Kindness Challenge Day 14: Do Something Unexpectedly Nice For Someone (Plus World Kindness Day Celebration!)

This is Day 14 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge for Nov 2012 where hundreds of participants from around the world get together in spirit to do 14 acts of kindness over 14 days. The challenge is now over, but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all Kindness Challenge tasks and posts.

Join the Kindness Challenge!

Hello everyone! :D Welcome to Day 14 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge! ;)

Final Task… NOT. One More Task, Coming Up.

While today is the last official act of kindness, it is NOT the last task of the challenge. We still have a roundup post coming up tomorrow, where all of us will wrap up our conclusions about the Kindness Challenge, what we have learned from it, and how we plan to integrate kindness in our lives moving forward.

In the meantime, get moving on the remaining kindness tasks you have not completed, and mingle with the other participants in the comments section!

We are on Lianhe Zaobao /  联合早报!! (Nov 13 issue)

The Kindness Challenge is in the media again!! This time, we are on the Nov 13 issue of Lianhe Zaobao/ 联合早报! It’s the largest Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper with a daily circulation of about 176,000!!

Check out page 13 of the papers. :) It’s about the great success of the Kindness Challenge and how we have amassed over 800 participants around the world, hence proving that locals (and people around the world) are indeed kind. Thanks QH for the great coverage! :)

Kindness Challenge as featured in Lianhe Zaobao

World Kindness Day in Singapore! (and Meeting the Singapore Kindness Movement Team)

In case you didn’t know, yesterday, November 13, was actually World Kindness Day!

I was invited by the Singapore Kindness Movement team to join them for their World Kindness Day celebration. It turns out that they had actually gotten wind of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge at PE pretty early on, which was quite a pleasant surprise! Anyway so I went to the event at Vivocity to meet up with them and enjoy the performances at the same time.

World Kindness Day in Singapore

Enjoying a performance by Baracude Batucade from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. A solid performance!

To be really honest, with the recent media coverage and the larger readership of PE today, nowadays I can’t help but wonder if I get recognized while outside. I was so positively surprised when Wanxuan, a long-time PE reader and participant of the Kindness Challenge, suddenly appeared beside me when I sat myself down in the Amphitheater!!

I seriously can’t even believe how she managed to spot me in the sea of people—I told her she had such sharp eyes (like an eagle!!)! We then chatted while enjoying the lovely sing, dance, and humor performances. (Thanks so much for your lovely company, Wanxuan!! :D )

I was further flabbergasted when I got recognized by two other readers—one of whom runs a personal development website himself! I mean like, HOW?!?! I ended up having a really fantastic conversation with Shun-Jian (which lasted for over three hours), after which we agreed to meet again, soon.

By the way, I’m starting to realize a lot more people read my blog than I realize. It’s not going to change what I write and the things I share on PE, just that I have to start readying myself for the blurring of my public and private lives very soon.

Yan, Celes, Shun-Jian

With beautiful Yan (a PE reader ♥), Myself, and authentic and earnest Shun-Jian (a PE reader who runs a personal development website himself!). Thank you for your wonderful support, love, and kindness towards what I do!

After that, I met with the Associate General Secretary (Marketing & Corporate Strategy) of the Singapore Kindness Movement team, where we agreed to meet up early next week to discuss about the 14-Day Kindness Challenge at PE and collaboration opportunities moving forward. Look forward to further discussions in the future!

Cesar and Celes

Me and the Associate General Secretary of Singapore Kindness Movement, Cesar (Balota). Such an honor and joy to meet the people of SKM directly! Look forward to possible collaboration opportunities ahead between SKM and PE.

My Day 13 Review: Give Someone a Treat

Day 13′s task was to: Give Someone a Treat.

So that I did! :D Met a very lovely friend for brunch after my Kiss92 segment in the morning (for those of you who missed my segment, you can listen to it at the Podcasts section—the episode yesterday was on how to handle criticisms), and gave him a treat!

Cashier checkout

Checking out at the cashier

We dined at Salad Stop!, one of my favorite food outlets! ;) I did an interview with the Salad Stop! owners last year as part of the Successful Businesses Interview Series. You can check it out here: Interview: Salad Stop! – Providing a Healthy and Tasty Meal Alternative for Modern People.

Brunch at Salad Stop!

Preparing to eat. Going healthy with salads!

