Today we spent the morning going through our personal belongings. We were looking for items to give away for free, at a local park. Not just any items but things people really needed. We came up with blankets, soaps, food, and clothing. Our aim was not to find things we no longer wanted, but things we use everyday that would be useful to others. For some of the items we used and needed we split the amounts in half. We kept one half and added the other half to the pile of things to give away. We made up boxes with the things we believed would be useful and added some small toys. We added a list of local addresses and phone numbers of local helping agencies. Inside the boxes a simple letter was placed. It read….. “Please take these items and know that your life is important. Times are difficult but these days will pass. ... Read Full Story >>
On Labor Day last year my husband went out for a meal at a restaurant. After we had finished, I asked him if he'd ever given a waiter/waitress a 100% tip. He gave me this funny look (probably because he was thinking about how much our dinner added up to be!) and said he hadn't. I said that since it was Labor Day and our waitress was working this holiday, it would be fun to give her a 100% tip and see what her reaction would be. He told me I was crazy but agreed anyway! Our dinner bill came to $32.18 so that's the exact tip we left, $32.18. We tried to hand her our dinner bill folder but she kept telling us to leave it on the table and she would get to it. So we left and we never got to see her reaction. I wondered off and on, and still do to this day, what ... Read Full Story >>
About a year ago, my husband had just come back from a 7 month tour in Iraq. My daughter and I had gone up to see him get off the bus at 6am, and he didn't get there until about 7-7:30am. After a couple hours of work he had to do, we were ready to go home. On the way home, my husband suggested that we go to International House of Pancakes (IHoP) to grab something to eat. We didn't have that much money left, as it was right before payday, but I decided it would be worth it anyway, since he hadn't gotten to eat anything like that for months. We went in and sat down in a crowded resturant. He was still wearing his ACU's (his army clothes) and I was clinging to him and still crying a little bit, just so happy to have him home. We sat ... Read Full Story >>
I was traveling in China a couple of years ago. We were touring some very rural areas - the particular location was the Ancient City about 40 miles outside of Wenzhou. I was the only brown skinned person in sight. People where quite fascinated with me, and would stare, and sometimes photograph me. I was getting a little annoyed, but I thought why not send my fellow travellers love in my thoughts. As we walked through this village we came upon a family making rice wine. They appeared to have very little but had such radiant smiles. As we got closer, I saw a small little figure dart into their little home and dart back out. Their little toddler, all of 3 years old, approached me. She was an adorable little thing. She wore quite tattered clothes and had dirt smudges on her face. As I bent down, she reached out and gave me ... Read Full Story >>
I had a dream for over a year, to attend the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. I had even reserved a hostel room a year in advance because I so wanted to be there. I had worked very hard to arrange things, but was having trouble raising money for the trip. I asked one of my MBA professors who is connected in investing circles to ask, if I were to write an appeal letter, would he please send it to his contacts? He apologized, because he said there is not much money available right now because of the economy. Then he paused, and asked me where I was flying from. When I told him, he asked me if he could help me out with flight miles to Copenhagen for the trip. I was awestruck by the offer. I hurried to tell him that I had not mentioned this to ask ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday while I was busy doing my housework, my daughter ran up to me and said, "Mommy there's someone at the gate." I told her to ask who it was. It was an old man beggar. I heard my daughter yelling, "Mommy he wants money." For a second I ignored her, but then it hit me what she just said. I found my daughter taking out money from her Dad's wallet. Instead of stopping her, I stood there amazed at her action and the realization: kids give without hesitation and their kindness is impulsive. Then I murmured a little prayer to myself, "God, let my kids never outgrow such a value and let that value grow on us adults." Sure, we all want to do kindness acts as much as we can, but let's also be honest -- how many times have we acted on it in reality? How many times have we ... Read Full Story >>
