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!
I have used this idea a few times. Send someone flowers without signing the card or indicating in any way who they are from. The person not only gets a warm fuzzy feeling from the flowers but as they try to figure out who might of sent the bouquet, they think about all the people in their lives who care about them. The first time I did this, the intent was just to make the man smile and yet I did not want to send the wrong message so I did not sign the card. He was an older man at work, widowed and his family was somewhat estranged. He had always been kind to me and helped me through my initial years. It was his birthday and I just wanted him to know he was thought about. The result of not signing the card was an unexpected joy. The ... Read Full Story >>
To stand up and speak out against cold injustice, against the blind wrong-doing that we see in the world-- that is one kind of activism. But there is another kind. A rarer form of fire-in-the-belly commitment to a much less talked about cause. Tell me, do you stand up and speak out when you encounter a moment of unexpected joy, warmth, beauty or compassion in your life? Do you stop to say so when you stumble across something that makes you smile- or are you in the dull habit of registering the remarkable without remark? Are you a bystander of beauty, a mute spectator of special-ness? Do you let the silver-lining moments of the day slide into an insignificant silence-- or do you seize them as the chance to make something bloom? Sometimes I think of all the nice things I've thought about other people and never shared, of the unacknowledged ... Read Full Story >>
I know this site is primarily for sharing stories of how we help others, however I have to take this time to say thank you.
All of you and your stories have not only helped with my depression but it has given me more faith in others. I am in the process of changing careers to the non-for-profit sector, especially focused on children's homes in our local area. I never would have made this change had you not all shown me the world is still a place full of good people.
Hopefully I get this job and can begin to share your stories with the children who have lost their faith in humanity, the way I had before I found this site. Wish me luck on the job and again from the bottom of my heart I thank those who started this website and all those that are members.
You have truly made an amazing difference in my life and my future. God bless you ALL!
One day I went to work wearing this wooden necklace and earring set. One of my colleagues commented on the set and asked me if I would get the same exact set for her. "Absolutely," I said.
When I went to the store, I thought of another teacher who might like the set too and another who might like a wooden braclet that I saw. I took the items to work and gave each of them the item, when I saw them individually.
When I presented the item to each of them, they each wanted to know the cost, and I said it was no cost. It was so amazing to see the smile come to each of their faces when I gave them the item. I smiled too, as it made me feel good to see them smile and to have done something good.
I also learned a valuable lesson that value is not always measured in how expensive or how much or how little you pay for something -- these wooden items were purchased in a super dollar store.
I was talking with a woman in my office who has a son near the same age as my little 5 year old boy. I was telling her how much my son loved his Superman pajamas with a detachable cape. She laughed and told me how much her little boy would love something like that. She looked for weeks and then asked me again where I got it. She was not able to find any more there.
She loves her son so much that I decided I would find another one somewhere! Sure enough, in the age of the internet, I was able to find one on-line and have it shipped to me. The other morning I put in on her chair so she would find it when she came in to the office. She was so excited and touched that I found one for her son. I was so happy to make her and her little boy smile.
I get updates all the time on her little superhero. I'm just glad I was able to find the outfit and make them both smile!
Several years ago, while on the job, I heard one of my co-workers saying that even after we would get our paycheck on that Friday, she would not have enough money left to buy groceries for her two boys and herself. (Like me, she was a single mom at the time.)
When we got our paychecks that Friday, I counted up all my bills and had $30 left for my two children and myself, to last till the next week's paycheck. God told me to give her $20 of my $30, but a part of me worried, "What will I do for my two children?" Well, I listened to my inner voice and placed a $20 bill in an envelope, sealed it and put it in her van driver's seat, without her knowing it (to this day, she still doesn't know where it came from!).
About two years later, I needed money "very badly" and had been praying for the Lord's help and when I went out to my car one day, there was an envelope in the driver's seat of my car. It had $50!
God is faithful to those who take the time to listen to that subtle voice inside us.
