Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kindness For Our Mothers

A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. --Tenneva Jordan

Good News of the Day:
While sitting on the bus one day, I took a book out and was about to read. But I was distracted by a young woman behind me who was speaking on her cell phone. She was talking to her brother. She wanted to know where he was, why he wasn't where he was supposed to be, why he had lied to their mother again and did he know that their mum had broken down in tears that morning because of him. I never looked around. I just stared at the book in my hand - and the ten pound note I'd been using as a bookmark. When she left the bus, I got off behind her. "Excuse me," I said. "Do me a favor, would you? Take this money and buy your mum a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers. And tell her a strange man said that being a mother is the hardest but most important job in the world."

Be The Change:
Express gratitude to your mother or a mother-like figure today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finding Kindness on the Street

Here's a great way you can find kindness in the most unexpected of places. Here's an email story I got this morning from an friend.

I just received my first random act of kindness and it has left me feeling really overwhelmed.

Just last night my husband and I sat down to discuss our finances. Since his divorce 5 years ago and my job loss 18 months ago things have been going steadily down hill. We are living on overdraft, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and we came to the sad conclusion that we will have to sell his prized 52 Chev pick-up truck which has been in the family for 55 years! He restored it from scratch 10 years ago.

Feeling depressed today, I decided to go to the local mall for a coffee, as I was leaving I noticed what looked like a $20 bill folded up beside the pay phone. Wrapped up inside was a smile card! I could not believe this was happening to me at this point in time and simply had to come home and check out this website! How amazing.

I have been deeply touched by this and I plan to pay it forward in whatever way I can. Hopefully this is a sign of better things to come in 2011.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Acts of Kindness All Over Japan

I got this in my email and had to pass this along. I know this would not be the case if this happened here but it gives me hope that we can learn from Japan's tragedy.

[Amidst the tragedy of the quake, tsunami and the subsequent nuclear plant explosions, the narrative of hope can often get lost. Below is an excerpt of some truly heart warming moments of oneness that unfolded in the aftermath of the tragic Tsunami.]

You can see my full note here.

Below are the some of the heart warming anecdotes that I have witnessed and heard from others ...

Someone overseas called me on my cell. She said she wanted to connect to anyone who is in Japan, and so she called the country code and their own mobile number, which happened to be the same as mine. I didn't fully understand everything she said, because it was English, but I knew enough to know that she really wanted to support the Japanese people. It really gave me so much hope.

