I was driving my newly acquired motorcycle across the vastness of North Dakota when all of the sudden it froze up on the interstate. I would later be told the timing belt had slipped and this caused one of the pistons to crack a cylinder head, or something like that. Anyway, I sat on the side of the interstate for what seemed like hours. I even feigned to have been in an accident, which didn't help. Finally, a young man pulled over and offered me a ride, but given that he already had two motorcycles in the back of his truck, he could only take me. He drove me to the next town, where I asked to be dropped off. Rather than drop me off, he waited while I asked around if anyone could help me go pick up my motorcycle. One elderly gentleman was working and said that I could use ... Read Full Story >>
I was just blown away with an act of kindness by three strangers, who are now friends. A few nights ago we had a light projector taken from our yard; it was my feeble attempt at decorating for Christmas. I made a posting on 'Nextdoor,' a neighborhood website. It wasn't a mean spirited post at all. I tried to muster all the love and compassion I could for whoever took it. In fact, many neighbors commented on how much they loved my approach. Then, out of the blue, I get a message of someone wanting to come over and introduce themselves to me. I drove up just in time and was approached by Cynthia and Ken, along with their son Nikhil. Cynthia had read my post and didn't want me to lose faith in humanity, so to show me that there are good people in our neighborhood they went out and ... Read Full Story >>
I went up to Peet’s Coffee the other morning and there was a young man, Mike, probably my age. With him he had all his physical belongings on a small roll cart. I first thought, how nice to have so little possessions. That was followed with the thought of how ironic it is that we live in one of the financially wealthiest areas of the U.S., if not the world, yet we can’t, or don’t, take care of the basic needs of human beings. Yes, we are financially wealthy, but we lack in wealth of compassion, kindness, understanding. I tear up as I ponder the inequality and injustice that exists. Anyway, I invited Mike in for bite to eat and he eagerly accepted. He talked about looking up a friend for a place to stay that night. On Christmas Eve as many eagerly (and greedily) stuff their bellies with food in ... Read Full Story >>
This story is from a friend of mine:
While I was in Ojai this past weekend I came upon a man sitting at a bench by himself. I smiled and said hello. As I passed he yelled to me to come back. The man said that I was the only person who had smiled and said hello to him all day and it was near 1 pm. He said he was a reverend and asked where I was from; I said England. At that point, most people will say something like, near London. His response was, Birmingham? In fact, Birmingham is the largest city near my rural upbringing. We talked for quite some time and he told me that he needed money to get back home. Not knowing how much money I had, I told him I'd give him whatever was in my purse. He said he prayed that I'd have $47. When I opened the wallet in my purse and counted out the money I had exactly $47! I offered the man all of my money.
When I was told this story I had chills, as I'm sure that she did as she talked with this gentleman. The universe does work in mysterious ways<3.
I had to bring our car in for some care, as the Engine Malfunction Light was telling us she wasn't feeling well, as was the odd idling. She also needed the rear wiper blade replaced, as the old one had deteriorated away.
When I went to pick up our car, I asked the mechanic how much I owed. He said he couldn't find the bill, so he didn't think we owed anything. He called the owner of the shop who just said, "Have a nice day!"
I've always known Hansen to be an honest, ethical and wonderful mechanic whom I can trust. Now I also know him as a generous and kind person <3.
I am off to make some dinners, plate up, and deliver to anyone who will accept :).
The other day I was doing some grocery shopping and a man, who was unkempt and spent most of the time talking to no one in particular, walked toward a group of us at the checkout stand. I overheard him say to the man in front of me, "I don't wanna steal from this store...would you buy me some food?" The man in front of me pretended not to hear him; it was as if he were invisible. I waited patiently for my turn to be questioned, but it never came. So I asked him, "Can I buy you something to eat?" He gladly accepted. The man got a bag and began putting samosas in the bag. As my items were being rung up I watched the man put the samosas into the bag; 1, 2, 3... He finally stopped and I asked him how many he had got and he replied ... Read Full Story >>
There are days...and then there are days! My wife and I went to this vegan restaurant to give it a try. As we're eating our pepper and salt tofu, a young lady (Debra) walks in. She isn't aware that the place is vegan. Turns out, Debra's looking for some meat. My wife and I talk up the place and invite her over to try some of our tofu. Debra tried it and enjoyed it. She was going to go out and talk with her mother, so we offered her some tofu to bring to her mom. A few minutes later they both walk back in. We had the rest of our meal by this time, so I brought over a sampling of what we had ordered. Debra then asked the waitress to just duplicate our order for them. Next, Debra says, "and we want to pay for their meal", pointing to my ... Read Full Story >>
Nearly two months ago, there was an area that was covered in trash. After walking by this area for many years, I decided to try and beautify it.
