“Smile!” I shouted, flashing a neon yellow poster at Seattle’s bustling crowd. We were three thousand miles away from home on a Random Acts of Kindness and Volunteerism Road Trip. Our funds were running low, so we had two goals today: 1. Try out our new "Smile!" signs and see how much kindness and joy we could spread in Pike Place Market. 2. Raise a meager $20 a piece by doing street performances. Singing, drawing caricatures, storytelling -- we'd be like real life bards! Since there were four of us, this would total $80, enough for gas to Portland and a small hotel room. We weren't sure how people would react to our signs. It's so easy to walk past a busy crowd, lost in your own world, refusing to make eye-contact with strangers, and feeling alone despite being surrounded by hundreds of people just like you. I nervously raised up our signs and ... Read Full Story >>
For years and years going home for the holidays has been bittersweet. My mom works hard to make me feel loved year around, and the holidays are no exception. She loves to cook and take care of me during my time at home. Of course I’ll never stop cherishing the opportunity to spend quality time with her. But it’s also painful for me because her house is littered with stuff. Clothes bought but never worn, craft projects started with good intentions but never finished, boxes packed years ago but never open, and plenty of new items in their original packaging carelessly purchased and never used. It’s evident how much seeing the stuff on a daily basis reminds my mom of a time when shopping was her coping mechanism for so much loss. It’s something I’ve tried to see but ignore during my time there; the lingering elephant in the room. I didn’t ... Read Full Story >>
On the way to the train station we found a mobile phone on the street; battery out, seemed broken. I decided to pick it up and try to put it together to see if it worked. It did! I chose a number from the contact list and found a woman who luckily knew the owner so I asked her to please let them know I had the phone. She couldn't reach them so I tried with the station guard; he is not allowed to keep these things. After 15 minutes, worried about my train, while thinking what to do, a man called the phone. It was the owner's husband! I explained and he couldn't believe it. He asked if I could please wait for him so I did. He came to the station in 10 minutes and soon after his wife arrived. The look in their faces made it all worth it. ... Read Full Story >>
This past fall, my husband and I stopped into the local Aldi for groceries. While checking out, I did my usual practice of responding to the cashier's usual, "How are you today?" with a short but real answer. Then I looked at her and said, "And how are YOU doing?" and waited kindly and expectantly for an answer. She was a little surprised, but then she got rolling. As it turned out, her elderly grandfather was uppermost in her mind as he had been struggling lately and in hospital. Her worry was palpable, despite her brave, "I know he is ninety one, but..." which trailed off into a sad whisper before she caught herself. "If it won't offend you, I will pray for him," I said. "Oh, thank you!" she replied. Well,a grocery run or two later, several weeks or so in the future, we wound up in her line again. After ... Read Full Story >>
Last night my husband and I were taking a post-dinner stroll in a nearby parking lot, when we saw a man bent over on the ground, crushing something with a rock. He was completely focused on his task and didn't look up at anyone passing by. We kept noticing him as we took rounds of the parking lot and speculated between ourselves what he could be doing. I thought he was crushing stones to make sand, but why would he do that? Finally we decided to go up and speak to him. He was crushing pieces of left over bread that he collects from all his room mates to make feed for the birds that come there early morning. The large pieces of Indian bread would be difficult for the birds to eat so he crushes them into a fine powder. He's been doing this every night, by himself, for the last ... Read Full Story >>
I went up to Peet’s Coffee the other morning and there was a young man, Mike, probably my age. With him he had all his physical belongings on a small roll cart. I first thought, how nice to have so little possessions. That was followed with the thought of how ironic it is that we live in one of the financially wealthiest areas of the U.S., if not the world, yet we can’t, or don’t, take care of the basic needs of human beings. Yes, we are financially wealthy, but we lack in wealth of compassion, kindness, understanding. I tear up as I ponder the inequality and injustice that exists. Anyway, I invited Mike in for bite to eat and he eagerly accepted. He talked about looking up a friend for a place to stay that night. On Christmas Eve as many eagerly (and greedily) stuff their bellies with food in ... Read Full Story >>
I teach at a small school and our families are far from wealthy. It takes a lot of effort from the parents on our School Council to raise funds for extra things for our students. Happily, they are providing each class with a "Scientist in the School".