If you are on the lookout, you can almost always find an opportunity for kindness. I filled my afternoon with small gestures today, they didn't take much time or effort, but I hope they made a small difference to the people who received them. I was out and about because I had to do a few errands this afternoon. My first stop was the supermarket. I wanted to buy some croissants with chocolate on them for my daughter Rita. I also decided to get a few plain ones for my husband, my mum and me. Armed with the croissants, I went on to my second stop - a local charity bookshop. I wanted to see if they had any books on Unicorns, since Rita loves them (and, I have to admit, so do I). While I was there, I struck up a conversation with the lady at the counter during which she commented on the smell ... Read Full Story >>
Sometimes the people who are noticed the least can do the most to lift us up... On Thanksgiving morning I got up early to run in the local 5K run. I figured it might give me the motivation to get back into running. It was nearly freezing that morning so everyone getting ready to run was hopping around trying to stay warm. On the side of the road, sitting in the grass, was a man wrapped in a blanket. It was pretty obvious he was homeless and as usual, most people pretended not to see him. I went over and talked with him for a few minutes before the race. In the midst of the idle chit-chat, he told me that he was a veteran and had hoped he might be able to earn a few dollars that morning to be able to go buy a Thanksgiving dinner. He had a glimmer of ... Read Full Story >>
I work with a warm, fun-loving woman named Heather. This year our boss asked a group of us to join his family on Thanksgiving. Seated around the table, Heather said something had totally changed her the day before -- like she was walking in a new direction. I listened and watched as her eyes welled with tears. Heather deals daily with people on the telephone. She was speaking with a Veteran and asked if he was looking forward to Thanksgiving. She was surprised when he said no, and asked why. He had been let go from his job more than a month before and was having a tough time making ends meet. He shared how hard it was to feel powerless to provide a Thanksgiving meal for his wife and children. She wished him a happy holiday and good luck. There was nothing to do but say good-bye and hang-up. But I must do ... Read Full Story >>
This year had been very difficult financially for my family due to budget cuts, layoffs, and unforeseen circumstances and with the holiday season around the corner, I didn’t know how I was going to buy Christmas presents for my children until my very own Santa showed up. One day while window shopping with my 4 month old son, a stranger walked up to me and began a conversation asking the usual baby questions like how old is he, will Santa be coming to see him, was he my only child, etc. After a few minutes of talking, he introduced himself as Ralph, and asked for help with shopping for for his grandkids since he didn't know what to buy. I agreed since I was only window shopping and didn’t have anywhere to be at the time, and because I had children close to the same age that he was looking for, I figured I’d ... Read Full Story >>
Many of the stories that I read on HelpOthers are all about helping other people, doing acts of kindness for someone else. Often times it's easy to forget that no matter who you are, you're not always the giver - sometimes it's we who receive that random act of kindness. When it happens, it almost feels odd to some extent that you are on the other end - receiving vs. giving. In some way, it can be quite a humbling experience. And so my story begins .... My daughter and I had gone into Subway one evening to get sandwiches for the two of us, plus one for my wife. Prior to going to Subway, I had checked my bank account to make sure that I had money on my debit card. I had moved what I thought to be several hundred dollars to my card. Come to find out in ... Read Full Story >>
All the money I had on me yesterday was some loose change, so I went without lunch (I had a freezer full of food back home but I was out and about) and well, hey, I could stand to miss a meal or ten! Luckily, it was the end of a little financial lean period. That evening a sizable payment for some work I had done arrived in my bank account. Great! Which bills to pay first? But before dealing with any of that I had the strong urge to say thank you for my blessings. (Oh, it wasn't as clean-cut as that. I had more than a little mental turmoil about giving away money I could be reducing our overdraft with.) I decided to give a percentage of my payment to a young woman I know who works with abandoned children in Romania - so I electronically zapped the money over. This morning I had ... Read Full Story >>
