Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One night I took a fare at 2:30 AM, when I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By ... Read Full Story >>
Since I joined this website last week, I was mulling about how to incorporate acts of kindness into my life as a regular practice. I was truly inspired! I am a massage therapist and have my own practice. What I decided to do is to no longer keep my tips; instead, I would use that money towards giving someone a free massage. For instance, I charge $75/hour. When there is $75 worth of tips given, I will offer someone in need -- who cannot afford the massage otherwise -- a free one. Well, no sooner had I hatched this plan that a client called me and said she had to cancel based on financial difficulties. Guess who got the freebee?!? The beautiful thing is that this woman just lost her father and is in a ... Read Full Story >>
I became a massage therapist because I was headed for chiropractic school and wanted to see if I was ok touching people all day. After completing my massage therapy education I started working out of my home while also working for a pharmaceutical company by day to save money for chiro school. At first, it didn't really consciously occur to me that this type of giving was what I was really after. I just found that I loved what I did and couldn't wait to go to work each day. Now, ten years later and running a thriving massage therapy practice, I donate massages regularly to family, friends and random people such as pregnant moms having difficulty for any reason, abused women, widows and children with special needs. Sometimes I just pick a person for no apparent reason and tell them that they have won a free massage with me. I don't ... Read Full Story >>
The train was not working that night as I was heading home. I had to catch a bus and 2 hours later was dropped off in the middle of the town I was staying in. The ice storm froze the ground and it was very difficult to walk. I asked three people for directions, but they were too hurried to help.
Then I saw an old lady holding onto the corner post with her packages, afraid to move. I asked her where she was going and it was at least 3 miles away. I tried to find a cab or police car but I was told they do not stop in this neighborhood.
So, we proceeded to walk along, holding onto each other for dear life. The roads were layered with a sheet of ice. Then and there I decided that I could not leave this old lady alone like this. So, I decided to walk her home, hand in hand, for a good 2 hours. Later that evening, I finally reached my destination wet and exhausted but filled with joy and love for life.
I used to work at a warehouse that was down the street from a homeless shelter. It was right next door to a little gas station where they made breakfast sandwiches daily and I would walk over before my shift started and get a sandwich and a coke every morning. There was always someone or the other standing around outside asking for money to get something to eat. As a single mother I rarely had money to spare but sometimes I would give them my change until I noticed most of them would go inside and buy a beer with the money instead of food. I stopped giving out my change and just told them I didn't have any. One day as I was walking out of the store, I noticed an old black man who was obviously homeless. However, interestingly, he was always wearing a nice suit and tie ... Read Full Story >>
I'm a bit of a family historian (not that we have much of a history outside coal mining in Scotland and farming in Ireland.) One of my most precious possessions, which probably dates from about 1915, is a family portrait. My great grandmother sits on a chair all stiff and formal with her brood of babies around her feet and on her knees. My great grandfather stands behind her the picture of authorirty, but he is actually standing on "tin" legs after an accident with a railway truck. One-by-one the people in the picture left this world. My gran died aged 82, but in this picture she is about 3 forever. One of her sisters, Lena, outlived all her siblings by quite some way. Going to visit Lena not long before she died it occurred to me that she might not have seen this picture for many decades. So I made a copy, framed ... Read Full Story >>
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However,he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in humanity grew stronger as well. He had been ready to give up ... Read Full Story >>
I went to a Catholic Mission Hospital in Ghana one day, to visit a friend who was a Priest, and medical doctor but was off duty then. On reaching at the hospital gate, there was this woman who seemed to have traveled from the far away village to send her sick girl to the hospital. And the girl was actually dying, so pile, with bulged eyes, and flies were all over her body. Also, the mother of this girl who looked so shabbily and tattered could not do anything but to see her poor girl dying on her own laps, since the nurses on duty would not offer her the necessary help, perhaps due to her poverty. From the hospital gate, the shouts for help from this poor woman drew my attention, so I approached her, took the sick girl from her laps and sent her straight to the consulting room to see ... Read Full Story >>
I was priviledged to join a college which not only created an environment for attaining professional qualification but also ensured that each and every student left the college an all-rounded individual. Most of the colleges in my country were commercially oriented and students tended to come in, have their lectures and off they went. The lecturers in the college I attended always embraced higher ideals and many of the kids coming straight from high school would dread this college on the basis that it was strict. It was no bother to me anyway and I often looked forward to my college days. One of the lecturers, in particular, captured my attention most, not because of his tutorial skills but by the way he would always walk and leave no dirt or paper behind him. He would always bend over and pick any piece of paper lying on the floor and throw it to the nearest dustbin. On ... Read Full Story >>
