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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
I was leaving Walmart the other day and saw a young man standing by the exit. He was holding a sign that read, "Even 50 cents would help."
For the last two and a half years I have been giving out Smile Cards whenever I find an opportunity. I am sad to admit that my family and I are homeless, we live in a trailer which we were so kindly given by a family member. During this period, I have given out over 200 Smile Cards. I have always tried to find something kind to do, even when my husband lost his job and we were fighting to get by. I have started giving out coupons for free food, plus money for people to get at least one meal, on me. I always put my coupon, gift and Smile Card in a envelope that says "For whoever finds this". Once I left an envelope on someone's work truck and got back into our trailer. I just happened to look out at the bus later and I saw the guy open my envelope and find the gift. He read the card and then he looked ... Read Full Story >>
I was on a long drive this past weekend and stopped for a rest break. I noticed a man in a wheelchair sitting by the stop sign. He was holding a sign that read, "trying to make it home for the holidays". I quickly dismissed it because I had no cash to give him. I watched as people drove by and either ignored him or stared at him like he was a curiosity of sorts. I felt really badly for him. I started to drive away but turned around and asked him if he was hungry. For some reason, I seem to be called to feed hungry people lately. He seemed shocked that someone was interested in his well-being and said yes, he would like a sandwich and a soda. I know some people balk at the idea of giving money to strangers because they may use that money for drugs or alcohol ... Read Full Story >>
Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #9 - A Spontaneous Opportunity to Truly Teach My Children About Generosity
My kids and I were heading into the superstore over the weekend. On the way, we spotted a man wrapped in a blanket and holding a sign that said, "Lost my job. Family to Feed". At this store, a sight like this is not a normal occurrence. It was obvious the man was embarrassed, but desperate. My 10-year-old noticed him commented on how bad it must be to have to stand outside in the cold wind. While we were in the store, I asked each of the kids (I have seven :) to pick something they thought our 'friend' outside would appreciate. They picked a couple apples, a package of shrimp cocktail, a sandwich, some cheese and a bottle of juice. Then my 17-year-old asked, "Can we get him a gift card?" I thought about it. We were low on cash ourselves, but... well, sometimes giving from our 'need' instead of our 'abundance' is ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I was in town with my daughter and we saw this man sitting on the ground, looking sad and like he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Before I could say anything my daughter asked if we could give him some money. (He had a hat on the ground with some coins in it.) So, I gave her some change. At the same time an elderly gentleman bent down towards the man, said some words, and gave him some money. I was very much touched by the gentleness of the gesture. It was as if the older man was saying, "I am helping you because you could be my son." It was a very hot day, which is not very normal in our little town. We were going to the supermarket and my daughter asked me if we could get some water and something for the man to eat. ... Read Full Story >>
Several times I had seen what seemed to be a homeless woman with her dog holding up a sign that said "weary travelers, will accept any donation."
Each time I saw them it nearly broke my heart that this young woman was walking everywhere with her dog beside her. My heart just went out to her for some reason so one day I saw her and went to the pet store and bought her dog some cans of dog food and some treats and went back to where I had seen her but she had already gone.
I kept the dog food and treats in my car hoping to see her and about a month later, I saw her with her dog. I had to turn my car around in heavy traffic to get to her but I managed it and gave her the dog food and treats
along with ten dollars for herself.
She was very thankful and I don't regret doing what I did one bit. Sometimes, we all need a little help. I hope she and her dog find a place to live soon.
