I was at work and it had been snowing all day. I peeked outside about an hour before leaving work and I was terrified to see that every square inch of my car had been blanketed in about 8 inches of snow. I stayed in the office a few minutes after 5 trying to figure out how I would get the snow off of my car in heals, a skirt and no window scraper! I finally sucked it up and walked outside. To my surprise as well as relief, my car was completely clean of snow. My windows were scraped, even the headlights had been cleaned off! "Who did this?" I was puzzled, but so grateful! The next day at work, I prodded everyone I knew to find the culprit, but no one could tell me....they all denied the good deed. The following day, a co-working named Brian said "So, were you wondering who cleaned off your car?" I knew then that Brian was my little snow angel. He said, "Yeah, my car was heating up, I needed something to do for 5 or 10 minutes." He brushed it off as if it was an act of boredom, but I know that he has a kind and pure heart and what he did was an act of kindness.
Each week, I give my elderly neighbor a ride to the store, when I am going. She keeps trying to pay me, and I keep refusing. I tell her that it doesn't cost any more for her to ride with me. Last week, she brought an envelope saying, "I have something for you." I said, "If it has money in it, I don't want it." But, she laid it on a stand. Later, I opened it to find a 'thank you' card with $10.00 in it. That night, I stopped at her house to give some extra fried chicken that I had. I took a plain card, put the $10.00 in it along with a 'Smile' card, and when leaving, left it stuck in her storm door. The next day, stopping by to return my dish, she said, "Look, I know you put that letter in my door this morning, ... Read Full Story >>
The three of us met this morning at a crowded cafe in downtown Manhattan. The streets outside wet-gleaming in the rain and blossoming with umbrellas. Me, and K and M. K a young woman I'd met only just this morning. A person with a wonderful spirit working towards finding balance through a challenging period in her life. M a woman I met two years ago in the park. A writer struggling with writer's block and an internal inertia- who later attended an informal poetry workshop we put together and wrote a beautiful little poem - her first in close to a year. So there we were- the three of us- unexpectedly together (who can explain these things?). The napkins on the table were huge, white and irresistible. So of course we had to write a poem together. Because what else are huge, white, irresistible table napkins for? I started the first ... Read Full Story >>
"Right on. This is my kind of protest," he says while going past me. I hadn't thought of it way before. But perhaps it is a protest for lack of smiles in the world. About 15 of us gathered earlier today to create poster boards that we would proudly hold up on busy street intersections of San Francisco. The posters would say simple things like "smile" or "smile anyways" or "spare a smile?" or "smile, it's free". We weren't doing this as a part of any organization but rather as friends and well-meaning citizens of the world. After our morning creative sessions, we split up into teams of four and spread over various intersections on San Francisco's Van Ness Road. My team was at the Lombard intersection, one of the busiest. For the first couple minutes, there's always that awkward question mark on your face -- "I am making a fool of myself?" ... Read Full Story >>
My wife and I were at the bookstore the other day and we were helped by a young woman in finding a book, and something about this woman just told me she needed to get tagged! So my wife wrote a beautiful note addressed "To the woman in the light green sweater and curly, brown hair" with a quote that said "Sometimes our joy is the reason for our smile, and sometimes our smile is the reason for our joy," along with a small box of Godiva chocolates ... We gave it to another employee who read the whole thing and left it for her to come back to. Now they say that in giving we receive, and maybe it was a coincidence, but minutes later, I ran into one of my best friends from high school, who I hadn't seen for about a decade!
Wow! I got seriously tagged with an act of anonymous kindness last week. Actually, its more like seriously pummeled with kindness. I spent 26 days at a meditation retreat, mainly to begin the process of self purification through self discovery...I guess you could call it a renovation of the interior walls of my mind. As I walked back into my studio home on Sunday, WOW, a few folks had decided that they would self-purify my home and renovate its interior walls as well. The place has been tiled, every corner has been painted, fridge has been stocked, light switches have been replaced, new furniture has been added, and an infinite amount of love has been poured into every inch of that space. On the table in the middle of my room was a flower pot with one smile card attached to the stem. The coolest thing I found was one ... Read Full Story >>
I have a big veggie garden and every year i plant a little more than i can handle. It's something like my eyes are bigger than my appetite. I decided to take all of my excess veggies down to the laundry mat with a sign that read "free veggies". I guess that those who use the laundry may prbably rent places and might not be able to plant a garden. I did this all summer and each time when i went to collect the box...it was empty!
