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 >>
Like many people in this world, I was down, way down. Questioning everything. The light at the end of my tunnel was dim. I was financially, emotionally and mentally strapped. Hope was fading for relief. It seemed no matter how many steps I took forward, I was going twice as many backwards. Tension and strain filled my home. In the midst of all the hardships I was enduring, I worked harder then ever on my faith. Yet, even with my children and husband, I felt alone and hopeless. Because of my disability, I rarely leave my home. With the help of a very small disability check once a month and the Internet, I ran the house. Banking, bill paying, all household business was done on my computer. Money started to get tighter, bills started to pile. Once you get behind, it is almost impossible to catch up. The electric, water, ... Read Full Story >>
I was working in Bangladesh a month or two ago and I ended up staying for much longer than anticipated. By the time I left, everyone at the hotel knew who I was because I had handed out at least 50 business cards. I told many of the staff about my plans of providing electricity and clean purified water to rural villages who were located too far from accessing these basic necessities. The morning before I left there was a small brown envelope that had been slid under my door. I opened it and inside I found one of my business cards. On the back was written "blessings" and there were 4 one dollar bills and a few hundred "Taka" which added up to around a total of $12. I can imagine that it was a poor hotel staffer that was happy about my willingness to help the less fortunate in ... Read Full Story >>
Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content. One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy. The King asked the servant, "Why are you so happy?" The man replied, "Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but my family and I don't need too much - just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies." The king was not satisfied with that reply. Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the King's woes and the servant's story, the advisor said, "Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club." "The 99 Club? And ... Read Full Story >>
I just came in from the grocery store. I only needed one item but the woman in line before me had spent more than the money she had in her hand. As she checked out her 2-3 packed bags, she asked the cashier to put the jelly back so she would have enough money to cover the bill. As she paid, I looked at her and told her I was going to buy that jelly for her. She said, "Oh no, you don't have to. I just didn't grab enough money when I left my home." I looked at her and happily said, "That's okay. Perhaps you could return the favor to someone else." Caught up in the spirit of generosity, she tried to offer me something else until she landed upon an idea -- "Can I give you some of my "Turkey points?" At this store, they give you Turkey ... Read Full Story >>
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner. But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn. He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife. "He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says. As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm." The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing ... Read Full Story >>
There’s a park that runs through the centre of Edinburgh. Sitting beneath Edinburgh Castle, the Princes Street Gardens are full of families, sunbathers and, of course, ice cream stands on sunny days. The weekend my wife and I spent in Edinburgh was scorching. We had an amazing time, seeing the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and being entertained by street performers along the Royal Mile, all rehearsing their acts for the Edinburgh Festival of the Arts. Well, all good things must come to an end. So, we packed our bags and left the hotel. The gardens were empty at this time of day so we decided to walk through them on the way to the station. That’s when I saw the old fellow. Picture a “salty old sea-dog” with deeply lined face and bushy white beard. He was wearing the tattered remains of several coats, which seemed to be lined with black, plastic bin ... Read Full Story >>
While I was shopping at the Family Dollar Store I noticed a young mother with her daughter struggling to pick out items she needed because she counting money in her hand. She got behind me at the check-out counter. As I began to pay for my items, she began to put a few items back after realising she did not have enough money left in her hand. She had shampoo and I saw her put the conditioner back. The lady looked like she hadn't bathed in weeks and her child was also really dirty.
My heart really went out for this poor lady and her child. I paid for my items and then I passed the clerk a $10.00 bill and a smile card. I told her to wait until I left the store and then to give the money and the smile card to the girl behind me. I hope I made a difference in a small way.
