I'm in Africa right now on a peace-keeping mission with the Army. This is my 5th deployment and I volunteered for every one of them (sort of). Anyway, this story is not about me or the army or even Africa for that matter. It's about the way people can become karma aides even when they are in need of it themselves. I subscribed to this online program for soldiers, where we put our addresses on the website and random people write to us and send care packages and thank you letters. I got one the other day that was a letter from a lady living in Pennsylvania. She was thanking us for all we do and telling us how much she prays for the troops. This lady is originally from Russia, married an American soldier and moved to Pennsylvania. She explained all of this in her letter. I was moved by ... Read Full Story >>
I'm an American who has lived in France for nearly 20 years. I've whined and complained with other Americans about how the French are unfriendly, cold, reserved, unavailable for friendship. I've had a hard time making a living here as a psychotherapist and healer and periodically blamed this also on the French. I live in Versailles and for the past 4 years the city has sponsored events for International Women's Day. Three years ago, I moved to a new neighborhood and felt an intense need to meet people so I went to the cinema night for women's day featuring the film with Charlize Theron called "North Country," a film about the first class action suite against sexual harrasement. I was excited about the possibility of finding a way to connect to French women through the discussion we would have after the film, perhaps to make friends, perhaps to get more work. Outside ... Read Full Story >>
Anonymous giving and acts of kindness can lead the giver to a very lonely place in the universe. Like the Lone Ranger or some other disguised hero, we do kind things all the time and so often the people on the receiving end don’t see it or don’t recognize it. Living a life of altruism, in its most ideal form, means setting the ego aside and not doing what we do for credit. Usually, I have no problem with this at all. But there are those days, perhaps when I’m feeling a little weak or drained, where I find myself feeling lonely with it all, feeling like I’m giving, giving, giving, to a world that is in super receiving mode and asleep to what’s being done for them. I get a little discouraged. Even idealized heroes had their inner circle of friends who knew who they really were and what their life ... Read Full Story >>
We are a small town of less than 4,000 people in the mountains of Ecuador . Recently our new organic farmers cooperative started hosting one afternoon a week to exchange our produce and seeds among ourselves...no money changes hands. As of this past week we started to lay our stuff on wooden tables set in a portal on the main square, we hold hands around the table to give thanks to our ancestors who used to do this in ancient times in this country, and we pray in thanks, either out loud or silently according to each one's own spiritual beliefs. Then comes the fun... each person around the table tells and shows what she brought. Each one, in turn, goes around picking and taking what he NEEDS to either feed him/herself and family, and to add to their garden that which is missing. This last Thursday was one such day and some ... Read Full Story >>
My 25 year old daughter moved house yesterday. It wasn't a big move. Just around the corner, in fact. But she was moving from a flat to a house with a little garden so her son would have space to play. The distance was probably too short to justify hiring a removals company, but it was long enough to make carrying all the stuff a real pain. But we didn't have to. A neighbour offered the use of her Transit van. She reversed it up to my daughter's front door, then went home while we loaded it up. Then she came out, drove it to the new house and walked back home for a cuppa tea while we unloaded. Then she did it again. And again. All offers of payment or petrol money was waved aside. My daughter got her a big bunch of flowers later as a thank you. Before I left, I ... Read Full Story >>
California town decides to put kindness on the agenda By Susan Herendeen Wednesday, April 22, 2009 WATERFORD, Calif. — This little town in eastern Stanislaus County may be known for the orchards and dairies that dot its rolling hills, but this week city officials are reminding the 8,100 residents to pass on some good cheer by doing something thoughtful for a stranger, mentoring a youngster or simply being a good neighbor. Thanks to a push from the Waterford Ministerial Association, the city has declared "Random Acts of Kindness" week, which began Sunday and ends Saturday, at the close of a community clean-up day. City leaders may not find a cure for the ills of modern life, like road rage or bullying or the angry remarks that can demoralize a community. But they hope to remind people that kindness can turn strangers into friends. "It's a goodwill kind of thing, to draw attention to the fact ... Read Full Story >>
