Stories of Kindness from Around the World

My Mother's Simple Lesson in Kindness

--by Cecilia, posted Apr 8, 2011


It's easy to see how to help some people, but what about those whose needs are not so obvious? This story may have happened a while back - but it was a lesson which has stayed with me and helped me ever since.
It was Thanksgiving and I was volunteering with my parents at a shelter for the needy. We stood behind the counter dishing out hot food to whoever came in. Most of our diners looked like they had been having hard times, their clothes were threadbare, they were dirty. In short, they looked needy!
Then, a man came in, who looked anything but needy. He was well groomed, he wore an expensive suit. I wondered what he was doing there and my jaw dropped in amazement when he joined the line for food. The closer he came to my service station the more I muttered. What was this man doing, I wanted to know? Surely he wasn't going to take food meant for those who were really in need!
Then my mother quietly took me to one side. She said, "You have assumed that the needs of the people who come here must be purely physical; hunger, inadequate shelter, clothing, etc. And this gentleman doesn't seem to have any of those problems. But what if his needs are emotional? What if he needs comfort, friends, or just to be amongst other human beings?" 
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt like I should apologize to the man - but I didn't. 
About a week later the shelter received a large donation from an anonymous source. I can't help but wonder if it came from that man?
Now, whenever I meet someone I remember my mother's lesson and try to send kindness and blessings their way, regardless of how they look.
Needs aren't always visible. But kindness always makes a difference.


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Readers Comments

Macerman wrote: Wise words thank you for sharing
oldgirl wrote: Your mother was correct in her comments because we do not always know what sort of "need" a person has cecilia.

My grandmother used to say "never judge a book by its cover" because the cover might be dirty but there can be pure gold inside.

Thak you for sharing your story cecilia and your mother sounds like a very wise lady.
Joy wrote: Your mother is very wise. A lot of people are resistant towards giving because they worry about being taken advantage of or the person not "needing it". I trust that when i give or donate the person "needs" it more than i do. So nice to hear about the large donation and yes a lot of people have unmet emotional needs to.
Joy wrote: So nice and touchy!

Everyday we have need and also see people that are in need. The more we help those in need, the more ours are being taken care of.

I learn from this
rkroopa wrote: Your mother was right. We don't know who needs what. Daily i pray god to show someone whom i could help and give me the strength and kindness to help others
sam wrote: The story goes to show me that kindness should be a habit regardless of the recipient's response, for one might show gratitude, whilst the other gives an insult. Just be kind at all times
erinvictoria wrote: Sajha, i too thought the same thing as you. You never know who you are helping. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. I loved this story, thanks for sharing it with us.
THIYAGU wrote: Very good
MakeSomeoneSmile wrote: Your mother's wise words are something we should all remember. Thanks for sharing!
Jimpa wrote: Outstanding!

Many blessings

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