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 >>
Last fall, before Thanksgiving, I was making my way in my car out of the shopping center parking lot. I was all alone in the car. I noticed a woman laden with bags and her two boys, one carrying a pumpkin and the other another bag. I assumed that they were headed to the bus stop across the major road, since it was too far to walk with all those purchases to any of the nearby apartment communities. On a random impulse, I rolled down my window and asked if they were indeed headed to the bus stop. “Yes,” the mother responded. I asked "Would you like a ride?" "Oh yes!” was their excited reaction. I was delighted, and, after manoeuvering over to the side out of the way of other traffic, I stopped and the boys piled into the back seat. The mother started to push in beside them. I ... Read Full Story >>
I knew a friend of mine was struggling with work, adult children moving back into the home, and a health concern about his wife.
Last week I called him and left him a voicemail letting him know that I was thinking of him and focusing on a positive outcome for him.
I spoke to him today and he told me that my voicemail brought him so much comfort that he saved it and when things get rough, he listens to it and cheers up.
I'm so humbled by his words and so very grateful that I took a moment to leave him that voicemail. It got me thinking how sometimes we have impulses to reach out to another. At times we follow through, sometimes we get busy and forget.
After hearing his gratitude for my message, I realized I need to pay more attention to those impulses.
Everyday, I read the stories on this website and I am so warmed by all the generous giving and grateful receiving.
Thank you for the inspiration!
You never know where kindness from strangers may appear. The snow started at 4:30 Friday evening and didn’t stop until Saturday evening. Many parts of the northeast received up to 20 inches. I had been snowed in for over 24 hours and was starting to feel cabin fever strike. The shoveling started around 11:00 Sunday morning and after an hour I felt like I had just started. I suffer from scoliosis and was starting to feel the pain so I decided to go in for a bit. Around 2:30 I threw back on my winter gear and headed back outside, thinking to myself: “This is going to take forever and boy am I’m going to be feeling it tomorrow!” In the distance I saw a man riding a small John Deere tracker and attached to the back a snow plow. He stopped and offered to plow the remaining driveway making ... Read Full Story >>
While getting ready for school today, my 16-year-old daughter made a point of coming into my room to give me a big hug and kiss. When I asked her the proverbial question, "What do you want?" she replied, "Nothing momma. You always tell us to have a good day before we leave the house, but I was thinking about who tells you to have a good day and lets you know how much you are loved." I am so touched by the capacity of love and understanding that comes from my children. My 15-year-old son asked me last night if there was a way for him to get a summer job this year in order to help us pay our bills. Unfortunately, in our area, he must be 16. When telling him "no," he said that was ok because he had a lawn mower and as long as the grass grows, he ... Read Full Story >>
Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. Try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend." Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be ... Read Full Story >>
"I'm the eldest among us, so you have to let me pay for these tickets! Besides, just one ticket in the States cost more than all three tonight!!" My cousin's wallet hand was faster than mine, pulling out Rs. 520 for three opening night seats to 'Angels and Demons' before I could make good on my intention. "Naaah! Come on- don't worry about it," came the answer. "Ok, but then we have to use this 500 rupees to do something good," I say as I pull out a crisp note. We immediately start trying to figure it out while slowly walking away from the theater. I spot an ice cream vendor selling 10 rupees soft serves not far from us. "Hey, what about ice cream! We could give 50 strangers a cool surprise with this bill. Just random people walking by." "NO! Why?! We should give to someone in need," protested one of my cousins, with ... Read Full Story >>
I met a really nice young couple about a year ago through mutual friends on a social networking site. They have just adopted a baby girl. This is a beautiful gift to the world on its own, but what makes it even more special is how many hoops they jumped through and how much time and money they spent to get to that stage. I was going through some boxes from my mother’s house (she passed away at Christmas time in 2007) and I found some beautiful vintage baby dresses. So I thought, wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if I sent some of this lovely vintage clothing to the couple for their adopted baby? I knew they would love it. This was truly a gift from the heart; I had planned on saving those for my daughter if I had one someday. But, given that my husband died before we had any children, ... 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 >>
Last winter I was going through a rough patch in my life. I had a bunch of terrible things going on around me. I felt very distant and became quite selfish. I hated the way I was feeling and one day I woke up and told myself, “You are above this, stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Then, I tried out an experiment, and it has DEFINITELY changed me for the better. Every day I would do at least one act of kindness - It could be anything… Bringing the trash down to the trash compactor for my 80 year old neighbor, Going into the store to buy something for myself (like a bit of makeup) and coming out with something for someone else (like candy for my boyfriend) Sitting down with my sister or a friend and just simply listening. And I can ... Read Full Story >>
I'm sort of new to this small acts of kindness game, so I'm not sure how people feel about picking up hitchhikers. I've always felt that as long as you don't put your self in a completely unsafe position, it is an OK thing to do. But I'd never done it before until this week. It was about 9pm and I was walking in my school's campus from my office to my car. On the way, I ran into an fellow who was obviously lost. He asked me for directions, saying he needed to get to East Palo Alto. But the problem was he was walking in the complete opposite direction! I pointed him in the correct direction, but warned him it was a long ways off. He didn't speak English very well, and generally seemed disoriented. I quickly felt like helping him. Though he was a big guy, the vibe I ... Read Full Story >>
