My mother recently wrote a thank you letter to Medicare to express appreciation for their patience in guiding her through the new prescription card process. They were totally shocked, and someone called to thank her. Many people everywhere provide services for us. We complain about the buraucracy, but forget that these are people like us who are just trying to make a living.
Got on the plane in Minneapolis for the two hour and nine minute flight to NY. Spent the first nine minutes of it talking to the young curly-brown-haired passenger with long sideburns. In the first three minutes of talking to him I noticed on the back of his hand a ball-point-pen tattoo. One word. "Lost". And for some reason that touched me. In the same inexplicable way that "Help Wanted" signs in store windows do sometimes. That people would be so honest, so open about their vulnerability. I wonder what he is going through. This fellow passenger with his friendly manner who freelances for the magazine "Popular Photography" and moved back to his hometown in Lawrence, Kansas from NY- because even though there's a lot you can do in NY there's a lot that you can't do there when you're broke. And now he's learning how to do video editing and trying to ... Read Full Story >>
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 >>
He took it out from around his neck and leaned down a bit, his eyes looking straight into mine. "Would you mind?" he asks. Looking at him through his eye glasses, I smile and say, "Of course not, Lee. It would be an honor." And with that, I was garlanded -- probably for the first time in my life -- with a simple necklace. Lee is the epitome of a happy-go-lucky guy. He used to be a trucker, I think. If there were one word to describe him, it would be happy. Or joyous. And what a pure heart. In one of those fits of unadulterated compassion, he just felt like giving me something. So he takes off his own necklace and offers it to me. It was far from an ordinary necklace. In a small town of Oregon, Lee met a Japanese-American fellow selling small hand-made, glass items. While conversing with ... Read Full Story >>
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 >>
I have been using the smile cards for quite a while, and I try to get my family members to do it with me. It is a lot of fun.
Recently, my grandparents went on a trip to New Mexico, and on their way home they stopped at an IHOP to eat breakfast. When they had finished, the guy came over with the bill, but when my grandfather opened up the folder containing the bill, there was nothing!
The waiter said the a young man had paid for their breakfast! They were so suprised! My grandmother called me and told me the story and said that "wasn't it like those cards that I used!" And I said yes, it was. She thought that it was awesome and now she wants some cards!
It just goes to prove that if you do nice things for others, nice things will happen to you!
I had to come on to UC Irvine's campus to accompany a friend to a meeting. In the parking lot, I enlisted him in my scheme with a Smile card and short explanation. We were each supposed to make 1 person smile, pass on the card, and meet up to share the story of what happened. He was dumbfounded and at a complete loss of ideas for what to do. To top it off, we were in an upscale shopping area of the campus surrounded by young, smiling, mostly affluent people. "No worries," I said as I pulled out my laptop to look for a wireless signal that we could use to hunt for ideas. The only problem was that there was no empty tables to sit at. That's when we spotted him: an older man by sitting by himself while enjoying a drink and a cigarette. "Excuse me sir, ... Read Full Story >>
I was at a business meeting, and I had to run downstairs to pick up some documents. As I was hurrying to catch the elevator back upstairs to my meeting, an elderly woman stopped me and asked me to go on the elevator downstairs with her.
She explained that she was terrified of elevators and asked/begged if I could go with her downstairs to the street level. At first, I was going to ask her why she was afraid, and the doors were opening. I canned my question, just got on the elevator and went downstairs with her, and pointed which direction she should go. I got back in the elevator and went upstairs. My colleagues were a bit inconvenienced, but our meeting proceeded without a hitch.
Sometimes it takes a little time to be kind, sometimes you have to give up your priority to help someone make it to the street.
