Teri Turns Tragedy Into Positivity: 36 Acts of Kindness

  • Sugar Ink Design
  • 8 years ago
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The battle against suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year. Our society often seems plagued with sickness, violence, and social injustice, making it difficult to remain positive when personal tragedy strikes.

Sugar Ink Design owner Teri lost her close friend Jeff Smith to suicide. Two years later, the loss Teri and her friends were still mourning became an opportunity to fight discouraging circumstances with positivity. On June 8, 2014, Teri would be turning 36.

“I love birthdays and big parties, but I just wasn’t feeling up to it this year. I just wanted to put good out into the world and get some positive energy out of it all.”

Earlier this summer, Teri had come across a story about a high school that had lost a few students to suicide. One individual decided to brighten the atmosphere after these events with a simple but powerful act of kindness. She came in early one morning and taped hearts on every single locker holding the message ‘you are loved.’

Teri was really touched by that story, and decided that she would spend her 36th birthday sharing 36 acts of kindness. It would be the perfect way to celebrate life and honor Jeff Smith, who was also known as ‘Hippy.’

Half the fun was brainstorming ideas and creating a plan for the day. Teri and her friends compiled lists of acts, pooled money to share expenses, and caravanned to spread some love around Colorado.



1. We all wore “FREE HUGS” shirts & hugged strangers throughout the day!


2. Handed out balloons to children at the playground (got a lot of wide eyed smiles!)



3. Taped “Oh my gosh! You look Gorgeous!” signs to women’s restroom mirrors.



4. Left watermelons on the front doorsteps of our neighbors homes.


5. Handed out sack lunches and water to the homeless (got a few tears).



6. Donated a whole lot of stuff to Goodwill!



7. Left multiple bags of popcorn taped to RedBox’s to enjoy with their movie!


8. Left a fat tip to a deserving server.

9. Had lunch at Café 180.



Café 180 is a pay it forward establishment, with a mission to eliminate both hunger and social barriers. The options for payment at this restaurant are: pay whatever you would normally pay for a meal, exchange an hour of work for a meal, or pay a little extra to help out others.

10. Paid for lunch for the next family in need at Café 180.

11. Handed out bottled water to joggers and bikers.


12. Put quarters in parking meters (got a few hugs for this!)



13. Left quarters on a pay phone (Yes, there are still pay phones!)



14. Completed a survey to compliment an employee and establishment.

15. Put grocery carts away.

16. Thanked a vet for their service (with a hug filled with gratitude.)

17. Gave books to an avid little reader.

18. Did laundry for someone handicapped (Jayce, one of the kind team members.)


19. Gave maternity clothes to an expecting mama.

20. Reverse Pick Pocketed someone : Put $5 in an envelope and put in their bag!


21. Paid a tab for someone who volunteered to take a drunk patron home.

22. Helped clean and organize the home of a family member in need.

23. Let someone cut in front of us.

24. Sent a care package to a soldier.

25. Wiped down sinks in public restrooms.

26. Picked up trash along the side of the road.

27. Donated to the Special Olympics in honor of my friend.

28. Left a Thank You gift for our mailman.

29. Held the door open for a group of very slow and grateful older ladies.

30. Stopped along the side of the road to offer help to a car that was pulled over.

31. Enjoyed a long call with my sister in Florida whom I rarely find time to chat with.

32. Donated to the Children’s Hospital.

33. Donated to the Harvest House to help feed the homeless.

34. Complimented strangers.

35. Delivered canned goods to the Senior High Rise Food Bank.

36. Made several meals for a friend in need.


I think these images show how powerful something as simple as kindness can be when someone is in need. There is no doubt that Teri would have had fun if she had instead chosen her usual birthday party, but she chose to do something much more selfless with her day.

“Depression affects 1 in 10 Americans, and the amount of people diagnosed with clinical depression increases each year by twenty percent.”


I believe that we can overcome these statistics, Sugar Ink Design hopes to inspire a movement of kindness and positivity by sharing this adventure with as many people as possible.

“If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”

-Martin Kornfeld


In loving memory of Jeff Smith

Blog Author: April French-Mack


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