One of my pleasures has always been to make friends out of people I encounter on a regular basis. This has sometimes led to wonderful unexpected gifts beyond the obvious happiness of setting up outposts of friends. 10 years ago, I was a "career professional" working as a programmer in a bank. Like many people, I was unhappy in my job, feeling completely unfulfilled, and occasionally having anxiety attacks about my life passing by without meaning. Banks have a strange corporate structure, doling out the title of "Vice President" rather liberally to miscellaneous positions of middling authority. My job had been bestowed with this aggrandizement. It not only seemed ridiculous to me, but became a source of irritation when I'd watch someone greet me respectfully, then turn around and respond dismissively to a fellow employee. In reaction to this obvious inequity, I made it a point to be even more respectful towards ... Read Full Story >>
My fiancee and I decided today was the day to finally treat ourselves to a nice dinner. It started off as 'our' day' but little did we know that it would turn into much more. I didn't want the whole day to be about yearning to leave the office for the upcoming dinner and I didn't want the dinner to be just another romantic night for two... So, I felt compelled to turn up the notch of giving that day and see what that could do. During the work day, I began in small ways. I inserted a few more quarters, dimes, and nickels, into the vending machines at work for the staff, so that something extra jingled inside for the next hungry worker. I posted smile signs in the lobby which gave clear instructions on how to smile as employees entered the office, either before their morning cup of coffee or right before a meeting with their boss. I drafted some powerful words of inspiration on colorful strips of paper and decorated my cube, so that any colleagues who came by, might just stop for ... Read Full Story >>
I'm just a senior in high school who works for minimum wage at a local Baskin Robbins. In and outside of work, I always wear a smile and try to influence my amiable attitude towards others. But lately, I've been inspired by the stories here to reach out in kindness in other ways beyond just acting friendly. So, today, when I went to work, I decided I would take my first big step and truly help a complete stranger. Two young girls came into the store and looked around. I offered them my usual "Welcome to Baskin Robbins!" greeting. It was a couple of minutes later when one of them finally decided upon a flavor, chocolate chip. So then, I made a big scoop and put it upon a cone and handed it to her. Interestingly, though, the other girl didn't get anything even though I could tell she was eyeballing the variety of creams. So, I ... Read Full Story >>
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to ... Read Full Story >>
My daughter reminded me yesterday of a story that happened several years ago. I worked in a nursing home for several years and had kind of adopted one wing, where the residents had few guests/visitors, and stayed manily in their rooms or in the hallway outside there rooms. I went down on my breaks just to check in, to see if anyone needed or wanted a bit of extra TLC. I gave them "flower" nicknames so I could share some of there stories with my kids without revealing there identities. The residents all knew I had nicknames for them. I called them my own private garden. One day I happened to overhear one of them say, "I wonder if dandelion is coming today?" "Of course, she always comes answered another." I admit I wondered why they named me after a weed. A few months after overhearing this one of my special ... Read Full Story >>
I work in a casino and deal with customers everyday. Unfortunately the majority of the time that means dealing with negativity as people are losing money and not generally happy.
Well last night I was working the grave shift and stopped to give change to a customer. He said I looked like I needed a hug. I just smiled. He opened up his jacket and pulled out a ziplock bag. Inside were a bunch of "hugs."
They were the word "hug" carved out of wood and attached to a pin. He had obviously made them himself. He handed me one as well as a card that goes with it (talking about the benefit of hugs and the low, low cost).
He made my day and I attached the hug to my ID badge so I could be reminded of how good a hug feels, especially when you least expect it.
