There once was a water bearer who every day to earn a living carried water from the distant river into the town where he lived. To do so, he owned two ceramic pots, which he hung at both ends of a pole he balanced over his shoulders . While one of the pots was bright red, smooth and perfectly waterproof, the other was old, discolored and a bit cracked, in fact it dripped water on the way. Each day the pot became a little more porous, and dripped a little more, till came a time it was only able to retain half of its content by the time they'd reach the town. This caused the pot great shame, and so finally, unable to contain its embarrassment, the pot addressed the water bearer: "Master, please break me! throw me! dispose of me! I can't stand this misery any longer, I'm unable to ... Read Full Story >>
This last week we had half term holidays and my niece stayed with us for the week because my nephew ( her brother) was going to have a delicate spine surgery and it was easy for the parents to concentrate on looking after him. My daughter, my neice, and I went out for some last minute shopping and while I was on the line waiting to pay the girls asked if they could wait for me at the door. Some minutes later they return to ask if they could give the sweets they had just bought to a man in the street, so there they go and give their sweets away, another 2 minutes and they return to ask me if there was anything else they could give the man, I told them that I only had the 3 ginger bread men they had bought for dessert, so they took the biscuits to ... Read Full Story >>
It's rare when an act of kindness comes up to you :) I was in a parking lot when a tall, sincere, bespectacled man approached me asking for help with directions. He had a printout of google maps directions from the airport to a hotel on the main street, but just couldn't find his hotel. He clearly didn't have a phone, so after validating his written directions, I mapped it on my phone and showed him exactly where he needed to go. He mentioned that he had tried going there, but there was no such street number and he just couldn't locate his hotel. I confirmed it again for him, he thanked me with a big smile, shook my hand, and took off. I got into my car and he got into his, and we parted ways. As I drove to the next grocery store and went in, something wasn't sitting right about ... Read Full Story >>
When I went to get my morning sandwich and kombucha at Whole Foods, there was a sign asking for water donations for the homeless here in the desert. So I bought a 35 pack and donated it. Also went through my scarves last night so that I can donate my wigs and scarves to the local cancer center.
The school bus was in the wrong lane at the busiest time of day. The driver needed to get into my lane so she could get off at the right ramp.
I was glad I was in front of the bus waiting for the light and could let the her in. That section of the highway is three-lane craziness with cars darting left and right and nobody seems to want to be courteous.
I'm glad I could do something about that!
What Nelson Mandela Taught Me About Empathy Years ago, in 2007, I visited Sierra Leone to work with an organization, iEARN, which was using technology to help youth recover from the gruesome war which had left millions of lives destroyed. As I listened to stories, and then some more, as part of a project that we were doing to record peoples’ lives, I became emotionally distraught and confused, and angry at the perpetrators at the same time. However, there was an interesting demographic of people that I had mixed feelings towards, even compassion – child soldiers. Those youth who were brainwashed or forced into killing their brethren - their parents, grandparents, siblings – and becoming drugged and desensitized during the process. I wondered to myself, what was the reason for wars, in general, and how do people heal from such trauma? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was ongoing to help bring forgiveness, ... Read Full Story >>
As I was coming home from a trip to a neighboring region I stopped to buy something for my kids.
That's when I saw a very old man buying something from a girl of about ten. I went over and saw she was selling wrapped cassava-based foofoo (a kind of carbohydrate food popular among the Yoruba and Igbo people of Nigeria.) The old man explained what it was before the girl had a chance. I was thrilled!
As I was standing up after selecting my foofoo I saw the old man trying to untie the handkerchief he had his money in. I quickly told him that he should just go, and I would pay for his food.
He prayed for me as if it was more than than a simple purchase. I felt elated and I was glad I had done it - a lesson learned from KindSpring!
Over a month ago my boyfriend was brutally beaten by six people in a hate crime.
While his physical injuries are healing, his spirit is taking much longer.
A couple of nights ago he raided our "piggy bank" for the $30 or so that was in it. Then he went to the grocery store and bought an armload of mixed bouquets of flowers. Then went to a rougher neighborhood in the city.
There, he walked up and down the street slipping a flower into the door handle of each car he passed.
Everyone came out the next day to find a little generosity and beauty brought into their life by a stranger.
He told me he did this because he was having a particularly hard day with regards to the beating, and he knew that doing something beautiful would help him heal!
I tucked a heart-felt note into my daughter's sleeping bag as she was heading off to be a camp helper for a week.
She later unrolled her bag, found the note, and loved it!
Years back I used to write sweet messages on the kids bananas when I was packing their lunches for school!
Yesterday I sent an e-mail to a person I barely know (a colleague in an on-line course) with some encouraging words.
I knew that today was his first day in a new job. I also knew he was scared because on his last day of work, more than a year before, he had a heart attack! This despite being only in his forties!
He e-mailed me back today, saying my words had been the right thing at the right time.
So, not such a random act of kindness - but it still made my day!
The strangest thing happened!
Yesterday, I saw an ad for the perfect car for me. It's very strange that this would happen now, just after I wrote about still being able to help others without having much myself, and not having a car.
I went to this website and there it was. It was much nicer than I expected and at a price I can more than afford.
When I got home, my Smile cards were in the mailbox along with a letter from McDonalds with two free desert coupons! The letter said that they appreciated me taking the time to report some good work done by one of their employees. They said they rarely receive complimentary calls.
I am writing this because it is obvious to me that I am being blessed! I feel that God is blessing me because I have committed to blessing others. I see it as confirmation that I am supposed to continue in this journey of small acts of kindness. I have to say that even when no one else sees, you are still more than blessed by the sincere effort to bring kindness into your community.
