Yesterday was the Mother of All Bad Days for me, but I was rescued by a cluster of unrelated kind people/angels. My head's still spinning from the experience. Our house is up for sale and my wife and I agreed to have an open house yesterday. Before it was to start, I had to take our dog, who's been suffering from some unknown liver problem for over two months, to the vet. The appointment was timed just right to get back home and help host the open house. That plan soured in a heartbeat! Our dog had been making some progress with her disease, but I got the first round of bad news for the day--her blood test indicated she was getting worse. Nearly $2,000 dollars has been spent so far trying all kinds of ways to help get her better. Now the vet was telling me it would take another $2,000 ... Read Full Story >>
A few weeks ago, I was in a crowded local train in Mumbai. I was sitting in a window seat of the super-crowded ladies' compartment. I was lucky to find a seat as I had got in at the first station. In a few minutes, the seats were all taken, and most people had to stand jam-packed in the aisles. Anyone who has been in Mumbai knows how frustrating a crowded train can be. In the middle of all this, I saw a young girl, about 10 years old, probably from a poor family. It was evident that she was used to the crowd, and the pushing and jostling, because she would silently shift position to be just that little bit more comfortable. I felt a little sad sitting there watching her having to stand. It struck me, that this is the time to practice a random act of kindness. However, I had to overcome some ... Read Full Story >>
It was a hot weekday afternoon and I was on my way to volunteer at a reading session with visually impaired girls. I got in to a rickshaw and immediately struck up a conversation with the rickshaw driver. The rickshaw driver started telling me the story of his life. He related that he had grown up very poor and he and his siblings didn’t have much. He said he worked very hard so that he could make sure that his children had the opportunity to attend a decent school. He said that there were many nights when he would skip dinner to make sure that they would have enough money to send the daughter on a class trip or to pay for his son to attend the computer lab. I was profoundly moved by the simple and matter of fact way in which this man was relating this heart-melting story. When we ... Read Full Story >>
It was 7 in the morning. I was on a train to another city when I struck up a conversation with a young professional sitting next to me. I gathered that he came from a farming family and was now doing exceptionally well in the IT industry. He also revealed that he was stressed and disconnected from his roots. He was kind enough to give me a window seat, help a co-passenger when he dropped his coffee, etc. Just small acts which showed what a good person he was. I was pretty involved in reading my book - a biography on the Dalai Lama. Anyone who knows me well knows that the Dala Lama has played a huge role in my life although I haven't met him. In fact he is one of the main sources of inspiration I have and reading a book about him which my Dad had given to me was just ... Read Full Story >>
Mandy was the kind of girl I was blessed to have as a daughter, the kind of friend everyone wanted to have, the kind of spirit that radiated joy and happiness when ever she entered a room. Mandy left this world to go be with her Lord on November 15, 2008 in a tragic car accident. Since then, I have tried to live each day of my life living up to her expectations. I started the Kindness Revolution on Mother's day 2009 and gave out over 100 flowers to random women throughout the weekend along with a card letting them know to pay the kindness forward. I have given away jewelry, paid for coffee and tolls, paid for groceries, cleaned off car windows trying to spread the kindness and to do as she instructed. I know that each time I do a kind act, I get back 100 times more than I gave. The feeling ... Read Full Story >>
I was in the check-out line at a store with two cases of Ramen noodles, one case of Cup of Noodles, one case of bottled water, one pack of plastic spoons, and one box of large zip bags.
While waiting to put them on the conveyor belt, the man in front of me put his two packs of beer on the counter and looked at the food I had placed on the belt. He asked me if that was all I had to eat and I smiled and shared that it was all for the folks that live in the camp under the freeway and behind the car wash. He nodded, turned away and didn't look back.
However, when the food came up to the register, he said, "I want to pay for this food also." I stretched out my hand to shake his, but he hugged me instead. I wanted to thank him but he hurried off and when he looked back I could see tears in his eyes. I knew that God had done something special in this man's life.
