Last December, following the Friday night performance of our Winter Solstice Celebration, my wife Chez had gone to the Cathedral parking lot to get some gear before taking a taxi to our hotel. When I finally got to the hotel a couple of hours later, Chez realized she was missing a small bag and was sure she’d left it on the ground outside the car. So I said I’d go back and look for it. It was quite a dark and wintry night, and when I arrived back at the Cathedral around 1:30am, the whole area was deserted. I found the all-night security guard and asked him to unlock the gate to the parking lot for me. We walked back to Amsterdam Ave. and up past the front of the Cathedral to the north lot entrance. We were about 50 yards into the lot when we heard a woman’s voice calling ... Read Full Story >>
My task was to knock on 10 doors and give them a treat -- a "reverse trick-or-treat" kindness mission! I took a wicker basket and filled it with wrapped treats, including Emergen-C Joint Health packets, ThinkThin Crunch protein bars, and Kashi Honey Oat and Flax energy bars -- all fairly healthy items. The Smile Deck Card said to knock on 10 doors, but I took it a step further and knocked on all of the 30+ doors in my apartment building. The results were on the whole quite positive. However, my ambivalence with doing this deed stemmed from my fear that the neighbors would be suspicious of someone knocking on their door inside of a gated building. This turned out to be the case with a number of neighbors, but that was part of the challenge for me -- to maintain positive, giving intentions amidst people's doubt and suspicion. I found that first ... Read Full Story >>
I was on a holiday to the Bay area. On a cold, rainy day, me and my uncle went to have some fast food. While we waited for our order to be delivered, I watched a women who came in and sat in a corner. She just sat there. I thought she was just there to take cover from the rain. A few minutes passed and I had a feeling that she must be hungry and may be didn't have any money to buy food. I just went close to her and asked her if she was hungry and that if I can buy her some food. She replied in the affirmative. So I got her some food and gave the $10 that I had with me and told her that she can have it. I could see her face light up with smile and just before I took leave of her she ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I went to the nursing home to visit my step mom’s grandma. She just got out of the hospital recently where she underwent some serious operations. I wanted to surprise her after work so I stopped by for a quick visit. When I got there she was happy to see me. We hugged, kissed and exchanged greetings. Then I heard a woman crying. It was my great grandma’s roommate. The curtain was drawn so I could not see her. She started calling out a name that wasn't mine but she was definitely talking to me, begging me to go to her side of the room. I ignored her at first and continued visiting with my great grandma. Then she started begging and saying, “Please, come see me!" So I went to see her. When I drew the curtain back she looked so old and frail but flashed me the biggest smile! She opened ... Read Full Story >>
My son, daughter, and I have been trying to write to people in our family and friends who are going through difficult times. So, recently we decided to make personal note cards for this purpose. My children sat down immediately and wrote to my brother with cancer, my sister with a sick husband, and an elderly friend living in a nursing center. I was so proud of them for being so thoughtful! Then, my son went out of the room and I heard a lot of whispering between my daughter and him. Well, my sister was over and had mentioned that a very close friend of hers (an elderly lady battling breast cancer) was having a birthday. Knowing that she loves angels, he and my daughter found a beautiful picture of an angel online, they printed it out, and he made her a gorgeous birthday card to cheer her day. ... Read Full Story >>
I am a sales rep and I travel all over England to visit my customers. I will frequently arrange to meet a client first thing in the morning and I usually have several visits to complete in a day. One cold February morning I was due to visit a store at 9am. I parked my car, bundled my scarf around me and headed up the street towards his shop front. The small lane where his store was located was partially blocked by two large, ruddy faced workmen who were tearing up the concrete. I braced myself for the expected cat calls. I was up early, out in the cold, and probably about to be made a spectacle of by two men I didn't even know. Then I stopped and remembered that my own father. Both he and my grandfather had spent much of their early careers working outside in similar jobs before ... Read Full Story >>