A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes, carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did ... Read Full Story >>
While going through a time of great sorrow and grief over a loss, I left my apartment and went to the 99 cent store to pick up two things I needed. Although these were not important items, I needed to get out for a while.
Having picked up the two items, I wandered through the store in a state of depression or shock, picking up more and more stuff, filling my arms. I was juggling these items, not willing to walk to the front of the store for a cart, not really thinking I needed one.
I heard a voice in the distance, far removed from my frame of mind, saying, "Lady, Lady." I turned around to see this man holding out a basket to me in both hands. He said, "Lady, Lady, please stop suffering,” and he gave the basket to me for the burdens I was holding on to. All I could say was, "That was so sweet!”
Then the man was gone, and the other shoppers were frozen in time watching what went on. They added, "Yes, that was so sweet.” In an instant, that one act of kindness changed my heart and mind, and he was long gone without even my being able to say thank you. The moment came and went, and it changed my day.
I was a first year college student in a Graphic Design course and I'd like to tell you an interesting story that happened to me a few months ago. You see, I live in a "seedy" (an abundance of illegal activity) apartment building whose residents are a large diversity of minorities, most of which I have never met, (I don't even know my neighbors name), and we all have to use the laundry room on the third floor. The dryers in the laundry room are old and usually require more than one cycle to fully dry even a small load of laundry. One evening I found I had only one loonie left for the dryer (they only accepted $1 coins) and so opted to leave my wet clothes in the dryer all night knowing that my clothes would still be damp in the morning and that they were the only ... Read Full Story >>
For a long time, I have been toying with the idea of going abroad to do something worthwhile, a voluntary thing, either working with kids or animals... and have been spoiled for choices with the kind of organised things you can pick, different causes, different countries. It's very expensive though. And I was puzzling over how can I be able to afford the flights and costs and everything. And impatience took over me. I thought "I can't wait to do something, I have to do something worthwhile NOW!!" So I just got up off my bed, went downstairs and started making sandwiches and put some crisps and some biscuits and an apple into about 6 little disposable picnic bags, called a couple of friends and told them my idea - "we're going into the city to give this food out to the homeless!" My friends loved the idea and we ... Read Full Story >>
As I waited for the bus, a shuttle rickshaw came by. It was headed towards my destination,and since it was pretty much the same price as the bus I jumped in. Inside, I found a mother sitting with her daughter. The little girl was absolutely precious. She was all dressed up in a new outfit, her hair done, new shoes and a purse on her lap. I've been taking lessons from a lot of inspiring sources and knew this was the perfect time to meet some strangers. I began talking to the little girl. They were headed to her aunt's house to celebrate the holidays. She happily pointed out her school on route and told me about her shoes that squeek when she walks. Her enthusiasm and smile were heartwarming. While conversing, I noticed something unusual. The driver wasn't stopping at the bus stops en route to pick up more passengers. In my ... Read Full Story >>
With the recent floods in Gujarat, India, I've been busy with flood relief work in the affected slums. We distribute medicines, food, clothing, etc. but what is the most important thing to give is love. There are countless stories of how love makes a difference. One important part of our work is going out, cutting fingernails, combing hair and playing with kids. There is no particular incidence that strikes me but rather the power of simply giving love. The magnetic force that drew kids to the volunteers was love, pure and simple. As we talked to the kids, they seemed to blossom, basking in the attention that each was receiving. At one point, a bunch of kids had gathered around me, while I was watching over some pots of food, while others were going house to house for distribution. Soon I was teaching head and shoulders, knees and toes and Simon says. ... Read Full Story >>
Recently my wife and I were in Maui, and we went to enjoy one of its gorgeous sunsets by the beach. While sitting there a nice lady saw us and asked, "Do you have a camera?". I replied, "Yeah", and then she offered to take a picture of us. So we stood up, got into our 'standard' arm around each other pose. Then she asked us to lie down on the ground to make the shot more interesting, and asked how to set the manual flash on my camera. My wife asked her if she was a photographer, and she replied, "Yes, but I don't have any jobs tonight."
She took some great photos of us, far better than the cheesy ones that we normally take. We thanked her, and she then walked off and asked the next group nearby if they had a camera. What a nice thing to do!