It has struck me, lately, how heightened awareness of the things going on around us can present many new helping opportunities! Last week, I was driving through a local sandwich chain at lunchtime, when I saw two men sitting on the grass a few yards away conversing with each another. They very thin and seemed a little dirty and unkempt, and very thin. It seemed to me that they were homeless... but they were not standing around, with signs or asking for anything. I immediately felt like I could not just buy myself a sandwich without helping them eat, too. I asked the person at the window if I could purchase two $5 gift cards. I then drove up to the two men and presented the gift cards to them. They were totally shocked! One man said "is this for FOOD?!" He immediately began thanking me, over and over again. Both these men were tremendously grateful and verbalized ... Read Full Story >>
This is a story that happened 15 years ago but it has always stayed with me since then. On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway. He looked to be in his late 40's but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature. His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes. His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case. He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing. Every day after work I would remember ... Read Full Story >>
My attention was divided between the book in my lap and the people passing by when I saw her walking slowly towards my parked car. She had a bright blue saree, a large nose pin, orange marigolds in snow-white hair, a large shoulder bag and a face that showed every wrinkle of her 70 or so years of age. She stopped and put a hand out to rest against the car’s hood, gently closed her eyes, took a deep breath and wiped the sweat off her forehead. The sweltring day was taking its toll on her slight frame, and the large bag seemed to affect not just her gait, but also her breathing. She reminded me of a delicate bird, struggling because of the weight someone had added to its wings. Was there a way I could do something, anything, to stretch those wrinkles around her mouth to a smile? But then, I wondered, ... Read Full Story >>
Every day I go into the same coffee shop on the way to work. It's part of a large chain here in the UK. I am new to the anonymous act of kindness concept. I came across it recently, and a few weeks ago I worked up the courage to ask the Barista if I could pay for a coffee for someone later that day. He looked at me kind of strangely and said "okay" and then put the money in the till. I walked out feeling doubtful that this would ever happen (and privately thinking he might just add the money to his tips). This chain stamps a card every time you buy a coffee and when you get 9 stamps, the 10th coffee is free. I had just completed my card today and was due a free coffee next time, so I cheered up as I headed out of the ... Read Full Story >>
Today, it was over 100 degrees out. Horrible humidity too. While driving to get my tire fixed on my van I noticed some homeless people wandering around in this heat. My heart sank. As soon as I was done at the garage I went to the store and picked up some gatorade, ice and bags of trail mix. I headed home to pick up my 3 kids (1, 2 and 16 years old), loaded the van with the cooler and went off to pass them out. We found 3 homeless guys walking in the heat with the weight of their backpacks and gave them ice cold gatorade and bags of trail mix. The best part was seeing the look on my 16 year old's face as he handed them the drinks and hearing my 2 year old say 'God bless you!' from the back seat. Awesome. This is how my kids and I ... Read Full Story >>
Today we spent the morning going through our personal belongings. We were looking for items to give away for free, at a local park. Not just any items but things people really needed. We came up with blankets, soaps, food, and clothing. Our aim was not to find things we no longer wanted, but things we use everyday that would be useful to others. For some of the items we used and needed we split the amounts in half. We kept one half and added the other half to the pile of things to give away. We made up boxes with the things we believed would be useful and added some small toys. We added a list of local addresses and phone numbers of local helping agencies. Inside the boxes a simple letter was placed. It read….. “Please take these items and know that your life is important. Times are difficult but these days will pass. ... Read Full Story >>
On Labor Day last year my husband went out for a meal at a restaurant. After we had finished, I asked him if he'd ever given a waiter/waitress a 100% tip. He gave me this funny look (probably because he was thinking about how much our dinner added up to be!) and said he hadn't. I said that since it was Labor Day and our waitress was working this holiday, it would be fun to give her a 100% tip and see what her reaction would be. He told me I was crazy but agreed anyway! Our dinner bill came to $32.18 so that's the exact tip we left, $32.18. We tried to hand her our dinner bill folder but she kept telling us to leave it on the table and she would get to it. So we left and we never got to see her reaction. I wondered off and on, and still do to this day, what ... Read Full Story >>
