A good friend of mine lives about 1 hour away. I called her last week and found out that she wasn't doing too well. Nothing big, but just bummed because a lot of things fell through which would make the following year a little more challenging. After hanging up with her, she was put on my smile list, but I couldn't think of what to do, but opportunities present themselves when you're not even looking. A few days later, some friends and I happened to be in her city eating at a restaurant with fabulous desserts. As we pored over the dessert menu, I got it. I turned to my friends and asked them if they wanted to join in on a game of tag. After explaining the idea, they were up to take 15 minutes more after a long day to make someone's day. ... Read Full Story >>
When my father married my mother in 1943 he gave my mother a 1937 crown coin and told her to keep it in the back of her purse and not spend it. This would mean that she always felt that she was protected and would always have money if she really needed it. When I was married in 1970 my husband who had heard this story, obtained a 1937 crown for me and I have always kept it in my wallet, and I have always had enough for my needs. A friend recently fell on hard times, partly through external circumstances and partly through poor planning. Friends and I have loaned her money, paid her bills, even given her food, tried to teach her budget techniques, and none of it has been a solution, she has just slipped deeper and deeper into financial trouble and depression. Last week she looked pale ... Read Full Story >>
Lucia is 8 years old and in November '05 she wrote a contract for the whole family to sign. "We will all agree to getting a puppy dog on April 15 2006." She had been asking for a puppy for about a year already! It was inevitable now! We signed, the five of us, but did inform her that she needed to start saving money to be able to buy the puppy and so she did. At least once a week she would sit down to count, penny at a time, how much she had collected. In change she raised about US$80 dollars. April came, we had a few adorable options in mind but on the first week of the month, we received a communication letter from her school about a girl needing multiple organ transplant and this letter made Lucia change her mind. She informed us she was taking her ... 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 >>
Wow! What a diagnosis. I just kept telling myself that if I can get through this Chemo, I will give back and help others.
It truly has changed me and opened my eyes to all of the blessings that we take for granted. It was very humbling to me as I watched my hair falling out in the shower. My strength came from my faith, family, and friends. I am 3 yrs out after having 2 consecutive surgeries for mastectomy. God leads us where he wants us to be.
I was lead to become involved with raising money for breast cancer through donations to Susan B. Komen funding. We made a hospital wide recipe book as I am an R.N. at a St. Louis, Mo. based hospital. We made #1 medical group for donations and contributions this year. We also helped St. Louis to become the largest Komen foundation "Race for the Cure" of over 64,000 participants.
This would not have happened for me if my own diagnosis had not occurred. I am very happy to be giving back a small amount of what has been given to me by such thoughtful people, family and friends.
For a long time, I have been toying with the idea of going abroad to do something worthwhile, a voluntary thing, either working with kids or animals... and have been spoiled for choices with the kind of organised things you can pick, different causes, different countries. It's very expensive though. And I was puzzling over how can I be able to afford the flights and costs and everything. And impatience took over me. I thought "I can't wait to do something, I have to do something worthwhile NOW!!" So I just got up off my bed, went downstairs and started making sandwiches and put some crisps and some biscuits and an apple into about 6 little disposable picnic bags, called a couple of friends and told them my idea - "we're going into the city to give this food out to the homeless!" My friends loved the idea and we ... Read Full Story >>
My friend Leigh, unemployed and broke, found a sealed envelope with $200 in it while cleaning his house. Since he hadn't found it before, he figured he really did not need it. He gave it to me (I was working) so I could buy a new CD player and have music in my life. I protested. He insisted. Now, every year at Christmas I give $200 to someone I know who could use it. Along with the money I give them a one-page story: Leigh's Light My friend Leigh is a very special man. Even though he has had more than his share of struggles and has rarely had enough money, he spends much of his time helping others to realize their dreams. He is a poet, a dreamer, a planner, a thinker and an all-round good-hearted person. One day, cleaning out the basement in which he was living, he found a small bag ... Read Full Story >>
She recognized my face, but didn't know my name. It didn't seem to matter though. For me, it had been more than two years since I saw her, but my guess was that this had nothing to do with me. She had gone through a lot, that much was clear. In the past, it was tough to tell if her continual distress was a result of on-going chaos or the residual mental effects of prior suffering. Not only was she not open about this, but found ways to inappropriately interject her own issues into any conversation and lead it down a negative path, which meant that most people would try and end their conversation with her in the first minute. The moment I was free, she rushed over to talk to me. We moved quickly from the opening pleasantries to heavy issues-- abuse, immigration matters, law suits, discrimination, exploitation-- that had all been a part ... Read Full Story >>
A good friend of mine... i swear she must be the happiest most loving person I've ever met, convinced me to go out with her on valentines day since we both didn't have dates or boyfriends at that time. I went to grab her at her house, and she had construction paper and markers all over. We made what must have been 200 simple valentines saying simply "happy valentines day" and "have a wonderful day"... which then we drove out to walmart. (in our little town, walmart is the place to go late nights) then we put one on everyone's car in the parking lot.
