Stories of Kindness from Around the World

June Kindness Contest Winner! - In Giving, True Abundance We Recieve

--by penviro, posted Jun 29, 2014
I had written for the Kindness Contest and am grateful that Kindspring helped me make a wish come true. My intention was to reach out to the homeless elderly on the streets in India and felt a pair of footwear would provide them a bit of comfort. But I was still unsure that what I perceived as their need, may be far from reality. With the amount received from Kindspring, I took a part of it and headed out. It also happened to be a Hindu festival called Akshya Tritaya and the tradition is to give in kind like food, clothing, footwear, umbrellas, etc for those in need. The first withered lady I met was Kuppamma and I asked "What would you do, given Rs.300?"

She said that she would probably eat some food. I asked her what she needs beyond food and she responded that she needed a saree to wear. Like her subsequent old women I came across expressed the same desire. So I dumped the idea of shoes and replaced it with clothing. I requested them to wait around and we went into few clothing stores to pick dhothis for men and sarees for women. We offered them to old and impoverished people on the road.

Along with the clothes, every old person was given Rs.100. Despite giving them a material gift, money still goes a long way in satisfying a need they can wishfully attain. I observed an old lady mopping the floor of a novelty store. I waited till she came out and called out to her. When I asked her for her name, she seemed worried and hesitant. Vimala finally got talking, realizing we were harmless and accepted our gifts, for both herself and her husband. We appreciated that the couple are still willing to work and be self-supportive despite old age. Funnily she was more thrilled that I wanted to take a pic with her than with her new gifts.

One type of lady in particular affects me the most. One of the common sights in every Indian city is that of beggars at traffic signals, endangering their lives. I was looking out for a lady at the same signal and found one knocking on car windows with her walking stick, facing rejection from many. I beckoned her to come on to the pavement and did the needful. I saw the sorrow and pain in her face and could not make conversation, unable to bear it myself. An old man who seemed a bit crazy and spoke a different tongue, signaled at his flat stomach and small dirty clothes. Language seemed to be no barrier to indicate one's hunger and need for clean clothing.

At the tail end of the afternoon as I headed back home, a young boy offered to sell me a string of flowers. Santhosh, a class 9 boy was selling the flowers to save money for school. I gave him money with a promise that he would only use it to buy books and stationary. It was an ironical ending for a day that started out with the old and ended with the young. From them at every opportunity, I have been enabled by Kindspring to fulfill this dream.

Blessings along the way were abundant and each time I was blessed, I recollected everyone in the Kindspring team, wishing that many of it should reach those who have been supportive of this small effort. Learning: -Expressing human needs and satisfying the same has no barrier for age, language or gender -Only when we ask, do we get to know a person's real need. -What is small and insignificant to one is of the greatest significance to another -Money is important, though we say its not everything in life, I noticed the value that it holds. The significance is in the sensibility of its usage.

I could have easily bought one silk saree for Rs.6000 ($100) to adorn for a relative's wedding which may not see the light of day till another occasion comes by. With that same amount I was able give so many sarees to women whose need was fundamental. It was their surprised smiles, gratitude and blessings showered that were worth every paisa given. From the time the contest money was realised in the bank till today, it has reached more than 30 old people and still counting. I came to realise true abundance by giving.
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Readers Comments

Elias wrote: God bless you for your kindness and may the chain of giving continue.
skinskan wrote: You gave them dignity and respect. Priceless! You made them feel valuable and just for a moment not invisible but people worth taking the time over. Even better right at the end you mentioned the gift you got in return - experiencing true abundance - keep doing what you do. You make a difference to this world and it's better because you are in it.
Ann wrote: Thank you for your part in making the world a better place.
CB wrote: Beautiful. I found a "tweet tweet" (as oprah would say) when you wrote: "money is important, though we say it's not everything in life, i noticed the value it holds. The significance is in the sensibility of its usage. " thank you - i have this written on a 3 x 5 card as a reminder.

Nilamma wrote: What a kind thoughtful soul! So young. Yet so compassionate!
God bless you! :)
Sending you lots of love and positive energy along your journey! :):)
sandyremillard wrote: Thank you for being so kind. May the universe bless you again and again. Namaste sandy
sheetal wrote: So inspiring. Thanks for sharing your experience with us
Cheryl wrote: You have undertaken a really kind and worthwhile thing.
The people that have been touched by your kindness will really appreciate your thoughts and empathy.
AK wrote: So wonderful! Wish you deep and absolute faith in universe's love for you.
ilango wrote: It is not what you gave them they'll remember;
But it is the way you made them feel (wanted, being loved, being thought of), they will remember you for long.

God bless you and gives you more such opportunities to serve.

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