Today I went to the hospital to visit a friend in the Intensive Care Unit. I stopped by the gift shop and got a small flower arrangement to take to him. The nurse told me I couldn't bring flowers into the ICU so I left them on the counter feeling really disappointed. After my visit I retrieved the bouquet and headed for the elevator. I saw a woman leaning up against the wall looking tired and stressed and as though she'd been crying. I asked if she was okay. She sighed, and said, "The people around here sure don't give you any emotional support. They tell you they're too busy saving lives to do that." We chatted for a minute and I kept wondering why the elevator was taking so long. Then I realized, I was meant to be there with her at that moment. I handed the flowers to her and ... Read Full Story >>
I am a huge fan of thrift shops and I have several that I check out every weekend. It's how I unwind and have some time to myself. I actually look forward to it every week. One of my favorite shops had started discounting certain clothing by 90%. Every week they had an entire wall filled with all kinds of items, most of which were in great condition. I was disappointed at first that I couldn't personally benefit because nothing was in mine or my husband's size. Then it dawned on me. I could stock up on sweaters and jackets for the impending cold weather and donate them to the homeless shelter! In the last couple of weeks I've gotten six huge bags of sweaters, jackets, sweatpants, and long-sleeved shirts for under $20! I also got a small bag of soap, toothbrushes and shampoo for $1. One of the jackets I got today ... Read Full Story >>
I was on a long drive this past weekend and stopped for a rest break. I noticed a man in a wheelchair sitting by the stop sign. He was holding a sign that read, "trying to make it home for the holidays". I quickly dismissed it because I had no cash to give him. I watched as people drove by and either ignored him or stared at him like he was a curiosity of sorts. I felt really badly for him. I started to drive away but turned around and asked him if he was hungry. For some reason, I seem to be called to feed hungry people lately. He seemed shocked that someone was interested in his well-being and said yes, he would like a sandwich and a soda. I know some people balk at the idea of giving money to strangers because they may use that money for drugs or alcohol ... Read Full Story >>
I went through a drive-through this morning to get breakfast. I saw a woman behind me in line. She looked really tired and had a couple of kids with her.
I pulled up to the window and told the clerk I wanted to buy her breakfast and asked him to give her my Smile card. He seemed moved and said he would.
As I was waiting to pull into traffic, I paused long enough to see the clerk hand the woman in the car behind me the card and point in my direction while she stared in disbelief.
Then I pulled out and continued on my way, my car windows open, my hair blowing in the long-awaited cool breeze, my favorite music playing. The morning seemed even sweeter than before.
One day, on my way to work, I pulled into the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru. I was tired, hungry, worried about money and bills - as usual! I was behind this woman in a VW with a "Life is Good!" sticker on the back window. As she put her hand out the window to pay I saw her beautifully manicured nails and the expensive looking jewelry on her arm. Her hair looked like she'd just been to the salon. My envy immediately kicked in and I started grousing. 'Must be nice!' and various other mean-spirited thoughts went through my mind. I was resentful of her material possessions and her "Life is Good" attitude. When it was my turn to pay the cashier told me that the lady in the VW had paid for my order! I was told that she regularly goes through the drive-thru, gets a cup of coffee, pays with ... Read Full Story >>
I have a co-worker whose husband is in hospital awaiting a heart transplant. He's been sick for a long time, and lately his situation has become more delicate. My co-worker has been trying to keep it all together - working full-time, taking care of her two teenagers, and driving three hours each way to visit her husband in the hospital. One day she snapped at something I said, but I just let it go. She obviously felt bad about it and later e-mailed me to apologize. I told her it was okay, that I know she was dealing with a lot. A couple of hours later I passed by her office and went in to make sure she was okay. I said, "I would like to give you a hug, if you want one." I didn't think she would because she's not a touchy-feely type of person. Surprisingly she said she would like ... Read Full Story >>
I had my last smile card burning a hole in my pocket this morning. :) I was wandering around Goodwill and stopped to look at the costume jewelry. This young girl was looking as well, and she immediately started talking to me. We chatted about the jewelry and she asked if I could untangle a necklace for her. Then she blurted out that her friends were wondering why she seemed so depressed lately. I asked her if she knew why and she said no. Then I asked her how old she was. "Fourteen," she answered I laughed. "That might be why," I replied, laughing. "My stepfather is always depressed, too," she said, "and he's in his mid-forties." Being that age and knowing that feeling myself, I laughed and joked, "Maybe that's why he's depressed too!" The girl ended up picking out a couple of necklaces and wandered away. I didn't see who she came in ... Read Full Story >>
