’t get a chance to.

My hope was that once the fund was in place and working, the School of Social Sciences would see an increase in its number of students. It’ll be awhile before a true reaction is seen.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Yes, but only ever for the School of Social Sciences. With so little assistance from the University, it can use all the outside help it can get.

COST: $20.00

EFFORT: Writing a check and stamping an envelope.

TIME: 1 to 2 minutes, at the most

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meghan Day 2

TITLE: NICE THING #2 – Flowers for a Co-Worker

DATE: February 4, 2010

A woman I work with just recently had her second child in September and things have been chaotic at home. She had an argument with her husband this particular morning and got to work only to discover databases she needed to use for her job were down and being temperamental. On top of this, she’d been helping me with life stuff, things I didn’t know how to figure out on my own.

I had to go out at lunch to pick up groceries for home and I made the conscious decision to buy my co-worker flowers, both as a thank you for the help she’s given me lately and to also cheer her up a little.

She couldn’t believe I’d bought her flowers. She smiled and got a little teary and thanked me.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? In a heartbeat. It was such a small and simple gesture and it made her so incredibly happy, which in turn kind of brightened my day, too.

COST: $3.99

EFFORT: Driving to the grocery store at lunch.

TIME: 15 minutes

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meghan Day 1

TITLE: NICE THING #1 – Winter Clothing Drive

DATE: January 20, 2010

The Howard County Police Department, which I work for occasionally on a part-time basis, collected coats, boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and sweaters for local families in need. This is the first year they did something like this.

I donated a winter coat, two sweaters, a pair of gloves, and four winter hats.

I wasn’t the only person who donated to the clothing drive, but the whole thing went so well they closed their donating period early because they’d run out of room to store the hundreds of coats and sweaters they’d collected.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Yes. No one should ever have to spend the winter worried about whether or not they’ll be warm enough, especially in a county as well off as Howard.

COST: $0.00

EFFORT: None, just a quick drive up Rt. 29 to the Northern District Police Station.

TIME: 10 minutes

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lori Day 7

Title: Thanking the administrator of one of my favorite websites/Nice Deed #7

Date: Tuesday, February 23

I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan and check out many different Sox websites each and every day to get all of the latest news about the team. I came across a new group on Facebook called Yankees Suck. It was so thorough with news stories, links, fantasy league sign ups for just this group, t-shirt orders, etc. that it cut my time in half that I normally spent on 20 different sites. I also have been in touch with the guy who runs the site on several occasions. I even wrote out a long story to display on this site. Raymond, the guy that runs the site wrote on the wall that he was getting bad emails from some of the people that had joined the group saying they didn’t want all the information that he was providing and that they didn’t want to be informed of fantasy league information, etc. They even stooped so low as to belittle him and call him names. Raymond felt bad because he spends hours pulling articles and information together every day and is a very conscientious person.

Event: I wrote a long email to Raymond expressing my gratitude for his hard work on the site, on thinking to have a fantasy league just for our group, to take it upon himself to order t-shirts for us, etc. He really does go above and beyond what is expected and I really appreciate it.

Reaction: Almost immediately I got an email from Raymond in my facebook inbox thanking me for my kind words. He said that he did all the work he did for people like me and that he really enjoyed running the site for all of the Red Sox fans.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! I love thanking people that do a good job!
Cost: Nothing
Effort: Little effort, just writing the email
Time: Took 5 minutes to write the email

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lori Day 6

Title: Thanking a worker at the health club/Nice Deed #6

Date: Sunday, February 21

I go to the health club when I feel well enough to ride the Lifecycle to build up my leg strength. I ride for an hour and I try to go 3 times a week. When I go, there are people around me doing cardio on treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and steppers. I noticed early on that whenever someone gets off the machine they were using, a worker comes over and cleans the machine thoroughly by wiping it down with a cleaning solution. This makes me feel really good because a lot of sweat is lost on these machines and it’s flu season. I think this is awesome as I have worked at many health clubs and worked out at many and most leave it up to the member to clean the machine as they see fit…workers at the health clubs don’t normally do this sort of thing because it is quite a large job….there are a lot of cardio machines!

