How a Hidden Note Spread Ripples of Kindness

A few kind words made thousands of people happy

May 19, 2019

(Still AB / Shutterstock.com)

A book found in Missouri has recently inspired a chain of good deeds, though not for the reasons you may think.

Ashley Joss was shopping at her local Target, when the book “Girl, Stop Apologizing” caught her eyes. The 27-year old had pledged to read more books, so she picked it up, got home, and began reading.

Shortly after she sat down with the book her dog barked, causing her to throw the book aside and revealing a hidden surprise- a $5 bill and a note hidden at the end of the book.

"To the person who buys this book, I am having a tough day,” The note reads. “I thought maybe I could brighten someone else’s with this little surprise. Go buy a coffee, a donut or a face mask. Practice some self care today. Remember that you are loved, you are amazing, you are strong. - Lisa"

Joss was so moved by the note that she posted it on Twitter. After several of her friends shared it, the local newspaper got ahold of the story, and the Tweet went viral.

Not only were people enthusiastic about sharing the story; they were motivated to take part in spreading more acts of kindness.

"The ripple effect is pretty incredible." Joss to CNN.

The tweet spread so far that it reached the book’s author, Rachel Hollis, and eventually even made its way back to the author of the note, Lisa.

Hollis took the opportunity to encourage more of her readers to continue the newfound tradition, and Lisa decided to write another anonymous message to Joss- this time in the mail. In her letter, Lisa explained that she had been going through a difficult period, and just wanted to spread some positivity; she had no idea it would reach so many people.  

The tweet has been liked and shared over 3,000 times since it first appeared on social media, and has even reached international audiences. Many are following suit with their own acts of kindness. Joss’ dad, for example, bought groceries for a customer in front of him at the supermarket. Another follower wrote to Joss that she had been inspired to do kind acts in honor of her 19-year old daughter who passed away in a car accident a few months earlier.  

Even in the writing of this article, I could not help but take out a chocolate bar and often fellow train-goers a bite of indulgence with me. It was barely a conscious act. When people see how easy it is to make a stranger’s day, they naturally gravitate to be part of the movement.

For Joss, the note was life-changing. Every week since she found it, she has committed herself to another act of kindness. "This has shown me the value of checking in with people around me and making sure that I take these opportunities to tell them, 'Hey, I appreciate you. Don't forget that 'you are loved, you're amazing, and you are strong,' as Lisa said. I don't think we can ever do that enough."

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.