A highly skilled carpenter who had grown old was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. The employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter agreed to this proposal but made sure that this will be his last project. Being in a mood to retire, the carpenter was not paying much attention to building this house. His heart was not in his work. He resorted to poor workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the job was done, the carpenter called his employer and showed him the house. The employer handed over some papers and the front door key ... Read Full Story >>
Some 20 years ago, I went to a huge antique show at the local fairgrounds. After perhaps an hour of shopping, I found a nice collectible Coke bottle and since it bore no price tag, I asked the older gentleman behind the table how much he wanted for it. He told me it was $5.00, and since that was a good price, I bought it, and put it in my bag with my other purchases. This antique show was the largest in the state, boasting thousands of dealers, and 7.2 miles of tables. Perhaps 45 minutes later, I had shopped most of my way through the next exposition hall, and spotted another item which caught my interest. I wanted to ask the seller about it, but he was talking with another customer, so I stood and waited for him to finish. He was speaking with a young lady who sounded quite upset. "I ... Read Full Story >>
I am a resource officer at a school district. Last year I met one little boy in particular to whom my heart just went out to. He would talk to me every single day, and always seemed to have a smile on his face. He has a problem with stuttering extremely bad when he tries to talk. It's really hard sometimes to understand what he is saying, although he loves to tell you big tales! Well, this morning, I was talking to a couple teachers who were running the school store. He stopped by and said hello to all of us. They told me after he left that he stops every day they are there and asks them if they will be there the next day. But of course, he never has the money to be able to buy anything. I decided I would get him a little something just ... Read Full Story >>
I was recently transfered from one department to another. So I decided to give a token of appreciation to my old boss. Then, I realized that I still have some smile cards and decided to make their day in a slightly more elaborate way. As a thank you for everything she had done, I made some jewelry for my old boss -- a beaded colors stones necklace! Then, I gave the secretary a gift as well -- a brown beaded necklace. And finally, the volunteer recruiter, a brown beaded bracelet and matching earrings. All ladies were so pleased and grateful that I made their day. The recruiter was so touched with the gesture that she now wants to incorporated the smile cards into the volunteer department, so other volunteers can do random acts of kindness too. I am so happy to have given the gifts to the ladies and attach the smile cards. Because ... Read Full Story >>
One rainy cold day, I decided I didn't care anymore if it had been raining all week, I just wanted my car clean. Besides, if it was nice and I had it washed, it surely would rain anyway! I went to the carwash around 1 p.m. and sat there a minute before a young attendant came out. He seemed somewhat dejected. After I pulled out of the carwash, I didn't get far before a thought occurred to me -- I had a bag of homemade cookies; they were meant to be for a friend but knowing the compassionate nature of my friends, I figured he would understand. So I immediately made a "U'ey" and pulled back into the carwash. The attendant seemed even more surprised to see me, again! With a big smile, I handed him the cookies and the card that said "SMILE, you have been tagged" and he got a huge smile ... Read Full Story >>
It was five in the morning. The room smelt weird. I saw him, next to me, deep in slumber. I went up to the bathroom and got my answer to the stench. He had had a few extra drinks last night, must have puked all over the wash basin. The basin was clogged and the stench inside was unbearable. A little angry I came back in the room with half a mind to wake him up and ask him to clean up. I could hear his soft snores and knew that he needs that sleep to be normal the next morning. This happened when we were vacationing in Dubai during Diwali holidays. I called up the reception and in an embarrassed tone explained my problem. It was a five star property and the receptionist promised to send someone over within a minute. Before hanging up, I requested him to send ... Read Full Story >>
One of my heroes told me of how she likes to secretly leave little treats for people at work with a smile card. So, I started doing that too. I found these really great snacks made by Larabar called “cashew cookies.” That was usually my go-to. Sometimes, I’d leave a book or a DVD that I liked for my co-workers on my way out. It was kind of cool, because everybody got it! Nobody tried very hard to find out who or how. They just kept doing it again and again. I got 3 of the smile cards given back my way. One of my best friends at work had her birthday a couple weeks ago. If you meet her, you would know that she’s an exceptional human being. She’s one of the most thoughtful people I know. On top of that, she’s very smart and always has good ... Read Full Story >>