I was doing some yard-work yesterday. It was a mellow evening and I was making the most of it. Now, there is a path that runs alongside our garden fence. After I had been out there a while I heard a neighbors' voice coming from the path. "That's no place to be sleeping!" he said. "What a ridiculous state to get yourself into. Get up and get home. I'm telling you, you'd better not be there when I get back!" I looked over the fence as the neighbor walked away. There didn't seem to be anyone else there. Then I looked down. There was a man lying on his back on the path with his eyes closed. I recognized him. I had seen him doing the drunkard's walk along that path on several occasions. My mind went over the telling off I had just overheard and a little voice in my head said, "Oh, ... Read Full Story >>
On an overcast morning a couple of days ago, I was walking through the city center of my home town in central Germany. The gray sky didn't bother me because trees were finally putting on their green spring dress, and flowers strew gentle touches of color here and there. I was on my way to catch a bus, walking quickly, and easily outpaced a man whose stumbling gait had already caught my eye. While passing him by, I cast a glance towards him, and saw that his head was hanging so low, his chin touched his chest. He was holding a bottle of beer in his left hand. The cap was on, but the bottle was already missing a third of its content. He looked like he could fall over any minute, and hurt himself. I stopped a couple of yards ahead of him, wanting to offer him my help to ... Read Full Story >>
My 25 year old daughter had just purchased a home in San Diego, near San Diego State University, and I wasn't too fond of the neighborhood at night. We pulled into a gas station near her home around 8 PM. I was sitting in the passenger seat of her SUV, and noticed an old guy with a white beard taking trash out of the cans on the gas island. He picked out a smoothie container, half full, held it up to the light, and took a swig. He shuddered, and then put the lid on it and popped it in his bag. He repeated the procedure with a bottle of Sprite. I looked away, embarrassed for him that he didn't care who was watching (although he couldn't see me through the window) and so sad for him and for all of us, that we could let this happen in such an ... Read Full Story >>
It was a Thursday in Germany. My friend and I were taking an autumn walk through the fields. As we neared the more populated area again, a little bit off the street, I saw a handbag lying on the ground. It looked like it might have belonged to a middle-aged lady - there was no one around. Thinking it had been stolen and thrown aside, I picked it up. Maybe there were some papers left that the owner still needed. But when I opened it the contents seemed intact and undisturbed. The papers showed it to belong not to a middle-aged German as I first thought but to a young woman of Turkish origin. (Let's call her Lale.) She appeared to live on the other side of town. I took the bag home, and tried to contact Lale. However, she wasn't listed in the phone book. Now what? A prescription inside showed her doctor's address. ... Read Full Story >>
I can't stand the thought of people being forced to beg for money, even though a good number of them may be swindlers. That won't stop my kindness. One Sunday afternoon, I was on my way to a bus stop. When I walked on the sidewalk, someone blocked my way. It was a man. His face was dirty and his hair was not very neat. His clothes were rather grungy. I was terribly frightened by this man. In a low voice, he said to me, "I have run out of all my money, and now I can't go back home. Could you please give me some money?" I wondered if he was telling the truth. But despite my doubts, I just couldn't stop my heart from going out to him. From the looks of his face, I guessed that he had been refused by others many times. So I gave him some money ... Read Full Story >>
I was having a lovely dinner with my hubby on a cold Friday night when I noticed a man who looked like he might be homeless. He was sitting at the table next to us with a plate of fries.
I asked our waitress about him and she said he came in from time to time.
So, I gave her money to cover some future meals for him and I went home with a warm feeling in my heart!
When an engaged couple calls off the wedding, it is usually a time of sadness and anger. But one family in Atlanta found a way to turn a terrible situation into a beautiful one. Carol and Willie Fowler's daughter Tamara was set to get married at the Villa Christina catering hall, when the wedding was called off just 40 days before the event. Initially the Fowlers were upset to hear that the lavish gathering they had planned and paid for was not going to happen. Then they had a genius and generous idea: They invited 200 of the city's homeless to feast on the four-course meal that would have been part of Tamara's wedding reception. The Fowler family called Elizabeth Omilami from the Hosea Feed the Hungry organization for her help in getting the group together. At first Omilami thought she was being pranked! Carol Fowler said that even daughter Tamara ... Read Full Story >>
I saw a tired and dirty man struggling to walk in the heat of the day. I pulled over and offered him a ride.
He said he was trying to get to the bank to pay in a dollar someone had given him. It seemed he had a lot of medical expenses he was trying to pay. So I gave him a ride to the bank and waited outside for him.
He was surprised I was still there. I asked if he wanted to come to my house for a shower and a meal. He was delighted to accept.
