Stories Matching 'Homeless' Tag (168 matches)



A Small Act at the Grocery Store Starts a New Ripple

There are two men who are almost always outside my grocery store, in various states of dishevelment. One is sometimes (but not always) in a wheelchair. He holds a sign that says he is a vet and "anything will help." The other man is younger, nearly toothless, and if he were not in such a public place, would maybe frighten me a little. I have walked past them countless times, on my way to buy my family's weekly groceries.  I don't usually like to give money to panhandlers. But I see these guys so often, that I decided to make eye contact, say a deliberate "Hi" and smile at them, instead of ducking my head away and ignoring them.  In both cases, I got a startled "hello there" back. Last week, while waiting in the deli area, I noticed the pre-made, plastic-wrapped sub-style sandwiches. I grabbed two of them, two extra apples, and two ... Read Full Story >>

5292 Reads
  • Posted by Byrdwoman
  • Sep 5, 2010
  • 22 Comments
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A Hotel Manager Creates Some Magic

About nine years ago I worked at a large downtown hotel. Since we were connected to a mall and a public parking garage, anyone could just pretty much walk into the hotel area. We started having a big problem with homeless youth living in our stairwells at night. The stairwells went largely unused because of their hidden nature and the fact that once inside, you could only go down and exit to the street, all the doors locked behind you and you could not travel between levels and exit back into the hotel. As night manager, I ended up being the one to evict these youth, night after night after night. One night there were seven homeless young people and a puppy, in a total of three locations. I hated to do it on rainy nights, but it was my job, and some guests felt threatened when encountering tattooed and pierced youth ... Read Full Story >>

3915 Reads
  • Posted by luna1969
  • Sep 16, 2010
  • 20 Comments
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All It Takes Is A 10 Second Thought

I've been so inspired by everyone's thoughts and reflections that I thought I'd take the plunge and continue a recent practice of stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing this story. Last Friday, I was coming home late after spending time with friends andthought I'd go down to the $.99 cent pizza place.  On the way, I saw a man sitting on a random stoop.  I'd seen him before, panhandling on the stairs I walk up every day as I leave the subway running late to work, but this time I had no place to rush off to.  There was something about him, a quiet and serene demeanor, different from many of the other homeless people I had seen in NYC.  I walked past him, went to the pizza place, and those 10 seconds waiting in line was enough to practice stepping outside of my usual, familiar flow.  So with a few ... Read Full Story >>

16.1K Reads

Facebook Kindness Saves A Family

You join Facebook and " friend" your old classmates. You might not ever talk about anything serious with them but they are there. You read their status, laugh at their jokes, groan at the corny quotes, or wish them a happy birthday.  Until last week, that is.... A classmate from twenty years ago was one of my Facebook  friends. A few random comments he made gave me the impression that something was wrong so I prodded him to call me.  He did call and I found out that that he, his wife and eight children had just moved into a cheap motel room.  He had used the very last of their money to pay for a week's stay there. He had no job and they had lost their home. What do you do in a situation like that?  I am just me, with my own family, my own worries, not enough money ... Read Full Story >>

7624 Reads
  • Posted by heavensblessing
  • Sep 28, 2010
  • 35 Comments
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A Lesson in Compassion From My Brother

It was my birthday so my wife, my brother and my child treated ourselves to dinner in a restaurant that we had never been to before. As we walked back to our car a very thin man approached my brother saying he hadn't eaten in a while and asking for money. Usually my wife and I treat such requests with suspicion but my brother took a different approach and he started talking with the man. The man said he was a singer and had come to Dubai from Pakistan to find work. His visa was expiring in three or four days. He  had no friends here, couldn't land a singing job, and was surviving hand to mouth. He had a return ticket that had to be confirmed. To do this he needed 70 Dirhams. My brother gave him 20 Dirhams for food and asked the man to give him a call from the airline's ticket office the next day. He also ... Read Full Story >>

6021 Reads
  • Posted by advaitin
  • Nov 20, 2010
  • 11 Comments
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Small Change Can Make A Big Change

I was in the line at Dunkin Donuts.  The couple in front of me had ordered their food and stepped to the side. I proceeded to order mine. Quick and simple. Then I noticed a young man. I could tell was not having the best of luck and it showed on his face. He walked in carrying his belongings in a torn plastic bag. The couple ahead of me turned, looked, then turned away. The lady grabbed her purse tighter and her husband quickly stood in front of her. I moved over so he could order. He looked at the board, checked his pockets and didn't seem to have enough for anything. So, he turned around and walked out. I picked up my coffee and followed him out. He had gone maybe five paces when I shouted, "Hey! Do you want a donut?" A little embarrassed, he said, "I dont have any money." I told ... Read Full Story >>

