A Note Hidden in a Book Inspires Wave of Kindness
"This has shown me the value of checking in with people around me."
It was a week after she and her friends made a pledge to read more when a self-help book caught Ashley Jost's eye at a Target in Columbia, Missouri.
The 27-year-old college administrator bought the book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, and began reading it when she got home. She was one chapter in when she discovered it was holding a secret.
"I was sitting on the couch and the dog started barking at God-knows-what," Jost recalled to CNN. "I tossed the book down to chase after the dog and five dollars fell out on the floor."
Surprised, she began thumbing through the pages. That's when she noticed a bright pink sticky note with a handwritten message.
"I was having a tough day," the note began. "I thought maybe I could brighten someone else's with this little surprise. Go buy a coffee, a donut or a face mask. Practice some self-care today. Remember that you are loved. You are amazing. You are strong. Love, Lisa."
Jost was stunned. "Random acts of kindness typically happen to strangers on the internet, not to me," she told CNN.
A photo of the note Jost shared on Twitter has been liked more than 3,000 times and shared around the world. And not only that, the story has encouraged people to perform their own random acts of kindness—Jost included.
Jost told CNN that once a day for a week, she hid notes and Starbucks gift cards in coffee shops, restaurants, and libraries. She even inspired her stepdad to buy groceries for the person behind him in line at a Walmart.
"He was shocked the person ran out after him and thanked him," said Jost. "It made his whole day."
Jost said that she plans to do at least one kind thing every week going forward. And she's not alone, people continue to reach out to her via Twitter to share stories of their own acts of kindness.
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"This has shown me the value of checking in with people around me and making sure that I take these opportunities to tell them, 'Hey I appreciate you. Don't forget that 'you are loved, you're amazing and you are strong,' as Lisa said. I don't think we can ever do that enough," Jost said.
The media sensation around the note eventually reached the mysterious "Lisa," who sent Jost a card at work.
Again, Lisa preferred to remain anonymous, neglecting to include a return address.
"She said it made her cry in a good way," Jost told CNN. "She wanted to create something positive—she never really expected this to happen the way it has."