I stopped at a huge yard sale and was looking for that hidden treasure. A blouse caught my eye, and as I approached the "cashier" I heard her say, "Well, can't you get some more money from someone?" I looked over and saw that her comment was directed at a child holding a nice looking pair of shoes in one hand, his other outstretched palm displaying a few coins. I was instantly annoyed that the lady was witholding a pair of unwanted shoes for a few more cents. I remembered my smile cards, and asked "how much are they?" . "Two dollars" she replied. "Oh, here ya go," I said, handing the boy two dollars and a smile card. As I walked away I heard her say to the boy, "Can I see your card?" I decided to buy the blouse and when I went to pay the lady was clearly chagrinned. "Where did you ... Read Full Story >>
In 2000, I was on holiday with my friends on the island of Corfu, Greece. One night we were walking along the main road that was lined on both sides with bars and nightclubs and it was very late maybe 11:30pm. I noticed that there were children walking along in front of me and I thought, "It is late for children to be up and about," but then I noticed that they were gypsy children, young girls and boys selling roses, or trying to sell roses to drunk tourists and gangs of girls out for the night! I felt sad when I saw one boy, probably no older than 8 or 9, trying to sell theflowers to the passers by and getting polite and sometimes agressive responses from the people that thronged the street. "Where were his parents and what was he doing out at this time," I thought. I just ... Read Full Story >>
If you are on the lookout, you can almost always find an opportunity for kindness. I filled my afternoon with small gestures today, they didn't take much time or effort, but I hope they made a small difference to the people who received them. I was out and about because I had to do a few errands this afternoon. My first stop was the supermarket. I wanted to buy some croissants with chocolate on them for my daughter Rita. I also decided to get a few plain ones for my husband, my mum and me. Armed with the croissants, I went on to my second stop - a local charity bookshop. I wanted to see if they had any books on Unicorns, since Rita loves them (and, I have to admit, so do I). While I was there, I struck up a conversation with the lady at the counter during which she commented on the smell ... Read Full Story >>
I was at Karma Kitchen, a gift economy project, when a volunteer asked if anyone could use some free drink coupons for a particular airline. I enthusiastically accepted, knowing that even though I don't usually drink, I could use those free drink coupons to "tag" someone with a smilecard. I loved the idea of "tagging" someone with a smilecard and a free drink coupon on an airplane! Fast forward a month or two later, when my girlfriend and I were on a flight to Las Vegas as the first stop of a trip to the Grand Canyon. I had several drink coupons and smilecards ready, and it was just a matter of figuring out the "Who" and the "How" of tagging someone on an airplane, while still trying to stay completely anonymous. As luck would have it, we had an awesome, amazing, hilarious flight attendant, who was very, very funny (he really could have been ... Read Full Story >>
I entered the monthly Kindness contest, answering the question, "What would you do with $100 to help your community?" I said that I would buy 100 cake mixes and bake 100 cakes and deliver them to 100 different blocks in my community, encouraging the recipients to share their cakes with their neighbors! I wanted to deliver not only food for their bellies, but food for their souls! I wanted to show the love that I had for my community and encourage others to talk with or meet their neighbors! I named the idea, "Compassionate Cakes". To my surprise, my idea was chosen and a $100 check was sent to me to do my project! Now, I had to get to work. I bought the cake mixes and made "tags" telling the recipients about the project and encouraging them to visit the website, www.helpothers.org. I added a "tag" to each cake delivered. ... Read Full Story >>
This is my first time posting a story on helpothers because I have not had the opportunity to use my smile cards yet, but yesterday on Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to use them twice :) Yesterday morning was thanksgiving and my husband and I were getting ready to head to Atlanta to spend the holidays with family. I was outside packing the car when I noticed a car sitting at the corner of the lane with the flashers on. There was a line of cars behind honking and getting very aggravated but the man at the wheel was just sat there. I called out to my husband and asked him to go see if the man needed help. My husband rushed across across the busy intersection and asked the man if he was okay. The man sitting there had simply ran out of gas, and could not get intouch with anyone to help him and he didn't have a gas can. My husband called me ... Read Full Story >>