My wonderful Aunt Helen Louise recently passed away very unexpectedly. I have been trying to stay positive during this time. Today was an especially emotional day, so I decided to try and keep myself busy by doing a little 'treasure hunting' at my local Goodwill store. Whilst I was browsing, I saw a young girl trying to ride a bicycle. Her grandmother and grandfather were steadying it for her. Her grandmother was very encouraging and it made me smile to see the look of determination on the little girl's face. I browsed through the racks but didn't find anything I wanted to buy. I was on my way out of the store, when I noticed the bicycle parked at the checkout counter. A light bulb went off right away in my mind, and I asked the clerk if the bicyle had been paid for. She told me that the little girl's grandparents were going to buy it ... Read Full Story >>
Today, I felt terrible. My head was full of problems and confusion. I decided to take a walk even though I didn't know where I would go. The most extraordinary thing happened when I was out on this walk. I saw an old man sitting on a chair. He was a seller of second-hand shoes. I thought he looked at least 70 years old. He seemed so tired and nobody was buying his shoes. I wanted to give him something but I had not brought anything with me. Then, a little girl came toward him. I heard the child say, "Grandfather, may I polish your shoes?" That old man took pity on her, smiled and he gave her a shoe to polish. The girl said, "I polish the shoe because I need money to buy my brother a new school uniform." I heard this and tears came to my eyes. The old man answered, "Oh, little girl. Just stop doing this. Come with ... Read Full Story >>
It's 5:15am at the local Starbucks. I'm standing in line and the person ahead of me in line is putting together what seems to be a large order. "Can I have some bagels, donuts, oh and some brownies too, along with this coffee order." My curiosity is peaked, and she chimes to the counter person, "Thank you, the order is for the nurses at Sloan-Kettering Cancer society because they've been doing a great job taking care of my Dad." I tend to believe that people share things in order to be self expressed, and to be heard, to have their expression recognized. Standing in line, fiddling with my book bag, the possibility of her wanting to be heard flashed by. I, stopped, and asked her how her father was doing. "He's in a coma, he fell into a coma yesterday and my sister and I have been taking shifts being there with ... Read Full Story >>
I came across HelpOthers one afternoon at work and I left my office that day filled with inspiration, wondering how I could make a difference in someone's life, even if only for a moment. I'm in a period of transition moving to a new home as a single parent with three children, finances are tight, my mom is fighting ovarian cancer, my sister has been laid off, my ex-husband is out of work. Life is less than rosy for me right now and I was eager for an opportunity, quite honestly just to feel better about life and make someone else feel better. I was eager to give. As I left the parking lot, I made my way down the street towards my home. It was an especially hot day even at this late hour of the afternoon. I stopped at an intersection and idly watched a young woman make her way through ... Read Full Story >>
Ever since I finished the 29-Day Giving Challenge, I have felt a lot happier and have a much more optimistic outlook on life. I think the secret to happiness is always counting your "thank yous," giving, and smiling. I've done some research lately on the health benefits of kindness, and some say that the kinder you are, the happier you will be. Is this the secret to happiness? This is new to me, but some of you may know that the actual act of giving results in a small or big rush of what's called "endorphins," aka a "helpers high". Kindness in general has both physical and mental benefits. For example, in my case prior to starting the challenge, I felt tired, unenthusiastic, and lacking vitality. However, after just a couple days, along with some gifts, my energy started to increase, I felt more alive so to speak, and I was ... Read Full Story >>
Two years ago, on the day before Easter, I had given my three children money instead of Easter baskets. Later that evening, we were all sat watching TV, when an infomercial came on about starving children.
I couldn't help tearing up when my children said, "Mom, can we give our Easter money to these children?" I told them yes and that God was going to bless them for this. I wrote a cheque and sent it off in the mail. I wanted to go get them Easter baskets for their kind act, but I didn't have any more money.
To my surprise, on Easter morning, a couple of ladies from a church we used to attend came over with a big box. I didn't open it until they left, and when I did, tears started streaming down my and I fell to the floor with gratitude. It contained Easter baskets for my children and a gas card for my family.
The universe is good and sometimes knocks you on your knees in tears from the way it works...
