Wednesday morning, September 11, the first day of the 21-Day Challenge: I said "good morning" and smiled at every person I saw. Out of dozens of people I passed on my morning run, one lady walking her dog, smiled back. Another person, stationary, to whom I said "good morning", smiled and returned my greeting.
Even with such modest returns, it felt good to start my day offering good cheer and reminding myself and others that we're all connected.
I sent my "Adopt a Soldier" a letter today because it is 9/11. I just sent him a Thank You card for all he does, including fighting for my freedom. I also put 12 more Thank You notes in the envelope, for him to hand out to any soldiers who could use a smile, or a piece of mail.
One day I worked a difficult 8 our shift behind the customer service counter at a high-end retailer. I had decided to make a conscious effort to improve the day of everyone I engaged with. Putting all my problems aside and focusing on spreading joy really alleviated my stress and worry. Having numerous people tell me they really appreciated me felt good. One of my bosses told me it's always good to have my energy around.: ) Consciousness and kindness really do pay off.
I finished my community service requirement last year by working in the school library.
All the librarians are women over 65 and most have trouble shelving books on the upper shelves. So, I decided to work for another year to help them out because most of the volunteers from last year are not coming back.
The librarian was so happy she bought a whole can of peanut butter cups so I can have one every week!
I accompanied my dad to an appointment today. When his electric scooter ran out of power someone helped get him a wheel chair and I pushed him to his appointment.
Once there, I helped by providing bits and pieces of information that he couldn't remember and was simply there to support him when he needed me.
Today, I went downtown to play music with my new singing friend. We sang songs we have not practiced, and though I was nervous, it felt so good, I kept singing.
At the end, a woman who had been close, thanked me. She said her dad passed a few years back and today was his birthday. Every year on this day, she walks around open to whatever needs to happen. This time, she said, it was us. I did not realize I was being kind to anyone.
She told us, weepy eyed, that us sharing our voices was an amazing gift. She thanked me saying I had really given her something by choosing to sing for everyone to hear. I was just doing what I love!
Thank you for this beautiful affirmation - I feel so gifted. This was everything I needed to hear.
I found myself in the city for work today. On my lunch break I decided to walk around the public gardens. It was one of those unusually warm September days, 90+ degrees and humid, but it felt good after being in the air-conditioning all morning. That is until I walked past two individuals, sweaty and asleep, on a park bench together. What appeared to be all their belongings were in a few bags scattered around them. I continued walking but kept thinking about the pair on the bench. So, I went to Starbucks and purchased five bottles of cold water. Then I returned to the park. First stop was the couple on the bench. I woke the gentleman up and asked if they were ok. Sleepily, he assured me they were fine, but he gratefully accepted two bottles of water. The third bottle went to a man playing his violin by the remembrance garden. ... Read Full Story >>
Today, after having my 5th grade students share stories about what makes them smile, I shared the 21-day kindness challenge with them. They were super excited!
I had them write down kindness ideas in their journal.
As soon as school ended students were coming back into the class to secretly slip mechanical pencils and other small gifts into other students' desks!
One student came up to me and gave me a hug and said, "This is just the beginning!" The kindness ripples have begun!
Several years ago I was at an informal business meeting/luncheon with my manager. She paid for her meal and went to find us a table. When I attempted to pay for mine, the card declined was declined twice.
I was mortified, so I took my items and stepped to the side while others got their meals. I didn't have enough cash to pay for anything other than a drink, so I went back to the cashier to at least get that. Before I could say anything, she smiled kindly and said that someone (who just left) had already paid for my lunch.
I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I was for that small act of kindness. I tried to catch them, but they were gone. I've never forgot it. So when I came across the opportunity to help someone last year in the same way, it made me feel really good. Just paying it forward.
I was in Chicago for the weekend visiting my daughter. While I was there I decided to take care of her laundry in the apartment buildings laundry room.
I had some quarters left over when I was done so I left a Tide detergent pod and $1.25 in the washer, and $1.25 in the dryer for the next person.
I placed a sticky note on the machine saying, "Enjoy a free load of laundry. Have a nice day."
I hope the little surprise made the next person's task of doing laundry a little more pleasant.
My daughter recently returned to work from a maternity leave. And things haven't been going well.
She's had calls two out of six days to pick up sick children. Today was her first full day back, so I left a container of her favorite snack in her vehicle.
She called me later, with her mouth full of the sweet snack, saying, "Are you responsible for this?"
Ha-ha! How did she guess?
I work for thrift store and the ladies I work with are great! They make me smile on a daily basis (even when they sometimes make me want to scream.)
