Today I was reminded again how kindness spreads her soft, lingering perfume across the globe. My husband and I are in Marseilles this week as part of our journey to Provence for my birthday. In this vibrant city which is a melting pot of hues, smells and sounds, I had a short and sweet encounter with one of the residents. At a marketplace in town, I saw an unfamiliar peach variety that is not available in my country. I decided to buy only one peach to find out what it tastes like. A Muslim woman, Feiza, who was also in the shop, then came forward and insisted on gifting me four of those strange, flat peaches! Feiza's unexpected kindness was a magical moment in our day. While police walk around in crowded tourist spots to protect people against possible harm, a local women shared her genuine kindness, almost on the spur of the ... Read Full Story >>
At the grocery store yesterday, the mom in front of me realized she had forgotten her wallet out in the car. She had just a few items, and I offered to pay, but she was already holding her baby and walking out the door.
While the cashier was ringing me up, I regretted not being more assertive w/my offer--then suddenly realized I could still simply just do it. The cashier rang up her things with mine, and by the time she got back, they were waiting for her in a cart.
She teared up, I got the best mama/baby hug. But here's the best part: the young cashier who had taken this all in said to me quietly, "I will pay that forward today."
I hadn't really focused on who was around me, and what ripple effects a very small act might have, reminding me of a wonderful quote from Lawrence Kushner, I believe; "You're never going where you're going for the reasons you think you are."
Yesterday, I was standing near the railway station in the evening. I saw a poor child who was selling some key chains. He had five key chains and was asking me to buy one. I asked myself, "is he selling this to build a house?" My heart answered "No this is for his hunger tonight." I bought all the key chains...and offered him milk and biscuits. I gave him a smiley key chain back as a gift. and his smile and happiness was awesome. I felt satisfaction in my heart. I believe that life is successful if you win a smile from someone. ... Read Full Story >>
Another act of kindness to me. My payday is almost here, but I had to ask for gas again at the gas station. After work, a nice man gave me $5. It still wouldn't last me until payday.
Later in the evening I went to another station and asked a man for $5 to help me. He said he didn't have cash, but he did have his credit card. The next thing I know he filled up my tank. It was $26.82. I told him I would pay him back after I received my check, but he said no, just pay it forward. I told him, God bless you.
With my budget so tight, I will have to pay it forward in increments. I will ask the Universe to guide me to the people in need.
While stuck in traffic, I noticed the woman in the vehicle next to me was crying. Alone in her vehicle, she wiped her tears, and struggled to catch her breath. I didn't mean to stare, but I could hardly look away. As she pulled ahead of me, I could still see her crying for quite a few minutes.
When it was my turn to drive up beside her, I managed to get her attention by waving a little stuffed pig I happen to carry in my car. I tilted pigs head side to side and gestured with my fingers over my biggest smile for her to do the same. She wiped her tears, nodded, smiled, and gave me a big thumbs up! At that moment, traffic cleared up and we drove off.
It was quite emotional, and even recalling it stirs up some mixed feelings. I'm glad I got to see the silver lining behind the turmoil she was experiencing, even if it was for a few seconds. I'm grateful to have been a part of that.
When people are in need of help, you help, whatever you can do to make their life a little bit easier. Whether it's a bag of groceries, some warm blankets that they borrowed for a cold night, or just a ride to work. I'm in the restaurant business, and I close the place just about every night, it's cool, but I have one situation. "My dishwasher", he's riding his bike to work. He had a car, but it broke down, so now he rides his bike; rain sleet or cold, and his better days are when it's nice. That's not the problem, the problem is that he's sixty plus years old..., and being in the restaurant business, "you need a dishwasher", rain, sleet or cold. He's riding to his first job in the morning, then back home to take a nap, then heads toward me for his second job. Waiting for the ... Read Full Story >>
Growing up, it was my father who taught me compassion through modeling. He was a foreman who works in construction sites. It has always been a routine for me as I grow up seeing other construction workers who worked with him to go to our house every Saturday because that's when he would give their salary for the week. I know my father as someone who is a quiet man, just observing everyone around him. He is someone who is strict when it comes to discipline but I never felt threatened being raised by him. Maybe that is because I have seen his gentleness and compassion to us and to others. Since he is a foreman, I would often see him talking to the construction workers whenever they had problems. He is like a father or a brother to them too. One time, he came home and told me that he would ... Read Full Story >>
I went to my friend's going away party last night and met a lady who was talking about how she's at a point in her life where she doesn't like people too much, how she just wants to move to an island and be away from people. And, I get why she feels that way, sometimes. The same age as me, she talked about how she has this expectation anymore that whoever she interacts with, they're just going to hurt her and she's sick of it and she just wants to isolate herself from people. I know it has as much to do with trusting ourselves to take care of ourselves as it does in learning to trust other people, but I didn't want to tell her what to do. We're all on our own journeys and have our own paths to learn the lessons we're here to learn. But, I wanted ... Read Full Story >>
I live in a rural area so my neighbors are quite spread apart, but despite that we are a pretty close bunch and always eager to help each other out.
