Stories Matching 'Kindness of Strangers' Tag (357 matches)



Carnations with a Smile at a Supermarket

Every since I was little I loved doing things for other people. As I got older I began doing random things for people. For example, during holidays, such as Christmas, I would make out an extra card along with the ones for my relatives. Then I would go and find someone in the grocery store and just hand it to them and walk away! It was so much fun. Although I admit, the first time I did it I was so nervous. I didn't know who to give the card to. So I said a little prayer and knew that the right person would just appear...about that time an elderly man ran into me with his shoppping cart!! It was an accident, and he apologized a million times! We smiled and he walked away, and I knew that he was the one! Later I found him in a different isle, ... Read Full Story >>

15.8K Reads
  • Posted by Kat C.
  • Mar 23, 2006
  • 35 Comments
  • Share Story

Three Homeless Men

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 >>

11.7K Reads
  • Posted by mike adams
  • Mar 24, 2008
  • 45 Comments
  • Share Story

Warm Story From Ethiopia

I traveled to Ethiopia last year with my business partner and president of OLA's Exotic Coffee & Tea. We are a coffee company that imports coffee from Africa and traveled to Ethiopia to visit the coffee plantations and speak with the government about investing. One day our entourage traveled about 4 hours from the capital to visit the Yirgacheffe coffee region. There we were looking to survey some coffee processing plants to possibly purchase. It rained heavily that day and there was a flash flood in a nearby village that we had to travel through to reach the farm. After we surveyed our last coffee farm, we climbed into the 4 cars we traveled in and began the long journey back to our hotels. As we were leaving though, through the rain and soggy conditions, Ola our CEO waved his hands to stop the cars. ... Read Full Story >>

4149 Reads

An Old Friendship

This is about an incident which took place couple of years back. I used to frequently visit an old age home run by the little sisters of the poor in our city Hyderabad. A.P. (India) There I met a gentlemen by name Kurien who happened to be a Keralite in his late eighties. He served the Indian army and retired. He has one son who is well educated and also married. He just does not bother to take care of him nor respect him while he is in the house. Mr. Kurien got dejected with the life in his house and decided to move into this old age home here in Hyderabad. We both began to share a lot thoughts whenever we met and slowly it was a daily affair that I used to spend some time with him discussing what he was doing in the army, ... Read Full Story >>

5811 Reads
  • Posted by ram mohan
  • Apr 15, 2006
  • 16 Comments
  • Share Story

Chocolate Insanity

It was a routine trip. We, my wife and I, are walking back home from the grocery store when we spontaneously decide to walk into a coffee shop. As my wife orders a small cup of coffee at the counter, I huddle our grocery bags under our table and get ready to share some hot coffee on this unusually cold day. Just then, my eyes catch glimpse of a young woman in her thirties escorting a rather frail Mexican woman into the shop. Maybe it was the gentleness of their encounter or a vague familiarity with the circumstances, but something about them grabs my full attention. I immediately feel an impulse to do something for them. Anything. Unfortunately, before I can gather my wits, they leave the coffee shop without ordering anything! When my wife returns, I tell her of my silent encounter. "But I ... Read Full Story >>

8793 Reads

London Cabbie's Payment-in-Kind!

Last week, I was running a little late on my way to my first day at a new job in East London. I had injured my achilles heal a couple of days before and didn't want to put too much pressure on it by running to the tube station so I decided to jump in a cab just to get to the station. The cab driver was really warm and friendly and happened to ask me where I was off to. So, I told him how I was on my way to start a new job and was running a little late to get to the tube station. En route, about half way there, he realized that the road was closed ahead and told me that as a result this is as far as he'll be able to take me. Of course I said no ... Read Full Story >>

5934 Reads

One Size Fits All

We were recently at a concert. The young artists were playing their hearts out but unfortunately, the audience was largely empty. Moved by the artists, my wife felt we ought to do something to support them. Something, anything. The guy next to us, an Italian youngster named Arthur, had become our friend in applause. We just knew that he felt the same way, because at the end of the concert, all three of us stood up to give our own version of a standing ovation for these budding artists. After the concert, we go outside to the front desk and ask the little girl behind the CD-counter. "What is your favorite item? This t-shirt or this CD or this card?" The little girl was also part of the ten-person band; she was the daughter of the lead singer. A little shy, she shrugs her shoulder with ... Read Full Story >>

4929 Reads

Flowers That She Couldn't Smell

“Everyone says the flowers smell good but I don’t smell anything. Nothing. Do you smell them?” she asks, in her heavily accented voice. After walking around a busy street looking to do a random act of kindness, I had stumbled into this flower shop. Even though my mind was busy devising possible scenarios, I had a gut feeling that something was going to present itself. A little startled by the flower lady’s question, I tell her that “the flowers smell ah-mazing and perhaps you should take a break once in a while so you can enjoy them too.” Before I realize, I find myself in the midst of a conversation about her life -- she got laid off from United Airlines a few years back, took the unemployment money and traveled the world for a year. Then, she ran out of money and came back to work at the ... Read Full Story >>

25.7K Reads

Christmas With My Son

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.

