Some Winnipeggers are brightening up an otherwise grey day by surprising others with random acts of kindness and asking their recipients to "pay it forward."

Thursday is Pay it Forward Day, which is encouraging a global "ripple of kindness" but encouraging people to do something nice for others, no matter how big or small the gesture.

"It doesn't cost a lot, and you can go up to someone and give them a smile," said Jeanette Wheeler, a volunteer with Pay it Forward Manitoba.

Pay it Forward in Winnipeg

Susie Lansard surprises a Winnipeg commuter with a coupon for free coffee as part of International Pay it Forward Day on Thursday. (Pierre Verriere/CBC)

"You might not think that's a big deal, but for someone that may be the only smile they get the entire day."

On Thursday morning, Wheeler and other volunteers in Winnipeg handed out coupons for free coffee along with Pay it Forward bracelets.

"What we ask people to do is to take that bracelet, do something nice for someone today, pass the bracelet on to them and ask them to do the same for [someone] else," she said.

Some local businesses are also getting into the Pay it Forward spirit: Jensen's Nursery and Garden Centre on McGillivray Boulevard gave away a free flower to each customer that came in during the day.