We surveyed the smartest and kindest people we know around the world, our RAKtivists, and asked, "Who Deserves More Appreciation?" Here are 35 people they suggested and fun ways to show your gratitude. Note: Many people are missing from the list. If you feel that we forgot someone, please include them or any other ideas in the comments below!
Throw a custodian appreciation day at your work or just write them a simple thank you note. In addition to the note, empty the trash and take the recycling out today so it's one less thing for them to do!
The job of a police officer often deals with negative situations. Let's change that. Surprise your local police station with homemade goods or organize an entire Pay It Forward project for them like 7-year-old Abby did:
Show your appreciation by bringing treats to your local fire station, sending a thank you note or even organizing a dinner like the neighbors in Chelan did for dozens of fire fighters who are battling the First Creek Fire.
Leave a thank you note or a gift card in your mailbox. Be sure to clearly label it so they know it's for them!
Teachers (don't forget substitute teachers and paraprofessionals):
Create a survival kit for your teacher. Items to include: water, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, band aids, cough drops, gum, chocolate, post it notes, Starbucks gift card, pens, pencils, etc. Want to do even more? Arrange for a masseuse to come to the school and offer teachers short massages during their lunch hour or after school. You could also organize a "supply drive" through the PTO or have the kids organize one to collect all the things teachers spend money on from their own pockets (pencils, glue, paper, etc.) Need even more inspiration?
Check out how Ellen DeGeneres celebrated an awesome teacher:
Or see how Kid President surprised a retiring teacher:
School bus drivers:
Transporting screaming kiddos definitely deserves some appreciation. If you or your kid is riding the bus, start a thank you note that is passed around from person to person on the bus ride and then give it to the bus driver when you reach your destination. Need a little inspiration? We love this Danish bus driver birthday surprise.
Animal shelter workers:
Often volunteers, these workers see animals that are left behind or are lonely. Lift their spirits by surprising the shelter with a positivity party—bring in a cake, balloons, or anything you think they would love. And while you're there, maybe adopt one of those cute little animals.
Next time you find yourself at a farmers market or stopping by a roadside fruit/veggie stand, take the time to find out more about their farm and thank them for providing wonderful food for you!
Waiting tables is hard work! Recognize your next great server by telling their manager or even giving them a bigger tip. If they work for a chain restaurant, write an email to the corporate office and let them know about a great experience with your server.
Nurses are on their feet all day caring for others. Why not gift them a massage to care for themselves. Or even just surprise the nurses with flowers or treats and a thank you note.
Trash service workers:
Figure out what time your trash is collected and greet the workers with a handwritten note or homemade treats!
Cleaning teeth all day deserves appreciation. Next time you go to the dentist, hide money in your mouth! Just kidding, although, how cool would that be? Maybe just write a thank you letter or show up with sparkly clean teeth.
Live with your family? Write a handful of positive notes about them and leave them around the house. Don't live with your family? Take a few minutes out of your day to let them know you're thinking about them. Brighten their day by mailing a handwritten note, giving them a call or sending a positive email or text message.
Pilots and flight attendants:
Create a thank you card on your next flight! This one involves a little prep, but is super fun. Next time you fly, bring a blank card on your flight and write out instructions like the example below. Then send the card and instructions around the plane. This works especially well if you are sitting in the back of the plane. Just hand it to the person next to you, and ask them to hand it to the next person. By the end of the flight, the card will be up front and given to the flight crew!
Expecting a delivery? Leave a nice note on your door or even surprise the driver with a box of their own! Fill it with goodies, balloons, or a fun gift.
Flower delivery people:
Imagine delivering flowers all day and never getting any of your own. Next time you order flowers, order an extra bouquet and give it to the delivery person.
Returning a book? Leave a "Thank You" sticky note on the front.
Next time you go to the grocery store, buy a treat for the grocery bagger (or the cashier) and when they are about to bag it, give it to them instead!
Veterinarians and vet technicians:
Many people become vets because they love animals. Unfortunately, their job often consists of seeing animals when they are sick or suffering. Lift their spirits with a little random act of kindness. Planning a routine pet check-up? Make a card ahead of time and sign it with your pet's name. Visited the vet unexpectedly? You can send a thank you card after the visit, write a positive review on their social media page, or even send them a photo of your furry friend when they are healthy again.
Customer service reps:
People often reach out to customer service when there is a problem. Reach out with a compliment instead!
If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know how essential dishwashers are and that they are under-appreciated. Grab a white plate and write thank you messages on it with a permanent marker using a method like this and bring it to the next restaurant you visit.
Military service members and spouses:
Know someone who has served in the military or the spouse of someone who has? Reach out with a random thank you in person, via text, phone or even social media. A little gratitude makes every day better.
The next Administrative Professionals Day is April 27, 2016. If you have an admin, be sure to celebrate them that day or pick another random day to send a little gratitude their way.
A little acknowledgment like a smile and a thank you means a lot. Or, if you have an especially awesome crossing guard, you can throw a celebration like this one:
rubbing people's feet, inhaling potentially harmful chemicals, and working on nails all day can be tiring. Next time you visit a nail salon, leave a large tip, write a positive review online about their business, or even bring treats for the staff!
Next time you are going to have to park your car, plan ahead and write a thank you note for the driver. Leave it on your seat when you get out and make sure to write something on the front to make it really obvious that the card is for them.
Hide a thank you note in the flowers/bushes (be sure it's not going to rain before they find it!) Feeling crafty? Buy a plant. Put it in a terracotta pot. On the plant pot, write positive words that describe your gardener and give it to them!
Surprise workers with freshly baked treats or if it's really hot outside, some cold water.
Night shift workers:
Do you work somewhere that has night shift workers? Leave a thank you card or treat at their desk. Or, if you had a celebration at your office that day, be sure to set aside some food/goodies for the night shift workers to enjoy as well.
Cafeteria food service workers:
Create a big thank you card out of poster board, and try to get as many people at the (school, business, hospital, etc.) to sign it as possible.
Decide on your favorite way to show gratitude and share that with your next taxi, shuttle or bus driver. Need inspiration? Check out this awesome act of kindness that occurred for New York subway drivers:
Domestic care workers:
House cleaners, babysitters, and other caregivers do a lot to support us. Why not surprise them with a thank you note!
Web developers work behind the scenes, often late hours, and deserve more appreciation for keeping our web homes up and running. Be sure to send them a message of gratitude in the next week. Want to thank the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation's web guy? His name is Mike and he's super awesome (and would hate us for writing this). Give him a happy hello by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Social workers, counselors, domestic violence volunteers and advocates:
These are tough and emotionally exhausting jobs. If you have extra money, gifting them a self-care treat like a gift card for a massage or even a bar of chocolate with a nice note, can go a long way.
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