A year ago a boy of fourteen befriended my daughter on Facebook after reading something wrote about bullying. Today he messaged her and asked if she would like six tickets to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. They have never met in person but she said, "Sure! That would be great." Then I received a call from his mother explaining why he had chosen my daughter. He said he thought she deserved them because of all the good he does in the community. She was born blind in her right eye and was bullied pretty severely in school, to the point where we ended up home schooling her. Her son, she explained, had experienced a similar situation and was also home schooled. She now speaks to groups of girls and teaches them how to look within themselves for the positive in you and to be their own person. We decided to meet the father ... Read Full Story >>
I work at a financial institution and know that there are few experiences more frustrating and difficult than not being able to withdraw the money you need from an account, especially in dire circumstances. On this particular day, a member of our credit union came in needing to withdraw $15. Unfortunately, a transaction had just cleared that prevented access to her account and she didn't have the funds necessary to make a withdrawal. The tellers who were assisting her signed her in to speak with me, and she explained that the money she needed was to purchase medication for someone in her family. She had an adorable little boy with her, and wanting to do what I could, I told her to stay in my office while I went and looked into the matter. Outside, I went to the teller she had seen and gave her a withdrawal slip from my own account ... Read Full Story >>
While reading the New York Times today, I came across a story titled, "Free Sweets in His Cab to Delight and Heal". Mansoor Khalid, a 37 year old electrical engineer from Pakistan has been driving a yellow cab in New York City since 1996. In 2010, his son, Saad, was born with a congenital heart defect. When Mr. Khalid visited him in the hospital after his night shift, he would bring coffee for the doctors and nurses there, who called him “coffee man.” “My average was 20 bucks every night, for coffee and sweets,” he said. Last April, Saad passed away at 18 months old. When Mr. Khalid returned to work, he decided to turn his cab into a "rolling celebration". He spends $300 a month keeping the back dashboard stocked with sweets for his passengers. From his experience in the hospital with his son, Mr. Khalid learned that giving to others could at least hide, if ... Read Full Story >>
The "share-taxi" normally wouldn't have left until it had four paying passengers in it. The only other passenger was a lady who seemed to be in quite a hurry, so I agreed to pay the remaining fares and got in.
Her mother had suffered a heart attack and this lady was going to collect her and take her to hospital. She started chatting, telling me how her two elder sisters do not care for her mother. She does all she can for her mother while having a husband and two children to look after.
She had just pawned her jewels in order to raise money in a hurry.
She was glad to have someone to talk to until we reached her destination. I wished her well and said a silent prayer.
Weeks go by so fast that sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of everything that has happened.
This week, the girl I have been tutoring had her last exam. To celebrate, I gave her a farewell present, and baked a cake for her mother and for her mother's best friend who I have never met. Later, one of my beautiful companions from the Service Space community had his birthday, and on his behalf I composed six letters of universal love, sent a gift to a friend who has been feeling under the weather and bought coffee for a stranger.
Towards the end of the week, I made a list of ideas to help a friend expand her business, and listened to someone who needed a listening ear. Tonight, I will make the time to listen to another friend who is going through some tough life challenges.
Life is good, and I wish you all a very blessed and blissful weekend.
Yesterday afternoon, I bought a few things from the supermarket. I decided to buy a chocolate bar for the checkout operator, and gift it with a smile card. The woman at the check-out counter was an older lady, and at first, she seemed very grumpy. After paying, I was nervous to give my gift to her, because for the whole time we interacted, she didn't smile at all. Nevertheless, I picked up the courage and gave it to her, explaining that it was for her. It was the most amazing reaction ever! :) She seemed shocked at first but then a huuuge smile spread across her face, and she was so happy and thankful! She told me that no customers had ever done anything nice for her before. I felt so happy that I was able to make her smile! :) Then I went out to wait for the bus at the bus ... Read Full Story >>
London bus drivers are not usually effusive in their greetings when passengers board, so when a bus driver said something to me on my way home last week I thought my bus pass must have been out of date or something. It took me a few seconds to realize that he had said, "Hello, good evening, peace be upon you." He said something similar to every passenger, always with unwavering enthusiasm. Some responded positively, many ignored him, some smiled. The most moving thing was how undeterred by any rudeness or lack of response this lovely man was. He just kept right on greeting passengers with great sincerity and love. I waved to him and smiled as I alighted from the rear door - and he waved right back! He was keeping an eye on the back door as well as greeting new passengers. It was a tangible way to experience simple love and kindness ... Read Full Story >>
I am a mom of two young children whom we home-school. This means that they are with me almost constantly. Whenever possible I will perform random acts of kindness; simple things like paying for the order behind me in the drive-thru lane, holding doors, etc. So, they are very familiar with the concept and are, of course, encouraged to also do "nice" things for others. Just a few days ago we stopped by our local grocery store to pick up a few things which quickly turned into an entire cart load of stuff. We got into one of the two open checkout lanes and waited our turn. While waiting a young man came up behind us with only a few items in his basket. I told him to go ahead of us as we were in no hurry. He seemed very pleasantly surprised and graciously accepted. As he began putting his ... Read Full Story >>
When I was in Delhi I wandered into an area with few tourists. The streets were busy and dirty. I watched entranced as the people went on with their noisy, hectic lives.
