11-year-old Ruben was scared after this week’s shooting in El Paso. At first, he begged his mom to stay in all weekend and order their groceries online, especially since they had shopped at that Walmart the day before.

But as she comforted her son, she also challenged him to come up with a way to show the kindness and goodness of the people of El Paso. He came up with the #ElPasoChallenge : challenging everyone to do 22 acts of kindness in honor of the 22 people that lost their lives.

We love Ruben’s idea so much that we want to help it spread! Here’s a list of some of the acts of kindness he came up with, plus a few of your suggestion to help us get to 22:

  1. Tell someone you love, “Thank You.” It seems so simple, but we typically don’t say it enough! Even if you’re just thanking someone for something they do every day, it’ll still mean so much.
  2. Talk to someone you don’t like. Loving people you like may be easy. But loving your enemies can sometimes feel impossible! We forget, though, that our “enemies” are people that have their own hurt.
  3. Pay for someone’s meal. We love us some drive-thru difference! Pay for the person behind you in line today. Bonus: give a note to the cashier to pass on to them that explains why you’re doing it.
  4. Tape money to the outside of a vending machine. It may only be a dollar, but found money is the best! The person who finds it will be able to taste the kindness as they sip on their Coke.
  5. Visit someone in a nursing home. Playing a few rounds of bingo could make someone feel a lot less lonely.
  6. Offer a hug. Sometimes….you just need a hug! If you know someone in your life that’s had a few difficult days recently, offer them a hug the next time you see them.
  7. Mow someone’s lawn. Maybe there’s someone in your neighborhood that has a new baby or an insanely busy schedule. Continue the mowing of your lawn right into theirs.
  8. Hold the door….for everyone. This was from Ruben’s list. It’s one thing to hold the door for one person. It’s another thing to hold the door for 50 people. But they’ll notice you went out of your way to do it.
  9. Let someone merge in front of you. Sometimes kindness goes out the window the second we get behind the wheel. Yes, they probably should’ve gotten over sooner. Let them in anyway. It won’t delay your commute, but it may improve theirs.
  10. Leave a Bible and bookmark a specific verse with a note on why it means something to you. By the way, did you know that we give out free Bibles?
  11. Buy school supplies for a family in need or help stock a classroom for a teacher that has to pay for supplies with his or her own money.
  12. Leave a random note of encouragement. It could be a sticky note on a public bathroom mirror or a note on someone’s windshield with a simple message that says, “You matter.” You may not get to see their reaction, but it could be exactly what they need to hear.
  13. Give to a GoFundMe. You don’t have to know the person to give at least a couple bucks toward someone who needs it.
  14. Compliment a stranger. Have you ever had your day made just because someone took the time to say, “Hey, girl! I love your shoes!” Try to do that for someone else.
  15. Leave a huge tip. Make it a part of your eating out budget this month to bless someone else.
  16. See the unseen. No, you don’t need superpowers for this one! One caller called it the “look and linger:” spend more time actually seeing people as you go through your day. Who are the least of these that you’re encountering on a daily basis, and how can you help them?
  17. Get a sweet treat for someone you don’t know well at work. A cupcake on their desk could lead to a beautiful friendship!
  18. Babysit for a single mom, and do it for free! I don’t know how single moms do it. I imagine there are days that they wonder how they do it. Take a little of that burden off of them by giving them an opportunity to treat themselves or even just run errands alone.
  19. Pay off a lunch debt. Contact your local elementary school and see if there are any debts on a student’s account. Even if you can’t pay the entire thing, you could help alleviate some stress for a family who is struggling to make ends meet.
  20. Say yes! Pray for God to give you an opportunity to be kind, and then say yes to the next thing that comes your way.
  21. Carry something for someone who is struggling. Have you ever over-committed to what you could carry and then wished someone was there to help? Look for that person.
  22. Smile more. It’s the easiest one on the list! Not only will it change your demeanor as you’re intentional about how you approach the day, it’ll also make someone else’s day when they’re approached with a smile. Joy and kindness are contagious, and the more we can “infect” the world with these things, the less room there is for hatred.
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