Unfortunately, the couple that lives approximately 1/2 mile from us at the end of our private road has been very stand offish and at times disagreeable with all the other neighbors.
However, we learned recently that the husband had major surgery about a week ago and was pretty much immobilized at this time. All the neighbors put any misunderstandings aside immediately and have pitched in to do the farm chores, provide meals, transportation to the Dr., and just whatever needs to be done. I call this Love in Action.
When I was a little girl, my mother, father, brother and I lived in a small two-bedroom rowhouse. My parents often fought, particularly at night when my brother and I had gone to bed. I thought it was something everybody's parents did. I found it interesting, that moment when I first realized that other families lived differently. I can remember knowing that, based on American standards, what we had at the time was small. That never bothered me, not then, and not now. One of my most precious memories happened at nighttime. We piled into the car to go look at the lights in the neighborhood and then came home. At the top of our steps, there was a little table and on top of the table was a small Nativity scene. The barn/stable was in the shape of a triangle, which had glitter pasted on the sides, and it had a tiny, ... Read Full Story >>
This is so easy, inexpensive, and has always brought either of two reactions: a look of shock or a big smile. I am a cane walking senior lady with mobility issues, especially in cold weather but I have a keen eye for useful bargains and since I still drive, I can do this without having to get in and out of the car to help folks. Here is how it 'works'....when I see gloves, warm hats, and scarves on sale (new or in good condition from a thrift store) I buy them for pennies of what they could go for retail. If laundering is needed, I do it to remove tiny stains so everything looks good. I have a large basket with a handle that I keep in the passenger side of my car and I 'file' these things in it where I can easily reach over and get whatever I determine ... Read Full Story >>
It snowed a lot in the past 24 hours. I was awakened at 3 am by the sound of a snow plow blade dragging on the pavement. Ugh! The driver pulled forward to plow and then turned his head each time to back up. After two hours of this, he stopped to check his plow. I thought " his neck has to be killing him!" I put on my late partner’s robe which is size XX huge and my snow boots and waddled to the next lot with a new can of medical-grade muscle relaxer. He started up his truck and I waggled my cane at him. “Your neck’s gonna be killing you when you’re done. This is what the physical therapists use," I said. His huge smile confirmed his discomfort as I handed it to him and he said, “Merry Christmas!” “ Happy New Year, “ I said as I carefully retreated to ... Read Full Story >>
My mom received a large box of mint cookies from her property management company for Christmas. It was a lovely gesture, but neither she nor I eat cookies so we decided to pass along the gift to someone who would really enjoy it. It ended up being a fun exercise of figuring out who to give the cookies to! Airports are decidedly a busy place during the holidays; I figured, why not give them to a busy airport worker? I put them in with my stuff and brought them to the airport. I waited in line at the check-in counter for my flight home. I had plenty of time to assess the line of agents, and I started wondering who would be assigned to me and unknowingly become my gift recipient. When it became my turn, I approached the agent with my bag. He was pleasant but I could tell he was a ... Read Full Story >>
I noticed her, the hotel breakfast attendant. She was busy making sure that the breakfast offerings were refreshed, coffee carafes full and hot, the tables cleared and cleaned. And mostly, more importantly, I noticed her smile. She had a slight limp, and I could tell that each step pained her a bit, but still she went about her work with a smile and a “good morning” for each guest. While MisterM turned in our keys at the front desk, I slipped over to the breakfast kitchen area, where the attendant was up to her elbows in sudsy water, doing dishes. “This is for you,” I said, placing the little Smile card package on the ledge beside her. “I make these,” pointing to the Peace dove, “and give them out. And here’s a little tip too, for the nice breakfast. Happy holidays to you!” A little surprised, but very gracious, she smiled, thanked me and ... Read Full Story >>
Our wonderful volunteer, who has been with us for about 6 weeks, has just headed off to pastures new. Before he left, we'd discovered in conversation that he took a really big foot size and that his boots didn't have much life left in them.
