“Everyone says the flowers smell good but I don’t smell anything. Nothing. Do you smell them?” she asks, in her heavily accented voice. After walking around a busy street looking to do a random act of kindness, I had stumbled into this flower shop. Even though my mind was busy devising possible scenarios, I had a gut feeling that something was going to present itself. A little startled by the flower lady’s question, I tell her that “the flowers smell ah-mazing and perhaps you should take a break once in a while so you can enjoy them too.” Before I realize, I find myself in the midst of a conversation about her life -- she got laid off from United Airlines a few years back, took the unemployment money and traveled the world for a year. Then, she ran out of money and came back to work at the ... Read Full Story >>
I have a five year old son and two 18 month old twins and especially at Christmas time I wanted them to truely understand what the act of giving was all about. So I made a list of people that were less likely to recieve gifts or love and let my five year old chose who we would give gifts to.
He chose homeless people. We purchased some large inexpensive gift bags and filled them with canned goods, used warm socks, new toothbrushes, bars of soap, candy bars, and many other surprises, but to my surprise my son came in with his piggy bank and said they could have his money. We filled several plastic bags with coins and I slipped in a few dollar bills, and we put all the bags in the trunk of the car.
It was several days before we saw a homeless person pushing a cart down the main blvd. and fortunately my son was with me and we pulled over and gave the bag to a man who started to cry when we wished him Merry Christmas. I have never forgotten the look of gratitude on his face and neither has my son.
We have now done this for three years on my sons request.
It was a busy and stressful day at work. I decided that I had done what I could do and it was time to face the hour-long commute to the East Bay. It was stop-and-go as usual when I finally braved through the Bay Bridge traffic and reached the Powell Street exit ten minutes from my home in Berkeley. About to exit the freeway, I noticed a large black pick-up truck parked a bit abruptly to the right shoulder. A small Hispanic woman got out of the driver seat and opened the back door. I could barely see her through the tinted windows but something didn’t seem right. Just as I pulled over behind her and got out of the car, she came running towards me -- screaming. As the tiredness of the day slipped away rather quickly, I tried to remain calm and inquire what the situation was and walked ... Read Full Story >>
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.
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.
My car was getting some work done at the shop and my father-in-law offered to go pick it up since it was walking distance for him. I had been meaning to wash it for a while and decided that I would as soon as he brought it home. I started getting the washing supplies ready as soon as he brought it. He asked if I wanted to bring it to the driveway first since the car was parked on the curb of the street. I said, "No. I want to get everything ready first." He gave me a suspicious look and walked inside. Once I was ready, I hurriedly picked up my keys and went outside to bring the car.
As soon as I walked up to it, I noticed the sparkling clean windshield which was filthy and dusty just hours ago. I went closer and realized that he had it professionally cleaned inside and outside. I ran back inside the house with a big smile and noticed there was a smile card under my keys that I hadn't noticed in a hurry. I got tagged! :-) It was such a thoughtful thing for him to do in an otherwise hectic week.
I still can't believe that I got tagged by my father-in-law. Kindness is contagious.
I feel like I'm always running around. And life, in its gentle ways, tries to slow me down. To stop, look, and listen to the beauty that surrounds us every day. As I rushed down the street, late for a meeting (again), I found myself behind a woman in a wheelchair (going at a pretty normal pace). Not wanting to rush past her in my haste, on a crowded street, I slowed down and stayed behind her. When we stopped at the signal light, I noticed that on the other side of the crosswalk was another woman around the same age -- also in a wheelchair. Something really simple, yet deeply beautiful happened as they crossed one another. The face of the woman coming towards us changed, from tired, worn-out, and blossomed into a huge genuine smile. Then I looked to the side at the woman next to me, they both locked eyes for ... Read Full Story >>
I’d driven down to Los Angeles to interview a well-known artist, and afterwards met friends in Culver City for dinner. I hadn’t reserved a room anywhere, and after saying good night, I ended up at a Motel 6 fifteen or twenty miles east on Highway 10. It was still hot outside, maybe 90 degrees. From the look of things, I was deep in gang territory. A young couple checking in ahead of me added to this impression. I was nervous and felt out of place, but ended up having a good night’s sleep. In the morning, as I was carrying my bags to the car, a young man standing in the parking lot shouted out, “Good morning!” “Good morning,” I responded. And then, continuing to look at me with his smile, he said, “Have a blessed day.” His words were so unexpected and so genuine, they passed into an unguarded place in ... Read Full Story >>