Oh, and by the way, those desert cards are going out to others!
I had a busy "to do" list today and was about to get started when my sister called. I talked with her for a short time and could hear my seven year old niece in the background, full of energy as always, and getting told off for something. I asked to speak with her, both because I love talking to her and because I was hoping I could help divert some of her energy in a more positive direction and give my sister a break. I listened and talked with her on the phone, giving her as much time as she needed to share her thoughts and express herself. The conversation went on for quite a while as I was updated on all the latest, important happenings in her life. In exchange for my time she gifted me with her adorable stories and sense of humor. She says the cutest things that always ... Read Full Story >>
Going into Walmart I noticed a homeless man sitting on the bench outside. At first I walked past him but then I turned around, reached into my purse and gave him a $10.00 gift card for McDonalds.
The smile on his face and his gratitude stayed with me the rest of the day.
So, I bought several more McDonalds gift cards to hand out to those in need.
When you do an act of human kindness, you walk a step in someone else's shoes. This can change your life. It changed mine. I was in an awful job, 18hr days, getting reamed out by my boss. My new husband lived in another city and I saw him 1x a month, and even then we just had terrible, horrible fights. I was underweight, my hair thinning, I had eczema. But quitting was failure, simple as that. One day I was late for work and grabbed a taxi. I was on my computer when I noticed the driver. He was middle-aged Asian man wearing a nice golf polo and simply put, did not look like other cab drivers I'd seen in the city. I asked him where he was from. Korea, he's been here 25 years. I asked him how long he'd been driving a cab. A month. He said the reason he started driving was for money. His daughter ... Read Full Story >>
One of the few freight networks that still makes the rounds on Mexico's rugged countryside. Immigrants from Central and South America board the trains in an attempt to reach Mexico's northern border quickly. The trail is dangerous: the travelers face mutilation and death from falling off the train. Criminal gangs stalk the southernmost lengths of the network, stopping the trains in their tracks. The travelers are lucky if they are left alive. The few women that board the trains' roofs are raped and kidnapped. On the central and northern lengths of the trail, narcos are always prowling, ready to scare the travelers into surrendering their belongings. Some of them are forcibly recruited into the narcos' ranks as slave footsoldiers. Some are killed in cold blood, their bodies ditched into mass graves. They are chased by inmigration officers and federal police, who have been known to commit shameless acts of human rights ... Read Full Story >>
My favorite kindness sidekick, my 7 year old daughter Rachel, was a teacher of kindness today. I wanted to share her beautiful kindness story with all of you. We were invited to her school today by her principal for a special ceremony. Her school has a program called Character Counts which has 6 pillars (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship). Once a month they recognize one student in the school who exemplifies the character of a particular pillar. Today the focus was on the Caring pillar, which represents being kind, compassionate, showing you care, expressing gratitude, forgiving others and helping people in need. Well, as you may have guessed, Rachel was the honoree! The principal called her up to the front and read many wonderfully kind things that Rachel does and what a positive role model she is. Her teacher then followed with many specific examples of Rachel’s kindness and how ... Read Full Story >>
Around lunchtime today my son and I were walking in our community's busy "downtown" area. We passed by a homeless man sitting on the street and since I had no cash on me, all we could give him was a smile and a good wish. As we walked on my son asked me didn't I have any money to give him--I said I don't have cash, but why don't we ask him if he would like something to eat. On our way back on that street after doing our errand we saw the same man and asked him if he would like us to get him some lunch. His face brightened up and when I asked what he would like, he just said "anything is fine". So then my son pointed to a rather fancy looking "parisian cafe" type of place across the street and we decided to go in there. ... Read Full Story >>
How are we shifting our consciousness to recognize that we all are one big human family? A few years ago a young bilingual yoga instructor from Oakland was biking and had to stop in an intersection to wait for the green light. At that same intersection, there were three male youngsters, who mugged her by asking for her wallet. "Sure" she replied as she gently made eye contact, calmly took her wallet and handed it to them. Last week, the same young bilingual yoga instructor --now being a mother of a 6 year old-- had to stop in the same intersection. Again three men in their teens where waiting for her. She made eye contact and this time, however, there was a different surprise waiting for her. One of the teens had a flower. He looked at her and said: "you are beautiful and look so happy, please take it!" and handed the ... Read Full Story >>
She was in her late 70s when I met her and no longer physically fit. She was hard of hearing, very opinionated, and spoke broken English very loudly. Plus, she was seldom interested in listening. Instead, she talked almost non-stop. She had very few friends and had no family anymore, except for a son she last heard from in 1986. Somehow the winds of fate blew her into my life. I was a young bachelor at the time and, once a year, I used to go to the coast for a holiday. My 10 hour journey passed near the little country town where she lived all by herself. Whenever I felt sorry for her I would pick her up – along with her mountains of luggage – take her to the coast for ten days or so, and then bring her home again. And every year I promised myself that would be ... Read Full Story >>
Last year, I kept having this nagging feeling I was living just for the "me, me, me.” With this in mind, I decided to volunteer to break out of this me-centricity. After reaching out to a number of organizations, I got a call back from a dance studio in New Jersey. On my first day volunteering, a remarkable young girl caught my eye. That girl could dance! Aside from her natural skill, which was a delight to witness, she simply lit up the room. She was African American, ten years old and she wore the more endearing big-rimmed glasses. At the end of class, I had to ask her, “How long have you been taking lessons?” She replied shyly, "I wish... I have never taken a class.” I was speechless. Her teacher told me she lived in a group home, and then and there I knew what I felt called to do. ... Read Full Story >>