A friend of mine in Chicago sent me an e-mail with her description of an uplifting event that she witnessed... "And talking about beautiful...yesterday I was witness to such a heartwarming random act of kindness. It will forever be imprinted in my mind. I had to run downtown to help Bonnie out for a few hours (it was not part of my original plans for Monday). On my bus ride back to the train station, we were in gridlock traffic right by the opera house. As I stare out my window a handsome young man (25ish to 30ish) walks out of the side door of the Opera House. It's cold and windy outside. He has on a heavy army-issued jacket and a scarf wrapped around his neck. As he's walking towards the bridge there are three homeless men with their cups, each sitting maybe 15 feet from one other. The young man ... Read Full Story >>
Back in the day when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, I was studying to become a firefighter. I was a volunteer fire aide with the city of Milpitas, and was studying at mission college. As a firefighter, you're constantly thinking of other people and trying to help children. That's the mindset, at least for someone trying to get into a fraternity of brothers that is the No. 1 most difficult job in the country to get! One night after going to class I was heading home and decided to stop off at a burrito place. This was in a part of San Jose that wasn't very good. It was dark, and it was obvious that I wasn't in a place that I would normally go to. Well I got my burrito and started to head for my car when I was approached by a homeless ... Read Full Story >>
I have a five year old son and two 18 month old twins and especially at Christmas time I wanted them to truely understand what the act of giving was all about. So I made a list of people that were less likely to recieve gifts or love and let my five year old chose who we would give gifts to.
He chose homeless people. We purchased some large inexpensive gift bags and filled them with canned goods, used warm socks, new toothbrushes, bars of soap, candy bars, and many other surprises, but to my surprise my son came in with his piggy bank and said they could have his money. We filled several plastic bags with coins and I slipped in a few dollar bills, and we put all the bags in the trunk of the car.
It was several days before we saw a homeless person pushing a cart down the main blvd. and fortunately my son was with me and we pulled over and gave the bag to a man who started to cry when we wished him Merry Christmas. I have never forgotten the look of gratitude on his face and neither has my son.
We have now done this for three years on my sons request.
I always seem to lose or toss sunglasses in my car. I noticed I did the same in my boyfriend's car recently. We both joked about them, but then we pulled up to a man at a street corner. It was a bright day and he was hoping someone would offer him some food or a bit of change. Instead, we gave him a pair of our sunglasses - the sun was so bright and he looked like he was a regular there.
Later that afternoon, on our way home, we pulled up at the same corner to see him wearing my sunglasses. We had the window down, and between lights he thanked us and mentioned that he hasn't enjoyed a beautiful day in so long.
For a long time, I have been toying with the idea of going abroad to do something worthwhile, a voluntary thing, either working with kids or animals... and have been spoiled for choices with the kind of organised things you can pick, different causes, different countries. It's very expensive though. And I was puzzling over how can I be able to afford the flights and costs and everything. And impatience took over me. I thought "I can't wait to do something, I have to do something worthwhile NOW!!" So I just got up off my bed, went downstairs and started making sandwiches and put some crisps and some biscuits and an apple into about 6 little disposable picnic bags, called a couple of friends and told them my idea - "we're going into the city to give this food out to the homeless!" My friends loved the idea and we ... Read Full Story >>
I was leaving my office late Saturday morning...a little bit grumpy because I had to get up early and go to work on the weekend, and was now running late for the next of my zillion obligations for the weekend...and the worst part was I had no time to eat a proper lunch. I was complaining about all of this to my husband on my cell phone, while I turned around from locking the door behind me, and then I spotted him. A man lying in the grass asleep. I said to my husband, "I'm sorry I've just been complaining. Thanks for listening. I have to go." I went back into my office, found a box, and went to my desk. I took every bag of snacks and protein bars I could and placed them in the box. Then I went to my mini fridge and put in two kinds of ... Read Full Story >>
Many people spend their New Year’s Eve, getting dressed up and dancing their way to midnight. We decided to do things a bit differently. We filled a backpack with clothes, shoes and other goodies and headed out to the railway station. The first person we spotted was a 15-16 year old boy picking up discarded plastic bottles on the platform. We called him over and started up a conversation. We had a discrete look at his hands and noticed he had long fingernail. We explained that it was important to keep short nails (studies have shown that disease occurrence in the poor can be reduced by 30% by keeping short fingernails) and then the two of us began cutting them for him. When we were done, we offered him a chocolate bar, which made him look at us suspiciously. (In India, there is a fear that people cast spells on food and then lure children away). ... Read Full Story >>
We had just received a large donation of clothing at our non-profit organization. As we looked at the pile, we didn’t know what to do with it, but figured that the answer would present itself. As three of us walked home for dinner, we saw a woman begging by the bridge. She was old and had no legs. She shivered in her thin sari, which offered little protection from the cold wind, but could not seek even mild refuge in her “hut” (four wooden posts, with a tarp like material as a roof and walls). Her hunger forced her to beg. My friends and I looked at each other: here was a perfect opportunity, but first it was necessary to do a little bit of “research.” We went up to the woman to hear her story. She spoke very little due to her poor ... 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.
