Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a lovely little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare life threatening disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had somehow survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
A young girl, Hattie, stood outside a small church from which she had been turned away because 'it was too crowded'. "I can't go to Sunday School," she said to the pastor as he walked by. The pastor carried the child inside and found a place for her to sit in the back. The next time the pastor met her he said "Hattie, we are going to have a larger Sunday school room soon. When we get the money with which to erect a school building we are going to construct one large enough to get all the little children in, and we are going to begin very soon to raise the money for it." The pastor did not see Hattie again, until he heard from her parents some two years later. Hattie had sadly died her parents called for the kind-hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the ... Read Full Story >>
We were traveling in Italy recently and what really made our trip memorable are the encounters with Italian Grandmas. I had just crossed a busy road in Roma. A grandma right next to me sprinted across and came back with my toddler's missing shoe. I hadn't even noticed and she thought it would be easier to run twice than try to communicate with me through our language barrier :) Another time, I was looking for Fontana de Trevis and had wandered off in the name of looking at this and that. Out came a Grandma from a small cafe and she instantly knew I was lost. She took me by my hand and asked where I was headed. Then she went into a rapturous discourse about the fountain (I guess) and in 3 minutes, I was standing in front of the masterpiece. Just as she was about to disappear, she searched for ... Read Full Story >>
We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose ... Read Full Story >>
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class ... Read Full Story >>
This weekend, a group of us were in Union Square, New York, watching Tylon and Macho, two contortionists and street dancers, put on a jaw dropping performance that included jumping over 7 people. At the end, the hundreds of people watching began putting money into their bucket.
One tiny little girl walks up with her mom, she couldn't have been more than 2 years old. Tylon, who grew up in the Harlem projects, reaches into his bucket, folds up a couple of dollar bills, and hands them to the little girl. Everyone who witnessed it was stunned and humbled by this pure act of giving. Our jaws dropped for a second time.
Inspired, my bro, Shrey, later pulled out several more bills and we snuck them into Tylon's bucket without him seeing. His small, simple act of giving will not be forgotten.
If you happen to be in New York, be sure to catch these do-gooders Thurs-Sun evenings in Union Square, across from the Whole Foods!
I had asked my 22 year old son to bring home some milk from the grocery store where he works as a supervisor.
My 8-year-old daughter is experimenting with kindness and smiles. She has been making her own colourful smile cards in all the colours of the rainbow and often takes them to school or stuffs her pockets with them when we go out to run errands. She makes them very carefully and takes great pride in her work :) Last Sunday, I took the kids grocery shopping with me. My daughter packed her pockets with about 20 of her homemade smile cards. She was hoping to see John, who is an elderly man who gives out samples. We see him from time to time and he is so happy and friendly, that we can't help feeling good talking to him. John wasn't at the store on Sunday, so my daughter decided that it would be a good idea to distribute her smile cards to all the store's other employees. As much as I have ... Read Full Story >>
When my son was first diagnosed with Autism, it was a very hard time for us. In some ways it was a relief, because we finally had a name for what was going on in our lives, but it also meant years more of uncertainty, and we didn't know what the future held. When I shared the news with my coworkers, I was so surprised and happy to recieve so much immediate love and support from them. They were focused on what we needed, as opposed to how it would affect my ability to make it to work. One coworker in particular was amazing to my family and I. She called me into her office a few days later, and gave me a "worry stone". This is a small circular stone with an indention for your thumb. It gives you something to focus on when you're worried, rubbing your thumb around on this stone. It was ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I have been hosting children in need of orthopedic surgery from Belize since 1993. Our local Rotary district and Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis provide the air fare and medical care. Some say that we are so wonderful to be host parents...maybe, but we are the ones who are blessed to have the privilege to care for these darling children.
Our children have had the opportunity to see the world in a different view than most of their peers and we are all grateful for being chosen to share our home with others less fortunate. Now that that they are adults, our three children host these children too.
If you live within a few hours from a hospital, you too can help others with your immeasureable time and talent (and there are always other experienced volunteers to back you up if needed).
