Recently my husband was in the hospital after a heart attack. As I sat alone in the cafe at the hospital, I felt such empathy for the one lone waitress in the large dining room there. This young woman looked very close to giving birth and she was working so hard, my heart went out to her as she waited on table after table, including a group of about 12 or more people. I was inspired to leave a smile card but that felt too insignificant in itself so I went to the hospital gift shop & bought a little stuffed animal for her baby. I planned to just leave it anonymously but she came back in the room just then so I presented the bag to her with a smile card inside & just told her it was something for her baby. The look that came over her face was one of shock and disbelief. It was though she was frozen there for a moment. She smiled and thanked me as I walked out of the room. I've thought about that young woman many times since and hope it has made a small difference in her life.
When I decided to be a part of the smile card experiment, the first person that came to mind to target was Lara, a fellow member of my research group and a mentor. I couldn't think of the perfect thing for her yet and on top of that found out that it was her birthday 2 months back. The next day, at a local deli, inspiration struck when I saw their freshly baked honey wheat bread. I picked up a loaf and headed to lab. Unfortunately or fortunately, Lara wasn't in her office, so I put a note on the loaf reading: Lara, Happy Belated Birthday! I really like this honey wheat bread and thought you would enjoy! An hour later, she comes by and I innocently tell her someone left a package for her. She reads the note and immediately looks at me, "Did you leave this?" I try my best to ... Read Full Story >>
I was at work and it had been snowing all day. I peeked outside about an hour before leaving work and I was terrified to see that every square inch of my car had been blanketed in about 8 inches of snow. I stayed in the office a few minutes after 5 trying to figure out how I would get the snow off of my car in heals, a skirt and no window scraper! I finally sucked it up and walked outside. To my surprise as well as relief, my car was completely clean of snow. My windows were scraped, even the headlights had been cleaned off! "Who did this?" I was puzzled, but so grateful! The next day at work, I prodded everyone I knew to find the culprit, but no one could tell me....they all denied the good deed. The following day, a co-working named Brian said "So, were you wondering who cleaned off your car?" I knew then that Brian was my little snow angel. He said, "Yeah, my car was heating up, I needed something to do for 5 or 10 minutes." He brushed it off as if it was an act of boredom, but I know that he has a kind and pure heart and what he did was an act of kindness.
He took it out from around his neck and leaned down a bit, his eyes looking straight into mine. "Would you mind?" he asks. Looking at him through his eye glasses, I smile and say, "Of course not, Lee. It would be an honor." And with that, I was garlanded -- probably for the first time in my life -- with a simple necklace. Lee is the epitome of a happy-go-lucky guy. He used to be a trucker, I think. If there were one word to describe him, it would be happy. Or joyous. And what a pure heart. In one of those fits of unadulterated compassion, he just felt like giving me something. So he takes off his own necklace and offers it to me. It was far from an ordinary necklace. In a small town of Oregon, Lee met a Japanese-American fellow selling small hand-made, glass items. While conversing with ... Read Full Story >>
Two days before Mother's Day, I was at a Walmart with my wife, getting some gifts, and I saw a nice gift set of lavender-scented lotions and other stuff (Hey, I'm not supposed to know exactly what all comes in those sets :-)) And so I thought what the heck, I'll get one and we'll find someone to give it to. So we're paying for everything, and the woman behind the counter is this cheery, middle-aged woman who remarks "Getting a gift for Mother's Day, huh? Nice set," or something. Somehow that set showed up for only half of the price, $5 instead of $10. Strange, I thought. We finish paying, and we move over to the side, and I'm thinking I should just give her that set! We pull out a smile card and as she's helping another customer, I tell her, this is for you, and give her the set ... Read Full Story >>
We recently bought some furniture from a shop, and they really worked hard to make sure it reached us within 2 days. So I just thought I’d buy a box of chocolates for the salesman, who really did a good job on selling us on it. I walked into the store, and Daniel sees me, and I can tell, there's a little bit of apprehension in the air, as I’m guessing that most customers go back to complain. He says "Hello, Sir! How are you doing?" And I'm holding the chocolates in front of me, and so I tell him, "Good. I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful furniture, and working with us to make it happen. Our whole family loves it, we've even taken pictures and sent them to other family and they love it too. Thanks for going the extra mile for us! These chocolates ... Read Full Story >>
