I am a mother of two and always have had a special spot in my heart for people that have spent many years on this earth. I somehow fall into these peoples lives for some reason or another. One elderly woman needed a lot of care such as cooking, cleaning, dr. appts and so on which I was more than happy to help until she passed. Of course it broke my heart. Since then, I've befriended several others -- some just want to have lunch and tell their stories while others need help going to the store and getting their hair fixed every week. The main thing I have noticed is that when you get older for some reason people start to ignore you and they lose their voice? I understand that sometimes there is memory loss, however, it upsets me to see dr's and even family treat them ... Read Full Story >>
The wife had an appointment after work and as she doesn't like to drive she asked me when I picked her up from work if I could take her.
She said she'd take about an hour and she'd understand if I didn't want to wait and I said sure I'll drive. Our downtown, small as it is, can get crowded at times especially this time of the year.
While sitting in a parking spot reading my book, I had noticed this one car had made two trips past me looking for parking. I thought how lucky I was to have a spot and then a few minutes later I see this same car at the corner scanning for a spot. Knowing I could just drive around as the wife should be back soon, I put the Echo in reverse and the look of relief on the lady's face was priceless.
People are pretty polite driving-wise here in Hawaii anyways but along with the shaka she flashed the smile she gave me made my day. It only took a few trips round the block before the wife showed up and I thought about how easy it is to be polite and thoughtful. What if everyone cared? Imagine!
Last weekend, I was walking across the village green when I saw an elderly gentleman on the bench, just overlooking the duck pond. I thought he looked abit forlorn so I went over and sat next to him. After a few comments about how nice the weather was and how there were alot of ducks in the pond today , he told me how he used to come with his wife and watch the children feed the ducks with their mums. They didn't have any children of their own. He explained he had been married for 54 years when his wife died and how much he missed sharing all the little things with her. Like a beautiful sunset . He now lives in a care home. I remarked at how wonderful it must've been to have been married for so long and to have so many happy memories. He took out a large ... Read Full Story >>
"Where to?" the rickshaw driver asks me with his mouth full of tobacco. "Vijay Char Rasta," I say. I'm headed to meet a few friends to talk about the purpose of life and things like that. :) After some light conversation, the rickshaw driver and I quickly become friends. "Are you from Ahmedabad?" he asks me. "No, I'm just visiting a friend." "Just a visit?" "Yeah, he's opening a restaurant and he wanted my parents to inaugurate it. I'm helping him launch the café." "Café? You mean, it's like a Barista?" he asks showing his knowledge about the trendy coffee joints in town. "No, not quite like Barista. It's called the Seva Café." "Oh, what's that?" "Well, it's a place where most everyone is a volunteer, and no one gets charged for their food. It's going back to our cultural roots, where each person is treated as a ... Read Full Story >>
I had a friend that every time you walked in her door for a visit, her greeting was "Hi Honey". She had a way of saying it by dragging it out as she said it, that made me feel like she was so glad to see me. We met several years ago when her husband was admitted to our Hospice program. I got in on that admission as I was on call the Saturday he was admitted. We hit it off right away, and my friendship with her continued even after her husband died. We visited together once or twice a week, never for very long, but always with sincere joy in one another's presence. She had told me that when she got ready for Hospice care, she would let me know and we could admit her. Sure enough, one day she told me it was time. We continued to have ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I had been sitting in a parking line for more than 10 minutes trying to get into a local fair when, I discovered I was in the wrong lane, and nearly to the gate! My husband waved to the van next to us. The woman driving, who I could see had several children with her, seamed happy to let us pull in front her after we asked if we may. I was so excited to not have to ‘go around and wait' again, I decided to pay for her parking.
After paying, we parked, and entered the fair, not giving it another thought. Until, 20 some minutes later, when a small horde of people approached us to profusely thank us for our generosity.
Apparently they had been looking for us, just to thank us, and for such a small gesture. It choked me up quite a bit; after all, she was the one who had started the ‘generosity’.
That touching event has stayed with me all this time. To this day, it still amazes and thrills me that a tiny gesture could cause a ‘cascade’ of warmth and unselfish kindness.
If this is the result of a small gesture, what might a ‘medium’ gesture initiate?
I was recently transfered from one department to another. So I decided to give a token of appreciation to my old boss. Then, I realized that I still have some smile cards and decided to make their day in a slightly more elaborate way. As a thank you for everything she had done, I made some jewelry for my old boss -- a beaded colors stones necklace! Then, I gave the secretary a gift as well -- a brown beaded necklace. And finally, the volunteer recruiter, a brown beaded bracelet and matching earrings. All ladies were so pleased and grateful that I made their day. The recruiter was so touched with the gesture that she now wants to incorporated the smile cards into the volunteer department, so other volunteers can do random acts of kindness too. I am so happy to have given the gifts to the ladies and attach the smile cards. Because ... Read Full Story >>
There was once an elderly, despondent woman in a nursing home. She wouldn't speak to anyone or request anything. She merely existed - rocking in her creaky old rocking chair.