At Manav Sadhna, a non-profit organization in India, it’s a common site to see people come in asking to see Jayeshbhai (one of the Founders). One day, I was milling around when I saw an elderly man come in using a walking stick. It was obvious that the man was blind and as I went to him to offer my assistance, I found out that he was blind in both eyes. The man’s sons did not take care of the man, so he lived with his brother’s sons. Everything was fine at home, but the man did not want to be a financial burden on others. He wanted to support himself through his own sweat and effort. He could do the rope work for wooden bed frames and knew such a business in Palitana would do well. In order to start this business however, ... Read Full Story >>
We had just received a large donation of clothing at our non-profit organization. As we looked at the pile, we didn’t know what to do with it, but figured that the answer would present itself. As three of us walked home for dinner, we saw a woman begging by the bridge. She was old and had no legs. She shivered in her thin sari, which offered little protection from the cold wind, but could not seek even mild refuge in her “hut” (four wooden posts, with a tarp like material as a roof and walls). Her hunger forced her to beg. My friends and I looked at each other: here was a perfect opportunity, but first it was necessary to do a little bit of “research.” We went up to the woman to hear her story. She spoke very little due to her poor ... Read Full Story >>
The Japanese man points to my airplane seat, right as I head to the bathroom. He didn't speak much English, so I just signal that I'll be back in couple minutes. When I return, we play charades to see if he wants to swap his aisle seat with my window seat. "Yes, yes," he says with a child-like glee. I am more than happy to oblige. My window shutter has been down for couple hours of the flight already and I am hardly planning on making any further use of it. Right before he changes seats, he folds his hands and bows as a gesture of gratitude. It's touching when someone is thankful for something that takes almost no effort on your part. Before he can even get settled in, he slides up the window shutter and curiously looks outside at the clouds. He's happy. I can just tell. And that he's happy, ... Read Full Story >>
I have been going through a difficult patch recently and a friend told me this story when we spoke one evening. I am sharing the story with you because it gave me a little bit of hope when I was in need of a positive perspective. I hope that the ripples of this lovely story give you some hope if you need it too. He said that he was standing at the entrance of his building that evening, on his way home from work. He was talking to the building porter, when an old couple entered to go towards their flat. They stopped to talk to the porter and since my friend was standing there too, he overheard their conversation. Earlier in the day, the old couple was trying to stop a taxi to take them somewhere. The old man was severely handicapped and could barely walk without any assistance. A taxi ... Read Full Story >>
I'm having chemo at the moment and got on the bus feeling rather weak and sick. A little old lady got up to let me sit down saying "I know what it's like." She was glancing at my headscarf which covers my baldy head. Full marks to her for consideration and KINDNESS XXX
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.
[A Sufi Story]
Harun al-Rashid was once walking through a plantation when he saw a hunched man with a long, gray beard, putting in sapling date palms. He greeted him, saying, ‘Take it easy, father!’
‘Thank you, my son,’ the old man replied.
‘What are you doing, father?’ he asked the old man.
‘As you see, I am planting sapling date palms.’
‘How many years does it take a date palm to bear fruit?’
‘Ten, twenty, thirty years. Some take as long as a hundred years.’
‘Will you be able to eat the fruit of these palms you are planting?’
‘I may not live to see the day,’ said the old man, ‘but we eat from those our forebears planted. So let us plant, that those who follow us may eat in turn!'
After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said I love you but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you. The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. "What's wrong, are you well?" she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news."I thought that it would be pleasant to be with you," I responded. "Just the two of us." She thought about it for a moment, ... Read Full Story >>
Where I live, it is highly unsafe to drink water from taps; so most people buy packaged water when they run out of their own.
The other day I did a really tiny kind act: this lady who seemed kind of poor (she wasn't wearing shoes) sat next to me on the bus home. She mumbled something to herself in a cross way about not having water, how the bus fare has been increased, and about how she needs to buy water now.
Generally passengers never interact with each other, but I thought I could make an exception. I reached into my bag and gave her a packet of mineral water I had bought.
After receiving this unexpected gift, she looked quite happy. We chatted for a while and before I left, she gave me some grapes that she was carrying with her. She wouldn't let me leave the bus until I took the grapes!
