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 >>
Mamá Inés [a fondly way to call Ms. Inés, in Mexico Mamá=Mom] was a humble woman with little "formal education". She suffered the very rare Addison’s Disease, which attacks at a rate of one per hundred thousand inhabitants. People suffer from constant fatigue, stomach problems and nausea. Their skin begins to tarnish, they get very dark and sometimes have black spots. Patients become very irritable and suffer from sudden changes in mood. During the time I met her, I could not perceive any of these symptoms. She was restless, always serving and giving something needed when she had it, if not, she found it and give it away. She was continuously giving herself away to the community. She was the adoptive mother of a dear friend of mine. Mama Ines never married nor had children of her own, although she was the best mother of the children she took. I think, Mama ... Read Full Story >>
This was a wonderful experience. It happened about three years ago and it has had a strong impact on me. I would like to pay tribute here to two men I do not know personally but whose actions gave a new meaning to the words kindness and generosity. I was walking down a busy street in the financial district on a cold, windy day in early winter. A barefoot homeless man, probably about 60, was begging for change on a street corner. A BMW pulled up on the other side of the street and stopped and an immaculately dressed executive stepped out of the car. He was a tall, slim and imposing gentleman with silver harid, he was probably about 60 yrs old. He was wearing a blue pinstriped business suit, deep red silk tie, white shirt, mirror-shined black shoes, silver wristwatch, black overcoat, leather gloves, the works. Dapper, dignified, distinguished. He walked briskly and puposefully across the street ... Read Full Story >>
A young lady complained to her counselor that she felt that her whole life was empty and had no meaning to her. The counselor saw an old lady who cleaned the office floors and called her over. She told the young lady that this old cleaning lady was happy and asked her to explain how she had found that happiness. The old lady put down her broom and sat on a chair and told her story: "Well, some time back, my husband died of malaria and three months later my only son was killed by a car. I was devastated. I had nobody... I had nothing left... I could not sleep... I could not eat and I never smiled at anyone. I even thought of taking my own life." Then one evening a little kitten followed me home from work. Somehow I felt sorry for that kitten. It was cold outside, so I decided to let the kitten ... Read Full Story >>
A Night With The Homeless by: Ellis Moore (Age 10) Every Saturday or Sunday night my family and I go out and feed the homeless people in the city of Orlando. There are thousands of people across The United States without any food or shelter. My family and I have been doing this for several months. We wanted to see what it was like in the life of a homeless person. One special thing I like to mention is, my family and I do not eat before we begin our journey so we know how it feels to be hungry. All of the areas we go to are very dangerous. We go on streets such as, Orange blossom trail, Parramore, Gore street, Colonial Dr, and down town Orlando. We all get together in the kitchen and prepare the food. Some of the meals are sandwiches and cookies and a bottle of water. ... Read Full Story >>
Last winter I was going through a rough patch in my life. I had a bunch of terrible things going on around me. I felt very distant and became quite selfish. I hated the way I was feeling and one day I woke up and told myself, “You are above this, stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Then, I tried out an experiment, and it has DEFINITELY changed me for the better. Every day I would do at least one act of kindness - It could be anything… Bringing the trash down to the trash compactor for my 80 year old neighbor, Going into the store to buy something for myself (like a bit of makeup) and coming out with something for someone else (like candy for my boyfriend) Sitting down with my sister or a friend and just simply listening. And I can ... Read Full Story >>
Two years ago an African man from Malawi, Elias, arrived at my sister’s home in the rough, bush country of South Africa with nothing but the shirt on his back. He was hoping to come to South Africa to find employment in order to support his family in Malawi. Little did he realize my sister at that time was struggling to keep her body and soul together. Nevertheless, Elias was given permission to stay on the property with the understanding that she was unable to help him financially and he would have to find “piece work” employment to support himself. As unemployment is rife, Elias was unable to find work immediately, so my sister taught him how to grow organic vegetables, sew and bake. Elias is keen to learn whatever he can to take the knowledge back to Malawi with him once he goes home. Elias finally found employment but my sister hit ... Read Full Story >>