The first week into our recent visit to US while standing in a long check-out line, my daughter, Meera observed, “Mom, most people here seem to be so friendly. They smile even at strangers. Nobody does that in India”. She was right. Subconsciously I had noticed that as well, though had never vocalized it out loud. I asked Meera if she had noticed any similarities amongst people who smiled at her. She thought about it; I thought about it; and we recalled that most often it was the older generation that was more generous with smiles. Also that African-American store employees not just smiled at us, but also added, “How y’all doing today?” or “You have a good day now”. Taking an early morning walk in a park with my sister, I noticed that almost everyone muttered, “Good morning”, or acknowledged us ... Read Full Story >>
"Some people!" snorted a man standing behind me in the long line at the grocery store. "You would think the manager would pay attention and open another line," said a woman. I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it. "It's one of them welfare card things. Damn people need to get a job like everyone else," said the man standing behind me. The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment. 'It was me,' he said, pointing to himself. The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store. Everyone in the checkout line ... Read Full Story >>
Twelve years ago yesterday, my mother gave birth to the most beautiful little girl. We were a broken family with little money. We were given the news that this little girl, who was three and a half months premature, would only have 14 days on this earth. It's hard to understand what kind of feeling you have when you find out that you're losing something that you don't even know. As time went on, the number of days kept growing, which gave us hope. When they said that we could take her home, that's when realization hit. We had no money. I am from a small town with small hospitals, but when you don't have money, you just don't have it. My mother tried for days to get the money, but came up pennyless each time. The case worker was even doing her best. It's sad that it almost felt like we ... Read Full Story >>
There was about 15 of us folks chalking in front of the downtown Berkeley BART station. We started with about ten adventurers and as the momentum increased, we gained more energy, creative inspiration, and people. In the beginning, many pedestrians stopped by us, paused briefly out of curiousity, and for the most part remained rather perplexed by our so-called 'deviant' behavior. However, after we chalked up some cheerful colors and phrases on the beautiful red stones in the area, people came over just to take a peek and see what adults chalkers really do. Folks came by with cameras. Small children pointed at us and tugged the hands of their parents to have them take a look. This one particular man in a suit came out of the station, appearing as if he had had an exhausting day. Yet, he managed to trudge a bit closer to us to read the ... Read Full Story >>
I recently came across 15 Ways to Love Your Neighbor, by Joanne Brokaw. Wonderful ideas! Loving your neighbor doesn't require a huge bank account or selling your possessions and moving to the desert (unless, of course, God is calling you to do that). Here are practical ways you can love your neighbors: 1. Write a note. In these days of electronic communication, receiving a handwritten note is a rare treat. Today, ask God to bring to mind someone who could use a little encouragement. Then take a few minutes to jot a quick note or postcard and drop it in the mail, just letting that person know you're thinking about them. 2. Recycle. If we love God, then we love his creation, and taking care of the earth is one way you can be a good neighbor. You don't have to hug a tree or buy a hybrid, but you should follow your ... Read Full Story >>
One evening in July, a few friends and I decided we would get together to brainstorm an idea for a local Smile Card event in London -- something we could do as a group to share smiles anonymously and cultivate kindness in our hearts. We came up with a few suggestions and then picked an idea that got everyone excited and moved ahead with planning it – we were going to bake and decorate 200 cupcakes, buy a bunch of sweets, make some fun smile posters and give it all away at Hyde Park! Our little team of 6 people spent a month planning every fine detail from inviting friends to get involved, baking cupcakes ahead of time, buying supplies, getting t-shirts that say SMILE and a banner with a giant Smile Card on it and visiting the park ahead of time to find the perfect spot for the event. A special thanks ... Read Full Story >>
This week we took a handcrafted sign that we made down to our local Salvation Army and presented it to the captain. The sign read ‘HOPE’. He had an idea of where to put it as soon as he read it. The look on his face showed appreciation, with a touch of bewilderment. This organization sees, first-hand, the struggles of so many people. The reason we made and gifted them the sign is to help lives, who are in need of believing in a better tomorrow. A simple word can say so much. Life dishes out hard hits and unjust situations for all of us, at one time or another. We hope for an answer, a change of circumstance, or even a miracle. Some are hanging on to hope with all the strength they have. What would life be like living with no hope? What would the world be like? To ... Read Full Story >>
