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 >>
Some days are just so full of blessings you don't know what to do! Today was one of those. My neighbor needed to avoid a utility shut-off, so I helped her round up the money to cover it. It was mutually beneficial and not really a favor but she appreciated the help. (I bought some stuff from her that she had no use for but I would have probably purchased anyway.) When I got home I found a wet $20 bill plastered to the ground in the street. Another friend had coupons and rewards and treated me to a good movie and wonderful dinner at a little cafe. At the diner, I saw a man and his three adorable little girls having a frugal meal. He looked a little stressed, so I used the $20 bill I had found and paid for their meal. The waitress was so surprised by this that she ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, my husband was on a long drive and picked up a young hitch-hiker.
The other day I was at Subway, grabbing lunch with some friends. I received my order, sat it on a table, and went to the bathroom to wash my hands. On my way back I noticed a young man struggling to get his drink. He was spilling everything and making a mess. He was looking for the lids but reaching in the wrong trays and dropping straws and napkins everywhere. As I got close to him I notice why. He was blind. I saw that he had still not gotten his drink so I went over and offered to help. I asked him what drink he wanted. Then, instead of getting the drink for him, I took his hands and guided him through the process. After we were done I took him by the hand and led him to the table. I asked him if he needed anything else and he said he was ... Read Full Story >>
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 >>
My friends and I recently returned from our annual week at the beach. While we were there, a couple of us needed to pick up a few items at the grocery store. As we were checking out, the cashier complimented me on my necklace. I thanked her, and she asked where I bought it. I had gotten it at the department store just down the street, and told her that it was on sale for 40% off. My friend suggested that she should walk over and purchase one during her break. But the cashier said she couldn't afford it right now. As we left the grocery store, I told my friend I was tempted to buy one for her. She agreed, and offered to pay for half. So we went back to the department store and picked out a matching necklace for the cashier. As we paid for it, the sales ... Read Full Story >>
I might have titled this story, "I was an airport angel - and wasn't all that happy about it!" I was going on vacation to meet up with family for a week of fun in Canada. I got to the airport in Denver ready to leave my work behind for a few days. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job of helping families with children who experience disabilities navigate the special education system in our state, but this was my vacation! I was comfortably awaiting my flight with a good book to read, when an elderly lady was wheeled to our waiting area. I couldn't help but notice the trouble she was having trying to open a packet of nuts with her arthritic hands. I sighed. No one else was willing to meet her gaze so I offered to help. She was very grateful. It turned out these nuts were ... Read Full Story >>
I have performed many acts of kindness in the past, but recently I became the receiver!
One day, while walking down the street with my dogs, I noticed a young girl with a small handful of flowers walking towards me. She approached me and asked about my Chihuahuas.
We chatted for awhile.
Then, she asked if she could give me a flower.
It was a small gesture, but it made my day so much brighter. She seemed so at peace with herself. Her calm energy flowed to me and I felt good all day.
It is so great to know that kindness can happen at any age.
For quite a while now, I have been looking for someone very special to give my very last smile card to. Well, today, I had to go into town for an art exhibition that I had entered a piece in. Since it is winter here, I have not ventured out of the house very much at all. So today I thought i would treat myself to lunch-- something I haven't done in ages! I walked around for a long time downtown, looking at all the glowing options like a child in a toy shop. It was really hard to decide what to eat! Finally, I settled on some Thai food, from a buffet-type place. When I sat down, I noticed a man walk by and sit down a few tables away from me. He had a small dish of yogurt, which he ate quickly, scraping the sides of the dish to ... Read Full Story >>
Thank you, HelpOthers, for the opportunity to share smiles with flowers! Several life glitches have slowed this down, but the kindness keeps going. Below are a couple stories of ways my family and I have gotten to tag others! Act #1: Doorstep Smiles This evening, we are going to leave potted flowers on a wonderful lady's stairs, with a smile card and ribbons. Though she seems lonely to me when I see her sometimes, she always shares a smile for others. So I thought it perfect to leave her some smiles in return. Update: My ganddaughter, hubby, and I walked over this evening, and the timing was perfect. We reached over the gate that leads to her stairs and left the potted mum flowers on the steps, along with the stick, smile card and ribbons tied to it. Another pot below that stair, and the last below that. I have to say, this was so ... Read Full Story >>
One of my next-door neighbors is a sweet and frail-looking grandmotherly 92-year-old Polish lady who lives with three cats. She is a Holocaust survivor (and with due respect does not talk about that traumatic time), and has a daughter and grand-daughter who visit her every week. She oftentimes brings us cherry tomatoes, comes over for chai, loves mangoes, and is in general a very sweet person. A few months ago, my friend and I drove down to LA to attend a dear friend's wedding, and came back home to the Bay Area the next evening. As I was unpacking my clothes in my room, I heard a persistent, frantic knock on the door. It was 10:30pm, and I wasn't sure who it could be. I went downstairs and looked through the peephole, and saw that it was our sweet next-door neighbor. I quickly opened the door, and she seemed really distressed and kept ... Read Full Story >>
After church this Sunday morning, my daughter and I went to a local restaurant for late breakfast.. An older woman was seated next to us at an adjoining booth. What drew my attention is that when she came in and seated herself , she walked straight toward us with a smile, as though she was going to sit with us and knew us, but then turned to her table and took a seat by herself. I thought to myself that I should have invited her to sit with us. When we were done with our food, my daughter and I left our booth (the woman was still seated at her table) and whispered to the waitress to put the woman's breakfast on our tab. The waitress seemed surprised at what I was doing for a stranger. So I told her of a card I had received the previous day from a complete stranger, ... Read Full Story >>