I was recently on a vacation to Disney World with some of my friends. I never expected to find a chance to exercise my kindness muscles. My friends were going on a scary water ride that I did not want to go on. I waited outside the ride with their camera so that I could take pictures. While I was doing this, I noticed two small children who were alone. It looked like the older one, about 7, seemed to be searching for something, while the younger boy, around 3, was crying uncontrollably. I waited for some time, slightly afraid to approach them in case they would be scared by a stranger. After watching this scene for about 10 minutes, I decided that I needed to find out what was the matter. The older boy explained that they were standing at the exact same spot with their parents just an hour ago and ... Read Full Story >>
Aikido, translated as “the way of spiritual harmony”, is a Japanese martial art. While it is a powerful system of self defense, the greatest benefit of Aikido training is that it provides a means to better yourself and become a happier, more balanced person. There is a piece of calligraphy authored by Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, that reads “True victory is victory over oneself”. This concept and Aikido itself is suitable for people of all ages. For the last year or so, I have had the privilege of being an assistant instructor for the “Kid's Self Mastery” classes at my dojo; helping to teach children ranging in age from 5 to 10 years old. The classes themselves consist mostly of games and exercises allowing the students to learn Aikido, teamwork, respect, kindness, and other skills in a way that's fun to them. They also have “Mat Chats” in which ... Read Full Story >>
I had been feeling a bit blue and alone, so I thought I'd treat myself to something I wanted. I went to the grocery store to pick up some items I needed to make some chili bean soup. I had a hankering for it and felt like I'd treat myself to something I wanted. I could almost taste the soup. I had the beans the onions, the ground beef, my mouth was watering. Then out of nowhere a thought of my sister came to mind. We had spoken via email just the day before. She told me that she and my 13-month-old nephew had been battling a virus all week and feeling pretty tired. As I thought of this, I thought that I should bring something over for dinner. She loves my Mexican meatball soup (Albondigas), but I wanted Chili soup, and so the battle within began. I already had everything for ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of years ago, when my son was just starting to toddle, I found myself at the local Sunday bootfair. My son and I were wandering up and down the field, when we saw a table that had some toy cars on. I said to my little boy that since he had been such a good boy, he could choose one of the 50p cars and I would buy it for him. After some deliberation, he chose a car and it was only when I went to pay that I realised that I had 46p or a £10 note. I tried to pay with the £10 and the lady asked if I had anything smaller. I tipped out the 46p into my hand and said that it was all the change that I had. The lady at the stall only gave me a glance as I held it out to ... Read Full Story >>
Mamá Inés [a fondly way to call Ms. Inés, in Mexico Mamá=Mom] was a humble woman with little "formal education". She suffered the very rare Addison’s Disease, which attacks at a rate of one per hundred thousand inhabitants. People suffer from constant fatigue, stomach problems and nausea. Their skin begins to tarnish, they get very dark and sometimes have black spots. Patients become very irritable and suffer from sudden changes in mood. During the time I met her, I could not perceive any of these symptoms. She was restless, always serving and giving something needed when she had it, if not, she found it and give it away. She was continuously giving herself away to the community. She was the adoptive mother of a dear friend of mine. Mama Ines never married nor had children of her own, although she was the best mother of the children she took. I think, Mama ... Read Full Story >>
As I sat down to dinner yesterday the phone rang. It was a child's voice on the other end that I didn't recognise. He explained that they had found the phone he was calling me on. They had looked up "Home" in the contacts file and so they were phoning the number that turned out to be me. From their description I recognised my step-son's phone. He'd left it at the football pitch where he'd been playing. I asked them to wait a few minutes, put my dinner in the oven, and headed over to the location they had given me. When I arrived I saw a group of five children, aged about 7-9 years old. They came running over to meet me and were just charming and well-spoken kids. They told me how and where they'd found the phone. They also told me some bigger kids had tried to take it but they hadn't let ... Read Full Story >>
I had posted an earlier story about a supermarket checkout operator who had risked her job to help an old man find his wife’s favourite talc. Well, I was in her queue again today. In front of us were a woman and her young (maybe around 10 year old) daughter. As part of their shopping they were buying a DVD which had to be brought from elsewhere in the shop. While the chechkout operator was scanning and bagging the rest of the shopping she chatted with the mother about Easter eggs, grandkids and other stuff. I just happened to be looking at the daughter when another member of staff brought her the DVD. The girl’s face really lit up with delight and appreciation. Sad to say, it’s not a sight you see so often. When it came my turn to be served I commented on the girl’s obvious happiness with her DVD. “She has ... Read Full Story >>