I was recently at a conference in Barcelona, Spain (home of Gaudi) when I thought, wouldn't it be great to do a little act of kindness in a far away city? I went through the lively La Rambla street - enjoying the scene and (in the back of my mind) looking for an opportunity of kindness. But I couldn't find anything right away. It was mostly tourists and street vendors.
Finally, I returned to the hotel past midnight when a haggardly old man came up to me and asked if I wanted to buy a rose. He had not sold one all day and was tired and hungry. I had a friend with me. She warned me that this could be simply a 'line' to rope me in. But I knew what to do. I bought 2 roses, gave her one and walked inside the hotel lobby and surprised someone with the second rose.
Ultimately it was really just a couple of Euros but at the end of it, at least 4 people were smiling on their way back to the bed.
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 >>
I was doing some volunteer work at a homeless shelter, and decided to document it with photography. I took shots of the residents which came out really well, but I also gave some of the residents a disposable camera.I then developed the film and printed them up. When I gave back the images, I had enlarged and framed the best photo, which was of a little girl. The man who took it was so happy because it was the first photo he'd ever owned of his daughter!
His smile was the biggest smile I've ever seen in my life (even bigger than his daughters smile in the photo)!
The other day, I bought a homeless man lunch at Burger King and sat down and spoke with him while we ate our lunches. It seemed like he was almost as happy to chat with me as he was to have a free meal.
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...."
Yesterday, while at a bank machine in a very poor part of town, my husband and I found a wallet. We opened it up to look for ID and the first thing we saw was a picture of a toddler sitting on Santa's knee. We knew we had to find this father. We found his drivers licence and gave him a call. His wife answered the phone and told us he was out looking for his wallet. We left our phone number and 10 minutes later he called. He told us because of the poor area of town his friend told him he could say good-bye to the wallet, he would never see it again. He was so grateful, he offered us $100 as a reward. My husband and the gentleman made plans to meet and as my husband was getting ready I gave him one of the smile cards. 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 >>
My wife opens the doors and says, "Man, that lady must be having a really bad day. She was really rude." After a slight pause, she adds, "What she really needs is someone to tag her." "Well, let's do it!", I proposed in an excited tone. "Who is this lady anyhow? Any ideas of what she would like?" Two minutes, later: Operation Mid-Day Chocolate to Lady Behind the Counter. I get a box of new chocolates from the refrigerator and think up a note to write about. As my wife was walking to an errand earlier in the downtown area, she said the usual "how are you" to a homeless man -- Ronnie -- on the streets; oddly enough, the man responded, "Could be better .... but can't complain." While returning, she saw him from a distance and thought of ways to "better" his day. With her usual smile, she ... 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 >>
I read a lot of spirit and intention books. I remember reading Wayne Dyer one night and in his Power of Intention book, he wrote something along the lines of if you can’t give a homeless person money, give him a smile. The other day I was waiting for the light to change in downtown San Francisco and there was a homeless guy who was walking around with his sign and he went from car to car (I was the 3rd one in). The cars reacted as they usually do, just closing the windows and ignoring him, one car moved up, you know the drill. As he came to my car, I looked him in the eye and I gave him a HUGE smile, I said I’m sorry I can’t give you money and he just stood there smiling at me. There was probably a 10 second pause before the light turned ... Read Full Story >>