Last night when I was walking home (since all traffic had stopped), I saw an old lady at a bakery shop. It was totally past their closing time, but she was giving out free bread. Even at times like this, people were trying to find what they can do and it made my heart warm.
In the supermarket, where items of all the shelves fell, people were picking up things so neatly together, and then quietly stand in line to buy food. Instead of creating panic and buying as much as needed, they bought as little as they needed. I was proud to be a Japanese.
When I was walking home, for 4 hours, there was a lady holding a sign that said, "Please use our toilet." They were opening their house for people to go to the restroom. It was hard not to tear up, when I saw the warmth of people.
At Disneyland, they were giving out candies. High school girls were taking so many so I was thinking, "What???" But then the next minute, they ran to the children in the evacuation place and handed it to them. That was a sweet gesture.
My co-worker wanted to help somehow, even if it was just to one person. So he wrote a sign: "If you're okay with motor cycle, I will drive you to your house." He stood in the cold with that sign. And then I saw him take one gentleman home, all the way to Tokorozawa! I was so moved. I felt like I wanted to help others too.
A high school boy was saved because he climbed up on top of the roof of a department store during the flood. The flood came so suddenly, that he just saw people below him, trying to frantically climb up the roof and being taken by the flood. To help others, he kept filming them so their loved ones could see. He still hasn't been able to reach his own parents but he says, "Its nobody's fault. There is no one to blame. We have to stay strong."
There is a lack of gas now and many gasoline stations are either closed or haave very loooong lines. I got worried, since I was behind 15 cars. Finally, when it was my turn, the man smiled and said, "Because of this situation, we are only giving $30 worth gas per each person. Is that alright?" "Of course its alright. I'm just glad that we are all able to share," I said. His smile gave me so much relief.
I saw a little boy thanking a public transit employee, saying, "Thank you so much for trying hard to run the train last night." It brought tears to the employee's eyes, and mine.
A foreign friend told me that she was shocked to see a looong queue form so neatly behind one public phone. Everyone waited so patiently to use the phone even though everyone must have been so eager to call their families.
The traffic was horrible!! Only one car can move forward at green light. But everyone was driving so calmly. During the 10 hour drive (which would only take 30 minutes normally) the only horns I heard was a horn of thank you. It was a fearful time -- but then again a time of warmth and it made me love Japan more.
When I was waiting at the platform, so tired and exhausted, a homeless person came to us and gave us a cardboard to sit on. Even though we usually ignore them in our daily life, they were ready to serve us.
Suntory (a juice company) is giving out free drinks, phone companies are creating more wi-fi spots, 1,000,000 noodles were given by a food company, and everyone is trying to help the best way they can. We, too, have to stand up and do our best.
Whenever there is a black out, people are working hard to fix it. Whenever the water stops, there are people working to fix that too. And when there is problem with nuclear energy, there are people trying to fix that too. It doesn't just fix itself. While we are waiting to regain the heat in the cool temperature or have running water, there were people risking their life to fix it for us.
An old woman said, on a train: "Blackouts are no problem for me. I am used to saving electricity for this country, and turning off lights. At least, this time we don't have bombs flying over our heads. I'm willing to happy to shut off my electricity!" Everyone around couldn't say a word in response.
When I grow older, I am going to tell my children and grandchildren, "When your grandma was young, there was a big earth quake in Japan which brought the world to one. And everyone worked so hard to help support each other and everyone was shining. To be able to tell that story, I'm going to work hard in rebuilding that work.
In one area, when the electricity returned, peopel rejoiced. And then someone yelled: "We got electricity because someone else probably conserved theirs! Thank you so much to EVERYONE who saved electricity for us. Thank you everyone!"
In Korea, a Japanese man got a cab ride and when it was time to pay, the driver refused and said: "You are Japanese, yes?" Yes. "When you go back to Japan, please donate the fee." Beyond nationality or politics, we are all the same.

My 10-year-old son, with tears in his eyes, handed his piggy bank to me, saying: "I don’t care if I cant buy my comic books, I want to save japan!!"

I told my parents, who are living at the evacuation center, to come to Chiba where I live. And they got mad at me. My Dad said, "There are people who sustained far more damage than us, and they are not leaving. We certainly can't leave! I will come to your place when we finish reconstruction here. So you do what you can from where you are."

I saw a man at the evacuation center crying when people brought food to him. It was the first time in 3 days that the food was brought to their center. But his next words surprised me. "I am very grateful that we are provided with food. But, but, the city next to us they are not receiving any food at all. Please go to that center as well."
An old man at the evacuation shelter said, "What's going to happen now?" And then a young high school boy sitting next to him said, "Don’t worry! When we grow up, we will promise to fix it back!" While saying this, he was rubbing the old man's back. And when I was listening to that conversation, I felt hope. There is a bright future, on the other side of this crisis

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miracles In Japan!

More Miracles in Japan

Inline Image Amid the silence, a baby cried out. And Japan met its tiniest miracle. Last week, soldiers made their way to a pile of earthquake debris, gently cleared away the fallen items, and then they saw her: a 4-month-old baby in her pink woolen bear suit. Three days earlier, a tidal wave had literally swept her from her parents arms. Now a source of hope and renewed diligence among search crews, the baby rests snug among her overjoyed parents. Her incredible story is not the only one. Read More >>

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Angels Walk Among Us

I was watching the news this morning and came across a heart warming story of true kindness that I had to share.

In a small fishing town called Minamisanriku in Japan, that is completed destroyed, there was a woman who survived. She's been doing her small part to help in any way possible. Each day she checks the lists from the internet on people looking for survivors and personally goes to the building where lists of people who have survived and are in emergency shelters and provides updates to the families who don't have access to see the lists of people in shelters.

