A Random Act of Kindness

April 20, 2011 | 16 comments

We call her the Pie Fairy. Or maybe she’s a “he.” We’re not sure.

Our Household Skeptic, Lydia, warned me: “Don’t eat it, Mom. It could be, you know, … poisoned.” (Insert spooky movie theme-song here.)

She crossed her eyes and clutched her throat, enacting a death scene.

The witch in Snow White would have never tricked me into eating a poison apple. But pie? I’d have been a goner in a snap. So that explains why I grabbed a fork and a plate. I was willing to risk my life. You know, for the sake of the family.

Plus, my Prince Charming was on standby, in case a resuscitating kiss were in order.

Besides, we heard tell of other survivors. Several of the neighbors — all of them perfectly sane — had eaten their pies and lived to post photographs on Facebook.

Gramma T wrote on her Facebook status: “A car drives up, a woman huddled in her hood rings the doorbell, a strawberry pie is handed to us. … Sat right down and ate a big piece. YUM! God is Good!”

By my count, a couple dozen others have been RAOK’ed.

It’s the The Great Kindness Experiment of 2011, and it’s spreading. Even the local newspaper is hot on the trail of the story. A reporter called here yesterday, asking around.

We don’t know who is behind it, but we know why. This weekend, the Pie Fairy appeared on Facebook, as Matthew Raok. (You can friend him, if you like.) According to his vital statistics, he was born on Dec. 25, 1950, and we can presume his first name was inspired by the verse taped to the pies: Matthew 22:37-39.

I befriended Matthew and asked him, why all the pies?

“I hope that by receiving a pie, a few of the recipients will pay it forward to others,” Matthew wrote. “Everyone has different talents and gifts that they can use — some can bake, some can write words of encouragement, others can visit the sick or lonely, others have financial stability that they can use to bless others, while others can give a ride to someone without a car. It doesn’t matter if you do secretly like I did or do it openly; it’s the thought of going out of your way to help someone else to show Christ’s love that matters.”

Matthew continued: “Showing the love of Christ is something we all can do, in light of what we celebrate this week; I think it’s the least we can do.”

Today, we’ll share the last piece of pie — a slice of delicious grace. We’ll thank God for someone who cared enough to “pay it forward,” poison-free, thank you very much. And we’ll be on the lookout for ways to do the same.

Giving, you know, is contagious.

“If this continues to multiply,” Matthew wrote, “Just think of all the people that would be touched.”

All we know is this: A mysterious elf has been swooping onto front porches of our farming community, leaving strawberry pies at doorsteps and then disappearing faster than you can say “graham-cracker crust.”

My favorite farmer found our pie last Friday, on the seat of the old blue farm pickup.

We had been RAOK’ed. That’s shorthand for: Random Act Of Kindness.

The Pie Fairy taped a laminated bright-yellow note to the pie lid:

“For you, at this exact time, no strings attached, for one reason only … To Show You the Love of Christ.”

We set the pie on the kitchen table and gathered around the sweet specimen, blushing all crimson under the see-through plastic pie-lid. We turned the pie, lifted it up and examined it for fingerprints or hidden clues.

by | April 20, 2011 | 16 comments


  1. Duane Scott

    I loved this, Jennifer.

    And I friended him.

    Because I have been inspired by the message he conveys, and I'm going to do something like this… soon.

    Too bad I don't live closer to you.


  2. Karen Kyle Ericson

    Wow! I'd friend him but I'm not on facebook. That's so very Christlike! I absolutely love it. Now I'm inspired. Thank you very much for sharing this. 🙂 It's simple things like a glass of water like Jesus said 🙂 If you see him give him a hug for me.

  3. Christine

    How lovely. I assume your daughter was joking about the poison, but it's a joke perhaps rooted in the overload of messages that tell us we're in danger. That our neighbors can't be trusted. Perhaps both Matthew and you did more good than you realized in that exchange : )

  4. S. Etole

    What a delicious gesture to share the love of Christ …

  5. Taylor

    I love Random (and secret!) Acts of Kindness! It always makes me feel good to help others, even if they don't know it was me! 😉

  6. Jeanne Damoff

    Just lovely! I agree with his/her conclusions. Just think of all the people who will be touched.

  7. L.L. Barkat

    Aw, why can't I live in pie-land? 🙂

    This was such a fun, sweet (no pun intended) post.

    So glad you did your part for the family. 😉

  8. Megan Willome

    That's it. I'm moving to Iowa!

  9. Missie

    What an awesome idea!

  10. Linda

    What a wonderful thing to do Jennifer. I think the best part is that when you do things for others you are blessed far more than those you bless. I love it that the Father works that way!

  11. Laura

    Oh, just a warm-fuzzy feeling here. I heart Matthew Roak. What a guy. He couldn't have picked a better currency.

  12. Carey

    Love it.

  13. A Simple Country Girl

    We do things like this at church and it is grande to be the giver-in-disguise. Lately, we secretly gave a pink, bejeweled bible to a new teen. You should have seen her face light with the love of the Lord!

    So, did your daughter partake once she saw you survived (or did you eat her piece)?


  14. Cheryl

    There's just something about your community and baking, now, isn't there? A brownie story somewhere in the recesses of your posts? 🙂

    Love that you're willing to take one for the team and the prince is standing by. What a fun story!

  15. bluecottonmemory

    I heard about this earlier today – but not about those delicious pies! I agree – I want to live closer to you:) It is so important to reach out, give kindness is so many ways! So glad you high-lighted this movement – and so happy about your yum pie!

  16. Beth E.

    I enjoy doing little, secret, random acts of kindness. I’ve been “caught in the act” a couple of times, but have gotten away with it most of the time with none the wiser. There’s a certain giddiness one feels when performing secret RAOK’s! 😉

    I love me some strawberry pie…salivating just reading about it!



  1. #TellHisStory: When Jesus Shows Up on Your Doorstep | Jennifer Dukes Lee - […] Pies. Another inspiring tale of kindness! A mysterious elf swooped onto the front porches of our farming community a while…

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