I pulled into the gas station to fuel up. There was a guy there asking to wash windshields for a dollar. He was developmentally disabled. As he approached me, he compassionately said, "How are you today, maam? Are you having an awesome day? I sure am." His cheer was contagious.
He continued, "Can you help a guy out? I will wash your windshield the best its ever been washed?" I said, " Yes, please go ahead."
So, he washed them all including my mirrors and, they were sparkling clean.
I gave him two dollars and a Smile Card. He said "What is this card"? and I said, "It's a Smile Card and you have to to do something nice for someone today". He understood immediately. And then told me that he wanted god to bless me.
He made me smile. and, I guess since he made me smile and uplifted me, perhaps he had already paid it forward without even knowing it.
I've been holding on to a good bunch of Smile Cards for some time now and decided it was about time I started using them more often! Any opportunity I get, no matter how big or small I am going to do an act of kindness and encourage the pay-it-forward idea. The other day I attended a large business event. I was seated in a row of seats where all chairs were taken except for one chair next to me. It was the only good viewing spot left in the room. There were other chairs available, but they were a distance away and to the side of the room. A few minutes later, two young men stood near me gazing the auditorium for the best seats they could find. "How many seats do you need?" I inquired. "Two," one of them replied. I flashed back to my Smile Card resolution and immediately got up. "Here, you can my seat and the ... Read Full Story >>
We drove over to a friend's place to load up our car with boxes full of books. After driving a short distance, my husband realized that our rear tire was flat! After some labor to set up the tire change, I went over to the garage sale next door for some entertainment -- a teenager was doing tricks on a short bike in their yard. He was really good. While watching him, something caught my eye -- a beautiful blue painting with lots of fish and dolphins. "My little son would love that," I thought, considering that he had just seen dolphins in Sea World. Seeing my interest, the lady said, "A dollar for that." I looked at it again. It was surely worth more to me. So I gave her the two dollars I had and when she was surprised, I told her the buck would travel farther if she wants ... 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.
At my son's school, the traffic is so hectic, they have a traffic director to help the parents get in and out of the school parking area safely.
Last week, I noticed how hot is was outside when I went to pick up my son. The traffic director was sweating!! It just so happened that I had packed an extra bottle of cold water before going to pick up my son.
As I handed the bottle of water out of the window to the traffic director (along with a smile card of course), the look on her face was absolutely priceless!! I kept looking back in my rear view mirror as I drove away, and as long as I could see her, she was still smiling! : )
I was working in a supermarket promoting a new variety of bread. My job was to hand out slices of bread; it was very monotonous and at times very hard to keep motivated saying the same thing over and over again.
So I decided to change it up, and alter my perspective on the situation. With a piece of bread in my hand, I started to say, "Would you like to try a slice of love? And I'm also giving away free hugs today."
And so I started hugging complete strangers, as they passed by my aisle.
The reactions of the people absolutely blew me away! An older lady said she had not been hugged in two years. I was so moved by our brief conversation that I decided that I'm always going to be ever-ready to share my hugs freely – you just never know who might need them!
Since I joined this website last week, I was mulling about how to incorporate acts of kindness into my life as a regular practice. I was truly inspired! I am a massage therapist and have my own practice. What I decided to do is to no longer keep my tips; instead, I would use that money towards giving someone a free massage. For instance, I charge $75/hour. When there is $75 worth of tips given, I will offer someone in need -- who cannot afford the massage otherwise -- a free one. Well, no sooner had I hatched this plan that a client called me and said she had to cancel based on financial difficulties. Guess who got the freebee?!? The beautiful thing is that this woman just lost her father and is in a ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, when I was waiting at a taxi stand, I noticed a young man engrossed in polishing shoes. I decided to get my shoes polished as well and as I was paying him I noticed on his left-hand some sort of old marking. That took me back to 2001 when I had, at this very taxi stand, consoled a boy who had an injury on his hand.
The boy had told me that his step-mother had branded him with a hot iron because he had demanded more food. I had bought a chocolate for him and also two tins of shoe-polish and brushes because I was very supportive of his willingness to work and earn.