I cleaned it up and planted some flowers. I hadn't watered the flowers in more than a week, so I went up this morning to feed them. Lo and behold, this is what I found! I couldn't have been given a greater gift this morning <3. Purple is my favorite color and it appears to have light shining from its center. My gratitude cup is overflowing <3 <3 <3
A friend was made a vanilla latte by mistake at Starbucks. Rather than throw it away, they let her keep it, but she didn't want it, so she offered it to me.
I already had my drink, plus I don't like the sweet stuff, but I took it anyway and said I'd try to find the drink a home. I offered it to several people in line, but none wanted it.
So, I went outside. A young lady was walking toward the entrance and I asked her what she was going to order. She said a latte. I asked if she'd like a venti vanilla late and she was delighted to take it.
I didn't think much of it at the time, but I am so grateful that she was trusting of me, of the universe, in that one moment. Her accepting of the drink was as much a gift to me as the drink was to her...maybe even more <3
What a feeling! To connect with and serve others! Not long after we arrived, myself and the students at a transitional housing, we were greeted by two young sisters. I think they maybe have been 3 and 5 years old. Each would grab one of us by the finger and drag us around. At one point, they had us all in their "jail". I couldn't help but think they didn't want us to leave. Their father sat and watched and I think he enjoyed the reprieve from his two daughters that we were able to offer; they had way more energy than one person could handle, He told me how his wife was at work and he was searching for an apartment. I commented on those are easy to find, but difficult to afford. Quite true in our area. After a couple of hours, the three pans of lasagna were gone, along ... Read Full Story >>
I always take my daughter and her best friend out for a snack and boba tea after their dance practice. I got to YooGool and as I realized I had forgotten my wallet at home, I planned on using Apple Pay.
Unfortunately, I found out too late that they don't accept it. There I stood with a two very disappointed young girls. Mindy, the cashier, said: "don't worry, you can pay us the next time you come in!" Her generous spirit and warm heart turned what could've been a very sad moment for two young ladies (and that can't turn out well for a dad!) into one of the most wonderful gifts I could've received. Not the food on loan, but the trust that one being just showed in another. She has no idea how big of a tip she's in for! :)
We put together some plates of nourishment with the food leftover from our family gathering yesterday. With three plates remaining, we knew exactly where to go...our local library. We handed one plate to a gentleman (he later gifted his dinner to another houseless person <3) and he directed us to another area, where he said there was an 'old man" in need of a meal.
When we got over there, indeed there was an old man. There was also a younger man, Greg. Greg was sitting down, but after we offered him a meal he asked us to wait. He said he wanted to stand up and give us hugs :). With tears in his eyes, Greg gave us each a warm hug, filled with so much love from his heart. He held me tight, gave my head a little squeeze and kissed the side of my head. I don't need to tell you who received more in that exchange <3.
For the past few days a young adult, maybe in his late teens or early 20's, has been sleeping on a sidewalk in front of a Jack in the Box. In fact, every time I've driven by I've seen him there; one time he looked to be meditating. I've offered him a couple of drinks, from Starbucks one time and Jamba Juice the other. He's graciously accepted both, but he says very little. For the past two mornings I've been making him breakfast at my home and then dropping it off to him as he slept. This morning it was scrambled eggs with some veggies, along with hash browns. I added a You Matter card and left him a note just to let him know that someone cares for him. I hope to talk with him someday; hear his story. I was telling my own son about delivering this young man breakfast. ... Read Full Story >>
A young lady and her daughter were behind me in line at Safeway the other day; they were just buying one gift card. I was purchasing only a few items, but the mature lady in front of me had her motorized cart full of groceries!
The lady behind me asked the one in front of me if she could go ahead of her, as she only had one item. The mature lady gladly let her go. The immediate thought that crossed my mind was "why didn't she ask me first?" After all, she was cutting ahead of me, too!
As the young lady went to buy her gift card, she and her daughter offered to place all of the groceries on the conveyer belt for the mature lady:). My own selfishness quickly vanished, but I felt a tinge of shame over my own pettiness. It was a beautiful act of kindness to witness. After the young lady and her mother left, all that the mature lady could talk about was their kindness, as she just brushed hers under the rug. I told her that what she did was very kind, too<3.
To show appreciation for my favorite "techie" today, I enlisted the help of my daughter. We have an avocado tree that gifts us an abundance of beautiful fruit. I put some in a bag, along with smile card. I asked my daughter to leave it (anonymously) for a member of our tech department. I told my daughter, "Ernie must not know where it came from, though!" What I love so much about this isn't the act of giving, but the act of involving others, my daughter in this case, in an act of kindness that goes unknown :).
