The car went through the stop sign and into the intersection. With no where to go or time to get there, my taxi hit the car dead on. For the next three months I was out of work. I had no savings to speak of. No family to help me. I was in dire straights to be sure. The lady who ran the stop sign had little insurance, barely enough to cover the medical expenses with little left over to pay my living expenses. Just after the accident Justin came to see me in the hospital. We had been co-drivers with the taxi company. We knew each other and worked well together. We were not what one might consider to be friends but we liked each other. He asked me what was going to happen and I told him I didn't know. I was in deep trouble financially until a settlement ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 23 years old I was in a dangerous relationship with the man who was my financee at the time. I was being physically and verbally abused on a daily basis. I was financially tied to him (after he spent all my savings to pay his debts) but I wanted to be free! For the longest time I was too embarrassed to tell my mother about the situation. She had warned me about him. But, eventually, I worked up the courage to tell her and she sent me the money I needed to leave. Before the money arrived he found out what I planned to do. I was so scared of what he might do I decided to leave all my things and just get out of there. Then, on my way to safety, my car died! I had automobile insurance (thanks to my mom) so I called the AAA and had them tow ... Read Full Story >>
I have been sending out smile cards with little gifts around my work place for about six months. Since I place the gifts in our interoffice mailbox, I never know who gets them or see their reactions. As I place gifts in the mail box I imagine people's reactions and it makes me happy to know that maybe I am making someone's day a little brighter.
Today I got to witness the reaction. Apparently, one of the little gifts I left in the mailbox this morning made it's way to a co-worker of mine. Today's gifts was a little cloth kleenex holder than you can leave in your purse and a yarn flower bag tag, so my co-worker, a guy, passed it along to another female co-worker. I heard them talking as they figured out what it was and why they had received it , and the whole concept of "paying forward." I later heard her talking and brainstorming on what she would like to do. It was exciting to hear others get excited about the "pay it forward" concept and hear their ideas.
I truly believe in the power of paying it forward and I have always gotten enjoyment and fulfilment from it. Last year, I was waiting at the traffic lights on my way to work, when my car was rammed from behind. After pulling over, a flustered young man admitted his fault and proceed to apologise and explain why he had not been ‘in the moment’ whilst driving. He told me that he had just been evicted and that his insurance had just run out. I could feel his genuine stress, and as he gave me his details and promised to find a way to pay for it, I tried to comfort him and told him to not worry too much; we will work it out and to please have a great day. When I got to work, my work colleagues hounded me to get a quote quickly and were appalled that I had not collected ... Read Full Story >>
We had our first child in January and were so overwhelmed by all the love and kind wishes that people from around the world shared with us and our little one. She was showered with blessings, flowers and gifts from near and far and in some cases from people we didn't even know personally! :) My husband's business friend had a shirt made with her name on it for the football team he supports, another lady in Ireland (who we have never even met!) had candles made with her name on them, another friend in India had dresses made for her, our aunt knitted lovely hats and sweaters for her, friends bought her loads and loads of adorable clothes, another friend from New York had a blanket made with her name on it, another friend sent us cupcakes from a famous bakery that spelled out "Welcome Sareena," another friend gifted her ... Read Full Story >>
My husband works for a company that provides 24/7 care and housing for people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities. Here in Arizona, brutal budget cuts have slashed funds for those most in need. My husband loves his job and knows he is serving an important purpose, but sometimes the cuts affect morale. I decided to start sending a basket of goodies to work with my husband every Wednesday, which is the day that all staff members come in to pick up their checks. I figured it might give them a little extra reason to smile. On the first Wednesday, I sent these delicious maple leaf cookies I found that are made Canada. I wrapped them individually in cellophane (because there are lots of employees and I wanted everyone to get at little something). When my husband arrived home from work, he brought me the following note from one of his ... 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 >>