It was a typical winter morning, just a couple of weeks before Christmas 2005: While most people were warming up their cars, my husband got up early to ride his bike the four kilometres to his job at Mr. Lube. When my husband arrived at work, he parked his bike outside the back doors as he usually does. After putting in 10 solid hours of labour, he returned to find his bike was gone–stolen. The bike, a purple kona 18 speed, was our only source of transportation. Trevor used that bike to get to both his jobs, putting in 60-hour weeks to support his young family. But the bike was not only used for work. It was also used to get groceries, saving us from having to walk long distances from where we live. I was so upset that someone would steal his bike that I wrote to ... Read Full Story >>
A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes, carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did ... Read Full Story >>
While going through a time of great sorrow and grief over a loss, I left my apartment and went to the 99 cent store to pick up two things I needed. Although these were not important items, I needed to get out for a while.
Having picked up the two items, I wandered through the store in a state of depression or shock, picking up more and more stuff, filling my arms. I was juggling these items, not willing to walk to the front of the store for a cart, not really thinking I needed one.
I heard a voice in the distance, far removed from my frame of mind, saying, "Lady, Lady." I turned around to see this man holding out a basket to me in both hands. He said, "Lady, Lady, please stop suffering,” and he gave the basket to me for the burdens I was holding on to. All I could say was, "That was so sweet!”
Then the man was gone, and the other shoppers were frozen in time watching what went on. They added, "Yes, that was so sweet.” In an instant, that one act of kindness changed my heart and mind, and he was long gone without even my being able to say thank you. The moment came and went, and it changed my day.
A few weeks ago, my mother, brothers and I went to Wal-Mart to get some things for my upcoming trip. It was pretty late, and the store, although huge, was very empty. However, as we approached the checkout lane, I noticed a lady wearing a baseball cap over her bare head. She looked tired, and it was pretty obvious that she was going through chemo.. .that, and my mother approached her and asked her. You see, a few years ago, my mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer. It was really hard for all of us, exspecially since we were in the middle of my parents divorce. But she got through it...but I always remember how stressful that time was. So when I saw that lady, I turned around, back out of the check out line, and headed to the flower section! I found the prettiest bouquet of pink (breast cancer survival ... Read Full Story >>
When I was in hospital and just given birth to my first child a lady use to come in and dust and sweep. I would say 'Hello' and she would never answer. I did this repeatedly and no answer. I thought she may have been deaf. I was told that she was mute and had been because she had been in a concentration camp. She had recovered but some children threw 'crackers' at her window letting off very loud 'bangs', and she never spoke from that day on. On the day I was going home and I asked her if she would be my friend. No answer. I left her some magazines and told the staff to give them to her. I had left the hospital with my husband a new born child. Then I realized I had forgotten to ask the doctor something. I went back with my baby ... Read Full Story >>
I recently went to the bank to cash a check that I had. I really didn't want to go, but I knew that I had to so I decided that I would make the trip to the bank worthwhile and fun!
I grabbed this smiley pen that I had been saving and smile card and I attached it to the pen along with a post it note that said "Keep the pen, smile, and pass on the card!"
When I got my money out of the tube that the bank sends back and forth, I slipped in the pen and cards, so that the next person that came to cash their check, would get more than just money...they would get a bank smile!
Wow! What a diagnosis. I just kept telling myself that if I can get through this Chemo, I will give back and help others.
It truly has changed me and opened my eyes to all of the blessings that we take for granted. It was very humbling to me as I watched my hair falling out in the shower. My strength came from my faith, family, and friends. I am 3 yrs out after having 2 consecutive surgeries for mastectomy. God leads us where he wants us to be.
