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pollystyrene
Maybe some of you heard about this already, but about a month ago Oprah had a show where she talked about random acts of kindness and at the end of the episode, she surprised her audience with debit cards with $1000 on them that they had to give away to a deserving stranger in the next week. They were also given a video camera to document the experience. (The Free Hugs Guy, whose YouTube video was posted here on Bust, was one of the guests)

I missed that episode, but a couple days ago, she did the follow-up and she had the audience back again to share their videos and talk about the experience. There were people who did straight-up donations to charities, such as Doctors Without Borders and HIV/AIDS charities in Africa. Other people got more creative, such as finding a family in their community who was in need of help, organizing food drives, handing out cash to strangers, such as in store parking lots. There was even one lady who videotaped herself and her kids ordering pizza and then giving the delivery guy a very generous tip ($200-$400), and their surprised, gracious reactions.

I felt all warm and fuzzy after watching the show (which doesn't usually happen after watching Oprah- sometimes she makes me want to hurl bricks at my TV) and I thought it would be nice to share some of our own stories of Random Acts of Kindness and maybe they would inspire ourselves and others to do more. No act is too big or too small, it doesn't have to involve donating money. When I brought up the idea of this thread in the Community Forum, someone said they felt good about freeing a bee trapped between two doors. So really, if it's a nice thing to do, that's all that matters.

I'll start off with my own- the company I used to work for would give out gift certificates from a local grocery store to all the employees just before Thanksgiving. I lived with my parents at the time, so I wasn't really in need of a grocery store gift certificate. For the first couple of years, I would send them to a friend who didn't have the best financial situation, but eventually we fell out of touch. When Thanksgiving came around again, I got another one and later that very day, I was driving home from work along a busy street. It was a dreary, cold November day and traffic was slowing down; it looked like there was a police car in the right lane about 1/4 mile ahead. I'm sitting there, annoyed in the left lane, slowly creeping closer to where the lane was blocked ahead. I see a young woman standing on the right side of the road with a baby carrier/car seat thing, looking panicked. I didn't think much of it, but I made eye contact with her for a second. Suddenly, she approached my car and I could see how freaked out she was. I rolled down the passenger side window and she said, "that's my husband up ahead, he was hit by a car, can you drive me up there?" Of course, I let her, with the baby, into the car, got back in the right lane and drove up behind the police car. She jumped out, leaving the kid there (she must have been panicked, and not thinking straight or I look *very* trustworthy) and ran up to he accident site.

Apparently, they lived in apartment up the street and her husband had just left on his bike to cash his check at the gas station on the corner. Someone hit him with their car and an ambulance was called. One of their neighbors saw it happened and ran back and got her. I think he was conscious and stable, but had some cuts, so they were loading him into an ambulance to take him to the hospital. She made sure he was okay and came back to the car. She said it sounded like he would be alright, but she needed to go to drop the baby off at her sister-in-law's house, who lived a couple of blocks away. I offered to drive her there, and on the way, she said that he had just lost his job and they didn't have insurance and didn't know how they'd pay for all of this, especially since it would now be longer before he could look for another job (I think it was determined to be an accident, and the driver's insurance would have covered it.) We got to her SIL's house and she thanked my profusely. I remembered that I had the gift certificate in my purse, so I made her take it, because obviously, she needed it more than I did!

P.S. There's now a Free Hugs Campaign website!
erinjane
Good thread!

Not the cheeriest good deed, but...
Last week as I was walking to a meeting at a restaurant with my class I saw a young girl and her boyfriend with a baby carriage walking up the street across from me. I saw the girl hit her boyfriend and then he took a swing at her and next thing I knew she was face down on the ground crying.

People honked from their cars as she lay there and others walking by just ignored them. I ran across the road and put my hand on her back and asked if she was okay and if she need help. Her boyfriend kept yelling at her to get up and told me she was just making it look worse than it was. I asked her again if she needed help but she got up and ran down the street so I left.

I went into a store and when I came back I saw someone must've called the cops because they were arresting the guy. I walked over and tried to describe the girl (By the way I was SHOCKED at how wrong I was about what she was wearing, keep that in mind if you're ever a witness to something) because they were looking for her.