It reminded me that sometimes those who have less are so much more generous than those who have a lot. :)
I think that while some acts of kindness are easy to do or are done in a sort of planned way, there are other moments that test you. In the face of hunger, suffering and misery, my mind begins to rationalise and justify why I shouldn't be helping. However, sometimes after the good fight, a sense of compassions wins and I do something. Otherwise my laziness or fear wins over and I just walk away. Today I faced this kind of choice. I had walked a bit of a distance from my University Campus to my bus stop. I did not have all that much money to spend and wanted to catch the train which was a cheaper form of transport, after which I would have to change to another train and then a bus. I also needed to cross two national highways to reach the stop-places with fast cars and huge trucks ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend, I was walking across the village green when I saw an elderly gentleman on the bench, just overlooking the duck pond. I thought he looked abit forlorn so I went over and sat next to him. After a few comments about how nice the weather was and how there were alot of ducks in the pond today , he told me how he used to come with his wife and watch the children feed the ducks with their mums. They didn't have any children of their own. He explained he had been married for 54 years when his wife died and how much he missed sharing all the little things with her. Like a beautiful sunset . He now lives in a care home. I remarked at how wonderful it must've been to have been married for so long and to have so many happy memories. He took out a large ... Read Full Story >>
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..." "No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. "I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told ... Read Full Story >>
At an airport I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her plane's departure and standing near the door, he said to his daughter, "I love you, I wish you enough." She said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy." They kissed good-bye and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took ... Read Full Story >>
There I was, a sole-parent, walking down the street. The week had been hard and today was full with bill paying and running errangs. As I walked the street, with my head down deep in thought, I noticed something unusual in the gutter. Moving towards the object, I realised it was a wallet. I picked it up and immediately looked up and around for the first time that day. The street was bare with only one shop -- Guidedogs for the Blind. Standing there, my first thought was that perhaps someone would return to claim the wallet. But after a while, I realized I needed to be proactive. I opened the wallet to find a name or some identification. While looking through it, I noticed something like $400, all neatly stacked in fifty dollar notes! I eventually found a name but no phone number or address. My only clue was ... Read Full Story >>
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and face shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. "I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. "Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait." "That doesn' t have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't ... Read Full Story >>
I was just in France to visit my grand-mother who is very dear to me. I don’t get to cross the Atlantic very often, and she’s now 96 year old, so every time I go visit, the two of us are very aware that it might be the last time we see each other. Last time I visited her in December of 2004, I did a series of short video interviews about her life. I asked her what it was like to grow up with her father in the 1910s (her mother died during labor), to live through the German occupation alone with two young children with a husband away in a prisoners' camp in Germany. I asked her about her greatest memories and life learnings so far, her favorite books, foods, stories. I also asked her about her spirituality and her thoughts about death. I learned a lot of amazing ... Read Full Story >>
Several years ago, I worked for a trucking outfit as a driver. It was my habit to go in on Saturday and spend a couple hours maintaining my truck. As I was under the truck greasing it, I noticed the owner's elderly father making his way over to his grandson's truck next to mine. The old man was in his high eighties, had been an avid fisherman all his life, and had come out to ask the kid to take him fishing after work. The grandson told him all about how much he would love to do that, but, he just couldn't that day due to prior commitments. The old man accepted the answer and hobbled off to the house. A few minutes later, the father came out and asked his son what the old man had wanted. After telling the story, the kid ended it with telling his dad, ... Read Full Story >>
What would it be this morning -- a warm Blueberry Lemon? Banana Nut? Cranberry Orange? Oatmeal Raisin? There is always a warm muffin or two tucked into a white napkin and placed next to the morning newspaper, waiting for me once I open my front door. Who is the Mystery Muffin Giver? I try to wake up early to see if I can catch him/her in the act so far I've been unsuccessful. But no matter what, I've got those goodies and a good read to dwell on! [Now for the background story!] My Mom lives in a Retirement community and she moved in after my Dad passed. She loves it. Most of her neighbors in the apartments are widows just like her and they keep each other good company. In this community, though, while lunches and dinners are prepared in the dining room, there's no breakfast. Now, my mom is an early -- and ... Read Full Story >>
I recently went to a restaurant to buy a pie for a party. As I walked up the steps and opened the door, I saw a hunched-over old man with a cane walking toward me carrying a handled bag full of things he had just purchased there. I stepped back and opened the door widely so that he could pass through easily. As he did so, he stopped and said to me, "Wait!" He set down the bag, reached into one of his pants pockets, and retrieved a tiny plastic keychain flashlight still in its original plastic wrapping. He handed it to me and said, "Take this. I like to give things to people who have done something for me." I thanked him and told him he was very welcome. I was almost speechless as I watched this old man walk off to his car. I added his token to ... Read Full Story >>
While eating lunch with my 4 year old daughter this afternoon at a fast food restaurant, i noticed an old man walking to the table with a cane. The manager kindly carried his food for him. During the meal I overheard the man tell a woman it was his birthday. So I whispered what I heard to my daughter. She loves when people have birthdays. I told her it was ok for her to wish him a happy birthday. He obviously was spending this special day alone. At first she was shy and decided against it. No problem. As I was emptying our tray into the trash she turned to him and quietly wished him a Happy Birthday. I could tell he was touched by the way he looked at her. I came up behind her and gave him my own wishes. He was grateful. As we walked away he called my daughter back ... Read Full Story >>