I’ve been doing random acts of kindness since the death of my eight-year-old grandson, Jacob, in August 2013. Shortly after Jacob died, my daughter and I designed cards to leave behind whenever we chose to do an act of kindness. It seemed a fitting way to remember and honor a little boy who was kinder than anyone we knew, challenging ourselves to be more like him.
Anyone who has been following my blog for any length of time, is aware of what butterflies mean to me since my husband’s death, particularly blue ones.
So when I heard about using Butterfly Coins for random acts of kindness, you can imagine my excitement. Founded by Ron Hornbaker and Bruce Pedersen, ButterflyCoins.org is a global experiment to inspire and track the butterfly effects of random acts of kindness. The coins are coded so you can follow the ripple effect of kindness.
Of course I wanted one of the 2018 editions of the coin with a beautiful blue butterfly design. (now sold out) Minted in solid, thick brass, two inches in diameter, the coin weighs nearly two ounces, and features a color enamel-painted butterfly. It is beautiful.
By carrying one of the coins in your pocket or purse, you’re reminded to look for opportunities to help someone, friend or stranger. Pass along the coin with your kind deed, encouraging the recipient to pay it forward. The coins have unique tracking codes on the back, along with instructions to make a brief story note about how they received it. Each coin has a dedicated story page, where you can watch your legacy of kindness unfold countless times into the future, forever.
The 2019 Second Edition coin is a Monarch, and on sale right now for $6.95 each by clicking HERE.
Of course, I’ll have to come up with an act of kindness worthy of this beautiful coin. Most of my random acts of kindness are small; pay for the person behind me in line at a window drive-up, purchase a piece of pie for someone sitting alone at a restaurant, leave a dollar and a Jacob card taped to a pop machine. While my favorites are those I can do as a faceless, nameless benefactor, leaving the card behind, opportunities do arise that I just can’t resist. Most recently, there was an older woman checking into a breakfast at my workplace. I heard her telling her female companion she’d saved for the $10 cost by putting one dollar bills into an envelope as she got them. When she retrieved the envelope from her pocket with a shaky hand and opened it up, I saw confusion on her face and heard her gasp. The envelope was empty! Her companion seemed just as flustered as she was, so I asked if I could cover her breakfast in honor of my grandson.
“Please let me,” I pleaded when she demurred. “I love doing random acts of kindness in his name, but haven’t had the chance recently.”
“His name was Jacob,” I added when she finally agreed, partly because I didn’t have a card with me, but mostly because I like to be able to say his name.
This week, with wind chills dipping below zero in Iowa, I’m carrying gloves in my car with the cards.
Yesterday, I chased an older gentleman down when I spotted him waiting at a busy intersection, hunched over against the wind as he zipped up his coat, stomped his feet, and clasped his bare hands together to blow on them before shoving them into his pockets. I made several laps around a bank parking lot until he reached the drive. When I opened my window and handed him a card and a pair of gloves, his face lit up as if I’d handed him a gold coin.
Or a beautiful brass butterfly one.