Sitting down, tucking in, and enjoying a beautiful morning to lunch conversation with my awesome friend. :) We are arranging to meet up again later this month—given that he is very much a corporate person, I’m planning to introduce him to one of the many entrepreneur events I go to.

This wasn’t the only treat I gave actually—I met someone for dinner today (unexpected, unarranged appointment) where I gave him a treat as well. That’s a double tick for me for Day 13′s task.

Of course, I won’t limit treats to just these two accounts—I’ve already adopted the habit of occasionally giving people treats ever since I returned from my world trip this year. Day 13′s task has merely expanded my threshold level of giving others treats. It has undoubtedly helped me to adopt an even more generous mindset surrounding money.

Now, let’s move on to our final act of kindness, shall we? ;)

Day 14: Doing Something Unexpectedly Nice


Have you ever received a surprise before? How did you feel when you received the surprise? Happy? Touched? 

Your Task: Do Something Unexpectedly Nice For Someone

Your task today is to do something unexpectedly nice for someone. :)

It doesn’t have to be someone you are close to. It doesn’t have to be someone whom you see every day (or don’t see every day). It doesn’t have to be someone with any relation to you at all even.

Simply pick someone, anyone, whom you want to do something nice for—with no reason whatsoever. Think about something nice which you can do for him/her—something that has meaning to him/her.

For example, I have already completed my task for Day 14 as I was meeting my intended recipients for the task on Monday—they are the hosts of Kiss92 Morning Show, Maddy, Jason, and Arnold, whom I do my weekly Monday Personal Excellence segment with! I’ll share more of the details (of how I went about doing the task) tomorrow, but essentially I made sure that my act of kindness for each of them was something meaningful and not just buy some random gift just for the sake of “doing it for the sake of doing it”.

Update: You can read about how I went about planning the gifts in Kindness Challenge Roundup post!

How about you? What is something unexpectedly nice you can do for someone? And how can you make it especially meaningful for him/her? (i.e. How can you personalize this action such that it has even greater significance for the recipient?) 

Share Your Results!

Who did you pick to do something unexpectedly nice for? What are you planning to do for him/her?

Share your results in the comments section! Look forward to reading them! :)

After you are done, proceed to the final task of the challenge: Round-Up: Reflection, Feedback, and Next Steps Moving Forward!

Image: Lars Plougmann

  • Fufu

    Celes I’ve been thinking long and hard what are meaningful acts I can do for others but my mind is blank. I do something meaningful for others almost each now they don’t really care much about it. Any ideas? Examples?

    • Celes

      Hey Fufu! I’ve shared examples of how I did the task in the post. The key is to think about what is important to the person and then do something that ties in with that. The more personalized it is, the more meaningful it will be.

      If you have difficulty coming up with something (meaningful) to do for someone, try asking yourself, “What is something that’s important to this person?” or “What has this person been thinking or talking about lately?” Think back to your past conversations with him/her and try to recollect desires or frustrations he/she has aired before. Then see how you can do something nice for him/her based on that.

      Good luck! I’m sure you can come up with something because you are such a thoughtful girl. :D Let us know how it goes!! And feel free to post any questions still if you are drawing a blank in this area.

  • Helen

    Hello! I think I´ve been seriously inspired by the kindness challenge! :) I´m a high school teacher in Ecuador and it was one of my students´ birthdays last week. Today he told me that he didn´t get cake on his birthday, but “it´s my brother´s birthday on Sunday so I might get some cake then” – how heartbreaking?! So I went to the shop work to buy cake and a magic candle to surprise him tomorrow. Then I got home and saw that this new challenge was to do something unexpectedly nice for someone! I´d had quite a stressful day and now I feel really good :). I´ll let you guys know how it goes tomorrow!

    Although I haven´t done all the kindness challenges (like sending flowers), I´ve definitely been trying to incorporate more kindness into my life and it feels sooo good and I feel like people are showing more kindness towards me too :).

    Celes, I don´t know you personally but I love you and your blog. You, along with my boyfriend, have helped me grow so so so much this last year and I´m so grateful you entered my life when I googled “how to be a better person” all those months ago!

    Un abrazo gigante a todos!! :D :hug: :heart:

    • Celes

      Hi Helen, that’s such a wonderful surprise which you have prepared for your student! Please, do let us know how he responds to your surprise tomorrow! I’m sure he will be so touched and happy!