I thought it was rather odd when my friend from the nursing home asked me to motor her wheelchair through the puddles that formed from the melting snow. I didn't really get it, but I went along with it. We were out on one of our walks or what I like to call one of our"weekly strolls" because I stand and she rolls. Adhering to my friend's peculiar request, we were off on our watery wheelchair adventure! We splashed through each puddle together and came out of each experience, slightly damp and smiling. In fact, after a few puddle excursions, even I started looking out for larger and more daunting puddles to sail through until one day we were out on our stroll, and to our dismay, no puddles were to be found. They had all dried up. Keen on keeping our strolling adventure alive, we discovered something new that awaited us. As we headed down the residential street, there was a small pile of leaves. My friend asked me to roll her through ... Read Full Story >>
Shopkeeper Tom Algie faced a dilemma over Christmas -- how to give himself and his three staff time off but without letting down his customers. So he came up with a solution to suit everyone: leaving the hardware store open with an honesty box. He left a note telling shoppers who came in on Boxing Day to serve themselves and then leave their payment in the box he had rigged up. Perhaps astonishingly, his plan worked. Trusting shopkeeper Tom Algie wanted a day off and left his DIY store open with a note and honesty box - and returned to find £187 inside When Mr Algie, 47, returned at 4.15pm to close up, he was delighted to find the shop in Settle, North Yorkshire, had taken £187.66 - and two euros. The father of two said: 'I didn't think twice about leaving the shop open. Settle is a lovely quiet ... Read Full Story >>
When my sister got married some time back, we were all excited. After her honeymoon she invited me over to her house to help her unwrap the gifts and send some thank you notes to all the people that came to the wedding party. As a side note, my sister works at Standard Bank in Malawi. Going through the gifts, we came across this precious exotic ice bucket in silver and gold. I had never seen such a beautiful ice bucket. Inside it was a note that read, "When I heard you were getting married, I asked around for the details and somehow managed to get here. You might not know me but I know you. I am a regular customer at Standard Bank and you helped me a lot when I was applying for a loan. I will never forget what you did, God bless you. -- Anonymous" When I showed my sister the note, she couldn't remember who the person ... Read Full Story >>
It was in the early 1970s that I was employed by Rockwell in Downey on the space shuttle program. The pressure to produce was intense with constant demands to meet schedules with teams of people of disparate skills and motivation. I had been involved in the Gurdjieff work for a short time and was beginning to experience a bit of the calm that comes from the meditation practice. At lunch time, my habit was to walk around the area adjacent to the test facility. One day while so occupied, I came across a small strip mall that had a space rented to a branch of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation organization. Having a bit of curiosity about the technique, I entered the facility and spoke with a pleasant and slightly plump young woman who appeared to be quite calm. Although it was not my interest to sign up for the courses ... Read Full Story >>
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you." The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today - one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO." One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, ... Read Full Story >>
When I worked in a busy office, most of my co-workers kept jars of candy on their desks to enjoy and share with others. Constantly battling the "bulge," I hated these temptations, but neverthless often gave in to them. I decided to put out a jar of my own "feel good" stuff, with no calories. I bought a beautiful jar and spent one whole weekend at home cutting up colorful strips of paper and writing down inspiring quotes. I filled up the jar with the inspiring quotes and placed it on my desk for people to help themselves to. It took a while to catch on, but soon, everyone was stopping by my "food for thought" jar daily to fill up on something much better than empty calories. They would take one out, read it, smile knowingly, and then fold it up and replace it for the next co-worker. It's something that never needed ... Read Full Story >>
There's a woman I work with who is very shy. She doesn't usually share much about herself so I don't know her very well. At the beginning of the week, a group of my co-workers and I were gathered around the water fountain. This woman was there too. Usually she is fairly quiet, but today she was unloading all her woes.....I listened (without interrupting) while she shared her many concerns and life challenges with the group. Some of the group rolled their eyes or tried to change the subject I suspected because they did not want their precious break time spent on someone else's problems. I could tell she was really stressed and disheartened. Even, her appearance spoke volumes - her posture was poor with slumped shoulders, she has deep furrow lines on her forehead, her eyes had no sparkle and she had dark circles. She seemed to be surrounded by ... 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 >>
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 Sunday, a woman told me that she felt led to give me twenty dollars. She wanted me to use the money for whatever I needed. I tried not to take it, but she insisted and so I took it and thanked her. I didn't need the money, but I knew there must be a reason for her giving it to me. The next day, Monday, I went to work. A different woman was walking by the store I worked at. She was limping, and didn't look to be very well. I knew her and called out, asking her how she was doing. She responded with her sad situation. Her husband had died recently, she had to quit her job because of her health, and on top of that, she wasn't drawing her disability benefits as yet. I told her the story about the $20, and asked her if she would ... Read Full Story >>
My workplace, as do many others in our town, support local services and the needy. One of the main services we support and donate to, besides the Red Cross and United Way, is our local food bank. This year, the food bank is challenged more than in the past. We cannot let the shelves become depleted or the food run out. Others, especially children, depend on it. With the country's economic situation stalled and more people out of work, more people are hungry and need supplements to feed their families. This year, all the companies in our area got together and decided to sponsor a Community "Food Fight Contest". The contest will include 3 categories or areas to win: a) supply the most food, b) donate the most money, and c) provide the most volunteers. A company can win in all 3 areas or 3 different companies can win in each different ... Read Full Story >>
I knew a friend of mine was struggling with work, adult children moving back into the home, and a health concern about his wife.
