They call them random acts of kindness, which Wikipedia defines as a “selfless act performed by kind people to either help or cheer up a random stranger, for no reason other than to make people happier.”
Lisa Askelson is one of those kind people doing random acts of kindness and it is for no other reason than to make someone happy, to check on someone who may be alone or to just let someone know she is thinking about them.
“I think it is those little acts of kindness that make a difference in the lives of everyone,” she said.
She is far too humble to think she is the only one doing wonderful things for people. In fact, she can list names of countless others also helping out their neighbors, visiting shut-ins and delivering home-made goodies around town.
And it is Lisa’s hope, that by sharing what she does so unselfishly, others will opt to do the same and for no other reason than to make someone smile.
One of those places that Lisa loves to visit and make people smile is the Glacier Care Center.
“I love going to the nursing home,” she said. “I really love the elderly and love to hear their stories. All they really want is someone to pay attention to them, even if only for a little while.”
More times than not, Lisa arrives at the nursing home with food for a resident or two, perhaps “a good, yummy pizza or a big fresh salad,” she said. She knows who has diet restrictions and who does not. She also knows from having visited with the residents, what some of their favorite meals or treats might be and she tries to accommodate those every now and then.
“The residents just like the company, so even if I don’t come with something for them to eat, I come to visit and spend a little time with them.”
Lisa’s weekday job is taking care of Abby Faber, Mike and Lisa Faber’s 26-year old daughter who is, as Lisa described, “blind, unable to talk, not able to walk on her own and has what her parents have learned is an undiagnosed neurological disorder.”
Lisa shared, “Taking care of her, has never felt like a job for me. I am the one who is lucky to be able to do this for her and for her parents. This was a perfect fit for me seven years ago and still is to this day.”
Many times during the week, Lisa loads Abby into her vehicle and the two take off for a drive “just to get her out of the house” and then, in their travels, stop by the nursing home for a visit.
“There are not a lot of places that I can get Abby in and out of easy enough, but the nursing home is one of those, so we stop there to visit and hear some stories and maybe share some goodies with them.”
Along with regular nursing home visits, Lisa helps other elderly people around town, picking up a shovel and pushing snow off their walkways and driveways or just checking in on them to make sure they are okay.
“I know many people who check in on their neighbors regularly,” she said. “It is a simple thing to do and makes people feel good that someone is looking out for them.”
It might mean you shovel some snow, maybe take out their garbage for them so they don’t have to walk on ice to the alley, it might mean picking up their mail for them from the post office, grabbing some groceries for them while you are at the store or taking them a bowl of soup from a batch you just made for your family.
All of these are random acts of kindness and as Lisa said, makes a “difference in the lives of everyone.”
Sometimes in Lisa and Abby’s drives around town, Lisa will see someone she knows walking home from the grocery store, toting several grocery bags of food. “I just stop and offer them a ride and they are always so grateful they don’t have to walk the rest of the way home with their grocery bags,” she said.
Every month, Lisa chooses either a person or an organization that she wants to acknowledge for having done a good job. Last month it was the Cut Bank Police Department. “I just wanted to let them know they are doing a good job for all of us here in Cut Bank and show them how much they are appreciated.”
She might drop off some baked goods, hand out some free coffee cards or simply give them a hand-written card thanking them for their service. “A hand-written note goes a long way,” she said.
Not long ago, Lisa knew that a lady here in town would love to go to a high school concert but wouldn’t consider going alone or maybe didn’t feel comfortable driving herself there. Lisa solved all that by taking her friend with her to the concert, where both of them enjoyed an evening of wonderful voices singing songs old and new.
“If not a concert, maybe take them to a football game or a baseball game in the summer. There are so many ways to get some of those people out of the house and if you are going already, it makes it even easier,” she said.
You might be wondering why Lisa does what she does. It could be because she is a really nice lady. But probably it is because, “I believe you get something back from all the things you do,” she said. “And it feels good to help people.”
It is that easy. “It feels good to help people.”
May we all be interested in doing the same.