We were having a mini heat wave yesterday and I was in the supermarket, stocking up on juice and ice-cream. Now, I'm not much of a fan of the hot weather and I was enjoying the fact that it was cooler inside than outside, but the lady behind the checkout was suffering. I asked if she was looking forward to getting out in the sun after her shift was finished and she replied that she might not last that long. She was melting! She explained that she shouldn't have been working that day, but she had agreed to cover someone else's shift. Now she wished she hadn't. She felt like she might die! I paid for the shopping and headed for the exit. Half way there I remembered something I had wanted to get for Julie, so I went back in. On the way to where I wanted to go, I passed a rack of ... Read Full Story >>
The green box on HelpOthers.org talks about a $100 contest I submitted an idea that I would love to do. I loved the idea so much that I decided to go ahead and do it, only on a smaller scale. If I am selected as a winner of the $100 contest, I will do it on the large scale. (fingers crossed) Since I work at a Bank getting the supplies for my idea was easy: a plastic checkbook cover and a transaction register (normally for a checking account). Next I wrote a message on the inside cover: "Congratulations! You are currently the bearer of the Smile Transaction Register. This kindness checkbook began its journey with $20. Your only job is to keep it going. Don't keep it long. Look over the entries in the register to get some ideas of how to spread small acts of kindness. You can either make a deposit if the funds ... Read Full Story >>
I recently got a new version of an old camera that I used to adore... Polaroid instant film! This one is a Fuji, which takes credit card sized instant photos. I named my camera "J5", (after Johnny #5 the Robot, from the '80's films "Short Circuit", mainly because it looks like him :) In J5's short career (this past month), he has blasted off about 80 photographs, and 60+ have been given away to complete strangers. Each photograph is unique, simple, imperfect and beautiful, as those captured within the photos had a story to tell. So far, one story stands out above them all. Last Wednesday, I was in the play area of the Harrisburg Mall. I sat next to a woman who was there with her son. She was very classy, seemed to have it all together. I would have assumed that she had a sweet, upper-middle class life. As it turned ... Read Full Story >>
Moving away gave me a chance to reflect on my good fortune and it was a wonderful opportunity to give away some of my things. I’m not rich, but I decided to make sure that what I have an excess off (thanks to the kindness of wonderful friends and family) is passed on to those who really need it. Once you start, its amazing how much you can do... 1. I donated some clothes which were still in pretty good condition, which used to belong to my roomate or me (partly inspired by the story of Goonj posted by 'Anju73'). I spent a good deal of time laundering and ironing them I also added some lavender scents :). I searched for the right place to give them to. I could have given it to Habitat which is round the corner, but I checked out a great homeless shelter that I had heard about and gave it to them instead. I popped ... Read Full Story >>
About a month ago, while in the drive through at Starbucks, I noticed a woman in a car behind me who appeared to be having a bad day. There were two kids in the back who looked to have too much energy at 8am on a Sunday morning. The line moved slowly and at one point while pulling forward, the woman behind me bumped my car. I could tell this worried and concerned her. The entire time that I waited in line for my coffee this woman didn't smile. Looking back at her I could tell she was looking at the side view mirror wondering "Why me? Why today?" When I pulled up and paid for my coffee I requested that the Starbucks barista give the woman behind me a Smile Card and paid for her muffin and latte. Just 30 mins ago I was again waiting in line at the Starbucks. I heard a car door ... Read Full Story >>
On my way out the building in the morning, I search my pockets for 5 rupee coins. If I have one, I go to the shop downstairs and buy 5 packets of Gems-- an Indian version of M&Ms. There are 3 Gems per packet, giving me 14 chances to make someone smile (there would be 15 but invariably the first Gem ends up in my own mouth!). On the first day, I gave one each to the two youngs sons of my dhobi (washerman), and to the boy who lives in the makeshift shack in front of my building. Their hands were really dirty so I put them straight into their mouths. I thought for a second about giving them an impromptu lesson in hand-washing, but they are too young to understand Hindi and I haven't learned enough Kannada to explain properly. Next time I'll pick up the basics, and use ... 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 work at a Care Center where most of the people are elderly. About a year and a half ago a 59 year-old lady came to us who had cancer. She had to have her right leg amputated and she didn't have a family to take care of her after the operation. This lady was a quiet lady who mostly stayed to herself. But in the afternoons, when she was feeling well, she would go visit the other residents in the home. She would visit a lady who was blind and read to her. She would go into the room of a young girl with severe cerebral palsy and sing to her. In her quiet gentle way, she would go about the Care Center doing good. She passed away last Wednesday and after her passing, stories are coming forward of her quiet acts of kindness in her own hour of sorrow. We never know what impact ... 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 >>
I live in a big Scandinavian city that unfortunately has a lot of homeless people. Luckily there are small ways of helping them even though you may not have a lot of money. One way to help is to buy their monthly magazine. By doing this one day, I got to know a young homeless man who was often standing at the train station, selling the magazine. He was a refugee from another country and I can only imagine what kind of psychological scars he must have had from living in a war-torn country, escaping it and then ending up being homeless. After a while, I discovered that his birthday was close to mine which meant that we were born under the same sign of the Zodiac, something we talked about once in a while. I met him last year shortly after his birthday, and without thinking, after congratulating him, I asked if he had had ... 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 >>
Last week, I met a friend who suggested that I do an act of kindness every week and then share the story with him through email. Of course, like the most of us, I have my own share of helping people and hence I thought this "simple" suggestion would be an easy weekly task. But I was in for a surprise. I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't involve giving a materialistic gift. My friend had said: "It should touch you deeply, it should have a story; otherwise, it's just a material experience". That struck a chord with me, so I decided to step-it up :) and looked forward to "doing" the act of kindness. I realized in the next 48 hours that "doing" an act of kindness, an intentional act of kindness, might be simple but letting it happen naturally wasn't as simple. I found myself giving away my ... 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 >>