However, I had been off work for six weeks and when I returned last week they reminded me every day that I had been missed and they were glad I was back.
It touched me to my soul.
So, I baked them a cake to let them know they were all appreciated! I went to work with a sheet cake and came home with an empty pan!
It was a good day!
At a local bakery/restaurant I gave the cashier some money along with a Smile card. "Please surprise someone by taking care of their order with this today," I said, "and give them this card." Her mouth dropped open. "Really?" she asked. "Really." I replied. "Why are you doing this?" she asked. "To spread a little bit of kindness," I said, "It feels like a good day to share a little bit of extra love." Her face broke into the biggest grin. "This is so beautiful!" I smiled thinking about how she was going to spend the rest of the day looking for that "perfect" person to tag. I had no idea that what went around would come around so quickly. A little while later I stood, looking lost, on a subway platform in Times Square. A suit-clad commuter pulled out his earphones and gently asked, "Where do you need to go?" Then he gave me directions. Soon afterwards I ... Read Full Story >>
I made a special card for a lady who is having to move into an apartment by herself.
Aged 81 this is the first time she has every had to move home. Up until now she has always lived with her mother (who recently died at nearly 100 years of age.)
The card will give her something to open from her new mailbox. And, hopefully, a note that love will make her apartment feel more like a home.
My niece is very important to me and I love her.
I live with a disability and she has been there for me in countless supportive ways. Plus, I get a kick out of her infectious laughter and sense of humor!
Today I took her out for lunch and surprised her with a ticket to see the Eagles in concert. I loved watching the huge smile that took over her beautiful face.
Better yet, we are going together and we couldn't be more excited!
While traveling last week I found it necessary to use the wheelchair service at one of the larger airports.
The young lady who was my "chair attendant" was so nice and made what could have been a horrible experience very comfortable. Since I planned on returning through the same airport a week later I told her I would request her to be my assistant again.
During the week I knitted her a fashionably chic scarf and presented it to her. She was astounded that I did this for her. It really made her day and her smile was radiant. I told her just to keep being her kind and considerate self and go about making people feel good.
Every day I walk to the coffee shop across the street. Every day I see the same homeless person with a sign asking for anything that would help.
He always has a warm smile for anyone who bothers to stop and say hello.
There are a lot of homeless in my city; young, old, veterans, addicts. I recognize how lucky I am to have lived my life of semi-privilege. So, today I finally took the time to stop and meet Rick.
When I came out the coffee shop I treated him to a sandwich and a cup of coffee. It didn't change his situation but maybe it helped lift his spirits. It certainly lifted mine.
I saw a tired and dirty man struggling to walk in the heat of the day. I pulled over and offered him a ride.
He said he was trying to get to the bank to pay in a dollar someone had given him. It seemed he had a lot of medical expenses he was trying to pay. So I gave him a ride to the bank and waited outside for him.
He was surprised I was still there. I asked if he wanted to come to my house for a shower and a meal. He was delighted to accept.
He showered, put on some of my husband's clothes, and ate some of my leftovers. (He didn't finish them because he wasn't used to eating so much.) Then I offered him the chance to take a nap in my spare room while I washed and dried his clothes.
He crawled into the bed and let out a load moan. I asked what was wrong and he said he had never felt anything so soft. He said it felt like he was laying on a cloud.
He slept for about two hours. Then he got dressed again in his freshly laundered clothes.
He told me more of his story and I offered more help. He refused, thanked me, and went on his way.
“Josie Metz's father won't be there to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. But thanks to California photographer Lindsey Villatoro, the 11-year-old was able to experience what it might be like anyway. Her father, Jim, 62, had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he and his wife, Grace, hired Villatoro -- a mother, photographer and founder of Love Song Photography based in Menifee, Calif. Two years ago, Villatoro began offering photography sessions for terminal clients or clients with serious illnesses to document their journeys and was referred to the Metz family. "I try to really showcase the person for who they are and not the illness," she told The Huffington Post during a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. Villatoro went to Jim and Grace's home for a shoot and offered to do one with their young daughter, Josie. After she left, she posted about the family on her website ... Read Full Story >>
I had arranged meet a former student for breakfast. While I was waiting an elderly man entered the cafe. He was dropped off by a local bus company that transports the elderly and infirm.
As I watched him cross the room leaning on his walker I decided to surprise him by paying for his breakfast. I told the waitress I wanted to take care of his bill but asked her not to tell him who did it.
After he left the waitress came over and said, "He told me to tell you thank you and to let him know if you wanted a date!"
It was a great way to start the day and brought smiles all round!