Stories of Kindness from Around the World

On Passing Around Smiles...

--by KP, posted Jan 23, 2012

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 of these delicious cookies and told me I need to give them out. Later on, the other one provided me with these cards that say “Smile. You’ve just been tagged!”


At around 12:30 AM Thursday morning, I began my expedition to give out cookies to strangers in NYC. I I first offered a cookie to the front desk security guard, he looked in the bag and took the biggest cookie he could find and said thank you. I thought well that’s the biggest cookie in the bag, that’s a bit selfish. Nonetheless, I smiled and was happy to give him a cookie.

Lesson 1: Mind = Autopilot. I noticed my mind is on autopilot! Even when I was trying to give out a bag of cookies, I was judging the receivers! Although, I was happy to give the cookie, I still had expectations: What cookie will they take? A big one? A small one? A couple? How will they respond? With gratitude? Indifference? Skepticism?

I offered another cookie to this woman standing at the desk, she declined by saying “I don’t eat cookies, but thank you.” I smiled and laughed in my head.

Lesson 2: Not Everyone Wants Cookies (Rejection). I had a feeling some people would think it was odd that a random man was giving them cookies. Here were my assumptions of other people: They would think I put ruffis in the cookies. They would think there was a catch. Women would think I was hitting on them. At the end of the day, everyone had a different view of receiving a cookie — no one view was more correct than the other.

Lesson 3: Persistence.  During my cab ride home, I offered the driver a cookie. He declined. I offered again. He declined. I offered again. He declined. I offered again. He accepted and said, “thank you, thank you very much, thank you very much, Sir.” I am not sure why I was so persistent, but I had a feeling he wanted a cookie but was being really kind.

The next morning, I had a bag of at least 15 cookies left. I thought to myself, how am I going to get rid of these cookies. For some reason I started the morning thinking it might be difficult to give away cookies.

I gave one out to a lady picking oranges from the grocery store. She was glowing and excited. I was glowing.

I got to the 1 station at 23rd and 7th, I offered one to the station agent. He started laughing and smiling from ear-to-ear, but he declined. I felt amazing. I had made someone smile and laugh.

I began offering cookies to people on the uptown subway. I got some strange looks, a couple rejections and a couple laughs and smiles. I felt amazing.

I gave some out at an acting studio in midtown. The actors could not have been happier.

Lesson 4: Confidence. Giving away cookies, gave me confidence. Every time I would try to give a cookie, I would be scared of being rejected. But, the interesting thing was that every time I gave a cookie — whether accepted or not — I received something different: a laugh, a feeling of happiness, a sense of friendship with strangers and confidence to give more.

Lesson 5: The more I give, the happier I will be? I think so ;)

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Readers Comments

Charles Dalton wrote: Thank you.

Qtip who would have thought about this idea being one that would be very helpful. Well,i think that i will try and see if this fits into my daily life. I have a good feeling it will. Perhaps an idea here that could really make me happier. You know i may just have it embroiled onto a baseball hat,and wear it around. If only to remind me of applying this idea now and again. But it could be fun to meet people who may ask what does qtip stand for. A good opertunity to share something nice,interesting etc. And hey! If it dosen't go over well qtip charles.

Ps i think your right,our brain can not tell the difference between giving and giving love. But i truly feel it needs the chance to decide what the actual experiance is that we are feeling. Love,counts. Big time.
hinashah4 wrote: Lovely! Reading your story gives me motivations to experience the rejection as well as the confidence you talk about when offering the cookies. I'll try to offer my cookies now :)
John Pitts wrote: I have recently come to understand that the human need for love is not to be loved or to give love, but to have love in our lives. Our brains can not distingush between getting love and giving love. They both bring love into our hearts. The great thing about giving love is that it not only creates love for us it also creates love in others as well.

momov3 wrote: It appears my comment will be broken into two sections as an error appeared that informed me my comment is too long- so be sure to read both parts! The lessons you learned and wrote about are so very powerful. 1 . Mind = autopilot. So true. We are doing something kind but still carry expectations (which build resentments). 2 . Rejection = a big one for me. I am doing something kind and yet you reject me? - that used to bring up either anger or insecurity in me. Now i see it in the true light of it really is "on the receiver" to receive or not- and for me to qtip. Quit taking it personally.

Soulseeker wrote: Hi! Thanks for sharing ur experience. Never thought such simple , thoughtful acts can make such huge difference. Will try to inculcate something similar in my life.
Kathy wrote: I've been giving hand decorated inspirational quotes for about 4 years & have had so many wonderful connections with people! Last year i started giving "hershey" candy & what fun! People are so delighted & when some say no, i don't take it personal! I'm having a wonderful time!
peter slapps wrote: Ohhh so touching cried the whole way through. Thank you so much.
whitby98 wrote: What a fantastic story! It made me smile and it gave me much to think about. Thank you!
sandy wrote: This is totally something i would do. I will experiment before the end of the week!
Susan Rubinsky wrote: Hen i lived and worked in new haven, ct, there was a homeless man i passed every day. I started bringing him gifts -- tomatoes from my garden, homemade banana bread, sandwiches even. He never acknowledged my gifts. What he did do was ironically call out those who did not acknowledge his presence. I would sometimes see him on other street corners at different times of days calling out ironically "god bless you! " to those who pretended he was invisible. Sometimes we are blessed because we are not blessed.

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