My sister and her family were visiting from Mexico last week. Naturally, I took the chance to introduce them to as many beautiful things as I could - including Smile Cards! When we were about to cross the toll both at San Francisco's Bay Bridge I thought it might be the best time to explain the pay-it-forward idea. So I pulled up to the toll booth, paid our $6 fare, and said, "This is another $6 for the car behind us. Can you give 'em this Smile Card to pay forward?" Anyone who has done this knows that it gives you a joyous high. All of a sudden the car driver who is visible in your rear view mirror becomes a part of you in some unexplicable way. But today, the experience went even further! The toll booth attendant said, "You know, everybody seems to using these cards. We get them a lot ... Read Full Story >>
While I was in hospital for back surgery recently I was looked after by a nurse called Deitrich. She worked the night shifts and took very good care of me. One night things were quiet and when Deitrich came in to take my blood pressure we started to talk about our family situations. Then she asked what I enjoyed doing most. I replied that I liked helping people and doing charity work. Deitrich said she thought she would enjoy doing that kind of thing too, perhaps with her church. The day I was discharged we hugged and she gave me a kiss on the cheek. In return I gave her a Smile card and ten dollars. She didnt want the money but I told her to read the card and assured her the money was from my heart. "Now you have the power to do something for yourself or make adifference for ... Read Full Story >>
It never ceases to amaze me how generous people who post on this site are. From those who are fortunate enough to be able to use some of their money to help others, people making things for others, or just giving up a moment of their time to someone in need. But what I would like to do here is offer some ideas on how to bring kindness into other people’s lives without needing to spend money. So here I offer some ideas for acts of kindness that only need you, your hands, your knowledge or your ears. 1. Help strangers find their way This is one I try to do every day if I can. Here in London we have some useful information panels scattered around with maps of the local area on them. If ever I see someone looking at the panel, or just looking at a map anywhere near where ... Read Full Story >>
I have been trying recently to help a young girl who begs on the street. Well, a few days ago she shared some good news with me. She has been offered a job in another town! It's about 150 km away and she will be moving there in a week or so. Realizing that moving and starting a new job would require several things she couldn't afford I picked up a $50 Walmart gift card and gave it to her along with ten Smile cards. I explained that this was actually two gifts. The Walmart card was one gift but the smile cards were her way to pay it forward in thanks for all who had helped her. I explained that the best gift of all would be the joy she would find in using those cards. Her smile, the heart felt thank you, and the sincere look of gratitude on her face were ... Read Full Story >>
One of my intentions for 2011 was to continue surrounding myself with a community of individuals that helped bring the best out in me. By the end of 2011, naturally and serendipitously, I was introduced to group of individuals that gets together one Wednesday per month to meditate and discuss a passage. After my second month of joining this great group of individuals, I sat down with a couple of the organizers, to get to know one and other better. What I assumed would be a lighthearted getting to know one and other session, became an a heartfelt discussion with presence. It felt like a therapy session. I poured my heart and soul into my confusions and challenges with figuring out my next steps with life and they listened and communicated so openly. They felt like long lost elder brothers giving me guidance. While one of them was leaving, he gave me a bag ... Read Full Story >>
Lately it has seemed like every time we got a little ahead something would come along and we would have to start all over. Today I had to pick my son up early from school and decided to go to a local store. While I was looking around I noticed there was an envelope on the shelf. At first I wasn't sure what to make of it. Even though it was addressed "To Whoever Finds This" I thought I might get in trouble if I took it. I looked at it for a while then decided to risk it. I waited until I got back to my car before opening it. I honestly didn't know what to expect. I was surprised to find a note and a Smile card, along with two lottery tickets! We didn't win the lottery but the pleasure I got from such a small act of kindness will stay ... Read Full Story >>
I was in a health food store when I heard a woman say her foot was hurting and she was going to call a cab. I paid for my purchase and left to pick up some dry cleaning from the eco-friendly cleaners next door. I was walking back home when I saw the woman outside the health food store, presumably waiting for the cab. I knew I wanted to make a trip to a craft store later that day and that I'd be driving. I asked her where she was going. She told me a place which was actually on the way to the craft store. So I said, "I've got a crazy idea. How about you cancel the cab and I'll give you a ride? It will save you some money and besides, I only live a few minutes away." To my amazement she said okay without any hesitation or ... Read Full Story >>
I went through a drive-through this morning to get breakfast. I saw a woman behind me in line. She looked really tired and had a couple of kids with her.