I was working for a company in Australia that has a high turnover of staff. I, too, had found a better position and was very aware that management would be dissapointed that I was leaving. I had recently become friends with a young man who had just migrated to Australia. He was unskilled and was finding life difficult being unemployed and married and having two young children. As I handed in my notice I was asked if I was aware of anyone who was looking for work and could do the job as well as I had done. I took this opportunity to line up an interview for my new friend. My friend was not offered the job after the interview. I had to serve a weeks notice and during this time I asked management the reasons why my friend was turned down. They claimed that his English was not good enough ... Read Full Story >>
Everyday as I drove through town, I saw a one-legged man going through ash cans for cigerette butts and trash cans outside of fast food restaurants looking for food. It was only a month before Christmas, starting to get cold (I lived in a town that was over 6,000 ft. altitude) and I could not quit thinking about him. It was a year where we didn't have enough money to really have much in the way of presents but I figured what was too little for us would be a lot for someone who had nothing. So I bought a brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, pack of cigerettes, cans of tuna, just little things that didn't cost much and then I added a blanket and sweatshirts. I made a box up like a present and went in search of this man. I saw him hobble away from the dumpster next to McDonalds. I ... Read Full Story >>
My 9-year-old daughter and I were flying from our home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to spend a week with my husband in Miami, Florida. Mike had been in Florida for five months working for an internet start-up company. We were excited about the trip because we had seen him only five times in five months, and Kallie missed her Dad terribly. As usual on the Charlotte-to-Miami flight, the plane was totally full. I had noticed a troop of Boy Scouts at the gate and commented to my daughter that if anything happened, we would be OK with all those Scouts on our flight! Little did I know.... Because we did not get our boarding passes until we arrived at the gate, Kallie and I could not get seats together and were separated by the aisle. That wasn't such a big deal, except that Kallie was nervous about the trip and had counted ... Read Full Story >>
I had a dream. A genie appeared and offered me one wish. I begged: “I want happiness.” The genie answered: "Happiness? You can't give someone happiness. What is happiness for one person is different for someone else. It is relative. I cannot give you happiness, but I can give you what will make you happy. What will make you happy?” the genie asks. I examined my life and found that the most ecstatic moments of joy, bliss and happiness were when I was helping people. My happiness came from serving others. So, I said, “Genie, let my life be one of serving people." And so it has come to pass. I became a physician to provide medical care to indigenous peoples worldwide in war and in peace. I held the hands of hopeless people in warring Rwanda, dared to care for the desperate in Angola and the traumatized in the trenches of ... Read Full Story >>
My 25 year old daughter moved house yesterday. It wasn't a big move. Just around the corner, in fact. But she was moving from a flat to a house with a little garden so her son would have space to play. The distance was probably too short to justify hiring a removals company, but it was long enough to make carrying all the stuff a real pain. But we didn't have to. A neighbour offered the use of her Transit van. She reversed it up to my daughter's front door, then went home while we loaded it up. Then she came out, drove it to the new house and walked back home for a cuppa tea while we unloaded. Then she did it again. And again. All offers of payment or petrol money was waved aside. My daughter got her a big bunch of flowers later as a thank you. Before I left, I ... Read Full Story >>
I got my bills for the month and you know what that usually feels like. I just first looked at them sitting on my counter and pretended they didn't exist. I left them sealed in the envelope, untouched and abandoned. Yet, I still mentally kept track of when they most likely were due, so I didn't incur a late fee and compound the problem. Today was the day I decided to pay my therapy bill since I was going to see my therapist. Instead of quickly scribbling down the check amount after analyzing the itemized break down of his billing rates to make sure there were no financial errors, I rushed out of my open front door into change. While I still was in a hurry to make it to my 6:00pm appointment in downtown Palo Alto, I was hurrying to reach something new… Inspired by the spirit of those Karma Kitchen cooks, ... Read Full Story >>
