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 >>
My friend's husband left her suddenly, taking the car and leaving her with the mortgage. She was left with 3 children to take care of.
My friend had no way to get the kids to school and get to her job on time without a car. I told her I would see to it everything will be okay. I wanted to do something to help her.
Later that day, I drove to her job and handed over the keys to a brand new Cadillac Escalade and the title. This would mean she could get her kids to school and get to her job on time.
The only thing I asked for in return was 1 dollar.
One year ago twelve friends got together and formed a group. We call ourselves “12 Caring Women".
A friend's son was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Some of the parents at the school where he was enrolled formed a support team headed by the wife of one of the physicians on the case. E-mails were sent out asking for people to volunteer to bring meals to the hospital for them. More people volunteered than there were slots available. A call went out to send things that might be interesting and helpful to get him to participate in his therapies (chemo and physical) and boxes arrived almost daily, including some from South America and military locations in the US and elsewhere. His Mom started a blog about his treatment and virtually every time she described something Mattie needed, someone stepped up to help. He fought bravely but lost the battle almost a year ago. His mom says they would not have made it though without the support of "Team Mattie," those ... Read Full Story >>
One late winter's evening I was standing at a bus stop in gloomy, wet and windy London. Then I noticed a young man running as fast as he could and just behind him there was a number eight bus.
This morning I went to drop of my large items to the recycling center. There was an Asian lady in the line who looked about 65-70 years old. She had 6 big black bags of recycling with her. I asked her if she wanted my items, because she was commingling and she could get money for it. She accepted them and thanked me with the most wonderful, loving hug I have ever had. After leaving the recycling center, I went to the market. I had just finished writing my book, and am hoping to get it published someday. I wanted to pick up some steaks to celebrate. It was kind of a special occasion for me, since I have been unemployed for four months and money is tight. At the market, I had the steaks in my hand, but then thought about the lady at the recycling center. I put them back ... Read Full Story >>
Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #9 - A Spontaneous Opportunity to Truly Teach My Children About Generosity
My kids and I were heading into the superstore over the weekend. On the way, we spotted a man wrapped in a blanket and holding a sign that said, "Lost my job. Family to Feed". At this store, a sight like this is not a normal occurrence. It was obvious the man was embarrassed, but desperate. My 10-year-old noticed him commented on how bad it must be to have to stand outside in the cold wind. While we were in the store, I asked each of the kids (I have seven :) to pick something they thought our 'friend' outside would appreciate. They picked a couple apples, a package of shrimp cocktail, a sandwich, some cheese and a bottle of juice. Then my 17-year-old asked, "Can we get him a gift card?" I thought about it. We were low on cash ourselves, but... well, sometimes giving from our 'need' instead of our 'abundance' is ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I was in town with my daughter and we saw this man sitting on the ground, looking sad and like he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Before I could say anything my daughter asked if we could give him some money. (He had a hat on the ground with some coins in it.) So, I gave her some change. At the same time an elderly gentleman bent down towards the man, said some words, and gave him some money. I was very much touched by the gentleness of the gesture. It was as if the older man was saying, "I am helping you because you could be my son." It was a very hot day, which is not very normal in our little town. We were going to the supermarket and my daughter asked me if we could get some water and something for the man to eat. ... Read Full Story >>
Twenty years ago I lost my son. My friends decided that I needed to get out at least once a week and so we started going for coffee. Those friends helped me get through that terrible first year and still continue to help me. We decided that we would try and help people when we could. So, we take a collection each week and then decide what to do with it. We have paid for breakfasts, helped an elderly man fill his oil tank, bought Christmas gifts for needy families , helped fire victims, and sometimes just sent flowers to someone who was feeling blue. We usually do this in a way that no one knows and that makes it even better. We also have a yearly tea at my house the first Saturday in December to start the Christmas season. We have been Secret Santa to three people and each ... Read Full Story >>