The old woman didn't have many visitors. But every couple mornings, a concerned and wise young nurse would go into her room. She didn't try to speak or ask questions of the old lady. She simply pulled up another rocking chair beside the old woman and rocked with her.
Weeks or months later, the old woman finally spoke.
'Thank you,' she said. 'Thank you for rocking with me.'"
It was five in the morning. The room smelt weird. I saw him, next to me, deep in slumber. I went up to the bathroom and got my answer to the stench. He had had a few extra drinks last night, must have puked all over the wash basin. The basin was clogged and the stench inside was unbearable. A little angry I came back in the room with half a mind to wake him up and ask him to clean up. I could hear his soft snores and knew that he needs that sleep to be normal the next morning. This happened when we were vacationing in Dubai during Diwali holidays. I called up the reception and in an embarrassed tone explained my problem. It was a five star property and the receptionist promised to send someone over within a minute. Before hanging up, I requested him to send ... Read Full Story >>
In my town in South Asia, every third Wednesday there is a electric shut down from 9AM to 6PM.
Even thought we all knew about it, many of us would forget and not make the adjustments necessary to pull on without a day of electricity.
Well, one of our neighbors had this habit -- he used to call everyone at 7AM to remind us about the power shut down so that we can get things done before the 9AM deadline.
How kind he has been, all these years! Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that touch the soul.
"Carol Lee?" On our flight to New Orleans, the "Fasten Your Seat Belts" sign had just come on. Carol Lee was reading her book. She lifted her head, "What do you want to do in life?" I asked. I expected her to say she wanted to travel to Europe. Carol Lee turned to me and said, "I would like to hold babies." "Hold babies?" I was stunned. "You've got grandchildren." "I would like to work in a hospital nursery and just hold the newborns." Newborns? Her desire was one to ponder, which I did with each salty peanut I crunched. I looked out my little round window at New Orleans in the distance. Hold babies? Was she serious? A beignet at Cafe Du Monde, the French Quarter, a walk and a tour of the Garden District - joie de vivre! St. Charles Avenue and the streetcar ride; moonlight dancing aboard a Mississippi riverboat; a final ... Read Full Story >>
This happened to me years ago when I was a waitress, but I still remember this specific incident so vividly. As the end of the night was approaching, fifteen minutes before our restaurant closed, a gentleman came in. I was the unfortunate waitress who got to stay after closing to take his order and serve him his food. The customer was impeccably difficult was quite openly upset with how his food was prepared, slightly overdone, perhaps a medium rare when he had requested rare. He sent his order back twice. When it eventually arrived to his liking, he needed a pot of coffee brewed fresh. Meanwhile, my managers and our cooks were breathing down my neck, as they wanted the last customer of the day to finally leave so that we could close up shop and go home. At this point I was frustrated and tired. I had stayed 45 ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I upgraded my cell phone at the Sprint store and got the new Rumor. I love it. While I was standing there, I was thinking to myself, "These people are providing GREAT customre service, I wish I could tip them or something." I was so geeked about my new phone, it didn't even dawn on me that I could tip them with a smile card and some cash and say "Go get yourself a coffee or something." But another very happy customer in the store did it for me by leaving $5 on the counter. The employee said, "Sir, we can't accept tips," and the customer responded, "I'm not taking it back, it's yours!." So, like Wonder Woman, I swooped over and said, "Here, have one of these!" and I whipped out a Smile card. I handed the card to the other customer and said, "Give them this. It's an experiment in anoymous acts of kindness. If they can't ... Read Full Story >>
One of my pleasures has always been to make friends out of people I encounter on a regular basis. This has sometimes led to wonderful unexpected gifts beyond the obvious happiness of setting up outposts of friends. 10 years ago, I was a "career professional" working as a programmer in a bank. Like many people, I was unhappy in my job, feeling completely unfulfilled, and occasionally having anxiety attacks about my life passing by without meaning. Banks have a strange corporate structure, doling out the title of "Vice President" rather liberally to miscellaneous positions of middling authority. My job had been bestowed with this aggrandizement. It not only seemed ridiculous to me, but became a source of irritation when I'd watch someone greet me respectfully, then turn around and respond dismissively to a fellow employee. In reaction to this obvious inequity, I made it a point to be even more respectful towards ... Read Full Story >>
My daughter reminded me yesterday of a story that happened several years ago. I worked in a nursing home for several years and had kind of adopted one wing, where the residents had few guests/visitors, and stayed manily in their rooms or in the hallway outside there rooms. I went down on my breaks just to check in, to see if anyone needed or wanted a bit of extra TLC. I gave them "flower" nicknames so I could share some of there stories with my kids without revealing there identities. The residents all knew I had nicknames for them. I called them my own private garden. One day I happened to overhear one of them say, "I wonder if dandelion is coming today?" "Of course, she always comes answered another." I admit I wondered why they named me after a weed. A few months after overhearing this one of my special ... Read Full Story >>
