While volunteering in India between April 2 and April 18, I experienced a smile card. Let me tell you how. The day before I left for home, Saturday April 17, I was cleaning up my office at LAICO, the training institute at Aravind Eye Hospital, and someone left me a Smile card and a beautiful poem on my desk. I was completely taken by this act of kindness. I had worked 12 of the 14 days that I had been in India and I was not sure that I had made a positive impact on those with whom I had worked. This card and poem really touched my heart and brought closure to my two weeks of work and helped me realize that I had made a difference to someone at LAICO. Then while at the Seva partner and board meetings last week, the extraordinary story came to fruition. We ... Read Full Story >>
"Katy, please come to the front desk. Katy, you have a package at the front desk." Immediately my sensors were on. Package? Why do I have a package? Did I order something? Did my mom send me something? Maybe it's from one of my clients. They might have mailed their paperwork in using priority mail. But they wouldn't have called me over the intercom. Hmmmm, a package. Wait a minute.........could it be........is it...did they.... As I approached the front desk Sabrina and Tatiana sat comfortably in their chairs in front of their computers. Nothing was out of the ordinary. They were focused on their tasks at hand and barely noticed me approaching, a smile already planted on my face. "You called me" I said, somewhat suspiciously. For an instant I became unsure that there even was a package there waiting for me, maybe I was confused. Sabrina turned to Tatiana. ... Read Full Story >>
About a year back, I got off the train and was waiting for my ride to come pick me up. Suddenly I felt the inspiration to write a poem. I looked around and found a pen, but no paper. There was not even a scrap of paper in site. Bummer! So I sat there for a moment in a predicament, alone with the stunted inspiration. Then looked around a little more. It turned out that in my wallet I had a dollar bill. Looking at it a little more thoroughly, it became clear that there was very little writing surface on the dollar. But I could write something... So I took my pen and wrote something like this: "This is a very special dollar - given to you with love. Do not keep it. Do not spend it. Pass it on. Give it to someone else with love, and watch ... Read Full Story >>
I was out late watching a movie with friend in Georgetown. By the time the movie ended it was 2am. We walked to my car which was parked in the lot across the street. When we arrived, I noticed something strange- the doors were unlocked. I took a quick survey of the car's interior and was relieved to find everything intact, except for one thing- my briefcase was gone. After some discussion with my friend over technicalities- "Are you sure you locked the doors?", "Maybe you left it at work," I accepted the bag was gone and that was that. I considered myself incredibly fortunate that nothing valuable was taken or that nothing else in the car was damaged. The next day I got a surprising voicemail from a man that lived in the Georgetown area. He said he had walked his dog in the morning and came across a ... Read Full Story >>
There they were; three people yearning to connect with the folks who live in Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta. They chose an interesting day--grey, overcast, cold, rainy but something in their souls stirred them to connect with people whose faces we try not to see, whose lives and circumstances would make us cry and ask why in a world of full of so much surplus do so many have to go without? So, they set off--the three musketeers hell bent on providing some hot chocolate and pb & j sandwiches. In the week before, rapid email fire was sent between anywhere between 2 and 5 people--different ideas were thrown about, flying kites with kids in honor of India's National Kite Flying Day or making home baked cookies to hand out. In the end, we always come back to the basics--mouth watering hot chocolate and good for yo soul peanut butter ... Read Full Story >>
I was at the airport enroute to visit my parents over the holidays and was on the train heading to my terminal resting easy knowing that there was plenty of time before my flight. On the train I noticed that there was a gentleman helping a young mother who was travelling alone with a baby and didn't seem to know where she needed to go. The man asked me which gate I was going to and after realizing I was headed in the opposite direction decided he would help the mother. At our stop I realized the man had two young boys and his own share of carry on baggage to deal with, but he was still trying to help the mother so I offered to take her from there. The mother showed me her ticket and I noticed that her flight departed in 10 minutes and she had a ... Read Full Story >>
I was walking to work today, running later than usual because Sima kept me out late (smile) and it was exceptionally cold at 22 degrees. The homeless were out of site due to the cold weather. I approach the Metro station and passed a homeless man asking me if I have any food. I continue walking, but was happy to see him asking for food rather than money. I did what my grandfather would do, I bought him breakfast. I walked over to McDonalds and asked for the Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, a hash brown and Juice (I was not going to assume how he liked his coffee) I walked back 2 blocks to the Metro station in search of the man.
