29 April 2010

MISSION: International Pay It Forward Day

It's International Pay It Forward Day! This is like Christmas for Secret Agent L. :) Maybe you've seen the movie with Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment? It's all about completing three acts of kindness and having the recipients of that kindness each go out and spread three acts of kindness, and so on and so forth, thereby multiplying the acts of kindness in the world. A brilliant idea, no? Secret Agent L couldn't not participate, so here's one of the little acts of kindness she did.

Some of you may know that Secret Agent L works in the eductation field. And right now, it's Finals Week for a lot of students all over the country. Secret Agent L thought she'd pair her secret agent-y mission abilities with the Pay It Forward campaign. Thus:

1. She purchased a Good Luck card:

2. She wrote a little note inside:

3. She included the Pay It Forward card:

(...marked with her good deed)
4. And plans on leaving it at the library on her way out of the office today.

What did you do for International Pay It Foward Day? Do tell!

MISSION: Big Mission. Help Needed.

A couple of days ago, Secret Agent L got an email from one of her trusty Affiliated Agents. And in that email, he made the following request:

"Secret Agent L, I have a big mission planned in Pittsburgh, so big I can't do it by myself. Would you mind putting a feeler out to see if there's anyone in Pittsburgh who would mind helping me out? They wouldn't need to buy anything, just show up and be willing to covertly spread cheer."

Now, I know a little bit about this mission: when it is, where it will be, etc. But I don't think I'm allowed to divulge that information yet. I do know that it wouldn't take long at all--less than an hour. So, with that being said...

If you're in Pittsburgh and are interested in participating in a big mission of kindness, please leave a comment on this post. Or email me. More details will follow in the coming days, and, if you're interested, you'll be notified.

This could be AMAZING.

Secret Agent L

11 April 2010

MISSION: Harris Grill

One of the advantages to being in a relationship with Secret Agent Boyfriend is that he sometimes takes Secret Agent L out to eat to some great little places around Pittsburgh. One of his favorite spots is The Harris Grill in Shadyside. The food is amazing, the menu is hilarious, and the servers are totally cool. He suggested to Secret Agent L last night that they go there for dinner. She was happy to oblige.

Date: Saturday, 10 April 2010

Location: Harris Grill, Shadyside, Pittsburgh

Time: 7:31 p.m.

These cards from Quotable Cards are some of Secret Agent L's favorite gifts to leave during missions. She has to confess, however, that the card below may or may not be the actual card she left at the Harris Grill. She'd had several cards wrapped up and ready for missions, but she neglected to document each one. So, for the sake of argument, we'll just pretend that the card below is the actual one left at the Harris Grill.

Since Secret Agent L knows that each of her Quotable Cards contained some cold, hard cash, maybe the recipient used it for the tip! (Or saved it to use later on a cup of coffee or tea.)

The Harris Grill is a very, very popular spot in Shadyside. College students from the area's universities make it a regular hang-out, and young families bring their broods there for the famous tiny hamburgers. Plus, Tuesday is Bacon Night. (See back of t-shirt on man in photo below.)

Located on Ellsworth Avenue and a half-block up from Maryland Avenue, its central location makes the Harris Grill a popular (and delicious) destination.

After ordering, Secret Agent L noticed a secret drawer in her table:

Apparently, she wasn't the first (or the most sober) to notice it:

But she left her mark anyway:

The Harris Grill's drink menu, known as the Grill Swill, was the perfect place to leave the gift.

After all, it states that patrons will "leave happy." Secret Agent L agrees.

After Secret Agent Boyfriend and Secret Agent L finished their delicious meals, it was time for The Act of Sneaky-ness.

You can see part of the card sticking out from the bottom of the drink menu, but Secret Agent L is convinced that the finder of the treat will be completely surprised...and will definitely leave happy.

MISSION: Coffee for me, Treats for you

Number 2 loves her coffee. She cannot get through the morning without it. She also can't get through most afternoons without it. One afternoon last week, while doing errands and shopping in Shadyside, Number 2 stopped in at Coffee Tree Roasters for some wifi, reading, writing, coffee, and most importantly, mission dropping. 

DATE: Friday, April 9, 2010

TIME: 1pm

LOCATION: Walnut Street, Shadyside, Pittsburgh

Number 2 had a big week and wanted to make this a big mission to celebrate. Loaded down with kindness cards, heart-shaped notes with handwritten messages, and tons of other gifts for child and adult alike, Number 2 hit Walnut Street.  

Some of the goodies were left along the walk from car to store - left on windshields, hung on trees, and strategically placed where recipient could enjoy them.

Her first stop inside the coffee shop, the ladies' restroom.  This lovely bodywash was left behind with a kind message for the finder. Who doesn't love to relax!

This coffee shop always seems to have a great number of children, so it was important to leave something any young one would love. A small puzzle, some crayons, and a toy horse were placed in the shop, at various locations. This shop is big! 

Unfortunately, because there is always such a crowd, final pictures of the items left behind were not taken (except the body wash). Namely because Number 2 is very shy but also because there were half a dozen little gifts left in this one location alone. Now is not the time to blow our cover!