10.8K Reads
  • Posted by Nesquick86
  • Dec 18, 2010
  • 35 Comments
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A Small Gesture That Made My Day

My husband, my four-month old daughter and I set out on a five day driving journey from California to Washington. We had to stop frequently because oure little one needed to stretch from the car seat.  One of our stops, once we crossed the Oregon border, was at a Black Bear Diner. Walking towards the front door we noticed a gentleman standing to one side. He was seriously dishelved, without shoes and wearing tattered clothing.  We passed right by him and opened the restaurant door.   Then something told me to go back. Holding my four-month old daughter I turned around and said to the gentleman, "Sir. Are you hungry?"  He said, "Yes."  I then asked, "May we buy you a bite to eat?" He responded with, "Sure, I can order something to go." My husband opened the door and the gentleman went straight to the counter. I told him to order whatever he wanted. The manager ... Read Full Story >>

6100 Reads

Sometimes It Just Takes A Penny

On the street, outside a restaurant door, my wife and I are chatting with friend about some good news in her life.  Right then, a woman comes up to me and asks, "I'm so sorry to interrupt, but I'm really hungry and I'm wondering if you could spare some money?" In our city, there are many pan-handlers, so I typically would just share a kind word and move on.  But somehow I feel moved to do something this time.  Perhaps it was because we were just conversing about some good events happening in our friend's life and I had a sublte sense of paying it forward.  I don't know. "Yeah, sure.  I'll take you to eat dinner today.  Where do you want to go?" I ask the homeless woman. With a surprising smile, she says: "Oh, there a Taqueria just down that street.  I'd love to get a burrito." So the two of us ... Read Full Story >>

8082 Reads

Love Is Stronger Than Fear

My Daughter and I recently encountered, as we often do, in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, a Homeless man, who was hunkered down for the night, under a few sleeping bags with his book and all of his belongings. We encountered him as we were walking home after dinner. We had been so hungry at dinner, after a day of touring colleges, that our eyes were too big for our stomachs and we ordered too much. The appetizer ended up being enormous, and ravenous as we were, we ate it hungrily. There was still some to spare. When our meals arrived, we picked at them, out of obligation, but decided to take the whole portions home, although we were staying in a hotel, and leaving early the next morning, and likely wouldn't have even eaten it.  As we were walking home from dinner, we passed the homeless man and he made some gesture to us, ... Read Full Story >>

7882 Reads

Inspired By A Moment of Trust

In my line of work we often hold conferences and workshops. The university I work for kindly provides food for all attendants (and anyone passing by at the right time) but it bothers me that they throw away all leftovers - and there's usually lots! Last week I finally made my point and was allowed to take a huge tray of very nice sandwiches away with me. They were yummy and healthy and it would have been a real shame to see them ending up in the bin. The guy from catering even allowed me to borrow a large tray to carry them on. I went looking for the homeless guy that usually sits in front of our local supermarket. He was sitting there reading and petting his dog on a blanket, and was thrilled when I showed him the food. He had nothing to carry the food in and offered to bring ... Read Full Story >>

4246 Reads

The Simple Kindness of a Four Year Old

A few weeks ago, my oldest son, Erik decided to spend the day with one of his nieces, Mia, who is 4 years old. They went out and about to several places and then decided to go downtown before heading back home. Downtown is Mia's favorite place to go!  They were walking around and browsing in store windows and taking in the sights when Mia spotted some flowers and she picked a few. After some time, Mia began to drag a bit and Erik, wanting to head back home urged her along. Passing a few homeless men sitting along the sidewalks, he would walk a bit faster to get her past them, but she held back and made him come to a complete stop. ''C'mon, Mia. You need to walk with me.''  ''Okay, Uncle Erik '', she replied ''but this man needs a flower!''  He looked on as she handed the homeless man her flower and Erik said that the man smiled a big ... Read Full Story >>

6673 Reads

A Double Dose of Compassion at the Grocery Store

I was getting out of my car at my local supermarket one night and a woman with a backpack approached me asking for money.  I offered to buy her a sandwhich and she told me that she had a partner as well.  I said I would buy him a sandwich too. On the way into the store she told me she was an alcoholic and I offered a suggestion about an nearby AA meeting.  She said she had been clean and sober for years but then had an injury in which she she was put on pain relievers and then turned back to alcohol.  I was compassionate and told her to return to AA if she could - she would find support there.  She thanked me and seemed very grateful then looked straight at me and said she didn't need anything to eat, she just needed a dollar for a beer and understood that I ... Read Full Story >>