One Saturday, I got a phone call about electrical problems. Since I am not an electrician, I quickly realized that the woman on the line had the wrong number. The woman on the phone sounded extremely anxious as her electricity wasn't working. Her husband tried to replace a wall switch, but now some of their lights wouldn’t turn on, and the heat had shut off. The woman thought she was calling an electrician who has done work for her in the past. I had just recently changed my number and she got me instead. I'm not an electrician but I do work with electricity. I informed her that she had the wrong number, and I didn’t know what her old electrician changed his number to. She apologized, and we said goodbye. After I hung up the phone I thought maybe I could help her so I dialed *69 and found out she was just one town over. When I ... Read Full Story >>
I have lived in Falmouth, MA for about 10 years. I had moved several times before finding Falmouth, never really settling in one place for a long time. However, Falmouth has become home. I think it is a safe place to do good work. I like that I often run into someone I know whenever I am grocery shopping or running errands. My favorite experience of Falmouth was when I volunteered to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to families or individuals unable to drive or stranded by illness. It was an amazing experience. Volunteers check in, line up and follow the directions given. There were many people working. Children were coloring placemats for each box, adults were cooking and serving food, and the drivers were filling the containers with the meals they would soon deliver. How they manage all of this is quite amazing. The coordination of such an event is awe-inspiring. The best ... 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 >>
Last fall, before Thanksgiving, I was making my way in my car out of the shopping center parking lot. I was all alone in the car. I noticed a woman laden with bags and her two boys, one carrying a pumpkin and the other another bag. I assumed that they were headed to the bus stop across the major road, since it was too far to walk with all those purchases to any of the nearby apartment communities. On a random impulse, I rolled down my window and asked if they were indeed headed to the bus stop. “Yes,” the mother responded. I asked "Would you like a ride?" "Oh yes!” was their excited reaction. I was delighted, and, after manoeuvering over to the side out of the way of other traffic, I stopped and the boys piled into the back seat. The mother started to push in beside them. I ... 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 >>
Last month my kindness idea allowed me to meet some new people in my community. When I delivered their food, I also gave each my phone number so they could keep in touch if they wanted. All of them have called me since.
Having a bad spell with MS has left me pretty much in bed the last two or three weeks and feeling nearly helpless.
Yesterday, the young mother I had helped showed up at my house with a casserole. While she was here, she washed my dishes and carried out my trash. The young gentleman I had helped has been here twice, just to check on me. He has no transportation so he had to walk the several miles to where I live.
In helping others, I have made new friends . What a blessing.
When I was 13 years old I used to babysit for the lady next door. Every 2 weeks she would pay me $80. I always looked forward to getting paid so I could go to the mall with my friends on Saturday and spend my money that took me two weeks to earn. One Friday evening I heard my Mom on the phone with our neighbor and I heard her say a few times, "Oh that is horrible," After my Mom got off the phone I asked what was wrong. She said that the neighbors had no food in their house and the she didn't know what she was gonna feed her daughter. Her husband had spent their money on beer and got angry after he came home because his wife asked for money to buy groceries. He began to pull dishes out of the cupboards and threw them at the wall. So, on top of not having any groceries, ... Read Full Story >>
A mother and daughter living in my complex are two of the most unfriendly people I have ever come across in my life. They are totally withdrawn, mixing with no one. As they drive past neighbors they keep their eyes averted and make no sign of acknowledgement. The only fame they have is making a nuisance of themselves to the local police station by reporting music played too loud, dogs barking more than once a day and any other petty little gripe. On moving into this neighborhood, I was warned about these two but decided I would make up my own mind. This proved quite a challenge to me as more than once either the mother or the daughter would knock on my door and blast me with some complaint or other. My warfare? I always answered politely and made sure I waved as they went past my place and also made ... Read Full Story >>
I had titled the event “24 hours of kindness.” The goal was simple: to stay out for a full twenty-four hours without sleep, performing as many acts of kindness as possible. Thanks to our local radio station, Coast 93.1, and the support of Tim Wright and Eva Matteson, (two of the most kindhearted DJs you’ll ever meet) all of southern Maine now knew about The Kindness Center’s crazy event. Now known as “The Kindness Guy,” this was my first attempt at something this big. The local and even national media buzz was incredible. Since 9:00 that morning, two of my kindness cronies and I had been all over town delivering free baked goods to nursing homes and schools, buying coffee for strangers, giving out hugs, moving furniture, giving free city bus rides and completely flooding the town with a rainbow of flowers and balloons. Since it was April 15th, “tax ... Read Full Story >>
