WHILE I enjoy reading stories of celebrity acts of kindness, it always strikes me how easy it must be to be decent when your bank balance is healthy and you can provide joy from your mere presence alone.

A recent New York Times profile of Tom Hanks was delightful in its affirmation of what an all-round top egg Mr Hanks is.

It's not Hollywood rumour - Tom is the real deal, a true mensch. A stand out rarity, apparently, in the industry.

It says much about humanity that once a level of fame and wealth is achieve, we automatically assume those famous and wealthy will be a bit of an arse.

But it must be so easy to be Tom Hanks and to be decent.

One of the tales of his decency is that he bought a load of boxes of Girl Scout cookies then offered passers-by selfies as an inducement to buy more.

Imagine that sharing your face was an act of kindness. That just existing in the world in a pleasant way was enough to generate joy.

When George Michael died, stories spilled out revealing his generous and spontaneous acts of kindness. He would keep aside tickets to his concerts for NHS staff, assuming they were fans, and gave a special free concert for nurses as a thank you to the care given to his mother, who had cancer.

George Michael described his mother as a "woman of great compassion" who "felt much as I do, that we were living in a world that was gradually being drained of that."

Who sets the example of compassion in a secular world? The inducement to love one's neighbour might as well come from celebrities as from the church.

But having kindness as part of the notion that famous people are role models sets the bar fairly high - who can compete with Stormzy paying for a student's Harvard tuition fees or Taylor Swift giving $50,000 to an 11-year-old's leukaemia treatment?

No need for celebrities here as the Scottish Government is stepping into the breach to set the example of kindness.

For St Andrew's Day this year, Scots are urged to carry out an act of goodwill to make the national day "more special than ever before" as part of the One Kind Act campaign.

Given St Andrew's Day is hardly Christmas, this shouldn't be a task too arduous.

In Glasgow, for one, a message board covered in post-it notes suggesting good deeds will sit outside Buchanan Street subway station.

Passers-by are urged to take one of the notes and carry out the task written on it.

There is, of course, a hashtag because how else would people be encouraged to take part than with the reward of social media praise.

Kindness should be a discreet thing, not done to boast about online but done because it is a humane bond between strangers that makes life better.

The success or failure of government outlay must be measured, however, but perhaps a better way to do it would be to have those on the receiving end of kindnesses tweet about how the deed made them feel.

There's a covert selfishness to posting your own act of kindness online. Do it because it's the right thing to do, rather than for the hashtag, surely?

Or do it for the physical benefits. When people receive an act of kindness it prompts the brain to release a skoosh of dopamine. I believe skoosh is the technical word.

Apparently when the act of kindness is random it dramatically increases the feelings of pleasure, the randomness of the act making it more rewarding.

When the news cycle is so relentlessly grim it's easy to agree with George Michael's mother, but I see compassion everywhere, every day, and it does make such a difference.

The ScotRail staff member who let me on the platform without a ticket as my mum needed help getting the train; the chap who allowed me to board the bus first because he could see I was cold and tired.

The campaign's suggested acts of kindness are striking: speak to an elderly neighbour, hold the door open for someone, let another person skip in front of you in the queue.

When is one kind act really just an act of basic courtesy?

That's what is interesting about random acts of kindness campaigns - it's not buying coffee for a stranger or anything elaborate. These are treats designed to make ourselves feel good, not kindnesses.

Kindness is the deeds that show people care about others around them, that we are not alone, that we are seen.

These should be so plain as to not merit a hashtag, not random but standard.