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What is the origin of the phrase "random act of kindness"?

Happy birthday to a cousin who didn't know what she wanted for her birthday doodle but knew that in her life she strives to be kind and hopes others can be as well.

A random act of kindness is an action that is performed for another, usually a stranger, simply to bring that person happiness. Someone who performs a random act of kindness expects nothing in return. Often, the person who performs the random act of kindness does not even see the reaction of the person who receives the kindness. Some examples of a random act of kindness are paying the toll for the car behind you at the toll booth, or leaving a kind note in a library book for someone else to find.

The term random act of kindness was coined in 1982 by Anne Herbert, who wrote a book by the same name in 1993. The full, original phrase is random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Her expression was an attempt to counteract the phrase random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty.

A group in Colorado started the Random Acts of Kindness day, a resolution designating the week of Feb. 12, 1995, as “National Acts of Kindness Week”, introduced in the House by Rep. Walter R. Tucker of Compton, and which spread internationally in 2004. In 2008 the BBC Radio launched the One Million Random Acts of Kindness Campaign.

I felt this was a perfect way to represent my cousin on a birthday which offers her the wonder of paying her own health insurance premiums (let's face it, some birthday years are better than others when it comes to treats) but at least it lands on 'hump day' and she is probably receiving some hilarious camel related birthday messages. In her honor, please consider doing an act of kindness, random or not, to bring a little more light into the world.

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