I have been blessed with opportunity in my life, and it took the near-death of my dad to make me realize that my purpose in life is to help others. My dad was diagnosed with leukemia in 1998 and watching the pain and treatment that he endured inspired me to be a more kind and giving person. It was like a smack in the face as I woke up one morning and realized life is just too short and it was time for me to make some changes – do the things in life that I wanted to do without making excuses why I couldn’t do them, or telling myself that I had plenty of time to do things. Well, you never know when your hourglass will run out of sand. The time was now. My dad needed a bone marrow transplant. He was given a procedure in which he was able to reuse ... Read Full Story >>
The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. "Leave me alone," he growled... To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked. "No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president.. Now go away." The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone. Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.. "No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. ... Read Full Story >>
Every year while I was in high school we organized a class retreat. It always involved some sort of service component – usually going to an elementary school or helping out at a nursing home. The class would vote on the type of project we wanted to do, and then our Campus Ministry Coordinator would organize the project, transportation, dates, and specific location. For our senior year, our class voted to volunteer at a soup kitchen so our CM Coordinator, Mrs. Krupitzer, set up a date for us to go to Gleaners Food Bank. We arrived on a Saturday morning, ready to prepare food and serve meals, wipe down tables, and clean dirty dishes. When we got off the bus, the food bank organizer took us on a tour of the facility. Then he turned around and said, “okay it’s time for lunch everybody!” Unbeknownst to us we would be eating ... Read Full Story >>
This week we took a handcrafted sign that we made down to our local Salvation Army and presented it to the captain. The sign read ‘HOPE’. He had an idea of where to put it as soon as he read it. The look on his face showed appreciation, with a touch of bewilderment. This organization sees, first-hand, the struggles of so many people. The reason we made and gifted them the sign is to help lives, who are in need of believing in a better tomorrow. A simple word can say so much. Life dishes out hard hits and unjust situations for all of us, at one time or another. We hope for an answer, a change of circumstance, or even a miracle. Some are hanging on to hope with all the strength they have. What would life be like living with no hope? What would the world be like? To ... Read Full Story >>
This weekend, a group of us were in Union Square, New York, watching Tylon and Macho, two contortionists and street dancers, put on a jaw dropping performance that included jumping over 7 people. At the end, the hundreds of people watching began putting money into their bucket.
One tiny little girl walks up with her mom, she couldn't have been more than 2 years old. Tylon, who grew up in the Harlem projects, reaches into his bucket, folds up a couple of dollar bills, and hands them to the little girl. Everyone who witnessed it was stunned and humbled by this pure act of giving. Our jaws dropped for a second time.
Inspired, my bro, Shrey, later pulled out several more bills and we snuck them into Tylon's bucket without him seeing. His small, simple act of giving will not be forgotten.
If you happen to be in New York, be sure to catch these do-gooders Thurs-Sun evenings in Union Square, across from the Whole Foods!
Two days ago I was woken up at 1 AM. My roomie stood at the door (she was returning from a club) along with a huge middle aged man with long hair. "Please let him in", she told me, "He has been locked out of his apartment". She had seen him , cold and shivering (it had snowed the previous night) and immediately asked him to sleep at our place. He was a law student in his fifties who had been doing his homework at the laundromat when he found he had left his keys in his house. I'll be honest, I'm pretty square. I have never had a strange man sleep in my house before. My roommate and I are both less than 5 ft 3 and we have been asked to 'not speak to strangers' since we were kids.Not to mention we're in a new city that we have lived in ... Read Full Story >>
One Saturday, I got a phone call about electrical problems. Since I am not an electrician, I quickly realized that the woman on the line had the wrong number. The woman on the phone sounded extremely anxious as her electricity wasn't working. Her husband tried to replace a wall switch, but now some of their lights wouldn’t turn on, and the heat had shut off. The woman thought she was calling an electrician who has done work for her in the past. I had just recently changed my number and she got me instead. I'm not an electrician but I do work with electricity. I informed her that she had the wrong number, and I didn’t know what her old electrician changed his number to. She apologized, and we said goodbye. After I hung up the phone I thought maybe I could help her so I dialed *69 and found out she was just one town over. When I ... Read Full Story >>
I have lived in Falmouth, MA for about 10 years. I had moved several times before finding Falmouth, never really settling in one place for a long time. However, Falmouth has become home. I think it is a safe place to do good work. I like that I often run into someone I know whenever I am grocery shopping or running errands. My favorite experience of Falmouth was when I volunteered to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to families or individuals unable to drive or stranded by illness. It was an amazing experience. Volunteers check in, line up and follow the directions given. There were many people working. Children were coloring placemats for each box, adults were cooking and serving food, and the drivers were filling the containers with the meals they would soon deliver. How they manage all of this is quite amazing. The coordination of such an event is awe-inspiring. The best ... Read Full Story >>
