At Manav Sadhna, a non-profit organization in India, it’s a common site to see people come in asking to see Jayeshbhai (one of the Founders). One day, I was milling around when I saw an elderly man come in using a walking stick. It was obvious that the man was blind and as I went to him to offer my assistance, I found out that he was blind in both eyes. The man’s sons did not take care of the man, so he lived with his brother’s sons. Everything was fine at home, but the man did not want to be a financial burden on others. He wanted to support himself through his own sweat and effort. He could do the rope work for wooden bed frames and knew such a business in Palitana would do well. In order to start this business however, ... Read Full Story >>
We live in a small flat in Ranip (in India). While all the families in the society live in flats, many families’ economic prosperity is not much better than many living in slum. One such family lives behind us. A couple lives with their son and the husband’s brother and mother in a small inherited two room flat, that is 8 feet by 15 feet in size. The entire household subsists on the daily wages of the daily wages the male earns from doing labor work (20 – 50 rupees/day). During Diwali, like all the other families, the wife was cleaning the home. Since they did not own a table, she stood on a tin box to clean the fan. Losing her balance, the tin slipped from underneath her and she fell on the back of head and had a brain hemorrhage. ... Read Full Story >>
Hello. I'd like to share a bit of kindness and the use of the Smile Cards my son who is 12 got to witness and be part of.
My son and I went out to eat and there was this table of older ladies (like their once a month get together--they must have been into their
70's or more and dressed up) next to us. Well, when my son and I were leaving, I decided to do something good. I told the guy at the counter that I wanted to pay for those ladies meals. He looked at me funny. Asked me if I knew them. Nope--I certainly don't. He looked at me again, asked again and again I said nope. Don't tell them I'm doing this, just give them this "smile" card.
He said "not so many people so generous now a days" So, I paid for their meals (a whopping 20 bucks) and me and my son left.Then he asked me to see the card we left--and he wants some.
My sister is on the other side of the world. I'm volunteerting in India while she's at home in Canada. While I can't be there physically to celebrate her birthday, I wanted to spread some love to mark the day. I set off to the market to get ingredients for cookies when I saw an old man carrying a long rod with a weight on one end and a large tray holding food which he was selling on the other hand. Perfect! I went up to the man and took the rod off his shoulder and walked with him for the next half kilometer, talking to him and his grandson who appeared after a few minutes. The grandfather and boy are the only regular income generators in the family. The boy and granddad go out after the boy gets back from school. After walking and talking to the wonderful pair, as I left ... Read Full Story >>
My SMILE cards came in the mail last night. YAY! And I have been so excited to use them!
I read a story about taping a card with the right change on a vending machine and I thought i'd try it out...
I sat at my desk and tried to secretly get my card and money ready, but people kept coming in and I wanted to keep it anonymous so I had to keep hiding my card and money. I felt like i was a spy on a secret mission!!!
I finally got it done and went to the kitchen, which had around 10 people in it. So I had to stay and drink about 4 cups of water until no one was there!!! So funny!!! (at least I am hydrated!).
I stuck the card on with the money and ran out as quickly as I could... my heart beating so so so fast!!! I never thought being secretly kind could produce this kind of adrenaline!!!
I will go and check on it soon... I hope someone has been blessed and feels as good as I do now!!!
What people appreciate the most is the people. That’s what we learn at the annual "Walk for Hope" each year. Sure the quotes are great. This year they were even hand made and literally took over three months to create. The activity stations are great too, they give the walkers a chance to pause, interact and reflect. But year after year, people always say that the best part of the walk is interacting with all the people that are there. What a concept, just your mere presence becomes a gift at the walk for hope. Just by choosing to walk, you are giving a gift to another walker. The people that come to the Walk are pretty unique I would agree. They participate in both the moments of silence and the warm-up exercises by the Laker Girls. They wish to make the ... Read Full Story >>
It's a late night on the streets of New York. Larger-than-life size billboards come alive with their glitz, trying to make you want things that you don't really need. Up ahead, I notice a homeless man who doesn't have the things he really does need. Ironic. "Gift size chocolate bar, one dollar, one dollar," he says while showing a candy bar to people walking by. He's rejected. "Just one dollar." Rejected again. "Candy bar, candy bar for you," he shows it to a child walking with her mom. The mom jerks her kid away and moved further. They say that homeless are used to taking rejections, but seeing the charades ahead of me, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. As I stand next to him, shoulder to shoulder, I pause to see if he will try to sell me ... Read Full Story >>
Saturday I was with my 8 year old son and we were in Boston at the Boston Commans. There was a manyelling out "spare change." He was a homeless man.