While getting ready for school today, my 16-year-old daughter made a point of coming into my room to give me a big hug and kiss. When I asked her the proverbial question, "What do you want?" she replied, "Nothing momma. You always tell us to have a good day before we leave the house, but I was thinking about who tells you to have a good day and lets you know how much you are loved." I am so touched by the capacity of love and understanding that comes from my children. My 15-year-old son asked me last night if there was a way for him to get a summer job this year in order to help us pay our bills. Unfortunately, in our area, he must be 16. When telling him "no," he said that was ok because he had a lawn mower and as long as the grass grows, he ... Read Full Story >>
Not long ago, I was out at the mall, buying a gift for one of my younger friends. I stopoped by Claire's to find something for her. As I was glancing at items, I noticed a little girl around 8 or 9 yrs of age walk in, we were both looking at these cute little mini lip gloss boxes that had a picture in the front: one had penguins, dogs, cats, lots of cute pictures. She started thinking out loud, saying: "They're so cute!" I told her pointing at a box, "Did you see this one? It's super cute, too!" She was just delighted! She said to herself in a soft voice, "I wish I had money to get one." I heard her and I couldn't just leave the store, so I asked her, "Which one did you like the most?" She pointed to the pink box with puppies on the cover. I said, "Ok, ... Read Full Story >>
I met a really nice young couple about a year ago through mutual friends on a social networking site. They have just adopted a baby girl. This is a beautiful gift to the world on its own, but what makes it even more special is how many hoops they jumped through and how much time and money they spent to get to that stage. I was going through some boxes from my mother’s house (she passed away at Christmas time in 2007) and I found some beautiful vintage baby dresses. So I thought, wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if I sent some of this lovely vintage clothing to the couple for their adopted baby? I knew they would love it. This was truly a gift from the heart; I had planned on saving those for my daughter if I had one someday. But, given that my husband died before we had any children, ... Read Full Story >>
I always try to encourage my children to be, think and talk positive but one day I was caught not practicing what I preach by my son. My son is 7 ½ yrs old son and he was preparing for a sketch at his school for the occasion of Mother’s day. He was playing the role of an angel. On the evening before the show, we were having a casual conversation while I was preparing dinner in the kitchen. He asked me: “Mum, can we see angels?” As usual, I seized the opportunity to encourage him to be positive and I said: “Yes, but only those who are, think and talk good can see angels.” He responded by asking: “You must have seen them then?” I paused a few seconds. I was touched by his innocence about the fact that how he thought his mother was a perfect person. Impatiently waiting for his answer, ... Read Full Story >>
A Night With The Homeless by: Ellis Moore (Age 10) Every Saturday or Sunday night my family and I go out and feed the homeless people in the city of Orlando. There are thousands of people across The United States without any food or shelter. My family and I have been doing this for several months. We wanted to see what it was like in the life of a homeless person. One special thing I like to mention is, my family and I do not eat before we begin our journey so we know how it feels to be hungry. All of the areas we go to are very dangerous. We go on streets such as, Orange blossom trail, Parramore, Gore street, Colonial Dr, and down town Orlando. We all get together in the kitchen and prepare the food. Some of the meals are sandwiches and cookies and a bottle of water. ... Read Full Story >>
My four grown children were all home visiting this weekend so we decided to go out for brunch. The centre of attention was my toddler granddaughter. She had never had pancakes before so we were excited about her trying them. We always try to make our family meals special so this time we decided to order every kind of pancake they had and asked that they be served on one big family-style platter! We each took turns digging in and also feeding it to the baby, who loved them. There was a lovely environment at the table and lots of smiles. As I was looking around the table, enjoying this wonderful scene, a gentleman at a nearby table caught my eye. He was eating his breakfast alone quietly, in the corner. He frequently looked over and smiled as my granddaughter continued to entertain us all. Suddenly, I had a great idea. I dug ... Read Full Story >>