As I was people-watching I noticed an old man pulling a load that looked ridiculously heavy on a hand-held rickshaw. A donkey would have found it too much of a burden.
As he passed me I noticed his head turn in despair. He looked at the shoe that had slipped off his foot. He was unable to stop and pick it up as the rickshaw was on a slope and too heavy for him to stop. So, I quickly retrieved his battered old shoe and ran to catch him up.
When I handed it over he gave me one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. It made my day. A beautiful connection!
I know a girl who is not like the other children in as much as she has this unusual physical condition.
I met her at school where her mom is my math teacher. This day I saw her sitting in a corner of the library by herself, looking very alone. I don't know what came over me but I went to her. At first she wouldn't really talk to me even though I was trying to be a friend. Every time I touched her hair, her hands, or any of her things she moved my hand away.
I felt I had done all I could, but before I left the library I told her that she shouldn't be ashamed of her appearance like because it was our personalities that were really important. I said that each one of us have the right to live happily and freely without being judged by how we look.
I was about to stand and leave when she suddenly stopped me and hugged me!
It melted my heart seeing her smiling and I am so glad I made the effort.
We were having a colder than usual spell.
While I was filling up with gas I noticed that the young man helping me didn't have any gloves. I looked around and noticed all the other employees had their hands in warm gloves. He was very uncomfortable, rubbing his hands a lot and stuffing them in his pockets every chance he got.
I looked at the simple, inexpensive, knitted gloves sitting in my purse. It seemed to me that they wouldn't be much help in this bitter cold - but they were what I had, so I offered them to him!
"Seriously?" he said.
"Yes," I replied. "Seriously!"
You would have thought I had given him a $100 dollar bill! I know the gloves helped warm his hands, but not as much as his appreciation warmed my heart.
A Romanian family just moved into our neighborhood and a friend introduced me to them. They are a young couple with a twelve year old daughter.
Knowing that both parents worked and the girl is going to be on her own a lot, and knowing that she is really keen to improve her English, I offered to look after her and teach her English during the summer holidays.
It turns out that she gets on well with my daughter and they have a great time together!
How are we shifting our consciousness to recognize that we all are one big human family? A few years ago a young bilingual yoga instructor from Oakland was biking and had to stop in an intersection to wait for the green light. At that same intersection, there were three male youngsters, who mugged her by asking for her wallet. "Sure" she replied as she gently made eye contact, calmly took her wallet and handed it to them. Last week, the same young bilingual yoga instructor --now being a mother of a 6 year old-- had to stop in the same intersection. Again three men in their teens where waiting for her. She made eye contact and this time, however, there was a different surprise waiting for her. One of the teens had a flower. He looked at her and said: "you are beautiful and look so happy, please take it!" and handed the ... Read Full Story >>
Over a month ago my boyfriend was brutally beaten by six people in a hate crime.
While his physical injuries are healing, his spirit is taking much longer.
A couple of nights ago he raided our "piggy bank" for the $30 or so that was in it. Then he went to the grocery store and bought an armload of mixed bouquets of flowers. Then went to a rougher neighborhood in the city.
There, he walked up and down the street slipping a flower into the door handle of each car he passed.
Everyone came out the next day to find a little generosity and beauty brought into their life by a stranger.
He told me he did this because he was having a particularly hard day with regards to the beating, and he knew that doing something beautiful would help him heal!
