I was 16 years old, getting out of the train station with my father, and a woman came to him and said that her money had been stolen. She asked if he could lend her some money to go back home. My father gave her what she asked and told her not to worry about sending it back. I was shocked. How could my own father be so gullible? It was obvious to me that she was lying, staying in the station all day long to get the next patsy. "She was lying!" I exclaimed. "Why did you give her anything at all?" My father looked at me and I could see he was a bit angry. "And what would you like me to do," he said, "Should I tell her that I am a college professor and I can see through her scam?" I did not understand him at all, so he told ... Read Full Story >>
When I was a young girl, my mother and father divorced which devastated our finances. My mother accepted food from an uncle that worked at a seafood packing plant that offered torn and shredded food for free as they could not sell it. We ate a LOT of seafood. I remember times when my mother would be in such despair trying to spread what little cash she had over the need for groceries to feed us and to this day it pains me to see others in that condition. One day this winter, I dropped into a store to buy a last minute item. It was not my regular store, but it was the one I chose. I think it was chosen for me. Times this winter were very hard on us with the construction industry being so slow, but I felt compelled to do something about the woman and her ... Read Full Story >>
Anonymous giving and acts of kindness can lead the giver to a very lonely place in the universe. Like the Lone Ranger or some other disguised hero, we do kind things all the time and so often the people on the receiving end don’t see it or don’t recognize it. Living a life of altruism, in its most ideal form, means setting the ego aside and not doing what we do for credit. Usually, I have no problem with this at all. But there are those days, perhaps when I’m feeling a little weak or drained, where I find myself feeling lonely with it all, feeling like I’m giving, giving, giving, to a world that is in super receiving mode and asleep to what’s being done for them. I get a little discouraged. Even idealized heroes had their inner circle of friends who knew who they really were and what their life ... Read Full Story >>
The old woman walked with a ramble as she pushed her shopping cart full of worldly possessions. She was dirty, her hair unkempt, her clothes torn, she reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. Most of her teeth missing, the image of a miserable wretch manifested before me. She stopped and asked me for change. I invited her to lunch and she agreed. So, we went across the street to an outdoor cafe so she could watch over her shopping cart, while we dined. The waitress was taken back by the presence of this woman and did not want to serve us, but forced herself. We ate our lunches - she was ravenous and the food disappeared almost as soon as it arrived. When we were ready to leave, I was feeling pretty good about myself and then she asked for a hug. It was then that I had to face myself and all the hidden repulsion and ... Read Full Story >>
Last year, I received a satchel of money on the front steps at my home. When that money arrived, I actually was out of town but my family called me and said that there was a lot of money left at the front door with a note. When, I returned home I was touched most by the note, which read, "Thank you for all you do for the world." As I have shared on helpothers.org, I immediately placed all of this money into my sacred fund which keeps coming back to me again and again. All of the work I do which bring gifts of monetary value immediately goes into a fund in my home. This has enabled me to grow the initial gift from the universe of $1000 and I have attracted and given back at least two to three times this. The abundance just keeps going out to ... Read Full Story >>
On Sunday while I was having my own Father’s day celebration, I thought about my dad a lot. By the time I called to tell him that I loved him, he had already gone to bed. I was bumbed out a bit because of missing him so I thought I would write a little post about what my dad means to me. My dad is that absolute most kindest man in the world. He would never hurt anyone intentionally and would give the shirt off his back in an instant. This made me reflect on a story about 28 years ago. My dad was a used car salesman and owned his own car lot and body shop on several occasions. Every Thursday night, he would head off to Shreveport, LA to the auction. Most of the time, I drove a car over there for him so he could sell it at ... Read Full Story >>
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "Miss, how much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Okay then, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now, more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and left. When the waitress came back to that table, she began to ... Read Full Story >>