5730 Reads

Bystander No More

I was with my oldest son and we were on the lookout for an open parking space in our jam-packed shopping center. We spotted a perfect one in the next row of spaces, and I manouvered our van around the turn, all the while hoping no one else would spot it and grab it before I could. And, as luck would have it, a lady was wheeling her shopping cart right in front of us, and it looked like it was getting away from her - crammed with bags and cartons of soda underneath. She herself was carrying three extra bags in her hands while trying to push the cart against a strong spring wind, and looked frazzled. She noticed us and I could tell she was trying to move over to the side so we could pass. At that moment, some of the lighter ... Read Full Story >>

5641 Reads

Wear Smiles

In the middle of lunch, we get a phone call. "Sir, I've got a special package for you." "Special package? Um, ok, I'll come down to get it." "This is for you," the slim, twenty-something guy says with a mischevious smile. "Who is it from?" "It's from an anonymous friend." Actually, in all my excitement I couldn't tell if he said "friend" or "friends" but it didn't matter. With radiant joy for having kind friends, I took a peek inside the box. "Thank you." The kid rushes off as if his 007 mission is accomplished. Inside the box -- guess what? T-shirts. Lots of them, I think about 25-30 of them. Each t-shirt had the same kind of "smile" written on it, the way each smile card has, and a happy face. ... Read Full Story >>

7112 Reads

Laundry mat Veggies

I have a big veggie garden and every year i plant a little more than i can handle. It's something like my eyes are bigger than my appetite. I decided to take all of my excess veggies down to the laundry mat with a sign that read "free veggies". I guess that those who use the laundry may prbably rent places and might not be able to plant a garden. I did this all summer and each time when i went to collect the box...it was empty!

2652 Reads

A Stolen Bike and Help from Strangers

It was a typical winter morning, just a couple of weeks before Christmas 2005: While most people were warming up their cars, my husband got up early to ride his bike the four kilometres to his job at Mr. Lube. When my husband arrived at work, he parked his bike outside the back doors as he usually does. After putting in 10 solid hours of labour, he returned to find his bike was gone–stolen. The bike, a purple kona 18 speed, was our only source of transportation. Trevor used that bike to get to both his jobs, putting in 60-hour weeks to support his young family. But the bike was not only used for work. It was also used to get groceries, saving us from having to walk long distances from where we live. I was so upset that someone would steal his bike that I wrote to ... Read Full Story >>

4474 Reads

Do Not Fear, Smile Retrievers Are Here!

Last-weekend, my kids along with few other kids from the neighborhood volunteered to help me wash my car. We embarked on our car cleaning mission when my 10 year old came up with the idea of washing other people's cars as well. It was pretty hot outside and I had no plans to continue being in the bright sun. She further wanted to give lemonade to passerby's for free. I had seen little kids serve and sell fresh lemonade for a small cost (may be 25 cents) but not free. I felt fuzzy and decided to help her out. She promptly asked me, "What if we make this a smile car wash mommy"? I couldn't hold back my tears and encouraged her and the other kids to go inside the house and get creative and come up with ideas. While I kept myself busy in drying the car, the ... Read Full Story >>

4759 Reads

Spreading Smiles in Calcutta

I was catching a flight from Calcutta to Madras and had arrived at the airport rather early. Have always thought of airports as rather happy places- everyone at the beginning or the end of a journey- or both- such a sense of adventure in the air- and warmth- because people travel to see people and you know as you look around that that's someone's daughtersonhusbandwifefriendgrandmotheruncle cousinnephewhathaveyou and someone on the other end is going to be So Very Glad to see them. So until I saw the young couple sitting a few seats away from me, and noticed that the woman was crying-I'd never stopped to think that though airports are places of Adventurous Arrival they can also be about Difficult Departure. The young woman was crying, the young man was- not. He looked distinctly connected to her and decidedly uncomforting (and yes that is judgemental of me but so be ... Read Full Story >>

4751 Reads

An Offered Basket

While going through a time of great sorrow and grief over a loss, I left my apartment and went to the 99 cent store to pick up two things I needed. Although these were not important items, I needed to get out for a while.

