I want to say thanks to all of you for your special notes and ideas, after I sent my request for 'gifting acts of kindness ideas' for my nephew's birthday last month. I was excited to hear from some of you with suggestions. Pancho suggested that I give him my attention -- as the greatest gift one human being can give another -- yes! Nipun helped out by sharing his own story, and got me thinking further about how I could do a kindness tag, Idaho style. I gave that kid some super-duper hugs, not to mention every bit of attention I could muster, and a good dose of kindness stories, to boot. There is a long story with great sidenotes that goes with the birthday adventure story, but the short story is as follows: I gave my nephew twenty bucks for his birthday, with the condition that he use it to do something kind for someone ... 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 >>
Last week I was in the store getting my weekly groceries. As I shopped I noticed one couple in particular. Our paths seemed to cross in a few aisles. Once, my cart got in their way and the woman was surprisingly annoyed. As I walked on through the store I couldn't help but wonder why she had been so upset with me. That same couple ended up ahead of me in the check-out queue. I could tell they were adding up the price of their groceries very carefully. They kept checking to see if they had gone over their price limit, which was quite low for a couple with a small baby. Once they had got to their limit and had to return some of the groceries I realized it probably wasn't me the woman was upset with. Buying groceries for her family on such a strict budget was probably stressing her out. I ran out to ... Read Full Story >>
It was my birthday so my wife, my brother and my child treated ourselves to dinner in a restaurant that we had never been to before. As we walked back to our car a very thin man approached my brother saying he hadn't eaten in a while and asking for money. Usually my wife and I treat such requests with suspicion but my brother took a different approach and he started talking with the man. The man said he was a singer and had come to Dubai from Pakistan to find work. His visa was expiring in three or four days. He had no friends here, couldn't land a singing job, and was surviving hand to mouth. He had a return ticket that had to be confirmed. To do this he needed 70 Dirhams. My brother gave him 20 Dirhams for food and asked the man to give him a call from the airline's ticket office the next day. He also ... Read Full Story >>
We homeschool our children so we sometimes have the flexibility of adjusting our schedule to fit in special things. Today, as part of our 'Kindness Klub' we decided we would head out for an afternoon of giving back. Each of my kids chose from a list of kind things that they wanted to do. I ran down to the local store, picked up a few potted flowers and attached Smile Cards. We then put a few dollars in a plastic bag with a Smile Card. Before we set off on our mission, we read a verse from the Bible about kindness and said a prayer that our efforts would be well-received and help brighten someone's day! First, we stopped off at the local bus stop. We taped the plastic bag to a post inside the bus stop and quickly left ;) Second, my 10 year old daughter said she had seen a house she wanted to drop her flowers off at. She directed me to it. ... 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 >>
Yesterday I was asked to deposit some cash in the bank. I went out with the money to deposit and some extra money which was to be used to pay for renovations going on at my house. The bank was busy when I arrived so I took a token and waited. While I was waiting I noticed an old lady struggling to get a cash-in payee slip. I went over and got the slip for her and then asked her what she needed done so I could help her. I filled in her slip and got a queue token for her. When my turn came up, I deposited the money and I then waited for the old lady's turn in case she needed help. She had intended to deposit three thousand rupees but when it was almost her turn she realised she had lost the money on the way to the bank! She was so upset she started crying. She tried to ... Read Full Story >>