I continued up the the block and saw her coming my way. I asked if she was okay and told her the cops were looking for her. She said thanks and I told her I hoped everything would turn out okay.

So not the happiest story, and in all honesty, I don't think he hit her hard but that she was just upset, but I was really furious that everyone just ignored these people as they walked by. What if she had been seriously injured? Or what if her boyfriend was about to keep hitting her? At least someone in their car had the good sense to call the cops.
treehugger
And here's a little bitty tiny one I did about a year ago. I put enough money for a soda into one of the soda machines on campus and left a stickey yinote that said: "practice random kindness....have a free soda on a kindness spreader!"
humanist77
I put a couple apple slices with peanut butter and cereal out on the bedroom window sill for the poor little squirrel that's been living out there in a nest next to the air conditioner for months now! We just got a heavy snow last night, it's freezing, and I'm rootin' for the little guy..I like squirrels : ) Plus I don't want a dead squirrel on the window sill : (
ratgrl
Props to you, Humanist! smile.gif I love squirrels, too; whenever I go running, I have fun counting the number of squirrels I see along the way. I hope your little guy makes it through the winter, too!

Hmmm...random acts that I've done: The one that comes to mind happened a few years back. I was at Six Flags in Illinois with some friends. We were waiting for a ride in a ridiculously long line, it was over 90 degrees that day, and some girl near us in line started to pass out. I quickly intervened by lowering her to the ground so that she wouldn't hit her head, and when she came to I asked if anyone around had a cold drink to give her. So I like to think that I prevented a stranger from getting seriously ill or injured.
pollystyrene
You reminded me of another one, ratgrl. A few years ago, I was at the Catholic church my grandma goes to. It wasn't during a mass or anything- she volunteers there, straightening up the stuff in the pews, things like that, so it was an off-time and it was pretty much just us in the church. We were in from out of town, and were helping her with stuff. They have that thing with the candles where people make offerings and say prayers (I'm not Catholic, but I think that's what that's for, right?) I was walking by it and I noticed that some idiot put a dollar bill next to a candle, rather than in the drop box and the dollar bill caught fire and was starting to get a pretty high flame- as I was walking by, I thought it was another candle but I thought, "something doesn't look right." I can't remember how I put it out (no, didn't grab the holy water!) I think I managed to blow it out, and I basically saved this church, which was brand-new, from burning down. We put the remnants of the money in an envelope with a note and stuck it under the door of the church office.

I hope they told people not to put money next to the candles anymore.

So, me, Ms. Anti-Catholic (I'm not really "Anti-Catholic", just certainly not religious) saved a church. How ironic. rolleyes.gif
ratgrl
QUOTE(pollystyrene @ Dec 3 2006, 08:28 PM) *

You reminded me of another one, ratgrl. A few years ago, I was at the Catholic church my grandma goes to. It wasn't during a mass or anything- she volunteers there, straightening up the stuff in the pews, things like that, so it was an off-time and it was pretty much just us in the church. We were in from out of town, and were helping her with stuff. They have that thing with the candles where people make offerings and say prayers (I'm not Catholic, but I think that's what that's for, right?) I was walking by it and I noticed that some idiot put a dollar bill next to a candle, rather than in the drop box and the dollar bill caught fire and was starting to get a pretty high flame- as I was walking by, I thought it was another candle but I thought, "something doesn't look right." I can't remember how I put it out (no, didn't grab the holy water!) I think I managed to blow it out, and I basically saved this church, which was brand-new, from burning down. We put the remnants of the money in an envelope with a note and stuck it under the door of the church office.

I hope they told people not to put money next to the candles anymore.

So, me, Ms. Anti-Catholic (I'm not really "Anti-Catholic", just certainly not religious) saved a church. How ironic. rolleyes.gif



cool.gif That *is* ironic, Polly! I myself was raised Catholic (albeit in a very half-assed way), but since early adulthood , I've been a hardcore, balls-to-the-wall atheist. That church story is a nice one, though. Despite your nonbeliefs, you did the right thing, and certainly spared many people (i.e. the entire congregation of that church) a lot of grief and sadness. smile.gif
freckleface2727
tonight my girlchild and her friend took 2 pizza's over the the neighbors house.
the place we had ordered from messed up our order, and so then let us keep the 2 mistakes, which were ones we wouldn't eat, so first we tried the woman w/ 3 kids, but she wasn't home, and then, after some thought (bc we don't know many people here) & keeping them warm in the oven a minute, walked them across the street instead. the older couple has had both grown daughters and their small kids move back home, and there are always a million people over there.
I wish there were some shelters close to us, but am just glad they wouldn't go to waste. the neighbors were really happy & appreciative.
I also tipped the 2nd delivery boy that came, even though he really didn't want to take the money, despite it being the first driver's mistake in the first place.

