"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead Join us in celebrating World Kindness Day on Saturday, November 13th by, you guessed it, doing something kind for someone else! :) Want to do something kind, but just can't think of what to do? You're in luck! We've got loads of ideas on our site, where you can find one that moves you personally. We've also included some of our favorites here below, which are quick and easy for everyone to do this Saturday in the spirit of joining the global community to promote kindness. Kindness Ideas Give a friend your favorite inspirational book with a personal note attached. Pay for the person behind you in line. Plant a fruit tree where it will thrive. Leave ... Read Full Story >>
For Brian Tapp, not even having a horror day could overcome his bowerbird instincts. Driving along Alison Road in Randwick last month, the 59-year-old florist was contemplating failure: evicted from his Clovelly shopfront that morning, he was transferring some effects to his base in Kingsford. As he passed the entrance to Randwick Racecourse, Mr Tapp noticed something on the road. He pulled over. It was 10.15am. His day was about to change. Adam Morison's day was about to change too, but he didn't know it yet. If anyone in eastern Sydney was feeling worse than Mr Tapp it was Mr Morison, who had arrived at Sydney Airport at 10am for a noon flight to Bali. As he got out of his car, he went into a panic: he did not have his wallet, his passport, his money or his itinerary. "I was gutted," he said. "The surfing holiday was over ... Read Full Story >>
As I was walking along the river this evening, enjoying some hot chocolate with the sun shining down on me on this nice spring day, I was in the mood to do something nice for a stranger and started to look around for an opportunity to do a random act of kindness. Two minutes later I was approached from across the pathway by a complete stranger. I wasn't sure why he was approaching me, when from out of nowhere he started talking to me really aggressively and harrassing me. I could tell he was probably drunk or high or who-knows-what so I just stayed calm and kept walking ahead. There were hundreds of people sitting on benches nearby and walking along the South Bank with me, so I wasn't really worried. As I tried to walk along he kept saying offensive things to me and trying to get my attention. ... Read Full Story >>
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 >>
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 >>
One evening in July, a few friends and I decided we would get together to brainstorm an idea for a local Smile Card event in London -- something we could do as a group to share smiles anonymously and cultivate kindness in our hearts. We came up with a few suggestions and then picked an idea that got everyone excited and moved ahead with planning it – we were going to bake and decorate 200 cupcakes, buy a bunch of sweets, make some fun smile posters and give it all away at Hyde Park! Our little team of 6 people spent a month planning every fine detail from inviting friends to get involved, baking cupcakes ahead of time, buying supplies, getting t-shirts that say SMILE and a banner with a giant Smile Card on it and visiting the park ahead of time to find the perfect spot for the event. A special thanks ... Read Full Story >>
We had our first child in January and were so overwhelmed by all the love and kind wishes that people from around the world shared with us and our little one. She was showered with blessings, flowers and gifts from near and far and in some cases from people we didn't even know personally! :) My husband's business friend had a shirt made with her name on it for the football team he supports, another lady in Ireland (who we have never even met!) had candles made with her name on them, another friend in India had dresses made for her, our aunt knitted lovely hats and sweaters for her, friends bought her loads and loads of adorable clothes, another friend from New York had a blanket made with her name on it, another friend sent us cupcakes from a famous bakery that spelled out "Welcome Sareena," another friend gifted her ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, my Mother underwent a surgery to repair a valve in her heart at UCLA Medical Center. During the first couple of days she was in the hospital, my Dad was telling me how wonderful the nurses were in the ICU and how they took such great care of my Mom and made sure she was comfortable at all times. I told him it would be great if we could think of a fun way to show our gratitude -- in the whole process of going through a major surgery, the nurses are often the people who get overlooked the most and aren't thanked enough for the compassion and care they give to each patient. My Dad had a great idea -- he asked me to bring along some cute decorative tins of chocolate from London for all of them. When I arrived at the hospital, I had my first opportunity to tag Kara, ... Read Full Story >>
My birthday was coming up last week and I was thinking of ways I could pay forward some kindness on the day to send good wishes out in the world. And then on my birthday itself, right in front of my eyes, three different opportunities came up one after the other, to support my colleagues at the charity I work at in different ways. One girl decided she wanted to give back to the charity that gave her so much both as a child when she was growing up and also as an adult by employing her to deliver services to other children. So, she's going on a trek and raising money for our charity. She is now part of a really amazing program that works with the most at-risk young people in our area, many of whom have already been kicked out of 3 schools, carried a knife to school, ... Read Full Story >>
I was visiting a friend of mine in the SF Bay Area, and we were driving off to dinner when we saw two people walking on the opposite side of the street, and ostensibly trying to flag down cars. No one was stopping, so we took a u-turn and pulled up beside them. A woman, clearly relieved that someone had pulled over, says, "Our car just broke down, and I'm late for an interview, and it's really near by -- could you guys please drive me there?!"
