Each week, I give my elderly neighbor a ride to the store, when I am going. She keeps trying to pay me, and I keep refusing. I tell her that it doesn't cost any more for her to ride with me. Last week, she brought an envelope saying, "I have something for you." I said, "If it has money in it, I don't want it." But, she laid it on a stand. Later, I opened it to find a 'thank you' card with $10.00 in it. That night, I stopped at her house to give some extra fried chicken that I had. I took a plain card, put the $10.00 in it along with a 'Smile' card, and when leaving, left it stuck in her storm door. The next day, stopping by to return my dish, she said, "Look, I know you put that letter in my door this morning, ... Read Full Story >>
This is about an incident which took place couple of years back. I used to frequently visit an old age home run by the little sisters of the poor in our city Hyderabad. A.P. (India) There I met a gentlemen by name Kurien who happened to be a Keralite in his late eighties. He served the Indian army and retired. He has one son who is well educated and also married. He just does not bother to take care of him nor respect him while he is in the house. Mr. Kurien got dejected with the life in his house and decided to move into this old age home here in Hyderabad. We both began to share a lot thoughts whenever we met and slowly it was a daily affair that I used to spend some time with him discussing what he was doing in the army, ... Read Full Story >>
"Right on. This is my kind of protest," he says while going past me. I hadn't thought of it way before. But perhaps it is a protest for lack of smiles in the world. About 15 of us gathered earlier today to create poster boards that we would proudly hold up on busy street intersections of San Francisco. The posters would say simple things like "smile" or "smile anyways" or "spare a smile?" or "smile, it's free". We weren't doing this as a part of any organization but rather as friends and well-meaning citizens of the world. After our morning creative sessions, we split up into teams of four and spread over various intersections on San Francisco's Van Ness Road. My team was at the Lombard intersection, one of the busiest. For the first couple minutes, there's always that awkward question mark on your face -- "I am making a fool of myself?" ... Read Full Story >>
I love to do the random things like pay for the person behind me in the fast food drive thru.... This week after church we decided to go out to eat with our kids in tow. Our family consists of 6 children, some adopted. We went to a local restaurant. We were seated next to a family of 4 children, and I noticed the young mother had a bandana on her head and appeared to have a hair loss issue, it immediatly touched my heart. I told my husband I want to pay their bill. He looked around, I think he was looking for a lonely person in the corner, then I pointed to the family next to us. When he did a head count I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Our income is stretched as it was and here I am suggesting we pay for another bill. After ... Read Full Story >>
Wow! I got seriously tagged with an act of anonymous kindness last week. Actually, its more like seriously pummeled with kindness. I spent 26 days at a meditation retreat, mainly to begin the process of self purification through self discovery...I guess you could call it a renovation of the interior walls of my mind. As I walked back into my studio home on Sunday, WOW, a few folks had decided that they would self-purify my home and renovate its interior walls as well. The place has been tiled, every corner has been painted, fridge has been stocked, light switches have been replaced, new furniture has been added, and an infinite amount of love has been poured into every inch of that space. On the table in the middle of my room was a flower pot with one smile card attached to the stem. The coolest thing I found was one ... Read Full Story >>
I was with my oldest son and we were on the lookout for an open parking space in our jam-packed shopping center. We spotted a perfect one in the next row of spaces, and I manouvered our van around the turn, all the while hoping no one else would spot it and grab it before I could. And, as luck would have it, a lady was wheeling her shopping cart right in front of us, and it looked like it was getting away from her - crammed with bags and cartons of soda underneath. She herself was carrying three extra bags in her hands while trying to push the cart against a strong spring wind, and looked frazzled. She noticed us and I could tell she was trying to move over to the side so we could pass. At that moment, some of the lighter ... Read Full Story >>
Hi I'm 12 years old and I recently saw a movie called 'Pay It Foreward'. It was all about doing random acts of kindness.
On mothers day today we had a bunch of roses in our church that went out to all the mothers. There were a few extra so i took the extra ones home with me and placed them on people in my neighborhoods doorsteps. Then when i was delivering newpapers on wednesday one of my neighbors had seen me drop of a rose at their doorstep, ran up to me and gave me a huge hug.
That had made my day, that sometimes people just need something small like a rose to make them happy!