Event: After I finished my workout on the Lifecycle, I got off, went to my locker and packed up. When I turned around to leave, the worker was wiping down the bike. I went up to her and thanked her for doing this all day long. I had already watched her do this like 15 times in an hour. I explained that I had worked at many clubs and worked out at many and had never seen any of the workers do this. I told her I really appreciated it as it was nice to know the machines were clean when you were using them.

Reaction: She stopped cleaning the bike, smiled, and said “Thanks for noticing. I like doing it cause it gives me something to do during slow times.” She said I was the first person to thank her for doing it and she really appreciated it.

Would I do it again? Yes, I am a big believer in complimenting people for doing a good job.
Cost: Nothing
Effort: Very little as I was at the health club already for my workout.
Time: 2 minutes

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lori Day 5

Title: Powerball tickets in library books with note about Project Nice/Nice Deed #5

Date: February 20

I went to my neighborhood liquor store and purchased 5 powerball tickets. I had my library books in the car to take back to the library.

Event: I placed 1 powerball ticket in 5 different books with a note that explained Project Nice so that they would not throw the ticket away without checking if they won. I put my email address on the note and asked them to let me know if they got the book with the ticket. Drove to the library and watched as the librarian checked the books in and placed them on the rack.

Reaction: I haven’t heard from anyone yet as I just did it today, but I am hopeful that I will. I think it would be fun to find a lottery ticket in a book with a note, so I hope others find it fun also.

Would I do it again? Yes
Cost: $5.00
Effort: Writing the note about Project Nice, buying the tickets, placing them in each book, and driving to the library.
Time: 5 minutes to write the note, 5 minutes to buy the tickets, 5 minutes to put them in the books, and 10 minutes to drive to the library.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lori Day 4

Title: Friending people in the Facebook Rheumatoid Arthritis group/Nice Deed #4

Date: Started doing it in mid-January through first week of February, 2010

Sine I have been on disability retirement due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, I have been home a lot and on facebook a lot. I found several groups for people that suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and they have been a godsend. You find out that there are many others suffering through the same things you are, meds are discussed and critiqued, and support is given. People from this group seem to need someone to be there for them, listen to them, and just give support. Some of them are newly diagnosed with RA and are angry, confused, scared, and looking for answers about meds, side effects, pain, etc.

Event: I sent 5 of the people in the group an email discussing my own experiences with RA and told them that I would be happy to “friend” them on facebook so that they always had someone to talk to that understood what they were going through.

Reaction: I got a quick response from all 5 people. They all thanked me for my email, friended me, and sent me an email telling me about their latest challenges living with a disease where you look perfectly normal to everyone on the outside, but suffer from terrible pain and inflammation on the inside. I have continued to chat with all of them at least once a week.

Would I do it again? Yes
Cost: Nothing
Effort: Writing the initial emails to each one
Time: About an hour to write to each one and tell them my story

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lori Day 3

Title: Big tip to woman who cut my hair at Hair Cuttery/Nice Deed #3

Date: Thursday, February 18

I went to Hair Cuttery to get my haircut as it had been 8 weeks since my last cut. I have really thick hair and it is all different lengths so it can be a challenge to cut. I called ahead to make sure the woman I liked was working and made an appointment for 2 p.m.
When I arrived at Hair Cuttery I waited about 10 minutes for my cutter to finish up her previous client. As she came over to get me and wash my hair she was very pleasant and smiling. As she proceeded to cut my hair after the wash, she told me that today had been really tough because of the schools opening late. She had to come to work 2 hours later than normal and had to cancel several appointments she had booked. She told me the snow had been really hard on her as the Hair Cuttery was closed for 5 days and when they re-opened they didn’t have any customers. She told me it was going to be a tough month for her and her daughter but she was very upbeat and nice.

Event: When it came time to pay, it costs $15 for a haircut and wash at Hair Cuttery and I gave her $20 extra. She thought I had made a mistake, but I told her I wanted her to have it to help her out for the missed appointments.