Scientist Sheryl came in today and brought all sorts of wonderful activities for the children to explore simple machines. It was delightful!
Though the children said thank you I wanted them to show more gratitude. I explained how hard people had worked so that they could have this experience. They each made a card to show their appreciation and what they had learned. We attached little candy kisses (and ate some too!)
Tonight I put them out on the table at our School Council Meeting. The parents were touched and I think the kids are just a little smarter...about being thankful!
On December 15th, 2017, Karen M Carlquist of Bloomingdale, IL peacefully lost her battle to metastatic breast cancer. This 36 year old young woman was incredible in so many ways, but nothing was more incredible to her than what she called her "Fab 5", which was her husband Kenny and her 4 children: Gavin (13), Ryan (12), Karson (4), and Kenzie (2). These 5 people were her entire world and her entire life. Karen herself was so unbelievably selfless, despite a terminal diagnosis 14 months into her cancer battle. She smiled every single day. No joke, every single day. For 16 months, she sent a Snapchat to her ever growing group of followers that showed her smiling, right up until 2 days before she passed. She started a blog almost immediately after getting diagnosed, which I have added for you to look at here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1786016728276565/. This group has over 3,000 followers ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I was going to a doctor's appointment, and I happened to open the door for an older woman as we went inside. She was so lovely; dressed to the nines, nice hair do, makeup and everything and I was taken with her. As we rode up in the elevator together, I told her what I'd been thinking and she beamed such a bright smile it made my heart dance. She said "Thank you young lady! You've made my day!" And I was like, "No ma'am, you made mine." Watching her walking away, I noticed she had a spring in her step, and I felt so great knowing that I was part of her feeling that way. Such a nice gift for both of us. ... Read Full Story >>
In a beautiful example of the cyclical nature of kindness, I received a "donation" to help me continue my month-long journey to enact 92 acts of kindness in memory of my Grandmother. It gets expensive to put together 92 acts of kindness so rapidly -- a $5 gift card here, a bag of candy there, a bouquet of flowers, paying for the person behind you in line, art supplies to make signs. I've been very fortunate that many people have joined me in helping reach my goal by contributing their own acts of kindness. However, a few surprises have rolled in. In this case, a local woman on one of my kindness message boards saw my story on the news and offered to donate her collection of hand-painted kindness rocks, affirmations, signs, notes, and candy containers. I picked the haul up at her house the other day, and now I have so ... Read Full Story >>
My son has been in the hospital again, this time with an emergency admission. From our local health centre he was sent in an ambulance to the pediatric hospital which is just over an hour away from there. In this country most ambulances are driven and manned by bombeiros (firemen) and this was no exception. Whilst one drove, the other was in the back with me and son. He started chatting with my son as soon as he was strapped in, asking him whether he'd prefer English or Portuguese. When my son said either, the bombeiro requested English so that he could practice. Of course, that gave plenty of opportunity for him to draw my son into offering 'tuition' and the pair of them chatted on and off for the full hour. He'd obviously been tasked with keeping our boy awake, and did so so skillfully that our son didn't realise we ... Read Full Story >>
I woke up a little late for work this morning with a bit of a sore neck. I rushed around my house getting ready for my day and reached my work place in a tearing rush. I was grumpy and grouchy and just nodded to people without a smile as I rushed past my colleagues down the corridor of my office, until I met the regular security man near the lift to my office. He gave me a warm smile, noticed me rubbing my neck, and quickly slipped behind me and proceeded to give me the most wonderful massage of my sore neck and shoulders. I was feeling very embarrassed but it felt so good! I just stood there enjoying the massage in spite of the crowd looking at both of us with amusement. Before I could even turn around to say thank you he was busy with some other errand. The ... Read Full Story >>
I was in a shop buying some goodies. The person in front of me fell short by 10 rupees. The cashier asked him to return something. He kept thinking but it seemed he needed to buy all the items. He tried to convince the cashier that he would pay it later, but the cashier was unable to help him. I offered to pay the 10 rupees. He was hesitant to take it from a stranger. I gave him a sweet smile and said, come on, this is how it goes round in the world. He accepted my offer. ... Read Full Story >>