I am a mother of two and always have had a special spot in my heart for people that have spent many years on this earth. I somehow fall into these peoples lives for some reason or another. One elderly woman needed a lot of care such as cooking, cleaning, dr. appts and so on which I was more than happy to help until she passed. Of course it broke my heart. Since then, I've befriended several others -- some just want to have lunch and tell their stories while others need help going to the store and getting their hair fixed every week. The main thing I have noticed is that when you get older for some reason people start to ignore you and they lose their voice? I understand that sometimes there is memory loss, however, it upsets me to see dr's and even family treat them ... Read Full Story >>
In the middle of lunch, we get a phone call. "Sir, I've got a special package for you." "Special package? Um, ok, I'll come down to get it." "This is for you," the slim, twenty-something guy says with a mischevious smile. "Who is it from?" "It's from an anonymous friend." Actually, in all my excitement I couldn't tell if he said "friend" or "friends" but it didn't matter. With radiant joy for having kind friends, I took a peek inside the box. "Thank you." The kid rushes off as if his 007 mission is accomplished. Inside the box -- guess what? T-shirts. Lots of them, I think about 25-30 of them. Each t-shirt had the same kind of "smile" written on it, the way each smile card has, and a happy face. ... Read Full Story >>
I have a big veggie garden and every year i plant a little more than i can handle. It's something like my eyes are bigger than my appetite. I decided to take all of my excess veggies down to the laundry mat with a sign that read "free veggies". I guess that those who use the laundry may prbably rent places and might not be able to plant a garden. I did this all summer and each time when i went to collect the box...it was empty!
Last-weekend, my kids along with few other kids from the neighborhood volunteered to help me wash my car. We embarked on our car cleaning mission when my 10 year old came up with the idea of washing other people's cars as well. It was pretty hot outside and I had no plans to continue being in the bright sun. She further wanted to give lemonade to passerby's for free. I had seen little kids serve and sell fresh lemonade for a small cost (may be 25 cents) but not free. I felt fuzzy and decided to help her out. She promptly asked me, "What if we make this a smile car wash mommy"? I couldn't hold back my tears and encouraged her and the other kids to go inside the house and get creative and come up with ideas. While I kept myself busy in drying the car, the ... Read Full Story >>
I was a first year college student in a Graphic Design course and I'd like to tell you an interesting story that happened to me a few months ago. You see, I live in a "seedy" (an abundance of illegal activity) apartment building whose residents are a large diversity of minorities, most of which I have never met, (I don't even know my neighbors name), and we all have to use the laundry room on the third floor. The dryers in the laundry room are old and usually require more than one cycle to fully dry even a small load of laundry. One evening I found I had only one loonie left for the dryer (they only accepted $1 coins) and so opted to leave my wet clothes in the dryer all night knowing that my clothes would still be damp in the morning and that they were the only ... Read Full Story >>
A dear friend was only weeks away from death from cancer. She said she was sorry she wouldn't be able to see the ocean again and get her toes in the sand. We live in Central Virginia and she was unable to travel so the trip to the coast wasn't going to happen. Some of us decided the solution was pretty simple. We would surprise her and bring the beach to her. The beach included three tons of beautiful white sand dumped in her driveway, two cabanas, beach balls, pails, shovels, beach chairs, a variety of decorations and a fire pit for the bonfire on the beach at night. Of course we had s'mores on the beach. We also rented a sno-cone machine since it had gotten to the point where flavored ice was about all she was able to eat. We ... 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.
The third round of flooding came at night. Residents kept vigil all night, waiting and watching the water level rise. Would it enter their home? As the water rose, people moved to the street, but still they wouldn't sleep. The water level continued it climb upwards, displacing more people as the hours passed. The stores were closed and traffic on the street minimal, but activity was in the air as people moved to help their relatives and neighbours.
A distance away, a man heard the news. He jumped on his scooter and instead of heading to the flooded slum, he drove in the opposite direction to Lal Darwaja (7-8km away from the slum), where food stands were open.
Dus chai dedo (10 chais please).
Packing the chai for travel, he then jumped back on his scooter and headed to the tekra. When he found the family he was looking for, he handed out chai to them and those around them before even asking how they were. They simply looked at the man and smiled. At 3AM, a cup of chai was exactly what they needed.