I pulled up to the window and told the clerk I wanted to buy her breakfast and asked him to give her my Smile card. He seemed moved and said he would.
As I was waiting to pull into traffic, I paused long enough to see the clerk hand the woman in the car behind me the card and point in my direction while she stared in disbelief.
Then I pulled out and continued on my way, my car windows open, my hair blowing in the long-awaited cool breeze, my favorite music playing. The morning seemed even sweeter than before.
[Posting on behalf of a friend who I met at a recent dinner and was inspired by the intention behind Smile Cards.] Chapter One: It was Christmas Eve for most people – for me, and my longest-standing friend Lanie, it was just another Saturday night. We were going to meet for a waterside dinner on the Northern shore of Long Island before I headed onto I-95 on my way back to Providence. I arrived about 45 minutes early and on impulse popped into the Nail Salon a few doors up from the restaurant. The owner approached me asking what services I wanted. “Manicure” I answered. “Manicure Pedicure” she chirped. “No, just manicure today – I only have 45 minutes.” "Manicure Pedicure," she re-chirped. "Manicure Pedicure 45 minutes!" She walked me to the back of the salon, pointed to a chair, turned to her staff and without a seconds pause, she pulled up a chair ... Read Full Story >>
I was on a long drive this past weekend and stopped for a rest break. I noticed a man in a wheelchair sitting by the stop sign. He was holding a sign that read, "trying to make it home for the holidays". I quickly dismissed it because I had no cash to give him. I watched as people drove by and either ignored him or stared at him like he was a curiosity of sorts. I felt really badly for him. I started to drive away but turned around and asked him if he was hungry. For some reason, I seem to be called to feed hungry people lately. He seemed shocked that someone was interested in his well-being and said yes, he would like a sandwich and a soda. I know some people balk at the idea of giving money to strangers because they may use that money for drugs or alcohol ... Read Full Story >>
"Three years! I've had this card in my wallet for three years!" He sounded both elated and relieved. Backtrack a few moments. *The setup* I'm flagged down while walking by a table in a restaurant where I serve. I hadn't been serving this table, but they wanted something with me anyway, so I went over. A young couple sat at the table, looking at me with intention. "Are you serving those two women in the other room?" they said, gesturing to one of my tables. I confirmed, yes. "Well, we'd like to pay for their bill, anonymously," they offered tentatively. "Can you do that for us?" Can I?! It'd be an honor. I told them so, and we worked out the details. The table to be tagged hadn't gotten to dessert yet so they even added on a slice of cake, and I offered to partner in the tag and cover anything else they ordered. The ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend at the airport, I had some extra time before going through security to catch my flight. While wondering what to do, I decided it was the perfect time and place to look for an anonymous act of kindness to do! One of the magazine stands outside security had flowers for sale. I told the clerk that I'd like to buy flowers for someone else, and she could decide who to give them to. She looked a little confused, so I suggested perhaps she could give them to someone who looked like they could use some cheering up, and then hand them the smile card with the flowers. At first, the clerk responded, That's weird." (Or maybe, "That's crazy," I can't remember which.) But then, I explained a little more about smile cards and the concept of doing something kind for a complete stranger, and she brightened up. "I'll never know how it turns out," I said, "but you will have the opportunity ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I had an appointment at my psychiatrist's office. It's a pretty big place so they have a soda dispenser and a snack machine.
A year ago, I felt like I just needed to do something nice for someone. So, I picked up the ten Smile cards that someone (I'm not sure who) had sent me. I gave them out, along with a rose each, to my friends at my school.
A couple of weeks later I saw a copy of my school newspaper. There was an article in it about smile cards! My friends passed the Smile cards on and half the school had received gifts of kindness.
I cut out the page from the newspaper and taped it on the wall of my bedroom. It has been on my wall ever since and it still makes me smile!
