I live in a beautiful village. An ancient, but small, river slowly winds its way through the heart of the village.
Visitors come from all over England to enjoy our village and the neighboring countryside. But, lately, people have been tossing their rubbish into the river, leaving it looking sad and neglected.
So, I found my longest pair of gum-boots, a pair of elbow-length rubber gloves, a hefty rubbish sack, and waded down into the river. I cleaned out all the plastic bottles, potato-crisp packets, broken beer bottles, takeaway cartons, and all the plastic I could find.
My refuse sack was filled, the river was cleared, and I got to enjoyed my home town from a whole new perspective!
I went to pick up my dry clean and paid for my bill. Then, I kindly said, I wanted to pay for someone else’s bill as an act of kindness today. The lady said you what? I repeated myself. Keep in mind she had a smile on her face and she was saying that is so nice of you to do. I started to tell her about Helpothers.org and showed her the Smile card. She just starts beaming with smiles. She said is this money from the website? I said no, the website gives us a place to share our stories and ideas with other people. She asked if this was a religious site. I said it’s a site for anyone that wishes to share acts of kindness with people all around the world. She said should I pick someone I know? I said that would be fine because I do not know them. She ... Read Full Story >>
Dear friends, I hope that all is well. One of the things I know is that it is human nature to want things. We all want more money, better homes, better cars, and better relationships and so on. So what is the secret to getting all that we want? I have been looking for that answer for a while and if you have it I pray you will share. Here is what I would like to share, I started tithing last year and I made the minimum amount based on my income. This past Sunday as I reflected in all that is going well in my life I realized that I was not giving back at the rate to which I am being given. This made me think of life in general and how we want so much from life but we are willing to give so little. We often agonize about ... Read Full Story >>
As a customer rep for a financial account of one of US' supermarket, its a daily shift of hundred phone calls regarding their prepaid debit cards. Calls that are sometimes degrading, calls that make you cringe at how the caller speaks and calls that are just purely racist. what make it different is how my mindset is. Everyday I wake up and declare myself as a helper of my callers. I go beyond our protocols in dealing with my customers. Though phone interaction is only limited to 4 minutes 45 seconds, i strive to make it as meaningful and as uplifting for someone in need. One of my callers is panicking on how she made the wrong insurance payment that will lead to his son in college not receiving any pay outs thereby leaving him without any food for a week or two. The mom said she can live going over ... Read Full Story >>
I went along with the Kindness Suggestion today and gave someone a surprise treat!
I stopped at Starbucks, bought a $5 gift card and asked the barista to use it on whoever came in next.
I was still waiting for my drink when the next customer arrived. The gentleman thanked me so much for the card and said nothing like that had ever happened to him before. He was so thankful!
He thanked me again as I left, and said, "God bless."
Lying in a hospital bed placed in the giraffe habitat at Rotterdam's Diergaarde Blijdorp, the 54-year-old man, identified as only Mario, waited for the animals to approach.
"You could see him totally light up," said Kees Veldboer, founder and director of Ambulance Wish Foundation, which arranged the farewell. "It's very special to see that those animals A dying cancer patient who worked at a Dutch zoo returned to say goodbye on Wednesday. recognize him, and sense that he isn't doing well," he told Rotterdam newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Mario, who has a mental disability, spent nearly his entire life as a maintenance man at the zoo, according to the paper.
After the touching encounter, he then bid farewell to his colleagues.
May this precious man's last day be filled with hugs, love, and sloppy giraffe kisses!
I found myself in the city for work today. On my lunch break I decided to walk around the public gardens. It was one of those unusually warm September days, 90+ degrees and humid, but it felt good after being in the air-conditioning all morning. That is until I walked past two individuals, sweaty and asleep, on a park bench together. What appeared to be all their belongings were in a few bags scattered around them. I continued walking but kept thinking about the pair on the bench. So, I went to Starbucks and purchased five bottles of cold water. Then I returned to the park. First stop was the couple on the bench. I woke the gentleman up and asked if they were ok. Sleepily, he assured me they were fine, but he gratefully accepted two bottles of water. The third bottle went to a man playing his violin by the remembrance garden. ... Read Full Story >>
I left a bunch of change in the vending machine at my son's school.
Thinking of all the times that my son wanted me to buy him something and was disappointed because I had no change, I smiled imagining someone else in my shoes, discovering the change and getting surprised.
It was a really hot day here yesterday, so I bought some bottles of cold water and handed them out to the two construction workers near my house, who tirelessly stand there everyday, directing traffic.
I also gave some cold water to the person bagging groceries in my neighborhood grocery store, always with a big smile and kind words for my kids.