Something happened today to make me realise just how much love I have in my house and I am so thankful for that. My husband used to work in a bank but during the credit crunch he lost his job. The economy wasn't looking good and he didn't have too many options to get another bank job. It was incredibly difficult to see him go to the warehouse to look for work, hoping and praying that he would be offered a position (where he would be paid even less than his own teenage children were making). Someone dear to me encouraged him to keep on "keeping on" and I was right behind them. I told him to just "go for it". He got the job and it brought us such a feeling of pride. With his new job we were still able to pay our mortgage and buy our groceries. But money ... Read Full Story >>
I work in a restaraunt that has a program working with ex con's and the homeless. There is a guy who started working with us as a dishtanker and he told me his story one day. He lived in Florida, (we're in Ohio now) and he received information that he owed child support on a 6 year old boy. Well this was news to his ears because he didn't even know he had a kid! He came to Ohio to to clear this matter up and took a DNA test that determined that the kid was his. He was PROMPTLY put in jail for owing over $19,000 in back child support. He stayed in jail for 9 months and when he was released he was homeless, jobless. Instead of giving up on his kid and going back to Florida where he had plenty of family and help, he stayed in Ohio and ... Read Full Story >>
Last fall, before Thanksgiving, I was making my way in my car out of the shopping center parking lot. I was all alone in the car. I noticed a woman laden with bags and her two boys, one carrying a pumpkin and the other another bag. I assumed that they were headed to the bus stop across the major road, since it was too far to walk with all those purchases to any of the nearby apartment communities. On a random impulse, I rolled down my window and asked if they were indeed headed to the bus stop. “Yes,” the mother responded. I asked "Would you like a ride?" "Oh yes!” was their excited reaction. I was delighted, and, after manoeuvering over to the side out of the way of other traffic, I stopped and the boys piled into the back seat. The mother started to push in beside them. I ... Read Full Story >>
In the early 80's, I was introduced by a homeless lady named Rosie to a little café in Portland, Oregon. I had taken Rosie for coffee or food many times in the months I had known her. This day she insisted she was taking me to lunch. We walked from the hotel where I worked to a little cafe on Davis Street. I was franctic, knowing she had no money, and I did not want to hurt her feeling by offering to pay yet again. The cafe was filled with people, all of them smiling, even the workers. Rosie told me to sit and drink coffee while she worked for her lunch. After about 20 minutes, she paid for one meal and we sat enjoying the best vegetarian chili and cornbread I had ever eaten. She explained to me that the café let you work for a meal if you had no money, or would give you ... Read Full Story >>
She was a janitor at a school in India. Her husband died soon after her marriage, she didn't have any family in the area. She struggled with the responsibility of raising her kids. For the last twenty years, she's continued to sweep classrooms at local schools. One day, though, she had a radical idea: I want to give. It was followed-up by a reasonable yet confusing thought: But what can I possibly give? When she narrated her desire to a friend, he told her a story. "Gandhi used to write many letters. One day, Kakasaheb Kalelkar, a famous Indian author, saw him writing with a tiny pencil and immediately offered Gandhi a bigger pencil from his pocket. Gandhi politely said that he didn't need it. The next day, he saw Gandhi scrambling to find his pencil and Kakasaheb again offered him a pencil saying, 'Your pencil was so small anyway.' Gandhi gently ... Read Full Story >>
Last month my kindness idea allowed me to meet some new people in my community. When I delivered their food, I also gave each my phone number so they could keep in touch if they wanted. All of them have called me since.
Having a bad spell with MS has left me pretty much in bed the last two or three weeks and feeling nearly helpless.
Yesterday, the young mother I had helped showed up at my house with a casserole. While she was here, she washed my dishes and carried out my trash. The young gentleman I had helped has been here twice, just to check on me. He has no transportation so he had to walk the several miles to where I live.
In helping others, I have made new friends . What a blessing.
I had titled the event “24 hours of kindness.” The goal was simple: to stay out for a full twenty-four hours without sleep, performing as many acts of kindness as possible. Thanks to our local radio station, Coast 93.1, and the support of Tim Wright and Eva Matteson, (two of the most kindhearted DJs you’ll ever meet) all of southern Maine now knew about The Kindness Center’s crazy event. Now known as “The Kindness Guy,” this was my first attempt at something this big. The local and even national media buzz was incredible. Since 9:00 that morning, two of my kindness cronies and I had been all over town delivering free baked goods to nursing homes and schools, buying coffee for strangers, giving out hugs, moving furniture, giving free city bus rides and completely flooding the town with a rainbow of flowers and balloons. Since it was April 15th, “tax ... Read Full Story >>