I struggle with money in that I don't have a lot of it. I hate how we are so dependent on it and yet we need it in order to survive - we need to pay rent, buy food, etc. It's a daily struggle, but we all have to do it. Before I went back to school I was living in Toronto as a waitress and yoga teacher and was making some decent money. My partner and I decided to start taking 10 per cent of our tips from waiting tables and giving it to people in need. I have numerous stories of how I saw this process of giving away larger quantities of money every month make shifts in people's lives. Although the money was a sort of "bonus" to people, it was also recognition of THEIR struggle and a reminder that someone cared - even if it was a ... Read Full Story >>
Occasionally, when I am bored, I like to poke around on Craigslist, which is an interactive site where people can post ads for just about anything – housing, jobs, dating, temporary work, etc. I was paging through the site one day, and found an ad from a woman saying that she was on medical leave from work, had very little money, and would be unable to fund Christmas presents for her son. She felt awful about this, as her son was a good well-rounded kid, an honors student, and a boy who gave to others. I decided I wanted to help her out and even though I didn’t know her it started to feel personal at this point. I asked her what her son wanted for Christmas and she told me that he was interested in a Guitar Hero game. I was trying to order one online, but they came in ... Read Full Story >>
This is my first post here as I have just joined and what a wonderful way to start off! I was working as a waitress in an upscale Italian restaurant where the majority of the patrons were the sort who pay little or no attention to those around them. One evening, I had been having an absolutely horrible day as I had just received an unexpected bill that was already past due. As I was standing in the entry way to the building, a young man appeared. He walked up to me and asked if there was any work that he could do to earn twenty dollars because he needed to get home. Having recently moved and being from a small town, I had never really encountered something like this before, so I asked him to wait while I went to the back of the restaurant to ask my boss. As I ... Read Full Story >>
On New Year's eve my husband and I stopped in San Francisco for dinner on our way back from a retreat. While eating we felt that we should do something different this year. I took a $20 bill and asked the restaurant owner to give me $5 bills. After dinner, we headed out on the streets to find homeless people. The first guy we came across was sitting with a paper cup in his hand. We dropped in a $5 bill and moved on. Right across the street we saw another man sitting outside a a club with his guitar. We requested him to play some music for us and he obliged, after which we dropped a bill in his cup. Then my husband asked me if I would pose with the man for a picture. Initially, I hesitated although I thought that was a great idea. After some more ... Read Full Story >>
Many years ago a kind farmer bought a tank of gas for a stranded mom with 2 children. He wouldnt accept any money and just smiled, waved and said pass it on to someone else. And so a few weeks ago as my husband and I were filling up our car with a coupon for 99 cents a gallon, I went in to pay and got into a long line. I could see up ahead a young man who was having some kind of problem and realized he had misunderstood the coupon and thought it was 99 cents to fill his small truck. Everyone was saying, "99 cents a gallon is unbelieveable - they cant give the gas away." He was embarressed and was just calling his wife when I got to the counter. He said to his wife, "Just come down cuz I dont have that much on me." I ... Read Full Story >>
I am a male who has been egoistic, dominating, angry, jealous, suspicious, and have had a lack of respect for myself and others around me. I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I participated in various transformation workshops, however it made no difference, I remained stuck in my life. As a result, I became separated from my family and reached rock bottom in my life. Having reached there, I resisted transforming myself . After some time I realized the law of universe: what one resists, persists. I then thought to myself, start believing in yourself and it will make a difference in you life. I first started loving myself and then all those around me. I started respecting myself and then others around me. My self worth increased. The universe supported me and the law of attraction started working for me. In my life I connected to people with similar energy. One such energy was ... Read Full Story >>
After I married, we honeymooned in Hawaii. Both of us enjoyed our ten day stay-- the islands are gorgeous, the people loving, gracious and spiritual, the sunrises/sunsets one more spectacular then the next, the rainbows miraculously appearing each afternoon after a brief rain and the flowers so brightyly colored and diverse. What a paradise! We returned to one restaurant several times in Maui because I loved the buffet, the service, the outdoor tables where I could feed the birds, the ocean view and it was close to our hotel. I befriended a waitress who symbolized the Hawaiin people to me: she was plump, middle-aged, super friendly, greeting us each time with a huge, warm smile, twinkling eyes, a deep booming laugh and a hug. She was quite chatty and so am I so we bonded instantly. She shared some of her life stories with us, which was so sad: hubby ... Read Full Story >>