      Thanks so much for your beautiful words, really, Helen. I’m so glad that you and your boyfriend have found PE helpful. Please continue to read PE and I’ll continue to share my life here openly with all of you. I really love all of you. Thank you for being in my life. :hug:

      • Helen

        Hi Celes,

        Thank you so much for your personal reply. I know you´re very busy and I´m very touched you took the time to write to me. Big love! :hug:

        It was just lovely giving him his cake and candle! It was raining after school and our classrooms face the outside. I told him to come into one of the classrooms where a few other students were sheltering and I told a friend of his who was there to cover his eyes so I could light the candle. It was so funny and nice because the students there all burst into an impromptu “happy birthday to you” :D. He opened his eyes, blew out the candles and gave me such a big hug the cake nearly got squashed! He was really surprised and so so touched and happy. He kept saying thank you and I kept saying it was nothing – just a bit of cake, but he said just the action meant so much and that he would never forget it. He also wants to surprise me for my birthday hehe :).

        I was a little worried that the other students would try and eat all his cake or that I would get “where was the cake on my birthday?!” type comments, joking or not, but everyone was just lovely. His friend said he had tears in his eyes :).

        It felt so lovely to do something for this boy, especially he struggles a lot at school socially and academically. He´s a really sweet person, but with extremely low self-esteem for the social and academic reasons. I´m trying to help him raise his self esteem. Maybe you´ve written something about this before Celes, or have some advice on this?

        I am absolutely buzzing right now and can´t get the smile off my face. All I wish is that I´d gotten him a bigger cake :D

        Let´s continue this kindness spree!! :heart:

        • Dolly Yeo

          Wow! You have definitely impacted the boy’s life and touched his heart. Cheers! :D

          • Helen

            Thank you for your kind words Dolly :). I noticed that you took the time to write a comment for everyone on this section and I think that´s really lovely – almost as lovely as what you did for your daughters and future son-in-law. They are lucky to have you :)

            Btw I´m definitely stealing your notes and flowers idea for the future!

            Take care :) :hug:

        • Michael

          You’re awesome!! :clap:

          • Helen

            You´re such a sweetheart! :hug:

        • Hetal_S

          Simple Great :bow:

          • Helen

            Thanks Hetal :)

  • Celes

    Great news everyone!!! I just got interviewed by 93.8FM regarding the Kindness Challenge again. This time, it’s to discuss the results of the challenge and the kind of impact it has made in others’ lives.

    The interview will be going up at 93.8FM, at any of the four timings: 6:35am, 11:45am, 1:35pm, and 8:45pm (Singapore times). :D

    For those in Singapore, you can catch it at 93.8FM.
    For those not in Singapore, you can catch it at (click on the “Listen Live” widget).

    • Celes

      We just got another coverage on AsiaOne! :D

      Special thanks to the local media outlets for all your support on this initiative!! It’s really a refreshing change to see news like this which highlight the better side of Singaporeans, people, and the human society (beyond the usual scandal-driven news). Really appreciate it!

      • Dolly Yeo

        Congrats!! Celes, I m stretched and happy that I participated. I m sure you are beyond that having to run to so many places for interviews in radio, replying to the forum. Very well done!! :clap:

        • Celes

          Hi Dolly, thanks so much for helping out and agreeing to be interviewed by Zaobao! I appreciate your help. Look forward to treating you to drinks the next time we meet. :D

          • Dolly Yeo

            Hi Celes, my pleasure, I enjoy sharing what we did and I look forward to meeting :D

  • Bette

    Okay…something nice…I love doing things that are unexpected and nice and delightful for the recipient! :D Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, so that is also doing something wonderful for myself.

    Today was a dear friend’s birthday, and i gave her a birthday call and sang songs to her and recited some meaningful quotes. Very fun and she loved it. Then I said i would call back and put all the surprises on her voicemail so she could hear it all again. She really loved that idea, and was all giggley with lots of smiles in her voice. :D

    This morning I made breakfast preparations for my friend, who would have just skipped having a really nutritious breakfast. That really made a big difference in how he faced his work schedule, etc. I felt so happy to help effect that difference. :D

    Later in the afternoon, I went to a house that a friend had been renovating for quite some time just to support her labor of love and tell her what a great job she did to take that broken down old home and make it all new and fresh. I could tell that she was really honored to show off the finished product, and delighted to receive well-earned praise for all her efforts. And that made me feel extra-special good. :dance:

    I find it SO heartwarming to surprise others with unexpected acts of kindness. :heart: Can be heartfelt compliments, or well-earned praise for a job well-done or for just plain and simply being a wonderful person. It can be a small gift or card with well-chosen words, or some token of affection. Kindness of course can also be the time that I spend with someone, quality time, and it can be a listening ear and a caring heart. And how about a kind look to a passer-by or a warm hug or kind word to a friend or to someone I hardly know. There are SO many opportunities to extend acts of kindness, and I look forward to continue to live with that intention every day. :hug:

  • Hetal_S

    First of all Celes, you are looking very cute and pretty :D [Both at the same time ;) ], in the pics above.