I was lead to become involved with raising money for breast cancer through donations to Susan B. Komen funding. We made a hospital wide recipe book as I am an R.N. at a St. Louis, Mo. based hospital. We made #1 medical group for donations and contributions this year. We also helped St. Louis to become the largest Komen foundation "Race for the Cure" of over 64,000 participants.
This would not have happened for me if my own diagnosis had not occurred. I am very happy to be giving back a small amount of what has been given to me by such thoughtful people, family and friends.
I work for Bell Mobility.
Recently I had a customer in my store who was fairly aggitated about his monthly bill. We talked for a good 20 minutes, not about the bill, rather his theory that there was no good left in this world.
The instant the words slipped from his mouth, I was thinking to myself 'gotcha!' While he wasn't looking, I slipped a smile card into the envelope for his bill with a the words 'think not of all the misery in this world, but of the beauty that remains.' He didn't notice, which was perfect and left my store.
Two hours later, he drove back (through a terrible storm might I add) and walked into the store holding the card in his hand and a big ol' genuine smile on his face. He said, 'This is exactly what the world needs... more kind people like yourself.' He gave me a hug and off he went.
I watched him leave the parking lot outside and sighed in relief... ah, nothing better than a good days work.
"I have a package for Jonathan," Tom says. "Um, ok, let me page him," the person behind the counter says. This is an independent book store, and they generally don't get random deliveries like this. Wearing a buttoned shirt over a pair of jeans and black sneakers, Tom might've been taken for an errand guy. A closer look, though, and Tom's mystique is evident with the serenity on his face and the depth of his voice and the span of his geniune smile. On paper, Tom has a ton of accomplishments to his name, but in spirit, he identifies to something subtler -- "I grew up in love with stories of the invisible worlds that surround us, whispering to us of greater potentials than most of us ordinarily recognize. I have learned about silence and the world’s soul through years of walking in the woods, on mountains, and ... Read Full Story >>
On a Saturday morning, I glanced out of our window to see our chubby, middle-aged postman huffing and puffing on his rounds. I went out with a glass of water. He refused it politely but stopped for a few minutes to chat.
He told me about how his delivery car has no air conditioning but federal law requires that he has to drive with his windows fully shut so terrorists can not get to it easily!
I wanted to offer him something cool - so while he went about his rounds, I frantically looked for something he could take with him and found a cucumber from our garden.
When he came to drop off our mails, I offered it to him and his round, chubby face lit up instantly!
He started talking about his garden and how he cares for his garden. I could sense a bit of sadness when he said that his cucumber wines didn't flourish this summer. But he immediately smiled and said "but am so happy to see healthy ones from another garden!"
As he moved on , turned back and said that sharing of this cucumber meant a lot for the gardener within him. It meant a whole lot for me too.