A dear friend recently shared a homemade smile card experience with me: Ever since yesterday, I've had this urge to pay forward someone's coffee. But I didn't have a smile card. The urgency of bringing a smile to someone's face was so great, however, that, today, I decided to do it anyway! :) While at a cafe, I anonymously paid for the coffee of the next person, and though I didn't have a smile card, I put together a lovely hand-written message. It read: Dear One, You are being tagged. Your coffee is being paid for as a "gift of love". If you chose, you can pay it forward. Simply Smile and enjoy your coffee. Much Love, Moi Who knew that such good things can happen, when we realize the beautiful urgency of smiling! :) ... Read Full Story >>
For quite a while now, I have been looking for someone very special to give my very last smile card to. Well, today, I had to go into town for an art exhibition that I had entered a piece in. Since it is winter here, I have not ventured out of the house very much at all. So today I thought i would treat myself to lunch-- something I haven't done in ages! I walked around for a long time downtown, looking at all the glowing options like a child in a toy shop. It was really hard to decide what to eat! Finally, I settled on some Thai food, from a buffet-type place. When I sat down, I noticed a man walk by and sit down a few tables away from me. He had a small dish of yogurt, which he ate quickly, scraping the sides of the dish to ... Read Full Story >>
I happened upon HelpOthers.org a couple of weeks ago and immediately fell in love with the idea of Smile cards.
Yesterday evening I was on the EL train in Chicago. Two men in their early twenties got on and one took the seat next to me. His friend was going to sit in another set of seats. I got up and said, "Oh, here. Take my seat so you can sit with your friend." When I sat down he said to his friend, "She deserves a hospitality award." I smiled, turned around and said, "Thank you, but not necessary." To which he replied, "It was cool a thing to do." He seemed so delighted by what to me seemed a rather small gesture. I sat quietly for a minute and then had a 'BING!" moment. I reached in my wallet and pulled out a Smile card. I turned towards the young man and said, "Here, please pay it forward." He took the card. I turned to face forward in my seat and behind ... Read Full Story >>
Today was my first day using Smile cards!
When I arrived at work this morning I had an e-mail from a co-worker saying he had found someone's driver's license. I stopped by his office and picked it up. I didn't recognize the face on the license so I e-mailed the manager of our housekeeping staff to see if it was one of our 3rd shift staff that I hadn't met. As luck would have it, it was indeed one of his employees! So I told the manager that I would leave it in an envelope at the front desk. I would put the gentleman's name on the envelope and he could pick it up when he came to work later that night. I quickly printed out an anonymous note thanking him for all his hard work and then stuffed $10 and a smile card - along with his license - into the envelope. Who knows ... maybe he will treated ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday, a group of us from work volunteered at the USMC Toys for Tots warehouse. For anyone not familiar with what they do, they collect toys for children who may not otherwise get anything for Christmas. We went to the facility to help out for a day. It was an amazing experience. I learned the history of how it all started. The marines there were so very nice to everyone. We stocked the shelves full of toys that had been donated or purchased. Families would come in and were allowed to pick one toy, a book and two stocking stuffers for each of their children. There was a daycare area for anyone who brought their kids, so that they would not see their parents getting toys. The large bag that we put their items in was not see-through, so they could sneak their gifts home without the kids knowing. I decided before ... Read Full Story >>
I came across this web-site a few days ago and have spent hours just reading all the stories. I got so excited and knew I wanted to do this! Having requested some Smile cards I found I couldn't wait to get started! I introduced my best friend/housemate and she got just as excited! So today we decided to just write out some cards until the Smile cards arrive. We put money with some cards and chocolate with some others. Then we went walking in Liverpool and found some lovely people to give them to. First we went into the shop. I spotted a young woman there and asked the server if she would pass the card along. She gave a big smile and said she would. Next we found an elderly man. He was carrying a heavy bag in the snow, so he seemed the good person to tag. He just stood there, looking ... Read Full Story >>