I was picking up some medication for my son, who just had surgery and is in the hospital. I came across a woman who was having a terrible day and lamenting that "someone" had ruined her birthday. I went up to her and asked her if I could wish her a happy birthday. She said thank you and a short conversation ensued. I told her about my son being in the hospital and how he was going to get out either today or tomorrow. She said to me, "I'm going to ask for my birthday that your son get out today."
How selfless can one be? I was so touched by her generosity, asking that a stranger receive her gift on her birthday. I gave her a big birthday hug and she just said how this little interaction made her day. My son isn't getting out of the hospital today, but it doesn't matter...it's wonderful people who have such beautiful intentions as this one stranger, whom I will likely never see again, who really matter. :)
I began a new practice last year, which I have continued. After many years of being on the receiving end of gifts from my students, especially around this time of the year, I asked my students to forgo giving me anything. Rather than getting me something that I don't need, I asked them to take that money and make a donation to a non-profit and I gave them names of a few that I like to support. There are so many beings whose basic needs are not even met. I have an abundance of all that is important! Or, I asked them to do an act of kindness and write me a card telling me about it. On Monday a student gave me a card and said, "don't worry, there's no gift card in here." She began my telling her her act of kindness. She volunteered at a hospital and told me about ... Read Full Story >>
What a day I had yesterday! First, a student walks into my classroom with an extra cup of Philz Coffee...just for me:). In truth, Philz messed up the order, so they just gave it to my students:). But the fact that
they thought of me was so very touching.
Then, toward the end of the day I receive four cookies in a package from our Teacher Appreciation Club...something I didn't even know existed! There was a kind note inside, too. So, in order to pay forward all the beautiful thoughts that I was receiving, I purchased a strangers meal at Chipotle:)
One of our neighbors is a home full of young adults. In the past, the police have visited there often for what seemed to be domestic violence issues. It was mostly yelling, nothing too physical, but definite verbal threats. When they were not drinking, there was more quiet and less noise. My wife has done several kind deeds for them as of late. She's brought them homemade bread, and when they have needed something, she's been there to lend them whatever it is they've needed. Since her gifts of kindness to our neighbors, there has been less shouting, and more peace. Then today, I came home to find a card, along with a bag of lemons. It was from these neighbors! They thanked us for our generosity and kindness. I can't help but think that my wife's kind acts are transforming a family that needed it most. One never knows what another is going through ... Read Full Story >>
I saw Junior sitting outside...he looked like he was talking to himself...as I walked into Starbucks. Normally I would just say "hi" and walk by. For some reason, I decided to stop and engage in a short conversation. I asked if he was able to stay warm last night (it's getting pretty cold, even here in the Bay Area, at night). He said he's got lots of blankets. He also told me where he sleeps...I think I'll visit him there. Anyway, he doesn't ask for anything, but Junior does graciously accept any offer. I got him some breakfast and a drink that he said he'd like. Junior told me how his sister lives nearby...well, he was difficult to understand...but that's what I gathered. She helps him out quite often. Upon departing, Junior kept saying "thank you" and how he "owed me one." I just said, "you don't owe me anything." I've been so blessed ... Read Full Story >>
Nine years ago, on the 20th of October, Jackie was a student in a class that I taught. Eight years ago, on that same date her physical life came to an end, all too early. Little was I aware of the lessons that she would leave me with for the rest of my life. Every year on this day, I do something extra special to honor her memory and the kindness that she exuded. While at a cafe this morning, I was standing behind a couple ordering their breakfast. After they ordered, I asked them if they'd allow me to pay for their breakfast in order to honor a student of mine. The young lady looked at me with some bewilderment and responded, "Sure, I suppose... but that's a lot of money." I suppose "a lot" is relative. In comparison to one's life, it is nothing. The couple said thank you, to which I ... Read Full Story >>
This is just too beautiful to pass up. I keep a deck of smile cards, the actual "playing" cards, on a community table in my classroom. Several weeks ago a student asked what they were and so I asked her if she wanted to play. Ellen said she wanted to read them but I held firm and responded that if she wanted to know, she'd have to play. Finally, she gave in. The card she drew instructed her to make 5 hand written cards and leave them for strangers. Weeks followed days, but she continued to procrastinate, as many of us do. I'd ask how the cards were coming and she'd just say she hadn't had the time yet. I couldn't blame her, a student's life is very busy these days. So, I needed to do something to offer her encouragement. Ellen also has founded her own non-profit which aims to improve education ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of years back I invited a few students to be part of a Kindness Challenge. After the 21 days one of the participants wrote an article for our school newspaper. I just reread it and I wanted to share the last line of her article with you, in regards to doing acts of kindness with no agenda: "Though it may not be world-changing, it may change a life -- most likely your own."