My son said, "Dad can I give him a dollar and one of your smile cards." I said you sure can Jared. I been teaching my son to be very loving and caring. So when the homeless man took the dollar and the smile card he said to Jared, "this is the best spare change I ever got because you made me smile with this nice card thank you so much. Have a nice day." And then he turned
as he was walking away and said, "keep smiling."
I looked at Jared and he looked at me and we were both smiling together and Jared said dad I feel so good that I made that poor man smile and I told him me too honey and I am very proud of you. Then Jared gave me a big hug and said,
"I love you dad." So the thing I loved the most out of this story is from one smile card we ended up getting three smiles the homeless man, Jared, and me John.
Thank you so much SmileGroups have a wonderful day from your loving and caring Jared and John.
Last week, my friend was leafing through a bunch of clothes when he found a crumpled up note. Right then, he turns to me and says, "I don't know what amount this is, but it's yours. Pay it forward, leave 'em a smile card and lots to smile about." That bills ends up being a ten-dollar bill. All week I've been wondering what to do. Saturday morning rolled around and I had to drop off a couple of bags of clothes at Goodwill. I had been to this particular Goodwill store before and as I'm driving, my mind wandered to the people working at the store. There is a large room at the back of the store for dropping off items and there are always people in the room sorting through the dozens of bags left for donations. I thought to myself, that's not the most ... Read Full Story >>
I knew my neighbor and her husband had recently separated and she was struggling. She hadn't shared with me her struggles, but I just knew it couldn't be easy money wise as they had 4 children, one being blind, and they were struggling financially before the separation. She had not been working before they separated as her youngest child was blind and not yet in school. It was summer time and school was about to start. As I was shopping for items for my granddaughters, I began thinking about her children and how she would be able to get them items they needed that year. I went to the store and bought a gift card and sent it anonymously to her address. When I checked my mail a couple of days later, I saw her down the street as she checked hers and opened the envelope. I couldn't tell her reaction because of the distance between our ... Read Full Story >>
I was in line at the grocery store yesterday and the lady in front of me was purchasing her items and buying a treat for her grand-daughter - a bag of mini M&M's.My 3-year-old daughter started clamoring for the same thing. I only had a little bit of money with me as payday wasn't until hubby came home that night, and I tried to tell her that we couldn't get it this time, that mommy didn't have enough money.
She was fussy about it but I finally calmed her down.
Then as I started to ring up my purchases, the cashier passes me a bag of M&M's. I asked her what this was about. She said the lady in front of me bought it for my daugher while I was trying to calm her down. I didn't notice and I didn't even get to thank her because she had left while I wasn't looking.
If you're somewhere reading on this board - I say Thank You! My daughter smiled all the way home!!Since I now had one of the smile cards, I thought I better come to this site and see what it was all about.
What a great concept by the way!!
That's my story - not the grandest thing I suppose but it made my day a whole lot brighter that's for sure.
