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. ^___^
He almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson." Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old ... Read Full Story >>
Everyday I walk down the mall to get a cup of cappuccino, and every day I get hit up for spare change. Every day. The panhandlers all have these wonderful stories but you never know what to believe. After a while it gets to be an irritation, and then I find myself getting upset that I'm so irritated over what is really just spare change.
One day this person came up to me and said, "I just ran out of gas. My car is about six blocks away from here, I have two kids in the car and I'm just trying to get back home."
I said to myself, "Here we go again," but for some reason I gave him $10. Then I went on and got my cappuccino. As I was walking back to my office, I again saw the man standing by his car, which had run out of gas right in front of my office. Seeing me, he came over and said, "Thank you, but I don't need the full ten," and handed me $2.
Now I find that being asked for money no longer bothers me and I give whatever I can everytime I get the chance.
Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. You could tell they didn't have a lot of money. Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean. The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to the circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband's hand, looking up at him as ... Read Full Story >>
As I was sitting outside on the bench in front of the thrift store, a car pulled up and a woman stepped out with donations for our small mission. I got up to help her carry in her gifts.
As I helped her, I noticed two $5.00 bills laying in the street. You see, it has become a habit of mine to always for trash around my small space because I like things neat and clean. I think it shows respect for the people who shop at our thrift store. But as a result, I always look to the ground and that's how I saw the the two five dollar bills.
In a flash, I remembered a yound woman who had went into the beauty shop next door and I remembered her because of her shoes. So I just opened the door and asked if anyone had lost some money. This yound woman looked down and asked if I had found two $5.00 bills? Sure enough, she claimed it.
The young woman thanked me and told me it was her lunch money.
I was really glad I had this habit of keeping an eye on the ground. :)
This past weekend my daughter and I were at a grocery store shopping for some goodies in preparation for visiting my mom and grandmother.
As we were standing at rack trying to decide what to get, I looked up an saw an elderly gentleman pick up a tomato and weigh it. He then began counting coins in his hand to see if he had enough.
My daughter and I both looked at each other. We understood and smiled. She said, "How much?" I said, "Um, about 20?" She agreed, so I pulled out a $20 bill, walked over put in the gentleman's hand and closed his fingers.
He looked at me astonished and speechless, as his eyes began to water.
I looked him and gently said, "Enjoy. And have a pie on us."
We picked up our shopping goodies, left the store with big smiles, and felt blessed to have run into that old man.
Last week, I was out at the beach with my friend and her sister. We had a great time wading right into the ocean, going on the merry-go-rounds, shooting water balloons and eating popcorn and cotton candy. It was like being back in one of our high school carnivals! That was when I saw two little boys in grubby shirts. They didn't have shoes on and their hair looked totally dishevelled. Most likely they were popcorn of candy vendors, but one can't be sure. I saw them emptying their pockets, looking at some food stalls, starting to count the spare change in their pockets. Something about this scene really went straight to my heart. Just across the beach is this really big mall where people spend thousands of rupees buying branded goods. Man, the inequality in the world is enormous. I didn't want to offend the small boys by handing them money. So I ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I wasn't going to be home for dinner, so I decided to get a small pizza for my daughter.
When I called to order the pizza, the phone rang at least 10 times before answered and then I was put on hold for about 2-3minutes before I could order.
Instead of getting mad I placed my order and jumped in the car to go pick up the Pizza. As I was driving I thought about how busy it must be at Pizza Hut because the phone rang so much and I had to wait so long to order. I started feeling sorry for the girl who handled my order and decided I was going to MAKE HER DAY and give her a smile card with a $10 tip! The pizza only cost $3 so the tip was huge! It was busy when I got there and the girl was definitely stressed. WHen I handed her the Smile Card with Money she was shocked and then she read the card and the biggest SMILE came over her face and I walked away hearing her saying THANK YOU very Much!
I had the extra money because a friend was having me over for dinner, so I figured...pay it forward! :)
I was in the drive-thru at Tim Hortons by my house and had just ordered a coffee and croissant. I waited to get to the window and they handed me my order and said it had been paid for already. I curiously asked, "Who paid for it?" And the girl said, "The woman ahead of you. She does it all the time for people. And all she asks me to tell you is 'pay it forward.'"