    Regarding today’s challenge:

    Have thought of a gift for my best friend and am very much sure he would love it :D

    • Celes

      Hi Hetal, thanks for your compliment!! :D That’s very sweet of you.

      Let us know how your friend responds to your gift too! :D

      • Hetal_S

        He was smiling ear to ear :mrgreen: … it made my day :)

  • hendro

    I will be giving a written thank you letter personally to someone who I will be meeting this Thursday afternoon. :) Look forward to meeting her and seeing her response after receiving my unexpected thank you letter :p

    • Celes

      Hi Hendro, keep us posted on her response after you pass her the letter! :D

      • hendro

        Hi Celes, she looked surprised when she saw me passing a thank you card to her :p We had a short but fruitful discussion :D Will catch up with her soon again ;) All the best for everything you are doing :) So as everyone who’s participating this kindness movement challenge. Take care everyone ;)

        • Celes

          Hi hendro! :D Do drop by the reflection post and leave your feedback when you get the chance! Would love to know the overall thoughts of you (and other participants) of the challenge. All comments will close on November 17.

  • Dolly Yeo

    Agree with Hetal that, Celes, have a very nice smile!

    Today I incorporate Day 10 and Day 14. I bought flowers and wrote 3 thank you notes to my 2 daughters and my future son-in-law. My youngest daughter cried and when I asked her why, she said ‘Mixed feeling, Happy and sad. ‘ I wrote a note on a nice bright yellow paper, punched a hole, use a ribbon to tie it around the few stocks of flowers. Tie and curl the ribbon around the stems. My note must have hit a soft-spot for her. I wrote that she is there for herself, her friends and her family. How resilient she has been and adaptable when things were not going well for us in the past few years. When I asked her why she cried, she did not want to tell me.

    Subsequently, her sister and fiancee talked to her and realized that she cried because she happened to have organized and raised funds to buy concert tickets for her two best friends. Went round collecting the money on top of having to complete her projects from school and helping her eldest sister to prepare for her special day and birthday! One of her best friend did not show appreciation and expressed that she was not interested in that particular concert. That was a blow to her. Anyway, we rallied around her to explain to her that it is unmet expectations on both sides, her friend’s mother’s birthday was on that same day, so she might be confused and not know what to do, unconsciously said something that she did not even know hurt my daughter. What is important is the effort she put in, being a good friend. The intention is of utmost importance. I acknowledged her organizational skills, being a great friend, sensible, productive and efficient.

    They were all happy :D and touched to receive notes of acknowledgements and proudly displayed the flowers with the notes.

    Some reflections, although I have written notes to them before, I must have not done so for quite a while. So doing it now is a great way to make others happy with some effort. Very little money spent, more important is remembering to show appreciation every now and then to pen our thoughts about how we feel about them, the good things about them that we treasure, so they do not feel that I have taken them for granted and forget about the gems I see in them. Every body wants to be recognized and acknowledged and I believe it is good to do more of that.

    I also believe that I have reflected much of my experience in these 14 days kindness challenge in the sharing. There are maybe 1 day that I have not done so.

    Day 6 Talk to someone I normally do not talk to – not sure if this counts. Today, I talked to a cleaning lady. Happen that she works in the mall that I go and eat my meals very often. She said she is lonely working upstairs but less strenuous. So we shared recipe and talked about life. She said she has no choice but to work because she had to. I told her that it is better to work than to stay at home and it is unhealthy to be doing nothing because ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. People who don’t need to work might not be that happy if they have no friends and if they have no place to go, they can be bored to death. She seemed to be happy to hear that. I also complimented how good her complexion was. I believed that I have made her day.

    • Celes

      Aw thanks Dolly (regarding the comment about my smile)! You look strikingly beautiful for someone your age and three kids! You don’t look any older than 45 actually.