This time I paused just as I was about to pay him, looked deep into his eyes and asked him if he was Manoj. He raised his head, looked up at me and froze with moist eyes, refusing to accept my payment. I, too, couldn't control my tears. I admired and complimented Manoj for his continued efforts to be independent and hardworking. I was very glad to learn that he was attending night school after he finished polishing shoes everyday -- that he was continuing to work hard to achieve his dreams.
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 >>
They went on top of my dresser. About four weeks ago. Some went in the console of my car. A couple were swallowed up in my wallet which I'm quite certain still has my high school ID card. I'm 35. And there they stayed, all around me yet somehow completely hidden. Which, of course, they weren't. I just wasn't looking. I had forgotten to look. More truthfully, my "looking" had shifted from "how can I help?" to "what do I need?" I need more money. I need gas for my car. I need a job. I need some clothes. Some new running shoes. I need fulfillment, dammit! O, Happiness, where have you hid? Just when I am most in need, most lost, most miserable, you go and hide, Happiness! How dare you! I NEED these things, material and otherwise and they will deliver unto me joy, freedom, ease and happiness for all ... Read Full Story >>
I was at a busy traffic junction waiting to walk over to the other side when the green lights come on. There was a family, a man, his wife and an elderly lady, waiting to cross with me. Both the man and his wife were chatting endlessly while the elderly lady was engrossed in staring at a banner with a picture of a child and a mother, which brought tears to her eyes. Then, the lights finally turned green and all of us rushed to cross the road. The signal was very short, so the lights changed to red in no time. I noticed that both the man and his wife had crossed along with me and the elderly lady was left behind. She seemed to panic as the other two had already crossed and were continuing on without looking back. I quickly realized what was happening and signaled the ... Read Full Story >>
Mr Mitchell was our neighbour for a while. He and his wife had been the terrors of the local kids before we came to the square. If a ball went into their garden it was never seen again-- that kind of thing. Well, she was gone now and Mr Mitchell was in his late eighties. The rose garden he had planted for her was an overgrown jungle and that was how I came into his story. I knew he was infirm, but I didn't know if he had any help and none of the other neighbours cared anymore. (They'd put up with it a lot longer than we had.) One summer Mr Mitchell was taken into hospital for a short stay. While he was away I thought he might like to come home to a neat and tidy garden, one he could sit out in on sunny days. Even to get into ... Read Full Story >>
I met a work colleague of my husband's a few weeks ago and had forgotten just how hard he was on himself. He thinks he's stupid, ugly, unable to communicate, a bad parent, unable to control his temper and unlikely to amount to anything much in his life. I found this to be a complete contrast to what I see when I look at him. He's caring, considerate, a good listener, very capable at work and a real family man who will sacrifice anything to give his loved ones the best. After a few drinks I broached this subject of affirmations and told him I was going to write him a book of inspirational quotes to make him stop in his tracks and see what others see. So, one long wet winter afternoon I sat with a little black notebook and put what I consider to be an inspiring quote on every ... Read Full Story >>
One winter semester during college in upstate New York., I took an 8 AM history class to fulfill a requirement. It was hard to get up for that class, but about 15 of us met 3 times a week to brave the cold winds and trudge to that lecture in a nondescript classroom. The professor for the class was an odd fellow. He had flaming red hair, usually looking slept on, and wore galoshes with one pantleg in and one out. He would creep shyly into the room wearing his hooded winter coat , once not even removing the hood during the lecture. He was terribly ill at ease with the class and clutched the lecturn barely looking up at all through his gold rimmed glasses at his students. I felt that I needed to do something to stem the boredom that woud ensue in his lecture, so I created a little game for myself. ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I are lucky to have landed together in a new country just a month ago. We were sort of afraid about what's in store for us. When we landed at the airport, a tall man with smiling eyes greeted us. The days and months were somehow made easy for us by this kind man. He greeted us everyday with his smiling face. He accompanied us in going to the bank, in buying our groceries, in telling us where to buy paint, where the coffee shop is, where to have key duplication, where to buy almost everything. He told us he is our big brother. Twice, we watched the match in a coffee shop. During the first get together, we saw how his eyes beamed in happiness. He told us that we're lucky - my husband and I are together in this foreign land. He said he has been ... Read Full Story >>
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However,he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in humanity grew stronger as well. He had been ready to give up ... Read Full Story >>
This week I was reminded that everything we do matters in life. I did 3 small things this week that I found out made a big difference to someone else.