It was such a sweet thing. I imagine it brightened someones day, plus... it was so much fun making them, and running around putting them on people's cars.
Here's an idea that brings lots of smiles-- go to your neighborhood crafts store (I went to Michael's), pick up some polished colored stones, hand-draw some smiles, and leave those smile-stones with the following poem at coffee shop tables or just about any public venue. Look a Smile Stone straight in the eye and you'll smile back not knowing why It's something about their lopsided grins, their lack of noses and of chins A twinkling something that's not-quite-art touches your heart Like snowflakes and fingerprints no two are the same But why? You ask- What's the point of this game? Somebody's hand drew those smiles for you To find and to keep and to give away too For when the smile fades from the stone Then you'll find it within And this is where you get to begin To share that smile where there's a lack All ... Read Full Story >>
Last week, my friend was leafing through a bunch of clothes when he found a crumpled up note. Right then, he turns to me and says, "I don't know what amount this is, but it's yours. Pay it forward, leave 'em a smile card and lots to smile about." That bills ends up being a ten-dollar bill. All week I've been wondering what to do. Saturday morning rolled around and I had to drop off a couple of bags of clothes at Goodwill. I had been to this particular Goodwill store before and as I'm driving, my mind wandered to the people working at the store. There is a large room at the back of the store for dropping off items and there are always people in the room sorting through the dozens of bags left for donations. I thought to myself, that's not the most ... Read Full Story >>
For their first baby-shower, my cousin and her husband created a very unique kindness theme for everyone to partake in. To support their heartfelt intention, my wife and I decided to surprise them with a booklet that contained many of our favorite stories from the HelpOthers.org site. The compassion conspiracy, as we soon learned, went way above and beyond our expectations. On Saturday, Michael was running the night shift at the 24-hour Kinkos and flat out said that they won't be able to get the project done that night. We nodded but still carried on with our part of bargain -- photocopying, sorting, printing. Four hours (and many adventures) later, Michael had become Mikey, he knew about deep interest in kindness and we knew about his dream of hittin' it big as a hip-hop DJ. By midnight, our homie says to us: "Alright, ... Read Full Story >>
My niece was away from home for a student camp, which was part of preparation for our country's Republic Day celebration. The camp was conducted at a local school and children were put together to stay in groups of 10 in each room for their stay until the completion of the camp. It was the rainy season, which brought a lot of infections and health ailments. Some children suffered from fever due to the chillness, some got throat infections and just one had the most odd infection - an eye infection. While fever, cough and cold were not too contagious, the eye infection was. This was one of the roommates of my niece. All the children left the room -they just vacated and got into their other friends room to save themselves from an eye infection. Only two of them remained in one room- my niece and the roommate with the eye infection. And ... Read Full Story >>
I have a friend whom I talk to a lot and love to share things with. Since she is a bit smaller than me, I'm usually giving her the clothes I outgrow. She doesn't have much money so she really appreciates them. Anyway, she had a horrible past, her parents were abusive to her both mentally and physically. As a result, she has very low self esteem and is very fragile.
A couple of nights ago, her fiance and his friend came up to bring her an early valentine's day present, and then without warning, his friend calls her ugly! The poor thing was heart broken, and her whole past came rushing into her head, making her sob for hours. I felt sooo bad. I didn't do well trying to cheer her up over the phone... but what can you do?
So I thought of something. Everyone loves hearing that they have good qualities in them, especially when they don't think they have any. I decided to write 100 qualities I love about her. To show her that she is loved and beautiful.
