Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Almond Paw

--by twocents, posted Aug 11, 2006
I had to come on to UC Irvine's campus to accompany a friend to a meeting. In the parking lot, I enlisted him in my scheme with a Smile card and short explanation. We were each supposed to make 1 person smile, pass on the card, and meet up to share the story of what happened.

He was dumbfounded and at a complete loss of ideas for what to do. To top it off, we were in an upscale shopping area of the campus surrounded by young, smiling, mostly affluent people. "No worries," I said as I pulled out my laptop to look for a wireless signal that we could use to hunt for ideas. The only problem was that there was no empty tables to sit at. That's when we spotted him: an older man by sitting by himself while enjoying a drink and a cigarette.

"Excuse me sir, do you mind if we sit here?" I asked. "Not at all," responded this fellow. I went inside to get a paper napkin to wipe off the table, as my friend initiated conversation. This man was a pre-retiree enjoying some time off. Our conversation went from India, to how to make retirement meaningful, to our respective passions, and how to have a purposeful and meaningful life. That's when I sprung our scheme on him and handed a smile card to him too. I told Will that spreading smile was my experiment in bridging the gap with what I see missing in so many places. An experiment in building more connectivity and happiness in the world.

"So what do you think Will, can you make someone smile and pass on this card?" "Sure thing," he said with a chuckle. "Sometimes just listening to someone makes them smile," said my friend.

While he thought that Will was our mark I didn't let him off the hook so easily :-) He went off to his meeting with a card, and I went off to find my real tag.

And found her only 200 ft away.

Middle-aged and overweight, she looked slightly depressed as she was eating her boxed Chinese lunch amidst the young and the beautiful. I turned left and saw a candy shop. Learning that the Almond Paw-- two pieces of chocolate glued together with caramel and almonds embedded in between to look like a bear paw-- was the shops best seller, I bought one immediately.

"Hello. Can I buy you dessert today?" I asked. "Why?" she asked amidst pleased laughter. "I just wanted to make someone's day today and felt like it should be you."

"Oh, why thank you so much," she said as her laughter changed from surprised to pleased and grateful. "It couldn't have come at a better time. I was having such a bad day."

I saw my opportunity to go deeper. "Oh really? What happened?" I asked.

"Just some silly things... nothing...Thank you so much!" she replied. Sensing that she would rather not talk about it, I handed her the smile card.

"What's this?" she asked. I waited.

"Oh, can I do something for someone else too?" she said as it dawned on her? "Yes please! Thank you so much. I hope you have a fantastic day."

"Bless your heart." she said as I walked off. I immediately went back to the spot where I had caught the wireless signal and logged on to share the story as I wait for my friend to return and share his.

Three-for-one and an almond paw. Not bad for 20 minutes :-)
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Readers Comments

kayakool wrote: Aw
sonia wrote: Hi, Really Bless Your Heart!! I would love to do the same ofr do I make smile cards? I mean I am a new user and finding it beautiful to read all the stories....I want to one of you...
jojomcb wrote: what an awesome experiment. you touched a few lives that needed touching and they in turn had probably done the same.
thanks for sharing......
cindy wrote: awesome job keep it going
Miste wrote: What creativity!!!
Marilyn wrote: That's such a cute story! If only more of us did things like that each day! Twenty minutes but memories forever!

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