Today while driving to the grocery store we saw a woman standing with a sign "Family fallen on tough times" by the side of the road. Usually we give the person some food or fruit that we have with us or a bottle of water. Frantically rooting around for a snack, my son and I could not find anything in our bag and by that time the light had changed. I said out loud, "I only have a $20 bill in my wallet. Too bad, because usually I would give away dollar bills if I had any." I told my son that we would give something to her on the way back if she was still there. Well, she was still there and on the way back I gave her a smile card wrapped in my only cash-- the $20 bill. There were cars behind me so I had to drive off quickly (to avoid ... Read Full Story >>
I am a New Yorker, born, raised and residing. We know how much money beggers make a day. One begger can get about a dollar per 20 people who pass, either in the form of a dollar or in change from several people. In New York, you can easily get a minimum of 500 people within a 2 hour period passing you. That is basically 40 dollars every 2 hours. The number rises if you're in front of a restaurant , a really busy street, or in the subway. Do the math and you can see beggers make more money begging in a day than some people with jobs. I never give money to people -- never. But last night around 3 am, I stopped at a Mc Donalds in Harlem to use the bathroom. I saw him in the door waiting for me to head over to him so he could open the door ... Read Full Story >>
You think everyone would have something they dislike about their job - with the notable exception of the people at State Bank and Trust in Fargo, N.D., CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports. "What do you hate about this company?" Hartman asked some workers. One said: "I haven't found anything yet." Another: "No, this is a good place to work? "What do I hate about management? They're just too nice!" One worker said. Another worker said, "They care about their employees." The conclusion: Take this job and love it! Another worker's reaction to Hartman's question, what do you hate about working here, was: "I have to go home." State Bank chief operating officer Michael Solberg said, "That's our mission statement: happy employees, happy customer." What, is this McDonalds? To accomplish the company's mission, Solberg says the bank gives a year-end bonus of about 5 percent of salary. They contribute 15 percent of salary to the 401-K, and do a full ... Read Full Story >>
I was moved after reading a story on this site about Adam's day in New York. I commented how it's so easy for me to spend $1.50 on soda every day (or more!), but when I walk by homeless people, somehow I fear that if I start to give them money, I won't have enough. Well today, somehow that fear was lifted. This was not planned, but I had put $3 in my pocket this morning for sodas (it's Friday after all :-) and never got to the place where I buy them. Then, as I was walking to the train, I saw a homeless man ahead and remembered that I had money I could give. So, I took out one of the dollar bills and gave it to him. I continued walking and came across another one of the regulars who hangs around at the same time and gave him ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I upgraded my cell phone at the Sprint store and got the new Rumor. I love it. While I was standing there, I was thinking to myself, "These people are providing GREAT customre service, I wish I could tip them or something." I was so geeked about my new phone, it didn't even dawn on me that I could tip them with a smile card and some cash and say "Go get yourself a coffee or something." But another very happy customer in the store did it for me by leaving $5 on the counter. The employee said, "Sir, we can't accept tips," and the customer responded, "I'm not taking it back, it's yours!." So, like Wonder Woman, I swooped over and said, "Here, have one of these!" and I whipped out a Smile card. I handed the card to the other customer and said, "Give them this. It's an experiment in anoymous acts of kindness. If they can't ... Read Full Story >>
[A letter to Abby, in her column last week.] Dear Abby: Please let the world know that kind people still exist. I was on my way to two job interviews. Not surprisingly, I was nervous, so before I got off my train, I took my phone out to check the directions to the first one. A short walk later, I reached the subway, but when I went into my purse for my wallet to buy a MetroCard, lo and behold, my wallet and new glasses were missing. I retraced my steps and ran to the courtesy counter to ask if anyone had turned in my wallet and glass case. The woman in the booth told me the train was still in the station and to hurry there immediately to check for my things. Long story short, no luck. Heartbroken, I returned to the courtesy desk. Not only would I miss ... Read Full Story >>