Last year my family was moving from New Hampshire to Washington State. In the process of selling our house, giving away most of our belongings (we were moving to a much smaller house and didn't need most of it) and saying goodbye to all the friends we'd made over the past 22 years there; our 27-year-old daughter, who was living with us, became progressively more ill, eventually becoming unable to sit up or walk. Three weeks before we were supposed to close on our house, she was diagnosed with both Lyme disease and a brain tumor, which was pressing on her brainstem. Her excellent neurosurgeon was able to remove the entire tumor, which was non-cancerous, and within days she could walk again and use her arms. Intravenous antibiotics took care of the Lyme disease. When we returned home from the hospital (after 11 days away), there was a big sign welcoming us home ... Read Full Story >>
As I was standing in line for my secret weekend indulgence, a medium dairy queen cone. I watched the two teens behind the counter working frantically to get through the long line of hungry customers. Usually there are one or two customers but today, to my surprise, there were more than ten. So many, in fact, that I wondered if it was worth the wait. There was a tip jar in the middle of the counter and though most orders were for three or more concoctions no one was leaving a tip. The order before mine was a big one! Eight "Blizzards," all sizes, flavors, etc, to go. The gal worked efficiently, cheerfully filling the orders and delivering them with a smile and a "Have a nice day!" Then came my tiny order. "I would like a medium cone." The gal smiled and said, "Is that all?" "Yep", was my reply. I had handed her a twenty ... Read Full Story >>
Kindness is a simple answer in a sometimes difficult and challenging world. I know that to be true. For a long time now it has been my mission to acknowledge and appreciate all people and to encourage others to do the same. When my 7 year old grand-daughter, Skylar, and I go out, we have a contest called “Who can make the most people smile. “ It makes for a wonderful glorious day. We will be walking in the supermarket and someone will be walking down the aisle with her head down. Skylar walks up to her and gives her a big smile. I watch her walk down the aisle, turn around and smile at Skylar again or perhaps smile at someone else. Kindness is a chain that pulls us all together. Anything that lifts another person is kindness. Every single act of kindness has a ripple effect. In 2002, my dad had a series of strokes and other illness. At that ... Read Full Story >>
Good sense might have suggested I stay in today. There was snow on the ground and we really don't have any money to be spending right now. But, there were a couple of things I needed, so I gathered what cash I had together and hopped on to the bus to the next town (hoping it wouldn't slip off the road on an icy patch.) Once in town one of the first thing I saw was a brass band! They had taken over an empty shop and were setting up to perform in the window. I didn't get to hear a toot out of them, but I did see they were "busking" for donations. The money raised would buy gifts for local needy children. A I slipped a note into the collection bucket the woman holding it finished a sentence to another man with the words, "... even the bad times are ... Read Full Story >>
In June 2009 the New Jersey Star-Ledger ran a series called "The Chain of Life" about kidney donation chains. These are enabled by one non-related donor giving a kidney to a recipient whose donor (usually a relative) was not compatible. That non-compatible donor then donates to someone else in the same position and thus four or six people could receive new kidneys. I decided I could do that. I contacted the National Kidney Registry and started a six month process that ended with my donating a kidney to a doctor who had been on home dialysis for two years. I didn't know his identity until several months later when we had a very meaningful and emotional introduction. His wife donated her kidney, the same day as our surgery, to someone else, whose donor donated theirs to someone else on the other side of the country! The surgery lasted two hours; I was ... Read Full Story >>
I wrote earlier about my gift home makeover project - Etseth and I would like to tell you about a very special family that I have recently done a makeover for! The mum of this family, was a victim of severe domestic abuse 12 years ago. After years of the being subjected to violence, she summoned enough courage to leave, she moved from England to Wales with her three children and moved into a woman’s refuge. Further down the line, she met someone, got married and they eventually had two more children. Their two oldest have moved out so they are left with three children who are 14,11 and 9 years old. My project was to plaster the lounge/dining room. Whilst I was doing this project, their oldest daughter returned from serving in Afghanistan. Unbeknownst to the family, the daughter had spent lots of her army pay to take the family away for a 2 week holiday. As the ... Read Full Story >>