      • Dolly Yeo

        You made my days! Thanks so much Celes :dance:

  • wanxuan

    I met a New Zealander mother with two super adorable kids (5 and 3 years’ old) on my flight to NZ. Seeing that the mother was busy taking care of two young children, I helped her with her daughter (who was seated beside me). She needed help with putting the portable table and angling the seat for takeoff and landing and other stuff. Her mother was very friendly and even offered me a chewy muesli as a kindness token :)

    • Dolly Yeo

      Hi Wanxuan, sounds like you are very committed to the kindness challenge and I m sure besides me many are inspired by your actions! Cheers! :D

  • Netta

    I chose my two daughters to do something for that surprised them and made them happy. They are young in age so little things mean a lot to them. I wrote my 9 year old a note with a poem on it and left it by her bed so when she wakes up in the morning it’s the first thing she will see. She really likes things like that.
    For my 6 year old, I drew a picture. Although I am no artist by far, I do draw some amazing flowers and things of that nature. I left the pictures I drew uncolored so she can color them in. She loves to color and especially something special. She will also see this in the morning.
    I enjoy doing these things for them, but realized I don’t do them near as often as I should.
    I enjoyed this entire challenge but today’s challenge made me very happy.

    • Dolly Yeo

      Congrats!! Netta we all did it! Little effort that does not have to be perfect, and makes a lot of difference in children’s lives. :clap:

  • Qin Tang

    Today I played secret Santa and gave someone a small gift anonymously. It’s something meaningful to that person that I knew would be appreciated.

    If you are looking for ideas to do small acts of kindness and spread the kindness spirit, check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website at

  • Elton

    Finally, I managed to do something unexpected Kindness Day 13+14 combined, giving him a lunch treat (was late 1 hour due to rain) – and giving a copy of my book ‘Are You Ready To Be Entrepreneur’ to a new editor friend which I have met first time. I guess he was pleasantly surprised with my gestures as he didnt expect me to give anything at 1st meeting.

    He took a picture of the copy of my section of story and post it in his community and wall to inspire a new Malay group,which hasn’t started any business. Will see what spins off after our meeting and spur more things up after this.

    Thanks Celes for this kindness challenge and reminding me of affirmation needed.

    • Dolly Yeo

      Hi Elton, thanks for your authentic sharing and encouragements :D FYI, The Flow group thought about you often, planning to bring you to eat our best local delights! And keeping you in suspense about the venue for now hehe….. :p

  • ces

    Hello! I loved this challenge so much!!!! it was my birthday during the 14th day! Thank you so much! i was blessed! :angel:

    • Celes

      Hi ces, happy birthday! :D Hope you had a wonderful celebration and glad that you enjoyed the challenge! :D

  • Fufu

    When I saw the last task I was confused as to how I’d be able to do something unexpectedly nice for somebody else when it’s already a habit of mine to do at least one thoughtful act each day–but eventually an idea popped up. I chose my friend Tai-tai to do something unexpectedly nice to. :) Tai-Tai likes writing light novels and I happen to have a YouTube page in which I post fanmade music videos(for fun and nothing official). This videos are based on light novels of both Tai-Tai or me.

    I know how much Tai-Tai’s light novels mean to her so I told her I’d make 6 videos till the year ends(and lucky me there happens to be exactly 6 weeks left till the year ends). I’ll be making 1 music video a week. ;)

  • JadePenguin

    I couldn’t think of any big surprises for anyone, so I did a few small ones: texted someone I hadn’t talked to in a while, took out and sorted the recycling, hugged someone I hadn’t hugged before and tried being as nice to my ex as possible when we met a philosophy social. I did still slip up a few times and make comments that could sound mean but overall I hope he doesn’t think I hate him anymore. At any rate, he was surprised to see me happier than I’d been in the past few months :)

  • Michael

    This exercise made me realize that I’ve been the recipient of things that people do unexpectedly nice to over the years! I haven’t had a chance to take action on this yet. The closest I’ve come to that was passing my newspaper to a 70-year old lady at a coffee shop (she was looking for English newspapers for the crossword). However I don’t feel it counts and we did have a nice chat after. :p

    Hope to do something meaningful after this kindness challenge is closed. :)

  • Daria

    Hmm I don’t think what I did for today’s task fits the bill … I did the task after just reading the title and now after reading the details, it seems that I didn’t get it quite right.

    Yesterday (when I was at the same place from day 13′s task) … I left the person preparing our food some extra tip … I’m pretty sure it was unexpected (and hopefully nice too) but meaningful? I don’t think so. But I’ll try to do something today as I will be going out for an errand.