He showered, put on some of my husband's clothes, and ate some of my leftovers. (He didn't finish them because he wasn't used to eating so much.) Then I offered him the chance to take a nap in my spare room while I washed and dried his clothes.
He crawled into the bed and let out a load moan. I asked what was wrong and he said he had never felt anything so soft. He said it felt like he was laying on a cloud.
He slept for about two hours. Then he got dressed again in his freshly laundered clothes.
He told me more of his story and I offered more help. He refused, thanked me, and went on his way.
A few years ago (when I was in college) and comically poor, I had just made up with my parents and was headed home for the first time in a few years. I'd dropped out and was working for t-mobile and made a decent life supporting myself but a few months prior to I had a meltdown and realized I had to go back to school. I caved, called my dad, and asked for help. Before I started driving the ~9hrs home, I decided to stop at the grocery store to grab some chips, red bull, etc. It was a few days before Christmas, and I was super down on myself about how poor I was, how my parents were paying for me to head up, how I felt like such a waste, and how I felt like I'd failed to support myself. !I went in, grabbed some stuff, then realized I was ... Read Full Story >>
Every Thanksgiving my family and I, along with others, prepare and serve Thanksgiving meals for the people in our small mountain community. My husband and I also bring meals to shut-ins, people that never leave their homes for various reasons. After we passed out boxed meals in a senior housing apartment building. After delivering to some individual apartments, we went to the central dining room and placed the boxes filled with turkey, ham, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, gravy and green bean casserole in front of each seat. People invited us to stay, and thanked us, but we had other deliveries and had to leave. As we started to exit, I turned around and saw them all watching us. Impulsively, I asked, "Would anybody like a hug?" They lined up. There was so much warmth in each hug. My eyes filled with tears and my heart with love. I now visit occasionally to chat ... Read Full Story >>
It is raining very heavily and roads are flooded. I know an elderly couple who stay in a tent made of plastic sheets. The old man begs and old lady cooks from whatever he gets home. I thought about their plight and went to their tent carrying some food with me. they both gratefully accepted it.
The old lady asked me, "How did you come in such rains? Are you alright?" I was touched by her concern for me when she and her family are in such danger and facing hunger. Later my friends and I went with supplies to last them for sometime in case rain does not stop.
I was stopped at a red light when I noticed a homeless guy walking towards me. This man had a sign that read "not much needed just hungry".
I didn't have any cash, all I had was my own lunch I had packed for myself. I rolled my window and said I have a banana, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottled water- it's yours if you want it. He smiled and said Thank You.
I was scared at first that maybe he was looking for something different than what I had to offer, but he walked over to his crate, sat down and ate the food. I pass him every day and everyday he smiles and mimes "Thank You".
I was really broke. I had only $10 and didn't have time to eat breakfast or pack my own lunch that day. As I drove my son to school, I noticed a man walking up the road. I'd seen him before - elderly, worn, dressed in whatever rags he could find and leaning on a piece of a branch as a walking stick. Usually I'd always pack 2 sandwiches in case I saw him or anyone else in need. I also noticed a lady selling fresh fruit cups ($5) & fruit bowls ($7) on the roadside. I prayed I'd see him when I came back in that direction to go to work. I did, and he was sitting on the bus stop bench right next to the fruit vendor! I pulled over, purchased a bowl of fruit for $7, told her to keep the change and immediately turned to give the ... Read Full Story >>
We were one of the last couples among our friends and family to begin having children and were inundated with free baby gear and hand me downs. We are truly fortunate. We were blessed with 2 beautiful babes and for a time, I thought that we might have a third but time and life have moved forward and it became clear that it was not going to be. It took me awhile to be able to pass along our good fortune, partly because I was not ready to part with baby items and partly because we kept looking for someone who had a need. Finally, in the last week or so, I've managed to go through all of the kid's clothes and today, sent my husband to our local Crisis Nursery with SIX black garbage bags full of kid's clothes.When he arrived home, he told me that they were very happy for ... Read Full Story >>