A few months ago I posted a story about a woman struggling with alcoholism who reached out to me. I sent her a care pack full of smiles, encouraging words and some treats to help her out, along with a special letter I wrote to her. It has been almost 3 months and she is still doing great. She sends me updates and I send her encouraging notes. But, as I have said before, you never know how much something you say or do means to someone else. What happened next reminds me of how true that is. She read a story that another woman posted about being an alcoholic and how she needed to stop drinking, if only for her children. I read it too but she was quick to act. She e-mailed me and asked if I would put a "box of smiles" together for this woman and send ... Read Full Story >>
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "Miss, how much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Okay then, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now, more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and left. When the waitress came back to that table, she began to ... Read Full Story >>
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class ... Read Full Story >>
So I am on the way to an appointment, and while I am not late yet, I don't have much time to spare. I drive up Henley Road (always careful to observe the speed limit, of course), and I approach that nasty, blind S-curve just south of U.S. 40. Ahead looms a garbage truck. Uh-oh. By their nature, garbage trucks progress slowly -- house by house by house. Passing a truck on that nasty, blind S-curve is foolish. I prepare for an impatient crawl through the curve and up to the stoplight. I see a hand hanging out the side of the truck. The hand is motioning. The hand is waving. The hand is motioning and waving for me to keep moving and go around the truck. I have the reflexes of Uwe Blab, but I finally pull out and around, pass the truck, reach U.S. 40, make it to my ... Read Full Story >>
During my travels over the weekend I was able to give lots of sincere compliments and do little things to make people happy. Just little things like helping a lady open a door or complimenting a friend on her lovely voice.
I had time this weekend to reflect on how different my life is now. It is so strange to know that all this happiness was there, but I just couldn't see it or reach it.
I was afraid to do nice things for people, I don't know why. Maybe because I was shy. I would think of something kind to do, but then talk myself out of it during an internal dialogue in my own mind.
When I joined this site one of the quesitons I asked was, 'Is it being 'holier than thou' to do the act of kindness or should I do it anyway?'
Many gave me wonderful advice and one person wrote 'to do it, but do it humbly'.
I really want to thank all of you on this site.
The maid at the Kingsgate Hotel off Salam Street in Abu Dhabi had outdone even my mother. Every article of clothing had either been placed on a coat hanger or folded neatly, even the socks. The disposable razors and washing gels were lined up like toy soldiers, waiting to do battle. I thanked Agnes profusely, gave her a generous tip and went about my day. Late that evening, when I returned from work, a shiny new alarm clock was on the bedside table. As I had occasionally asked the maid for the time of day, I knew right away what had happened. She had used some of the money I had given her – money she certainly needed for herself or her family back home in the Philippines – and bought the clock. As I hope anyone would have done, I told her she was too kind and returned the ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 13 years old I used to babysit for the lady next door. Every 2 weeks she would pay me $80. I always looked forward to getting paid so I could go to the mall with my friends on Saturday and spend my money that took me two weeks to earn. One Friday evening I heard my Mom on the phone with our neighbor and I heard her say a few times, "Oh that is horrible," After my Mom got off the phone I asked what was wrong. She said that the neighbors had no food in their house and the she didn't know what she was gonna feed her daughter. Her husband had spent their money on beer and got angry after he came home because his wife asked for money to buy groceries. He began to pull dishes out of the cupboards and threw them at the wall. So, on top of not having any groceries, ... Read Full Story >>
This was a wonderful experience. It happened about three years ago and it has had a strong impact on me. I would like to pay tribute here to two men I do not know personally but whose actions gave a new meaning to the words kindness and generosity. I was walking down a busy street in the financial district on a cold, windy day in early winter. A barefoot homeless man, probably about 60, was begging for change on a street corner. A BMW pulled up on the other side of the street and stopped and an immaculately dressed executive stepped out of the car. He was a tall, slim and imposing gentleman with silver harid, he was probably about 60 yrs old. He was wearing a blue pinstriped business suit, deep red silk tie, white shirt, mirror-shined black shoes, silver wristwatch, black overcoat, leather gloves, the works. Dapper, dignified, distinguished. He walked briskly and puposefully across the street ... Read Full Story >>