I was heading to my writing group yesterday. Standing at the bus stop I decided to run back for a book to read on the journey. (Something I don't normally do.) While waiting for the bus, I flicked through the pages and found my place. Because it was an old book I didn't want to "dog-ear" the pages, so I searched in my pockets for something to use as a bookmark. All I had was a couple of ten pound notes, so I carefully folded one of them and slipped it between the pages. Sitting on the bus I took the book out and was about to read but and I was distracted a young woman behind me who was speaking on her cell phone. She was talking to her brother. She wanted to know where he was, why he wasn't where he was supposed to be, why he had lied to their mother again and ... Read Full Story >>
I was getting out of my car at my local supermarket one night and a woman with a backpack approached me asking for money. I offered to buy her a sandwhich and she told me that she had a partner as well. I said I would buy him a sandwich too. On the way into the store she told me she was an alcoholic and I offered a suggestion about an nearby AA meeting. She said she had been clean and sober for years but then had an injury in which she she was put on pain relievers and then turned back to alcohol. I was compassionate and told her to return to AA if she could - she would find support there. She thanked me and seemed very grateful then looked straight at me and said she didn't need anything to eat, she just needed a dollar for a beer and understood that I ... 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 >>
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 >>
I just received my first random act of kindness and it has left me feeling really overwhelmed. Just last night my husband and I sat down to discuss our finances. Since his divorce 5 years ago and my job loss 18 months ago things have been going steadily down hill. We are living on overdraft, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and we came to the sad conclusion that we will have to sell his prized 52 Chev pick-up truck which has been in the family for 55 years! He restored it from scratch 10 years ago. Feeling depressed today, I decided to go to the local mall for a coffee, as I was leaving I noticed what looked like a $20 bill folded up beside the pay phone. Wrapped up inside was a smile card! I could not believe this was happening to me at this point in time and simply had to come home and ... 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 >>
Since my husband has been hospital for quite a while I have learned to make do with very little. On Sunday I went to our church and someone there said to me, "I know you must be having a tough time." I just smiled and said, "I'm okay. I have two dollars and I have food at home, so I'll be fine." I always think that what I have is what I have and it is up to me to make the most of it. Anyway, then she said, "Can I borrow your Bible? I need to look up a verse." I said, "Okay." Just then someone called me. "I'll be right back," I said to the woman. When I returned she thanked me and returned my Bible. On my way home my friend who was driving said, "I thought you told me you didn't have any money?" I replied, "I don't." She said, "Oh yes ... Read Full Story >>
When I lived in Portland, I lived pretty much hand to mouth. I had injured my knee and couldn't work and my tiny early retirement check paid rent only. I was on food stamps so I could eat, and getting around on crutches made bus travel challenging. But it was my only recourse as my car had so many repairs needed, I couldn't afford to have it fixed. Curiously, I would find money all the time, so I started a FOUND MONEY jar. It was the biggest jar I could find (a Mason quart jar), because I was always finding coins on the street or in theaters or in seats. When I would come home with coins I had found, in they would go. One time I found a $5 bill in my garden by my apartment. It was the biggest bill I ever found, and it lived in the jar ... Read Full Story >>
My brother and I were shopping at a department store one day. My mother had taken him home separately and had returned to get me. As we were walking towards the car, I saw a homeless man sitting outside the department store we were shopping at.
I told my mom to hold on a minute. I walked towards the man, and handed him a twenty dollar bill. I usually wouldn't do this, but I knew that I had to this time. When I handed it to him, a tear ran down his eyes, as he said "God bless you".
When I returned to the car my mom told me she was so proud. I asked her why and said that I felt that when people need help, and we have the urge to help, we need to just help them. She then told me that my brother, who she had taken home earlier, did the exact same thing.