Hmmm, looks like Shadyside gets a lot of SAL attention. Wonder if you might find SAL or an affiliated agent wandering about sometime again soon?!?

09 April 2010

MISSION: Easter Treats

Some of Secret Agent L's happiest memories come from celebrating Easter as a child. Her father, who is just as much of a goof as she is, used to cut out giant bunny foot prints from construction paper and leave the prints all over the house--hundreds of them--to convince her and her older brother that the Easter Bunny had, in fact, visited. Her parents used to put one tiny Easter basket on Secret Agent L's nightstand and another larger one on the kitchen table--both lovely treats to wake up to on a bright Easter morning.

While Secret Agent L couldn't leave her "paw prints" all over Pittsburgh, she decided instead to leave a couple little baskets for some city dwellers to stumble upon.

Date: Sunday, 4 April 2010

Location: Oakland and Shadyside neighborhoods, Pittsburgh

Time: 9:32 a.m. and 11:37 a.m. respectively

Easter Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day here in Pittsburgh. The sun was shining, the air was warm (but not hot), and there was a light breeze. It was the perfect day to celebrate such a holy occasion.

Secret Agent L got up early and went to Mass, but beforehand, she made sure to drop a little bit of kindness near her church. On the corner of Fifth and Bellefield Avenues, there's a bus stop shelter, complete with little bench. What a perfect location to leave a little Easter treat!

Luckily, Secret Agent L didn't encounter any passersby as she walked up to and stopped at the little pavilion.

But! Her luck didn't last long, as cars began pulling up at the stoplight located right next to the pavillion. Rather than scramble, she simply continued to place her gift of kindness on the bench and take a picture of it. For all those people knew, Secret Agent L could've been "waiting for a bus" that would take her to see "her little niece or nephew" to whom she would give the delightful basket of candy she was photographing.

Yes, Secret Agent L is very imaginative.

Because of the people at the stop light, though, Secret Agent L couldn't get a photograph of the basket sitting on the bench in the pavilion. Instead, she simply stayed there until the traffic left and then walked down the street to her church for Mass.

When she got out of Mass, though, she walked by the pavilion to see if anyone had taken her gift. To her delight, someone had! So she went to her car and snapped a final photo of the bus stop shelter before driving home to continue the celebrations of the day.

And who doesn't like jellybeans at Easter?

Secret Agent L's next mission that day had to be a quick one. She made a stop at her local grocery store, the Giant Eagle Market District in Shadyside (a lovely, lovely store, by the way) to pick up a few treats (yes, one of which was a donut), and she thought it'd be a perfect opportunity to leave her other little basket.

She pulled into the parking garage and made sure to be close to a cart return. She glanced around and saw very few people, so she quickly put the gift in the seat of the cart.

She was only able to snap two quick photos, however, because a car came into the garage right next to her very quickly, so she had to stop or she would have been discovered.

All in all, a very lovely Easter, filled with gifts of all kinds.

08 April 2010


I have a hero. I mean, like, really. This person helped inspire me to be more kind and, in turn, to make the Secret Agent L project what it is today. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up. She's the epitome of nice (or, rather, NICE) and has inspired an entire nation to always put kindness first on the priority list. She's got a gazillion followers on Twitter and a gazillion more loyal readers of her site.

This person?

Melissa from Operation NICE.

So why am I writing about her today? Well, I'm asking you all, my wonderful and devoted readers and fans, to please--PLEASE--make Melissa a priority every single day until April 30.

Every day? you ask? Like, isn't that a bit much?

Actually, it's quite simple. All you need to do is vote for her. Once a day. Easy peasy.

Melissa has entered Pepsi's Refresh Project, which gives out $1,300,000 every month (I know!!) to fund great ideas. And who doesn't think that NICE is a great idea?! I mean, c'mon! The voting is super easy. All you have to do is go to this site, register, and then click "Vote for this idea." Once you register, you just re-visit the site each day and click to help Melissa get closer to her dream of making Operation NICE even more amazing than it already is.

And it's pretty amazing, my friends. Just like Melissa.

SO! YOUR MISSION! (Which I'm sure you'll choose to accept!)

Vote for Melissa, once a day, every day, until April 30 when the voting closes. Set reminders on your cell phone. Put Post-Its all over your house. Write it on your forehead. (Yes, I'm serious.) She NEEDS to be in the top 10 to win. And we want her to win, don't we? Also, see the widget below? You can get the code for it here and and put it on YOUR blog, which will, in turn, get Melissa even MORE votes.

We can do this, people. We are, in fact, that awesome. Thank you!!!

Secret Agent L

07 April 2010

MISSION: Bellefield Towers Intensive Outpatient Program

Today's mission holds a special place in Secret Agent L's heart. As a person who has volunteered to bring awareness to and erase the stigma associated with mental health issues, Secret Agent L applauds her newest Affiliated Agent for her extremely kind and thoughtful mission she completed today for the women of the Adult Intensive Outpatient Program run by the University of Pittsburgh's Behavioral Health Program.

Affiliated Agent Z, it's an honor to have you on the team.

Location: Bellefield Towers, Intensive Outpatient Program Meeting Room

Date: Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Time: 7:30 a.m.

