A friend of mine confessed on a recent girls’ night that her Christmas tree was still up. It was past mid-March. New Year’s resolutions had already been forgotten, Cupid already shot his arrow, leprechauns already spent their pots of gold, and cumulus clouds were already forming April showers in the skies, so I didn’t really know what to say. She seemed relatively nonchalant about it, and I told her I didn’t know whether she had become fully liberated or if she had simply gone over the edge. There seems to be a fine line between those things. She explained that she hasn’t had time between working, chauffeuring children, and the daily demands of life. She was mortified recently when another couple stopped by unexpectedly. After all, a fully-decorated Christmas tree isn’t something you can just jam in the closet or under a couch cushion. But the other couple was more interested in ... Read Full Story >>
I have a neighbor who is a competent, stylish, seventy year old, single woman. Her name is Grace. Grace was laid off from her administrative-type job a little over two years ago and has been living off her savings ever since; home, but not officially “retired”. Grace called me up one day about this time last year and asked if I had a ladder. She needed to clean out her gutters and wanted me (assuming I had one) to hold the ladder. Not climb up and clean the gutters mind you - just hold the ladder. As it happens I do have a ladder and being the magnificent procrastinator that I am, I said: “The leaves are going to fall off of the trees in a month, why don’t we wait and do it then?” She agreed and naturally we didn’t talk about it again until spring. Spring in Tennessee is ... Read Full Story >>
Two years ago, my friend and I were living in our fraternity house at our university. With his birthday quickly approaching, he came to me with an unusual request, instead of receiving presents and getting drunk (like most every other 21 year old in a fraternity would) he wanted to do ‘random acts of kindness’ instead. I was struck with such an idea and I asked him what exactly had overcome him to have such a novel idea. He told me about a TED talk he had watched on designing for generosity, which had inspired him. I was impressed. Giving instead of taking for your birthday -- now that was different. I told him I’d be glad to help him out with the random acts of kindness so we started planning out creative things we could do. #1 Hot Chocolate Security: Our university is not located in the safest area in LA. In ... Read Full Story >>
I passed a man on the way home from work this evening. He was walking down the grass verge at the side of the carriageway. Actually, he was staggering sometimes on the verge, sometimes off. I slowed down wondering whether to stop and give him a lift, at least down to a safer part of the road, a half mile further on. Then the car behind me overtook me and I lost the nerve to stop there as the road was so busy. I couldn't be sure but he appeared to be quite drunk. I pulled into a lay-by a little way down the road and watched him in my rear-view mirror. Yep, he was obviously "well-oiled". A truck swerved to avoid him at one point -- he didn't appear to care. Having stopped now I thought I might as well sit and wait for him to reach the car. He'd probably ... Read Full Story >>
My wife, Jane, and I have been married for 36 years so we have heard each others stories many times. We are both artists so many of our retellings revolve around our challenges in becoming and sustaining our artist selves. Jane has told the story many times of her parents birthday present of an easel for her to do her art work when she was still a child. But it wasn't an artist's easel, rather it was the kind of "easel" used typically to display a poster on foam-core board. Hence, flimsy, and unsuited for artists' work, and undeniably cheap. Jane never used it for her art work but she got the message loud and clear that mom and dad did not support her efforts. For an artist the work you do is intimately connected with who you perceive yourself to be, so the message of non-support went very deep ... Read Full Story >>
I boarded the train to go to work one day. As I went to find a seat, I noticed a decently-dressed young man slumped over, head bobbing in what appeared to be a drug induced slumber. There was fluid leaking from under his rear end. I thought to myself, "How sad." and went to go sit down. People were staring at the sad, slumped pile in the puddle. Nobody dared engage him. After a few minutes his head bobbed up and he held up a vodka bottle, swearing because it was empty and had leaked out of his back pocket. I asked him "Hey, are you ok?" He replied, "No, I'm not. A few hours ago. I had a gun in my mouth, but I couldn't pull the trigger. But I still want to die. I'm only 24 and and am an alcoholic and addicted to heroin. I'm going to the ... Read Full Story >>
