One person that I meet while leaving for work and returning home is Ajay.
He works for a car cleaning company and is in the parking lot of the building washing cars. I don’t know what his work timing is like but I find him at his job all the time. I often wonder if he’s eaten and rested so I ask him about these things. His answer is always a smile. It never wears out. In fact, his way of communication is a smile.
This evening while paying him, I gave a 500 dirham note instead of a 50. At first he didn’t realize it but as soon as he did, he ran to catch me and return the money. As he handed me the money, I could see relief on his face. Such is his sincerity and dignity.
What an honor to meet Ajay and learn this lesson on trust firsthand.
I am sharing a letter I wrote to the kind lady in produce at the grocery store by my house. She had offered to make a mixed pack up for us on the spot after informing me there were none left and seeing the look of fluster on my face... she packed it full of veggies, fruit, and more, and went above and beyond!! Gratitude for her warm smile and her thoughtful act of kindness <3 I gave the following letter to her, handwritten in a lovely card, which included a $5.00 Tim Hortons gift card and a Smile Card! :) "Yesterday was my sons track and field meet at school... and as it was also my payday - I hadn't had any funds left the night before to get him healthy 'snack food' that would fuel him throughout the big day. So yesterday morning, (after missing my alarm, stubbing my toe, and ... Read Full Story >>
We found an envelope on the street- we had actually seen it 2 days in a row in the bike lane. We realized with the name and $ amount written on the outside that it must belong to Sabrina -Lotus. So we went to each of the 3 elementary and middle schools nearby looking for her - no luck. We checked the 4 apartment buildings nearby- no luck. We checked all the restaurants with Lotus in the name in case it was tip money - still nothing. I posted in the neighborhood thread. So finally my son and I took it to donate to the Center for Domestic Peace but with the caveat, my son said,"if we find her we will have to give the money back". I would love ideas of reuniting people with possessions- it was not a ton of money but it may be to someone~ Best! ... Read Full Story >>
I have been spending more time recently with folks that some might say are less fortunate. I had a wonderful interaction this past week, when I had the privilege of being the recipient of kindness. I was speaking to a gentlemen who is down on his luck, so to speak. We were just talking and getting to know each other for a while. Towards the end of our evening he said he wanted to buy me a hamburger at the nearby fast food restaurant. In time before, I would have insisted that he let me buy him a meal, since he had a greater need than I. But this kindness community has taught me the importance of being a good receiver, too. So I told him if he really wanted to do that I would be happy to share a meal with him. It was great! He was so happy to ... Read Full Story >>
I was very fortunate to be selected by Kindspring to receive $100 for the monthly kindness contest and it has helped to make a beautiful difference in people's lives. This past October I received a grant to build a large installation I called The Inspiration Tree. The concept is simple. I took a lot of fallen branches that I had been gathering on walks and out at my parents land and hung them from the ceiling with the help of volunteers and friends. Then we hung strings with clothespins attached to them from the branches. I got a whole lot of art supplies and as people came in for the art exhibit, they were encouraged to create a piece of art or a positive message to hang from the tree. The tree transformed into this really fun way of exchanging positive messages. If you were to hang a message up, you had ... Read Full Story >>
We were down at the beach and trying to find a place to park in one of the numerous, and somewhat pricey, public parking lots. We were trying to get down to the beach in time to watch the sunset - one of my all time favorite things to do. After several failed attempts, we finally found one spot in the last lot so we pulled into the only space available. As we were on our way to pay the price of parking there, a woman came up to us and said she had just paid for two hours (all the time we needed) but she had just been called back home and asked if we would like to have her parking pass. She refused to take any money for it and insisted that we take it. We gladly accepted it and thanked her for her kindness. It was truly a "paying it forward" experience that we have ... Read Full Story >>
While I was bicycling on a trail last year my cell telephone rung. When I pulled it from my pocket, I accidently dropped my ID card that was in the same shorts pocket. I did not realize I had lost it until I got back to my car. Then I went back and rode the some route several times looking for the card. When it got too dark to see, I gave up and went home.
Few days later I received a small envelop with my card and a note in it. The note said "I found your ID card on the trail on Friday."
