Student Coucil members of my 5th/6th grade class came back from a regional conference excited about this game. They presented it to the class and the class voted overwhelmingly to do this game. Each of my students will carry one of these cards and give it to someone they wish to cheer up and see smile. They will explain it to the new person. We are anxious to see how long it take before it permiates throughout the school and begins comming back to us.
In my last story, I spoke about a colleague who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I decided to continue focusing on her -- she is an amazing yoga teacher and while I was at the Elephant Pharmacy I saw a yoga shirt which states "all life is an endless journey for all the right angles." I gave it to her this week and she loved it!
Since one week of having had Smile Cards perpetually in my wallet, I've found that I realized something about doing random acts of kindness: it's everywhere.
These days, as I walk around, I look for the random things I can do to make someone else's day; the opportunity to put down a Smile Card in hopes it perpetuates. So many things happen that aren't necessarily Smile Card opportunities, but rather just a chance to be nice.
Yesterday I helped someone with a large cart behind them enter one of the classroom buildings and picked up some papers an elderly man had dropped and was having trouble getting. These may be small acts, but now that I see them and recognize them as those acts of kindness, it comes to mind that I'm sure the person with the cart was wondering how they'd get inside and the elderly man would have gone through a lot of pain trying to retrieve those papers. Yet a few minutes out of my day helped them, and now I walk around with a bigger smile. It's a win-win situation.
"A" is a struggling, but brilliant, cookbook author in rural Washington. "M" is his friend in Brooklyn, New York, who financed the cost of publishing the first edition "A's" cookbook. I secretly purchased 10 copies of "A's" book -- my gift to "A" as well as to "M". "L" is a former personal chef now working for a natural foods start-up in Austin, Texas. The kind of gal who not only would enjoy "A's" cookbook, but whose active use of it at dinner parties and events would effectively sell many more cookbooks as the guests inquired about these innovative and refreshing recipes. Both "A" and "L" benefit tremendously by "L" getting "A's" book, sooo... ...I drop one copy off (and some mail-money!) with "P", a retired software engineer and budding artist, in Seattle, WA. "P"'s assignment is to send "A's" book to "L" along with a smile card and anonymous note encouraging her to pay-it-forward. As part of the chain, "P" gets ... Read Full Story >>
My very close friend is pregnant and right now she has taken off from work and has been at home for the past week.
So I decided to make her day by buying 4 roses for her which is her Favorite flower, an ayurvedic health drink, and few other things. Most importantly, I gave her a photo of her spiritual teacher. She was thinking of him very much that morning. I spent some quality time with her talking and chit-chatting.
I gave one of my dresses to the girl who helps her out at home with household chores. She was very happy too. Sometimes we take people who are very close to us for granted. But small things like these can make their day.
Let's not forget everyone is waiting to be loved.
I was in Chicago visiting my brother. We were on the train and it was starting to get crowded. A young mother came on with her young child. Almost immediatly, the guy I was standing next too, stood up and made sure that she got his seat. When he looked at me, I smiled and I could tell that he felt good about his act and that it was noticed.
Recently my wife and I were in Maui, and we went to enjoy one of its gorgeous sunsets by the beach. While sitting there a nice lady saw us and asked, "Do you have a camera?". I replied, "Yeah", and then she offered to take a picture of us. So we stood up, got into our 'standard' arm around each other pose. Then she asked us to lie down on the ground to make the shot more interesting, and asked how to set the manual flash on my camera. My wife asked her if she was a photographer, and she replied, "Yes, but I don't have any jobs tonight."
She took some great photos of us, far better than the cheesy ones that we normally take. We thanked her, and she then walked off and asked the next group nearby if they had a camera. What a nice thing to do!
During our weekly spiritual get together, the instructor surprised us with a wonderful game this time.
Music was played and everyone had to chose a partner for them and then help them dance to the tune of the music. If they didn't know how to dance, you had to teach them to dance. And at the end of it we had to praise our partner genuinely for whatever she or he did.
It was such a beautiful exercise to dance with someone holding hands and then see the divinity in them and praise them for it. Praising someone brings out the divine quality in not just them but in us too.
Few steps of dancing and everyone was smiling bright.
My husband always puts his extra change in the candy and toy machines, as we are leaving a department store. It's always a joy to see the little ones eyes light up when they walk over to the machines and see that it's already been paid for.
With a mentorship program for children impacted by domestic violence -- part of our program is designed to inspire them to serve others in their own lives!
Let me preface this short note by admitting that I have never actually used a fragrance candle. So when a company rep at a booth offered one as a marketing scheme, I thought, "why not?" Later, a few of us were standing in line for some food, casually chatting when a lady in front of me noticed this nicely wrapped candle in my hand. She commented on its beauty and immediately I knew what to do.
I offered it to her but I could sense her hesitation. I pressed some more and finally found myself admitting that she'd be doing me a favor if she took it.