This made my entire day, and I made sure to tell everyone at work about it!
The next time I was in the same drive through, I paid for the person behind me. The best part about the whole thing was that I could spend the rest of the day imagining how that person felt. I know how good it made me feel, and it stuck with me.
You never know how someones day is going, and a small act like paying for a persons coffee can turn their entire day around.
I received my Smile cards and was looking for a chance to use them. I was in the Albuquerque airport on my way back to Colorado and decided to get some ice cream.
As I was paying, a young woman came up and placed an order. I pretended to count my change and generally waste time until the clerk told the woman how much she owed. I quickly fished out the money, gave it to the clerk, handed the very surprised woman one of my new Smile cards, wished her a good day and left! The smile on the clerk's face and the confused/changing to surprised face on the woman was so much fun and I hope the Smile card is now out there circulating!
For years I had always taken my change out of my pocket each night and placed it in one of those water cooler jars. I would use the change every so often when it got full. As nature would have it, I got older and the glass jar got fuller. I changed my process to taking the change and putting it in a small container. Then every so often I would take the change to my bank and have it put on a visa card which is what I carry around in my wallet for "Smile Emergencies". So the other day I was in line at Home Depot and a lady with way too many kids for one person to watch at one time was in front of me. She was buying some curtains and various plants and house hold items. She was telling the kids to stand still, be ... Read Full Story >>
I have recently thought about an incredible act of compassion extended to me many years ago.
In fourth grade we were suppose to bring in a dime for a folder to use in class. My parents were divorced and money was in short supply. Watching my mom fend off creditors, I did not have the nerve to ask her for a dime. When I got to school, I really wish I had asked my mother for the dime because everybody else in class had the dime ready on their desk for the teacher. I was embarrassed and felt silly.
Somehow, A girl named Karen, sitting next to me, saw my personal suffering and waited until the last second to put a dime on the corner of my desk. Even though I never said a word, she saw my quiet anguish and only wanted to relieve it. She said nothing and I was too embarrassed to say thank you. It was the most genuine, authentic act of kindness I've ever experienced.
Few months ago, a friend of mine handed me an envelope. Intrigued, I opened it and found a dollar bill.. A dollar? For what? My friend launched into an animated articulation of how he received a gift of $20 and he decided to split it up and give a dollar to 20 of his friends to do random acts of kindness. Multiply all the goodness that comes with an offering twenty-fold! Last week I was walking in a nearby downtown to keep a baby entertained while the rest of the family watched a movie. The downtown is really small so we ended up pacing up and down the same street many times over. There was this small ice cream shop, half-way between 2 blocks, that kept drawing me. I saw two girls, about fifteen years, doling out cones and cups with a great smile and attitude. The line was long and so ... Read Full Story >>
Some 20 years ago, I went to a huge antique show at the local fairgrounds. After perhaps an hour of shopping, I found a nice collectible Coke bottle and since it bore no price tag, I asked the older gentleman behind the table how much he wanted for it. He told me it was $5.00, and since that was a good price, I bought it, and put it in my bag with my other purchases. This antique show was the largest in the state, boasting thousands of dealers, and 7.2 miles of tables. Perhaps 45 minutes later, I had shopped most of my way through the next exposition hall, and spotted another item which caught my interest. I wanted to ask the seller about it, but he was talking with another customer, so I stood and waited for him to finish. He was speaking with a young lady who sounded quite upset. "I ... Read Full Story >>
Last week, while visiting my Dad in Washington State with my daughter, we went to a local restaurant for a late dinner. When our host seated us, my dad asked him if there were any military having a meal in the establishment. The host said there was a soldier eating dinner with his friend. My dad told the host to tell the soldier and his friend that their dinner was paid for and that we should get dessert too! He also stated that he did not want to be identified as the benefactor. Our waitress, who witnessed this as well, commented on my dad's thoughtful "thank you" to this soldier, saying that she hadn't seen anything more profound. At a local college, she was an Opera Major and as her humble way to thank my Dad, she performed a small piece of "The Pearl Fisherman." Her voice brought me to tears ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I had been sitting in a parking line for more than 10 minutes trying to get into a local fair when, I discovered I was in the wrong lane, and nearly to the gate! My husband waved to the van next to us. The woman driving, who I could see had several children with her, seamed happy to let us pull in front her after we asked if we may. I was so excited to not have to ‘go around and wait' again, I decided to pay for her parking.