6965 Reads

Even Difficult Times Can Be Kind Times

Good sense might have suggested I stay in today.  There was snow on the ground and we really don't have any money to be spending right now. But, there were a couple of things I needed, so I gathered what cash I had together and hopped on to the bus to the next town (hoping it wouldn't slip off the road on an icy patch.) Once in town one of the first thing I saw was a brass band! They had taken over an empty shop and were setting up to perform in the window. I didn't get to hear a toot out of them, but I did see they were "busking" for donations. The money raised would buy gifts for local needy children. A I slipped a note into the collection bucket the woman holding it finished a sentence to another man with the words, "... even the bad times are ... Read Full Story >>

5214 Reads

My Mother's Simple Lesson in Kindness

  It's easy to see how to help some people, but what about those whose needs are not so obvious? This story may have happened a while back - but it was a lesson which has stayed with me and helped me ever since.   It was Thanksgiving and I was volunteering with my parents at a shelter for the needy. We stood behind the counter dishing out hot food to whoever came in. Most of our diners looked like they had been having hard times, their clothes were threadbare, they were dirty. In short, they looked needy!   Then, a man came in, who looked anything but needy. He was well groomed, he wore an expensive suit. I wondered what he was doing there and my jaw dropped in amazement when he joined the line for food. The closer he came to my service station the more I muttered. What was this man doing, I wanted to ... Read Full Story >>

7658 Reads

Dinner With An Unexpected Friend Changed My Life

I was walking home from work on a busy city street with lots of people. I wasn't looking forward to going home and my friends weren't able to hang out with me. That's when I walked past a homeless person that I hadn't seen before. He was moving back and forth to stay warm, and very gently asking for change. He spoke so quietly I could barely hear him. Something made me stop, turn around, and walk up to him. All the while anxious thoughts whirled around in my head like, 'What do you think you're doing?' 'You're alone, it's dark out and you're a woman,'   Before I knew what I was saying I asked him if he had had dinner yet and would he like to join me at a nearby restaurant. He said he hadn't eaten and he would like to. So, he walked with me a few yards to the restaurant and held the door ... Read Full Story >>

13.3K Reads

Trying To Help With An Open Heart

Cons happen a lot in our city and it can be hard to know who is really in need and who is trying to exploit other people's kindness.   Recently, I was finishing my work at home when the dog barked letting me know someone was at the gate. I rushed to see who it was and there I saw poor, fragile woman in her late fifties.   I said to her, "May I ask what you want?"   She replied, "Hello, ma'am, my name is Parvathy. My husband and I live in the slum nearby. We earn our living working at construction sites. A few days ago my husband tripped on the stairs while carrying a heavy load. He is badly hurt and hasn't been able to work for the past five days, and so we have no food. Now he is at home in bed with a high temperature. Please help me! I need to take ... Read Full Story >>

4198 Reads

More Kindness Inspired By A Homeless Man

  It was bitterly cold and I had been watching a homeless man make himself comfortable in a "shelter" next to a power unit on the canal bank. His "shelter" was a tarpaulin taped to the metal unit and anchored with rocks to keep the wind from blowing it away.  He had been living there for over a month in weather that often dipped below freezing. In all the times I passed that makeshift lean-to I never saw him with warm clothing or food. I knew what I wanted to do.   I was young, living at home, and when I told my parents what I wanted to do they were alarmed. I could be putting myself at risk, taking a box to a homeless person in the night time! But I knew, on some intrinsic level, that I would be safe.    I went to the grocery store and got an apple box with a solid top ... Read Full Story >>

3932 Reads

A Kindness Lesson For The Girls On The Way To The Store

There is a man who always stands out on different corners of our city, holding a sign that reads "Will work for food for my family."  Normally I don't have much extra to help him too much.  Many times my mom is with me and she makes me pull over and she will hand him some money.   Tonight, I was on my way to the store to get milk when I saw the man.  My daughter and her friend in the car.  We all felt so awful that this man was standing out in the cold, wet weather.  Many people make comments that he should be able to work.  I often wondered why he would stand out there rather than be in the warmth of a building to work.   Well, he may not have an address, and you need an address in order to apply for a job.  Either way, I don't ... Read Full Story >>

4050 Reads

Two Brothers Do The Same Act Of Kindness

My brother and I were shopping at a department store one day.  My mother had taken him home separately and had returned to get me.  As we were walking towards the car, I saw a homeless man sitting outside  the department store we were shopping at.

