The Kind Blog

November 21, 2014

The Antidote to Black Friday Madness: #RAKFriday

Ring in the holidays with kindness instead of chaos. How can I make a difference?

Celebrate #RAKFriday instead of Black Friday, and ring in the holidays with kindness instead of chaos. Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Friday is a grassroots effort to create an alternative and kind start to the holiday season. Since Black Friday is not going away anytime soon, #RAKFriday makes the best out of the situation and uses the captive audience to spread as much kindness as possible. Science proves that when one person commits a random act of kindness for another, it not only positively affects both the giver and the receiver, but it also impacts the bystander who witnesses the act of kindness. Think of all the potential bystanders one act of kindness would have during Black Friday shopping. A lot. And lots of bystanders = potential to create a HUGE positive impact.

Still not convinced? Imagine this:

Shopping list and wallet in hand, you are ready to start your Black Friday adventure and gleefully drive to the first store. Your joy quickly fades as you drive in circles for 20 minutes, trying to find a parking spot. Right as you’re giving up hope, you see white reverse lights in the next row, and speed over grinning with satisfaction as you beat out granny who, sorry, was driving too slow. You then scurry to the storefront only to join other shoppers in line, waiting for the doors to open. As the pearly gates unlock, the store becomes a wild zoo. It gets hot and loud and smelly and is a clear representation of survival of the fittest. You run over to the TV’s on sale and watch a spritely young whippersnapper snag your prized possession, the final television. Your face contorts into something resembling Grumpy Cat after eating a habanero pepper and as you’re about to say something…a stranger walks up to you, smiles, hands you an envelope and walks away.

What’s inside? A $5 bill and a note saying, Happy #RAKFriday! Use this $5 for yourself or, pass it on as an act of kindness for someone else. Your face relaxes a bit. You then pass a couple who is fighting and pay it forward, handing them the envelope. Your face relaxes even more (is that a smile we see?) and suddenly, you start to feel like the Grinch who realized that maybe the holidays, “don’t come from the store…maybe the holidays mean a little bit more.” As you gather your final items and walk to the checkout line, a #RAKFriday enthusiast allows you to go in front of her. We don’t know about you, but this is how we want our holiday merriment to begin—a time resembling the magic and cheer that your inner child remembers it to be.


Whether you’re at home or out shopping on Black Friday, commit a random act of kindness, snap a photo and post with #RAKFriday. The goal is for 1,000 people to post their random acts of kindness to on Nov 28, 2014.

Need ideas? Here are 15 simple #RAKFriday ideas to ring in the holidays with kindness instead of chaos:

  1. Smile at 10 strangers.
  2. Surprise a retail cashier with a lottery ticket.
  3. Let someone in front of you in line.
  4. Return shopping carts for other people.
  5. Genuinely thank the store employees.
  6. Bring reusable bags.
  7. Add an item to your shopping cart for someone in need.
  8. Spread the word! Leave a #RAKFriday card on commonly visited areas like the: ATM machine, bathroom, employee break room, etc.
  9. High-five and spread cheer to people waiting in a long line.
  10. Leave a coupon and #RAKFriday card near the relevant product in the store.
  11. Hold the door open for someone with full hands.
  12. Place positive sticky notes around the store.
  13. Pass out candy canes to strangers.
  14. Place $5 in an envelope. Randomly hand it to someone and include a note inside that says, “Happy #RAKFriday! Use this $5 for yourself or, pass it on as an act of kindness for someone else”
  15. Buy a cup of coffee for Salvation Army bell ringers.

Oh, and thanks for being awesome.

Want to keep the kindness going after #RAKFriday? Visit or

Who is the mastermind behind RAK Friday?

The idea of RAK Friday came just over a year ago by a life coach and improvisational comedian named Travis Thomas. He thought of the idea two days before Thanksgiving and quickly sent word out to family and friends on Facebook to commit as many Random Acts of Kindness on Black Friday. This year he was committed to make a bigger splash so he recruited a small team of family and friends to start spreading the word and sharing the idea. The goal for RAK Friday is to encourage people to commit 1,000 RAK’s on November 28th, and the more people that know about the project - the easier it will be to reach 1,000. This year Travis and his wife Hollister, and their three young kids Trinity, Holland, and Shepherd plan on spending the day going from RAK to RAK. Their plans include picking up trash at the beach, surprising strangers with coffee and doughnuts, baking and giving cookies to retail workers, and passing out candy canes and kindness notes to strangers.

Help spread the word! Pin this image to help us reach our goal of 1,000 RAKs on Black Friday.


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