I was renewing my library card the other day, and overheard the transaction of the user being assisted by the adjacent clerk. If not outright homeless(he carried with him two large bags of possessions), the scruffy man was clearly going through an extremely hard time. It seems that he was unable to check out a book because he had an outstanding $3.00 fine on some books he had turned-back late. He told the clerk there was no possible way for him to pay the fine. I reached over and slipped the man three dollars. He paid his fine and thanked me profusely: "I don't know how I could make it through a night on the street without my science fiction." That is not the story. Here's the story. As he was getting up to leave, I was in the process of fishing through my wallet for a photo ... Read Full Story >>
Today I went to the city, having a bunch of appointments all over town. In my front coat pocket, I put 20 single dolar bills, a $20, a $10 & a $5, all folded separately and mixed up. Everytime anyone asked me for help, money, a donation to their cause, I would reach in my pocket and hand them whatever bill I touched first, not even looking myself.
New York is a big, needy city, and by the end of the day as I headed to the train I felt in my pocket that there was only one bill left. I had to look and sure enough, it was the twenty. One block from the station, a woman was standing on a corner asking: "does anyone have anything to eat? Does anyone have any leftover food I could have?" Without hesitation, I gave her the last bill and rushed off to my train, but not before I heard her stunned words "Oh My God! Thank you, thank you, thank you...."
This year, my family applied for Christmas Assistance from the Salvation Army. I'm a single mom and have not been able to work. Dad's a bit of a non-entity and was fired earlier in the year so times have been really tough. My son has been in and out of the hospital for six years with severe kidney disease. He is 8 years old and his brother is 7. My sons know we have money troubles, but not the mass extent of it. They have and will always be provided for as I have a very loving and supporting set of parents. We were at Meijer and I was stressing about grocery money, and gas money and the holidays coming up. Meanwhile, my 8-year-old sees the Salvation Army guy, and it's really cold and he asks if we can give him some change. My son walks over and gives the guy a dollar, and my ... Read Full Story >>
I was headed to the UMW womens basketball game yesterday, and I saw an older man, maybe 65, sitting next to a stop sign on William Street at the intersection of Route One and William Street. He was sitting down wearing tattered clothes, and an oversized jacket. A homeless man holding a sign that said: "Hold care in your hearts Thanks very much And God Bless!" I parked my car in the Goolrick Gymnasium parking lot and walked up to the old man and asked "How are you doing?" He looked at me suprised, like I was going to injure him, kind of caught up in words he just said "I am fine, just making a living." Embarrassed, he said "I live on the streets." The one thing that suprised me was that he never asked me for anything, no money or food, seeing that he was homeless was given he even told me so. Even his sign didn't ask for ... Read Full Story >>
I was having a rough morning and had to go in to work, it was one of those days where everything seems to go wrong. I was waiting in a long line up for my coffee and I wondered how many other people were having rough mornings like mine.
I decided to try and do something nice to help change my mood so I paid for the order for the car behind me. It was the best $5 I have ever spent. I have no idea how the people behind me reacted but it made me feel great. I hope I was able to put a smile on someone else's face because this simple act sure did put a smile on mine. I finished my day by dropping off two bags full of toys and clothes at the womens shelter in my area. My day went from bad to great. Thank you for your website and all its great tips!!
My mother and grandmother were incredibly generous, giving, and loving people. I think that love and giving go hand in hand.
I remember when I was a little girl there were children over playing at my house. We were out in the yard and there used to be ice cream trucks and their bell would be ringing, calling in the children everywhere, the ice cream man is here! I went running back in the house. I guess ice cream was probably about a nickel, and there were fifteen children on my front porch. There were always a lot of children around there.
My grandmother would give everybody a nickel to go buy ice cream, and if she did not have enough nickels for all the children, then I didn’t get an ice cream either.
Louise M. Davies was the principal donor for the building of the very beautiful symphony hall in San Francisco. It’s named for her. A newspaper story, just after the building was inaugurated, quoted her response to an interviewer’s question: ‘Why did you give this gift of six million dollars?’ She was said to have replied, ‘Because I had it.’
Her answer was wonderful. It was so uncomplicated. It was stating the obvious. And although she could have offered an opinion (‘San Francisco needs a symphony hall with modern acoustics’) or a personal reflection (‘I’ve always loved music. It’s important to me’), she didn’t do that either. She just said, ‘I had it.’
