Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Soulful Strut At MidDay

--by keymaker, posted Feb 22, 2007
My wife opens the doors and says, "Man, that lady must be having a really bad day.  She was really rude."  After a slight pause, she adds, "What she really needs is someone to tag her."  "Well, let's do it!", I proposed in an excited tone.  "Who is this lady anyhow?  Any ideas of what she would like?"

Two minutes, later: Operation Mid-Day Chocolate to Lady Behind the Counter.  I get a box of new chocolates from the refrigerator and think up a note to write about. 

As my wife was walking to an errand earlier in the downtown area, she said the usual "how are you" to a homeless man -- Ronnie -- on the streets; oddly enough, the man responded, "Could be better .... but can't complain."  While returning, she saw him from a distance and thought of ways to "better" his day. With her usual smile, she asked,  "Could I bring you some hot, vegetarian chili?"  Wide-eyed Ronnie immediately sits up straight.  "Oh yeah."  "Ok. I'll be back in ten minutes."

So as I write the card for a lady behind the counter, my wife is taking out a lunch portion for Ronnie.  I asked why she felt like doing that today and she says, "Well, he looked very pale and I thought he could use some good food."  Sure enough, not only does she pack some chili but puts in some bread, a bottle of orange juice and a peach.  Needless to say, Ronnie was elated ... especially when he saw that there was a peach inside the neatly folded bag.

Food is delivered to Ronnie and I've scribbled this on a card:

My friends and I are doing a little experiment of doing an act of anonymous kindness every week.  Really, our idea is to make someone smile in our little corner of the world.

You don't know me, except perhaps as a fellow human being.  But this is just a "thank you for being you" card to bring a smile to your face.  No one can really measure the impact of smiles, but I trust that it will be naturally passed on to many people you will encounter today.  And in some small way, it will brighten their journeys.

Attached are some of my favorite chocolates from Trader Joe's.  I hope you enjoy them and can share them with others.

With big Smiles ...

As we walk to the infamous counter-with-the-lady, my wife gives me a few extra details: Chinese lady, short black and grey hair, sits in the far left corner of the room.  Both of us are excited, not just to be doing something so spontaneous but to respond to a seemingly negative situation with kindness.  There is something wholesome about that.

Just then, a young woman accidentally whacks my hands so hard that the box of chocolates drops onto the sidewalk cement.  "Um, sorry," she says loudly and keeps walking fast in the opposite direction.  I turned around to say, "It's okay" but this woman is long gone, with big headphones on her head.  Sometimes we're so busy in our own little world, we don't take time to notice those around us.  Nothing like a nice whack for a reminder.

When you do something like this, you notice all the little things.  Like the handwritten sign around the building lobby -- "Under Construction."  Today, I try to make a Chinese lady smile, tomorrow I myself will need a smile.  We're all under construction.

While my wife waits outside, I walk into this building, find the lady, wait in line and eventually introduce myself.  "Hi, I have a package for you.  My friends and I do things to make random people smile so here are some chocolates for you."  Surprised, suspecting and slightly confused, she says, "Well, I don't know.  You have to speak to her."

As the tall, 60-something African American lady finishes helping someone else, I wait a few seconds.  "Yes, can I help you?" she asks. "Well, this is just a little something for you guys.  Just because.  Hope you enjoy the chocolates too.  Happy to be alive!"  And she got it immediately.  In gratitude she stands up from her chair to hold my hands, and exclaims with a child-like exuberance, "Wow!  That is soooo nice.  That's really unbelievable."  By now, even the Chinese lady had cracked a major smile.

Our exchanged lasted less than 60 seconds.  But all of us were all smiles.

Every Thursday a Jazz band is playing outdoors, and just as I walk back, I hear a beautiful voice singing, "Music, I will play all day."  A man in a hat on the cello, a woman in a blue shirt on the keyword and a shaven head drummer all playing under canope on the sidewalks.  In the front row, a man on a wheelchair is cheering on Rhonda-the-singer, almost fifty other onlookers including meter-maids and cops and the homeless are clapping their hands.   I stand in the shade of a tree, near a trash can.  Someone throws in some trash, another homeless man goes to pick it up, I am feeling Rhonda's upbeat vibe.  I walk further up to read the name of this four-person, we-sing-for-the-love-of-it band: Soulful Strut.

I took another to confirm. Soulful Strut.

As we turn the corner, our neighbhorhood homeless guy (Ronnie) isn't in his usual spot asking for spare change.  My wife whisphers to me, "I'd like to believe that Ronnie is sitting under a nice tree, at a park somewhere, enjoying his meal."

Soulful Strut at Midday.  I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Readers Comments

Aurelia wrote: Beautiful. What a team you and your wife are. Keep giving and smiling. Soulful Strutt is really good.
brighteyes wrote: Thank you for've got a great writing style and not only am I commending you on that, your acts of kindness but your positive/happy attitude and warmth...what wonderful souls you and your life are....hope I run into you some day, til then ....

Smiles from Brighteyes ;)
P.S. Keep those stories coming, OK?
mrsweb wrote: so nice
bluqtgyrl wrote: Wonderful, wonderful story!! Thank you so much for sharing! I think we all learned something from your story today. =D
joyfuljanny wrote: This is my first visit and I enjoyed your story. Especially the excitement you described as you anticipated the act of kindness. I especially like the title also, "Soulful strutt at mid-day" I think I may take a soulful strutt sometime tomorrow.

Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience.

Ginny wrote: WOW! What a great story, that just makes me what to go out there and do something good for some else. Today's Birthday and I now after reading this story I would love share some of Bithday luck to people that I don't know and make someone have great rest of the day.
BlueBottle wrote: how nice :)

I want to do things like that more often.
I like the idea of smile cards. I don't have money to spend, but maybe I can send some smile cards and that will brighten people's days. Maybe I can even get some chocolates to go with them.
NZ girl wrote: I read your story from the other side of the world and could not help but be touched. Kindness is something that is so simple yet so easily forgotten by so many of us. It is wonderful to hear stories of kindness and generosity coming from all over the world. Keep it up. Together we can make a difference.
Grace wrote: Wonderful work you guys are doing!
akber--india wrote: i sincierly hope i do a bit of may be in a day or two...great inspiration.!!

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