I found him and said 'here is your breakfast".
He responded with "open the bag....what is it ?"
"Sausage, egg and cheese" I said
"take it out of the bag" he says
So I did and handed it to him.
The best part of the morning was turning around and seeing a young women who had passed him up earlier, smiling. I think it might be contagious.
When I got a random email from his friend in India, I had a realization ... I was in communication with someone on the other side of the planet! The Butterfly Effect proved that a butterfly in California can cause a hurricane in Japan, but this was much more real. I seized the opportunity and told a friend in India: "Hey, can you give $20 to some random person that might need a break. I'll give you the money when we meet next." 'Experiment: Success' was ... well, you find out. Sorry to be so tardy in posting this note about the outcome of your "experiment" in connectedness, action, and compassion. We wound up deviating from the stated ground rules a bit. (In fact, we didn't even recognize that it was your experiment until it was already underway; and if that invalidates it, we'll certainly try again.) But here's the scoop. The folks we stayed with in Ahmedabad were ... Read Full Story >>
I just wanted to thank you so much for delivering those cards to me. I didn't know the response could be so great.
I past a few cards around to a few of my friends... and then all of a sudden, everyone started coming up to mee asking for more. It not only encourages people to help out others, but it also spreads smiles throughout peoples lives.
One of my friends felt down because her friend committed suicide, and so I just gave her the card and told her how much people cared, and gave her this gigantic hug. She almost cried, and thanked me, telling me that I had made her day. I think it was mostly the card though.
Now, I see people with the cards slipped in to the cover of their binders, sticked to their shirts, and I`m planning on ordering more...if that's okay.
Thanks so much! I really just wanted you guys to know how much people appreciate this website and what you're doing. Thanks!
At Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai we recently recruited a dozen management interns and the Human Resource department arranged an extensive orientation program for them. My cousin Pavi and I do a reading session together each morning and the HR head thought it would be great to include the interns. Pavi was away becoming the first Indian "Final Cut Pro" pro. So I took on the "job". The recruits participated enthusiastically and the early morning reading/discussion sessions had us thinking about our purpose and goals and life itself and how to integrate all of it in our journeys. I had so much fun preparing before each class that I wonder if I benefited most! Before they knew it these interns were ‘tagged’ with the smile cards! We gave them each a scroll with an Inspiring quotation and a smile card. The interns were asked to use the cards and help/touch/make a gesture ... Read Full Story >>
Warm and humid, it's raining lightly here in North Carolina. With all its grass and trees, the state seems to be covered in green. I flew here today, lifted and carried in on wings of compassion, fluttering in unison from so many. This is a tale of the joyous celebration of life that occurs when kindness is unleashed and allowed to fly free. I feel fortunate just knowing of this story, but having been able to participate in it has been an incredible blessing. It all came about a couple weeks back, as I was sharing with some friends a story of my good friend Sandra from North Carolina and all the fun we used to have. My Friend Sandra About 11 years ago, I had posted signs around Berkeley, California, hoping to start a "Thinkers Support Group" - a group aimed at seeing the world as it is, ... Read Full Story >>
Last night I stopped by my local gas station to pick-up dinner (hotdog and chips). I am out of work and trying to keep to a tight budget. As I paid for my items, a young girl walked in with a small gas can in her hand, looked at the attendent as if she wanted to ask a question, then left. I promptly paid for my items, and walked out the door. As I walked out, I noticed the young girl sitting on the curb upset with tears in her eyes. I asked if she needed gas. She said "Yes, I ran out, I thought I had $5 in my pocket, and my purse was stolen today. I don't have any money" I promptly pulled out one of my "smile" cards, handed it to her, asked her to read it while I filled up the small gas can.
As we chatted, I said to her, "You are young, you will learn many lessons in life, let this be one--random acts of kindness are amazing acts that forver touch your life, Your life will be much more fulfilled if you learn the lesson, Pass it On."
As she walked away, I thanked the good lord for all the blessings I have in my life. I wanted to thank you and this website for reminding me of those blessings everyday.
I wish to tell a story about how much we can learn from those people who have chosen to build their lives in a place we have always called home.
For many years now, I have been noticing the lack of respect for elderly, or disabled persons on buses or subways. We were taught to cede our seats immediately to someone who needed it more. But that seems to be the exception rather than the rule now.
