I am a junior in high school. There is a lady who works at my school as a campus monitor and her job is to hand out call-slips and prevent people from leaving campus without permission. Before today I had never seen her smile. The other day my friends and I were eating in the cafeteria and I saw her walking around. When she came closer to us I could see that she was crying. She pulled out a tissue and quickly wiped her eyes. I thought to myself that this lady is so under-appreciated and needs to be recognized for all her hard work. So ... I wrote a note telling her that the students appreciated everything she did and that her contribution to our school made a difference in all of our lives. I signed it "Some thankful students" and slipped it into an envelope. Then I realized I didn't even know her name. ... Read Full Story >>
As a waitress you meet and see all types of people. I guess you could call it the melting pot of the highway because the food connects us all. I was about to end my shift one afternoon when a group of people came in. As they sat down, they explained that they were trying to make it home and just had enough to buy their children a small snack and that all they needed was water. So I showed them a few things on the menu and asked them what they would like. As I walked away to turn in their order, I just couldn't see this family leaving hungry with a snack and some water! So I asked some friends to join me in helping this family and they agreed because they know how I am when it comes to helping others and it gives them the fuzzy feeling of ... Read Full Story >>
The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. "Leave me alone," he growled... To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked. "No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president.. Now go away." The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone. Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.. "No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. ... Read Full Story >>
When I worked in a busy office, most of my co-workers kept jars of candy on their desks to enjoy and share with others. Constantly battling the "bulge," I hated these temptations, but neverthless often gave in to them. I decided to put out a jar of my own "feel good" stuff, with no calories. I bought a beautiful jar and spent one whole weekend at home cutting up colorful strips of paper and writing down inspiring quotes. I filled up the jar with the inspiring quotes and placed it on my desk for people to help themselves to. It took a while to catch on, but soon, everyone was stopping by my "food for thought" jar daily to fill up on something much better than empty calories. They would take one out, read it, smile knowingly, and then fold it up and replace it for the next co-worker. It's something that never needed ... Read Full Story >>
I have this college friend, Eric. One thing used and still does always intrigue me about him is how he deals with the poor. We have a lot of poor homeless people that come walking around our neighborhood day in and day out, either collecting stuff from our trash to recycle or physically coming to the door to ask for anything. Walking to and from class you pass by at least 4-5 of them daily. Most of the time, the constant rush against time makes me pass by them without noticing, but Eric would always take the second (even if he's in the middle of an important conversation!) to take out his wallet and give him/her a dollar. This may not seem like a big deal, because most students are USC have a dollar to give away. Sure, Eric also isn't dead broke, but like all of us film school ... Read Full Story >>
Like many people in this world, I was down, way down. Questioning everything. The light at the end of my tunnel was dim. I was financially, emotionally and mentally strapped. Hope was fading for relief. It seemed no matter how many steps I took forward, I was going twice as many backwards. Tension and strain filled my home. In the midst of all the hardships I was enduring, I worked harder then ever on my faith. Yet, even with my children and husband, I felt alone and hopeless. Because of my disability, I rarely leave my home. With the help of a very small disability check once a month and the Internet, I ran the house. Banking, bill paying, all household business was done on my computer. Money started to get tighter, bills started to pile. Once you get behind, it is almost impossible to catch up. The electric, water, ... Read Full Story >>
Around 5:30pm, I was on the bus one day and everybody on the bus was quiet. People had just gotten off from work, students had just finished their last class and everybody was a little tired from a long day. It wasn’t a particularly good day for me either as I was feeling quite tired. I was just looking outside of the window without any specific thought in my mind. It was the same view I have seen many times before, people hurrying home. In front of me, there was a guy sitting in the seat who didn't look too clean. As he was looking out of the window, the guy suddenly turned to me and pointed at something outside. “Hey, look buddy, look.” He had a big smile on his face. I turned to the direction he was pointing in and there it was...the beautiful Catalina mountains burning with a ... Read Full Story >>
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad ... Read Full Story >>
I was twenty-four years old and three months pregnant when my husband died. I was a widow and an expectant mother in the same day. We had bought a new home and I had filled our two bedroom apartment with nursery items in anticipation of moving in. Now the house would be taken away. I knew I would have to go back to my parents' home, at least until I delivered the baby. And the shock of my husband's sudden death had made losing the baby a very real possibility. I moved back into my old bedroom. My twin bed, a crib and a dresser was all that could fit in the 8 x 10 foot bedroom. The rest of our furniture had to go into storage. I was able to pay for three months worth of storage and then I would have to sell all the new furniture we had bought for ... Read Full Story >>
[Posting on behalf of a friend who I met at a recent dinner and was inspired by the intention behind Smile Cards.] Chapter One: It was Christmas Eve for most people – for me, and my longest-standing friend Lanie, it was just another Saturday night. We were going to meet for a waterside dinner on the Northern shore of Long Island before I headed onto I-95 on my way back to Providence. I arrived about 45 minutes early and on impulse popped into the Nail Salon a few doors up from the restaurant. The owner approached me asking what services I wanted. “Manicure” I answered. “Manicure Pedicure” she chirped. “No, just manicure today – I only have 45 minutes.” "Manicure Pedicure," she re-chirped. "Manicure Pedicure 45 minutes!" She walked me to the back of the salon, pointed to a chair, turned to her staff and without a seconds pause, she pulled up a chair ... Read Full Story >>
Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #9 - A Spontaneous Opportunity to Truly Teach My Children About Generosity
