While waiting for a doctor's appointment, I decided to go into the coffee shop for a soda. The only other customer was an elderly woman eating a small lunch at a nearby table. When I paid for my drink I told the cashier that I would like to pay for the lady's lunch.
By coincidence, when I was waiting for the elevator after my appointment, the lady came down the hallway. She said, "Oh, you're the nice lady who bought my lunch. My husband died last year, and I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself. It perked me up when the waiter told me you had paid for my lunch. Thank you...You're so kind."
So my "random" act was not anonymous anymore, but it was gratifying to think that I could cheer someone up, even briefly.
I do have one regret. I wish I had asked her to join me. She probably would have appreciated that even more, but then again, maybe not. Sometimes people aren't ready to connect with a stranger, but they like reminders that the world can still be a friendly place.
Whenever I pass by an Elementary schoolyard, I pull any loose coins (especially Quarters) that I have in my pocket and pitch them over the fence, by the swing sets or sliding boards. As a small child it was a thrill to me to find a lost coin laying on the ground, (especially something as BIG as a Quarter!) and I enjoy the idea that I'm passing that excitement on to another small child.
We were recently at a concert. The young artists were playing their hearts out but unfortunately, the audience was largely empty. Moved by the artists, my wife felt we ought to do something to support them. Something, anything. The guy next to us, an Italian youngster named Arthur, had become our friend in applause. We just knew that he felt the same way, because at the end of the concert, all three of us stood up to give our own version of a standing ovation for these budding artists. After the concert, we go outside to the front desk and ask the little girl behind the CD-counter. "What is your favorite item? This t-shirt or this CD or this card?" The little girl was also part of the ten-person band; she was the daughter of the lead singer. A little shy, she shrugs her shoulder with ... Read Full Story >>
I have to say, before I read any of the stories, I need to get a Kleenex at the ready. Almost every story I read touches me, and tears slip--not the sad tears, but tears of that 'touch'.
I can't wait to get my cards and pass along the smiles. Thank you.
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!
Well, today I performed my first random kindness act. I paid for the car behind me in Mcdonalds.
I was a little embarassed at first, and I didn't have my smile cards with me so I asked the clerk to give them one of the pages I printed out of your IDEAS.
The couple smiled and he yelled "thank you" to me ... it was a wonderful feeling.
I'm sure I won't be as embarassed next time. :)
I'm a 38 yr.old woman with 4 kids battling stage 4 breast cancer. I was out to eat with my family last weekend and we were ready to pay the bill. Inside the folder wasn't the bill, but a smile card. Our dinner was paid for by a generous soul!!
We felt so blessed by how God used someone to care for us! We can't wait to pass on the kindness.
I love to do the random things like pay for the person behind me in the fast food drive thru.... This week after church we decided to go out to eat with our kids in tow. Our family consists of 6 children, some adopted. We went to a local restaurant. We were seated next to a family of 4 children, and I noticed the young mother had a bandana on her head and appeared to have a hair loss issue, it immediatly touched my heart. I told my husband I want to pay their bill. He looked around, I think he was looking for a lonely person in the corner, then I pointed to the family next to us. When he did a head count I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Our income is stretched as it was and here I am suggesting we pay for another bill. After ... Read Full Story >>
I have started sending gift certificates and other small things to people that I read about in the paper who are making a difference in our community. I send one out a month, all I can afford.
Just today I sent off a Borders gift card to a principle at a local school who is making a difference to the kids there.
Completely anonymous of course!
And with strict instructions that the gift card is for them and should not be funnelled back into their organization. I include a personal note that tells them how much they are appreciated in what they do. I love the stealth thing. Even my husband doesn't know!
Last week, I was running a little late on my way to my first day at a new job in East London. I had injured my achilles heal a couple of days before and didn't want to put too much pressure on it by running to the tube station so I decided to jump in a cab just to get to the station. The cab driver was really warm and friendly and happened to ask me where I was off to. So, I told him how I was on my way to start a new job and was running a little late to get to the tube station. En route, about half way there, he realized that the road was closed ahead and told me that as a result this is as far as he'll be able to take me. Of course I said no ... Read Full Story >>
Thomas Carlyle, the distinguished Victorian writer, was just six years old, when a beggar, wrinkled with age knocked at his door. The old manís state - his tattered clothes, his bent back and his shaky hands moved little Thomas. "Please wait!" he said to the stranger, before he rushed to his room.
He was back in a minute, breathless. In his hand, he carried a little piggy bank into which he had safely put away the precious pennies and shillings given to him, from time to time. Wordlessly, he emptied the contents of the piggy bank into the grateful hands of the old man. A beautiful toothless smile was flashed at the little boy.
Recounting this incident, Carlyle said, "I cannot recall anything that gave me so much pleasure as this simple act of selfless service!"