One very cold and rainy night my husband and I were in fast food restaurant. Just as we were about to begin our meal, a man walked in. He was completely soaked from the rain and went straight into the men's room. I watched him go by, then I said to my husband, "That man has had nothing to eat in a long time." When the guy came out of the men's room he just found a seat, not going anywhere near the food counter. I guessed he didn't have any money for food and simply wanted to dry off for a while. I just couldn't eat my food knowing that someone else was sitting hungry only a few tables away. So, I handed a $20.00 bill fom my food shopping money to my husband. "Please get him dinner," I said. "We can do with less this week." My husband approached the man and ... Read Full Story >>
[Amidst the tragedy of the quake, tsunami and the subsequent nuclear plant explosions, the narrative of hope can often get lost. Below is an excerpt of some truly heart warming moments of oneness that unfolded in the aftermath of the tragic Tsunami.] You can see my full note here. Below are the some of the heart warming anecdotes that I have witnessed and heard from others ... Someone overseas called me on my cell. She said she wanted to connect to anyone who is in Japan, and so she called the country code and their own mobile number, which happened to be the same as mine. I didn't fully understand everything she said, because it was English, but I knew enough to know that she really wanted to support the Japanese people. It really gave me so much hope. Last night when I was walking home (since all traffic had stopped), I saw an old lady ... Read Full Story >>
The car went through the stop sign and into the intersection. With no where to go or time to get there, my taxi hit the car dead on. For the next three months I was out of work. I had no savings to speak of. No family to help me. I was in dire straights to be sure. The lady who ran the stop sign had little insurance, barely enough to cover the medical expenses with little left over to pay my living expenses. Just after the accident Justin came to see me in the hospital. We had been co-drivers with the taxi company. We knew each other and worked well together. We were not what one might consider to be friends but we liked each other. He asked me what was going to happen and I told him I didn't know. I was in deep trouble financially until a settlement ... Read Full Story >>
I wanted to use one of my Smile Cards today, so I went to the bank and withdrew $20. I went out on my lunch break, and walked around looking out for someone to give the money and the Smile Card to. I spotted a couple of people who I thought about giving it to but then I remembered that the Smile Card says to do it anonymously. So I decided to find a way to give away the $20 without the person knowing where it came from. I got in my car and drove to the mall and walked around praying for God to show me what to do. As I walked passed a dollar store I saw five pay phones by it. I took the $20 and neatly wrapped it around the Smile Card. I left if by the first pay phone and prayed that someone who really needed ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 23 years old I was in a dangerous relationship with the man who was my financee at the time. I was being physically and verbally abused on a daily basis. I was financially tied to him (after he spent all my savings to pay his debts) but I wanted to be free! For the longest time I was too embarrassed to tell my mother about the situation. She had warned me about him. But, eventually, I worked up the courage to tell her and she sent me the money I needed to leave. Before the money arrived he found out what I planned to do. I was so scared of what he might do I decided to leave all my things and just get out of there. Then, on my way to safety, my car died! I had automobile insurance (thanks to my mom) so I called the AAA and had them tow ... Read Full Story >>
I was walking home from work on a busy city street with lots of people. I wasn't looking forward to going home and my friends weren't able to hang out with me. That's when I walked past a homeless person that I hadn't seen before. He was moving back and forth to stay warm, and very gently asking for change. He spoke so quietly I could barely hear him. Something made me stop, turn around, and walk up to him. All the while anxious thoughts whirled around in my head like, 'What do you think you're doing?' 'You're alone, it's dark out and you're a woman,' Before I knew what I was saying I asked him if he had had dinner yet and would he like to join me at a nearby restaurant. He said he hadn't eaten and he would like to. So, he walked with me a few yards to the restaurant and held the door ... Read Full Story >>