We live in a small flat in Ranip (in India). While all the families in the society live in flats, many families’ economic prosperity is not much better than many living in slum. One such family lives behind us. A couple lives with their son and the husband’s brother and mother in a small inherited two room flat, that is 8 feet by 15 feet in size. The entire household subsists on the daily wages of the daily wages the male earns from doing labor work (20 – 50 rupees/day). During Diwali, like all the other families, the wife was cleaning the home. Since they did not own a table, she stood on a tin box to clean the fan. Losing her balance, the tin slipped from underneath her and she fell on the back of head and had a brain hemorrhage. ... Read Full Story >>
With the recent floods in Gujarat, India, I've been busy with flood relief work in the affected slums. We distribute medicines, food, clothing, etc. but what is the most important thing to give is love. There are countless stories of how love makes a difference. One important part of our work is going out, cutting fingernails, combing hair and playing with kids. There is no particular incidence that strikes me but rather the power of simply giving love. The magnetic force that drew kids to the volunteers was love, pure and simple. As we talked to the kids, they seemed to blossom, basking in the attention that each was receiving. At one point, a bunch of kids had gathered around me, while I was watching over some pots of food, while others were going house to house for distribution. Soon I was teaching head and shoulders, knees and toes and Simon says. ... Read Full Story >>
I came home from work one day to find some business cards and a card holder in the street. Not much, but I figured the person might want them so I called the number only to find out the person was a seasonal employee. No worries, I thought I would just throw the cards out since they didn't seem to be of much value. A few hours later I saw a police car driving down the street, which is unusual. As I went out to see what was going on I saw an envelope on my front porch. It was a package of food stamps or food checks for mothers with young children. There were enough checks to last through October or November and interestingly the name matched the name from the business cards. I called the office that issues the checks, but they were closed so I called one ... Read Full Story >>
Strolling down the streets of New York can be jarring reflection about the state of humanity -- a business man in suit and tie tries to optimize his time by walking and reading newspapers at the time, a thirty-something waitress zips by with her restaurant apron half off and is intently looking at that handheld blackberry; a high school girl is on her cell phone cussing at someone in her Brooklyn accent. Trying to catch my subway train to Penn Station, I felt the New York Minute rush also. Until I notice an albino man ahead of me, walking very purposefully, taking very small, slow, intentional steps. He was blind. For every step he took, he would swing his stick couple of times to get the lay of the land in front of him. I passed him in no time, like everyone else. But then, ... Read Full Story >>
I knew my neighbor and her husband had recently separated and she was struggling. She hadn't shared with me her struggles, but I just knew it couldn't be easy money wise as they had 4 children, one being blind, and they were struggling financially before the separation. She had not been working before they separated as her youngest child was blind and not yet in school. It was summer time and school was about to start. As I was shopping for items for my granddaughters, I began thinking about her children and how she would be able to get them items they needed that year. I went to the store and bought a gift card and sent it anonymously to her address. When I checked my mail a couple of days later, I saw her down the street as she checked hers and opened the envelope. I couldn't tell her reaction because of the distance between our ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday, while at a bank machine in a very poor part of town, my husband and I found a wallet. We opened it up to look for ID and the first thing we saw was a picture of a toddler sitting on Santa's knee. We knew we had to find this father. We found his drivers licence and gave him a call. His wife answered the phone and told us he was out looking for his wallet. We left our phone number and 10 minutes later he called. He told us because of the poor area of town his friend told him he could say good-bye to the wallet, he would never see it again. He was so grateful, he offered us $100 as a reward. My husband and the gentleman made plans to meet and as my husband was getting ready I gave him one of the smile cards. My ... Read Full Story >>
Across the street from my house live an older couple who are raising their 4 grandchildren, 2 of which are 13-year-old girls.
I always by clothes and shoes and most still have tags on them. I always give stuff away and this time a light flashed in my head - the girls across the street . So I filled up 2 hefty trash bags full of shoes, clothes, purses, shampoo, everything. I didn't want to embarass anybody including myself. I like to do things when nobody knows it's me.
So at the crack of dawn, I tied big beautiful yellow ribbons on the bags, went across the street, and put them over the fence. Later that day, the girls were going in and out of the house trying on all the clothes and shoes . It was like a fashion show and they were so excited - laughing and jumping up and down. Seeing those girls so happy was awesome!