Having picked up the two items, I wandered through the store in a state of depression or shock, picking up more and more stuff, filling my arms. I was juggling these items, not willing to walk to the front of the store for a cart, not really thinking I needed one.

I heard a voice in the distance, far removed from my frame of mind, saying, "Lady, Lady." I turned around to see this man holding out a basket to me in both hands. He said, "Lady, Lady, please stop suffering,” and he gave the basket to me for the burdens I was holding on to. All I could say was, "That was so sweet!”

Then the man was gone, and the other shoppers were frozen in time watching what went on. They added, "Yes, that was so sweet.” In an instant, that one act of kindness changed my heart and mind, and he was long gone without even my being able to say thank you. The moment came and went, and it changed my day.

3014 Reads

A Little Time On The Elevator

I was at a business meeting, and I had to run downstairs to pick up some documents. As I was hurrying to catch the elevator back upstairs to my meeting, an elderly woman stopped me and asked me to go on the elevator downstairs with her.

She explained that she was terrified of elevators and asked/begged if I could go with her downstairs to the street level. At first, I was going to ask her why she was afraid, and the doors were opening. I canned my question, just got on the elevator and went downstairs with her, and pointed which direction she should go. I got back in the elevator and went upstairs. My colleagues were a bit inconvenienced, but our meeting proceeded without a hitch.

Sometimes it takes a little time to be kind, sometimes you have to give up your priority to help someone make it to the street.

3011 Reads
  • Posted by Star
  • Aug 26, 2006
  • 7 Comments
  • Share Story

Thirst Quencher On Busy Day

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 >>

3937 Reads

Purple Carnations at the Hospital

"Do you need a vase for your purple carnations? " asked a gentle voice and I woke up in my hospital bed. It was one of those few  rare moments when no one else was in the room with me and I had slipped into slumber. "Yes - these are from a special friend" I managed to say looking at her for the first time. She was a janitor and while clearing the trash can, she had chanced upon the flowers. But why would she care? And she said 'purple carnations' precisely. I asked her if she likes flowers. Her eyes lit up and she spoke in excited bursts. She LOVES flowers and in her garden, every flower that blooms each day gets a special hug and bye from her before she leaves for work. My God! I told her that I've been getting a lot of flowers and after appreciating  the boquets ... Read Full Story >>

4729 Reads
  • Posted by earthling
  • Sep 15, 2006
  • 6 Comments
  • Share Story

Mocha for Me

I live on a very busy street and the morning commute can sometimes be almost unbearable. 

One morning, I let a car out of a side street and proceeded on my way to my favorite drive thru coffee shop.  When it was my turn I ordered my mocha and as I went to pay she told me that the car in front of me had paid for me because I had let them out in traffic and they noticed I had gone to the same coffee place that they had!!! 

Now that inspired me to do likewise and occassionally that is what I do---pay it forward!!!   A small kindness like letting someone out in traffic can make someone's day!   And the bonus this time was a mocha!! Totally unexpected blessing!  It works both ways!

2300 Reads

The Crumpled Dollar

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.

5622 Reads
  • Posted by Babygirl
  • Apr 8, 2007
  • 28 Comments
  • Share Story

The Joys of Being a Waitress

As a waitress you meet and see all types of people.  I guess you could call it the melting pot of the highway because the food connects us all. I was about to end my shift one afternoon when a group of people came in.  As they sat down, they explained that they were trying to make it home and just had enough to buy their children a small snack and that all they needed was water. So I showed them a few things on the menu and asked them what they would like. As I walked away to turn in their order, I just couldn't see this family leaving hungry with a snack and some water!  So I asked some friends to join me in helping this family and they agreed because they know how I am when it comes to helping others and it gives them the fuzzy feeling of ... Read Full Story >>

10.4K Reads
  • Posted by Babygirl
  • Apr 13, 2007
  • 43 Comments
  • Share Story

Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: "If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately." Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. "Help," said the flight service person. "Talk to her. What is her problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this." I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. "Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee?" The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used -- she stopped crying.   She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following ... Read Full Story >>

146K Reads
  • Posted by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Apr 26, 2007
  • 46 Comments
  • Share Story

Kindness In Grief

A long time ago, I was a waitress in a pancake house that stayed open til midnight. One evening around 11:30, a couple came in. There was no one else in the restaurant, so I started chatting as I poured the coffee. It turns out that the womans mother was in the hospital and it was only a matter of time before she passed. We talked how hard it was to watch a parent die and how we both hoped that she wouldn't be in pain for too much longer. She asked if the restaurant would be open the following evening and I assured her that it would and I would be waiting for them with a hot pot of coffee. For 5 more evenings, they retured. I wouldn't let the cook turn off the grill until they showed up. He wasn't happy about it, but after I told him the ... Read Full Story >>

4763 Reads

Gratitude For The Kindness Of Strangers...