Not feeling needy is what allows generosity to happen, but it doesn’t obligate it to happen. The impulse to do something has to be present. Recognizing the possibility of creating delight or of alleviating suffering are both sources of that impulse. Both are responses to people other than ourselves. Both provide pleasure.
Once a year, I give my two children money. The only hitch is, they have to give it away. I give them each $100. They know it is a lot of money, so they are careful how they use it. It is their job to find out who in our community is doing things that they feel good about, and then decide who will get the money, and why. Giving away money, even if it is only ten or twenty dollars, is a tremendous way to learn about the positive work people are doing right in your own neighborhood. It makes us get out of our comfort zone, ask around, talk to people we wouldn’t normally talk to, and ask questions about what the problems are and what people are doing to make them better. Everyone wins. My kids learn about the community, about the power of giving, and people in ... Read Full Story >>
Many years ago my observant 7 year old was in our car on her way to school. This particular day we drove by many displaced/homeless people who were asking for help. She asked why the same people were asking for help everyday and why no one was helping. I really did not have an uncomplicated answer to this question. So I decided to ask her how she thought she could help. This beautiful little girl had so many ideas flowing out of her I couldn't keep up. There were a few good ideas flying past me just as the time did that morning. The next day on the morning trip to school my daughter asked me to stop at each corner where a homeless person stood. I asked why but was quickly informed to wait and see. Stop #1 - I rolled down my widow and asked the gentleman to come ... Read Full Story >>
A bunch of us carpooled in a van to go to the holiday prayer at the convention center and the celebrations afterwards.
After visiting for hours, we were on our way home late that evening. (We live about an hour away from where we were going.) Before we dropped off someone, we noticed he didn't have enough money for the bus. He only needed 50 cents, so he kindly asked if anyone could spare some change.
While everyone looked in their wallets, I remembered I had 5 dollars in my purse I was saving for coffee. I wanted to help, so I gave him all 5 dollars. And it made me happier than coffee does. :)
Late Saturday morning, the local IHOP restaurant was a zoo. Our middle-aged waiter stood out in a sea of young co-workers. He made a passing comment that he had been at it for five hours already - and so I observed him for the rest of the meal.
He was a veritable Whirling Dervish, a blur of motion, carrying heavy, hot platters, stacks and stacks of plates, remembering my request for this or that.
As we were leaving, I went up to him and said, "You know what? I think you should have a nice day" and slipped him a tip that exceeded the cost of our meal. When he unfolded the denomination to see what it was, he smiled and said, "This will help!"
Hats off to all of the minimum-wage wait-staff out there -- hard, hard work for little money - I admire your work ethic!
I was just starting my duty for the evening shift of driving a cab. As I pulled into a service station to get gas, I waved at the people, a local musical duet, who were pulling off. When I got ready to gas up, the pump would not work. I went into the store to figure out why and they said that the person ahead of me drove off without paying. "Oh no, I know them, they would not knowingly do that.". The clerk told me that she would reset the pump for me but asked me if I would just give them the names of the people that drove off so she could make a police report. I asked how much was their gas bill, she said it was $10. I gave her a twenty and said that I want $10 in gas for myself and pay the other tab ... Read Full Story >>
When I was working as a waitress at a small resturant by the highway, an older gentlemen came in to purchase a cup of coffee. I recognized him because he was the gentleman who lived under the bridge that was just down the street.
When he came in, he placed a crumpled dollar on the counter and asked if that was enough. I told him it was plenty, went to get his coffee and handed him a menu at the same time. He looked at me confused and I told him to order what he wanted.
After his meal and a to-go bag with a fresh cup of coffee, he smiled and left. But as I was cleaning up his place, I noticed the crumpled dollar on the counter.
I stood there and cried because I knew this was probably all he had.
I placed the crumpled one in my apron and pulled out a ten; I asked a friend to catch up with him and give him something from me. I never saw him again but his smile stays with me even today.
