Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Grocery Store Hug

I got this in an email from Heartwarmers this morning and it brought such a smile to me, you just know I had to share it. Enjoy ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

by Michael T. Smith

She was 80 years young and still very active.

In this small town in southwest Virginia, not much happened. It was just another empty day for a senior citizen who lived by herself. Although she has four children, five grandchildren and several great grandchildren, she was often alone.

In need of a few small things at the grocery store and a desire to just get out of the house and be among people, she took a trip to the local Kroger's. Since there were only her own needs to satisfy, she walked up and down the aisles with a small cart. With just six items, she headed to the checkout.

He wandered the store. He'd come for a cup of hot soup and perhaps someone to talk to. The soup was good, it always was, but no one wanted to talk to an old man. Disappointed, he was about to leave when he saw her.

"Good morning, Ma'am," He smiled, "You can't leave yet."

She turned toward the voice. A well dressed man smiled at her. "Excuse me?" she asked.

He pointed to the six items she'd selected. "Your basket is not full."

"There's no need to buy a lot." she replied. "There's no one to eat it."

He stared at her for a moment and said, "I'm so lonely!"
"I know what that's like."

In the middle of an aisle, in a large grocery store, at 11:30am, they stood and talked.

"My wife and daughter died," he said. "They died too young."

His eyes softened as he spoke briefly of them and then added, "I just recently lost my little Pomeranian. She was all I had left. Now I'm alone."

"I'm so sorry." She felt her own eyes moisten. He was as alone as she was.

"It's OK," he said bravely. "I hope I can find another dog like her. She was such a joy. At least someone needed me. She gave me purpose. Now I have none. Perhaps I'll get another, but at my age, I don't want to leave her alone when my time comes. Then again, I have this big house. A dog would be happy there. I've lived in it for fifty years. It has big rooms."

"Oh, the homes were built big back then. It was a time when people had large families." She smiled and wondered where the conversation was going.

"They sure did . This old place has four bedrooms. Three of them are empty. It's just me now," he sighed. "There's not much to do. My days are empty. I do get out as often as I can. In fact,
every morning I go to McDonalds for breakfast."

"Good for you!" she said. "I try to get out as much as I can myself."

"Those kids at McDonalds are very nice to me. They always greet me with a smile and make such a fuss over me. T hey're almost like having grandkids. And you know what?"


He leaned close and whispered. "They let me have my coffee for free. What do you think of that?"

"That's wonderful." She knew the joy it must give him to feel welcomed.

They chatted for perhaps twenty minutes.

"Well," she looked into his eyes, which now sparkled with pride over the family he had at McDonalds. "I must be getting home."

"I understand." The sparkle faded. "It was nice talking to you."

"It was nice talking to you too." She touched his hand. "I mean it."

He looked back at her and asked softly, "Can I give you a hug?"

A bit taken by his request, but fully understanding his need, she said, "Yes!"

There they stood, in a warm embrace, in the middle of a busy store, on a normal day, that was made special by a simple hug.

That evening, she reflected on her encounter with the man. She felt like he did, alone in the world.

How many others her age feel the same loneliness? How many seniors just need a kind ear and
perhaps a simple hug?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paper Bag Kindness

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Inspiration of the Day:
For years, Marcia Merrick began her day making lunches for her two children. Her kids are grown up now, but Ms. Merrick still makes lunches every morning - 400 of them. Each decorated paper bag contains a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich or a bean burrito, chips, fruit, and two homemade cookies. She also includes a note of encouragement - and then distributes them to the homeless of Kansas City, Missouri. For Merrick, it's not just about feeding and clothing the homeless. "Really, the food and clothing I give them is just a way to get into their hearts," she says. "A lot of them want to change, but they don't have ... the knowledge and the emotional support to do that."

Be The Change:
Share lunch with someone who seems to be struggling. Offer your support in whatever way you can.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home Town Kindness

"The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." -- William Wordsworth

Idea of the Week

"Next week I will be moving out of my home town, so, I decided to show my appreciation for the people who work there before I leave. I bought a bouquet of ten white tulips and gave them out, along with Smile Cards, to ten people working in different locations in the town. The reactions I received were on the whole very positive. A coffee shop employee joked that the flowers in my hand must have been for her. Imagine her surprise when I presented her with one of them! The man in the bagel shop was surprised and delighted. I expect most people walking into his shop want something from him but this time was different. Two ice-cream parlor workers had ear-to-ear smiles after receiving their flowers. In the end happiness was spread all around. I felt highly energized and uplifted by carrying out these little acts of appreciation. A lovely way to say goodbye to a home town, don't you think?"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lesson in Kindness

I found this in an email I had some time ago and wanted to share with you. I am not the author of the story but a firm believer in making things like this a reality in our everyday lives when possible. Enjoy ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

My seven year old son Nicholas came home from school one day and in the context of our usual "How was school?" chat he told me about one of his classmates who had asked him to share his snack with him in a somewhat forceful way.