What Nelson Mandela Taught Me About Empathy Years ago, in 2007, I visited Sierra Leone to work with an organization, iEARN, which was using technology to help youth recover from the gruesome war which had left millions of lives destroyed. As I listened to stories, and then some more, as part of a project that we were doing to record peoples’ lives, I became emotionally distraught and confused, and angry at the perpetrators at the same time. However, there was an interesting demographic of people that I had mixed feelings towards, even compassion – child soldiers. Those youth who were brainwashed or forced into killing their brethren - their parents, grandparents, siblings – and becoming drugged and desensitized during the process. I wondered to myself, what was the reason for wars, in general, and how do people heal from such trauma? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was ongoing to help bring forgiveness, ... Read Full Story >>
There once was a water bearer who every day to earn a living carried water from the distant river into the town where he lived. To do so, he owned two ceramic pots, which he hung at both ends of a pole he balanced over his shoulders . While one of the pots was bright red, smooth and perfectly waterproof, the other was old, discolored and a bit cracked, in fact it dripped water on the way. Each day the pot became a little more porous, and dripped a little more, till came a time it was only able to retain half of its content by the time they'd reach the town. This caused the pot great shame, and so finally, unable to contain its embarrassment, the pot addressed the water bearer: "Master, please break me! throw me! dispose of me! I can't stand this misery any longer, I'm unable to ... Read Full Story >>
I was in Houston a few weeks ago, and needed to be back home in Austin by midmorning the next day. Though I planned to leave that evening, I'd had a long, tiring ride home, so I decided to leave around 5 the next morning. I was on I-10 in the middle of Houston when I realized I left my inhaler at my MIL's house, and knew I had to return to get it. I took the first exit I could, but when I rounded the corner, an 18-wheeler was stopped dead in the exit lane. I swerved to avoid it, but clipped the curb and my tire blew out. I pulled into a small parking lot and unsurprisingly found the area deserted at 5:15am. I've lived in urban areas most of my life. I'm fairly street-wise and don't spook easily, but I knew I was in a pretty tough neighborhood. There was ... Read Full Story >>
As my Daughter and I parked in front of our local grocery store, under the eaves in front of us was a homeless gentleman and his dog. I had decided upon entering the store that the least I could do was buy lunch for the gentleman and food and water for his dog. While at the checkout I noticed the man in the store trying to calculate what he could get with the change someone had given him while I had been inside. My first thought was I know who is watching his dog (a large pit bull). Sure enough as I exited there was my very shy daughter…keeping an eye on and playing with his dog. The gentleman came out shortly after me and was surprised to see that he had lunch waiting, and that I had already fed his dog. He thanked both of us while explaining that he hadn’t always ... Read Full Story >>
Leaving Paris, I had no more use for my mobile SIM card, which still had quite a bit of talk-time on it.
So, after checking-in for my flight, I made a detour to the Arrival area, where I found a just-arrived, almost-elderly couple making enthusiastic enquiries in English at the Information Desk. I asked if they'd like my SIM card and talk-time.
The man replied, "We had just a moment ago asked where we could buy one." "Now you have one," I said, handing his wife a small, cellophane envelope containing the SIM and a Smile Card. "Wow," he said, "this is great!"
She removed the Smile Card and started to examine it as I turned to head-back to the Departure area. "Hey," she called after me, "THIS is REALLY great!" I simply kept-on walking, grinning as broadly as I hoped they were.
“We hugged, now we’re friends, right?” he asks as he takes my hand and leads me up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. I’ve never offered Free Hugs at a March before, but decided it might offer the smallest bit of healing at the March for Justice in Washington DC on August 23. It was an impromptu decision. My friend Sarah accompanied me. Honestly, we weren’t sure how to best offer the Hugs. So we simply walked, We walked among thousands of people all searching for the same thing; Healing and Hope. Free Hugs signs overhead, we walked through the throngs of people. We smiled. Made eye contact. And the response was overwhelming. Hundreds of people accepted hugs as we made our own March in a sea of people winding their way across the Mall. It was heart-expanding to not only share hugs but to hear people’s comments: “Best sign I’ve seen ... Read Full Story >>
In my 5 months of stint at South Africa I met many lovely people.
One of them was Christine. She was an aged (in her 60's) house help at the hotel I was put up at. She was doing a great job helping me maintain my otherwise messy room! Although she was getting her monthly wages I thought she deserved a personal "thanks". Every morning before leaving for work I would have a colloquial chat with her about herself and her family. I learnt that she loved apples and that her grand kids loved chocolates (Not surprising!) So at least once a week I would leave an apple and some at the table with a 'Thank you' note.