I had just graduated college and couldnt find a job in Los Angeles. I ended up moving to Las Vegas but left my wife and two kids behind. I missed them all week, and I went home on most weekends to see them. Most of the time I rented a car because it was hard to get my beat up car over the pass to get to and from Vegas. Well, one time I decided to save money, and I took my car. It made it to California, but Sunday on the way back to Vegas it conked out in the broiling Nevada nigh. Not having any idea what I would do, this middle-aged angel drove up. He gave me some water, put in some coolant, and fiddled with the engine a bit. He got it started. I gave him the $12 I had in my wallet and he said he would ... 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 >>
Yesterday was my step-mom’s birthday. I haven’t been home in a long time so I wanted to stop by the house to see her on this special day. I have been struggling financially so I was dreading the long trip. Gas is so expensive nowadays! Anyway, I filled my tank with gas and set off. I stopped at the shopping mall and found a present. It was the perfect gift and I knew she would love it. But when I got to the cashier my card was declined! I did not have enough money in my account to pay for the gift! So I pondered the issue for a few minutes. I could put it back and get something cheaper, but I knew there was nothing else in the store she would have liked as much. So, I got on my smart-phone and transferred some money from my savings account so I was ... Read Full Story >>
One of my intentions for 2011 was to continue surrounding myself with a community of individuals that helped bring the best out in me. By the end of 2011, naturally and serendipitously, I was introduced to group of individuals that gets together one Wednesday per month to meditate and discuss a passage. After my second month of joining this great group of individuals, I sat down with a couple of the organizers, to get to know one and other better. What I assumed would be a lighthearted getting to know one and other session, became an a heartfelt discussion with presence. It felt like a therapy session. I poured my heart and soul into my confusions and challenges with figuring out my next steps with life and they listened and communicated so openly. They felt like long lost elder brothers giving me guidance. While one of them was leaving, he gave me a bag ... Read Full Story >>
I was in a health food store when I heard a woman say her foot was hurting and she was going to call a cab. I paid for my purchase and left to pick up some dry cleaning from the eco-friendly cleaners next door. I was walking back home when I saw the woman outside the health food store, presumably waiting for the cab. I knew I wanted to make a trip to a craft store later that day and that I'd be driving. I asked her where she was going. She told me a place which was actually on the way to the craft store. So I said, "I've got a crazy idea. How about you cancel the cab and I'll give you a ride? It will save you some money and besides, I only live a few minutes away." To my amazement she said okay without any hesitation or ... Read Full Story >>
Today my champion-of-kindness daughter and I set out on one of our kindness missions. A while back we did some random drops of envelopes filled with a dollar, Smile cards, and a note asking them to pay it forward. Today we tried a similar experiment and it was my little 6 year old’s idea. We put a different spin on it this time. She wanted to watch people open them, as last time we loved the few we did see. So this time when we left an envelope, we watched from somewhere nearby. We made sure to only leave them when we couldn’t be caught. The first one someone grabbed and walked off. We only followed them for a bit and then thought it best to move on to our next “victim”. The second one we sat across from and watched. It was a family who found it. The skeptical husband thought for ... Read Full Story >>
Last week I went to a different grocery store than usual, just to check it out. The person in front of me at the checkout was pregnant and purchasing a couple of containers of milk. No big deal, she would be done quickly and I could be on my way. Her method of payment was a WIC card and it kept telling her that it wasn't working. A manager came over and told her to come to a different register, maybe this one was the problem. After I checked out, I noticed she was still there, trying to get her card to work. It was obvious that the young woman was getting anxious about the purchase so I offered to pay for her purchase. She was shocked that I had even offered and very humbly accepted. She thanked me and I went on my way with a smile from her. Everyone needs ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 12 years old, I went with my dad to his work - a car showroom. I was wondering around and I saw a poor woman with a child in her lap standing outside the showroom. I saw that she was crying a lot and went inside and told my father. My father went out and asked the woman to come in to the showroom. He offered her some water and then asked her what was wrong? The woman said that her husband had died some months ago and that she doesn’t have anyone else in her family who can help her. She does some manual labor to earn some money to take care of her daughter but she was sick for the last three days and was unable to go to work. Now she doesn’t have a grain of food to eat. While she was relating this ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I have six children and things have been tight financially. He is a brick-mason and as a barter deal he agreed to build a sign base for a man who owns a sign company in return for a basset hound puppy. The job was at the front of a cemetery. As we were working beside a busy road we noticed a well dressed man walking towards us. I looked beyond him and saw his car was parked on the roadside. When he reached us he asked if we had any gas he could have. My husband reached into the back of the truck and handed him a gas can with a gallon or two of gas and a funnel and told him it should be enough to get him to the nearest gas station. The man thanked him and walked back to his car. About twenty minutes passed and we finished ... Read Full Story >>
