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 >>
Some days, you know, it's hard to find kind things to do! Today was one of those. I couldn't open the store door for anyone since it's automatic. I couldn't buy anyone else a meal since I didn't have any cash or credit card on me. However ... I could use my words! And I did. My cousin was feeling picked on and looked down on. I made sure I told her the truth, reminding her of what she's accomplished: she's smart, is certified in her field, and is creative. Then there is my friend who is having publishing woes. Her book was supposed to come out next month but her editor left and now her project might get cut. I made sure I shared my sympathies and told her that I would pray for the best outcome (and I did.) That's all it takes sometimes, especially when you're like me and your "love language" ... Read Full Story >>
Our neighbor grows the most amazing gardens! They are real works of art. The beauty she creates spills out even to her neighbor's yards with amazing displays of color.
It brings me such joy to serve her and others. I hope my happiness spills out in love and joy to others who, in turn, pay if forward with goodness all around our beautiful town.
I took a long walk in the local nature park this morning. I do that most mornings. It really makes a great start to the day! I usually walk up this nice long road that goes back into the woods. It's so quiet and pleasant and there are so many green trees.
I was living in São Paulo, Brazil. It is a HUGE city, with more people living in it than in my whole country (Hungary, which has a population of 10 million). We rented a flat in a gated community, but there was a favela (shanty town) quite near. For several months I didn't have a car, so three times a week, I used public transportation to go to the city centre. During these trips, I would ride with the people who took the same bus from the favela to go to work. When I got on the bus, all the seats were already taken. But when people saw that my bag was heavy (full of books), they offered to hold it in their lap, to make me feel lighter standing. At first, I was shocked. Then I realized that these people had absolutely no intention to steal from me: they only wanted to ... Read Full Story >>
Annie, a neighbor's daughter, was away for her first semester at college this past school year. She is a very sweet girl but just a bit shy. When her birthday month came around I found out she was feeling a bit blue and lonely. Her family is quite small and finances are tight so there wouldn't be any birthday visitors. I wanted to send her a card and maybe a small gift to brighten her day a bit. I got her school address from her Mom and planned to simply pick something up and send it. Then I got an idea! I thought perhaps a bit more birthday cheer was needed here. I bought some balloons, streamers, birthday hats, and other small novelties at a dollar store. I took a small recorder and asked three other people in my area at work to sing Happy Birthday and send some birthday wishes ... Read Full Story >>
When I was a teenager I used to skateboard all the time! It seems like that's a phase a lot of teenagers go through. I would always buy the really nice skateboards the professionals used. I still had one that I bought not too long ago. But, since I don't skateboard anymore, I thought about going to a skateboard shop and giving it to some kid.I know I would have been so excited if someone had done that for me when I was younger. So, I drove to the local skateboard shop and waited outside for about ten minutes. A boy and his dad were about to walk into the shop when I stepped up and asked him if he'd like my skateboard. He asked how much? I told him it was free - as long as he used it! His eyes lit up and I could really see how excited he was. ... Read Full Story >>
I had just finished my monthly Free Hugs session in Union Square, NYC, and was walking back to Harlem where I lived. I save subway fare by walking as often as possible. Being a storyteller I don't have much money. That's when I saw a woman sitting on the pavement. The shopping cart to her was side piled high with her possessions. Her shoes were worn to nearly nothing. I got out my Free Hugs sign and approached her. I smiled gently and asked if she would like a hug. She looked at me with disbelief and asked, "You would hug me?" I opened my arms and walked closer to her. "If you want a hug," I sad. "Absolutely." She reached out for the hug and then told me she had not been touched in almost 20 years. I hugged her tighter. I apologized to her that I had no money to give her that ... Read Full Story >>
The other day, my husband and I found out that his co-worker's house caught on fire and suffered major damages.
We wanted to reach out and support their family, but debated whether or not we could afford to donate to the collection.
Then it occurred to me that, even though I don't have enough to pay our bills this week, these people don't have clothes to send their daughter to school the next day!!
With gratitude for all that we have, we donated $50 to the family, and will find a way to make due for the coming week.
Today, as I was riding a transit bus from Unicity to downtown, I did not realize that I would be a witness to something amazing. The ride was, as usual, long and uneventful, until we reached the corner of Portage and Main Street. That's when the driver pulled over. This, of course, surprised all of the passengers on the bus. But, what happened next still brings tears to my eyes. The bus driver jumped off the bus to chat with a man that looked to be down on his luck; by all accounts, a homeless man. I first thought the driver was going to offer the man a ride until our driver took off his own shoes and gave them to the man on the sidewalk. That is when I realized that the man the driver was chatting with was barefoot. The bus was dead silent. I think we were all stunned and ... Read Full Story >>
This year, instead of birthday presents, dinners, etc, my husband and I decided to pool our resources and request acts of kindness, compassion and generosity be done on our behalf.
My favorite so far involves my girlfriend's 12 year old daughter who got so inspired that she's currently brainstorming things she can do to be kind and generous.