I heard a great story this morning about a young girl with a very big heart. A friend was telling me a story about her customer's daughter. The daughter goes to an expensive private school where she has a friend, who is on a full scholarship at this school. This friend has very limited means and her mother is an immigrant from China and her father is an alcholic. Although the girl's mother works very hard, they can barely make ends meet. This girl is very bright and gifted at music and that's how she got the scholarship from this school. The stipend also includes an allowance for things like lunch, school uniform and music lessons. The daughter became friends with this girl and would secretly talk to her at lunch (secretly, in order to avoid the other kids teasing her). On her birthday last month, she invited her new friend to her birthday ... Read Full Story >>
I recently got a new version of an old camera that I used to adore... Polaroid instant film! This one is a Fuji, which takes credit card sized instant photos. I named my camera "J5", (after Johnny #5 the Robot, from the '80's films "Short Circuit", mainly because it looks like him :) In J5's short career (this past month), he has blasted off about 80 photographs, and 60+ have been given away to complete strangers. Each photograph is unique, simple, imperfect and beautiful, as those captured within the photos had a story to tell. So far, one story stands out above them all. Last Wednesday, I was in the play area of the Harrisburg Mall. I sat next to a woman who was there with her son. She was very classy, seemed to have it all together. I would have assumed that she had a sweet, upper-middle class life. As it turned ... Read Full Story >>
It was a hot weekday afternoon and I was on my way to volunteer at a reading session with visually impaired girls. I got in to a rickshaw and immediately struck up a conversation with the rickshaw driver. The rickshaw driver started telling me the story of his life. He related that he had grown up very poor and he and his siblings didn’t have much. He said he worked very hard so that he could make sure that his children had the opportunity to attend a decent school. He said that there were many nights when he would skip dinner to make sure that they would have enough money to send the daughter on a class trip or to pay for his son to attend the computer lab. I was profoundly moved by the simple and matter of fact way in which this man was relating this heart-melting story. When we ... Read Full Story >>
Mandy was the kind of girl I was blessed to have as a daughter, the kind of friend everyone wanted to have, the kind of spirit that radiated joy and happiness when ever she entered a room. Mandy left this world to go be with her Lord on November 15, 2008 in a tragic car accident. Since then, I have tried to live each day of my life living up to her expectations. I started the Kindness Revolution on Mother's day 2009 and gave out over 100 flowers to random women throughout the weekend along with a card letting them know to pay the kindness forward. I have given away jewelry, paid for coffee and tolls, paid for groceries, cleaned off car windows trying to spread the kindness and to do as she instructed. I know that each time I do a kind act, I get back 100 times more than I gave. The feeling ... Read Full Story >>
Today, it was over 100 degrees out. Horrible humidity too. While driving to get my tire fixed on my van I noticed some homeless people wandering around in this heat. My heart sank. As soon as I was done at the garage I went to the store and picked up some gatorade, ice and bags of trail mix. I headed home to pick up my 3 kids (1, 2 and 16 years old), loaded the van with the cooler and went off to pass them out. We found 3 homeless guys walking in the heat with the weight of their backpacks and gave them ice cold gatorade and bags of trail mix. The best part was seeing the look on my 16 year old's face as he handed them the drinks and hearing my 2 year old say 'God bless you!' from the back seat. Awesome. This is how my kids and I ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of weeks back, my friend had a yard sale, and she offered to sell some of our stuff for us. I thought it would be a good opportunity to clean my 7 year old son's room and get rid of some toys that he had long outgrown. We agreed that whatever we sold in toys would be his money. The night before the sale, we loaded up the truck with toys and a little bike that he was now too tall for. He had taken the bike for a final spin before we left home but happily put it on the truck for the sale. This little bike had had at least 2 previous owners that we knew of. It was not in the best shape and it certainly was not shiny new but it was still a bike, and the tires were still good. We put a price of $10 on it but it didn't sell. So, after the ... Read Full Story >>
I stopped at a huge yard sale and was looking for that hidden treasure. A blouse caught my eye, and as I approached the "cashier" I heard her say, "Well, can't you get some more money from someone?" I looked over and saw that her comment was directed at a child holding a nice looking pair of shoes in one hand, his other outstretched palm displaying a few coins. I was instantly annoyed that the lady was witholding a pair of unwanted shoes for a few more cents. I remembered my smile cards, and asked "how much are they?" . "Two dollars" she replied. "Oh, here ya go," I said, handing the boy two dollars and a smile card. As I walked away I heard her say to the boy, "Can I see your card?" I decided to buy the blouse and when I went to pay the lady was clearly chagrinned. "Where did you ... Read Full Story >>