While getting a couple of things at a local gas station, I noticed a girl walk in and pay for her gas. She caught my attention with her very very green hair. I remembered 10 years ago when I dyed my hair purple ... and loved it!! She apologized for the cashier having to count her change as she put down a handful of pennies and a couple of nickels. She said "Believe it or not, this is suppost to get me home" At that time I was getting my change back from my purchase ($2.00) and not having anything else to give her, I gave her my last two dollars, knowing I wouldn't need them. Plus I had a full tank of gas ... and I had been where she was. She looked at me with such a surprised look on her face. She thanked me and you could tell ... Read Full Story >>
V.P. Menon was a significant political figure in India during its struggles for independence from Britain. Eldest son of twelve children, he quit school at thirteen and worked as a laborer, coal miner, factory hand, merchant, and schoolteacher. He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration, and his rise was meteoric-- largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way. (...) Two characteristics stood out as particularly memorable -- a kind of aloof, impersonal efficiency, and a reputation for personal charity. His daughter explained the background of this latter trait after he died. When Menon arrived in Delhi to seek a job in government, all his possessions, including his money and I.D., were stolen at the railroad station. He would have to return home on foot, defeated. In desperation he turned to ... Read Full Story >>
Several years ago, while on the job, I heard one of my co-workers saying that even after we would get our paycheck on that Friday, she would not have enough money left to buy groceries for her two boys and herself. (Like me, she was a single mom at the time.)
When we got our paychecks that Friday, I counted up all my bills and had $30 left for my two children and myself, to last till the next week's paycheck. God told me to give her $20 of my $30, but a part of me worried, "What will I do for my two children?" Well, I listened to my inner voice and placed a $20 bill in an envelope, sealed it and put it in her van driver's seat, without her knowing it (to this day, she still doesn't know where it came from!).
About two years later, I needed money "very badly" and had been praying for the Lord's help and when I went out to my car one day, there was an envelope in the driver's seat of my car. It had $50!
God is faithful to those who take the time to listen to that subtle voice inside us.
Some years back when I was growing up, we had a young couple who were our neighbours. They had five children and were a fairly established couple, with a car and other amenities. Since we were neighbours, their children were like my brothers and sisters. I must say they lived a good life; their parents took them to better schools than us. In 1988, though, their father passed away. Two years later, their mother died too. All of a sudden, the children became orphans. Some greedy relatives husttled the car and other valuables and the children became destitutes. They moved out of the neighbourhood and went to stay with their grandmother in the village. Fifteen years later (early this year), I ran into one of the boys. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Somehow the boy remembered me and then we remembered the "good old days" as neighbors. By the time I ... Read Full Story >>
I have this college friend, Eric. One thing used and still does always intrigue me about him is how he deals with the poor. We have a lot of poor homeless people that come walking around our neighborhood day in and day out, either collecting stuff from our trash to recycle or physically coming to the door to ask for anything. Walking to and from class you pass by at least 4-5 of them daily. Most of the time, the constant rush against time makes me pass by them without noticing, but Eric would always take the second (even if he's in the middle of an important conversation!) to take out his wallet and give him/her a dollar. This may not seem like a big deal, because most students are USC have a dollar to give away. Sure, Eric also isn't dead broke, but like all of us film school ... Read Full Story >>
I started walking from school to our house when I was in 4th grade. By that time, my allowance was just 10 pesos (about 2 dimes) -- just enough for a tricycle fare (which is 5 pesos).
After I crossed the highway one very hot noon, I saw a very thin man, with a can beside him for alms. Just ten steps after him was the stand where ice cream was sold for 5 pesos.
My heart was struck but my mind wanted ice cream.
I stopped to think for a while. "If I buy an ice cream and give the man my fare, he won't be able to by anything that could satisfy his hunger. But if I let down my cravings and give him my ten pesos, he can buy rice and put some soy sauce to taste."
I don't know why but I didn't want anyone to see me do my kind act, so I dropped the coin silently and ran to my house with a smile.
I will not forget that moment forever, that feeling that lifted my heart. ^___^