it's not much, but I do feel a little better for having done it.
bettiepee
i paid for the guy behind me once at the toll booth
:-)
sunshine
I shoveled my neighbors sidewalk and steps after the last snowstorm.
llamas
I helped a guy at the post office who was obviously new to the US with his stamp selection and placement yesterday.
wombat
I like to have "Kar Karma"

That is, letting people out of side streets and parking spaces, giving trucks and buses room to turn, and really looking out for bicycles.

Also, I always park well and I put extra quarters in the meters by the co-op -- then people can run in and get stuff if they are counting every dollar -- or just ran flat-out of quarters.
princess evangeline
voodoo princess here.....
i bought lunch for a couple of homeless guys that live under the overpass down from my work. hung out for a minute and chatted with them about their dog and just stuff in general....... they seemed really happy for the food and the chat.......
freckleface2727
I took a large bag of yummy golden delicious apples I didn't need to the woman w/ small kids next door.
they were buy one get one free at the store but who needs 10 lbs of apples?
feministreview
You know, I just read about a way that people can give without doing a thing (almost). www.goodsearch.com is a search engine alternative to google that donates money to nonprofits every time you search for something. i have mine set to donate to Girls for Gender Equity here in Brooklyn.
freckleface2727
can you post a link for that possibly please?

I tried it and got the header and a * mark on an otherwise blank page.

that sounds like such a great idea feministreview- thankyou!
freckleface2727
http://www.networkforgood.org/

this looks to be a really good site for both giving of $$ and physical time and energy.

frecklette & I might sit down together and see if we can't find a good one to give our time to.
zora
My good friend once befriended a homeless man living in an abandoned garage near her apartment. She would buy him sandwiches and give him free loaves of bread (we're bakers, we get loads of free food) for a long while. He watched out for her in turn and gave her advice. When they tore the garage down, she drove him to the shelter so he'd have a place to stay for a while. I like thinking about that.
treehugger
*bump*!

Today, I made two loaves of my *famous* pumpkin cranberry bread, and put a loaf, still warm, on my neighbor's doorstep with a note that said simply, "Happy Fall!"

He's going to have no idea it was from me...nobody here in the condo building has tasted my bread. smile.gif
culturehandy
The streets in front of one of the building I have worked at has noparking from 3:30 on, and the tow trucks are hard core around 4pm one day, I saw a young woman plug in the metre, I ran up to her and told her that if she parked, she would for sure get towed. I saved her the cost of the ticket, tow and impound fee.

One evening while out for dinner, I saw two young people and their three dogs, I gave them a larger bill.
pollystyrene
Bumping this thread for a great story:

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
damona
that was a pretty cool story, polly.

i discovered this website free rice and keep drifting back to it. and getting my hubby and oldest son to play the game, too. and emailing the link to a few friends that love it, too. hopefully, it really does do some good.
deschatsrouge
That free rice game is fun to play, it reminds me of this vocab building software the Missus has. I like that I can learn new words and feed people.
culturehandy
I've been have a crappy time lately, but I also know what it's like to work in retial and customer sevice, I have also been a difficult customer.

Well, last week I recieved amazing customer service about my iPod, there were some mistakes made and I was dealing with a very sweet woman who got to the bottom of everything, today I called and raved about her to her supervisor.

I also had to call about my cell phone plan today, the gentleman who helped me on the phone was really great as well, so I sent the company an e-mail explaining how great he was.
thenewrussia
Has anyone heard of the Great American Bake Sale? Basically, if you were to organize a bake sale in your area, the profits go toward buying food for kids in need. Believe it or not, the US may be the world's wealthiest nation, but over 12 million children are at risk of hunger here.
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