70 Ways to Pay it Forward Every Day



I don’t know about you but it seems as though in this day and age we are often self-absorbed and consumed in our own daily lives, and as a result, kindness to others (or in general) is often pushed to the wayside. And yet kindness is such an easy thing to show to others. I love Mark Twain’s quote above because it’s true… kindness can be felt by everyone.

If you’ve ever been the recipient of someone’s random act of kindness or their way of ‘paying it forward’ you know all too well how good it feels. And if you’ve ever been on the giving end of this, you know how incredible it feels to make someone’s day. Kindness is contagious and the more we see, feel and experience it, the more we give it.

“Paying it forward” is the simple act of being in receipt of someone’s kind gesture and passing along another kind act to another person. I had this happen to me when in the lineup at a coffee shop drive-thru one day. As I pulled up to pay for my order the cashier advised me that the person ahead of me paid for mine. I was so delighted by this gesture that I then “paid it forward” by paying for the person behind me. The next day when I went through I asked the cashier if she recalled how far the pay-it-forward chain had gone and she said she counted 17 cars that kept it going. How cool is it that so many people participated?

The act of paying it forward is easy and really fun to do and will give you such a great feeling to know you brought a smile to someone’s face.


Here’s 70 awesome ways that you make someone’s day by paying it forward with random acts of kindness:


  1. Smile and say hello to people. It’s free to do and instantly makes people feel good.

  2. Hold the door open for the person behind you.

  3. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.

  4. Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.

  5. Compliment the first three people you talk to today.

  6. Write a positive online review about a local business you like.

  7. Send a positive text message to five different people right now.

  8. Share your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day.

  9. Post inspirational sticky notes around your office, school, etc.

  10. Talk to someone who looks lonely.

  11. Tell someone they dropped a dollar (even though they didn’t). Then give them a dollar.

  12. Let someone with only a few items cut in front of you in line at the grocery store.

  13. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.

  14. Say hi to the person next to you on the elevator.

  15. Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some alone time.

  16. Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats!

  17. Be a courteous driver.  Let people merge in front of you.

  18. Leave a gas gift card at a gas pump.

  19. Throw a party to celebrate someone just for being themselves and how awesome they are.

  20. Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.

  21. Leave quarters at the laundromat.

  22. Donate cat and dog food to an animal shelter. (or call and see what other items they could use)

  23. Take the time to inform a manager if a store employee was especially kind or went above and beyond for customer service.

  24. Shop at your local charity thrift store – your purchases help others

  25. Leave unused or extra coupons on the shelf by corresponding items in the grocery store.

  26. Send a care package to an active duty military unit.

  27. Make an effort to include everyone in group conversations.

  28. Help someone get active.  Offer to go walking or running together or join a gym together.

  29. Come to the rescue of an ill friend/colleague and bring them some hot tea, soup, etc.

  30. Send a nice email or handwritten card to someone you know, unexpectedly.

  31. Smile at five strangers you encounter on your way to work.

  32. Give up your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.

  33. Send a gratitude email to a co-worker who deserves more recognition.

  34. If someone you love really likes something give it to them when they least expect it.

  35. Give away stuff for FREE on Craig’s List.

  36. Collect and donate prom dresses for underprivileged youth.

  37. Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store (and leave the coin for the next person if the cart requires one.)

  38. If you see people trying to taking a selfie-pic, offer to take the picture for them.

  39. Leave a positive comment on a blog, website, or a social media account.

  40. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, nursing home, etc.

  41. Have a litter clean up party at a nearby beach or park.

  42. Bake or buy cookies or treats and share with your colleagues.

  43. Compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.

  44. Setup a food/clothing drive at work/church/etc.  Then deliver the donations accordingly.

  45. Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford.

  46. Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.

  47. When throwing something in the trash, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash too.

  48. Put some change in an expired parking meter (if its legal to do so).

  49. Pay the toll for the person behind you.

  50. Purchase a house warming gift for a new neighbor.

  51. Learn and greet the people you see every day by name – including your office security guard, the person at the front desk, the cleaning staff and others

  52. Clean up litter in a park or open space nearby.

  53. Make a list for your partner of all the things you love about him/her.

  54. Replace what you’ve used.  (paper in the copier/coffee machine water/etc).

  55. Become a mentor or tutor to someone in need.

  56. Take the time to give compliments. Many people take the time to complain, but not to compliment.

  57. Save up spare change over time and donate it to a local charity

  58. Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.

  59. Encourage someone to reach their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.

  60. Redirect gifts by having people donate the gift or money they’d spend on you to a charity or good cause instead.

  61. If you have a good book you’ve read that’s just sitting around on a book shelf, give it away to a friend.

  62. Run an errand for a family member who is busy or an elderly friend or neighbor who may not be able to get out as often as he/she would like.

  63. Buy something for a homeless person – a hat, a meal, etc.

  64. Leave a gift card in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

  65. Offer the person in front of you the random change needed to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.

  66. Put your phone away when spending time with people.

  67. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.

  68. Donate off your old eye glasses to charities who provide them for others.

  69. Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.

  70. When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to pay it forward.


The neat thing about it paying it forward is that it doesn’t have to happen right at the moment you received it yourself. It can be held onto and paid forward at another time. A few years ago, the residents on my street (as well as myself) all needed a new street sign. Since we live on a private lane, the city itself doesn’t pay for them. It was a measly $30 so I purchased it. When my neighbors asked how much they owed me for the sign, I just told them that it worked out to about $4 per house so rather than pay me, use that $4 and pay it forward to someone else… like buy a coffee for someone, or put it in the next charity jar you see when shopping, or just do whatever you see fit. My neighbors loved the idea and one even wrote me one day to say she grabbed a few extra canned good items at the grocery store and put them in the bin for the local food bank. What a great idea.


It’s nice to know that good deeds can encourage other such deeds.

And there you have it…. what will you do today to make someone smile?

Got other great ideas? Let me know below!



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