Sticky note mastermind speaks


Vector collection of post it notes in several colors on the wooden plate for your own text or image

I’ve never done anything this big before, but I actually started leaving these notes over a year ago. I wanted to try to make peoples’ days a little better, so I would make about 30-40 at a time and post them in batches of 15-20 on random peoples’ lockers whenever I had time. Sometimes I’d do it a few times a week, and sometimes almost a month would pass before I could find time to post them.

As people started to notice them more, I was able to observe what they chose to do with the notes. People would move them to friends’ lockers, or move them to strangers’ lockers, or post a whole bunch on one locker, or keep them for themselves on the inside of their own. I took notice of who was using them in positive ways, and I tended to post more in areas around those people. I took note of one person who kept every single note that came his way – probably even the ones that had fallen off lockers – and covered the inside of his locker with them, creating an entire wall of encouragement.

Of course there were people who ripped them up or wrote less-than-pleasant things on them, but the positive responses far outweighed the negative ones.

Personally, I’ve been bullied in the past and I haven’t always had a solid friend group, so I’ve had a lot of pretty tough days. One day after school last year, I saw a girl crying while waiting for her bus, and I was too shy to go and help, but within a few minutes her friend walked over with a coffee for her and stayed and talked with her until one of them had to leave. That had a huge impact on me – a few words of encouragement to someone who really needs them can go a long way. You never know what someone is going through, and if I can put a smile on peoples’ faces even for a little while, it’s worth it.

The reason I want to remain anonymous is because this isn’t about me. This is about you guys. It’s about selflessness, it’s about doing what you can to make people’s lives a little better. It’s about using whatever power you have to create positive change. I don’t want people to focus on who’s behind the act because that would take away from the positive message I’m trying to send. I’m a huge advocate for random acts of kindness, and I firmly believe that if everyone took the time to think about other people a little more, even just in this school, our environment would be a much happier place. You don’t need to post a sticky note on every single locker to have an impact on someone – the small things count, and I promise that even the little stuff, like complimenting someone’s personality or treating them to a coffee, can make a huge difference to them.

I’d been planning this for about a year – I first came up with the idea last winter, and I picked Valentine’s Day because I know a lot of people either have negative experiences with it or just don’t like the holiday, so I wanted to show everyone that even though they might not be having a great day, they are loved and people do care about them, and seeing that message from a stranger has a totally different effect than hearing it from a friend. For example, someone typed out a small anonymous note thanking me for the notes and left it on my locker, which threw me off guard, but it felt so good to know that someone took the time to show me how it feels to be on the receiving end of a small anonymous act of kindness.

Now for the part I know everyone has been wondering about. To answer the question I’ve heard everyone asking: yes, I wrote every single note by hand. There are 1,321 lockers in total, so I made around 1,400 to be safe. I used sticky notes I bought in bulk, and I went through about three Sharpies. I started writing them little by little in late December, but I ended up writing about 1,000 in total in the two nights before Valentine’s Day. I could get through a stack of 100 in a little under an hour, so it took about 13 hours to write all 1,400 sticky notes. It took about two hours total to post sticky notes on every single locker in the school, but I had some help. If I were to post them all alone, it would have easily taken another hour.

As for how I managed to get them all up without a single person noticing, that’s staying a secret. It wasn’t easy, but if I reveal my methods now, it might ruin the big plans I have for the rest of the year.