After paying, we parked, and entered the fair, not giving it another thought. Until, 20 some minutes later, when a small horde of people approached us to profusely thank us for our generosity.
Apparently they had been looking for us, just to thank us, and for such a small gesture. It choked me up quite a bit; after all, she was the one who had started the ‘generosity’.
That touching event has stayed with me all this time. To this day, it still amazes and thrills me that a tiny gesture could cause a ‘cascade’ of warmth and unselfish kindness.
If this is the result of a small gesture, what might a ‘medium’ gesture initiate?
I stopped at a convenience store on the way home from my monthly trek to the surgeon for a medical procedure. I usually stop and get myself some candy and a pop as a treat for surviving the torture. This time I noticed an elderly woman getting a bag of ice and went to walk around so as not to be in her way. Right then, she paused her work and gently asked, "I can move, if you'd like to pass through." "No, I'm fine. I'll just go this way. But can I give you a hand?" "No, that's alright." And so, I went on inside the store. As I got my candy, I turned around to see if there was anything else I needed and I saw the ice-lady again. "How are you doing?" I asked her. "Okay. Just have to pay for my ice and get home." "How many bags ... Read Full Story >>
Last week I was visiting my best friend in Cincinnati. One morning as we walked to breakfast, I spotted a piece of paper on the street and it turned out to be a $10 bill! I was determined to use it as a special treat and carried it around for two days as we brainstormed ways to spend it. Since we are both huge fans of Dairy Queen, we decided to head there after dinner on my last day in town. His blizzard and my sundae came to $5, so when the employee handed me $5 bill as change, I turned around to the lady (and her son) behind me and said, "Here, this is for you!" Seeing her startled reaction, I told her, "I found $10 the other day and since we've already received our treat, you guys should enjoy the rest!" She was very gracious and took the money and ... Read Full Story >>
This is a story about a wonderful little snippet of life I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in. I write about it here, not to toot my own horn, but to give others an idea of how easy it is to perform a simple random act of kindness, and what a positive effect it can have. I was standing in line at our local Wal-Mart with one item in my hand at the express lance check out. The lady in front of me was a fragile looking senior citizen. Since I had been widowed fairly recently, and was still walking around in that pervasive fog that is a combination of ennui and sadness, I was so self-absorbed in my own little world of gloom that it wasn't really registering in my brain that the little old lady was having trouble getting her items out of her shopping cart ... Read Full Story >>
On Nov 11 of 2006, I made a deal with myself that I would give $1 to every homeless person who asked. Call it a moment of clarity or whatever, but I woke up from a rough night of partying in Vegas and just felt like this model of taking wasn't working for me anymore. Still, to be honest, I embarked on this experiment thinking that I would just bleed money, that there would be 20 or so homeless people a day coming up to me in NYC and that I would run out of money soon. This never happened. When I returned to NY, it took 8 days before I walked past a homeless person who asked me for some spare change. And by that time I had seen the folly of my own mind and was more than happy to part with a measly dollar. It wasn't about the money, ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday my son, daughter and I went to the grocery store. Ahead of us in line was a little girl with her mother. The little girl was asking her mother for a box of Smarties. She was asking very politely and you could see it almost broke the mother's heart when she said, "I'm sorry, Honey, but we just can't afford it." My son was watching that dialogue. Incidentally, he had been raking leaves in our yard to raise himself some money to buy a treat. As he watched the mother and daughter leave the store, he ran to the candy counter and grabbed a box of Smarties. (It turns out that I had also grabbed one pack). My son proudly placed the Smarties on the conveyor belt, pulled out his money and bought the Smarties. He turned to look at me and I just nodded. Out he ran after the ... Read Full Story >>