I was leaving my office late Saturday morning...a little bit grumpy because I had to get up early and go to work on the weekend, and was now running late for the next of my zillion obligations for the weekend...and the worst part was I had no time to eat a proper lunch. I was complaining about all of this to my husband on my cell phone, while I turned around from locking the door behind me, and then I spotted him. A man lying in the grass asleep. I said to my husband, "I'm sorry I've just been complaining. Thanks for listening. I have to go." I went back into my office, found a box, and went to my desk. I took every bag of snacks and protein bars I could and placed them in the box. Then I went to my mini fridge and put in two kinds of ... Read Full Story >>
"Do you need a vase for your purple carnations? " asked a gentle voice and I woke up in my hospital bed. It was one of those few rare moments when no one else was in the room with me and I had slipped into slumber. "Yes - these are from a special friend" I managed to say looking at her for the first time. She was a janitor and while clearing the trash can, she had chanced upon the flowers. But why would she care? And she said 'purple carnations' precisely. I asked her if she likes flowers. Her eyes lit up and she spoke in excited bursts. She LOVES flowers and in her garden, every flower that blooms each day gets a special hug and bye from her before she leaves for work. My God! I told her that I've been getting a lot of flowers and after appreciating the boquets ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, my Mother underwent a surgery to repair a valve in her heart at UCLA Medical Center. During the first couple of days she was in the hospital, my Dad was telling me how wonderful the nurses were in the ICU and how they took such great care of my Mom and made sure she was comfortable at all times. I told him it would be great if we could think of a fun way to show our gratitude -- in the whole process of going through a major surgery, the nurses are often the people who get overlooked the most and aren't thanked enough for the compassion and care they give to each patient. My Dad had a great idea -- he asked me to bring along some cute decorative tins of chocolate from London for all of them. When I arrived at the hospital, I had my first opportunity to tag Kara, ... Read Full Story >>
My sister is on the other side of the world. I'm volunteerting in India while she's at home in Canada. While I can't be there physically to celebrate her birthday, I wanted to spread some love to mark the day. I set off to the market to get ingredients for cookies when I saw an old man carrying a long rod with a weight on one end and a large tray holding food which he was selling on the other hand. Perfect! I went up to the man and took the rod off his shoulder and walked with him for the next half kilometer, talking to him and his grandson who appeared after a few minutes. The grandfather and boy are the only regular income generators in the family. The boy and granddad go out after the boy gets back from school. After walking and talking to the wonderful pair, as I left ... Read Full Story >>
My SMILE cards came in the mail last night. YAY! And I have been so excited to use them!
I read a story about taping a card with the right change on a vending machine and I thought i'd try it out...
I sat at my desk and tried to secretly get my card and money ready, but people kept coming in and I wanted to keep it anonymous so I had to keep hiding my card and money. I felt like i was a spy on a secret mission!!!
I finally got it done and went to the kitchen, which had around 10 people in it. So I had to stay and drink about 4 cups of water until no one was there!!! So funny!!! (at least I am hydrated!).
I stuck the card on with the money and ran out as quickly as I could... my heart beating so so so fast!!! I never thought being secretly kind could produce this kind of adrenaline!!!
I will go and check on it soon... I hope someone has been blessed and feels as good as I do now!!!
A woman on a pavement with an armful of roses-to-sell and a tired expression in her eyes. She is surrounded by people who are very not buying roses tonight. We walk past her, and then walk back. I love flowers, but roses are far from being my favorite flowers. They are too-written about. Too poeticized. Too perfect. But this was not about the roses. We buy ten buds, some tightly wrapped up in themselves, others just starting to open. Give her one, he says, just loud enough so I can hear and she can't. I pull one-long stemmed beauty out of the bunch and give it to her for the pricelessness of a sudden smile. We walk on newly-burdened, one down, nine roses to go. Do we hand them out to random strangers? Or wait to stumble across someone sad-faced and in-need-of-exactly-ten-minus-one roses? No- we decide instead to let the ... Read Full Story >>
For their first baby-shower, my cousin and her husband created a very unique kindness theme for everyone to partake in. To support their heartfelt intention, my wife and I decided to surprise them with a booklet that contained many of our favorite stories from the HelpOthers.org site. The compassion conspiracy, as we soon learned, went way above and beyond our expectations. On Saturday, Michael was running the night shift at the 24-hour Kinkos and flat out said that they won't be able to get the project done that night. We nodded but still carried on with our part of bargain -- photocopying, sorting, printing. Four hours (and many adventures) later, Michael had become Mikey, he knew about deep interest in kindness and we knew about his dream of hittin' it big as a hip-hop DJ. By midnight, our homie says to us: "Alright, ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, my dad was walking along from the office to the high court (being a lawyer). There he saw a young man being beaten up by 5 others.
My dad is really thin and puny and not in the least bit tough-looking or athletic. But something prompted him to just go onto the scene and protect the guy. He hugged the young man and began acting as if he knew him from a long time. Soon, the other 5 rough guys recognized him for being a lawyer and left the youth alone. He thanked my dad and said he could not express how he felt.