This morning I was walking in a new park that I had just discovered near my house. When I went walking the previous day, the old gardener had asked me if I had some clothes to give him. He was wearing a tattered vest and it was obvious that although so many people frequented the park, nobody had ever spoken to him before. I gave him some nice shirts and some cake that I had at home. The next morning he told me how thankful he was for the shirts. As I walked, I noticed that the sprinkler that he was using to water the plants in the park was leaking in several places. I went home and brought some scotch tape and scissors, and, with his help, I blocked the leakages. I told him he could keep the scotch tape in case he needed it again. It was then that I got to see his ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I own a lawn care company and so many times we would pass this house that was very unkept as far as the lawn was concerned. Last week, we decided to stop in and see if we could help. Nobody would come to the door for the longest time. Finally, a little old lady came to the door, very reluctant to open the door. We explained to her that we did not want to harm her in anyway. After a few minutes of talking we asked her if we could cut her grass for her? She was quick to answer, "I cannot pay for my grass to be cut, my sister is living with me dying of cancer and it takes everything we make combined to pay for her medicines etc." We had indicated to her that we would just like to do this for her and her ... Read Full Story >>
My mother and grandmother were incredibly generous, giving, and loving people. I think that love and giving go hand in hand.
I remember when I was a little girl there were children over playing at my house. We were out in the yard and there used to be ice cream trucks and their bell would be ringing, calling in the children everywhere, the ice cream man is here! I went running back in the house. I guess ice cream was probably about a nickel, and there were fifteen children on my front porch. There were always a lot of children around there.
My grandmother would give everybody a nickel to go buy ice cream, and if she did not have enough nickels for all the children, then I didn’t get an ice cream either.
When I was growing up in Sierra Leone, Sunday dinners were special. My mom would spend hours making delicious food for dinner and the mouth-watering aroma would fill the house.
In between games, my siblings and I would anxiously check the kitchen to see if dinner was ready. When dinner was done, my mom filled several baskets of food for various families in the neighborhood.
Of course, we wanted to eat first and then deliver the baskets. But my mom would gently insist that we first deliver the food and when we got back, we could all sit down and eat dinner. She pointed out that if we waited to deliver the food after we had dinner, the food we delivered would be cold.
In a simple way, she taught us that giving is not just for when it’s convenient.
One afternoon, he discovered that if he tossed stones over his neighbor’s fence, he could create a crashing sound, the sound of breaking glass. So he would heave a stone and wait for the crash. Heave, crash. It was great fun and felt a little dangerous. He might get caught, after all, but that, to a small boy, was part of the excitement. As it happened, he did get caught. The man who lived next door came to his house and told his parents about the boy and the stones. ‘I would like Juan to come to my home so I can show him a few things,’ the man said, in a tone Juan found rather ominous. His parents, ashamed of and disappointed by their son’s behavior, readily sent their son to the neighbor’s house. Juan sheepishly followed the man into his house, through the back door, and out into the yard. ... Read Full Story >>
My daughter was admitted into the hospital ward for testing. During her stay, I noticed the very old VCR, movies, broken books, and old game systems with poor controllers. What really broke my heart was when they wheeled the VCR into my daughter's room and some of the videos were missing out of the cases. The little boy who made friends with my daughter was upset because his favorite movie was missing. The Nurse went to find out if the movies were misplaced. When she returned, she said the movies were missing. Missing I asked? "Oh yeah," she said "things go missing here all the time. We just got a couple of new movies and they disappeared with in a couple of days." This made me very sad, I knew it wasn't children sneaking out VCR tapes. Parents and vistors had to be behind it. The few things they had to entertain the children were given by ... Read Full Story >>
A couple we know who have fallen on hard times went out of town over the weekend we think to probably regroup and try to re-establish their love for each other so they can weather the adversities they have recently encountered. They are the type of people who will not ask for help and even if it is offered they will not accept it, at least not willingly.
We decided to do something nice for them by doing a quick landscaping job on their entrance walkway. They have a nice paved walkway but on either side it was just bare dirt, not very attractive. We went out and bought some flowers and some red cinders and replanted the walkway and then spread out the cinders for the asthetic look and hopefully to make weeding easier with less weeds able to grow through.
We think it looks great and hope that when they drive in their driveway they wonder if they are at the right house. We feel it is important for them to know that they are special people who have friends who love them.
We had a community garage sale this weekend. Early that morning a man who was staying down the street with his mother stopped by. He is a cabinet maker but there has not been much work for him lately. He has been doing lawn jobs and clean up to make extra money to keep going. He stopped by to ask us if we had any lawn equipment for sale. We didn't but upon hearing his struggles I pulled an extra yard blower/vac out of our cabinet and gave it to him. When he asked how much it was, I just told him he could have it and wished him the best of luck. 2 hours later he came back. He had gone home and tried it out and was happy that it worked great for him! He thanked us again and asked if he could clean up our yard to show ... Read Full Story >>