When one of my colleagues was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to take a leave of absence. He decided to take leave not only because he was undergoing treatment, but also because his wife was going through treatment for a brain tumor. Given that they were both in bad shape, he decided to take the leave so that they could enjoy each other's company while they still had the chance. Before he went on his leave, he purposely came to his office after hours to gather his personal belongings - just in case. At the office, we all felt very bad but didn't know how to keep in touch with him and his family without bothering them. So here is what I did: I bought cards with envelopes and distributed them to all the people in our group. Then I sent an email to everyone encouraging my colleagues to write something, anything, for our friend. I then ... Read Full Story >>
I've been holding on to a good bunch of Smile Cards for some time now and decided it was about time I started using them more often! Any opportunity I get, no matter how big or small I am going to do an act of kindness and encourage the pay-it-forward idea. The other day I attended a large business event. I was seated in a row of seats where all chairs were taken except for one chair next to me. It was the only good viewing spot left in the room. There were other chairs available, but they were a distance away and to the side of the room. A few minutes later, two young men stood near me gazing the auditorium for the best seats they could find. "How many seats do you need?" I inquired. "Two," one of them replied. I flashed back to my Smile Card resolution and immediately got up. "Here, you can my seat and the ... Read Full Story >>
My friend Robert started a new job this week and he's been in training class for two days. The employer has a very strict dress code --- dark blue shirts and khaki pants. On the first day, an older gentleman in his class did not have the proper attire and he was sternly told that he would be dismissed if he didn't have the right attire the next day. He explained, "Sir, I had not been told about this. Because of my larger size, it's sometimes difficult to find the right clothing for a price I can afford." Last night, Robert and I decided that this old man shouldn't lose his job simply because he couldn't afford the clothes. I had some cash on hand at home and Robert took it with him this morning just in case it was needed. When training started this morning, the trainer was ready to fire ... Read Full Story >>
I have always loved our local library and every couple weeks, I've started to stop by on my lunch break. As the weather has gotten colder I have noticed that the library is more crowded during the day and not smelling very pleasant. It seems that the library is a popular place for our local homeless to gather to get out of the bad weather. I am glad that there is a warm safe place for people to get out of the bad weather, but I also wonder what it is like for the librarians who work there every day. Recently, on the way back from a business meeting, I stopped at a bakery and picked up my favorite treat -- a Napoleon. I love the bakery's Napoleons and was looking forward to enjoying the treat when I got back to my office. That day, I also stopped by the library ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I was in the grocery store and ran into an old client. (I worked in Social Services for 14 years and recently left to pursue other things). This particular person had been a very abrasive, beligerant and loud client, which intimidated some of the staff. Somehow I became the person who was best at dealing with these sorts of folks and I was called to the front desk to talk with him. He was tall and, well, scary looking. Wild hair, missing teeth, buggy eyes. I brought him to my office where he began crying and we talked about his life and what he needed help with. I then did my job, and helped him to the best of my ability. He soon found employment and went on his way and was one of my best success stories and I was proud of it. This was over 4 years ago. Anyway, yesterday ... Read Full Story >>
A wonderful Sufi story by Idries Shah: Once upon a time, not a thousand miles from here, there lived a poor old wood-cutter, who was a widower, and his little daughter. He used to go every day into the mountains to cut firewood which he brought home and tied into bundles. Then he used to have breakfast and walk into the nearest town, where he would sell his wood and rest for a time before returning home. One day, when he got home very late, the girl said to him: ‘Father, I sometimes wish that we would have some nicer food, and more and different kinds of things to eat.’ 'Very well, my child,’ said the old man, ‘tomorrow I shall get up much earlier than I usually do. I shall go further into the mountains where there is more wood, and I shall bring back a much larger quantity than ... Read Full Story >>
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite -- telling them to help themselves to the coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup itself doesn't add to the quality to the coffee and in some cases even hides what we drink and yet you consciously ... Read Full Story >>