Although I walk through the world with a folio of smile cards in my wallet, and try to be ever-vigilant for opportunities to use them, it always seems that I am the recipient of anonymous kindness much more often than the benefactor. Here's a story about one such incident which happened just yesterday: We arrived at Chennai Central early; our train did not depart for another 45 minutes. I took the opportunity to find a tailor to perform a simple repair for me. Across the lane from the side of the station stood a building typical of those found in India cities, containing a warren of tiny shops – perhaps several hundred of them. These buildings would look like any of the zillions of faceless, multi-storied, style-bereft concrete abominations that proliferate in the metros, were they not covered with scores-and-scores of small peeling signs — most painted directly onto the façade, at ... Read Full Story >>
I frequent a small postal outlet that is always busy at Christmas. (Aren't they all?) There are only 4 staff members and they work HARD at Christmas time.
Not all the customers smile at them. The day before Christmas, I take in small gift bags. This year, the bag had a single serving of flavoured hot chocolate, a mug, a scratch ticket, one yummy chocolate and a really silly fridge magnet. I sign the gift tag with my postal box number! One of the girls actually scratched her ticket and won $3!!! I got 4 smiles that day. The gifts cost me a total of $10 and was worth the time and effort to assemble.
While I don't get any special rates on postage during the year, I do get return smiles all year long.
Today I walked into a shop and was served by a young boy - he must have been around 18. He was being told off by his boss for something. Even if what his boss was saying was valid, which I do not know, because I do not know the full story, I still felt that the way he was being treated was unfair. He was being put down in front of customers and all the other staff. The boss told him that he should not serve in the front of the shop anymore, where he deals with customers and should serve at the back. Then although the boy had started serving me, his boss asked him to stop and passed on the job to somebody else. The boy did not say anything but I could see that he was really upset. I could also see that he could easily have done what ... Read Full Story >>
I work in a medical building right next door to a lab whose primary mission is to draw blood from all ages of patients.
Our walls are really thin and I can hear babies and young children crying, wailing the most desperate, betrayed kind of wail. It really gets to me.
So I went to The Dollar Tree store & bought cuddly, soft Teddy Bears in different colors. When I hear the lab office door open, I walk out and hand the teddy bear to the traumatized baby or child and tell them, "We are so PROUD of you! What a brave boy/girl you are!"
Some kids, believe it or not, don't trust another human being coming out of an office so don't want the bear. Some hug it right away. Most stop crying...I'm not sure who appreciates it more - the child or the parent!
I have always believed that people come into your life for a reason. With this in mind I met a man at work who had a drug problem. I knew because I used to.
Over the next 2 years we became closer and had long talks about his addiction. I knew I was supposed to help him, but I didn't know how. I had talked him into rehab and even took him to the center but every time he got out he would relapse. I thought long and hard until "IT" came to me.
I had to give more of myself, go on a leap of faith. I convinced him to try rehab one more time and when he got out I moved him into to my apartment, against the advice of those around me. Getting him out of his earlier environment was the key. He never relapsed again. We just celebrated his 2 year clean date in January, after 23 years of abuse. He is still my roommate and has since helped me more than any friend I have ever had.
Late Saturday morning, the local IHOP restaurant was a zoo. Our middle-aged waiter stood out in a sea of young co-workers. He made a passing comment that he had been at it for five hours already - and so I observed him for the rest of the meal.
He was a veritable Whirling Dervish, a blur of motion, carrying heavy, hot platters, stacks and stacks of plates, remembering my request for this or that.
As we were leaving, I went up to him and said, "You know what? I think you should have a nice day" and slipped him a tip that exceeded the cost of our meal. When he unfolded the denomination to see what it was, he smiled and said, "This will help!"
Hats off to all of the minimum-wage wait-staff out there -- hard, hard work for little money - I admire your work ethic!