Reaction: She smiled, thanked me, and told me to have a good day.

Would I do it again? Yes
Cost: $20
Effort: I was going to get my haircut anyways, so very little.
Time: 1 minute extra while I was paying to explain that it wasn’t a mistake.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lori Day 2

Title: Donation of tennis shoes to charity/Nice Deed #2

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 16

I recently retired from Howard County Public Schools as a Physical Education teacher. I taught P.E. for 24 years and any one of my students could tell you that I had an awesome collection of tennis shoes. I had shoes from when I first started out all the way to this year’s picks…I was a huge fan of sneakers or kicks as the kids like to call them. I didn’t need all of the shoes that I had collected as now I am wearing different shoes except when I workout…..but I was emotionally attached to all of them if you know what I mean. I can’t tell you how many times one of my students would joke about me giving him or her my shoes cause they liked them so much….my faves were my Jordans with patent leather on them….my weakness.

Event: I donated 26 pairs of my shoes (all in good shape) to Goodwill so that needy people can get enjoyment and use out of them.

Reaction: The person at Goodwill that took my bag of shoes seemed quite happy with the donation, but I didn’t get to see an actual person that got my shoes. I could picture the reaction in my mind, though as awesome shoes can brighten anyone’s day!

Would I do it again? Absolutely.
Cost: Nothing today, but overall probably about $80-$100 for each pair….they were really good shoes.
Effort: Sorting through all of my shoes and making a pile for charity and a pile that I couldn’t/wouldn’t part with. Pairing the shoes together and bagging the ones to give away.
Time: It took about 30 minutes to sort the shoes and pair them up and another 20 minutes to drive to Goodwill and donate my shoes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lori Day 1

Title: Joined former student’s fan page on facebook/Nice Deed #1

Date: Saturday, Feb 6

Today in Maryland we had 38 inches of snow and I was stuck inside all day. I spent a lot of time on the computer and noticed that one of my former students had joined a fan page of another former student. I clicked on the link and found out that one of my former students is a very good singer, song writer, and plays the guitar as she sings her original songs. I joined her fan page, sent her a friend request, and wrote her an email telling her how much I had enjoyed listening to her songs and telling her I thought she was really, really good.

Event: I clicked on a facebook link, listened to music for about 10 minutes, and sent an email.

Reaction: I got a friend confirmation back in about 5 minutes with an email thanking me for joining the fan page and listening to her music. She couldn’t believe that I would remember her with all of the students I have taught. She told me what she’s studying in college and that she would let me know if she sings anywhere close by. I’m very happy cause I reconnected with a student I really liked and the music is really good!

Would I do it again? Definitely.
Cost: Nothing
Effort: Very little…listening to music, writing an email
Time: 10 minutes of listening to music, 3 minutes to write an email, 2 minutes to read a reply to my email.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Melanie Day 7

Day 7: Left Valentines for floormates.

Left Valentines for floormates, February 14, 2010.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Yay!

As awful as it is to say, I don’t know everyone who lives on my floor in the dormitory building. There are about thirty of us, and counting my roommates I’m good friends with six of my floormates and know eight well enough to wave to. I’m not going to be able to make friends with all of them just by leaving them nice things, but it’s a good start.

Not to mention it was Valentine’s Day. And everyone deserves a Valentine on Valentine’s Day, even if it just means getting a cute little card. It feels good to have that little bit of affection and to feel like part of the group.

Event: Around lunchtime, I snuck out of my room with a bunch of origami swans in a plastic bag. Each of them had notes taped to their wings with the message, “Happy Valentine’s Day! Peace and Love.” I tiptoed all the way around the floor, taping a swan to each of the doors. I taped an extra large swan to my RA’s door.

One of my friends got off the elevator and started walking towards me while I was trying to be sneaky. He didn’t question what I was doing, though. Luckily, he knows me all too well to be suspicious of me doing strange things.

Reactions: The only reaction I’ve gotten was actually from my friend who caught me in the act. He said, “I know it was you who taped that to my door! You sneak!” He laughed as he said it. “But seriously, though, that was really cute,” he continued.