A few months ago an elderly lady from our meditation group dropped and broke her favorite cane. She was quite upset because it was her favorite cane and she could not afford to buy a new one. Being a wood carver I decided I would make her one. This lady is from a Native American background and I asked her what her spirit animal was. Some Native Americans believe they are guided on their journey through life by the spirit of an animal. Her spirit animal was a crow. This week I presented her with the finished cane. The top of the cane has a hand carved, highly detailed, painted and realistic looking crow head, actual size with glass eyes. Below that is a black suede braid around the shaft of the cane tied in a fancy knot called a Turk's Head knot, From the knot hung two black feathers with wooden ... Read Full Story >>
I had been spending some time in my home town and was about to return to my workplace. Arriving at the railway station I found my train was two hours late thanks to monsoon weather. I had arrived half an hour early, which meant I now had two and a half hours to wait in the bus station. I was more than a little worried about that! I took my luggage to a bench where only one other lady was sitting. Even sitting at the opposite end of the bench I couldn't help but notice how sad she looked. Her pretty face seemed very worried. Rather than sit in silence I asked her if she was waiting for the next train. She didn't respond. I asked her again. She replied, "Uhuh. Yes." Then she wiped her eyes. I moved closer and said, "Hey dear, what is wrong with you? Why are you weeping? ... Read Full Story >>
Some time ago, a man punished his 5 year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became more upset when the child pasted the gold paper so as to decorate a box to put under a Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her father next morning and said " This is for you daddy. " The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction , but his anger flared again when he found the box empty . He spoke to her in a harsh manner , " Don't you know young lady , when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package ? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said " Oh Daddy , it is not empty . I blew kisses into it until it was full." The father ... Read Full Story >>
I went through a drive-through this morning to get breakfast. I saw a woman behind me in line. She looked really tired and had a couple of kids with her.
I pulled up to the window and told the clerk I wanted to buy her breakfast and asked him to give her my Smile card. He seemed moved and said he would.
As I was waiting to pull into traffic, I paused long enough to see the clerk hand the woman in the car behind me the card and point in my direction while she stared in disbelief.
Then I pulled out and continued on my way, my car windows open, my hair blowing in the long-awaited cool breeze, my favorite music playing. The morning seemed even sweeter than before.
A student wanted to talk to me about a problem she had been having. She was due to meet me at 8.30am and I had a workshop to attend at 9.
I was so "present" with her that I didn't even notice the clock. It was 10:30 when we'd finished going through everything!
For the last two and a half years I have been giving out Smile Cards whenever I find an opportunity. I am sad to admit that my family and I are homeless, we live in a trailer which we were so kindly given by a family member. During this period, I have given out over 200 Smile Cards. I have always tried to find something kind to do, even when my husband lost his job and we were fighting to get by. I have started giving out coupons for free food, plus money for people to get at least one meal, on me. I always put my coupon, gift and Smile Card in a envelope that says "For whoever finds this". Once I left an envelope on someone's work truck and got back into our trailer. I just happened to look out at the bus later and I saw the guy open my envelope and find the gift. He read the card and then he looked ... Read Full Story >>
So right now I'm in Argentina and I gave away a couple of Smile cards. Some people didn't know what 'smile' meant because they mostly speak Spanish here.
My mother in law was telling me about her neighbour. Doris is 79 years old and lives by herself since her husband passed away last year.
One year ago twelve friends got together and formed a group. We call ourselves “12 Caring Women".
