I love to do nice things for people, but mostly when it can be completely anonymous. I love those charity Christmas trees where you get to adopt a needy person and buy a gift. One year our school adopted a whole family and I got to buy for Mom. That was really fun, because I knew Mom and Dad had probably been going without for a long time to provide for their kids and I liked the idea that they would each get a Christmas surprise, too.
Sometimes it's not possible to be COMPLETELY anonymous, though. Sis and I gave a gift in person (no other way to give it) so the recipient knew who the gift was from. But, we didn't give names or addresses or anything, so there was no obligation to respond. The gift was very much appreciated and it was fun to enjoy the reaction, then flee and let the person just bask all day in the fun of it.
It's not possible to be completely anonymous in email, either. If you send "strokes" in email, there's always your email address there. And anonymous emails, especially if they're complimentary, can be kind of creepy. So, if I want to send a complimentary email, I always put my name and location. I don't want the recipient to feel an obligation to respond so always try to write in such a way that no response is necessary (no questions, no open-ended statements).
Which is why I was so shocked, thrilled and gratified at the happy surprise I found in my emailbox yesterday. Last August I had the opportunity to hear a performer that was new to me. I was very moved and inspired by his music. He was mobbed after his performance, so I emailed him later to tell him what his music did for me. I didn't expect to get a response and didn't. That was OK. But yesterday, there was an email with his name on it in my box. The subject line led me to conclude it was probably a mass mailer announcing a new album. I smiled and clicked on the email, ready to order! To my delight, it was a personal email. What delighted me the most was that the performer said he has kept my email in his inbox all this time (since August) to that he could read it from time to time.
I'm so happy that I was able to encourage him. Certainly his music encouraged me.