A gift from a stranger tucked into a book sets off a chain of random acts of kindness

(CNN)Ashley Jost and her friends had just made a pledge to read more books. A week later, a self-help book caught her eye while shopping at a Target in Columbia, Missouri. The 27-year-old bought the book, "Girl, Stop Apologizing," and began reading it when she got home. There was a surprise waiting for her inside.

"I was sitting on the couch and the dog started barking at God-knows-what," Jost told CNN. "I tossed the book down to chase after the dog and five dollars fell out on the floor."
She knew the cash wasn't hers because she doesn't carry any, she said. When the college administrator started thumbing through the pages, she found a neon pink Post-it note stuck inside with a handwritten message.

A note from a stranger having a bad day

    The note read: "I was having a tough day. I thought maybe I could brighten someone else's with this little surprise. Go buy a coffee, a donut or a face mask. Practice some self-care today. Remember that you are loved. You are amazing. You are strong. Love, Lisa."
    Jost was deeply moved.
    "Random acts of kindness typically happen to strangers on the internet, not to me."
    Ashley Jost with her grandmother. Jost says the surprise find has inspired her to do one good deed every week.