I stumbled across Helpothers.org when I was in a Computer Science class in my last year at high school (2008) while looking for an inspirational quote. Well I found more than just an inspirational quote but many inspiring people from all around the world too! I had no clue then how I would begin a journey of being inspired every day by all of you. I didn’t know I would meet and become friends with people from the USA, UK, India, Netherlands, Australia etc..But in life the things you love the most are surprises which take you on a whirlwind adventure. After successfully grasping the quote I had been looking for, I noticed a green box on the site saying about “if you had US$100 to helpothers what would you do to help people?” There was only a few minutes until class finished. So I hurriedly submitted my idea of how I would ... Read Full Story >>
One day, while I was walking to work, I decided to bring some flowers that I had picked from my garden that morning. I came across a random stranger, and was inspired to give the bunch to him with a smile card. Struck by the sense of joy I felt from giving flowers to another person, and maybe brightening his day, I wanted to do it again. When I got to my office, I had the idea of anonymously leaving flowers around the workplace. Sometimes, the impersonal atmosphere of the building where I work numbs my spirits a little. It's a nice building, with great light, but it just feels a little sterile sometimes. I figured lots of people might feel the same way, so why not put a little beauty there, and throw in an inspirational quote while I'm at it? After all, who doesn't like flowers? So, for the past month, I've been putting flowers ... Read Full Story >>
Many of the stories that I read on HelpOthers are all about helping other people, doing acts of kindness for someone else. Often times it's easy to forget that no matter who you are, you're not always the giver - sometimes it's we who receive that random act of kindness. When it happens, it almost feels odd to some extent that you are on the other end - receiving vs. giving. In some way, it can be quite a humbling experience. And so my story begins .... My daughter and I had gone into Subway one evening to get sandwiches for the two of us, plus one for my wife. Prior to going to Subway, I had checked my bank account to make sure that I had money on my debit card. I had moved what I thought to be several hundred dollars to my card. Come to find out in ... Read Full Story >>
Four of us walk into a coffee shop -- Jessica, Russell, Michelin and I. We're all super committed to birthing a gift-economy world view. Like all activities rooted in generosity, our conversation also takes on an escalating charge as we speak about the nature of things -- "Goodness just begets more goodness. Lots of people don't trust that, because sometimes it takes time, but sooner or later, goodness does beget more goodness." Right then, the waitress comes over and offers us a bran-muffin as a gift. Completely stunned, we look at her silently begging for an explanation. With a smile that says everything, she adds, "You know, we're closing and the muffin won't survive the night, so instead of wasting it, I thought I'd give it away." The waitress disappeared quickly, but we were bubbling with compassion that was very pregnant for expression. We find the janitor, thank him for his ... Read Full Story >>
Today it is 39 degrees and supposed to be raining. It would have been the perfect day for me to act upon my Kindness Idea. I was the lucky winner of the December Kindness Idea's Contest on Helpothers.org - where they give you $100 to carry out your kindness idea. My idea was to purchase umbrellas for shelter on a rainy day and small towels to wife your face and hopefully bring a little smile into your day and hand them out to folks who find themselves caught out in the weather unprepared. Once I received the check for $100 I ran right out and purchased umbrellas and towels. I laundered the towels and wrapped them around the umbrellas and banded them with a smile card. I placed them them in plastic bags to protect them from moisture, dirt and grime! Then I waited on the rain!!! Lately we’ve had plenty snow…but no rain. Yesterday the rains came! Where were the ... Read Full Story >>
There are two men who are almost always outside my grocery store, in various states of dishevelment. One is sometimes (but not always) in a wheelchair. He holds a sign that says he is a vet and "anything will help." The other man is younger, nearly toothless, and if he were not in such a public place, would maybe frighten me a little. I have walked past them countless times, on my way to buy my family's weekly groceries. I don't usually like to give money to panhandlers. But I see these guys so often, that I decided to make eye contact, say a deliberate "Hi" and smile at them, instead of ducking my head away and ignoring them. In both cases, I got a startled "hello there" back. Last week, while waiting in the deli area, I noticed the pre-made, plastic-wrapped sub-style sandwiches. I grabbed two of them, two extra apples, and two ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I found an old man and his wife sitting by a footpath looking exhausted. On asking I learnt that he had just been discharged from hospital and was going home ( I could make out some bandages around his neck, partially covered by the shirt ).