I told my mom to hold on a minute. I walked towards the man, and handed him a twenty dollar bill. I usually wouldn't do this, but I knew that I had to this time. When I handed it to him, a tear ran down his eyes, as he said "God bless you".

When I returned to the car my mom told me she was so proud. I asked her why and said that I felt that when people need help, and we have the urge to help, we need to just help them. She then told me that my brother, who she had taken home earlier, did the exact same thing.

3280 Reads

Gratitude For Our Children's Kindness

I recently posted a story about a local man in a difficult situation, and how his plight had inspired my children to help.  I posted a follow on story about how my children started a fundraiser (making angels) to help out a local man and his family. The man is out in  all kinds of weather, holding a sign that reads, "Will work for food for family."  We don't see stuff like that in our area much and he touched my children's hearts and they raised $100.00 for this family.  This story is the final instalment. Yesterday my husband and I took the kids to give the man the money they had raised for him.  My husband called him over to the car, and I got out to explain who we were and tell him about the fundraiser.  He was very soft spoken, rather young, and extremely respectful.  We talked about how hard times are right now, ... Read Full Story >>

5541 Reads

Helping a Little Girl on the Street

Her facial deformities make her look scary. She is around eight or nine years old and she begs for living.   The first time I saw her I got a fright and almost squealed. A few times after than I handed over some coins. Later, I felt annoyed with her and her parents for scaring others to get money. Eventually I thought of giving some more money or talking to her but I was worried she might become a nuisance, so I didn't. I told myself she probably wouldn't understand my language, but that was just an excuse and I felt bad about it.   Today, when I saw her sitting on the footpath counting coins, I thought she would come to my car and beg but she didn’t. I started walking home from my car but then thought maybe I could do some good here if I could overcome my inhibitions, discomfort ... Read Full Story >>

4876 Reads

Homeless Man Who Wouldn't Shoot

I watched from a distance as the homeless man bickered at those who did not leave money for him – the majority. I walked up to him and right on queue he asked me for a quarter. “I’ll give you a quarter if you tell me your story.” He laughed, “You’ll give me a quarter for my story?” I lay the quarter in front him and corrected myself – “Nah, here's the quarter but it would be nice to hear your story.” I followed his eyes to the quarter and for a brief moment I saw a glimmer of reflection. I sat down next to him and waited. “I was in the army,” he said. “Was a sniper – was supposed to shoot down the enemy from the distance.” I listened intently to his grizzly voice as he dwelled deeper into the story. He wore dirty old rags and smelled like a ... Read Full Story >>

18.9K Reads
  • Posted by RishiO
  • Jun 20, 2011
  • 24 Comments
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The Vegan Cookie Muse

I've been practicing at least one intentional act of kindness a day recently. Today, I had a vegan, wrapped cookie in my pocket, courtesy of some friends last night who requested it be paid forward, just itching to find its recipient. :). It's an interesting thing, to observe what thoughts the mind tends towards on a walk in the streets, and equally interesting to observe how it focuses when carrying an intention like, "Whose day can I make, and how??" I was walking through the subway, and passed by a musician strumming his guitar. It was no extraordinary sight, but suddenly I remembered a story of how a world-class violinist played in a subway station once, and only handful of folks stopped to listen to a performance that would normally fill the fanciest concert halls. World-class musician or not, this guy was into it, and so I decided to form an audience ... Read Full Story >>

2916 Reads

My V-Neck Sweater

  Driving home from a movie I knew I was running out of gas. For some reason I passed up the nearest gas station and was compelled to drive well out of my way to gas up.    As I pulled up I was captivated by the scene; fancy cars, hybrids, Mercedes and Hondas juxtaposed against two homeless men eating out of the trash can. Another man was asking customers if he could clean their windscreens for spare change.   As I stepped the warm confines of my car I felt the frigid wind against my face. That's when a homeless man walked up to me with a desperate look in his eyes. He said, "Sir! Someone stole all my stuff! Can you believe that? Do you have an extra jacket or t-shirt I could have?"    I was shocked to think that someone would steal from a homeless man, but I didn't have any spare garments ... Read Full Story >>

4148 Reads
  • Posted by toanlam
  • Jul 21, 2011
  • 20 Comments
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A Journey Of Love