There was no name, return address, or signature on the envelope or the note. I felt a deep appreciation for this person. Whoever you are, thank you for returning my card.
It wasn't much ... times five! I joined the short checkout queue at the supermarket. The lady in front of me moved to make space. She had a child in her arms. I told her I was happy to wait. She tried to move her groceries along the conveyor belt to make space for my shopping. I told her just to hold the child and enjoy that moment. I was in no rush. A man who worked in the supermarket squeezed into the empty checkout bay next to us to take the seat away for someone. There wasn't enough space for him to wheel the chair out the way he had come in. So, I backed my shopping trolley out, letting him follow me. A few seconds later the checkout operator knocked two of the plastic separators off the conveyor belt. I didn't notice until she asked if I could reach them for ... Read Full Story >>
I had a client mail me her requirements to renew her county insurance, and as I read her letter that explained how she was managing I knew I had to help in some way or form. She stated that she had to sell items and do odd jobs just to have enough money to pay her utility bills. Luckily her house was paid for since she had been living in the house for many years. This elderly woman does not receive any assistance from the government and lives by herself. I not only renewed her insurance for a year but mailed her information for other organizations that provide assistance with financial, food and incidentals. As a Social Worker I am compelled to help other because it is was I love doing. I mailed her a pay it forward card along with a personal check for her to cash and pay for her ... Read Full Story >>
I am from Italy, and I take the bus everyday. Buses are really crowded here, and passengers are rarely in a happy mood. One day - it was really hot, and humid - I tried unsuccessfully to open one of the windows. I was giving up on breathing fresh air until I got to university, when a young man just kind of twisted himself around to reach the window and open it for me. He seemed almost surprised when I smiled at him: at first, he mirrored my smile hesitantly, but when he realized that my smile was - in fact - directed at him his whole face brightened. It was such a simple act, but it turned my day around. It isn't the first time that a smile changed my mood so radically, and all because of a stranger. That's why I started leaving little smiley notes around town, and created "La ... Read Full Story >>
In San Francisco, I had this amazing experience with the divine. While I was waiting for the bus I saw a homeless person carrying a sign which said that he would like a cup of hot coffee. As soon as read it, I knew this mission was meant for me. I joyfully ran across the street thinking that getting him a cup of hot coffee would be great. I bought the coffee and as I approached him slowly, I could see that the closer I got, the more joy in his eyes I could see. When I handed him the hot coffee, I simply said "this is for you my dear." I could see so much joy in his face and even a tear. He kept thanking me and holding his coffee like the biggest treasure and trophy in his life. It made me cry that a simple gesture can bring so ... Read Full Story >>
I would love to share an act of kindness that my husband did. While walking through the airport, he overheard a young man telling his mom on the phone that he had lost his wallet and that she would have to come and pick him up so that he could get home.
My husband went up to young man & asked if everything was alright? The young man explained his situation, informing my husband that he is in the military. In their conversation, my husband learned that the young man had done two tours in Afghanistan.
My husband thanked him for his service and asked him how much he needed to get home. The young man replied, "$40." My husband gave him everything in his wallet...close to $100. It's important that we care for one another and most certainly not forget those who put their lives on the line for our freedom. I'm so proud of my husband and this young man<3.
Sometimes I get the feeling that living in a city makes people more suspicious towards strangers. It seems it's just not normal to start talking to anyone or to even smile at someone. Everyone is isolated in anonymity to some degree.
I want to change this for me. When someone approaches me I don't want my first reaction to be distrust.
Last week I went skating. A man ran by smiling. He said something to me about doing sports and that he hopes to be able to finish his run. I smiled back and said that he surely will. And today, a family cycled by when I was in the park. One of the girls waved at me with a smile. I waved back whole-heartedly.
I believe that it is those small gestures that can change the world we live in.