He and his wife had to walk some distance to reach the bus stop and the hot and humid weather was obviously taking its toll on them both.
I made up my mind to help them and I put them in auto rickshaw (a three wheeler taxi) and paid the fare to their house.
As he got into the auto, I saw the look of relief and gratitude on his face. It was worth million dollars! I felt very blessed and felt sorry for those who saw his condition but did not reach out to help. For me it is very hard to ignore people in need, especially when I am in a position to help.
Who knows ..... some day I may be old .... needing help .....
One sure way to feel good is to do good.
I run a hotel in London. During the problems with the now infamous ash cloud, I spent the morning listening to people calling in to a radio show on London's LBC radio station to tell their stories of woe....some had missed flights for holidays, some couldn't get home following the volcanic eruption. The story that struck me the most was a call from a man named Peter who had just gotten married the previous weekend to Maz. They were due to leave for their honeymoon to the Dominican Republic but could not due to the ash cloud. When James O'Brien, the radio presenter, asked if he was upset, Peter said: "Not at all, I've married the loveliest girl in the world whom I adore so no I'm not unhappy at all". Both, the presenter and I were blown away by the beautiful answer. A little later, after numerous cancellations due to people not being ... Read Full Story >>
I teach a sixth grade religion class, and today I played the Smile Deck game with my students. They each left with two kind acts to complete and were very enthusiastic as I handed them regular Smile Cards to go along with the Smile Deck Cards.
One student was able to complete one of her acts that day itself, when class ended. She held the door for those leaving the building, handing out Smile Cards to those who would take them. It was uncomfortable for her at first (12 years old is an awkward age, at best), but she got the hang of it and started to enjoy her 15 minutes as 'Door Woman'!
I am excited to hear about how the other children's acts of kindness go.
I hope that my take on the ways we can “take care of God's creation” will sink into these kids, and they will carry forward the idea of embracing kindness as a meaningful part of life.
This is just the beginning for me!! Thanks for the forum of inspiration!
Last week I was in the store getting my weekly groceries. As I shopped I noticed one couple in particular. Our paths seemed to cross in a few aisles. Once, my cart got in their way and the woman was surprisingly annoyed. As I walked on through the store I couldn't help but wonder why she had been so upset with me. That same couple ended up ahead of me in the check-out queue. I could tell they were adding up the price of their groceries very carefully. They kept checking to see if they had gone over their price limit, which was quite low for a couple with a small baby. Once they had got to their limit and had to return some of the groceries I realized it probably wasn't me the woman was upset with. Buying groceries for her family on such a strict budget was probably stressing her out. I ran out to ... Read Full Story >>
Some of the women at my work had been hit up to buy cookies from some Girl Scouts they knew. We wanted to support the young girls but we were all working on losing weight. We were wondering what to do when we got the idea to send the cookies to the troops overseas.
My daughter was serving in Iraq when this happened. I packaged them up in a care package and sent them out to my daughter's unit. My daughters unit enjoyed them so much and we got lots of appreciative letters and emails from them. It was so lovely to receive all of those and see what an impact a small gesture on our part had had.
They were flying a flag at their unit and told us they were going to bring it home for us to fly here.
What a blessing was brought out by wanting to support one cause by buying cookies and bringing smiles and love to another cause!