I work as a contractor at a senior center and absolutely love it. My days are spent coordinating rides for seniors from volunteer drivers. Today, a lady called saying she was unable to get her medication from the pharmacy. Usually, our center requires a three-day advance notice for local rides. We also require folks to fill out an application and a waiver. With these things in mind, I decided that this was my opportunity to go above and beyond the call of duty. I filled out the application and told her I would come pick her up. "You will?" she asked, slightly shocked. "Yup." I sent an email to my manager and off I went. It was a nice day to be out. We had a pleasant ride, and along the way, I found out she has cancer. Despite the illness, she still embraces life with a lot of faith. After arriving back at her home, I gave her ... Read Full Story >>
Early this morning, I got up to make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats for my neighbor across the hall. She barely greets me when we see each other, and her sweet little boy, who's now four, has picked up her hostile manner and will not talk to me, either. Last Monday, she had called the firefighters when a pan I'd forgotten on the stove caused my flat to fog up while I was out taking a walk. When I came home, the street in front of our apartment house was blocked by a police car, a fire truck and an ambulance! The instant I saw them, I remembered the pan! Luckily, nothing serious had happened, and all my neighbors agreed with the firefighter who said, "It could have happened to to anyone.“ When I thanked the neighbor who had called the firefighters - let's call her Ivy - and apologized for causing ... Read Full Story >>
I had gone to my bank (in Nigeria) to withdraw some money and was given a beautiful, blue, customized watch as a free gift. As I left there, I thought to myself that I didn't need the watch. I was already wearing one! I thought that there were people who needed that watch more than me, people who had never worn one before. My sister came around and I handed her the watch to give any of the boys who go around begging with their physically-disabled parents. My sister's hostel is very close to where they usually stay. A few days later one of the boys, about 14 years old, came around my sister's lecture hall with his blind mother to beg for money as usual. My sister then walked up to him and asked him if he had a watch. He said, "No." And my sister gave the watch to him. She ... Read Full Story >>
I seem to attract elderly women, well actually my husband says I will help anyone who I think is in trouble even a person looking lost in the street with a map. I was heading home after a long day at work. I'd just started part time work after being away on maternity leave for a year, so I was tired and looking forward to getting home to my toddler and my husband. Coming down the stairs into the station, I happened upon an elderly lady at the base of the stairs. She was trying to talk to people who were all heading home. As she was speaking another language, and it was evening rush hour, no one stopped for her. I could see she was near to tears. I approached and said "Can I help you". She turned to me, looking rather frantic, and started speaking. Besides English, all I ... Read Full Story >>
I make it a point, if I see them, to go up and compliment teenage girls or young women. I might tell her how pretty her hair is, or how much I like her dress, or just how pretty she is. I'm usually old enough to be their grandmother so I'm never misunderstood when I do this. I remember how insecure I was when I was their age and how much it would have meant to me to have an older woman tell me something like that and know it was said with no ulterior motive. And I see this same insecurity in young girls today. It's so hard for us to believe that we're pretty for any number of reasons. I was looking through an old photo album with my husband and he said how pretty I was back then and I could see it now, looking back, but I couldn't ... Read Full Story >>
I often take the bus for my daily commutes, and one of the drivers on the route to my house isn't known to be very nice. In fact, not many people like him at all. It doesn't take much for him to turn up his nose, or to ignore members of the community who are stranded when he drives by. That didn't bother me, though. I decided that, no matter what his mood is on a given day, I would continue to greet and smile at him. Unconditionally. Now, after awhile of doing this, I've noticed that his overall demeanor towards me has changed. He not only smiles at me, but he cracks jokes, too! One time, I fell asleep on his bus, and when I woke, I said, jokingly, "Why didn't you wake me? You know where I live!" We both laughed hard, and since then it has been an on-going joke ... Read Full Story >>
The story is about my four year old son. I had saved some of his baby clothes because of the memories and emotions attached to them. They were still in very good condition.