Once again, God seems to have put a homeless person in my path. I don't know if there are more homeless people out there than before or if I'm just noticing them more. Lately, I regularly come in contact with people that I just can't ignore. His name is Mark and I was shocked to hear that he is only three years older than me. He looks so much older! He was on the corner asking for money. I saw his piercing blue eyes beneath his dirty hat and scruffy beard, and I couldn't look away. I parked my car and walked over to him and just plunked myself down on the curb to talk. People were driving by and staring at us, but I didn't care. We talked for awhile and he told me about his life. I don't know how much of his story I believe, but who cares. ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend I was navigating my way through a Good-will store as I do every Saturday. I was absorbed in my own thoughts when I overheard an employee say, "Let me shake your hand to thank you for your service!" I looked up and saw the employee, a man in his 30s, shaking the hand of an elderly man wearing a "WW II Veteran" hat. As they started talking I stood and listened in. The veteran said he was 85 and when the employee and I expressed surprised he fished out his driver's license to prove it. This man was sharp as a tack and looked to be in great physical shape. And, boy, did he have a sense of humor! The three of us stood there for about 15 minutes, just chatting away about the veteran's war experiences. He described the feeling he had when Germany surrendered in the war, how ... Read Full Story >>
They had a ton of stuff so I happily picked through the piles. I ended up with a huge bag of items; a toaster, some books, some great shower gel, and a sleeping bag. I asked what I owed and the woman said, "How about $3?"
This morning I was running errands and had a sudden urge for an ice cream from McDonald's. I tried talking myself out of it; I hadn't had lunch yet; I really didn't need it; I already passed McDonald's! But I gave into my craving and turned around. A homeless man was begging for change at the traffic lights. He looked so tired and defeated. I pulled a couple of dollars out of my wallet and gave them to him. I asked him if he was hungry and he said yes, but that the money I had given him would buy something to eat. I pulled up to the drive-thru to get my ice cream and decided to go ahead and order him a burger, fries and a coke. When I handed him the bag I told him I had gotten him some lunch and he stared at me in disbelief. He immediately started ... Read Full Story >>
This past weekend I had a bunch of charitable things I wanted to do. I took food to the animal shelter, I bought sweaters and a couple of sleeping bags to donate to the homeless, and I bought someone's breakfast at the drive-thru. On my way into the good-will shop I saw a couple of young teenagers huddled together; a boy and a girl, no more than 14 or 15. The girl had her head on the boy's shoulder and they were clinging to each other. No one paid them any attention. On my way out, I saw them still sitting there. I started to walk to my car but thought, 'No. What if these poor kids need something? What if they've run away and have nowhere to go? What if they're hungry?' Imagining all sorts of awful scenarios I turned around and walked towards them, very proud of myself for my ... Read Full Story >>
A co-worker and I were at Cracker Barrel for a quick workday lunch. Seated next to us was a large group of about a dozen people. They had several tables all pushed together, with children milling about and adults laughing and talking. My friend and I rolled our eyes at being seated next to such a noisy crowd. But after watching them for a few minutes I saw the most beautiful thing. An elderly man was tenderly cradling a tiny baby wrapped up in a pink blanket. We watched as he kept leaning over and kissing her forehead and whispering into her ear. He was beaming just being in the presence of this little girl. It was so sweet that it brought tears to my eyes. On our way out I decided to stop and tell the man how much this little interaction touched me. He smiled very broadly and said the ... Read Full Story >>
Today I did my usual thrift shop rounds, buying clothes to donate to a shelter for the homeless.
I like to practice kindness with the animals as well. I live out in the country and we often have big old turtles trying to cross the road. I always stop, pick them up, and take them across. I've even stopped in the rain and kept the traffic at bay while I ran across with a hissing turtle! Lots of people around here do this and we always give each other a thumbs-up or a wave. However, I have seen people purposefully run over the turtles and it always breaks my heart. Our neighbors have three beautiful horses that my husband and I enjoy petting. We keep a steady supply of carrots, apples and sugar cubes to feed them (with the owners' permission, of course). We also have a couple of rabbits who live in the shrubs off our driveway and I like to leave them carrots and lettuce. We keep a ... Read Full Story >>