After this chat, as a room mother, I had the chance to better observe the boy concerned. I saw he never had a snack and was often dirty, so I understood a bit more his situation.

From that point on I sent extra crackers, etc., everyday and Nicholas made a point of sitting next to the boy at snack time so he could share - telling the boy I always gave him too much.

After this we realized he was unable to pay for field trips and the teacher was doing this for him. We secretly got involved with that also, making sure he was in our group for the times we knew there would be a visit to the gift shop.

We were told by the teacher that this boy began to blossom, in part due to our "adoption" of him and in part from Nicholas' friendship.

Unfortunately his mother moved before the year-end, resulting in him going to another school. We were heartbroken when he just didn't show up one day.

We hope our care for him helped him in some way at his new school. My son also learned a nice lesson and that is we never know what a person is living with to make them act a certain way.

You sometimes just have to dig a little deeper.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Snowmen Show Kindness

The ones who are hardest to love are usually the ones who need it the most. -- Dan Millman

Good News of the Day:
There is an elderly man who lives up the street from us. He has no one to shovel his driveway. he is a bit of a miser so most people aren't so inclined to help. One day, I don't know who did it, but someone used the snow on his driveway to make a whole bunch of smiling and waving snowmen on his lawn. As my son and I were walking by, I could hear him grumbling. "What's the problem?" I asked. He complained that someone had trespassed on his lawn and made a bunch of snowmen. My son, not knowing what 'trespass' meant, assumed it was a good thing. "Wow, sir, that's the biggest bestest present I've ever seen!" Innocently, he turned to me and asked, "Could we have someone 'trespass' on our lawn too?"...

Be The Change:
Be kind to someone who may need it today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Change from a Bag of Chips

Here's a great story that was emailed to me. Author unknown. Enjoy ~ Kat

Performing acts of kindness seems to have been a theme in my life for a long time. I started when I was a little girl, when I wrote a poem about friendship to a neighborhood lady who always seemed to be in a sour mood and was especially unfriendly to the neighborhood children.

When I had children of my own, I continued to do acts of kindness in their presence, so that they might learn by example. Sometimes they participated, and sometimes they just observed. Afterwards, each time we would talk about it and it always brightened my day immensely.

One day not too long ago, my son and I were in line at the Dollar store buying an assortment of products. In a line next to ours, a woman was waiting to make her purchases. She had a few necessities and one bag of chips.

She stepped up to register to make her purchase and said, "I'm sorry. I need to put the chips back. I can't afford them today." I sensed her disappointment and embarrassment. Having gone through tough times myself, I knew very well that sometimes the smallest indulgence is enough to lift one's spirits.

The cashier set the chips aside. I knew immediately that I would buy them for the woman, however, I was in another line and waiting to check out, so I was concerned about how I could make it happen.

The woman completed her purchase and began to leave the store. It was finally my turn to check out. I quickly explained to the cashier that I wanted to buy the chips for the lady who had set them aside. Clearly, there was not enough time to complete my whole purchase, so I asked the cashier if my son could please run the chips outside to the lady, even though I was still checking out.

The cashier hesitated for just a second. Then she looked me right in the eye and said, "I didn't think people still did things like that for anybody else." She handed me the chips and I quickly handed them off to my son, who knew exactly what he needed to do.

Now, you probably know that a 13 year old boy is sometimes most concerned about, "being cool," but my son didn't stop to think about this. He ran out of the store to find the lady. A moment later he returned, helped me load our bags and we left the store.

It was his time to share with me. He said that he found the lady walking down the outside corridor. He said to her, "my mom wanted you to have these chips." He told me that her eyes filled with tears, that she was stunned that someone had noticed her abandoned bag of chips. She promised him that when she had an extra dollar, she would pass the act of kindness on to someone else.

I remember thinking that that bag of chips from the Dollar store was worth so much more than just one dollar.

My son changed that day. He shared my urgency with completing the act of kindness and in directly participating, he was deeply touched. He grew up that day in so many ways. My son took a huge step forward to becoming the kind of man who will see the needs around him and will answer the call when someone needs help.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I am checking out for a while and hope that some time off initially will give me a better perspective in the direction of my life right now. Thanks for all your support.