It's really hard too find footwear in large sizes in rural Portugal, so before he moved on I had a rummage in my 'spares' box and was able to give him a pair of welly boots and a pair of combat style boots. Perfect for farm work and his onward journey.
A friend popped over tonight wearing a jacket taped together. I didn't have one of those handy, but checking out his feet revealed he could do with shoes too.
Out came the magic boot box again, and he went off with a pair of 'for work' trainers and a pair of work boots. More space for me and dry feet for him - winners all round!
Many years ago, I worked in a midnight shift, in a hospital, in Indiana. I was earning money to go back to college. Some of the people on that shift could be unfriendly; it wore one me. However, there was one woman who was extremely cheerful and always so kind. Other staff would go to talk to her on breaks because they would leave feeling much better. I lacked some basic social skills due to my Asperger's. She let me make the mistakes one normally makes in his early teens. She showed me kindness at a time when life was very dark for me. I went back to school and graduated. I've felt moved to pay her kindness forward and I have tried to do so. Her small gift of kindness has been repaid many times over. We have two choices in life: kindness or violence. Each is a gift that keeps ... Read Full Story >>
I have a little 10 year friend that has become like a niece to me. I've known her since she was 4. We do crafts, go places. She has never been fishing. I've been wanting to get her a license, pole, everything for at least a year. It just never happened. Yesterday we went to the park and were bored. I said come on, let's go to Wal-Mart and check out fishing stuff. My credit card showed $55. It was $5 for a year license for her, pole, etc...$23. I couldn't afford my own license ($37), I just got her one. I know somewhere in the conversation I mentioned she has never been fishing and I am going to make it happen. Well, for some reason my card got declined. I said ok, let's just do the $5 license. It still declined. I had $6 on my debit (in car) we go ... Read Full Story >>
There is an older couple across the street one house over from me. They keep to themselves. I love their yard with rocks and neat rusted old things. I left a plant by their walk way about 6 months ago. They planted it. They have a small section of colored lights on their patio roof and a tree inside.
I made a glass Christmas ornament with melted crayon. I had a cute invitation card that had Mr and Mrs Santa saying we checked our list twice. I cut it and made it into a card and said Merry Christmas from Santa. I placed it on their patio this morning. Now they'll have a new handmade ornament to place on their tree.
There is a construction zone next door. I live in the inner city, even though I have a house, not an apartment, our neighbours are very close. We were woken up at 6.50am by loud voices - the concrete layers arrived 40 mins before they are legally allowed to start work. I decided that I wouldn't get out of bed to express myself (lol) but just to leave it.
A bit later, I went outside and the concrete layer apologised for his early start. He had left home early but there wasn't much traffic so arrived early. We had a chat about traffic, and the lack of parking in the street. All was forgiven.
For the rest of the morning I have gotten the royal treatment. They stopped cars from parking outside my house so I didn't have to lug my shopping up the hill in the heat, and even helped lift some heavy grocery bags for me!
I'm very thankful that I didn't get grumpy this morning, and my kind self was first.
I was in a foreign country. Even though I knew the country and the language and everything well, I might still need some other people to help me in emergency cases. I took a midnight train from the capital to where I lived. I was trying not to fall asleep as I would be home towards 2am, but funnily enough I fell asleep and opened my eyes while the train reported from the station I wanted to arrive. I went and talked to the controllers, one of them told me to get off at the next one and wait for the train to my city, which would not arrive until 4 in the morning. The other station was just shitty and too dangerous to wait alone for the next train. One of the controllers got off with me as he lived there. Then he told me he would not feel okay ... Read Full Story >>