During the All About the Girls Part 3 in May, Donna Flanagin of Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service, encouraged the participants to go out in the world and be kind. It didn’t matter what the act was or how small, she said, but she inspired her listeners to go out and Scatter Kindness.
And they did.
At the event, every attendee was given three cards to share to the world in a special way. There was a “Thank you for making the world a better place” card, “Thank you for going above and beyond to deliver excellence” card, and one with the simple phrase, “Scatter Kindness.” Donna then asked everyone to spread their own kindness and let her know what they did and how it turned out.
Here are just some of the ways the Northwest Indiana women Scattered Kindness throughout the area!
Stephanie Swearington of Ideas in Motion Media: The morning after the AATG event, Stephanie woke up with the intention of buying breakfast for the Ideas in Motion Team. While standing in line at Strack & Van Til, purchasing coffee creamer and breakfast items, the gentleman checking out the items told her they would no longer be offering a 10 percent discount for seniors on Wednesdays. He was upset because he watched many community members come in on Wednesday just for this reason.
“It was so nice for him to be concerned for those who really needed and benefited from that discount,” she said. The concern urged her to want to donate or purchase groceries for someone in need, but at 6:30 am on a Friday, no one was around at the store.
“So, I decided, however small it may seem, that I would purchase breakfast for this man checking customers out,” she said. “That is what I did, and he was so appreciative.”
She purchased breakfast for the staff and they were all very appreciative, she said, but the man at Stracks was the real hero in this story.
Rachel Lewis of the Cancer Resource Center: Rachel loved the Scatter Kindness Challenge and took up her first act of kindness at Dunkin’ Donuts one morning.
“I paid for the lady behind me,” she said. “It was a nice way to start off my day, as I’m sure for her as well!”
Her “Go Above and Beyond” card went to one of the volunteers at her office who always picks up extra days and who is really dependable.
Laura Carpenter of the Journey Senior Living of Merrillville: Laura passed out the “Thank You” card one morning to one of the nurses she works with, and gave her an individual-sized yogurt for all her hard work.
“She loved both gestures,” she said.
Deanna Grimes of Silvent and Weight Watchers: Deanna gave her card to her babysitter, knowing that if it wasn’t for her, she would not know what she would do each day!
“I thanked her for everything she does for us just because she loves our little girl,” she said. The two exchanged hugs, Deanna headed for work, and her daughter safely, and happily enjoyed her day with her babysitter.
Jan Zurek of the Portage Township YMCA: Jan found herself giving out two cards quickly and unexpectedly. She used the “Service” card while shopping and running errands, and her second card was given to a stranger she met.
“This woman opened up to me with a rare vulnerability and authenticity,” Zurek said. “She told me about her ministry that has turned into a business. She shared her struggles, her faith, and dependence on God. Because of this woman's boldness to share her testimony, not for her own praise, but to glorify the Father, I thought she went above and beyond in her service for the Lord.”
Her two acts of kindness may have inspired the world to return the gesture, and the next day Zurek and her sick cat were treated with amazing kindness by the vet assistant.
Jo Ellen Ogle of the Teachers Union: Jo Ellen passed out 28 carnations to the staff and ladies at Brookdale Valparaiso Assisted Living Center where her mother lives. She also gave a card to a nurse saying, “Thank You” for all they do for her mom and the other residents at the center.
Rachelle Anthony of the American Cancer Society: Rachelle was one of the $20 winners, and with her gift, she decided to use her position at the American Cancer Society to help spread the kindness. The $20 bill had strings hanging from it so that the person who received it could use it for 20 acts of kindness if she wanted. Rachelle decided to match the $20 and donate the money to a patient who has recently been re-diagnosed with cancer. The donation will help the patient since she is retired and living on limited income due to the cancer. To be respectful, Rachelle spread the kindness through the patient’s social worker.
Deborah Thiel of Ashley’s Jewelry: With adrenaline flowing from a great sale, Deborah turned to her next customer one day leading up to Mother’s Day. People were coming in and the girl Deborah was with was taking a very long time to look at charms and prices.
“Long story short, the girl started to cry and shared the fact that her brother just passed away and her mother found him,” she explained. “This was going to be such a hard Mother’s Day for her. I felt so bad.”
Deborah then stopped in her tracks and tried to think of a way to do something special for her. She took one of the charms the girl was looking at, placed it into a special complimentary jewelry box, and wrapped it. The girl, touched by the random act of kindness, wrapped her arms around Deborah and cried.
“It was the best and biggest emotional sale of the day,” she said.
Stacey Kellogg of La Porte, Porter Regional, and Starke Hospitals: Stacey received one of the $20 bills at All About the Girls. She started to chip away at it, offering to pay for people’s coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and buying a lady’s milk at the grocery store when she realized she forgot her wallet. She got down to about $7, when one day she had to go to Urgent Care for an illness. The woman behind her was unable to pay the copay for her sick child.
So, Stacey matched the $20, paid the woman's $40 copay, and considered the rest of the little kind stuff she did at the beginning to just be FUN.
These acts were planned and some were done on the spur of the moment. They were small acts and others were large, but overall, they were inspired by the good in people, and by Donna Flanagin.
“If it had not been for your speech, I probably wouldn’t have done that” Deborah told Donna, who also admitted that she probably would have been too busy making other sales.
Rachelle thanks Donna for giving her the courage and opportunity to spread kindness, and Stephanie grabbed the extra Scatter Kindness cards from the night so that all that extra kindness would not go to waste!
On behalf of Donna and the team at Ideas in Motion Media, thank you for Scattering Kindness!