random act of kindness

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Distinguished member
May 30, 2007
Today I was running errands with my daughter and we got caught in the store as there was a huge downpour outside- she was getting over being sick so I did not want to take her out in the rain. Then there was a little break in the clouds and I went to make a run for it, but as soon as I did it started raining even harder. This nice woman ran over to me with her umbrella and her kids umbrella for my baby- she walked us to my car and made sure that my daughter got in totally dry. When I turned around to thank her- she was gone.

I thought to myself life is really a blessing- we impact a lot of people with what we do. This website is also the kindness of strangers. But often times I read it and get sad. We all seem to have families, friends, collegues- maybe we should sometimes focus on them and the wonderful things in our lives. The health stuff will be there whether we want it to be or not. But everday I think we should thank G-d for blessings and for total random acts of kindness and compassion.

Just my two cents worth.
Hi Pldo-you are so right! I used to think if we don't have our health we don't have anything, but now I see we can be bed ridden and, as long as we have friends and family we'll make it. You are right we should all cultivate good relationships by face-to-face time with those who love us.

A random act of kindness can brighten the day of both the giver and the receiver. I urge everyone-try doing a good deed to a complete stranger every once and awhile. Both of you will smile from ear to ear! Cindy
I have to reply:

Today I got an email from a former co-worker of my husband's addressed to me. She wanted to know if there was anything she or anyone there at work could do for us and expressed that it was not an empty offer.

Yesterday we got a gift from my sister-in-law's boss. My husband has met him about 3 times, but hubby always leaves an unforgettable impression upon people.

So, I can only say that all these years that he has given his shirt off his back to anyone that needed it, even when he couldn't afford to do so, well, his deeds are coming round full circle.

Sometimes, when you think you can't take another step, things happen to help you along in your journey.
This happened to me a few years back.

I was standing on a deserted wind-swept train platform after work one Friday. It was the start of a long weekend for us employees of the State and most of my peers had snuck out early. But my car was in the shop and I was forced to take public transportation, which means I was forced to stay the entire day since the train to my town didn’t come until after 5pm. Needless to say, I was feeling sorry for myself.

Then another woman joined me on the platform. She stood in front of the posted schedule, lips pursed, and finally spoke to me. “Does this train go to Quincy?”

I gave her a quick once-over. Clean jeans. Plain shirt. Neat hair and almost no make-up. She looked about 40. Maybe 10 years my junior. And obviously not from around here or she would know the routes. “No. To get there you have to go all the way into Boston.”

Her face fell. This was obviously an inconvenience to her. But I was in the process of being majorly inconvenienced myself and didn’t feel sympathetic. It had just occurred to me that, due to the bad timing of this train, I would arrive at my station when nobody would be at home, thus I now had a ¾ mile walk to add to my insults. But when she spoke, she did not offer complaint. She had one more question: how much was the fare?

If you are standing on a deserted platform miles from the city you need to be in, and feel the need to ask about the fare, you are probably not having a good day either. But I thought I could make her day better in some small way. The fare to Boston is minor. About $4 or so, I thought.

Her face fell again.

I have learned that if you have a very personal question to ask of someone, and have the time to wait, eventually they will tell you the answer without you needing to ask. I have also learned, that, in the absence of time, sometimes the only way to find out a thing is to ask the question straight out. So I asked, “How did you come to be so far from home with no money for train fare?”

And she told me. She was released from women’s prison that very afternoon. Yes, it is wonderful as when she went for the hearing she didn’t expect to be granted parole. She’d been 6 years behind bars, and this was her first taste of freedom. But the release was so unexpected that she did not have time to warn her family, thus she was trying to make her way north.

The realist in me arose. “But,” I objected, “I thought they were supposed to give you some funds when they released you.” And the answer made me ashamed of my fellow state employees. It made me ashamed of myself, too, for it I’d had the chance I’d have left early this spring afternoon in order to go celebrate the coming Easter Holiday. While she was in session, the office that doles out funds and transportation tickets closed early. “I guess they all went home for the long weekend,” she said matter-of-factly.

Her crime was drugs, and prostitution in order to support those drugs. Thus she was arrested in our city and incarcerated miles away in the western part of the state. I did some quick mental math: $4 to get to Boston; another $3 maybe to get to Quincy. I checked my wallet. It was shy, because without a car to get to a bank I was short on cash. But I had a $10 bill and about $3 in change. I only needed $3 for my fare. What, I wondered, would $10 buy on the street in drugs? Then, with my train approaching, I decided. “Here.”

She looked surprised. “Most people wouldn’t do this,” she acknowledged. I studied her face. She could be younger than 40. Those lines might have come from hard living. “You paid your price,” I said. “Now you have a chance to start anew. This is the money we owe you.”

She looked even more surprised. “You owe me?”

“Yes,” I said, thinking out loud and conviction growing. “Society locked you up for breaking the rules. You did your time, and the rules say you should be given a way to get home. We owe you this, because your punishment is over.”

Then my train pulled up and I got on, heading south for a warm home and sweet family. I never looked back to see her face. I’ve never really needed to. It’s the reason why I say, try a random act of kindness. It will improve the lives of the giver as well as the receiver.