I finished it today and decorated it with colored pencils and crayons. I'm going to give it to her tomorrow morning. I hope she likes it. :)
One of my favorite anonymous acts is to pay for meals in a restaurant. A few years ago I was at a Ruth's Chris restaurant with my project team for a team Christmas dinner. Where I was sitting, my view of the other dinners was via a mirror in front of me. It was a Wednesday night about 3 weeks before Christmas so there were only about 6 other table occupied. About 10 minutes before we left, a young couple came in dressed pretty formally. I happened to look in the mirror just as the woman looked at the menu. I saw her lean over to her date and whisper "It's so expensive!". I usually pick a table that's already eating their dinners so I can get their check from the restaurant. As we left I asked the host to get the manager. I told him I wanted to pay for their ... Read Full Story >>
Michael was 16 years old when his life changed. How much worse could it become? Mental retardation had allowed him only one great pleasure — his bicycle — and even that was taken away when he was hit by a truck while riding. The resulting head injury caused multiple behavioral changes. Once sweet and soft-spoken, he became disruptive and violent. No community environment could manage his repeated bouts of agitation, lack of control and aggression. I first examined Michael in the mid-1980s, when he was a 30-year-old patient in a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane (though there were no criminal charges against him). He would stay in his room all day long for weeks on end, uncommunicative, with periods of extremely hostile behavior toward anyone who came nearby. Psychotropic medications worked to decrease his agitation. But they blunted his emotional expression and caused restlessness, muscle stiffness and tremors, along with ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend I volunteered at our local shelter to serve meals to the hungry. I convinced a classmate of mine, a woman who is older like myself to come along for the experience. Her life consists of school, playing golf as a semi-pro, and generally living a very comfortable and protected lifestyle. I assume everyone has seen the hungry, the needy, the homeless, the less fortuanate in our society but the assortment of folks at the shelter seemed to trouble my friend. She was aprehensive about getting physically too close when she was serving meals and she was also full of questions. She made observations such as, "They look like they do drugs", "I assume a lot of them have alcohol problems", "Some of them seem like they are retarded." Once everyone is fed, staff/volunteer's can also eat from the leftovers. We were told there was enough and that we should ... Read Full Story >>
I always wanted to try this.
I talked to a buddy of mine and he reminded me of a night class that he had. I always wanted to tag a group of people and so I decided I would tag his class.
Everyone knows from student life that when you have a night class, for some reason or another, you always get hungry! So this class was from 7pm to 9pm, with about 25 students, and I decided that I would buy some pizza for the whole class.
I walked in after the class had started and delivered the pizza. A bit puzzled, the teacher asked the class who ordered pizza and I explained that I was bringing it on my own will. Everyone looked a little bit stunned, in a good kind of a way. :)
She really wanted to give me a tip, but I told her that the only tip I would accept is if they all did something nice for somebody else. I also made sure to leave them Smile Cards and they were all definitely moved by this gesture.
Each year I volunteer at a camp for children with asthma. Having the condition myself, I went there myself as a camper, then became a counselor when I was of age. This camp is an wonderful place that I could spend days talking about - it does amazing things to the kids who go through the program. I've met a multitude of unforgettable individuals there, but one child definitely stands out. One year, as a Senior Counselor, I was in charge of one Teams for games and activities. On the first day, the camp director came to talk to me, leading a small girl. For the purposes of this story, I will call her Sally. She was adorable, vivacious, smart, funny, and about 9 years old. And, in additon to asthma, she had sickle cell disease. This meant I had ... Read Full Story >>
During the first week of of my second semester sophmore year, the first thing I happen to hear is that there's a new kid at school. From what was being spread around, this student was being portrayed as a big mean bully, someone that was expelled for getting in a fight at a school nearby. In my mind, though, I could only think how awful and how uncomfortable I would feel as a new student with a reputation already set out for me. So the next thing I did was I searched for the new student. I ran all over campus to find and locate him, until I found him, head sulked down and with a weary expression upon his face. Without hesitating, I approached him, introduced myself and asked him if he was new to the campus and if he needed any help getting around. With a relief, he ... 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 >>
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: "If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately." Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. "Help," said the flight service person. "Talk to her. What is her problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this." I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. "Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee?" The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used -- she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following ... Read Full Story >>