By James David Mancini February 2011 I remember as a young boy I was living in a poor suburban neighborhood as a foster child. Lost in the system of child services and forced to spend lots of time alone. I would often wander the different neighborhoods on my own and offer to help rake a yard, mow a lawn, or wash some walls in exchange for some pocket money just to buy some school clothes or candy. I will never forget this one time I knocked on the door of this elderly woman and asked if she needed her leaves raked in the yard. She asked why I was not in school and I showed her my torn pants and the soles of my shoes, which were worn and no longer keeping my feet warm and protected. She allowed me to work in the yard for pretty much that entire day, feeding ... Read Full Story >>
I recently posted a story about a local man in a difficult situation, and how his plight had inspired my children to help. I posted a follow on story about how my children started a fundraiser (making angels) to help out a local man and his family. The man is out in all kinds of weather, holding a sign that reads, "Will work for food for family." We don't see stuff like that in our area much and he touched my children's hearts and they raised $100.00 for this family. This story is the final instalment. Yesterday my husband and I took the kids to give the man the money they had raised for him. My husband called him over to the car, and I got out to explain who we were and tell him about the fundraiser. He was very soft spoken, rather young, and extremely respectful. We talked about how hard times are right now, ... Read Full Story >>
I started a Really Really Free Market in my town as a way to bring the community together. A Really Really Free Market is like a cross between a farmer's market and a garage/yard sale, except everything is free! People show up with stuff to give away and take what they need from other people's abundance. It took a little while to catch on but now it seems fairly busy and I am trying to make it bigger and more fun so that more people have access to the wonder that is giving without expectation of reward and receiving without being judged. It runs once a month on a Saturday afternoon and there are clothes, books, plants, biscuits, pasta, fruit, furniture, ornaments - and lots of other stuff. The kids all play together (it's at a park) and sometimes one family brings playdough, beads and colouring-in pictures for the children to play with. I ... Read Full Story >>
When I was about 6 years old I lived in Kenya. There was a lot of poverty and there were always street children on the roads asking for money. There was such a big divide between those children and me and I grew up very aware of being so fortunate. We had a wonderful and very kind driver, John, who had been working with my family for decades. He used to take us to and from school. One day we had to take a detour on the way to school and whilst we were stopped in traffic a young street child, probably no more than 10 years old, called out with a friendly greeting. “Jambo, John!” He approached the car and shook John’s hand. John then gave him a little bit of money and waved him off with a smile before we carried on our way to school. I had watched the whole ... Read Full Story >>
I was twenty-four years old and three months pregnant when my husband died. I was a widow and an expectant mother in the same day. We had bought a new home and I had filled our two bedroom apartment with nursery items in anticipation of moving in. Now the house would be taken away. I knew I would have to go back to my parents' home, at least until I delivered the baby. And the shock of my husband's sudden death had made losing the baby a very real possibility. I moved back into my old bedroom. My twin bed, a crib and a dresser was all that could fit in the 8 x 10 foot bedroom. The rest of our furniture had to go into storage. I was able to pay for three months worth of storage and then I would have to sell all the new furniture we had bought for ... Read Full Story >>
About two weeks ago I saw a very sad, blue eyed, homeless man sitting outside my local coffee house. I said, "Hi. How are you doing today?" He seemed shocked that I was talking to him. "Not very well," he replied. He proceeded to tell me how he had been hit by a car while riding his bike. He had been in the hospital for a month and a rest home for another month. During that time the person that paid for his SSI checks died of a heart attack and his wallet was stolen with all his IDs. He had several checks waiting for him but had no ID and therefore no access to his money. I decided that if this was all true I'd like to help him get a copy of his birth certificate and social security card. I asked him to meet me at the Department of Vital ... Read Full Story >>
My father and I started our morning by darting into the local grocery store. I waited on line at the Starbucks counter while he shopped around to pick up a few things. As I was standing there I became aware of an elderly woman, hair disheveled, wearing layers upon layers of old torn clothing, hunched behind me in line. She had a few toiletries and seemed to want the Starbucks cashier to ring up since that queue was shorter than the grocery store queues were. At some point I became aware of her edging closer behind me - closer than I was comfortable with! I instinctively placed a hand over my purse and drew it closer to me. My fear and imagination raced creating wild stories about this homeless woman who might try to steal from me. Then it was my turn to order. As the barista rang up my total I discovered I ... Read Full Story >>
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.
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 >>
Coming home after a work's evening out I lost my purse. I guessed it had fallen out my bag as I was being dropped off. While it was probably very close to my house I couldn't find it and had to cancel my debit cards, etc. I'd had the purse for ten years as it was a Christmas present. It was a bright, red leather, Cheeky Monkey purse, so probably not very grown up for a 36 year old but I was very upset to have lost him! Everyone I spoke to said I might get the purse back eventually but the money and vouchers in there would very likely disappear. I had therefore written off the contents of the purse and was even considering whether to move on and go "grown-up" when I was seeking a replacement. I came home late the next night and my monkey purse was on my mat! ... Read Full Story >>