A couple weeks ago I was standing out on a cold evening in New York City waiting for a cab to come take me to a nightclub. After about 5 minutes of waiting, I was picked up by a middle-eastern gentleman in his 30's, and he was clearly angry. Swear words left and right about how horrible New Yorkers were. I knew my cab ride would only be about 10 minutes and there was a part of me that wanted to be silent and just move on with my life, but I also wanted to try and connect. I asked the man what the issue was, and after some beating around the bush, he told me that he had just come from JFK airport without a customer. For those that don't know, this is basically $70 in lost fare, which is a fairly big deal. I tried my best to commisserate ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of times a month I play a game in the Starbucks drive-through lane. When I get to the cashier I pay for my coffee and the coffee of the person in the car behind me. The configuration of the drive-through makes it easy to hear the car behind me call their order into the speaker phone so I don't risk paying for a dozen caramel macchiatos and a pound of Sumatra. You may be saying that it's not technically a "game"; it's more like a "stunt". Well the game part of it comes as I try to get away from the store and into traffic before the person with the free coffee can catch up to me and get a look at me. I want to stay anonymous and leave them guessing; I think it gives them a longer lasting impression. One time it was friend of mine but ... Read Full Story >>
Just before Christmas of 2007, almost exactly a year ago, I steered into a Starbucks drive-thru line for a cup of tea on my way to teach a morning tai chi lesson. There were a few cars in line, and I got in behind them. When my turn came I gave my order at the billboard menu and moved up as far as I could while waiting patiently for the cars in front of me to get through the cashier line. While the South Florida weather would probably would have felt tropical to much of the rest of the country, I was a bit chilled and was looking forward to my hot drink. The fellow in the SUV behind me reached the menu. Dissatisfied with the alignment between his mouth and the microphone, he laid on his horn, leaned out his window, yelled an insult and exhorted me to move up. ... Read Full Story >>
I got my bills for the month and you know what that usually feels like. I just first looked at them sitting on my counter and pretended they didn't exist. I left them sealed in the envelope, untouched and abandoned. Yet, I still mentally kept track of when they most likely were due, so I didn't incur a late fee and compound the problem. Today was the day I decided to pay my therapy bill since I was going to see my therapist. Instead of quickly scribbling down the check amount after analyzing the itemized break down of his billing rates to make sure there were no financial errors, I rushed out of my open front door into change. While I still was in a hurry to make it to my 6:00pm appointment in downtown Palo Alto, I was hurrying to reach something new… Inspired by the spirit of those Karma Kitchen cooks, ... Read Full Story >>
I read an article in my local paper a while ago, and it really stuck with me. There was a couple in my neighbourhood whose house had been badly damaged in a hail storm we had earlier in the year. I remember it well and so did my car, hailstones almost the size of baseballs. Anyway I read this article a few months after the storm that this couple didn't have insurance and they had just bought their first home, they had been saving for five years to get their home. They were a fairly young couple and unfortunately their home was badly damaged in the hail. They had most of their house damaged, not only by the hail but a tree outside their house had fallen and destroyed a a section of the house. They didn't have money to repair because all their money was going into just buying the place, and ... Read Full Story >>
I was shopping at the local department store and noticed this young man in his late 20's looking carefully for children's clothing and putting together really cute outfits to buy. This is a small store and when I went to the checkout counters, they were closed and the courtesy desk called me over there to check out. Wouldn't you know the young man was checking out there too. We were Side by Side and I could see and hear his conversation with the cashier. When the total appeared on the cash register he looked down and said I don't have enough money. He put back a shirt, and he was still short for money. Now, I myself, am not overflowing with money because my hubby is unemployed, but when I saw this guy putting back underwear and socks, I was heartbroken. Here he was trying to buy some nice clothing and needed items for ... Read Full Story >>
Twelve years ago yesterday, my mother gave birth to the most beautiful little girl. We were a broken family with little money. We were given the news that this little girl, who was three and a half months premature, would only have 14 days on this earth. It's hard to understand what kind of feeling you have when you find out that you're losing something that you don't even know. As time went on, the number of days kept growing, which gave us hope. When they said that we could take her home, that's when realization hit. We had no money. I am from a small town with small hospitals, but when you don't have money, you just don't have it. My mother tried for days to get the money, but came up pennyless each time. The case worker was even doing her best. It's sad that it almost felt like we ... Read Full Story >>
A young girl, Hattie, stood outside a small church from which she had been turned away because 'it was too crowded'. "I can't go to Sunday School," she said to the pastor as he walked by. The pastor carried the child inside and found a place for her to sit in the back. The next time the pastor met her he said "Hattie, we are going to have a larger Sunday school room soon. When we get the money with which to erect a school building we are going to construct one large enough to get all the little children in, and we are going to begin very soon to raise the money for it." The pastor did not see Hattie again, until he heard from her parents some two years later. Hattie had sadly died her parents called for the kind-hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the ... Read Full Story >>