The smiles on all their faces as they gracefully received the water made me feel really grateful for the Kindness Challenge that is giving me this amazing opportunity - thank you :)
DAY 2 Interestingly enough, I experienced two realizations today during Day 2 of the Kindness Challenge. I would like to share them here. #1 I noticed that when I began my day and remembered that I needed to complete my challenge, I thought: "I have to engage in a kindness act today." Immediately I noticed how my body tightened up when thinking about it, particularly the "have" part of it. In my past, generosity and kindness were just a way of being, and not a requirement, so now that it's required for me to log in and then complete a Kindness act, I resented it. Then, I realized that I didn't "have" to do anything, all I "have" to do was just be me, then Kindness flowed. #2 As I was trying to figure out and plan which act of kindness I was going to perform, I realized that I was looking for bigger actions. Then ... Read Full Story >>
Today, my family was given the opportunity to do an act of kindness. My son's soccer team was invited to a home for children with complex physical disabilities to help celebrate the 14th birthday of one of the residents. This boy is from Burundi, Africa where soccer is very popular.
All the children got wheeled out to the back yard and my son's team played an exhibition game for them to watch. The team gave the birthday boy a team jersey and a birthday card signed by all the players. We all got to meet the boy's family and have a tour of the home.
It was a gift for everyone involved - the birthday boy and his family, the soccer team, my son, my husband and I. I left there with such a feeling of warmth and love and pride in our boys.
That feeling stayed with me through the rest of the afternoon and shone through in all of my interactions - with the check out person at the grocery story, the man walking his dog on the street and the old friend I ran into in the supermarket.
I was even inspired to buy and leave a box of raisinets and a smile card on a windshield of a car parked in the supermarket parking lot.
I'm in Boulder, Colorado, and am one of the fortunate ones without much flood impact on my home. Today, I went over to a friend's house to help with the cleanup there. The house is less than a block from one of the creeks, and the flash flood broke a basement window, filled the basement up to eight feet, rushed up the stairs to the ground floor, and flooded that floor as well. A crew of her friends had been pulling up carpet and moving furniture all morning when I arrived. She asked me to help move damaged items out of a back room where carpet was already pulled out, and start getting the layer of chocolaty mud out. With one other helper, I got busy shoveling and scraping; once we got the heavy layer off, I started running the wet vac. There was a three-foot square of tiled floor in front ... Read Full Story >>
(Originally posted on mindbodygreen.com) My poet’s heart has always been soft, and I tend to err on the side of being more kind than necessary. This has always been misunderstood and perceived as naïve, and even weird, by others. Quite frequently in a new situation my kindness was perceived as disingenuous, or as having an ulterior motive. Why would anyone be nice without expecting something in return? I had no explanation other than that it simply wasn't the way I was wired. Finally, as an adult I came to the realization that kindness is my superhero power. Every day our lives serve as either a warning or as an example to others. My life at times has served as both. I now choose to have it serve only as an example. Kindness is my message to the world, and I’d like to think this message is gaining traction. From my heart to yours, here ... Read Full Story >>
The woman who lives across the street is in her late 80's and 2 years ago I was gifted with the chance to help her a few days a week. I learned that she is a kindred spirit and so we became great friends. Lately she has been down in the dumps and has expressed that she is just tired of being alive. She feels very lonely and frustrated with her inability to 'do' much of anything anymore. We have begun talking about the stages of life, especially the final stage where our bodies become less able and we learn to focus on our spirits. Following the prompt yesterday, I passed on a book to her that describe how caterpillars just know that there is more to life than crawling and eating. Eventually they take a chance and become butterflies! It seemed fit for where she is in her life right now. ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday morning, I spent a glorious few hours with a group of close friends. We were sitting down in a cozy corner of the cafe, sipping on delicious coffee and catching up on the past year. As we were leaving, one friend found a beautiful blue oragami paper crane, casually perched on top of the mantle of a fire place. Attached to the paper crane was along a lovely quote that read, "You don't need to know. Life wouldn't be this grand adventure if you knew what was coming. Love the mystery." Later, we discovered another piece of paper that shared the story of the paper cranes. It read... "On Valentine's Day of 2011, I came home to find a beautiful mass of moving color. My ex-boyfriend had folded 1000 paper cranes and hung them on my porch. He left a note saying if I made a wish, it would be ... Read Full Story >>
Every Thanksgiving my family and I, along with others, prepare and serve Thanksgiving meals for the people in our small mountain community. My husband and I also bring meals to shut-ins, people that never leave their homes for various reasons. After we passed out boxed meals in a senior housing apartment building. After delivering to some individual apartments, we went to the central dining room and placed the boxes filled with turkey, ham, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, gravy and green bean casserole in front of each seat. People invited us to stay, and thanked us, but we had other deliveries and had to leave. As we started to exit, I turned around and saw them all watching us. Impulsively, I asked, "Would anybody like a hug?" They lined up. There was so much warmth in each hug. My eyes filled with tears and my heart with love. I now visit occasionally to chat ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I invited my elderly neighbor over for lunch. She accepted but with the heavy rain that we have received she decided this morning that she preferred to remain inside today.