Last week I called him and left him a voicemail letting him know that I was thinking of him and focusing on a positive outcome for him.
I spoke to him today and he told me that my voicemail brought him so much comfort that he saved it and when things get rough, he listens to it and cheers up.
I'm so humbled by his words and so very grateful that I took a moment to leave him that voicemail. It got me thinking how sometimes we have impulses to reach out to another. At times we follow through, sometimes we get busy and forget.
After hearing his gratitude for my message, I realized I need to pay more attention to those impulses.
Everyday, I read the stories on this website and I am so warmed by all the generous giving and grateful receiving.
Thank you for the inspiration!
I don't know how others will respond to my first story, but I do know that it was something I was compelled to do, regardless if the recipient was "only a dog". I work for the railroad, which can be a very dangerous place. It is also usually located in the poorest of neighborhoods. Unfortunately, we often see homeless, hungry animals hanging around looking for scraps of food. Often, they are large, scary-loooking dogs who end up at the pound. For the last few weeks there has been a rather large, red dog who has been hanging around with an obvious leg injury. He was scared and would not come near any of us. Each day I came to work I would talk to him, toss him a bite to eat and go about my business. After about two weeks of this, this wonderful creature saw me arrive at work one evening ... Read Full Story >>
Most of us have a few experiences each day that make us laugh or grin for a short period of time. If we are lucky, we may cross paths with something that makes us grin for a day or two. If we are truly blessed, somewhere on our path we are able to be part of something that will make us grin for the rest of our lives. I need to share such an event with you, with the hope that you would consider a similar project in your community. I am a building contractor from Lynchburg, Virginia. I have been volunteering with Greater Lynchburg Habitat For Humanity since our affiliate started in the late 1980’s. In the past 20 years, I have tried to give more to Habitat than I have received, but it is something I have not been able to accomplish. I have always said that if you look around, ... Read Full Story >>
On my way out the building in the morning, I search my pockets for 5 rupee coins. If I have one, I go to the shop downstairs and buy 5 packets of Gems-- an Indian version of M&Ms. There are 3 Gems per packet, giving me 14 chances to make someone smile (there would be 15 but invariably the first Gem ends up in my own mouth!). On the first day, I gave one each to the two youngs sons of my dhobi (washerman), and to the boy who lives in the makeshift shack in front of my building. Their hands were really dirty so I put them straight into their mouths. I thought for a second about giving them an impromptu lesson in hand-washing, but they are too young to understand Hindi and I haven't learned enough Kannada to explain properly. Next time I'll pick up the basics, and use ... Read Full Story >>
My first full time job after high school was selling vacation packages via telephone for a well known company. One day, the dialer connected me to a man that answered the phone and sounded a bit out of breath. I started with my normal pitch, and expecting to hear the normal, "I don't want any," and be hung up on. Instead he spoke in a faint, weak voice and began to tell me how he wished he could take a vacation like the one I was offering, but couldn't because he was dying of emphysema. He explained how he was on oxygen, and it took almost all his energy just to get to the phone to answer the call. I apologized, and my heart fell into my stomach. He asked me if I smoked, which I did, and then begged me to stop. He told me smoking is what was ... Read Full Story >>
One day, while I was walking to work, I decided to bring some flowers that I had picked from my garden that morning. I came across a random stranger, and was inspired to give the bunch to him with a smile card. Struck by the sense of joy I felt from giving flowers to another person, and maybe brightening his day, I wanted to do it again. When I got to my office, I had the idea of anonymously leaving flowers around the workplace. Sometimes, the impersonal atmosphere of the building where I work numbs my spirits a little. It's a nice building, with great light, but it just feels a little sterile sometimes. I figured lots of people might feel the same way, so why not put a little beauty there, and throw in an inspirational quote while I'm at it? After all, who doesn't like flowers? So, for the past month, I've been putting flowers ... Read Full Story >>
I work in a pharmacy, on the main cash, full time. I love it, it's the perfect job for where I am in life, I feel like I'm learning so much from people. I always tell everyone who I serve to "have a great day" as they leave, and I always add a smile. A few weeks ago a lady was in the pharmacy. She wallked by me close to the end of the night, looking concentrated, but calm. I told her to have a great day, and as usual, smiled at her. To my surprise, she broke down in tears. I don't know why she was crying, but it was pretty obvious that she must have been having a horrible day. She quickly said: "Thank you, that means more right now then you can imagine." And managed a smile, even though she was still crying. I wanted to go over and hug ... Read Full Story >>