I play my harp at two hospices. One that I play for recently built and opened a magnificent Hospice House. Last Sunday the House enjoyed a community "Light Up a Life" ceremony. People who had lost loved ones could hang a paper ornament with a name on it on a tree and then go outdoors to the gazebo and listen to singers and light a candle. I was honored to play my harp as people gathered indoors and again later as people had refreshments. The best part was when everyone was outside and a resident and his family came into the tree room for a bit. The son asked if I could play polkas and I explained to him that I play in service and am not really an entertainer. His dying father asked if I would play something and I did, for him. He was deeply moved, and thanked me profusely. ... Read Full Story >>
After work one day I decided to take a meal to an elderly lady on my way home. While sitting and visiting with her, she began to tell me it was her birthday. I wished her a happy birthday and asked what she had gotten for her birthday. She told me that she was so happy to say that she had received the best birthday present she could ever get and that was a hot meal. I asked her how old she was and she told me she was 83 years young. I reached in my apron pocket and pulled out all the money I had made in my little restaurant that day and asked her to help me count it. She was happy to do so...she got a real kick out of counting the money. She said she had not seen that much money in a very long time. She ... Read Full Story >>
Hi, everyone! I am doing 92 acts of kindness this month in memory of my Grandma, who passed away a few days before Christmas. It is deeply meaningful for me to see the ripples of kindness and love making a positive impact in the world in her name. It feels like she can still do good in the world even though she is gone, I have read so many of this community's updates and am inspired by how many creative and actively kind, world-changing people are sharing stories. I am writing to request help in reaching my goal of 92 acts of kindness -- one for every year of her life. I am asking for those of you who are willing ... would you please do an act of kindness in my Grandmother's name? It doesn't have to be big. Just a small act of love. And comment to tell me about ... Read Full Story >>
On a recent trip to California, I was introduced to Smile Cards. I promised myself to initiate an act of kindness before I left California. I kept thinking about it but I didn't know how or what to do. I reached the airport and the boarding was about to begin, when something just suddenly clicked. I saw an ice-cream store and I went to the store and told the guy at the store (Jose) that I want to do an act of kindness. He looked confused. I kind of expected that! Then I told him I had just attended a conference, met an incredible and humble human being who inspired me to do an act of kindness, and told me about Smile Cards. Jose was intrigued, and was curious about what I was going to say next. I told Jose, "Whoever is your next customer, treat them to a single scoop of ... Read Full Story >>
At the store today there was a long line. Eventually they opened up another register. The person at the front of the first register had problems paying. The manager who ran second register kept getting up to override the first register. People started to get angry. Eventually everyone realized that the costumer only had enough money to pay for the groceries; not enough to cover tax. Someone behind me started handing dollar bills forward. Soon everyone joined in and helped pay for the difference. I loved it. There truly are kind people everywhere. ... Read Full Story >>
This year has been a busy year of travel for me, and the end of the year is no exception. I booked an early morning flight that had me up at 4:30am to get to the airport. The thought of such an early flight made me groan, but then I starting to think about the chain of people who would make that early journey possible for me: my Lyft driver, check-in agent, security staff, gate agents, flight crew, etc. They all do their jobs at an early hour so I can get to my destination safely, often for low wages. When the trip came, I realized I had a choice: I could be grumpy about having to take an early flight and hold this negativity with me, ultimately putting it on display for everyone to see. It’s so easy to take this choice, the choice most passengers end up taking these ... Read Full Story >>
I work downtown and every morning, when I walk from the SkyTrain Station (our version of a subway) to the office, I usually see people who are sleeping outside, in business doorways and on sidewalks. It is truly heartbreaking to see so many people who are homeless. Most people will just walk by and few will stop to offer a kind word or any help of any kind. When I talk with others about the homeless situation, most people will tell me that most of them are drug addicts or dealing with mental illness. While some of the homeless are suffering from an addiction or mental illness, many may have become homeless due to an illness or sudden job loss. Today, I brought a bag with a toque (warm knit hat), pair of socks, bottle of water and a mini first aid kid with me. I saw someone sleeping outside of the Tim ... Read Full Story >>