I was still moved to share a delicious meal with her so instead of giving up, I decided to go ahead and prepare the lunch and then fill a basket with a tin of her favorite chocolate chip cookies and a small potted plant.
I took the lunch to her and she was delighted. She enjoyed and so did I and it reminded me of the special times spent with my late maternal grandmother, who I miss dearly! She and I would get together over a cup of coffee and some type of homemade goodie and have the most wonderful conversations. It was wonderful to remember Grandmother with a smile while sharing a smile with another sweet lady. What a nice afternoon!
Yesterday I helped a very busy friend clean out her car. We vacuumed and steam cleaned the upholstery. She was so happy and relieved to finally have it done!
Today was International Coastal Clean-up Day. So, my husband and I spent a very rainy morning picking up trash on the beach.
It seems like such a drop in the bucket (even though it involved many buckets) but it was a satisfying experience and one we will continue regularly on our own.
I highly recommend this experience. It may change your perspective on all things plastic!
When I had my knee replacement surgery 3 years ago, I was having a particularly bad night because of a pinched nerve in my lower back. I will never forget the kindness of the nurse that I had that night. He went above and beyond to help relieve my pain and discomfort.
So, to pay it forward, I talked to the nurses at the oncology center where I go with my friend for chemo every week and have made plans to bring in treats or something to brighten the drab, colorless room once a week.
This week I am filling small colorful "favor" boxes with treats for each patient and in subsequent weeks, I plan to make cookies, buy bouquets of balloons for each aisle, and provide some Halloween treats for the patients.
After a short vacation with my parents, I returned to the country where I'm volunteering and I was missing my parents terribly. The next day, I was back at my desk and what a surprise awaited me! The smile cards I had placed an order for had arrived while I was away and were waiting for me on my desk! My day instantly lit up, I was at peace! Thoughts of how to go about sprinkling the world with kind acts began dancing in my head. The next day I took a small purse and a smile card with me with the intention of giving it to someone who really needed a surprise. Martha is a lady who cleans our office, gives us tea, food, etc. I found her in the office that morning touching her head in exhaustion as she ended a phone call. Turned out, one of her children ... Read Full Story >>
I set up the stand "Free Loving Hugs" on the side walk on one of busiest days in town - Fair on the Square. Over a period of two hours standing there I gave out about 300 hugs including 3 puppies, one kitten, and 1 kick in the butt.
What? Kick in a butt? Yea! One man came to me and he said that he really needs a hug. I gave him a hug, and then after he told me that he was going through some tough times in his life, I gave him a second hug. He said that he also needs a nice kick in the butt and so I happily, but gently, obliged, to help “kick”-start him into action. =)
Another memorable request was from a lady who came to me with tear filled eyes, and told me that she really, really needed a hug today. I gave her a nice loving squeezy hug, and then she told me that she was just diagnosed with cancer. Then I felt like I needed to give her a really, really long healing hug. We stood there hugging and the emotion of the moment overcame me and we both stood their crying for a while... =)
In our class we have formed an NGO called "Recolectando Felicidad". We decided, for our second project, to spend time with kids from different schools. Instead of bringing them toys or material things we decided to play with them because we feel that playing with them, giving them love and making them smile was way more valuable. The class formed small groups, with three or four people each, to take care of the different games Our group was in charge of the play dough modelling activities. The day before visiting "Rayo de Luz" (a local school for children with learning difficulties) we met up to make the dough. We used flour, water, salt and food coloring, to make sure the dough would be safe for children. We made 4,5 kilograms of dough in six colors: pink, teal, yellow, purple, black and white. The next day, we went to the school. We invited the ... Read Full Story >>
This is a story of kindness given to me,its simplicity, yet its depth, and my gratitude for it.
On my way home from work one afternoon, I stopped by the grocery for something to fix for supper. I'd had a trying day and was feeling down and uninspired.
As I started round the corner of an aisle, I encountered an extremely short, elderly lady who burst forth with THE most beautiful smile imaginable,as she looked directly into my eyes!
This gift was so powerful, I found myself spontaneously smiling back; my spirits were lifted! I found inspiration for what to prepare for supper AND, I tracked that little lady down to tell her how she had "made my day".
The gift of a genuine smile is POWERFUL! This happened many years ago; but I'll never forget it and it has made me generous with my smiles as I pay-it-forward.