Yesterday I decided to give these precious possession away for some needy child. But, as soon as I started the task, my son objected. Even he was attached to them!
It occurred to me that this was a wonderful opportunity to plant the seeds of generosity in his little mind. It took a lot of explaining but, finally, he was convinced.
Normally I would simply have filled a plastic bag with clothes and dumped it in the donation box. But this time my son and I were a team! We washed all the clothes, folded them together and put them in a nice bag. It felt different - better different!
The next day he asked me, "When are we going to give your clothes to a friend?"
I think he really has the right idea now, and he's excited to be a part of it!
I belong to a knit and crochet group at my church and I'm always surprised at what people can do with a skein of yarn.
Recently we have added a few new members and I had noticed that one of the ladies, who does such beautiful work, always carried her yarn projects in a small paper shopping bag.
When I got home, I went through my closet and found a brand new bag that would be perfect to store projects in, with lots of pockets for needles. I filled it with yarn from my stash and crochet project cards, then placed everything inside along with a Smile card.
I waited for her to arrive at the next meeting and, sure enough, she arrived carrying her paper shopping bag. I went over quietly and handed her the new bag saying that I found it in my closet and thought of her. She was so happy and kept saying, "But it's not my birthday!"
I was glad I was able to see her reaction since normally when I tag someone I don't get to see the look on their face. It was a good moment for both of us!
I've had the opportunity to serve my mother a lot recently, and I wanted to share, in hopes that others can be inspired. A couple days ago, my mom had to undergo surgery to remove a tumor. The tumor was near her parotid gland, which, unfortunately, is right on her face. With all the love I could muster, I stayed with her for the several hours of the surgery, and then continued to stay by her bedside for the next two days, as she recovered in the hospital. She seemed in good spirits, despite the occasional aches and pains from the surgery. I really tried to keep her company. I watched TV with her in her hospital room, we talked lightly about funny memories, and I did everything I could to put a smile on her face. =) After the doctor said it was okay for her to return home, I took her ... Read Full Story >>
We have five fantastic children. As they've grown older, from high school to college and so on, we found ourselves cleaning out our home of furniture only to replace it with something new. We had this one living room set consisting of a sofa, loveseat and chair. It went through a couple of the kids, hauling it up the stairs to their third floor apartments and back down again to the next apartment. Our son was the last to have the set when he finally asked for a place to store it because he was going out of town for a semester. We told him we would hold it for him in our garage. So we picked the furniture up and brought it back to the house. One day, while at work, I heard a couple of people talking in the hallway. A mother and her two children were kicked out of their ... Read Full Story >>
Last night, my eighteen year-old son and I were leaving a store. At the end of the parking lot, there stood a man. He was older many--most likely in his sixties-- clean, but looked very sad. He was holding a sign which read: "Looking for work. Trying to get enough money to buy a bus ticket to Wyoming." I drove by him and something in my heart said: You need to help him. I rarely have cash on me, but today I actually had cash in my wallet. I looped around, stopped my car, and asked my son to get my wallet. I had a $5 and a $10 dollar bill. I said get the $5 and we will go drive by and hand it to the man. My son said, "Mom, I think that man is really down on his luck. Can we give it all to him?" "That's all the cash I have," I ... Read Full Story >>
We usually have a Christmas get together right before the holidays for our friends, family and neighbors. Instead of folks bringing gifts or food for us we usually ask for some item for someone in need. Usually something like hats/gloves/scarves for senior citizens, food donations for a family in hard times, toys/stuffed animals for local charity. It always is fun and everyone has a good time sharing. This past Christmas, on the day of my party I was very sick and ended up in the hospital so sadly I had to cancel the party. Since everyone was disappointed I decided to have it around Valentine's day instead. We asked for adult socks for a non-profit which helps families in need, they said they have lots of children's socks but people forget the teenagers and adults. I also asked for reading glasses for our local library so those who need glasses or forget ... Read Full Story >>