I recently reserved my son's birthday party at a pizza place, when all of the sudden one day, they called in a panic. They accidentally overbooked two parties at the same time and were asking me to move my time. The employee was so stressed out she could hardly speak. I felt like I coached her on how to handle a difficult situation. I asked about different times available, some details about the party that was booked at the same time as mine, and so on. In the end, the pizza place, myself, and the other party, all compromised and both parties are able to take place on the same day. If I hadn’t agreed to change my time, they would’ve had to cancel the other party, which was a baptism, because it was never written down. Although it was irritating at first, it was a much better outcome knowing that no one ... Read Full Story >>
Every day I buy my mother's food at Luby's. This particular day, I was a bit agitated from the long, arduous day. I pulled up in the drive-thru after ordering to pay for her meal. The cashier said, "the car before you paid for your order." Immediately, tears came to my eyes. Not because someone had just paid for my food. But, because the spirit in which things occurred suddenly made me aware that I didn't have the right to be mad and frustrated about the day's tasks. Instead, I decided I would have the spirit of the person before me and focus on doing something positive. So, I paid it forward for the next car. It changed my entire temperament and mood. ... Read Full Story >>
We were walking into the grocery store and my son, who is mentally challenged, asked me why there was someone outside asking for money and food. I tried to explain, for there are so many reasons, right? Drugs, looking for handouts....."But," J questioned, "how do you know he isn't Jesus?" I looked back to my kindergarten year at parochial school. It seems that I colored Jesus purple. Mrs. Perez, my teacher, quickly corrected me. "Coryne, Jesus isn't purple!" I was not trying to be rude, but was really amazed! "Mrs. Perez," I related in a whisper filled with awe, "have you seen him? Is he really not purple?" So, looking through my son's eyes, as well as my perception, I realized that we really don't know what Jesus looks like. Yes, we purchased a snack and drink. Well, come to find out, he just lost his job as an Engineer. He ... Read Full Story >>
Recently I was flying home from vacation and sat next to a young man. He had his earphones on so I just continued to knit the baby hat I was working on that I donate to charities. He asked me what I was doing. I told him, and noticed a change in his attitude so I asked if he had a baby. He mentioned that he and his wife lost a baby boy and they were having difficulties having a family. I asked him if he would like the hat to give to his wife when he returned from his business trip. At first he said no that it should go to charity and I said there was a reason I sat next to him (my husband should have been in that seat) and that it was meant for him and to bring hope to both of them. When I finished I ... Read Full Story >>
While shopping, I overheard a mom tell her little boy and his older sister that she only had money for one birthday party so they would have to share one, even though they were months apart. They both asked if they were going to get a gift and she told them that they had to choose: party or gift. As I turned the corner, I saw that she had a smaller girl in her cart.
Seeing them reminded me of my family when I was growing up. We didn't have much, but mom and dad always made sure we three kids had enough. I happened to have three 5 dollar bills in my wallet. I pulled the dad aside and tearfully asked him to give or spend $5 on each child. The look in his eyes and the way his wife's face lit up when he told her more than made my day. It felt so good.
My niece's partner was called to the scene of the accident, but had to stay at post to direct rescue workers.
A bystander had thrown herself on top of the victim to help protect her from the pelting hailstorm, both also covered now with a heavy overcoat from my niece's partner.
* * *
This story has stayed with me as the image of such a selfless act; using the only thing this stranger had with her -- her body, as a shield to help save the victim from more distress.
A true act of kindness; pure and from the heart <3.
Blessings to all those who act from the heart when presented with the call.