I waved to a new neighbor who was intensely watching her little boy in the yard. She broke into a smile and a few days later told me that I had changed the rest of her day for the better with my small gesture.
When I was in the drugstore, the woman stocking cold medicine dropped one. I picked it up and handed it to her, thinking nothing of it. She thanked me and told me her back was hurting and she appreciated what I did.
I found that a few kind words can touch someone more deeply than you ever could have known. “Thank you” does matter and can make someone feel appreciated. A sincere “I’m sorry” does make a difference and can lighten a difficult situation. And a few thoughts from the heart grow larger when they reach someone else’s heart.
I barely thought much about it when I did any of these things. But I was reminded yet again that everything we do matters. Never underestimate the impact you may have on someone!
August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland. The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated. 'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.' I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, then asked my age. 'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood. My mother was motioned to ... Read Full Story >>
Our son is my newest "Hockey Hero." He plays goalie on his small hometown ice hockey team. One weekend on matchday, we arrived a bit late and quickly found our seats and settled in. As I looked around, I noticed we were sitting with a family who had a mentally and physically handicapped child. We could hear the exciement in his voice when he said, "Mom, look the goalie is going to get the puck now!" Shamelessly, I listened to him and the excitment and joy in his voice as praised the goalie time and time again. During the break, we went and told our son what was happening in the bleachers and, bless his heart, he went up into the bleachers, introduced himself to the parents and sat next to this young lad. He started talking to him and before long the boy was trying on our son's gloves, blocker and helment. When the game was about to start again, my ... 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 day I was going home and jumped on the LRT (train). There was one seat compartment that was empty except for a 'dirty' run down looking man obviously coming down off of something. Although there were two empty seats across from him, and one beside him, and the train was jam packed, no one would sit there. Me, being me, waltzed into the train car, sat directly across from him, looked him in the eye and smiled. The look of shock, shame and amazment on his face is a look I will never forget. He was obviously shocked that someone would sit across from him when a train full of people had done their best to avoid him so far. After he got over the shock, you could see the shame on his face, and you knew it was because of his appearance and how his problems, addictions, whatever they ... Read Full Story >>
My fiancee and I decided today was the day to finally treat ourselves to a nice dinner. It started off as 'our' day' but little did we know that it would turn into much more. I didn't want the whole day to be about yearning to leave the office for the upcoming dinner and I didn't want the dinner to be just another romantic night for two... So, I felt compelled to turn up the notch of giving that day and see what that could do. During the work day, I began in small ways. I inserted a few more quarters, dimes, and nickels, into the vending machines at work for the staff, so that something extra jingled inside for the next hungry worker. I posted smile signs in the lobby which gave clear instructions on how to smile as employees entered the office, either before their morning cup of coffee or right before a meeting with their boss. I drafted some powerful words of inspiration on colorful strips of paper and decorated my cube, so that any colleagues who came by, might just stop for ... Read Full Story >>
I have been doing what I can to look out for someone who lives close inside my heart though the daily lives we experience are quite far apart . In my home, I wake up to a fresh morning, experiencing the luxury and warmth of the comfort of my own bed laden with a floral quilt that my grandmother once made for me. On the opposite coast of the country, within the confines of the lonely hospital walls, my sister rests often unpeacefully and in pain on a cold and firm plaster white sterilized bed. A cancer inside her is spreading despite a recent mastectomy and three months of intense chemotherapy. Radiation was not a possibility for her and now this condition has seeped into her skull and spine. The comforter which I grip so tightly begins to unravel in my hand and the texture of the fabric begins to soil, as I feel a piece of me lying there with her in the hospital room. In order to keep myself from crumbling, I began to send blessing blankets, little toy angels, and a book of ... Read Full Story >>