August 19, 2009 -- LONDON (Reuters) - Visitors to London always have to be on the look out for pickpockets, but now there's another, more positive phenomenon on the loose -- putpockets. Aware that people are suffering in the economic crisis, 20 former pickpockets have turned over a new leaf and are now trawling London's tourist sites slipping money back into unsuspecting pockets. Anything from 5 pounds ($8) to 20 pound notes is being surreptitiously deposited in unguarded pockets or open handbags in Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and other busy spots. The initiative, which runs until the end of August in London before being rolled out countrywide, is being funded by a broadbrand provider, which says it wants to brighten up people's lives in unusual ways. "It feels good to give something back for a change -- and Britons certainly need it in the current economic climate," said Chris Fitch, a former pickpocket who ... Read Full Story >>
It’s been a number of years now, but I still remember it - I suppose I always shall. I was driving around downtown one afternoon in the winter making a few deliveries. I was listening to a band, rocking out, cruising around, and minding my own business… I came up to a red light and stopped… waited. As I looked over to my left, I saw a young guy, about my age at the time, standing there. He was a little scruffy, pale in the face, and holding a cardboard sign with some writing on it. Generally, I had always just glanced over these signs as I passed them, flicked over anything written on them, and then moved on… As with most major cities, I’m sure when you’re in the heart of downtown, it’s pretty common to have homeless people on every other corner, holding a cardboard sign with something standard written on ... Read Full Story >>
A few months ago I decided to take my daughter on a little fun weekend trip to Melbourne (Australia). We enjoyed a beautiful day at St Kilda beach and, after hours of walking around, decided to sit down on a bench near Lunar Park to have a little rest. We noticed a duffle bag behind a bush but there was no one around so we assumed it must have been stolen and dumped behind the bush. There were clothes, books, university documents and lots of other bits and pieces in the bag. We found a wallet with some cards and ID but no cash. The bag belonged to an 18-year-old girl. She had put a tag on her bag with her address and phone number on it, so I called to let the owner know I'd found her bag and arrange some way to return it to her. The girl's mother ... Read Full Story >>
I had an errand to do in Saltcoats today. I arrived early so I decided to go for a walk by the harbourside. It was pouring down with rain but I had my new waterproof jacket on so I didn't really mind. As I was walking along, I met someone who wasn't so lucky. He had swept back salt 'n' pepper hair, a bushy gray beard, sky blue eyes - and he was soaked through and through. "Could you do me a favour?" He held his hand out. "Probably not," I replied. Things had been tight financially and for the past fortnight I'd been telling my kids we can't do this and we can't afford that. "I've been trying to chase up the price of a beer," he continued. Well, I admired his honesty. If I'd been living on the street like he obviously had, a beer might have been important to me too. I ... Read Full Story >>
This weekend, a group of us were in Union Square, New York, watching Tylon and Macho, two contortionists and street dancers, put on a jaw dropping performance that included jumping over 7 people. At the end, the hundreds of people watching began putting money into their bucket.
One tiny little girl walks up with her mom, she couldn't have been more than 2 years old. Tylon, who grew up in the Harlem projects, reaches into his bucket, folds up a couple of dollar bills, and hands them to the little girl. Everyone who witnessed it was stunned and humbled by this pure act of giving. Our jaws dropped for a second time.
Inspired, my bro, Shrey, later pulled out several more bills and we snuck them into Tylon's bucket without him seeing. His small, simple act of giving will not be forgotten.
If you happen to be in New York, be sure to catch these do-gooders Thurs-Sun evenings in Union Square, across from the Whole Foods!
I had asked my 22 year old son to bring home some milk from the grocery store where he works as a supervisor.
I saw him sitting on the grass at my local strip mall. His hair was matted, his clothes were dirty, and he was talking but I don’t know who to because there was no one near him. People passed by but they didn't seem to see him and they didn't seem to care. The day was sunny and warm, perhaps they were all busy taking in the beauty in that the day had to give. But I saw him. His name was David. As I watched him, he moved my heart a little. I felt a little of his loneliness and isolation. I wanted to reach out to him, to make it a little better. I went into the nearby grocery store and bought him a cold drink and a sandwich and got some extra cash from the ATM. I then drove back to where this lonely soul was resting, on the grass, ... Read Full Story >>
Anymore, it seems like all we ever hear about are the horrible things people do to others. I can't even turn on the news at night (we get Kansas City, Mo. news) without hearing of at least 3 people who were shot and killed plus numerous other acts of violence. Also, with families everywhere pinching pennies everywhere they can, not everyone is feeling as generous as they normally would be. But I found out that even in tough times, people can do simple things that might greatly improve a stranger's day. Not long ago, I was having one of those end of the week, everything fall apart, rotten days. I had a hard day at work, my week didn't go well and problems just kept popping up everywhere. Things broke or quit, unexpected bills came in and I was struggling to keep from loosing my cool from all the stress. Then ... Read Full Story >>