Well.....I just couldnt WAIT to try out my smile cards. Last week I set out on my nightly outing -- to a meeting, and then to spend some time with my best friend. I told him I wanted to use my smile cards. First stop, the Dollar Store. I bought 2 nice candle jars with thoughtful things written on them. Next up, 7 Eleven. We parked and looked for someone to give a candle and card to. A woman had just gotten gas and was walking into the store. I hurriedly got out and ran over to her car, put the candle and card on top where she couldn't miss it, and ran back to my truck and waited. When she came out, she saw it, looked around, and acted like she was afraid to touch it! Another man getting ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend I volunteered at our local shelter to serve meals to the hungry. I convinced a classmate of mine, a woman who is older like myself to come along for the experience. Her life consists of school, playing golf as a semi-pro, and generally living a very comfortable and protected lifestyle. I assume everyone has seen the hungry, the needy, the homeless, the less fortuanate in our society but the assortment of folks at the shelter seemed to trouble my friend. She was aprehensive about getting physically too close when she was serving meals and she was also full of questions. She made observations such as, "They look like they do drugs", "I assume a lot of them have alcohol problems", "Some of them seem like they are retarded." Once everyone is fed, staff/volunteer's can also eat from the leftovers. We were told there was enough and that we should ... 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.
I was standing near a store window, waiting for my friend with whom I was supposed to find materials for our college assignment.
I was waiting for quite long, when I noticed an old woman sitting in front of me. She looked very weak and poor and was rummaging through garbage cans looking for food.
Since many people work as garbage collectors, I thought that maybe she was one such person and didn't want to degrade her self esteem by asking if she wanted any food.
Our eyes met and I smiled at her. I don't know why, but she suddenly came to me and said that she was feeling very hungry and didn't have any money. It was evident that she wasnt a beggar but just that her circumstances were tough.
I went to a store in the next street and bought her some food that she could eat immmediately, and a bunch of fruit that she could eat over the next few weeks.
She looked very pleased and blessed me, making *me* feel very happy for a long time.
On my way to work,my eyes wander to various sights
There always sits a beggar man next to a shop
He sits outstretching his arms
I dig in my pocket to give him alms
The beggar man is my everyday sight
He gives me a smile that is just so right
We are blessed with everything in life
Yet we do not smile as if there is a strife
The beggar has wealth nor health
Yet the smile on his face is heartfelt
For sometime the beggar man is seen nowhere
I feel something missing,
I look around and stare
The shopkeeper tells me he died
Silently I pause,he will no more be in my sight
I will miss him,I do not know why
Seeing him was a habit,
I feel to cry
The beggar man taught me to smile and to forget lifes worry awhile
***based on a true 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 >>
There is a big tree in my house where several kilograms of tamarind are available during the right season. Since tamarind is staple food for the South Indian diet, many poor people collect fallen tamarind fruit and dry it to preserve it for the next year. That way they don't need to buy it from the shops. Unlike other houses that have tamarind trees, my parents never shoo away the tamarind pickers from our house. In fact, several urchin children come to my house too and they happily collect the tasty fallen tamarind and nibble them like candy. It's almost become a kind of tradition. I even remember my grandfather actually opening the gate for the street children to pick tamarind! The other day, my mother called an old lady who had come near our gate to discreetly pick tamarind. My father looked aghast, thinking that she was calling the old lady to tell her ... Read Full Story >>
I know that the title is little curious. But the scary homeless man is even more curious. I have lived in Mayport Florida for about three years. Every day, leaving work, coming home and running errands, I pass this homeless man with two shopping baskets full of his treasures. Except for about 2-3 months of the year (and I'm not sure where he goes during that time), he is always around, never to be missed. Anyhow, the reason I call him a scary man is because my son and I are often together when we see this man and he's always talkin to him self and staring at people with an awkward look. He talks loud and much of what he says does not make sense. With his two carts filled to the top, he's there just talking away. It's intimidating. My wife and I are always talking about his misfortune and how ... 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. ^___^