Well, before you know it, we were chatting away (the food line was long :), and I spoke about an organization I volunteer for and random acts of kindness. My friends and I chatted for a bit, ate food, finally started walking away from the area when another gentleman caught up with us and surprisingly asked if we were talking about a certain organization! Turns out, for years he's been known about this organization. Today, after hearing our conversation, he just wanted to talk to a real live person about it. We talked for a bit and departed with the promise that we'd meet again at this organization.
I was driving on my way to a very important meeting at my university, which was starting in 10 minutes (I live 10 mins away) and had just driven out of my driveway when I saw an older woman on the side of the road shaking uncontrollably. I looked at my watch and knew I would be late but I decided to do the right thing and stopped.
She had been walking across the road and had blacked out and fallen in the middle of the road. Another couple had helped her to get across but then had left her. I decided that she would be my act of kindness for the week. I put her in my car, bundled her up in blankets for the shock and took her to the hospital. I sat with her in the emergency room and waited unitl she had been seen and was ok. I wrote my number on the back of a smile card and left it with her and told her to call me when she was feeling better. I didn't make my meeting, and got in trouble, but for once I didn't care at all!!!
She wrote to me the other day and was so thankful for someone stopping. I would do it again in a heart beat!!!
Recently, I was honored by a visit by an inspirational speaker who has been one of the biggest influences on my personal and spiritual life. I first heard his words this last summer, and knew he was the perfect person to speak to my fellow college peers about the value of service at a recent event. When he came in, soaked because of sudden rainfall, some wondered, but once he started speaking, all eyes were fixed. By the end of the event, no one wanted to leave, albiet having mid-terms the next day. As he held the bouquet he was given as a token of the amazing service he had done for us, and as he told us about Smile Cards (and distributed a few hundred that were quickly split up with eager desire to make someone smile), an idea came to each to take one flower, and pass it on ... Read Full Story >>
It happened like this: One of my paying clients casually told me that his son works for DisneyWorld and can let up to three people in for free everyday. It took me one precious second to see the golden opportunity. He confirmed that I didn't have to be present since I couldn't afford the trip - that the privilege could transfer to someone in the non-profit I work for. Wow! Now my job is getting fun! So I whip off an email to the founder of this mentoring organization that is run by a guy fresh out of college who was a foster child himself at one time. Yes, they will surely make use of that. What a privilege to be in the middle of that delight!
Saturday I was with my 8 year old son and we were in Boston at the Boston Commans. There was a manyelling out "spare change." He was a homeless man.
My son said, "Dad can I give him a dollar and one of your smile cards." I said you sure can Jared. I been teaching my son to be very loving and caring. So when the homeless man took the dollar and the smile card he said to Jared, "this is the best spare change I ever got because you made me smile with this nice card thank you so much. Have a nice day." And then he turned
as he was walking away and said, "keep smiling."
I looked at Jared and he looked at me and we were both smiling together and Jared said dad I feel so good that I made that poor man smile and I told him me too honey and I am very proud of you. Then Jared gave me a big hug and said,
"I love you dad." So the thing I loved the most out of this story is from one smile card we ended up getting three smiles the homeless man, Jared, and me John.
Thank you so much SmileGroups have a wonderful day from your loving and caring Jared and John.
I know this girl who was having a hard time, and had mentioned that she wanted to get a journal to record stuff in. So, knowing that she loved penguins, I bought a notebook and penguin stickers to decorate it. It made her smile, and she got the smile card!
I set out with my infant son and two puppies into a new Northwest Houston neighborhood for our secret agent adventure in smile tagging a stranger. We secretly discussed which stranger's house we would smile tag and leave a high end chocolate bar. We spotted a home where people clearly had left their trash on the curb, and needed to come out their door to pick the cans up. This was the place!
The whole "James Bond" team ran up to the door, positioned the smile tag and chocolate bar at the right angle to be picked up, and breathlessly raced away so as not to be caught during our secret agent adventure. We were all giggling and laughing as we nonchanantly got back into our undercover outfits as a mom, boy, and two puppies who were on a casual walk through the neighborhood.
In the end, we were the ones that gained from this act of kindness, as we bonded around our secret agent adventure, and shared in the grace and joy of giving to a stranger! According to my son, this was the best walk/outing ever.
I decided to focus on a co-worker going through a hard time last week. She's an incredibly amazing person who teaches yoga on the side to "at-risk" youth and always has a calming effect on any room. She was just diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted to do something for her to show her that we all collectively are here to support her.
I decided to buy her a healing necklace with a lotus design, symbolic for new beginnings and transformation, and tourmaline stones, known for healing energy. I sent the gift anonymously so I hope she liked it! I haven't seen her since the necklace was delivered.
I drive a 97 Ford Expedition, but I live by myself. I am constantly being told how that truck is too much for me and I should get something smaller but the way it came to me was of sheer Karma, I have to keep it. It's been a year now, and that truck has been helpful in so many ways.
The latest was just yesterday, I was on my way to work and passed 8 hispanic men walking along this long narrow road. The nearest structure was at least another 10 minutes by car so I pulled over and offered them a ride. They spoke no english so I used my (rough) spanish to find out that they work 5 blocks from me which was still 15 minutes away by car. I took them to their job, and went on with my day. Just thought I could share that with this site.