I received my "smile" cards in the mail on Friday and was thinking all week what my first "act" was going to be. There is a local pizzeria that my family frequents, and it gave me an idea. My 10-year-old daughter and I went there Saturday afternoon. I asked the person working if someone had called in an order for pick up or delivery. He checked and he said that there was a delivery going out in a few minutes for a party at a home. The order was for two pizza's and a few slices on the side. I asked him if I can pay the bill and he said, "WHY?" I explained it to him, paid the bill and asked him when they delivered the food to please just give them this card. He said he would comply and he thanked us for being kind. On the way home, my daughter ... Read Full Story >>
Out of all the afterschool programs offered in their school, three energetic 11-13 year old girls chose to join this one. The “Random Acts of Kindness Class”, the first of its kind, was an innovative experiment, offering children the opportunity to use their creativity and artwork to inspire their school and community by doing random acts of kindness. A few weeks ago, I spent an unforgettable afternoon with these girls and their inspiring teacher, learning about their semester long adventure… Why did you sign up for the Random Acts of Kindness Class? “I wanted to learn different ways of spreading kindness. There are people sitting at home who might not have a great life. Some people need kindness just to make their day.” – age 11 “If you see someone upset, you just want to make them feel happy. When you do something nice, the only thing you expect in return is ... Read Full Story >>
Pay It Forward Day is coming up on Thursday April 26th and we invite you to celebrate with us by doing an act of kindness! Below are some kindness ideas, based on some of our favorite real-life HelpOthers' pay-it-forward stories. And we invite you to share how you celebrated by leaving a comment on this story! 1. The tried and tested - pay for the coffee for the person in the line behind you. Andrew was a bit anxious when he tried to do this for the first time and wasn’t sure it would work - a week later, the coffee shop tags him with a free cup of coffee for being cheerful and friendly! [more] 2. Anonymously pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant. A grandmother is sharing pancakes with her family when she decides to pay for the meal of a man eating alone, so she has the waitress deliver him ... Read Full Story >>
I woke up the other day to a phone call from a taxi driver who had my friend's cell phone. My friend had apparently left it in the cab the night before. The driver had called others but I was the first one who had answered. It was a rainy morning which for cab drivers in this big city is a very busy time. He asked me where he could drop the cell phone off. I told him the street where I lived and quickly jumped out of bed and got dressed so I could meet him on the corner. I guessed that if he had taken on a passenger of two he could have made some good money from driving all that distance. When he arrived I thanked him and blessed him for having such a kind and beautiful soul. I was so happy for my friend who had only recently moved ... Read Full Story >>
This morning I went to drop of my large items to the recycling center. There was an Asian lady in the line who looked about 65-70 years old. She had 6 big black bags of recycling with her. I asked her if she wanted my items, because she was commingling and she could get money for it. She accepted them and thanked me with the most wonderful, loving hug I have ever had. After leaving the recycling center, I went to the market. I had just finished writing my book, and am hoping to get it published someday. I wanted to pick up some steaks to celebrate. It was kind of a special occasion for me, since I have been unemployed for four months and money is tight. At the market, I had the steaks in my hand, but then thought about the lady at the recycling center. I put them back ... Read Full Story >>
I was playing guitar in a cafe when two women with a boy about 8 years old walked in. The boy had a learning disability. He wandered over to me, mesmerized by the music.
As I played, I noticed that he wasn't able to speak. He would make excited and happy sounds instead of expressing himself with words. The women would call him back to them, but he'd wander over again.
After a few minutes, I gave him a guitar pick, and his face lit up. As he then reached into his pocket, his mother raced over, asking "Did he steal something? He's always doing things like that..."
As she was speaking, his hand came out of his pocket. In it was a quarter -- and with a smile he dropped it into my tip jar.
It is the best tip I have ever received.