Affiliated Agent states:

As you know, there are many people who receive treatment at Bellefield. Adults, teenagers, and the elderly. My specific target was the Adult IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) Morning group.

I assembled small gift bags for each group member (about 12), plus two special gifts for the therapists.

Each gift bag contained:
- A notepad and pen
- fruit scented bubbles (because who doesn't like bubbles?)
- aromatherapy candle
- chocolate bar that says "thinking of you"
- some chocolate eggs
- a card with a special message
- the secret agent L business card

As you may see, the chocolate was in a ziploc bag until the very end. That's because it started to melt in the gift bags! When I noticed this, I quickly transported it to the freezer overnight before the mission. I never thought I would have to do that in the early days of April! Crazy Pittsburgh weather.

At any rate...

The cards read:

Dear lovely lady in Bellefield Towers, Hello! As a former member of morning group, I know how far away happiness may seem. Stick with it! EVERY woman matters, especially you! I hope this small gift brings a smile to your face.

-Affiliated Agent Z

I snuck in super early, around 7:30am. I know that the groups don't start until at least 9am. I placed a gift bag and card on each chair, and then left a note on the white board.

(a thoughtful gesture for a patient who Affiliated Agent Z knows can't have sugar: a box of sugar-free treats)

Mission Accomplished. Not the grandest or most creative of missions of course, but if even one of those women has a better day for even one moment, then I have accomplished my task. Bazinga! (Best. Word. Ever.)

There's no doubt, Affiliated Agent M, that you touched the heart of more than one woman in that room this morning. Bless you, sweet soul. Bless you.

And well done!

04 April 2010

MISSION: Frick Park Shenanigans

I'll tell ya what: this has been a very busy weekend of kindness! My Affiliated Agents, along with myself, have done a bunch of missions! But this one from Affiliated Agent M really stands out, so I thought I'd post it first:

Date: Saturday, 3 April 2010

Location: Frick Park, Pittsburgh

Time: Not Specified

Affiliated Agent M describes his mission:

Smiles. That's what this is all about. I got to see a recipient of today's mission discover their tiny trove of terrific, timely treasure, and mere words cannot convey the joy streaming from them.

But allow me to try.

I had purchased bubbles on sale some time ago, thinking they'd be perfect for a mission in the future. Seeing how beautiful the weather was for early spring, and figuring not only would people be out and about because of the 80 degree weather (27 Celsius for Secret Agent L's metric friends) but because of the Easter weekend, with family in town and what not, Saturday seemed a perfect day for a mission in the park.

Frick Park, in particular.

The bubbles became part of a 'Spring Park Enjoyment Kit', which contained a bottle of bubbles (for kids of all ages), a pen and notebook, and a deck of cards. And inside each kit was a card that read:

A spring day full of cheer and sun
A random gift to make you smile
The goodies held within this bag

Will take your day the extra mile

A deck of cards for games with friends

Some bubbles for kids both young and old

A pen and notebook to jot your thoughts

Hope these gifts turned your day to gold

-Affiliated Agent M

Sure, it was a bit windy today for cards outside on one of the many picnic tables and what not in the park, but it was a flip of the coin.

Bags hidden safely away in my backpack, I made my way to the park. The idea was to walk along a trail, dropping the bags when a given location spoke to me. They were, in order:

-On a bench over looking the creek, or stream--whatever you want to call it:

-Among a bed of flowers starting to poke up:

-On a sign for the Firelane Trail:

-Perched on a tree near one of the higher points of the park:

After placing the last one, I continued on my way down the trail, but I was starting to get a bit exhausted and dehydrated. Not knowing how much longer the trail went before it looped around, I decided simply to turn around.

It didn't dawn on me that I'd passing the scene of my locations until right when I came upon the bag I had perched in the tree. Except that it was no longer in the tree, it was on the ground, and a young couple were bent over an open blue card, reading it.


Affiliated Agent M did his best to act nonchalant as he walked by, but let me tell you, it was hard. I so wanted to exclaim, "I know, is that cool? I do it all the time! I hope you enjoy it!" but I just walked by, giving the couple the non-committal nod I'd given others passing by on the trail.

But over hearing just a few things, "This is so neat" and "Wow", and seeing the shocked smile as they read the card before I could look away and act natural...it had to be the Platonic ideal of merriment.

Feeling happy that 25% of the mission was a success, so that 100% of the mission was a success, I came around the sign where I had hung the third package, just as a bunch of joggers were turning up the path. Right as I passed it, I saw one of the joggers break from the pack, reach down, and examine the bright red bag. I dared not look back as I moved on.

Package 2 was as yet undisturbed as I passed it. Well, you can't win all of them.

The path that would have taken me back past the bench with package 1 and the origin parking plot meanders parallel to a creek, as mentioned above. Taking in the sight of a lovely spring afternoon I noticed a couple sitting on one of the benches with a certain red bag. A bench that was not where package 1 had been left. (That bench had a small family sitting on it, with dad and a toddler playing in said creek. There was no visual on the package when I went past.)

All in all, a really good mission.

Yes, Affiliated Agent M. Yes it was.