Last Saturday when I was in the car with my children, I realized that I hadn't made time to do out usual recycling, and our water bottles had been piling up (in our car actually!). We were going to be driving past the recycling station at the corner grocery store and as we approached it, I took in the long line of people, bags in hand, waiting their turn to cash in for a few bucks and some change. I thought about the times I've waited in that line, not always just for a little extra cash or purely to help the environment - but sometimes simply because I actually needed to buy milk or bread didn't have the money. I made a last minute decision and pulled into the parking lot. I jumped out of the car and grabbed the few bags of plastic bottles that I had in the back of the car. ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday, after finding this site, I enrolled in HelpOthers! Some really great stories got my own creative juices flowing. Living near a hospital, I decided to give flowers to one of the elderly people I often see there. I hopped on my bicycle and did not let the hesitancy I felt overcome me. I was going to do this - period! There she was, an elderly woman in a wheel chair with a man sitting beside her on the low stone wall around side of the hospital building. I zipped on over to a flower stall in the nearby market and bought a bunch of pink lilies and some baby breath. The kind lady wrapped them up and off I went. The elderly couple were still there when I got back. But they looked like they might be about to leave. I approached them. The woman, with her gray hair cut ... Read Full Story >>
I work just minutes from one of London’s busiest railway stations. Another minute or two away is a lovely, lively street with stalls selling Mexican, Thai and French food, as well as cafes, sandwich places and an Iceland which is one of the cheaper frozen food stores here in the UK. As I was walking around one lunch time I spotted a small elderly lady pushing an empty push-chair slowly along the pavement. I immediately wanted to do something for her but I felt a little strange following her around so I decided to continue my walk. Fate had other plans though. A few minutes later I passed Iceland and saw her putting groceries into her push-chair inside the store. That’s when I decided I’d try to pay for her shopping. The cashier looked at me kind of incredulously as I tried to explain that the money I was handing over ... Read Full Story >>
I have been reading a lot kindness stories. Last week, in an unusual way, a stranger showered me with generosity. At an Asian grocery store on a busy evening, I was shopping for the items I needed for my volunteer work of cooking breakfast on Saturday at a homeless shelter in San Jose. I went to the store to buy tofu and fruit. As I was waiting in line to finish the purchase, the lady next to me approached me to find out how I was going to consume the big box of tofu I was buying. Enthusiastically, I replied that I was buying food for the homeless breakfast feed. While I was getting ready to pay the bill, to my amazement, she offered to pay for everything. Despite multiple requests for her name, she responded that she felt good because I was doing the kind of community work her parents once received when ... Read Full Story >>
[Posting on behalf of a friend who I met at a recent dinner and was inspired by the intention behind Smile Cards.] Chapter One: It was Christmas Eve for most people – for me, and my longest-standing friend Lanie, it was just another Saturday night. We were going to meet for a waterside dinner on the Northern shore of Long Island before I headed onto I-95 on my way back to Providence. I arrived about 45 minutes early and on impulse popped into the Nail Salon a few doors up from the restaurant. The owner approached me asking what services I wanted. “Manicure” I answered. “Manicure Pedicure” she chirped. “No, just manicure today – I only have 45 minutes.” "Manicure Pedicure," she re-chirped. "Manicure Pedicure 45 minutes!" She walked me to the back of the salon, pointed to a chair, turned to her staff and without a seconds pause, she pulled up a chair ... Read Full Story >>
I received my "smile" cards in the mail on Friday and was thinking all week what my first "act" was going to be. There is a local pizzeria that my family frequents, and it gave me an idea. My 10-year-old daughter and I went there Saturday afternoon. I asked the person working if someone had called in an order for pick up or delivery. He checked and he said that there was a delivery going out in a few minutes for a party at a home. The order was for two pizza's and a few slices on the side. I asked him if I can pay the bill and he said, "WHY?" I explained it to him, paid the bill and asked him when they delivered the food to please just give them this card. He said he would comply and he thanked us for being kind. On the way home, my daughter ... Read Full Story >>
I have received a few Smile Decks and decided I would use one. I read through the cards and love all the different ideas. I try to make sure I do at least one random act of kindness each week and thought the Smile Deck could help me with that! There are many ways you can use the cards. Each suite has a different focus and they get progressively more challenging the higher you go. Since I have been committed to practicing kindness I figured I would just shuffle the deck and every few days pull one out and do whatever it says. So that is what I did! Yesterday I had the eight of hearts, which asks you to acknowledge an act of kindness by someone else and thank them. I have been the recipient of an act of kindness in the past week so this was a perfect card! I put together a ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I was in the grocery store. I was hurrying to get a few things I needed in between soccer games. In the line behind me was the sweetest lady who was quietly searching through her wallet to find the money she needed to purchase the seven or eight items she had in her cart. I imagined she probably lived on a limited income and might benefit, even just a little, from having her groceries paid for her. I turned to the cashier and said, "Go ahead. Run her items through. I'd like to pay for her groceries." My children, aged twelve, seven and three, quietly watched what was going on. "I can't let you do that," the lady said. "But I just did," I replied. "Have a great day!" And then, smiling, I walked with my children out the doors. As I walked away, I heard her ask the cashier, "Did he just ... Read Full Story >>
This morning I received a beautiful hand-made card in the post. The envelope was marked "Thank you!" and I didn't open it immediately whilst I tried to work out who it had come from. Who could be saying thanks to me? Happily I had a few choices. When I opened it I discovered it was from a lady I had sent a free gift to on eBay. She was completely overwhelmed by this random act of kindness from a stranger and has since joined the HelpOthers family. She had made the card especially for me with pink butterflies on the front. It was lovely! The thing that surprised me the most was that she actually used the words "I love you" to me. How wonderful to be such a positive spirit as to love so freely . Most of us are very cautious when using those three words. I hope she enjoys ... Read Full Story >>
I am collecting pennies at work for a co-worker. He doesn't know I'm doing this.