The day i left SA she gave me a big hug and said "I love you and I will miss you" I had tears in my eyes as that was my 1st 'I love you' in many years. She loved the juicy apples I kept for her. I was glad I was able to provide someone something that they love! And guess what? I got loved in return! :)
"Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to loose without regret, how to acquire without meanness." - George Sand Thank you, KindSpring community for who you are and all that you do. We are grateful for your presence, inspiration, and beauty that you constantly spread throughout the world, one small act of kindness at a time. We hope that you enjoy the Top 10 Kindness Stories of 2013! When I Hugged a Homeless Person I spent most of my early adult life looking through them. I was busy. I was working. I was raising a family and running errands. I had things to do. If you didn't look at them they weren't there, right? You know, those bedraggled looking people on the corner with a sign in their hand. I only wanted the light to turn green fast enough so that I wouldn't have to keep ... Read Full Story >>
A friend and I decided to go for a vegetarian dinner today. We went to a nearby restaurant run by a beautiful lady, who is really warm and kind. We ordered our food, which turned out to be delicious and light as usual, and we enjoyed our meal so much. We were being kind to ourselves by eating simple, nutritious, food cooked with care and love. However, there happened to be SMILE cards on my person and another greeting card, so we decided that this was a great opportunity to be kind to someone else too. We had a hush hush chat with one of the lovely people who were serving us, and pointed,winked,gestured at the couple sitting at the next table, and told him that we wanted to pay their bill. He agreed, and my friend wrote out a beautiful card for them, and we attached a SMILE card as ... Read Full Story >>
My friend A was dying of breast cancer. We knew it, but we didn't know she would descend so rapidly. Her husband, H, called to tell me she was in the hospital. I spent as much time with them as I could in the next couple of weeks. I held her hand and read her Rumi's poetry until she fell asleep. I swabbed out her mouth with a wet sponge and helped where I could, but my most important contribution was supporting H. This was the second wife H was losing to this horrible disease. He was valiant and selfless, but I could see that he was troubled. H is a very quiet man and isn't prone to complain. I gently probed. Near tears, finally he said, "Well, I just feel so badly that I didn't have the house ready so she could die at home. I didn't expect her to fail ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday was the birthday of a college friend of mine who passed away ten years ago to liver cancer. I took a moment to write a letter to her sister reminding her that my friend was not forgotten and that she and I had enjoyed a wonderful friendship during our college years. Though her life was relatively short, I wanted her sister to know how much she had given to me and the legacy she left.
Can I start with yesterday? I was out and about yesterday. I did my usual picking up of trash and I complimented the shift-manager at Wal-Mart on the positive changes I saw around the store after a talk we had about trash inside and outside the store. I listened to a clerk at Dollar Tree as she told me about some family problems. Then I gave her a hug! I gave my contact info to a clerk at Trader Joe's. I told him I knit and crochet. So, he's going to keep an eye out at his daughter's school for kids who need gloves, hats, or mufflers. He promised to let me know which items are needed. I will make them and he will deliver them! Then, I let two folks with fewer groceries than me cut ahead of me at check-out. I bought some greeting cards for vets at the VA Hospital hospice unit ... Read Full Story >>
I was having breakfast in a nice cafe in London last Saturday when a skinny young guy approached me asking if I had any spare spare change I could give him.
Thinking I would go one better I offered to buy him breakfast. His reaction really surprised me.
He asked, "Can you afford it?"
Well ... yes, I could. So, I did. Gratefully!
It’s surprising how easily and often humanity inspires you when you’re working in a coffee shop. I’ve heard people complain how working with customers makes them bitter at the world. But in my few months at Starbucks, I saw random acts of kindness preformed almost daily. And one act was so large and unexpected, I’ll simply never forget it. If you’re a regular reader, you know how obsessed I am with random acts of kindness. However, please don’t mistake me for a good person just because of my strange set of hobbies. I enjoy surprising drive-thru workers with candy, dressing like a superhero, leaving flowers on people’s doorways, and scattering smiley-faces all over Raleigh in much the same way I enjoy collecting comics and video games. It gives me an odd thrill. Tingles. The sweet terror of getting caught. Like ringing a doorbell and running. So it’s not really altruistic. I totally do it ... Read Full Story >>
I requested forty Smile cards for an up-coming milestone. When they arrived I spent the first part of the day preparing for forty acts of kindness. On my very first stop, at the local frozen yogurt shop, I purchased a few gift cards to give to any kids we met. When the woman behind the counter heard my plan she gave me two extra gift cards for free! Next I headed over to the florist and picked up eighteen roses. Then I went to the supermarket to pick up some Starbucks and iTunes gift cards as well as some chocolate, gum, and candy. I brought the loot home and my husband and I attached Smile cards to each item. Then we grabbed the kids and we were off! The first stop was a busy supermarket parking lot. My kids and I handed out eighteen roses to women we met coming out of the store. ... Read Full Story >>
Today I had the thrill of giving someone the shirt off my back! For the past four days I have been participating in a disability arts festival as a member of a choir set up specifically to perform at this festival. Yesterday, after our performance, I was feeling a bit sad thinking that this might be the last time I would sing with this amazing group of people. I was putting on an oversize, custom-made, raw silk shirt with mother-of-pearl buttons that I have been enjoying wearing when it occurred to me to give the shirt to the first person who said they liked it. After our performance, as choir members were winding down and changing, the director of the procession said she loved my shirt. So, I happily took if off and gave it to her. She immediately put it on, saying, "Can I give you some money for it?" and "Why ... Read Full Story >>