One day, I came across an elderly lady sharing her food with a dog. This made a lasting impression on me because she seemed like she didn't even have enough food for herself. Yet she still made the effort to share. This got me thinking. In my entire life, I have always had enough. Neither my family nor I have ever gone hungry. I often give thanks before eating a meal, but just saying words of gratitude at dinner or lunch doesn't seem like enough. I felt the need to do more. I wanted to share my good fortune with others. As these thoughts brewed, I shared them out loud with my family. We did some math. There are four of us in my family. With two main meals a day, that multiplies up to about 56 meals every week. Based on these calculations, we decided to prepare and give at least 60 ... Read Full Story >>
I don't drink coffee. It's not that I don't like coffee, because just the smell is heaven to me, but coffee doesn't seem to agree with my body. I can drink decaffeinated coffee every once in awhile if I'm lucky, but only on rare occasions. So this story is not actually about me, but about my husband, who definitely drinks coffee. In fact, he drinks so much coffee that he is on a first name basis with every employee that works at our local coffee house. They even gave him a Christmas card last year with a free coffee gift card inside. Well, maybe they gave him the gift card because he's such a friendly guy. :) Anyway, each Friday, the person behind him gets their coffee gifted to them. If there's no one behind him then the next person to walk in the door will receive the pleasant surprise. He decided ... Read Full Story >>
This website has inspired me to search for ways to help others every day. I'm disappointed if a day goes by that I can't think of a simple way to make someone else's life a little easier! Today, I grabbed a quick lunch at Jack-in-the-Box. While paying at the drive thru window, I remembered all the stories I had read on this website about paying for the person in line behind you - so I decided to do just that. When I asked the cashier to ring up the car behind me also, she gave me a puzzled look and asked if I knew the man in the car behind me. I smiled and replied, "Nope". She gave me a warm smile in return and proceeded to take care of his bill along with mine. In my rearview mirror, I was fortunate enough to see the reaction of the shocked gentleman behind me. After he found out his meal was paid ... Read Full Story >>
I ran into a local store today to pick up a few things. It was a quick errand, so I didn't take a cart on my way inside. As I walked around the aisles, I passed by a young couple and their baby. I continued through the store, grabbed the few items I needed, and ended up standing behind this couple in the checkout line. While waiting, I noticed that the young father was clutching his money and nervously watching each transaction on the register. The young mother was cradling the baby in her arms and asked the cashier for a job application. When the total was rung up, they had to pick items out of their cart because they didn't have enough money. But all their items were basic necessities. It just broke my heart to witness the couple attempt to figure out what they could do without. Somehow ,they managed ... Read Full Story >>
I had my last smile card burning a hole in my pocket this morning. :) I was wandering around Goodwill and stopped to look at the costume jewelry. This young girl was looking as well, and she immediately started talking to me. We chatted about the jewelry and she asked if I could untangle a necklace for her. Then she blurted out that her friends were wondering why she seemed so depressed lately. I asked her if she knew why and she said no. Then I asked her how old she was. "Fourteen," she answered I laughed. "That might be why," I replied, laughing. "My stepfather is always depressed, too," she said, "and he's in his mid-forties." Being that age and knowing that feeling myself, I laughed and joked, "Maybe that's why he's depressed too!" The girl ended up picking out a couple of necklaces and wandered away. I didn't see who she came in ... Read Full Story >>
Every month, I write letters to two Marines serving in Afghanistan who I don't know. I thank them for their service to our nation. While I don't know them, I hope that they know how much I appreciate them.
Last weekend at the airport, I had some extra time before going through security to catch my flight. While wondering what to do, I decided it was the perfect time and place to look for an anonymous act of kindness to do! One of the magazine stands outside security had flowers for sale. I told the clerk that I'd like to buy flowers for someone else, and she could decide who to give them to. She looked a little confused, so I suggested perhaps she could give them to someone who looked like they could use some cheering up, and then hand them the smile card with the flowers. At first, the clerk responded, That's weird." (Or maybe, "That's crazy," I can't remember which.) But then, I explained a little more about smile cards and the concept of doing something kind for a complete stranger, and she brightened up. "I'll never know how it turns out," I said, "but you will have the opportunity ... Read Full Story >>