It was a routine trip. We, my wife and I, are walking back home from the grocery store when we spontaneously decide to walk into a coffee shop. As my wife orders a small cup of coffee at the counter, I huddle our grocery bags under our table and get ready to share some hot coffee on this unusually cold day. Just then, my eyes catch glimpse of a young woman in her thirties escorting a rather frail Mexican woman into the shop. Maybe it was the gentleness of their encounter or a vague familiarity with the circumstances, but something about them grabs my full attention. I immediately feel an impulse to do something for them. Anything. Unfortunately, before I can gather my wits, they leave the coffee shop without ordering anything! When my wife returns, I tell her of my silent encounter. "But I ... Read Full Story >>
For the MIT class of 96 reunion weekend, we plan to create a massive ripple of smile cards around the city of Boston and Cambridge -- our own version of an MIT hack! Press will on the hunt for acts of compassion but it'll all be anonymous, so let's see what happens.
See our brochure and hope you can spread the joy in your colleges too!
Last week, I arrived back home to our flat in London from my trip to visit my family in California to find a "mystery package", which someone had left with the porter in our building some time while my husband and I were both away. It was a large envelope with a wooden backing, and a small note on top reading "Deep and Trishna, Enjoy!" As soon as I opened the flap, I discovered a Smile Card attached, and I knew instantly that someone had anonymously reached out to us with an act of kindness. As I reached into the envelope, MUCH to my surprise, I pulled out a sketch by Manohar Devadoss. My heart instantly melted by the idea that someone reached out to us with such a beautiful drawing by a person, whose life has touched mine from the minute I read Pavi's piece on him and his wife. ... Read Full Story >>
It was just 15 years ago that I was changing diapers on my nephew. My sister had him at 18 years old. She was living with my parents while I just graduated college and had my first real job. Her son was just 18mos old and his father was in the Airforce stationed on the east coast. It was just my sister and mom with him all the time. I decided he could use a little "male" in his life, so everyday after work, I would stop off at my parents house and take him to the park and push him on the swing. He really grew fond of me. Since then my sister added 3 more girls and I used to drive to Tracy, CA and spend about 3 weekends out of the month with them. It was tough on my sister and her husband. Money was always tight, so I'd ... Read Full Story >>
As a single mom, it is often hard for me to provide those little "extras" my children seem to want.
About four weeks my 11 yr old son came home from school to inform that the musical instrument he had made from recycled products was chosen to be sent to the NYS Green Nation Recycling Competition in Albany.
There was a note from his teacher informing that my son was invited to attend the competition but that parents were expected to fund this two day event for their children.
My son was estatic, but what was I to do. I didn't have that kind of money, this trip was going to cost $300!
Well, my son immediately began do odds jobs for family memebers so he could earn some money towards the trip, and I began to work as much OT at work to put a little extra in as well.
We prayed every night that somehow we will raise the money for my son to attend.
Last we got a telephone call from a member of the Deputy Sheriff's Association in our area, and this wonderful group of men and women have come together to sponsor my son so he can attend this event!!!!!
My son is truly blessed.
This is about an incident which took place couple of years back. I used to frequently visit an old age home run by the little sisters of the poor in our city Hyderabad. A.P. (India) There I met a gentlemen by name Kurien who happened to be a Keralite in his late eighties. He served the Indian army and retired. He has one son who is well educated and also married. He just does not bother to take care of him nor respect him while he is in the house. Mr. Kurien got dejected with the life in his house and decided to move into this old age home here in Hyderabad. We both began to share a lot thoughts whenever we met and slowly it was a daily affair that I used to spend some time with him discussing what he was doing in the army, ... Read Full Story >>
Dear Smile Cards, First of all, thank you for your continuous efforts to show this materialistic world how to make it a better place - without a great deal of money. I am a Character Education Committee chair at my school, Lufkin Road Middle School in Apex, NC. We got some cards from you a couple of years ago, which helped us improve our climate. As you know teachers are under a lot of stress with the current "No Child Left Behind" and high-stake testing. But, here is an idea I'd like tos hare with you. Every month we celebrate a particular trait, but we know very well that it is a sum of all admirable traits that make a person a good human being. This month students and I have designed a huge treasure chest and gems made of paper, which we found on the Internet and drew ourselves. We put ... Read Full Story >>
I am selfish when it comes to my wife Ana. I always seem to want her to dedicate all her spare time to me. A mutual friend, who has coped with severe ulcerative colitis for several years had major surgery last week to remove her large intestine and other affected organs. As I listened to Ana as she talked to our friend on the phone and spoke words of encouragement and hope, I realized how wrong I have been. That Ana's love and caring for others is an answer to their prayers. That Ana is the embodiment and response to prayers of my own: "God Bless so and so and this one or the other..." Ana does while I just prayed. Humbled and thankful for Ana's example of prayer in action. May we all realize that it is thru acts of kindness that we truly do God's bidding.