Moving away gave me a chance to reflect on my good fortune and it was a wonderful opportunity to give away some of my things. I’m not rich, but I decided to make sure that what I have an excess off (thanks to the kindness of wonderful friends and family) is passed on to those who really need it. Once you start, its amazing how much you can do... 1. I donated some clothes which were still in pretty good condition, which used to belong to my roomate or me (partly inspired by the story of Goonj posted by 'Anju73'). I spent a good deal of time laundering and ironing them I also added some lavender scents :). I searched for the right place to give them to. I could have given it to Habitat which is round the corner, but I checked out a great homeless shelter that I had heard about and gave it to them instead. I popped ... Read Full Story >>
A few weeks ago, I was in a crowded local train in Mumbai. I was sitting in a window seat of the super-crowded ladies' compartment. I was lucky to find a seat as I had got in at the first station. In a few minutes, the seats were all taken, and most people had to stand jam-packed in the aisles. Anyone who has been in Mumbai knows how frustrating a crowded train can be. In the middle of all this, I saw a young girl, about 10 years old, probably from a poor family. It was evident that she was used to the crowd, and the pushing and jostling, because she would silently shift position to be just that little bit more comfortable. I felt a little sad sitting there watching her having to stand. It struck me, that this is the time to practice a random act of kindness. However, I had to overcome some ... Read Full Story >>
This is a story about the kindness of the rickshaw pullers in North India. Rickshaw pullers are some of the poorest people in India and they work extremely hard. People sit on a carriage and the rickshaw pullers transport them by pulling the carriage manually (or sometimes with a bicycle). I recently suffered a knee injury and needed to go to physiotherapy every day. I was unable to walk much, so I had to use a rickshaw puller to take me there, wait for me and then bring me back. This was usually the only time I would leave the house each day and so I would use these trips to get all the stuff I needed like medicines, milk, fruit, etc. As I couldn't really walk much, I had to ask the rickshaw pullers if they could take care of these errands for me. Everyday, on the way back from physiotherapy, I would ask the rickshawpuller to stop by the market and request him to the get ... Read Full Story >>
It was 7 in the morning. I was on a train to another city when I struck up a conversation with a young professional sitting next to me. I gathered that he came from a farming family and was now doing exceptionally well in the IT industry. He also revealed that he was stressed and disconnected from his roots. He was kind enough to give me a window seat, help a co-passenger when he dropped his coffee, etc. Just small acts which showed what a good person he was. I was pretty involved in reading my book - a biography on the Dalai Lama. Anyone who knows me well knows that the Dala Lama has played a huge role in my life although I haven't met him. In fact he is one of the main sources of inspiration I have and reading a book about him which my Dad had given to me was just ... Read Full Story >>
Last week, I met a friend who suggested that I do an act of kindness every week and then share the story with him through email. Of course, like the most of us, I have my own share of helping people and hence I thought this "simple" suggestion would be an easy weekly task. But I was in for a surprise. I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't involve giving a materialistic gift. My friend had said: "It should touch you deeply, it should have a story; otherwise, it's just a material experience". That struck a chord with me, so I decided to step-it up :) and looked forward to "doing" the act of kindness. I realized in the next 48 hours that "doing" an act of kindness, an intentional act of kindness, might be simple but letting it happen naturally wasn't as simple. I found myself giving away my ... Read Full Story >>
This is a story that happened 15 years ago but it has always stayed with me since then. On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway. He looked to be in his late 40's but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature. His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes. His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case. He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing. Every day after work I would remember ... Read Full Story >>
Ever since I finished the 29-Day Giving Challenge, I have felt a lot happier and have a much more optimistic outlook on life. I think the secret to happiness is always counting your "thank yous," giving, and smiling. I've done some research lately on the health benefits of kindness, and some say that the kinder you are, the happier you will be. Is this the secret to happiness? This is new to me, but some of you may know that the actual act of giving results in a small or big rush of what's called "endorphins," aka a "helpers high". Kindness in general has both physical and mental benefits. For example, in my case prior to starting the challenge, I felt tired, unenthusiastic, and lacking vitality. However, after just a couple days, along with some gifts, my energy started to increase, I felt more alive so to speak, and I was ... Read Full Story >>