My kids and I were heading into the superstore over the weekend. On the way, we spotted a man wrapped in a blanket and holding a sign that said, "Lost my job. Family to Feed". At this store, a sight like this is not a normal occurrence. It was obvious the man was embarrassed, but desperate. My 10-year-old noticed him commented on how bad it must be to have to stand outside in the cold wind. While we were in the store, I asked each of the kids (I have seven :) to pick something they thought our 'friend' outside would appreciate. They picked a couple apples, a package of shrimp cocktail, a sandwich, some cheese and a bottle of juice. Then my 17-year-old asked, "Can we get him a gift card?" I thought about it. We were low on cash ourselves, but... well, sometimes giving from our 'need' instead of our 'abundance' is ... Read Full Story >>
It was Neil's 10th birthday party. After a dozen close friends super-soaked each other with water and stuffed themselves with food and cake, this sunny August morning party would be about a different kind of fun -- fun of giving. Today, we decided to "tag" people with free car washes. First up were the signs. Taking all the art supplies and glitter and fancy colored pens, the kids sprawled all over the ground to create couple of large "Free Car Wash" signs; no matter how hard they tried to color inside the lines, these signs had "we are kids" written all over it. Soon enough, we gathered up the sponges, towels and soap and headed to the driveway. "Free Car Wash," we practiced our cheer on practically every car that drove by. To get our act together, though, we rolled in one of our own cars on the driveway. ... Read Full Story >>
In a fast-paced city like New York, one can spend a lot of time thinking about doing big things to spread smiles in the city. But often, it is the spontaneous, simple and small ideas that do the job. Take our lemonade stand, in the heart of New York City. Spontaneously decided over coffee one day, and six days later, five of us were at Central Park at 5PM, handing out "free lemonade" to all passerby's who wanted it! "Why are you doing this?" "Just because." "Is it really free?" "Yes. Spread the joy, pay it forward." "Can I take some more smile cards?" "Absolutely." "I'd like to help you give out lemonade." "Sure thing." We collected 250 smiles and were out of lemonade in all but ONE hour! The box of 1000 Smile Cards that we started with was down to 200, thanks to everyone. =) About 5 minutes after we started, ... Read Full Story >>
My friend Robert started a new job this week and he's been in training class for two days. The employer has a very strict dress code --- dark blue shirts and khaki pants. On the first day, an older gentleman in his class did not have the proper attire and he was sternly told that he would be dismissed if he didn't have the right attire the next day. He explained, "Sir, I had not been told about this. Because of my larger size, it's sometimes difficult to find the right clothing for a price I can afford." Last night, Robert and I decided that this old man shouldn't lose his job simply because he couldn't afford the clothes. I had some cash on hand at home and Robert took it with him this morning just in case it was needed. When training started this morning, the trainer was ready to fire ... Read Full Story >>
My daughter is six years old. I wanted to wash her winter coat and I found in each pocket a pair of gloves.
I thought that one pair of gloves might not be enough to keep her hands warm and asked her why she had two pairs.
She answered: ‘I am doing this already for a while, daddy. You know, some children in school don’t have gloves and when I have an extra pair, I can lend it to them so they won’t get cold hands'.
The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, For the world was intent on dragging me down. And if that weren't enough to ruin my day, A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play. He stood right before me with his head tilted down And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!" In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, I faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating he sat next to my side And placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise, "It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too. That's why I picked it; here, it's for you." The weed before me ... Read Full Story >>
If you are ever going to love me, Love me now, while I can know The sweet and tender feelings Which from true affection flow. Love me now While I am living. Do not wait until I'm gone And then have it chiseled in marble, Sweet words on ice-cold stone. If you have tender thoughts of me, Please tell me now. If you wait until I'm sleeping, Never to awaken, There will be death between us, And I won't hear you then. So if you love me, even a little bit, Let me know it while I'm living So I can treasure it. ... Read Full Story >>
Performing acts of kindness seems to have been a theme in my life for a long time. I started when I was a little girl, when I wrote a poem about friendship to a neighborhood lady who always seemed to be in a sour mood and was especially unfriendly to the neighbhorhood children. When I had children of my own, I continued to do acts of kindness in their presence, so that they might learn by example. Sometimes they participated, and sometimes they just observed. Afterwards, each time we would talk about it and it always brightened my day immensely. One day not too long ago, my son and I were in line at the Dollar store buying an assortment of products. In a line next to ours, a woman was waiting to make her purchases. She had a few necessities and one bag of chips. She stepped up to register to make ... Read Full Story >>
To stand up and speak out against cold injustice, against the blind wrong-doing that we see in the world-- that is one kind of activism. But there is another kind. A rarer form of fire-in-the-belly commitment to a much less talked about cause. Tell me, do you stand up and speak out when you encounter a moment of unexpected joy, warmth, beauty or compassion in your life? Do you stop to say so when you stumble across something that makes you smile- or are you in the dull habit of registering the remarkable without remark? Are you a bystander of beauty, a mute spectator of special-ness? Do you let the silver-lining moments of the day slide into an insignificant silence-- or do you seize them as the chance to make something bloom? Sometimes I think of all the nice things I've thought about other people and never shared, of the unacknowledged ... Read Full Story >>
When my wife, Beth, and I moved from the suburbs to a warehouse loft in the center of a large city, Beth embraced every aspect of urban life -- even the sirens, the parking problems, and the car alarms at night. The homeless people made me nervous, but Beth learned their names. The only neighbors who bothered her were the guys who ran the tattoo parlor across the street. They got into traffic-stopping fights, harassed women on the sidewalk, and intimidated men. They were the reason Beth didn’t walk on that side of the street. For two years she glared out our window at the row of men sitting in front of the shop and fantasized about shooting out their tires. Then one day she called me at work to tell me she was getting a tattoo. She’d never wanted a tattoo before and had even taken pride in being one of ... Read Full Story >>