As I was walking along the river this evening, enjoying some hot chocolate with the sun shining down on me on this nice spring day, I was in the mood to do something nice for a stranger and started to look around for an opportunity to do a random act of kindness.  Two minutes later I was approached from across the pathway by a complete stranger.  I wasn't sure why he was approaching me, when from out of nowhere he started talking to me really aggressively and harrassing me.  I could tell he was probably drunk or high or who-knows-what so I just stayed calm and kept walking ahead.  There were hundreds of people sitting on benches nearby and walking along the South Bank with me, so I wasn't really worried.  As I tried to walk along he kept saying offensive things to me and trying to get my attention.  ... Read Full Story >>

8149 Reads

Not Great, Only Kind

This has really been the perfect day, not to hot, not cold, so I decided I would use it to work in my yard.   I love sitting on the earth, pulling weeds  and keeping my little space clean, somewhere in my mind I feel that it comforts the weary souls who pass by .  Today, two special things happened today that really birghtened my day.  Since I am getting older now and have slowed down, I decided early what I was going to accomplish today and started out with a lot of energy, but about half way thru my muscles cramped and I decided to stretch out on the lawn for a minute.  Much to my surprise, I heard a voice ask me, "Are you alright?"  A stranger saw me and was concerned.  What a beautiful soul! I had the wheel barrow with me to put the weeds in and just ... Read Full Story >>

4112 Reads

A Wallet of an Old Man

There I was, a sole-parent, walking down the street. The week had been hard and today was full with bill paying and running errangs. As I walked the street, with my head down deep in thought, I noticed something unusual in the gutter. Moving towards the object, I realised it was a wallet. I picked it up and immediately looked up and around for the first time that day. The street was bare with only one shop -- Guidedogs for the Blind.  Standing there, my first thought was that perhaps someone would return to claim the wallet.  But after a while, I realized I needed to be proactive.  I opened the wallet to find a name or some identification.  While looking through it, I noticed something like $400, all neatly stacked in fifty dollar notes!   I eventually found a name but no phone number or address.   My only clue was ... Read Full Story >>

4196 Reads
  • Posted by SmileHiClub
  • Jun 8, 2007
  • 25 Comments
  • Share Story

The Waffle House Waitress

I was recently traveling with a friend when we decided to get something to eat. Being a huge Waffle House fan, we scouted out the area we were in, and found one. If you have never been in one, or have never heard of it, Waffle House is kinda like a chain of diners that serve the best waffles around! They won't be found at the top of any Zagat's list of Fine dining, but they are my favorite! Our waitress took a while to take our order, asking the same questions a few times. We made a few substitutions and "complicated" the order, but she wrote it all down. When the orders came, they were not right. When the bill came, it was not right either. The only thing that was right was the taste of the food and the smile of the waitress. She may not ... Read Full Story >>

4344 Reads

An Unforgettable Fishing Experience

Several years ago, I worked for a trucking outfit as a driver. It was my habit to go in on Saturday and spend a couple hours maintaining my truck. As I was under the truck greasing it, I noticed the owner's elderly father making his way over to his grandson's truck next to mine.  The old man was in his high eighties, had been an avid fisherman all his life, and had come out to ask the kid to take him fishing after work. The grandson told him all about how much he would love to do that, but, he just couldn't that day due to prior commitments. The old man accepted the answer and hobbled off to the house. A few minutes later, the father came out and asked his son what the old man had wanted. After telling the story, the kid ended it with telling his dad, ... Read Full Story >>

7443 Reads
  • Posted by Mike Delyria
  • Dec 12, 2008
  • 20 Comments
  • Share Story

Lost & Found: Two Rings

After working out one day, in the locker room, I came across a gorgeous wedding ring studded with many diamonds and a ruby ring.  I could tell they were very expensive, and by the color, the gold looked to be 24 carat. I looked around but there was no one in the gym or in the locker room.  So I took the rings to our work Lost & Found in the Security department upstairs.  After you fill out the tag, the items are kept for at least 30 days. I told the security guard that I did not want my name mentioned, as I wanted it to be a random act of kindness. I did not want the person to feel they needed to thank me or compensate me.  And I was pretty sure that the rings would be claimed! Over the course of the day, I forgot all about turning in the rings but ... Read Full Story >>

3275 Reads