I hear some actors keep a sad thought or memory tucked away to help them with scenes where they might need to cry. I think we should each try to find the opposite; a happy memory, something to lift us up on those inevitable down days. I’m saying this because I think I just found mine! I had some work in Glasgow today. I was on a really tight schedule, which meant I would have no time for myself (or my own work) all day. I was having one of those days, the train was completely packed out and the conversation going on around me seemed to be particularly inane. On top of all that, I had a bit of a headache. Walking briskly across the concourse, I fished some change from my pocket. There was usually someone at the exit selling The Big Issue (a magazine that helps homeless folk earn ... Read Full Story >>
Lately I had started to question why I still would readily help someone, since recently my attempts at generosity usually turned around to end up hurting me. However, this concern recently vanished thanks to a very kind person. Last week, I was winding down a long day of train-hopping and dragging a few huge suitcases around with me to get home from visiting a friend's house. I was rather peeved that I had to sit at the station for 4 hours for a bus that left at 10 p.m. While I was sitting there tired and frazzled, a woman asked me if I had some change that she could have for a ticket. Without thinking, I said, "Oh sure! How much do you need?" and then mentally kicked myself. But I reached for my that I had buried in one of my bags anyways and fished out a $5 bill. When I ... Read Full Story >>
REDWOOD CITY, CA - Imagine this: on Aug 11 shopper Jenni Ware gets 207 dollars of groceries at Trader Joe’s and realizes only at the checkout line that she has lost her wallet. Carolee Hazard, in line behind the distressed woman, graciously offers to cover the tab! Jenni goes home and sends Carolee a check for 300 dollars, and suggests that her benefactress treat herself to a massage with the leftover cash. Carolee turned to her online Facebook community for advice on what they thought she should do with the 93 dollar gift. The idea Carolee choose was to donate the surplus to a local food bank. Carolee not only sent in the money that Jenni had given her to Second Harvest Food Bank, but matched that amount herself. So did a Facebook friend. And another. And another. Kids have pitched in 93 cents. And since the story has been on Facebook’s ... Read Full Story >>
It had been a long time since I had been to Jacksonville, Florida. I had driven to town hoping to see the old barber shop where my hair had been cut as a child. The orphanage would bring us kids downtown for a free haircut by the new barbers being trained. As I wondered around, I was a little disappointed when I saw the old buildings that I had known as a young boy were now gone. Every one of them had been replaced with new high-rise buildings. As it was very early and hardly anyone was on the street, I parked my truck and decided to try and locate a telephone to see if the Florida Barber College had moved to a new location. Hopefully it was sill in business. As it was rather cold, I put on my coat and began searching for a telephone. After walking about a ... Read Full Story >>
Last Sunday, a woman told me that she felt led to give me twenty dollars. She wanted me to use the money for whatever I needed. I tried not to take it, but she insisted and so I took it and thanked her. I didn't need the money, but I knew there must be a reason for her giving it to me. The next day, Monday, I went to work. A different woman was walking by the store I worked at. She was limping, and didn't look to be very well. I knew her and called out, asking her how she was doing. She responded with her sad situation. Her husband had died recently, she had to quit her job because of her health, and on top of that, she wasn't drawing her disability benefits as yet. I told her the story about the $20, and asked her if she would ... Read Full Story >>
After an inspired weekend with some kindred spirits, I stepped into the airport shuttle. The shuttle driver offered me two seat options: the shot-gun seat or the seat way in the back of the van. I said, "You know what, I'm going to take the back seat. Perhaps the next passenger can enjoy the front seat." Instantly, he did a double take and smiled. As I got in, he made a public announcement to the four others already in the van: "This man took the back seat just so someone else could have the front. What a nice guy!" Then, he looked at me and said, "Welcome aboard, Sir." It turns out that John, our driver, has been a long-time native to Santa Fe. His ancestors, dating back to 1800s, were all based in the Native American communities locally. "Yeah, I could tell you anything about Santa Fe," he joked ... Read Full Story >>
One Year for Christmas, my brother Chris and and his wife Julie gave each of us siblings a very thoughtful gift. Inspired by the book: "The Christmas Jar", by Jason F. Wright, they gave each sibling's family an empty quart size Mason Jar. A slot was cut in the plastic lid, and inside were a number of stickers and ribbons to decorate the jar with. In the book: The Christmas Jar, Hope Jensen, in a moment of great grief and monetary loss, is anonymously gifted a small jar of Money. Moved, humbled, and transformed by this gift, her own faith in humanity is resurrected, as she searches for and ultimately finds the donors. When we opened the package from my brother, inside, along with the jar and a copy of the book, was a note which read: " In honor of the spirit of giving we were taught by Mama Rose and Papa ... Read Full Story >>