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Utah man loses job, devotes time to random acts of kindness (+videos)

Published: Tuesday, April 8 2014 1:58 p.m. MDT

Daniel Smith decided to devote a month to perform random acts of kindness after he lost his job. During his fourth week, he decided to surprise April San Nicolas, a single mother of three who was working as a server, with a $100 tip. San Nicolas embraced Smith after receiving the tip.

Michael Radice, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Daniel Smith lost his job and wanted to do something positive with his time, so he decided to devote a month to helping others.

Now it looks like his random acts of kindness will continue past the one-month mark.

Smith said he has started to receive offers of donations to his cause, and he'll continue his kind acts as long as the donations keep coming.

“I really learned to appreciate the smaller, smallest things out there, and it’s just been an amazing experience altogether,” he said.

Friday, Smith and wife Melissa trekked to Billy Blanco’s Motor City Mexican restaurant in Park City to surprise a single mom working as a server with a $100 tip.

“Single mom with three, just moved up here from Arizona,” Smith said. “Kind of struggling to make ends meet, and I was really glad that we were able to help her.”

April San Nicolas embraced Smith after the tip.

“It’s nice,” San Nicolas glowed. “Nice that people think I’m worthy of a good cause.”

Each week, he has a particular goal for his act of kindness. The tip was the fourth goal for the month for Smith, who is still looking for work.

During week one, he made and delivered care bags to the homeless. Then the next week he picked up the tab for diners at a restaurant drive-through. During week three he handed out gift cards at a Wal-Mart.

“It’s actually got a lot of attention,” Smith said. “I was not expecting even a quarter of what it’s been.”

Smith expected his acts of kindness — captured by his own photographer, in many cases his wife — to be lost in a shuffle of YouTube videos.

He has now captured the attention of people across the country. He recently received a call from Wal-Mart. He received a donation offer from a woman in Massachusetts to continue his charitable giving.

Smith’s story also caught the attention of Steve Gordon, an attorney who was inspired to do what he could to help.

“You never know what you can do for somebody with $20, $50 or $100,” Gordon said.

People can be just as effective in giving of their time and energy, said Gordon, who made a phone call and helped Smith connect with the server.

“The message is don’t think you can’t help somebody else, and it doesn’t always take money,” he said.

Email: aadams@deseretnews.com

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