I am very happy to report, that on several bus & subway trips recently, the tide seems to be turning! Seats were being ceded left, right, and center, to seniors, mothers with children, and the disabled. And those giving up their seats were all immigrants from all corners of the planet! I gave every one of them the warmest smile I could, and reminded myself we have much to learn from these people we usually undervalue. Also, example is the most powerful teacher.
Last weekend my dorm mate was kind of bummed. We don't really know each other too well, but we get along. I had just recieved some coupons for Build-a-Bear Workshop and was excited about going to make a bear. But I decided that maybe she needed it more. I took her to Build-a-Bear and let her make a teddy bear and I let her use my coupons. She was laughing so hard that by the time we left, she had a smile stuck on her face! It was a lot of fun!
Stanford had an unexpected effect on him. Higher education at an Ivy League is supposed to turn out the best engineers, accountants, and consultants on schedule every semester in neat little batches. Instead it sparked in him a deeper question of what it truly meant to be educated. Instead of quickening his steps to match the relentless drumbeat of capitalism, he arrived at "the understanding that the slower you go, the more you learn: that every person you meet and every building you pass is, in fact, infinitely deep, and he who is really interested in knowledge would move not at all." So there he was, inviting me to not move at all for the next hour as a few friends for sat in lotus posture, seeking knowledge. Meditators often crave quiet, pristine environments for their sitting: the shade of a tree in a rolling meadow, a small covey on the bank of a river, a ... Read Full Story >>
I awoke in the night to find my husband, Marty, gently rocking our baby son, Noah. I stood for a moment in the doorway, watching this amazing man with whom I was so blessed to share my life, lovingly stroke Noah's fat pink cheeks in an effort to comfort him. I felt in my heart that something was seriously wrong with Noah. This was one of several nights Noah had been up, burning with a high fever. Tears filled my eyes as I watched my beautiful husband move Noah's little cheek up against his own chest, so that Noah could feel the vibrations of his voice. Noah is deaf. Learning to comfort him has brought on a whole new way of thinking for us. We relied on our voices, a soothing lullaby, audio toys, and music to comfort our other children. But with Noah, we need to use touch, his soft ... Read Full Story >>
"I'm at Lens Crafters waiting to pick up my new pair of glasses. In walks a Mom & her little girl. Now Mom is probably in her late twenties & the little girl is maybe five. Both of their wardrobes are badly dated to say the least . It was obvious that the family’s financial windfall had not yet arrived. I overheard a comment the Mom made to the Sales Lady that she was in between job #1 and job #2 of the day, so she didn't have a lot of time. The little girl and the Mom proceeded around the store looking at these little tiny frames for this darling's face. The Sales Lady was helping them try on frames; pulling aside her favorites. You know how some little kids actually look ten times cuter in glasses...that was this little girl. She finds these cute little frames with a butterfly ... Read Full Story >>
Sometimes life's most important lessons are learned from the guy next door. It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his ambitious future, and nothing could stop him. The phone rang one day. It was his mom, who told him, "Jack, Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days. "Jack, did you hear me?" "Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he ... Read Full Story >>
One sunny day, a day I will never forget, I was leaving the campus gonig back home tired and hungry. I had no food to eat and had no money. I saw an old man carrying luggage both on his head and on his back. I by-passed this man and moved some distance ahead of him. But I could feel the heart beat of this man moving faster than ever, and something told me to go back and help this man. But I resisted this voice for several times.
When i finally took the decision to help him despite the tiredness, I turned to him and took the luggage off his head. This man spoke gently to me and said, "thank you."
We managed to support each other until we got home. When i turned to go, this man said, "son, take this is for you."
When I turned, behold it was one of the largest pearls this man had harvested from his farm.
What a miracle. This pearl was my food for the day. What a glorious day.
I had the opportunity to help two people today.
A young lady had parked her car in a no parking zone near the Anna Nagar roundabout in Chennai, India. She was upset and was anxiously asking people what to do because the wheel of her car had been locked with a special lock so that she could not drive it.
She would have to pay a fine to get the lock removed but she seemed to be very scared of dealing with the police. I accompanied her to a police van parked a little way away and dealt with the police officer on her behalf. I paid the fine of Rs.150 on her behalf and she reimbursed me later. She was so relieved to be able to drive her car off again and thanked me several times.
Later during the day, I came across a young poor couple who were trying to deposit a check at the bank where I have an account. They had been given a check for Rs. 6,000 by the government which is given to new mothers. They appeared confused and were unable to fill out the forms. I helped them with that I hope I eased some of their confusion.