Here's a story my mom recently emailed our family. I thought I'd share with the group! Per your invitation card instructions, I decided to do my first truly anonymous act of kindness as my baby-shower offering. For Junior, I wanted to crochet a receiving blanket and I just learned crocheting. Then I realized what you had asked for was an anonymous act of kindness. I decided to do it for someone unknown. I got white yarn and started crocheting with as much good wishes and blessings as possible for an unknown baby. It came out beautifully with a center area of shaded blue. And I myself felt a little bit attached to it by the time it was completed! But I remembered what you had asked for. So I asked a friend to accompany me. She had no experience of this sort either. First, we decided to ... Read Full Story >>
[An Invitation From 2004] It's that time of the year again. Yup, V-real's birthday ... this Friday, January 9th. As you probably know, V-real isn't much into celebration of particular days more than others. But we have a creative way to bend the rules for his 25th. First of all, can you make it to our house this Friday at 7:30PM? I know it's really short notice but hey. ;) Secondly, in the spirit of thankfulness for your friendship with V-real, would you be willing to do an act of random kindness for someone, somewhere, somehow? Then, on his birthday, we'll blow some candles, eat cake and share stories of our experiences ... as a gift to him. It's a unique request, but V-real's a unique guy. Because of my unending gratitude for having him as a brother, right after I got my first job, I used to get him everything ... Read Full Story >>
My aunt just asked me for some kindness ideas, so I tossed together this list ... Free Car Wash: I saw this story for a 10th birthday and it seems like a grand time! Miles of Smiles: stand on busy street intersections with "smile" posters. Non-stop fun. :) Clean-up Public Places: help clean a beach or a local park, adopt a highway. Extra credit if you can take some of that waste and create a public art piece (see garden-art from trash). Balloon stand: hand out free balloons with smiley-art on the balloons and perhaps even on your faces. :) Plant trees: visit Arbor Day Foundation -- "We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees" -- to find local organizations that can help you plant. You could also volunteer ... Read Full Story >>
Four of us walk into a coffee shop -- Jessica, Russell, Michelin and I. We're all super committed to birthing a gift-economy world view. Like all activities rooted in generosity, our conversation also takes on an escalating charge as we speak about the nature of things -- "Goodness just begets more goodness. Lots of people don't trust that, because sometimes it takes time, but sooner or later, goodness does beget more goodness." Right then, the waitress comes over and offers us a bran-muffin as a gift. Completely stunned, we look at her silently begging for an explanation. With a smile that says everything, she adds, "You know, we're closing and the muffin won't survive the night, so instead of wasting it, I thought I'd give it away." The waitress disappeared quickly, but we were bubbling with compassion that was very pregnant for expression. We find the janitor, thank him for his ... Read Full Story >>
Strolling down the streets of New York can be jarring reflection about the state of humanity -- a business man in suit and tie tries to optimize his time by walking and reading newspapers at the time, a thirty-something waitress zips by with her restaurant apron half off and is intently looking at that handheld blackberry; a high school girl is on her cell phone cussing at someone in her Brooklyn accent. Trying to catch my subway train to Penn Station, I felt the New York Minute rush also. Until I notice an albino man ahead of me, walking very purposefully, taking very small, slow, intentional steps. He was blind. For every step he took, he would swing his stick couple of times to get the lay of the land in front of him. I passed him in no time, like everyone else. But then, ... Read Full Story >>
About a dozen college kids gathered around me after a talk on the 'spirit of service'. The theme of the talk was small acts of selflessness; they will not only make someone smile but also shift your entire perspective on life. That instead of obliging the receiver with your act of service, it is actually your privilege to get an opportunity to be kind. For some, these are common sense ideas but college students generally don't think about these things. When you're in college, you're more worried about YOUR grades, YOUR job interviews, paying off YOUR loans, meeting YOUR significant other and so on. In our commercialized, image-driven world, it's only natural to take care of your things before you serve others. So here I am -- a dozen folks asking me how to 'Be The Change', a stack of smile cards in my left hand and a commemorative bouquet of flowers ... Read Full Story >>
If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do? Following her show where she gave away $1000 bucks, Oprah asked that question on Yahoo Answers. In less than a week, more than 35,000 people have responded to her query with answers like: "Having once been homeless and living on handouts of change to eat at 99 cent all you can eat places and soup kitchens, sleeping on doorsteps and trolley stops and sidewalks and having guns pulled on me for cigarettes...I would carefully like to choose homeless folks who are not of the ones who don't want to get off the street( met many of those while out there who love to work the system) but those who need a hand up, a first step to get out of that cycle." "I'd give it to the orphans, ... Read Full Story >>
It was one of those awkward stop sign moments. You and the car on the cross streets both arrive at the stop sign together. Both want to rush first but both are a bit hesitant. And then, one person gives in -- usually the person with the faster car. :)
Well, it just so happened that I had one of those stop sign moments the other day. But I had decided to let the other person go and the lady on the cross street had decided the same.
So here we are -- both of us trying to be kind to each other.
I was determined to stick my ground, so lifted my hand and signaled her to go ahead of me.
She gave me the best smile, and I saw an inaudible "thank you" through some lip-reading, and it just made me feel so good.
All it takes is a moment to be kind. Try it next time. It feels good.
On the way to a meeting today, I saw a blind woman who looked a bit lost. I wanted to reach out but was a bit hesitant since I didn't want to sound patronizing. In my heart, I wished her well, and lo and behold, right as I crossed her, she blurts out, "Excuse me, can you help me?" She was indeed lost, trying to looking for the bus stop, and I gently moved her around so she could walk in the right direction. It was a very small act, actually, but I felt so happy that she could read my heart. I feel indebted that she received my invisible offering, before even asking me for help. It was a long, full day. By the end of the night, I decided to get some pizza. (My food choices decidedly deteriorate when my wife is away. :)) It's a very sketchy pizza ... Read Full Story >>
When some young kids showed up at our doorsteps for a fundraiser for their sports team, my brother asked 'em which school they went to. It turns out that both my brother and I are alumni for that same school, so we made a little donation. While we didn't expect anything in return, we got a little "gold card" that gave us entry into all football games. Now, no one in our family has time to go watch a high school football but we didn't just want to throw the card away either. So it was sitting nice and pretty on our staircase. Last week, I randomly meet a young girl who is aspiring to be the student-body president. She was asking my advice on a few things (my brother was actually the ASB president during his years). And then all of a sudden, a flash bulb turned on in my head ... Read Full Story >>