It's great fun showing people that they are important through random acts of kindness. In addition to Smile cards we found some smiley face butter-mints at our local Dollar Tree. We attach them to the Smile cards with a decorative paper clip. Our youngest daughter handed a Smile card with mint attached to an elderly lady waiting at the doctor's office. It brought tears to her eyes. The lady stood up and said, "That deserves a hug!" Our daughter passed out five more "minty" Smile cards at the doctors office that day. Our oldest daughter made some whoopie pies and bagged them up with Smile cards attached for her aunt and her aunt's 90 year young neighbor. They both were over-flowing with excitement! We gave a Smile card to a lady we saw at Wal-Mart and she said that she really needed the Smile card after a rough day at work. Our family went to Pizza ... Read Full Story >>
So, we were in the middle of a heavy snow storm, the kind where you need to shovel every couple hours otherwise it will pile up to the point where it's really hard to remove. For the last couple of years whenever I've been out shoveling my place I would walk over to the house of a really nice elderly couple and shovel their driveway too. They knew it was happening - but never knew it was me! Today, since I needed the exercise anyway, I shoveled all the walkways between my house and their house. About four other walkways. This time they caught me and realized I was the one doing the shoveling. They were very thankful but kept insisting on giving me money. I refused and ended up walking away because they were trying to shove money into my coat pockets. Before I left, however, I pulled out a Smile card and ... Read Full Story >>
This morning, I arrived at my office a bit earlier to catch up on some emails. It was relatively empty, with people trickling in here and there. On the way to work today, I had also stopped by the grocery store to pick up some fruits to share with my colleagues during our morning meeting. I couldn't help it when I passed a fresh stack of yellow flowers on my way to the cash register... I had to pick some up, along with a few chocolate bars, to gift in some way. With the office so empty, I decided to take the opportunity to pick a few random desks to plop the chocolate bars on. :) My heart raced a bit as I scurried through the office, headed towards cubicles and areas where no one had come in yet. :) I placed one on the CEO's desk, and snuggled a smile card ... Read Full Story >>
Today I received my very first smile cards, and I couldn't wait to share one. I wasn't sure at first what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted my first card to accompany a random act of kindness for a stranger.
Since I was meeting my son for coffee at the conclusion of our work days, I put my first card and a bit of money into an envelope, and wrote on the outside "Have a nice day," thinking I could pass it on to one of the coffee shop's employees.
When we arrived, I ordered our coffees and handed the envelope to the woman who greeted us, telling her as I did so that she was doing a great job. Her face lit up with a big smile and she thanked me, though no thanks were needed. I was just glad to see my smile card blossom into the first of many smiles to come.
More than a week ago I decided to do something that I called "A Smile Card a Day Makes the World a Better Place". I've been doing an act of kindness every single day and giving away Smile Cards with it. Yesterday on my way back home from school I stopped at a restaurant that I always go to. It was almost 10pm and that's when the close. I ordered some takeway food and sat and waited for it to be ready. The girl that took my order was mopping the floor and singing and I have to say she had a very beautiful voice. I started talking to her and told her how beautiful her voice was and I gave her a Smile Card. She loved how the card says 'Smile' on it because another customer calls her "Smiley". I then told her the rules of the Smile Card and she ... Read Full Story >>
Even as I write this story, I am still smiling. The past few weeks have been rather tough, but when a huge set of Smile Cards arrived in my mailbox the other day, having traveled all the way from the United States to my home in the Netherlands, I knew things were about to turn around. I found myself plotting where to leave the cards as I went to bed that night: the train, benches at the station, at work, libraries, mailboxes, the gym - the possibilities felt endless. I woke up, went to work, and afterwards, I went straight to the shop to buy some candy bars, planning to leave them as anonymous gifts for people on the train. However, unlike my early morning commute, my train home was extremely crowded. An elderly man must have seen me searching for a place to leave a Smile Card, because he asked me ... Read Full Story >>
A few days ago I was sitting in a Thai restaurant enjoying a meal when I got on a phone call with a friend I hadn't spoken to in a long time. In my enthusiasm and excitement I talked slightly louder than usual voice and in Spanish, my mother tongue. A few minutes into the call the lady sitting at the table beside mine got up, seemingly offended, and asked the restaurant staff to relocate her to a table as far away as possible from this man who won't get off his phone. I sank in my seat out of embarrassment. I ended the call soon afterwards and felt the urge to go over and apologize. Before getting up I looked around to see where she was and she was, indeed, at the table furthest away from me. Kudos to the restaurant staff. I noticed that the lady was alone and staring out ... Read Full Story >>