Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day and weโ€™ve been digging into the origins of this important holiday…

Random Acts of Kindness Day is a celebration of generosity without gain, encouraging people to adopt a culture of compassion in their local communities. Itโ€™s spearheaded by an organization of the same name but what do they promote, exactly? And how did Random Acts (or RAOK for short) come about in the first place?

When did Random Acts of Kindness Start?

The great thing about Random Acts is that lots of people all over the globe have helped turn it into the international holiday we have today.

It all started in 1982, when writer Anne Herbert read the line “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty.” She wanted to cheer herself up with something more positive so she wrote “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a nearby placemat. The phrase stayed with her and she used it as a title for her 1993 book, which told true stories of friendship and charity.

In 1995, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation was founded in the US. They celebrated the first RAOK Day that year by getting people together to write love notes for people to find and giving out flowers to strangers. The RAOK Foundation provide support to individual people and organisations that want to see more thoughtfulness in the world by providing teaching materials and brainstorming outreach ideas.

How Should I Celebrate Random Acts Of Kindness?

As long as you’re being kind, without expecting any reward in return, you can do whatever you like!

RAOK suggests things like donating to your local food bank, paying for the person behind you at the coffee shop, buying flowers for a neighbor or leaving encouraging letters in places like bookshops and supermarkets.

How Are Others Celebrating?

The Fragrance Shop have been spreading the Random Acts spirit by giving out free fragrances on Oxford Street in London. In a video uploaded to Instagram, team member Jolie stops random shoppers and asks them to sample a luxury fragrance. If anyone liked the scent (and who wouldn’t?) they got a surprise full-size bottle!

“It was a great way to get chatting in strangers,” said Jolie. “I met a load of lovely people and it’s so nice to see someone’s face light up when you hand them a gift. It goes to show that one small gesture can really bring people together.”

What are you planning to do for Random Acts of Kindness Day? We’d love to hear your story on Insta @fragranceshopuk