Sometimes the people who are noticed the least can do the most to lift us up... On Thanksgiving morning I got up early to run in the local 5K, figuring it would give me the motivation to get back into running. It was barely above freezing that morning so everyone getting ready to run was hopping around trying to stay warm. On the side of the road, sitting in the grass, was a man wrapped in a blanket. It was pretty obvious he was homeless and as usual, most people pretended not to see him. I went over and talked with him for a few minutes before the race. In the midst of the idle chit-chat, he told me that he was a veteran and had hoped he might be able to earn a few dollars that morning to be able to go buy a Thanksgiving dinner. He had a glimmer ... Read Full Story >>
There are a few people who have passed through my life who I say I would never be able to repay. One of them who left the most impact was my art teacher Mr. Cataldo.
I went to a very rough middle school and that is a difficult age to be in an unsafe environment. I was bullied and mistreated on a regular basis. Perhaps the other students could see the victim in me, but all of that changed the day that I came into art class.
Mr. Cataldo let every student of his know that this was a safe zone and no bullying or bad behavior could happen on his watch. He fostered a good environment for learning and growing. It was only an hour a day, but it saved my life at the time. So thanks, Mr.C for giving me a little haven of peace in an otherwise dark and disturbing middle school experience. I think about you often!
"Kindness, I've discovered, is everything in life." - Isaac Singer Sometimes, all it takes is a small reminder to open our eyes to the beauty and wonder that surrounds us. Lucky for us, we get those reminders every day! For the last 365 days, we have been inspired by innumerable acts of kindness that have touched the lives of thousands of people all over the world. The following stories are some of our favorites from this year. Enjoy! 3,762 Miles Walked and 100 Tons of Trash On an unassuming weekday evening, Jane was at home… as usual. As her thoughts swung between what she was going to do with her life and their dinner plans for the evening, she was unexpectedly interrupted by an urgent call from her sister “get over here! Turn on NBC and check these guys out, they are just like you…” One facebook message and a phone interview later, ... Read Full Story >>
My family comes first - not work. Why? Because no matter how long you live, life is short. And people, especially family, are precious.
My mum in law died last week at the grand age of 88 and she clung to life (despite having advanced cancer) with every fibre of her being. One of her last days, she sat, even though she could barely move, outside, in the really strong gusty wind, just being alive. She just plain refused to go inside. Stubborn, yes. Breathing, yes. Alive - absolutely.
When it comes down to it, no-one cares about your work achievements at the end of your life (really, they don't), they care about how kind you were, how you made them laugh, how you listened or were there for them, what you did for others and those quirky little things that you didn't realise people noticed about you that made you special to them.
The last week has been a huge eye-opener for me. I hope it's changed me forever.
It's hard to ask for help. It's uncomfortable to admit that you need something or that your life would be a lot easier if you could lean on someone else to do a little thing that you always assumed as your responsibility.
I've learned that people won't ask for help, but they sure will appreciate it if you jump in and do something helpful. Before you jump in, however, you have to really understand their circumstance and figure out what act or deed would be most helpful.
Out of habit, we often bring casseroles to the sick. Sure it is helpful, but they get too many and their kids don't like what they get so they have to make something else anyway.
So, instead I try to fill in where others aren't - doing laundry, picking up kids from school, including kids in activities etc. I hope I never forget that silence does not mean someone is ok, it just might mean that they don't want to ask for help.
I went into a coffee shop for coffee and a bagel. I noticed the woman in front of me ordered coffee and a bagel and asked how much it cost and then said just coffee please.
I thought about it after I sat down and went over to the woman and gave her some money and asked her to get what she wanted. She got it and gave me the extra money back with a note saying she was a massage therapist and she wanted me to call her for a free message.
She said she hoped I called her because she wanted to see me again and that I had made her day. She made my day too.
Almost every day, during our breaks, an older man who is my colleague closes himself off from the noise in the break room by focusing on a cryptogram puzzle in the newspaper instead. One day I decided to help him solve the puzzle and he told me he has tinnitus. Imagine working in a busy school when you are so sensitive to noisy surroundings! I also still have a problem with busy, loud environments, so I decided to join him in solving those puzzles. Every day we sit at the crowded table, fixing today's puzzle. We are still there, in the moment and talking to the people around us, but at times we tune out and puzzle for a bit. Occasionally other colleagues start helping us with the puzzle as well. I am very grateful that my colleague, who is really struggling with his hearing, has taught me how to zone yourself out when the ... Read Full Story >>
I was on my way to teach my yoga class at a shelter one day, when I saw a homeless youth on the street. I felt an impulse to give all my one dollar bills. Shortly thereafter, I noticed another youth, also homeless. At that time all I could give was a smile and a connection.
When I reached the shelter there none who wanted to partake
in the yoga class. However, I did bring with me some baked goods like donuts, cinnamon rolls etc, which I was able to give away. One the way back to my car from the shelter, I noticed I had time left on my parking ticket. I also felts inspired to give that away to a person I connected with a person on the street who needed it.
All that little giving made me more aware of the abundance and the opportunity to connect and give.