No one else has said anything, but all of the swans are still taped to the door. Most of the time, the jerks on my floor will rip off whatever is taped to people’s doors or graffiti. All of the swans are still intact, though, and that is all I would ever ask for.

Would I do it again? Sure!

Cost: $0. I already had the tape, and I made the swans out of scrap paper that I was going to recycle otherwise.
Not much. Strangely, it was more effort and stress to sneak around and tape the swans up than it was to actually make them.

Time: Between making the swans and taping them up, about half an hour.

Project Nice was initially very daunting, mainly because a) I was already well aware of the hostility of the average New Yorker, and b) my social skills are as sophisticated as a slug. (At least it's a good thing Project Nice wasn't testing us on our ability to make similies...anyway...) But little by little, it became easier to find ways to help people or make people happy without freaking them out, like leaving notes in books. And not only were those nice on their own, they made great stepping stones to more public events. So later in the project, when I found an opportunity to say something nice to someone, I could say it without feeling intrusive.
Also, I noticed that I did more nice things when I wasn't consciously thinking of Project Nice. After a while, it was the people who sparked my ideas and the events; I was aiming to make them happy instead of aiming for something cool to write about later.
Overall, I feel far more motivated now to spontaneously do nice things for others, whether or not I'm worried about their potential hostility. Even if they do end up thinking I'm a freak, it's better to have tried to help someone and live with the results than wonder what would have happened if I had tried.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Melanie Day 6

Day 6: Volunteered at a bookstore.

Volunteered at a bookstore, February 13, 2010.

This was more or less the same situation as with my volunteer trip to Brooklyn. This time, the event was for AIDS Awareness Week. Different reason, same good intentions.

Also, we were going to be volunteering at a bookstore. And books are my ultimate weakness. I had to do it.

Event: With about five other people, I walked to the New York City Housing Works Bookstore. Housing Works (most of whose employees are, in fact, volunteers) donates to AIDS relief in all sorts of forms: finding housing for the sick, developing new medication, etc. We helped in the store’s cellar warehouse – packing a shipping the day’s online orders and packing the rest of the books in dozens of boxes in preparation for a big move the warehouse is doing.

Reactions: The full-time employees and organizers were visibly grateful for the extra help; they were so relieved that they could take an extra couple of minutes for coffee and lunch breaks. The regular volunteers were happy, too, to meet and talk to new people as they worked.

Would I do it again? Yes.

Cost: $0.
A lot, actually. The walk to Housing Works wasn’t too bad. Searching through the shelves for the day’s orders wasn’t, either. But stripping the shelves of all of the books, carrying them in boxes, and sealing/stacking the book-filled boxes was pretty physical. I’m hoping that work contributes to some decent bicep muscles.

Time: 4 hours.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Melanie Day 5

Day 5:Gave thanks for food.

Gave thanks for food, February 10, 2010.

So…it snowed a lot on the East Coast. On February 10th, my school cancelled classes. For the first time in over a decade. This was no mere snowstorm, my friend.

Meanwhile, my school was keeping the library open with normal hours. The student resource center remained open. All of the dining halls were open, serving thousands of students like any other day. But at the end of the day, all the employees would have to leave campus and trudge through the snow to get home, whether or not they lived in Manhattan. It wasn’t any of their decisions to stay open despite the snow and do their jobs; that’s what the university thrust upon them. Nevertheless, they continued to work with the care and energy they always do.

Event: As I was getting dinner and giving my school card to the cashier at one of the dining halls, I said, “Wow, I was so thankful that you guys were going to stay open in the snow. Seriously, I’m really grateful; thank you so much.”

The cashier couldn’t get enough of it! She was doubled over in bashful laughter by the end, and her smile was one of the biggest I’ve seen in a long time.

Would I do it again?

Cost: $0.
Nothing out of the ordinary. The snow on the sidewalk was a little irritating to walk through, but I would have had to do it to get food, anyway.

Time: An extra minute at the cashier.