In my family, instead of Thanksgiving turkey, we pull out of the all-holiday ham. We will continue pulling it out for leftovers for the next week, starting today: RAK Friday.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think it was called Black Friday? Nah, that’s so 1990s. You know, when people loved standing in line overnight to get the new superfly boombox with detachable speakers? Or pulling a total stranger’s hair to get her out of the way when she was reaching for the last Cabbage Patch doll? Okay, maybe that all happened in the ’80s, but you get my point.

Thank goodness we’ve evolved.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation explains the theory behind this growing movement on their website.

“Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Friday is a grassroots effort to create an alternative and kind start to the holiday season. Since Black Friday is not going away anytime soon, #RAKFriday makes the best out of the situation and uses the captive audience to spread as much kindness as possible.

Science proves that when one person commits a random act of kindness for another, it not only positively affects both the giver and the receiver, but it also impacts the bystander who witnesses the act of kindness. Think of all the potential bystanders one act of kindness would have during Black Friday shopping. A lot. And lots of bystanders = potential to create a HUGE positive impact.”

Imagine buying a $5 gift card to go with the early morning coffee you grab at the drive-thru. You put it in an envelope (the gift card, not the coffee) with a little note wishing the recipient a Happy RAK Friday and inviting them to treat themselves to a treat after their shopping.

Then you find that lady in the toy aisle who is looking forlorn because the last of the Tickle Me Elmos has been cleared from the shelves. You hand her the card with a big smile and go about your day.

Her perspective changes, you feel delighted to brighten someone’s outlook, and the 40 people standing nearby feel warm and fuzzy because they witnessed the interaction.

Or maybe you do what my father-in-law does and stock your wallet with band-aids. Then when he sees a child looking in need of a little special attention, he pulls one out. (Usually, it’s one of my children who needs the band-aid, but that’s another story.)

Or maybe you will commit to opening the door for people and smiling at them.

The feel-good chemicals will be flowing freely, even if the checkout lane traffic isn’t.

We can make this happen. We can decide what our holiday season will look like. And we can start today, turning Black Friday into RAK Friday.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at