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Cindy - what an absolutely beautiful story. I enjoyed reading that so very much. That's exactly the kind of person I have envisioned you to be! It definitely reminded me of something my mother would also have done. Thanks for sharing it and obviously there is some author/journalist in you! ~Leslie
Thank you, Leslie. That is high praise from someone who aspires to be in the field. don't forget to do your RAK (random act of kindness) today! :-D Cindy
Wow, Cindy...that story brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for posting it.

OK, here are two RAKs, one in which I was the recipient, and one in which I was the giver (see what goes around does come around, but of course that's not why we do RAKs :)).

Many years ago, my brother and I went on a road trip from northern Illinois to Florida. By the way, we were young and stupid, but that's beside the point, haha. We were driving through Nashville, TN on a Sunday night and it was pouring rain. My car started making a, uh, clunking sound (that's a technical term), so we were driving around trying to find a service station open...on a Sunday night...in the middle of the Bible belt. We finally found a service station, and the only employee there had been working 12 hours already. He agreed to fix what turned out to be a faulty wheel bearing, and let my brother help him. It took a few hours, as I recall, and in the end he would not take any money from us! I am still astounded by that.

The second story took place here in Denver. It was a bitterly cold New Year's Eve. A friend and I were downtown after midnight on a bus that carries people up and down a pedestrian mall. The bus was full of party revelers, and one tiny, old woman selling burritos from a cooler. She had no gloves on, and one of her hands was exposed toting that cooler. I looked down at my new, fur-lined, leather gloves that my mother had given me for Christmas, which I loved, and thought oh well, easy come, easy go. The look on that lady's face was priceless...I think that giving them was more of a gift to me than receiving them had been.

Act of Kindness

Just wanted to tell all of you about this little story. The first week in May, me and my wife met a couple that came to the support meeting for the first time. The ladies mother had been diagnosed with ALS in Feb. at 71 years old. We talked to them for about an hour that night, they came to the meeting very upset with the medical field because as ordinary all they heard was about doom and gloom. Then on June 4 the man called me and told me that his wifes mother had passed away. Well over the last few months me and my wife had been talking about a van to haul my power chair in, but had decided we could not afford one right now. So my brothers were building me one to haul on the back of our vehicle. About a week later the man called me back and started telling me about the van they had for his mother-in-law and said they would like for me to get it. Well I proceeded to tell him we were not in a position right now to purchase a van, but that he shouldn't have any problem selling it, and he then told me it was a very nice van and to think about it. A few days went by and I called them back to give them some web sites to advertise it on and his wife answered the phone and insisted that we come over to her mothers house and look at the van and visit with them. So we went to visit them and they showed us the van when we got there and then we went in and talked to them for about an hour, she showed us pictures of her mother and told us about the memorial service. She then said lets talk about the van and how ya'll can get it. Then my wife told her there was no way we could handle it right now, but we had some web sites that they could sell it on. The lady then said, we have come up with a way for you to get the van, me and my brother inherited the van and we won't Billy to have it. My wife broke down crying and I was speechless, I thought I was hereing things. She then ask me to please accept the van in memory of her mother. I still didn't know what to say, I told her I would do it if after I'm gone my wife could give it to another ALS patient and she said that's what her mother would want. This is a great family, they are real good people, we knew that the first time we met them. The van is a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan with the Braun Entervan conversion, it only had 36,000 actual miles and is in excellant shape. This touched our heart greatly that this family that we had only met one time would do something like this for us, it was a wonderful blessing to us and I know that God will richly bless this family. Billy,
I told y'all about the random act of kindness that one did for me. . . By the way Cindy as a fellow new Englander- GO SOX...

One hot summer day I was walking down the street and there was this very old woman. She was just a plain old woman, or so I thought. I was in a hurry and being young thought that whatever I had to do was very important. I heard a sort of wheezing in the background, but did not think much of it.

Something, I do not know what, told me to look back. I did. She had dropped her groceries all over the ground and was trying to pick them up, but was having a lot of trouble. I stopped and I helped her gather them. But we had nothing to carry them in as the bag had broken. I walked with her the few blocks home and helped her carry her groceries. She was a Holocaust survivior and said it reminded her of the time that she had to carry all her belongings from her home. It made me happy that I could help her. I saw her smile when I got to her door, and I knew that was the kind of person my dad raised me to be.

Those are the moments that life are made of. Thank you for continuing this thread. It shows that for as cynical as we can all get, we all are put here for a reason, and while we are here we should make people happy.

So for all those thankless RAKs- thank you
Issuing a challenge

Every Friday with my kids I have them think of one good thing they did that week. I tell them they can share it or they can keep it to themselves, but what matters is that they can feel good about it. I want to challenge all of us to do at least one good thing every week- we can share it here or not- but something that will make you smile when you are feeling blue :)
What a great way to raise your children! We live in an era of such abundance and it is only human nature to take it for granted. Thinking about something good that they did has to be a real shot in the arm of self esteem, along with getting them into the habit of reflecting, and feeling grateful for all we have. Wish I'd thought of that trick when my kids were little. Cindy
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