When I moved into my new house it already had a washing machine in it but I had just bought a new one so I wondered what to do with the machine already in the house. I remembered two girls who regularly knocked at my door for religious reasons. They never had or kept anything they didnt need. If one of them needed something, say a winter coat, they would work for the amount of time it took to make the money they needed for the coat and then return to their religious work. They had just got their own house so I decided to give them all the things I didn't need when I was done unpacking. Whatever they didn't need, they could give to the charity store they helped support. I asked them if they needed a washing machine and they both looked at each other and smiled. It turns out that they had called ... Read Full Story >>
Good sense might have suggested I stay in today. There was snow on the ground and we really don't have any money to be spending right now. But, there were a couple of things I needed, so I gathered what cash I had together and hopped on to the bus to the next town (hoping it wouldn't slip off the road on an icy patch.) Once in town one of the first thing I saw was a brass band! They had taken over an empty shop and were setting up to perform in the window. I didn't get to hear a toot out of them, but I did see they were "busking" for donations. The money raised would buy gifts for local needy children. A I slipped a note into the collection bucket the woman holding it finished a sentence to another man with the words, "... even the bad times are ... Read Full Story >>
In June 2009 the New Jersey Star-Ledger ran a series called "The Chain of Life" about kidney donation chains. These are enabled by one non-related donor giving a kidney to a recipient whose donor (usually a relative) was not compatible. That non-compatible donor then donates to someone else in the same position and thus four or six people could receive new kidneys. I decided I could do that. I contacted the National Kidney Registry and started a six month process that ended with my donating a kidney to a doctor who had been on home dialysis for two years. I didn't know his identity until several months later when we had a very meaningful and emotional introduction. His wife donated her kidney, the same day as our surgery, to someone else, whose donor donated theirs to someone else on the other side of the country! The surgery lasted two hours; I was ... Read Full Story >>
The car went through the stop sign and into the intersection. With no where to go or time to get there, my taxi hit the car dead on. For the next three months I was out of work. I had no savings to speak of. No family to help me. I was in dire straights to be sure. The lady who ran the stop sign had little insurance, barely enough to cover the medical expenses with little left over to pay my living expenses. Just after the accident Justin came to see me in the hospital. We had been co-drivers with the taxi company. We knew each other and worked well together. We were not what one might consider to be friends but we liked each other. He asked me what was going to happen and I told him I didn't know. I was in deep trouble financially until a settlement ... Read Full Story >>
No matter how much money I don’t have, I always try to think positive. Sometimes, I hate it when I start thinking about money because it brings me down, makes me sad how others have more, and are doing more. When I was younger, I always wondered why money was so important, there wasn’t anything I needed. It’s good to be kid, not having to worry about responsibilities. But as everyone gets older, of course that changes. I work almost everyday, but it’s still not enough, that’s what is frustrating - it’s never enough. Right now I have to sacrifice the money I make. I put my school on hold so that I can pay for my girlfriend's school, paying for tuition and everything else. I’m very supportive because in everything I do, she is also very supportive, we are each other’s number one fan. Helping her really puts everything ... Read Full Story >>
About two weeks ago I saw a very sad, blue eyed, homeless man sitting outside my local coffee house. I said, "Hi. How are you doing today?" He seemed shocked that I was talking to him. "Not very well," he replied. He proceeded to tell me how he had been hit by a car while riding his bike. He had been in the hospital for a month and a rest home for another month. During that time the person that paid for his SSI checks died of a heart attack and his wallet was stolen with all his IDs. He had several checks waiting for him but had no ID and therefore no access to his money. I decided that if this was all true I'd like to help him get a copy of his birth certificate and social security card. I asked him to meet me at the Department of Vital ... Read Full Story >>
As you probably know Nepal a small country full of diverse religions and populations. As the daughter of a Hindu family there are many aspects of my religion that I have to bear in mind. But, even while keeping such strictures in mind, I want to be ale to live a life of kindness to others. When I was sixteen my friends and I were going to watch a movie. We sat waiting for the bus but it was very late. While we were waiting another bus came by and a old lady of about seventy got off. She had bags full of her possessions in one hand and a walking stick in the other. After a few minutes I noticed that she seemed to be looking for something. She approached a shopkeeper for help - but it wasn't forthcoming. So, I went over and asked, "What's the matter grandmother?" She told me she ... Read Full Story >>