I was strolling by some lavender colored lilacs which were clustered alongside the sidewalk yesterday on the way to catch a ride with my neighbor who was joining me for a community dinner gathering. The quiet and soft movement of the little flowers as they danced in the breeze just made me pause for a moment. I looked at them swaying in the breeze as if they were alive and happy. I thought about how it would feel to make another human being alive and happy like those lilacs... It was Mother's Day and although I was many continents away from my mother, I thought about my neighbor, who is a mother too. In fact, a mother of two. In addition to wanting to express my thanks to her for giving me a ride to the upcoming evening gathering, I scrambled back home with my new idea unfolding in my ... Read Full Story >>
On a recent Sunday morning, my daughter and I went the the local bagel shop for a treat. Upon leaving, we saw a wallet on the ground. I picked it up, and figured out how to contact the owner. My daughter wondered if we’d get a reward, and I said it was just right to return the wallet and that we shouldn’t return it expecting a reward. We returned the wallet, and the person was grateful, leaving a wonderful halloween pumpkin on our porch. Only 5 days later, I took a business trip and had a very pleasant cab ride with a cab rider whose home country is very distant from ours. We talked of our cultures, sharing our common experiences in our different worlds. We talked of how difficult being a cab driver has become with the slowing economy. I tipped more than usual, just seemed like the right thing ... Read Full Story >>
When Julie and I were on our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic we were mostly cocooned in one of those all-inclusive resorts. (The image of paradise was slightly altered when I discovered that the far reaches of the beach had armed guards!) We went on a coach trip across the island to visit the capitol city (where Columbus first landed in the New World, I think.) We had a good day and were well fleeced as tourists should be. On the way back we were driving through a jungle area. The kind of place where women still wash clothes on the rocks by the rivers. The driver pulled over and let a matronly lady, loaded down with bags, climb on board. She sat well away from us tourists and never said a word. But an hour into the journey she developed one of those really annoying, dry, tickly coughs. They were really ... 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 >>
Since I have come to any kind of spiritual maturity I have believed we get out of this world what we put into it (... and then some!) Usually, the rewards are indirect and sometimes hard to recognise, but every once in a while what you give comes back to you there and then! A couple of days back my step-son, Josh, was preparing for a big event. Children from his primary school were going for their first trial day at the secondary school, so they would know what to expect when they started after the summer holidays. A big day for an eleven year old lad! I was in the middle of some stuff when I noticed him searching in a clay pot where we keep pens and pencils. In primary school they use pencils, but secondary kids get to write with pens. And Josh was looking for a pen. He came out with ... Read Full Story >>
Last year, I received a satchel of money on the front steps at my home. When that money arrived, I actually was out of town but my family called me and said that there was a lot of money left at the front door with a note. When, I returned home I was touched most by the note, which read, "Thank you for all you do for the world." As I have shared on helpothers.org, I immediately placed all of this money into my sacred fund which keeps coming back to me again and again. All of the work I do which bring gifts of monetary value immediately goes into a fund in my home. This has enabled me to grow the initial gift from the universe of $1000 and I have attracted and given back at least two to three times this. The abundance just keeps going out to ... Read Full Story >>
After 2 false alerts the winter storm advisory today, tonight and tomorrow is real -- snow has been falling and accummulating. And I'm armed! I made sure to put an extra pairs of gloves, 2 ice scraper (small and large), and a small hand held brush for sweeping the snow in the front seat of my car. What I'm also going to do is scout our work parking lot for a secret snow wiping and windshield cleaning, after I leave work. I started this tradition a few years ago when my hubby and I discontinued car pooling. (I did not realize that he spoiled me- I'd sit in the nice, warm truck watching/waiting while he did the cleaning then drove us safely home.) Now I do my own (ugh!). I know how much work it involves, and how cold you can get. So I'm excited to be able to surprise someone with a ... Read Full Story >>