Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Share A Smile

--by amanda.m.stapp, posted Jan 13, 2015
When I was in middle school,I got mad at my parents because they would never give anything to the homeless that would pass us by.

On a family vacation in Washington DC there was a homeless man down the street who would say the same thing "food, money, a smile?" My family always walked past with our eyes at our feet. On our final day in the city, when my parents went for an evening walk I snuck out of our hotel room and ran down the street to the homeless man.

He looked at me with curiosity, surely not expecting anything from a middle school girl. I asked him what he would have for dinner if he could have anything in the world. He replied 'lunchables'.

I ran into the grocery store down the block and bought 5 lunchables, 3 bags of chips, one chocolate bar, my favorite candy, 1 smoothie, 1 juice, and a bottle of water. I ran back outside with a grin on my face and handed the three grocery bags to him. His smile has been in my mind ever since.

I ran back to the hotel room and when my parents returned my dad told me he had a story for me. He asked if I had remembered the homeless man down the street from our hotel and I shyly nodded. He then told me, with a grin on his face, a story of how as they were returning from their walk the homeless man was sharing grocery bags full of food with other homeless people around and they were all smiling and laughing as they ate. I smiled at my dad but never to this day have told him the true story of that homeless man.

The next morning my mother saw the homeless man with a 'mile-wide smile' as she describes him at the Starbucks across the street buying a fancy drink with dimes. She then went on to lecture me of the importance of dignity.

I still haven't forgotten that man's smile but I wish I had the courage to do this more often. One small fearless act by a middle school girl can begin a ripple effect of smiles and dignity. So please, share a smile and give some dignity to the homeless even if you can't afford to help them.
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Readers Comments

mcarlson1970 wrote: What love you have! You are an inspiration to so many, living the golden rule! Thank you for being such a special person!
Mijkol wrote: Beautiful story and very inspirational!
terrypenman wrote: A wonderful story! Thank you.
Darlene wrote: That's a beautiful story. And i love that you have never told your dad.
Name wrote: Grate story. Thank you for being kind!
guetv wrote: That's a beautiful, uplifting story. Might we all have the courage and generosity of your middle school self.
ang108 wrote: Wonderfully inspirational! I hope some day you can tell your parents. I think they would be very proud of your open, loving heart.
jolly wrote: I love your persistence , courage and generosity. You sure did cause a ripple effect as that homeless man shared what you gave to other people and so was you kindness that was extended many miles.
Swanboat wrote: Perhaps you will consider sharing this posting of your moving story, including all these responses, with your parents. Just a thought.
Harpreet wrote: Amanda,

That is such a beautiful act of kindness.
You have inspired me very much.

I can almost see the mile-wide smile in my mind.

Thanks you so much


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