Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 2, 2013

CHIPP: Random birthday acts

Column by Timothy Chipp —

What did you ask for your last birthday? Maybe a new car, or some new clothes. Or maybe you wanted your spouse to pay more attention to you.

Tuesday I turned 31, a not so special age to celebrate. Instead of making a big deal for myself, I decided to try to make the lives of strangers — people I’ve never met and will never get to know — a little bit better through some random acts of kindness. I enlisted the help of some of my friends to do it, too.

They took to the streets of Niagara, Buffalo, Florida, Washington, D.C. and other, less glamorous locales to make a difference in the world, even if it was just a temporary one. My friends, to steal a baseball euphemism, hit it out of the park Tuesday. And it was clear the ones who participated fully received the payoff they’d hoped for.

One of my buddies from my other life besides newspaper reporter – acting – was rewarded with a smile on the face of a woman he’d just met in a hallway of a local hospital where he works, the best possible payment for his action. Having just come across this woman, he noticed she was visibly frazzled by something happening. So he went out of his way to buy her a coffee and a muffin and presented it to her.

“It appeared to make her day,” he told me over Facebook later that evening.

Others paid for gasoline purchases for strangers or helped supermarket shoppers grab items they weren’t capable of reaching themselves. Some took on extra work to help their colleagues and helped lighten the load on their shoulders.

That’s the ultimate goal behind experiments like this one. Those of us who perform these random acts don’t look for payment in return, we don’t look for exposure in newspapers and television coverage. We’re after the smiles that come to the faces of our targets and the thank you’s they deliver, often overjoyed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Moreland panel comes back to haunt Cuomo Let's get this straight. That was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the microphone in the Syracuse radio station, Dec. 4, 2013, explaining the need for reactivating the anti-corruption panel called the Moreland Commission. "The commission clearly has the legal authority to look at anything they want to look at, including the governor, the attorney-general, the comptroller, etc.," the governor told the listening audience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Immigration issue belongs to everyone I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my digital edition of the Washington Post yesterday and found something that I think captures part of the dilemma America faces right this minute; it's a simple question: Who are we, or to put it another way, what do we really stand for?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Quest for an appointment comes up short We're rolling up our sleeves for Quest. The Big Mac of blood tests, the Tops of tourniquets, the Sears of screenings, opens on our Island at Monday's crack of dawn.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Davis, Vincent mug VINCENT DAVIS: Pledge your allegiance to the Slurpee, America's treat By now you must be aware that it is, in fact, summer. And since summer is a season not characterized by any obvious weather events (sometimes it's hot for days in a row, sometimes you get a bunch of rainy days and chilly nights) but instead activities, I'd like to bring attention to an underrated staple of summer sun enjoyment: Consuming the brain freeze-inducing snack classic, the Slurpee.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Popeye's '7-Minute' guide to educating southerners -- and me! Writer Mark Twain said that when he 14, his father was so ignorant that he could hardly stand to have the old man around. But upon turning 21, Twain said that he was astonished by how much his father had learned in just seven years.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page