I have been going through a difficult patch recently and a friend told me this story when we spoke one evening. I am sharing the story with you because it gave me a little bit of hope when I was in need of a positive perspective. I hope that the ripples of this lovely story give you some hope if you need it too. He said that he was standing at the entrance of his building that evening, on his way home from work. He was talking to the building porter, when an old couple entered to go towards their flat. They stopped to talk to the porter and since my friend was standing there too, he overheard their conversation. Earlier in the day, the old couple was trying to stop a taxi to take them somewhere. The old man was severely handicapped and could barely walk without any assistance. A taxi ... Read Full Story >>
For their first baby-shower, my cousin and her husband created a very unique kindness theme for everyone to partake in. To support their heartfelt intention, my wife and I decided to surprise them with a booklet that contained many of our favorite stories from the HelpOthers.org site. The compassion conspiracy, as we soon learned, went way above and beyond our expectations. On Saturday, Michael was running the night shift at the 24-hour Kinkos and flat out said that they won't be able to get the project done that night. We nodded but still carried on with our part of bargain -- photocopying, sorting, printing. Four hours (and many adventures) later, Michael had become Mikey, he knew about deep interest in kindness and we knew about his dream of hittin' it big as a hip-hop DJ. By midnight, our homie says to us: "Alright, ... Read Full Story >>
Here's a story my mom recently emailed our family. I thought I'd share with the group! Per your invitation card instructions, I decided to do my first truly anonymous act of kindness as my baby-shower offering. For Junior, I wanted to crochet a receiving blanket and I just learned crocheting. Then I realized what you had asked for was an anonymous act of kindness. I decided to do it for someone unknown. I got white yarn and started crocheting with as much good wishes and blessings as possible for an unknown baby. It came out beautifully with a center area of shaded blue. And I myself felt a little bit attached to it by the time it was completed! But I remembered what you had asked for. So I asked a friend to accompany me. She had no experience of this sort either. First, we decided to ... Read Full Story >>
I was doing some volunteer work at a homeless shelter, and decided to document it with photography. I took shots of the residents which came out really well, but I also gave some of the residents a disposable camera.I then developed the film and printed them up. When I gave back the images, I had enlarged and framed the best photo, which was of a little girl. The man who took it was so happy because it was the first photo he'd ever owned of his daughter!
His smile was the biggest smile I've ever seen in my life (even bigger than his daughters smile in the photo)!
I just finished my Human Services practicum and as much as I loved the class and the instructor, I was dissapointed with my classmates. It was a small class - just 12 of us - and the other students took advantage of the instructor's kindness with late work, excuses for not completing assignments, etc. During the last 3 weeks of class, she was expressing her dissatisfaction and how she was going to have to re-think how she taught the class next semester. I really felt bad for her as she is a great inspiration to me and I could relate to her pain. In Chicken Soup for the Soul, there is a story about two guys walking down the beach covered with starfish. One guy is throwing the starfish back into the ocean as they walk. The other guy says "There are thousands of them you can't possibly make a difference." At that ... Read Full Story >>
Although I walk through the world with a folio of smile cards in my wallet, and try to be ever-vigilant for opportunities to use them, it always seems that I am the recipient of anonymous kindness much more often than the benefactor. Here's a story about one such incident which happened just yesterday: We arrived at Chennai Central early; our train did not depart for another 45 minutes. I took the opportunity to find a tailor to perform a simple repair for me. Across the lane from the side of the station stood a building typical of those found in India cities, containing a warren of tiny shops – perhaps several hundred of them. These buildings would look like any of the zillions of faceless, multi-storied, style-bereft concrete abominations that proliferate in the metros, were they not covered with scores-and-scores of small peeling signs — most painted directly onto the façade, at ... Read Full Story >>
This morning I was walking in a new park that I had just discovered near my house. When I went walking the previous day, the old gardener had asked me if I had some clothes to give him. He was wearing a tattered vest and it was obvious that although so many people frequented the park, nobody had ever spoken to him before. I gave him some nice shirts and some cake that I had at home. The next morning he told me how thankful he was for the shirts. As I walked, I noticed that the sprinkler that he was using to water the plants in the park was leaking in several places. I went home and brought some scotch tape and scissors, and, with his help, I blocked the leakages. I told him he could keep the scotch tape in case he needed it again. It was then that I got to see his ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I own a lawn care company and so many times we would pass this house that was very unkept as far as the lawn was concerned. Last week, we decided to stop in and see if we could help. Nobody would come to the door for the longest time. Finally, a little old lady came to the door, very reluctant to open the door. We explained to her that we did not want to harm her in anyway. After a few minutes of talking we asked her if we could cut her grass for her? She was quick to answer, "I cannot pay for my grass to be cut, my sister is living with me dying of cancer and it takes everything we make combined to pay for her medicines etc." We had indicated to her that we would just like to do this for her and her ... Read Full Story >>