I've been stitching heartpins and gifting them to everyone possible and if you ask me why I do it, it's because of the joy that just bursts forth. The smile that lights up at the sight of the heartpin is worth anything you'd wish for and it goes further. From that moment on,there's a connection. We exchange warm hugs , smiles and a million 'thank yous'. This hobby that has so attracted me has opened my heart and brought me out of my cocoon. Now, I don't mind starting a conversation with a stranger, wishing him or her well and gifting a pin because I know that this little piece of art will do its magic of breaking all barriers. We bond and share stories and next time our paths cross , we greet and smile which is enough to brighten the day. This morning I received a heart warming post on ... Read Full Story >>
Every morning, I cook myself a lunch to take to the office. I started this practice of making an extra lunch so I can share it along the way with a person in need. I have been practicing this for the last ten years.
Yesterday, I was running late so I just prepared a small sandwich and packed it, thinking that I would have it in the office. It was in my hands and after arriving at the office, I saw our old guard at the entrance and just offered the sandwich to him which he happily accepted.
In that moment, I felt a different kind of satisfaction: I realized that when we share, even when we don't have much, we are sharing with something much greater than even the recipient. I really enjoyed that feeling of expansive connectedness from sharing my small sandwich.
May 7-11 is National Teacher Appreciation Week here in the US! Both my husband and I are retired teachers so we wanted to do something. We decided to make an anonymous donation to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit, charitable organization for schools. Teachers who would like to have special projects funded go to this site and apply. Donors choose which projects to fund and how much to give. According to their website, ‘DonorsChoose was founded in 2000 by a high school teacher in the Bronx. DonorsChoose.org empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students.’ We feel grateful and honored to be able to help and to say, ‘“Thank You!” in this way. The donations given through this program have enriched classrooms all across the United States and provided both teachers and students with connections to the greater community. If you donate funds this way, the ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I was leaving the grocery store, loading up my car with my newly purchased groceries when a woman walked up to me and asked,
"It's so hot outside. Would you mind giving me a ride home?"
I had a fleeting thought of fear and concern. But instead I just let myself feel love rather than fear in that moment.
I took a breath and smiled, turned to the woman, and said "sure."
I gave her a ride and we had a delightful conversation on the way to her house. When we exchanged goodbyes, I told her my name and she told me hers.
It was Grace.
Today I was at the regional non-profit blood center donating Source Plasma. My seat mate Tony was a lovely gentleman there for his 15 gallon milestone. Rather than hold a 65th birthday party he has invited his extended family to donate blood and blood based products including platelets, plasma, bone marrow, and source plasma in his honor. Over the course of this his "birthday week" 35 of his closest buds will be sharing the Gift of Life. What a life-changing birthday gift these people are giving! I signed my hubby up for an honorary Platelets donation on Tuesday, his first one, in Tony's honor. Every donation helps . In so many ways, these acts of kindness work to pay life forward for those in crisis. What would happen if we all did something similar? ... Read Full Story >>
My little harp and I went back to the Memory Care home yesterday. I hadn't been in a couple weeks as I was feeling tired and adrift -- no feedback from Hospice and not sure how much the patients noticed. The volunteer coordinator called me last week and asked, well, when are you going there again? I replied that I was uncertain if anyone noticed or cared and that I felt very alone in my endeavor. I hadn't heard from Hospice in a couple of months. He became quiet and said, that was his fault. He told me that while the people there may not show response, the staff reports the residents sleep better and are calmer. Two of the men patients had passed, but my three gals were there and wheeled out to sit in a semi-circle while I played. One was asleep, another in some quiet place, but she did ... Read Full Story >>
We became both recipient and also giver earlier today. A beautiful bouquet of calla lilies was shared with my hubby and I as we were on a walkabout in San Francisco. The giver was a gardener who was consciously gifting his beautiful blooms today in honor of what would have been his late wife's 75th birthday. "Para ti mis nuevos amigos. Please share these humble flowers, my wife's favorites in honor of her, in celebration of you, both named Lily. Love to share" As I took the flowers he kissed my cheek, pulling my husband in for a hearty embrace, bending oh so gently over to pet our small fluffy dog. " From me to you, mi familia es muy especial" After another sweet embrace we strolled past his neighborhood and went into Golden Gate Park. Sitting alone on a park bench was a blanket draped, weathered, and fragile appearing woman-child with her belongings in a ... Read Full Story >>