She feels it's her way of letting complete strangers know the whereabouts of someone that they are searching for to at least let them know they are OK and where they are at.

It's small acts of random kindness like this that truly showcases the wonderful people who walk among us and do what they can, regardless of the cost to help another. This is a shining example that angels do walk among us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kindness in the Midst of Disaster

I got this in my email and had to share some heartwarming stories of how people are responding within Japan to get through the worst crisis and disaster to hit their small island.

We always talk about working together... perhaps crisis can give birth to new evolution. --Yuka Saionji

Inspiration of the Day:
Snapshots from Japan: A woman opens up her home and bathrooms to weary travelers walking hours home. A baker gives out free bread. Customers at the supermarket pick up fallen items and quietly stand in line to buy food. An old man at the evacuation shelter asks, "What's going to happen now?" And a young high school boy nearby responds, "Don't worry! When we grow up, we will promise to fix it back!" Among the tremendous ripples of Japan's tsunami are some of the most strikingly powerful yet simple moments of human grace. [ more ]

Be The Change:
When faced with adversity, remember the potential in life's small moments of grace.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Using Fear In A Positive Way

I got this wonderful story in my email and had to pass it along as there are some great lessons we can all take away from this heartwarming story. ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Instead of being a day I would like to forget as soon as possible, somehow, today became a day where I experienced the most incredible gesture of compassion that I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to remember for a long time...

I live in London and I was on my way to visit my cousins in Wales. I was driving on the motorway at around 70 mph when somehow (probably black ice on the road), I lost control of my car. I was involved in a scary collision with a truck and then a smaller car. The smaller car had a family in it with three young children. Through some incredible good luck no one was hurt but the experience was very frightening.

There was so much smoke that my first thought was to just get out of my car as fast as I could. I could hear the children from the car behind me screaming and crying as I was trying to claw my way out of my car. When I got out, I could see their mum was frantically trying to comfort her shaking crying children and move them away from the smoking cars at the same time. I kept thinking ‘oh my god, these children are so young’ and I felt so shocked that I had collided with them.

I thought that the parents would probably be so angry and upset at me. But instead of being angry the mum simply said to me ‘Come here. You need to join in our hug’.

Really? It was such a wonderful, warm gesture from someone whose family had just been hit by me! I can’t tell you how moved I was by that. And how much better I felt afterwards.

Whilst this was happening, the father was trying to get the children’s coats out of the back of his car because it was freezing. He didn’t see what had happened but when he came back, he asked me if I was okay and then gave me a hug too! I couldn’t believe it! I remember thinking how lucky those children were to be bought up by such amazing parents who would comfort a stranger in the middle of their own fear and panic. To find compassion in a moment like that is truly incredible. Later, I overheard them telling their children that the important thing to focus on was that they were all okay and unhurt and then they had a big family group hug... wow!

The story doesn’t stop there... during the medical examination and the police statements, etc. I was split up from then and then didn’t see them again. However, a few hours later, after I had reached my cousin’s home, the father rang me to see if I had got home okay and to make sure I hadn’t sustained any serious injury. He also said that he wanted me to know that he and his wife don’t bear any ill will towards me. I was really blown away that...

I've spent enough time on this site to know that incredible people do exist, but to actually experience it first hand, especially during such a frightening moment, was just so incredible.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paying It Forward

"When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world." -- Harold Kushner

Idea of the Week

"I need to drive in order to be able to get to work, so when my car's engine 'blew up' recently, it was a real disaster for me. The insurance company would not cover the cost of the repairs and I didn't have the money to pay for it myself. It was beginning to look like not only would I lose my car, I might also lose my job! Then unexpectedly, a friend who had heard about my situation somehow, without even being asked, sent me a check to cover the cost of the repairs. What made this more amazing was that I had only know her for a few months! In the accompanying letter she explained that when she had been my age someone had helped her out of a difficult situation - now it was her turn to help someone else. She said she hoped that when I was in a position to help someone else one day, I would pay it forward to them. This incredible gesture made my day and my year!"