A few years ago I was an employee of an international company that sold computer devices. I had to travel a lot as part of my work. I remember that I was at a stage of my life where I only cared about how to make more money and how to solve technical problems. I was locked in my own world living as a robot that only worked in a mechanical way. On one of my work trips, I came to the airport to take a bus to downtown, as usual. It was the same routine: get into the city, take the bus to the hotel, check in, visit the client, work late, take the bus back to the airport and fly back out... That day, for some reason, something was different. I decided not to take the same exit in the airport and took the stairs down to a different exit and ... Read Full Story >>
I have found that the way I treat insects acts as a reflection of my approach to kindness. Like most kids, I suppose, I mistreated bugs terribly. But many adults continue the rampage against insects, and I have often found that they do this mindlessly, killing them for no reason. With the weather getting warmer, more bugs are getting into our houses. We also spend more time in "their house," as we enjoy the great outdoors. We find ourselves reaching for the fly swatter and insecticides to get rid of them. But why do we do this? Most insects pose no threat to us, but we kill them anyway. As a young adult, I found myself questioning my treatment of bugs. It became a moral issue. I remember reading a Native American story about a mother who saw her daughter stomp on a spider. The mom simply asks the child: "Now who'll take care ... Read Full Story >>
A Night With The Homeless by: Ellis Moore (Age 10) Every Saturday or Sunday night my family and I go out and feed the homeless people in the city of Orlando. There are thousands of people across The United States without any food or shelter. My family and I have been doing this for several months. We wanted to see what it was like in the life of a homeless person. One special thing I like to mention is, my family and I do not eat before we begin our journey so we know how it feels to be hungry. All of the areas we go to are very dangerous. We go on streets such as, Orange blossom trail, Parramore, Gore street, Colonial Dr, and down town Orlando. We all get together in the kitchen and prepare the food. Some of the meals are sandwiches and cookies and a bottle of water. ... Read Full Story >>
Most of us have a few experiences each day that make us laugh or grin for a short period of time. If we are lucky, we may cross paths with something that makes us grin for a day or two. If we are truly blessed, somewhere on our path we are able to be part of something that will make us grin for the rest of our lives. I need to share such an event with you, with the hope that you would consider a similar project in your community. I am a building contractor from Lynchburg, Virginia. I have been volunteering with Greater Lynchburg Habitat For Humanity since our affiliate started in the late 1980’s. In the past 20 years, I have tried to give more to Habitat than I have received, but it is something I have not been able to accomplish. I have always said that if you look around, ... Read Full Story >>
It's the middle of the night and I find writing this blog nothing short of imperative. As I've been sitting on the floor in my disheveled room, I began to recall such an important moment in my life. Some might pass it off as "dumb" or "unimportant", but for me, it has held a great magnitude of power over my mind and how I live my life. Something so simple, yet so precious has lingered inside my mind for years now. It was a very cold winter evening when a friend of mine had attempted suicide and was rushed to Westchester Medical Center where she stayed, unconscious for quite a while. FINALLY she awoke. A friend of mine and I decided to visit her, so we picked up some picturesque flowers and were on our way. We reached the hospital and dashed madly across the freezing parking lot through the hospitals automatic doors. After signing in, up ... Read Full Story >>
I had just entered the elevator on the third floor of the medical center after a simple check up. As I entered I noticed an old gentleman in a wheelchair with a little old lady behind him. I noticed his baseball cap with WWII on the front. Most likely, a veteran of World War Two, I assumed. Just making small talk, I said, "so, you were in the big one." His answer stunned me. He said, "Yes, I went overseas a strapping young newlywed and I came back in this thing," slapping each side of the wheelchair with his hands. I stared at him, looked at his wife, and the magnitude of what he said to me hit me like a ton of bricks. He married this woman, went to serve his country, was wounded and paralyzed and then returned to his wife and she stayed with him for all these years. Overcome with ... Read Full Story >>
I've been so inspired by everyone's thoughts and reflections that I thought I'd take the plunge and continue a recent practice of stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing this story. Last Friday, I was coming home late after spending time with friends andthought I'd go down to the $.99 cent pizza place. On the way, I saw a man sitting on a random stoop. I'd seen him before, panhandling on the stairs I walk up every day as I leave the subway running late to work, but this time I had no place to rush off to. There was something about him, a quiet and serene demeanor, different from many of the other homeless people I had seen in NYC. I walked past him, went to the pizza place, and those 10 seconds waiting in line was enough to practice stepping outside of my usual, familiar flow. So with a few ... Read Full Story >>