Two days ago, I witnessed the magic of random kindness when I was having dinner with a friend who's involved with ServiceSpace. We gave a bracelet to the waitress with a message on it: "I am a sacred, worthy, luminous being. I am love and my love is for giving." The bracelet was a gift from Dr. Tom Pinkson, who shared his wisdom at the first Sacred Leadership Summit we'd just attended. To our surprise, the waitress was very happy and told us how sad she was the previous night and how she had prayed. The bracelet made her day! At the end of our dinner, she insisted offering us free coconut ice-cream. We were just thinking about getting coconut ice-cream from the store on the way back! Wow, a small gift could ripple big. You just never know. This is a typical case of serendipity. Last night, I watched the interview of Nipun Mehta by Charles Eisenstein. For the first time, ... Read Full Story >>
Today was incredible! One of my students, Miriam, gave me all of her birthday money ($25) to donate to Charity:Water, and organization that builds wells in communities that have no access to clean water. The following week was our school book fair and she had no money to buy any items, but she told me it was okay, that the water was more important. I shared this on social media and many helped: donating to the charity in her name, and raising hundreds of dollars for Miriam to replace the $25 she so selflessly gave away (https://www.gofundme.com/maribel039s-surprise). Today she received her surprise! First, Miriam found out that others were impressed by her selflessness so much so that they donated to Charity:Water in her name. Next, she got to see the 45 second thank you video that Charity:Water made for her. Then, I gave her the check that so many made possible. She was shocked and ... Read Full Story >>
I was walking into 7-11 after school to purchase a much-deserved large-gulp diet coke. I warily looked over the threesome walking in; one was an older man with many missing teeth; the little girl looked to be about 2, but her hair was a jumble, and her clothes a bit dirty. The younger man had many piercings, pants down to the butt, so many tattoos....kinda scary! As I walked out, I saw that they walked out also, nothing in hand, although I saw them with two liter-pepsi's at the counter. "Excuse me," I said, "were you short?" "Yeah, forgot our card at home, but there's no worry." The younger man then showed me his tattoo of the little girl: "See, that's my sister, I take care of her." The older man grinned his toothy grin, "We love her." I handed them $2. "Nah, nah, it's okay, we going be okay." I insisted. Yes, ... Read Full Story >>
You may know I have a soft spot for the elderly. Which probably explains why today I took time out of my day to speak to one named Beverly. I had decided to take my toddler for a big walk around the block on his push bike thing. Beautiful day for it. So beautiful I extended our walk and went a way I don't normally go. This is where I met Beverly, kneeling in her garden doing whatever it is those who love to garden do. I smiled as I passed and said "Good Morning". Hearing this she sprung up, looked at my toddler and I with the biggest smile on her face and started a conversation. Many times I could have ended it. Said we had to go and kept waking. But I didn't. As I looked into her 80 something year old eyes I could see the joy my toddler and ... Read Full Story >>
I'm currently at a unique university, an inclusive campus where 46 speech and hearing impaired students graduate each year. I have been doing one on one sessions with these students to help them get clear on their goals, have a reality check of where they are and have a plan in place for next three months. Every morning, I made it a practice of setting the intention in my heart of "May I be an instrument for them to get what they need right now." And for the last two days , I am seeing a few of them overflowing and sharing in kind. Though they communicate with very speedy sign language that I'm still new to picking up, I'm enjoying their ability to express themselves so joyously. Today, an incredible thing happened. One girl came at around 11:30 AM and sat down. I started with how we usually do. She can speak ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday's Smile Card Challenge on the Kind Spring website was "Strike up a conversation with someone who looks like they need a friend." While waiting to have a prescription filled at my HMO's pharmacy this morning, I noticed a lady who looked very agitated and impatient sat down beside me. I greeted her and asked if she was having a hard day. She replied that she was having a hard life and went on to tell me about a number of problems she was having. I said a quiet prayer that I would have the patience to listen with with empathy and understanding. I just made an occasional comment such as "Oh I am sorry you have to go through that" and "that must be really hard". When her name was called to talk to the pharmacist she told me "thank you for listening. I think I have the strength now to ... Read Full Story >>
It was really getting to be autumn: Cold, wet, and gray. I'd donned thermal underwear and fur-lined boots for the first time this year. I'd just finished some shopping, and was getting ready to leave the supermarket's parking lot, when I heard music coming from the area of the shopping carts. Now, sometimes, people will beg in front of the supermarket. As a matter of fact, I had had to make a little detour around a man who was kneeling right besides the entrance, putting himself obnoxiously in the way. I didn't understand why he was kneeling (with his body upright) - it looked very uncomfortable. I felt he was trying to push my guilt button with the posture and didn't give him any money. But the music - guitar strings being softly plucked - was coming from a different area. I followed the sounds, and even though the baseball cap was shielding ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, I witnessed a car accident while waiting on a bus to go to work. Someone managed to get the elderly lady who caused the accident out of the car. It was during the summer months and I was one of the few teaching staff on and it was also my first day with the group. Workmen stopped and helped the lady and gave her a blanket. I agreed to stay with her until the ambulance came but I couldn't travel with her as there was no one else in my department to cover the new class. Fast forward about 10 years later. My mother in law was collecting donations about 10 minutes from where the accident occurred. She left calling cards saying she would be back to houses where no one was in. When she returned to a particular house an elderly ... Read Full Story >>