This past Sunday, I was in a generous mood. I am not always like that, but it started when I went to the roadside shoe repairer. I asked him to polish my shoes, and he told me it would cost twenty rupees. When he finished polishing, I was moved to offer him 30 rupees. That's when he caught me off guard. Smilingly, he accepted only twenty rupees and lightly told me that he was content. He would not take anything extra. I was pleasantly surprised by his attitude, and also learned such a big lesson. In a world where most people try to grab as much as they can, his simplicity came across like a breath of fresh air. With the 10 rupees that the shoe polisher refused, I went and bought roses from the roadside flower seller. She happened to be a old lady. (If you are familiar with India, you will often ... Read Full Story >>
I was sitting on the front steps of a small bakery near where I live and eating some noodles. I was enjoying my meal in peace with no one around. There is a burned out house right opposite the bakery and I know a group of people live there. The house has no electricity and has very poor ventilation. I happened to glance up from my noodles and I saw a group of women gathered outside the house. They were sitting on the ground sharing a meal of some sort. Seeing them there, a thought occurred to me. I am grateful for the food I receive every day but there are also folks who may be getting one square meal a day, or less. I felt that I needed to go visit with the women who were sitting there. I bought a large packet of biscuits from the bakery and went over. The women looked slightly ... Read Full Story >>
We have five fantastic children. As they've grown older, from high school to college and so on, we found ourselves cleaning out our home of furniture only to replace it with something new. We had this one living room set consisting of a sofa, loveseat and chair. It went through a couple of the kids, hauling it up the stairs to their third floor apartments and back down again to the next apartment. Our son was the last to have the set when he finally asked for a place to store it because he was going out of town for a semester. We told him we would hold it for him in our garage. So we picked the furniture up and brought it back to the house. One day, while at work, I heard a couple of people talking in the hallway. A mother and her two children were kicked out of their ... Read Full Story >>
I've got this friend, Rachel. She's a bit older than me, with a sort of shy, but radiant smile. She's usually tan, as she loves the outdoors and spends as much time outside as possible. No matter the weather. In the winter, she'll often go for walks outside. In the summer, she'll sit in public parks strumming her guitar, reading, or napping on the grass. She has the leisure to do these things because, suffering from multiple psychological traumas, she is unable to work. Well, unable to work in a "normal" workplace, that is. Because she does work. Her vocation is 'making' candles. She buys ready-made candles, usually the slightly translucent kind where the body of the candle will radiate the light, too. Then she puts designs on them by hand, working for hours at a time in her kitchen. She literally makes hundreds--if not a thousand--of these in a year. And then, ... Read Full Story >>
I had offered to watch a friend's children so she and her husband could go out to watch a movie. She was delighted with the offer - but didn't get around to fixing a day.
So, finally, I picked a date and asked her if she was free. She was really excited and looking forward to her night out.
On the day of the babysitting her husband e-mailed me and told me it was her birthday! I hadn't known that! He told me he would bring over a cake after the movie, when they came to pick up the kids.
The kids had a great time (and so did we!) We made cookies together, played games, and so on. Then, when their parents came back we had a surprise birthday party with cake and ice cream and sparkling juice. We made music together and it was very festive! My friend said it was the most special birthday she had celebrated in a long time.
I was so happy!
How would you feel if you gifted your whole month’s paycheck to a friend in need? A) Happy B) Ecstatic C) Fortunate with loads of gratitude D) Submerged in love E) All of the above The answer is E-- at least that's how she felt when she handed a small envelope to her friend. In it, contained her month's earnings as well as a note saying how much she appreciates her friendship, and this small gift is a way to show her that she is loved and cared. This lovely soul happens to be my sister. When she joined a choir, she met a woman in her early thirties, who works day and night, teaching piano and music theory to many students. This woman receives little moral support or help from her family. She is also in school to pursue her own career in music. To make ends meet, she works several jobs, all seven days of the week. ... Read Full Story >>
While I was deciding what kind of bread to buy at Trader Joe's a young man who works there asked me how I was doing.
As usual, I told the truth.
He said, "I'll be right back."
I figured he was another one who thought I talk too much, or go on too much, and had politely excused himself. It was crazy busy in there.
I was heading to the checkout when he came back and handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers! He said, "Have a Happy New Year," gave me a hug and left.
I will never give up on seeing good in people and I will never change who I am in order to make people like me.
The kindness of this young man, a complete stranger, moved me to tears. It had been an exceptionally difficult day. My heart was hurt and an angel on earth gifted me with kindness. My healing begins.
I do a lot of kind things on an impulse, mostly because I know that if I think about them I will probably will let my head get in front of my heart and then regret not having acted.
Today I woke up with the clear idea that I had to send a certain amount of cash to someone I know who is indirectly related to me. The amount was exactly half of what I had in my already very slim bank account.
As you can imagine all sorts of thoughts went through my head but - I can't explain - I just knew I have to do it and do it anonymously.
All I know is that this person has three children around the same age as my daughter and her husband is an alcoholic with an autistic personality, which makes her life very difficult.
Why I had to do this now and not another time I might never know. But I feel it was the right thing to do.
A few of us friends got together for a random acts of kindness event at a flea market in Dubai.
We collected items from our homes, our neighbors, and our friends, which could make good gifts. Then we put up a bright and chirpy stall at the market, put all our gifts on display, and took a lot of people by surprise!
We had a gratitude board too, where people pinned up their answers to the question, "What are you grateful for?"
And we had a basket full of kindness ideas for people to pick up and, hopefully, put into practice!
It was a beautiful, beautiful day!
When I was little I wondered why neighborhoods didn’t invest in edible landscaping to build community, promote health, and promote collaboration. As adults, my husband and I decided the right way to answer this question was to do it ourselves, so we transformed our front yard with edibles, adding blueberries, strawberries, limes, pomegranates, and oranges. Every crop brought us closer to neighbors and strangers. The food was an excuse to commune. Kids in the neighborhood (including our sons) learned patience and gentle timing. When we had extra, we'd share it. Then, we received a powerful lesson; a gift hidden as a loss. Our first-ever crop of pomegranates had ripened. But at harvest, they were all gone, stolen in the middle of the night. We were shocked, sad and angry. Friends had fun suggesting deterrents. One even suggested we post a sign to curse thieves who stole our fruit. And suddenly, the lesson ... Read Full Story >>