This is what I have found through everyone in this community. When my mind starts to think "what impact am I having?" I try to shift to "how am I being impacted?" Through giving, may we truly experience what it means to receive<3.
Every day is amazing; how is it that I can actually be here, right now, with all of you? But today is extra amazing! I was able to spend the morning with 8 of my students as we provided breakfast to residents of the Villa. This is a place where people are living, as they work toward self-reliance once again. Everyone chipped in and the residents thanked us profusely. One came up to personally thank us for the "You Matter" card, which was placed at every table-setting. It's important for each of us every day to understand that "We All Matter". Sometimes we can forget that and we never should. As I was leaving, after 4.5 hours of cooking, cleaning, serving, I stopped at a table of young ladies who were just visiting. They thanked us again for coming and asked when we'd be back...I began to tear up. It was I who ... Read Full Story >>
The young lady in front of me at Safeway had rung up about $85 in groceries but did not have a club card. I was going to offer mine, but I wasn't sure how the checker would feel about that. I soon found out, when the checker asked me if I had a club card for the young lady <3. She was able to knock off a little more than $10 from her bill! I then noticed that I was overcharged for an item, which I brought to the stores attention. Rather than just refunding me the overage charge, Safeway refunded me the entire amount :)
My family had "earned" catering for 20 from Chipotle and it was going to expire at the end of this month. We had been planning a day of feeding those less fortunate with our good fortune and that day finally came. My daughter and I put together 21 dishes of rice, beans, sofritas or chicken, fajita mix, and salsas. When my wife returned from her violin lessons, they were all ready and so we headed to People's Park in Berkeley. Every time we've driven by there we've seen many homeless beings and knew the meals wouldn't last long. However, once we arrived, there were very few around. Turns out, there was something going on (I think it was a psychic fair, or something like that), along with a farmer's market. After about an hour and asking 23 individuals if they'd be interested in a meal, we were done. But there are two ... Read Full Story >>
There is a homeless man, by choice, that lives in our area; his name is Peter. Today, at the encouragement of my wonderful wife, Carol, I brought him up some cold water, homemade banana bread and homegrown tomatoes.
When I arrived to him, he was visiting with his nephew, who just happened to be bicycling by and he hadn't seen in a year and a half! The three of us had a nice chat and then I took Peter for some homemade mango and vanilla ice cream that was being sold nearby.
He struggled to transport his cart of belongings, as one wheel was broken. Carol and I decided to purchase him a new foldable cart. I am looking forward to finding a way to anonymously gift him the cart:).
So, I'm sitting in Starbucks having a cup of coffee and getting some schoolwork done when I notice this next to me. Then I see a gentleman helping the bee up on this lid (in order to enjoy some well placed honey) when the bee crawls down.
Turns out, the honeybee might have had an injured wing. It was cold and rainy outside so the man brought her into the store where hopefully she would have some time to warm up and recuperate to the point where he could release her back into the wild.
I was moved by the tenderness with which the gentleman treated the honeybee; he saw her as a living being, with feelings like you and I. The gentleman was doing his work and quite often would look over to check on his new friend. When I left the two of them were still bonding. I hope the bee was able to survive.
There is an area near where I live that has had trash piled up there for months, if not years. I decided it was time to clean it up. Over the course of three weeks, I hauled away and disposed of three garbage bags full of trash. I thought how I didn't want this to happen again, but without an incentive to keep it clean, it likely would get dirty very quickly. So, this morning, I went and weeded the area and planted some flowers. Every couple of days I'll go and water them and feed them some love. Maybe I'll even meditate in this spot :) Planting seeds...literally <3
Many in our neighborhood use the Nextdoor app. The other day, JoAnn posted that there was an injured pigeon in her yard and she didn't know what to do. I was out of town, but after reading her post I suggested she visit my neighbor, as he has pet pigeons.
Sure enough, the bird was indeed his. JoAnn returned the pigeon with a bum wing to his family. I had never met JoAnn, but upon my return, I decided to pay her a visit and offer her some homegrown tomatoes and an avocado, to which she was surprised and pleased.
Without her compassion, this pigeon would have surely died. JoAnn had a choice to make when she witnessed this pigeon limping around her porch; do nothing or take action, making a post on Nextdoor, which she had never really used before. She put her trust into humanity and it paid off. I hope that I can be more like JoAnn when the opportunity to serve spontaneously presents itself.