She seemed sincere and her story sounded legitimate, so we picked her up. As we were driving, she was mentioning how much she needed this job, and how thankful she was that we had picked her up. She also said, "And I just couldn't believe that no one would stop for us. As we were trying unsuccessfully to flag people down, I was telling my friend that they just don't know what they're missing out on -- they would feel so good for having helped someone in need!"
We dropped her off, and it just so happened to that we had just received a bunch of smile cards from you, and so when we gave her one, she was so excited about it and took 15 more!
As your motto says, Kindness really is contagious!
Sometimes its really nice to help people out behind the scenes when they're experiencing a crunch or even just having a bad day. A couple of weeks ago one of my colleagues at work was having one of those days where everything was falling to bits. She tried to withdraw cash from the ATM only that morning only to be denied due to insufficient funds. Payday was still a few weeks away and the bank was giving her a hard time to increase her overdraft limit. When you have plans to take another colleague out to lunch to celebrate recent accomplishments, this can be a little embarassing and distressing at the same time to not have cash to contribute. On top of that, she lives alone in this country (all of her family and close friends live in Africa) so she doesn't have a tight network of support locally and had ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, I was thinking about how the porters in our building here in London have been doing a great job servicing the residents. In particular, there is one porter who manages to brighten up my day every time I come and go from our building and puts a smile on everyone's faces who comes by. He's always cheerful and very helpful and seems to be full of life.
I thought it would be nice to thank him for his kindness. So, I decided to put together a small bundle of daffodils and a box of sweets, each with a smile card attached. The plan was to leave it at the front desk anonymously, along with a "Thank You" card.
When I got down there, he was at the desk, so the anonymous game was over. But, I decided maybe that's the way it was meant to be, and I handed him the sweets, the flowers, and the card and thanked him for everything he does on a daily basis. He was definitely taken by surprise and couldn't get over the fact that someone would do this for him. It felt so wonderful to brighten someone else's day, who never fails to brighten mine
It was a good friend's birthday the other week and I wasn't going to be able to wish him in person. I decided to pay-it-forward in honour of his birthday and started searching through the internet for ideas. I came across a wonderful concept on the Give Foundation's site, whereby you can gift a donation for a particular item/cause in honor of a friend -- just what I was looking for.
They had lots of wonderful causes to support and I decided to support two causes with the theme of empowerment in mind. Through one NGO, you could support the purchasing of books to create a rural library and the other NGO purchased a wheelchair for someone in need.
It is such a wonderful feeling to pay-it-forward to honour people's birthdays -- I think I'm going to continue this for other friends too!
Recently, my family went on a 1-week trip to Costa Rica during the Christmas holiday. The trip started out great, with beautiful drives through lush green rainforests, a hike to a stunning waterfall in the middle of nowhere and really friendly local people who were very helpful along the way. Then we got to the beach resort where we would be spending our last 4 nights and this is where things changed. The staff at the resort were so rude, there weren't enough pool towels or deck chairs for guests to use each day and service was terrible. By the second day we decided things just weren't going to get any better so we just accepted things as they were and tried to enjoy ourselves despite the resort. Then one morning at breakfast, my mom noticed a lady in the corner who was making fresh corn tortilla-like bread on a large clay skillet. ... Read Full Story >>
I get really excited when I tell people about smile cards and they react in an outwardly enthusiastic way, but I get even more inspired when I hear their story of how they passed along a smile card they received from me in the past...
At work the other day, a friend of mine did just this! She said she held onto the card for quite a while until an inspiring idea came to her last week and she decided to act upon it. A friend of hers had done her a huge favor recently helping out with a photo shoot for the nonprofit we work at. During a recent converstation, my friend had mentioned a book she was reading to her friend, who seemed particularly interested in it.
Last week she was thinking of something nice to do for her friend just to say thanks for everything. So, she decided to buy her a copy of that book they had talked about along with a thank you card and a smile card slotted in the middle and she put it in the mail. Her friend called her as soon as she received the package and told her just how unexpected the gesture was and how it really made her day. Sometimes the smallest of thoughtful acts go a lot further than we can imagine...
I organised a large volunteering event at the non-profit organization I work for and because it was such an organisation-wide affair, so many people helped to make the actual day come together. I was very grateful for the way that nearly 25 staff members contributed on the day as they provided an amazing source of support in making things happen the way I had planned.
I decided to thank each of them with a big swiss chocolate bar with a smile card tied around it with ribbon and a thank you card to tell them how much I appreciated their support. As I handed them out the following day, many people were a little surprised by this gesture, as it was largely unexpected. But, what really made my day was when I was shipping Smile cards a few days later and noticed that one of the people who received a card had already ordered more!
This smile movement really is infectious and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to spread ripples wherever I can :)