I was stopped at the traffic light and a homeless man was pacing up and down along the divider. It was a scorching hot day. 'This will make him smile,' I thought, and I turned my car towards a frozen yogurt shop. I grabbed a cup and filled it with couple of flavors and came to the counter to weigh it. I wanted to add some toppings but my change was not enough for that, so I asked the lady if she would take a $100 bill. She said she wasn't allowed to accept a bill that large. Alright, I thought and paid for the yogurt. As I was about to leave, she said, “Ma'am, don’t disappoint your child. Please add their favorite topping.” I turned to her and said, “Thanks for your offer but this is not for my child. It's for the homeless man across the street.” She smiled with surprise and said, “Oh! ... Read Full Story >>
"Aabid Surti is an odd character. A few years ago, the angular, bearded author was invited to meet the President of India to receive a national award for literature at a ceremony in the capital, New Delhi. He politely declined. Absorbed in writing the first draft of his new novel, he cited the reason that he did not have time. But what he has made time for every Sunday for seven years now, is going door-to-door in Mira Road, a non-descript suburb of Mumbai, with a plumber in tow, asking residents if they need their tap fixed for free! As a distinguished Indian painter and author, Aabid has written around 80 books but no story so moved him as the truth about water scarcity on the planet. “I read an interview of the former UN chief Boutros Boutros Ghali,” he recalls, “who said that by 2025 more than 40 countries are expected to experience ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday, I took my brother's puppy to the pet store to spread some kindness. My mom and sister have been watching him while my brother is at work and when I went to pick him up to go to the store my mom gave me money in case I saw something cute to buy him. As we walked around the store, I looked at various options but started to feel uncomfortable. Here was a whole store devoted to pets with everything you could imagine, while some humans struggle to survive and others die for lack of basic necessities. The puppy and my family's other dogs already have plenty of toys and everything else they'd ever need. I decided not to buy anything. When I told my mom, she said to save the money for myself. She won't take "no" for an answer so I graciously accepted and decided to use the money ... Read Full Story >>
I stopped at the local dollar store the other day after a fitness class to buy a candy bar. So I get the candy and get in line behind a woman who looked about twenty years old. She had two small children with her and quite a lot of items in her shopping cart. She handed her credit card to the clerk but the clerk told her it had been declined. The young woman insisted she had paid it off the day before. The clerk replied, "Maybe it hasn't got through the system yet. Do you want to call someone?" The young girl got out her cell phone and was looking through it. Meanwhile, they open another counter to check me out. I was walking out to my car when I thought, "Okay! You're always wishing you could help someone. Time for you to do it!" I got back out of ... Read Full Story >>
At least once a month one of my little kindness kids Rachel and I try to have a father/daughter date night. Last night we were out for dinner together after doing some fun things. We talked about some of her kindness activities she did at school for their 100 Acts of Kindness challenge her class had. It was great to listen to the little things she and her classmates did to spread kindness. Many times on our date nights we try to do an act of kindness of our own, as she is often my sidekick on our kindness adventures. My latest Smile Deck card is one about anonymously buying a stranger's meal so I asked Rachel if we should find someone in the restaurant and buy their dinner. She loved the idea so we chose an older couple sitting behind us. I had a few Smile Cards on me (as always!) ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday around 9:30 am, as I was going towards my car, I noticed something box like on my windshield. At first I thought I may have gotten a ticket from the cops, but as I approached closer, there was a box of delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies and a smile card! Thank you anonymous angel! Later in the day, I had to make a run to my local library to pay off some overdue fines and pick up a book that I had on hold. I decided to keep few cookies for my parents to enjoy, and took the rest for the volunteers and staff at the library. I approached the clerk at the counter to hand them the box of cookies. "A small gift and token of appreciation for the staff and volunteers. Would you mind putting them in the break room?" I asked. She replied, "Oh wow! Thank you! Why don't you at least ... Read Full Story >>
I recently posted an article that was written about my class’s Random Acts of Kindness Project and was also shown on our county’s website. A county employee read the article and was so touched by it she pledged to do five random acts of kindness that day in honor of our class! She sent the children stickers that day. The next day she sent them lollipops. A few days later she sent a CD she made, entitled "Random Acts of Kindness Songs." I was so touched by her generosity and effort that I decided to have the kids make something for her. I took Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Kindness Garden" poem, printed it on cards and had the children make fingerprint flowers to decorate the cards. We sent two dozen of these to our new friend and asked her to share them with those around her. She sent an email back saying her ... Read Full Story >>
Any other year, my acts of kindness would have come with the hope of someone acknowledging them or saying thank you. I'm big on "Thank you's". My kids have written their own since the age of three for any gift they receive. I love thanking others-- acknowledging coaches, teachers, and anyone who does something nice. I guess it's because I always had looked for that thank you in return. This year has been different. Maybe age has made me wiser. Maybe it's softened me. Part of it is this website. Since joining this site in January, I've done acts of kindness in a more mysterious, secretive way, without expecting a "Thank you" of any kind and finding comfort and peace in that. :) When I did my 46 not-so-random acts of kindness for my birthday this month, I did so with the intent of not receiving any comments, "Thank you", or feedback. The next day ... Read Full Story >>
Some New Yorkers mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by going to a memorial service or observing a moment of silence. For the past 10 years, Jeff Parness has been helping others. Every September, Parness brings hundreds of volunteers from New York to help another disaster-stricken community in the United States. "It was our way of saying, you know, New Yorkers will never forget what people from around the country and the world did for us in our time of need after 9/11," said Parness, a 2011 CNN Hero. "So that's how the mission started. It was just to pay forward the kindness that we experienced." Over the past decade, Parness' nonprofit, New York Says Thank You, has assisted victims of wildfires in San Diego, tornadoes in the Midwest and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Many of those who receive help are so inspired that they travel across the country the next year -- ... Read Full Story >>