My birthday was coming up last week and I was thinking of ways I could pay forward some kindness on the day to send good wishes out in the world. And then on my birthday itself, right in front of my eyes, three different opportunities came up one after the other, to support my colleagues at the charity I work at in different ways. One girl decided she wanted to give back to the charity that gave her so much both as a child when she was growing up and also as an adult by employing her to deliver services to other children. So, she's going on a trek and raising money for our charity. She is now part of a really amazing program that works with the most at-risk young people in our area, many of whom have already been kicked out of 3 schools, carried a knife to school, ... Read Full Story >>
I read a lot of spirit and intention books. I remember reading Wayne Dyer one night and in his Power of Intention book, he wrote something along the lines of if you can’t give a homeless person money, give him a smile. The other day I was waiting for the light to change in downtown San Francisco and there was a homeless guy who was walking around with his sign and he went from car to car (I was the 3rd one in). The cars reacted as they usually do, just closing the windows and ignoring him, one car moved up, you know the drill. As he came to my car, I looked him in the eye and I gave him a HUGE smile, I said I’m sorry I can’t give you money and he just stood there smiling at me. There was probably a 10 second pause before the light turned ... Read Full Story >>
A couple we know who have fallen on hard times went out of town over the weekend we think to probably regroup and try to re-establish their love for each other so they can weather the adversities they have recently encountered. They are the type of people who will not ask for help and even if it is offered they will not accept it, at least not willingly.
We decided to do something nice for them by doing a quick landscaping job on their entrance walkway. They have a nice paved walkway but on either side it was just bare dirt, not very attractive. We went out and bought some flowers and some red cinders and replanted the walkway and then spread out the cinders for the asthetic look and hopefully to make weeding easier with less weeds able to grow through.
We think it looks great and hope that when they drive in their driveway they wonder if they are at the right house. We feel it is important for them to know that they are special people who have friends who love them.
Last weekend I volunteered at our local shelter to serve meals to the hungry. I convinced a classmate of mine, a woman who is older like myself to come along for the experience. Her life consists of school, playing golf as a semi-pro, and generally living a very comfortable and protected lifestyle. I assume everyone has seen the hungry, the needy, the homeless, the less fortuanate in our society but the assortment of folks at the shelter seemed to trouble my friend. She was aprehensive about getting physically too close when she was serving meals and she was also full of questions. She made observations such as, "They look like they do drugs", "I assume a lot of them have alcohol problems", "Some of them seem like they are retarded." Once everyone is fed, staff/volunteer's can also eat from the leftovers. We were told there was enough and that we should ... Read Full Story >>
We had a community garage sale this weekend. Early that morning a man who was staying down the street with his mother stopped by. He is a cabinet maker but there has not been much work for him lately. He has been doing lawn jobs and clean up to make extra money to keep going. He stopped by to ask us if we had any lawn equipment for sale. We didn't but upon hearing his struggles I pulled an extra yard blower/vac out of our cabinet and gave it to him. When he asked how much it was, I just told him he could have it and wished him the best of luck. 2 hours later he came back. He had gone home and tried it out and was happy that it worked great for him! He thanked us again and asked if he could clean up our yard to show ... Read Full Story >>
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: "If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately." Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. "Help," said the flight service person. "Talk to her. What is her problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this." I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. "Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee?" The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used -- she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following ... Read Full Story >>
As I was walking along the river this evening, enjoying some hot chocolate with the sun shining down on me on this nice spring day, I was in the mood to do something nice for a stranger and started to look around for an opportunity to do a random act of kindness. Two minutes later I was approached from across the pathway by a complete stranger. I wasn't sure why he was approaching me, when from out of nowhere he started talking to me really aggressively and harrassing me. I could tell he was probably drunk or high or who-knows-what so I just stayed calm and kept walking ahead. There were hundreds of people sitting on benches nearby and walking along the South Bank with me, so I wasn't really worried. As I tried to walk along he kept saying offensive things to me and trying to get my attention. ... Read Full Story >>
Several years ago, I worked for a trucking outfit as a driver. It was my habit to go in on Saturday and spend a couple hours maintaining my truck. As I was under the truck greasing it, I noticed the owner's elderly father making his way over to his grandson's truck next to mine. The old man was in his high eighties, had been an avid fisherman all his life, and had come out to ask the kid to take him fishing after work. The grandson told him all about how much he would love to do that, but, he just couldn't that day due to prior commitments. The old man accepted the answer and hobbled off to the house. A few minutes later, the father came out and asked his son what the old man had wanted. After telling the story, the kid ended it with telling his dad, ... Read Full Story >>