It was a usual day at the hospital. I was running around doing what I needed to get done for my patients. Then I stopped in my tracks because I could feel my cell phone vibrating in my pocket. I almost always keep my phone on. In the event of an emergency my family and friends can that way get in touch with me. It was an emergency. There was a death in my family. I couldn't move. I couldn't think. I was excused early from work that day, but came home to an empty apartment and didn't know what to do next. I cried. I didn't know if I wanted to be alone or phone my close friend. I didn't know if I should have bothered my friend. Death is a sensitive subject for some people. Different people handle it in different ways. What does one say? What does one do? After deliberating for a ... Read Full Story >>
Ethan is six and three quarters and Emily just turned seven, and they are best friends. Their pre-school teacher, Kathleen Albert, has been teaching them about kindness. So, for their graduation project, Ethan and Emily decided to raise money to help feed hungry people by collecting cans. When they were done, they had raised 5,304 dollars for the San Francisco Food Bank - enough money for 15,912 meals!
This morning I went to drop of my large items to the recycling center. There was an Asian lady in the line who looked about 65-70 years old. She had 6 big black bags of recycling with her. I asked her if she wanted my items, because she was commingling and she could get money for it. She accepted them and thanked me with the most wonderful, loving hug I have ever had. After leaving the recycling center, I went to the market. I had just finished writing my book, and am hoping to get it published someday. I wanted to pick up some steaks to celebrate. It was kind of a special occasion for me, since I have been unemployed for four months and money is tight. At the market, I had the steaks in my hand, but then thought about the lady at the recycling center. I put them back ... Read Full Story >>
Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #9 - A Spontaneous Opportunity to Truly Teach My Children About Generosity
My kids and I were heading into the superstore over the weekend. On the way, we spotted a man wrapped in a blanket and holding a sign that said, "Lost my job. Family to Feed". At this store, a sight like this is not a normal occurrence. It was obvious the man was embarrassed, but desperate. My 10-year-old noticed him commented on how bad it must be to have to stand outside in the cold wind. While we were in the store, I asked each of the kids (I have seven :) to pick something they thought our 'friend' outside would appreciate. They picked a couple apples, a package of shrimp cocktail, a sandwich, some cheese and a bottle of juice. Then my 17-year-old asked, "Can we get him a gift card?" I thought about it. We were low on cash ourselves, but... well, sometimes giving from our 'need' instead of our 'abundance' is ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend at the airport, I had some extra time before going through security to catch my flight. While wondering what to do, I decided it was the perfect time and place to look for an anonymous act of kindness to do! One of the magazine stands outside security had flowers for sale. I told the clerk that I'd like to buy flowers for someone else, and she could decide who to give them to. She looked a little confused, so I suggested perhaps she could give them to someone who looked like they could use some cheering up, and then hand them the smile card with the flowers. At first, the clerk responded, That's weird." (Or maybe, "That's crazy," I can't remember which.) But then, I explained a little more about smile cards and the concept of doing something kind for a complete stranger, and she brightened up. "I'll never know how it turns out," I said, "but you will have the opportunity ... Read Full Story >>