No matter how much money I don’t have, I always try to think positive. Sometimes, I hate it when I start thinking about money because it brings me down, makes me sad how others have more, and are doing more. When I was younger, I always wondered why money was so important, there wasn’t anything I needed. It’s good to be kid, not having to worry about responsibilities. But as everyone gets older, of course that changes. I work almost everyday, but it’s still not enough, that’s what is frustrating - it’s never enough. Right now I have to sacrifice the money I make. I put my school on hold so that I can pay for my girlfriend's school, paying for tuition and everything else. I’m very supportive because in everything I do, she is also very supportive, we are each other’s number one fan. Helping her really puts everything ... Read Full Story >>

3986 Reads

Finding A Family A Home

 Working at a homeless shelter can be stressful but it can also be a source of uplifting stories! One part of my job is dealing with the initial homeless family housing calls. The very first call I had was a single mother. She was weeping. She told me she had gotten into a terrible car accident and wasn’t able to work for a while so she lost her job, had stacks of medical bills and fell behind on rent. Even though she had gotten another job just recently she was still being evicted from her apartment and she and her two children had nowhere to go.   After she finished explaining the situation she stopped and said, “I’m so sorry! Thank you for letting me tell my story. I’ve tried every shelter and church organization in the area and no one listens - or cares. I’m not a liar ... and I realize ... Read Full Story >>

4074 Reads
  • Posted by SassyPants
  • Sep 14, 2011
  • 13 Comments
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The Missing Cheese Bun Feeds Two Souls

Any passenger on the subway who caught a glimpse of me may have already thought that I was strange as I was smiling while reading Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground. In particular this one gentleman sitting diagonal from me was staring at me, at the cheese bun on the floor in front of me, and then back at me. “Next stop, St. Patrick Station” – my stop was quickly coming up.  I had minutes to either take the cheese bun, which nobody else was claiming (as a passenger probably dropped it by mistake and got off at a previous stop), or leave it there and hope that it didn’t go to waste. In those few minutes I felt my pride getting in the way. “What would other people on this subway think of me if I took the cheese bun? Would they think that I wanted it for myself? Would they think ... Read Full Story >>

4664 Reads
  • Posted by BigBearHugs
  • Nov 10, 2011
  • 24 Comments
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Top 10 Kindness Stories of 2011

For the first time last year, we featured a top ten list of stories published by our members in 2010 and it was very well received, so we decided to do it again and compile this year's top ten kindness stories of 2011 to share the inspiration!  1. Today You, Tomorrow Me During this past year I’ve had three instances of car trouble: a blowout on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out-of-gas situation. [...] Each time, when these things happened, I was disgusted with the way people didn’t bother to help. I was stuck on the side of the freeway hoping my friend’s roadside service would show, just watching tow trucks cruise past me. The people at the gas stations where I asked for a gas can told me that they couldn’t lend them out "for safety reasons," but that I could buy a really crappy one-gallon can, ... Read Full Story >>

104K Reads
  • Posted by HelpOthers
  • Jan 1, 2012
  • 2 Comments
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The Veteran Who Just Wanted To Be Seen

This happened about four or five years ago. I had been involved in "Non Violent Communication" for a couple of years. I was struggling as I still do with finding a natural and seamless way of connecting with people through compassion and empathy in everyday encounters; trying not to assume I know what someone needs but being willing to ask.  Walking through the lobby of an office building in San Francisco I could hear a man screaming and shouting obscenities. He was so loud his voice penetrated the sounds of mid-day traffic and the double glass doors leading to the street.     Heading through those doors I saw a double amputee hunched over on one of those little rolling platforms auto mechanics sometimes use to scoot under cars. He was gesturing erratically at pedestrians as they approached and yelling profanities as they veered as far away from him as they could get ... Read Full Story >>

9620 Reads

Using My Hobby To Help The Homeless

I am a huge fan of thrift shops and I have several that I check out every weekend. It's how I unwind and have some time to myself. I actually look forward to it every week.   One of my favorite shops had started discounting certain clothing by 90%. Every week they had an entire wall filled with all kinds of items, most of which were in great condition. I was disappointed at first that I couldn't personally benefit because nothing was in mine or my husband's size.   Then it dawned on me. I could stock up on sweaters and jackets for the impending cold weather and donate them to the homeless shelter! In the last couple of weeks I've gotten six huge bags of sweaters, jackets, sweatpants, and long-sleeved shirts for under $20! I also got a small bag of soap, toothbrushes and shampoo for $1.   One of the jackets I got today ... Read Full Story >>

17.7K Reads