You never know where kindness from strangers may appear. The snow started at 4:30 Friday evening and didn’t stop until Saturday evening. Many parts of the northeast received up to 20 inches. I had been snowed in for over 24 hours and was starting to feel cabin fever strike. The shoveling started around 11:00 Sunday morning and after an hour I felt like I had just started. I suffer from scoliosis and was starting to feel the pain so I decided to go in for a bit. Around 2:30 I threw back on my winter gear and headed back outside, thinking to myself: “This is going to take forever and boy am I’m going to be feeling it tomorrow!” In the distance I saw a man riding a small John Deere tracker and attached to the back a snow plow. He stopped and offered to plow the remaining driveway making ... 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 >>
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 >>
Last winter I was going through a rough patch in my life. I had a bunch of terrible things going on around me. I felt very distant and became quite selfish. I hated the way I was feeling and one day I woke up and told myself, “You are above this, stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Then, I tried out an experiment, and it has DEFINITELY changed me for the better. Every day I would do at least one act of kindness - It could be anything… Bringing the trash down to the trash compactor for my 80 year old neighbor, Going into the store to buy something for myself (like a bit of makeup) and coming out with something for someone else (like candy for my boyfriend) Sitting down with my sister or a friend and just simply listening. And I can ... Read Full Story >>
Last night after work, I took the bus home. Now this bus ride was different then usual. The difference was that people seemed to be helping others at every chance they could! The bus was filled with people as usual and we took the usual route home. There is a blind lady who always gets on the same bus as me. We were just about to leave the bus station when a lady on the bus suddenly noticed that the blind lady wasn't on the bus that day and told the driver. When we looked out the window, we saw her sitting over in the corner all by herself. One lady passenger jumped off the bus and ran to help and guide this blind lady onto the bus. As we were driving along each stop and picking up passengers, a girl in her 20's got on at one stop and asked the bus driver how much the bus ride ... Read Full Story >>
Two years ago an African man from Malawi, Elias, arrived at my sister’s home in the rough, bush country of South Africa with nothing but the shirt on his back. He was hoping to come to South Africa to find employment in order to support his family in Malawi. Little did he realize my sister at that time was struggling to keep her body and soul together. Nevertheless, Elias was given permission to stay on the property with the understanding that she was unable to help him financially and he would have to find “piece work” employment to support himself. As unemployment is rife, Elias was unable to find work immediately, so my sister taught him how to grow organic vegetables, sew and bake. Elias is keen to learn whatever he can to take the knowledge back to Malawi with him once he goes home. Elias finally found employment but my sister hit ... Read Full Story >>
We were having a mini heat wave yesterday and I was in the supermarket, stocking up on juice and ice-cream. Now, I'm not much of a fan of the hot weather and I was enjoying the fact that it was cooler inside than outside, but the lady behind the checkout was suffering. I asked if she was looking forward to getting out in the sun after her shift was finished and she replied that she might not last that long. She was melting! She explained that she shouldn't have been working that day, but she had agreed to cover someone else's shift. Now she wished she hadn't. She felt like she might die! I paid for the shopping and headed for the exit. Half way there I remembered something I had wanted to get for Julie, so I went back in. On the way to where I wanted to go, I passed a rack of ... Read Full Story >>
The green box on HelpOthers.org talks about a $100 contest I submitted an idea that I would love to do. I loved the idea so much that I decided to go ahead and do it, only on a smaller scale. If I am selected as a winner of the $100 contest, I will do it on the large scale. (fingers crossed) Since I work at a Bank getting the supplies for my idea was easy: a plastic checkbook cover and a transaction register (normally for a checking account). Next I wrote a message on the inside cover: "Congratulations! You are currently the bearer of the Smile Transaction Register. This kindness checkbook began its journey with $20. Your only job is to keep it going. Don't keep it long. Look over the entries in the register to get some ideas of how to spread small acts of kindness. You can either make a deposit if the funds ... Read Full Story >>