I was recently traveling with a friend when we decided to get something to eat. Being a huge Waffle House fan, we scouted out the area we were in, and found one. If you have never been in one, or have never heard of it, Waffle House is kinda like a chain of diners that serve the best waffles around! They won't be found at the top of any Zagat's list of Fine dining, but they are my favorite! Our waitress took a while to take our order, asking the same questions a few times. We made a few substitutions and "complicated" the order, but she wrote it all down. When the orders came, they were not right. When the bill came, it was not right either. The only thing that was right was the taste of the food and the smile of the waitress. She may not ... Read Full Story >>
My husband is not a big fan of kids, especially those without manners and that misbehave. One of our neighbors has 3 children and the oldest is Jacob. He's 10 now, but was 5 at the time. Just a big bundle of love and energy, with his bright blue eyes, red hair, freckles and braces. (For you all that remember Mayberry RFD on TV- he's Opie's look-alike! For the rest of you, he's a darling! I just love him to death). For some reason, he took a liking to my husband. Everytime he saw him, Jacob would wave, dash across the street and come visit. If he was in the garage repairing his bikes or in the front yard cleaning, Jacob would wave, dash across the street and come visit. Jacob would always ask so many questions and keep my hubby company. They would ride bikes together, and what not. They really seemed ... Read Full Story >>
I have a friend who I was put into contact with through my Narrative Therapist. She is also unwell and under going huge hardships. We live in different countries, and our situations are quite different from one another. But despite this, we find we can connect to each others hearts through a few compassionate words. Each day, we send each other something to 'lift' one another up. Whether it be the lyrics to an inspirational song, a capturing quote, or just some thoughtful, comforting words. The impact this has on me is incredible. And it works two ways- the fact that I've made her feel good, makes me feel good inside, and the fact that she's made me feel good, makes her feel good. I guess I'm trying to say- a compassionate heart is the most priceless thing in the world. And to be compassionate, you do not need to 'know', you need not understand, ... Read Full Story >>
I keep scissors handy on my sofa side table to clip interesting articles and coupons that my friends & family may like. Once a week, I sort them into different piles and send it thru the mail to distribute. I received many thank you's for the interesting articles, so I started to clip out funny cartoons, inspirational stories, share poems and pick up stick-um's and other surprise goodies too! I stuff them into the letters especially if I know the person needs a pick-me-up ... it's fun and not expensive at all ... and everyone loves the "snail mail surprises." Lastly, when I sort thru the mail, I pull out the Two for One coupon restaurant deals, additional savings coupon or certificates from department stores, etc. I keep them in a envelope and if I don't need it, I make sure to pass out to other friends and co-workers for their use before expiration dates. I recently snail-mail ... Read Full Story >>
Last month it was my nurse's birthday. She has been caring for me since August 2006. Through the months, we have built an amazing bond. She has been there for me, and has helped me over so many hurdles its unbelievable. She's my rock in every way. I wanted to do something special for her birthday, to show her how much she means to me. Being confined to my bed, I can't go out shopping for a gift. So I was left to use my imagination and the materials in my room. But I was determined to make an unforgettable gift. I found an old shoe box, and got a bunch of my old girlie magazines, and spent 4 days cutting and pasting carefully selected items onto the box, creating an intricate collage. Each piece reflected in some way or another, our friendship. To finish it off, I put a photo of us ... Read Full Story >>
One of my friends, let's call him Jose, is one of those guys who doesn't even need to say anything and people will just feel comfortable in his presence. He is an amazingly compassionate guy, who will flat out tell you that his purpose in life is to bring more beauty on this planet. No, if's, and's, but's ... clear and simple, unwavering in his life mission. He doesn't need to convince anyone and he can't be swayed from it by anyone else. It's a funny story about how he learned his initial lesson of compassion. He was madly in love with his high school sweet-heart for many years. He would do anything for her and she was the most important thing in the world to him. Until ... she left him oneday (perhaps she cheated on him before that). It hit him like a bucket of cold water. Never before had he ... Read Full Story >>
Three events, five hours. That was my Saturday evening schedule. It would've been nice to thoroughly enjoy one event, but how can you pick between a high school friend's first baby shower, cousin's i-am-turning-five birthday party, and a suprise proposal between two friends who met at your house?!? So my wife and I zoomed in Fred's beamer, from Milpitas to Santa Clara to San Francisco, and the excitement was building as we landed at Buca di Bepo at 7PM. We had no idea what the evening would hold. The plan was for Pete to propose to Linda, and bring her to a restaurant where Pete had gathered their closest friends, including Linda's four-grade classmate whom he had flown in from Salt Lake City! And it was executed perfectly. Pete had taken Linda to the spot of their first date, struggled to find a private spot with his "binoculars", got down ... Read Full Story >>
I had a friend that every time you walked in her door for a visit, her greeting was "Hi Honey". She had a way of saying it by dragging it out as she said it, that made me feel like she was so glad to see me. We met several years ago when her husband was admitted to our Hospice program. I got in on that admission as I was on call the Saturday he was admitted. We hit it off right away, and my friendship with her continued even after her husband died. We visited together once or twice a week, never for very long, but always with sincere joy in one another's presence. She had told me that when she got ready for Hospice care, she would let me know and we could admit her. Sure enough, one day she told me it was time. We continued to have ... Read Full Story >>