My scheduled day of kindness this week is tomorrow (yes, I’m still doing it each week, just haven’t written about them all!) but I was not sure what I would do. While catching up on some of the stories here today, I decided I will make it Free Hug Friday! My catch phrase tomorrow any time I see someone a little down or frustrated is to say to them “Looks like someone could use a hug!” and then let them have it! I’ll certainly have to be a little careful so I don’t scare some of the people inmy office. Most of them think I am a little off anyway, so they will just add this to the list of strange things they’ve seen me do. I have noticed how much a touch or hug can mean to people, even if they don’t realize it at the time so I’m going ... Read Full Story >>
About nine years ago I worked at a large downtown hotel. Since we were connected to a mall and a public parking garage, anyone could just pretty much walk into the hotel area. We started having a big problem with homeless youth living in our stairwells at night. The stairwells went largely unused because of their hidden nature and the fact that once inside, you could only go down and exit to the street, all the doors locked behind you and you could not travel between levels and exit back into the hotel. As night manager, I ended up being the one to evict these youth, night after night after night. One night there were seven homeless young people and a puppy, in a total of three locations. I hated to do it on rainy nights, but it was my job, and some guests felt threatened when encountering tattooed and pierced youth ... Read Full Story >>
Some of the women at my work had been hit up to buy cookies from some Girl Scouts they knew. We wanted to support the young girls but we were all working on losing weight. We were wondering what to do when we got the idea to send the cookies to the troops overseas.
My daughter was serving in Iraq when this happened. I packaged them up in a care package and sent them out to my daughter's unit. My daughters unit enjoyed them so much and we got lots of appreciative letters and emails from them. It was so lovely to receive all of those and see what an impact a small gesture on our part had had.
They were flying a flag at their unit and told us they were going to bring it home for us to fly here.
What a blessing was brought out by wanting to support one cause by buying cookies and bringing smiles and love to another cause!
From 1993 through 1998 I was a vendor for Chevrolet dealearships. Each week I would take a look at their used cars that were for sale. I would fix cracks in leather, cigarette burns in fabric, re-color carpets that had stains, repair windshields that had been hit by a rock, etc. Every week I would walk into this specific Chevrolet dealer's used car lot to see what the used cars needed in the way of repairs. The general manager's wife was named Cindy. Cindy was always very rude, treating me like I was below her or that she was better than me. I was always upbeat, possitive and kind, but that never seemed to work with her. One day she accused me of charging her to dye the carpet in a mini-van that had a stain in the carpet. She had driven the van for the weekend and said the stain was not there. Just trying to continually be agressive, and negitive without ... Read Full Story >>
I came across HelpOthers one afternoon at work and I left my office that day filled with inspiration, wondering how I could make a difference in someone's life, even if only for a moment. I'm in a period of transition moving to a new home as a single parent with three children, finances are tight, my mom is fighting ovarian cancer, my sister has been laid off, my ex-husband is out of work. Life is less than rosy for me right now and I was eager for an opportunity, quite honestly just to feel better about life and make someone else feel better. I was eager to give. As I left the parking lot, I made my way down the street towards my home. It was an especially hot day even at this late hour of the afternoon. I stopped at an intersection and idly watched a young woman make her way through ... Read Full Story >>
I submited a kindness idea to Helpothers.org $100 kindness contest and I won. Armed with $100 and a mission - WOW! What an amazing week I just had! It started out last weekend - the first goal was to fill 20 “Smile Baggies” to give out. I had so much fun all Saturday picking out the items to buy. I'm a single mom of a teenager, so the opportunity to buy something without worrying about whether it would hurt our monthly budget made me feel like I had won the lottery! I picked out some practical items – a post-it note pad, pen, hand sanitizer wipes, and breath mints. But since it was a “smile baggie”, I also got some fun stuff too – microwave popcorn, hot cocoa, bubble gum, a smile stamp, and a small bottle of bubble bath. I spent Sunday night bagging all the goodies and attached the following letter to each bag: "HI! This ... Read Full Story >>