Last week my family and I had the honor of partnering up with Hyundai USA to spread goodness. We spent a few days traveling around San Diego donating our food and toys to those in need. (and not just humans … animals too!) It was honestly one of the best experiences we’ve had together as a family and I’m thrilled to share it with you. The acts we did were actually pretty small in comparison to many acts of kindness people do, and I say that because that means that what we did … anyone and their family can do on their own time. There is something beautiful about people helping people. And being helpful doesn't always have to be a grand production.Being helpful on any level is what keeps this world going and I hope we can somehow inspire others to be helpful and kind daily. It can be easily done and you can even start now by offering a simple smile to strangers on the street. I encourage you to start and see just how much it will increase your happiness level! People say "Smile at strangers" all the time right?! It feels a bit awkward at first, but when my smile is met with one from a stranger I feel like I am floating!
One of things I found that helped me cope with grief was to help others. I think when things are thrown into perspective for us we are able to really appreciate the things and people we have in our lives. A lot of the time we feel alone and incapable. Those feelings can weigh us down and sometimes it is hard to find your way out of that dark cloud. Grief is a monster and one I have to fight daily. There are certain things I do to help fight that monster off and helping others in need definitely is a tactic I use. After losing my son Ryan I found that sharing my story was in fact helping others to see the light and live a more intentional life. I’ve also dedicated my online space to help raise money for various children based charities because as a mother I don’t just want greatness for my own children, I want greatness for all children. When I am down in the dumps about my personal situation of being forced to go through life with out my son, I turn to doing good for others to help me see the light. Plus, when you make someone else smile it does something magical to your heart. It puts a tiny pep in your step and sets off this chain reaction of greatness. (Do I sound like a crazy lady yet?)
Anyways, when Hyundai brought this idea of doing an ‘Acts of Better’ driving tour I literally jumped at the chance. What I loved most is the fact that we were able to bring Mila along. Showing your children the ins and outs of doing good for others is what parenting is truly all about! Our children are our future (wow I am just hitting you with a ton of cliches today aren't I?!) and teaching them to be kind and selfless is necessary. Just because Mila is only 18 months doesn’t mean things don’t resonate with her, starting to plant these notions in her tiny mind now means they can only grow stronger from here.
So we jumped into the new Hyundai Sonata and took it around to deliver pet food to a local animal shelter first. We were able to play with the rescued puppies and I’ve said this about five times already, but we fell in love with this pup named Brianna. She was so calm and endearingly scruffy. I wish so badly we could have taken her home, but our apartment doesn’t allow pets. Next we gathered a bunch of toys ranging from various age groups and delivered them to Rady Children’s Hospital. This was my favorite stop only because the children in there deserve nothing but the best while they face the horrible situations. To see a child suffering is downright the worst and even if the toys delivered only offered a slight smile for a minute then it was one minute that took their little minds off the nightmare they must brave. A lot of you asked how you could donate to children's hospitals when I shared this initially on my Instagram story. Most children’s hospitals have a website dedicated to how people can help out. I’d recommend starting there, they are usually ways you can get involved pretty easily. (Especially with the holidays coming up, they are always looking for extra hands etc.)
The last stop of our tour landed us at a Starbucks drive-thru paying it forward as we paid the bill on peoples coffee orders. Which may seem like nothing, but it can be everything! During the week I usually frequent the Starbucks drive-thru when Mila is so grumpy she needs to just take car snooze. We drive around a bit and I always drive to get a little coffee for myself. A mid day pick me up. If someone secretly paid for my coffee it would make me tear up! Small acts of kindness like that just set us all up for success.
I’ve attached my Instagram stories from that day of driving around doing acts of kindness if you missed it, plus a few photos from our time spent with Hyundai. We had the best time and are already planning a few ways we can implement some small acts of kindness in our daily life. Now, I am not trying to sell you a car here. But what I will say is I have been blown away by Hyundai and their sincere drive to make the world a better place. They didn't ask me to post this blog, I just figured I'd share a little more detail and reasoning behind why we partnered up with them. I honestly love doing good things and using my platform to showcase that in hopes of inspiring you all to do the same. Our world definitely needs more kindness so spread what you have like confetti!
Photos by Jenna Kutcher