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A Small Act of Kindness Can Make a Big Difference

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama

I had an old trench coat that was balled up on the floor of my garage, gathering dust near the washing machine. It was raining. It was unusually cold (for California, anyway).

I was driving home when I saw a man in a short sleeved shirt wandering through our neighborhood, pushing a shopping cart. He was walking painfully slow. He was dripping wet.

I paused at the intersection to my street and watched him for several minutes, thinking. My heart was heavy seeing him move so slowly, so wet, so cold. I suddenly remembered the crumpled-up coat. But what if I needed it sometime in the future? A story I had once heard at a church conference came to mind.

An Inspiring Story of Kindness

Two boys walked down a road that led through a field. The younger of the two noticed a man toiling in the fields of his farm, his good clothes stacked neatly off to the side.

The boy looked at his older friend and said, “Let’s hide his shoes so when he comes from the field, he won’t be able to find them. His expression will be priceless!” The boy laughed.

The older of the two boys thought for a moment and said, “The man looks poor. See his clothes? Let’s do this instead: Let’s hide a silver dollar in each shoe and then we’ll hide in these bushes and see how he reacts to that, instead.”

The younger companion agreed to the plan and they placed a silver dollar in each shoe and hid behind the bushes. It wasn’t long before the farmer came in from the field, tired and worn. He reached down and pulled on a shoe, immediately feeling the money under his foot.

With the coin now between his fingers, he looked around to see who could have put it in his shoe. But no one was there. He held the dollar in his hand and stared at it in disbelief. Confused, he slid his other foot into his other shoe and felt the second coin. This time, the man was overwhelmed when he removed the second silver dollar from his shoe.

Thinking he was alone, he dropped to his knees and offered a verbal prayer that the boys could easily hear from their hiding place. They heard the poor farmer cry tears of relief and gratitude. He spoke of his sick wife and his boys in need of food. He expressed gratitude for this unexpected bounty from unknown hands.

After a time, the boys came out from their hiding place and slowly started their long walk home. They felt good inside, warm, changed somehow knowing the good they had done to a poor farmer in dire straits. A smile crept across their souls.

Inspired by the Story

I drove home took my coat from the garage and went looking for the old man in the rain. I spotted him. He hadn’t gone far. The rain had let up some. I pulled up alongside him and asked him to come over.

He hesitated, then walked closer. I asked if he had a place to stay. He said he did and was close. I offered him my jacket. He looked stunned, like I was violating some accepted code of conduct. I urged him to take it. He slowly reached out and took my old coat. He smiled.

So did I.

We all have poor farmers toiling in the fields of their trials and difficulties along the roads of our lives. Their challenges might not be known to us. But their countenances often tell a story of pain. We have opportunities to hide shoes or hide silver dollars in them.

This day, this time, I removed a “silver dollar” from the floor of my garage and slipped it in an old man’s shoe. A life was blessed for having done it. And I think the old man’s life may have been blessed by it as well.

When I hear of stories of kindness being done to others, I’m inspired to do the same. I think most of us are like that. We need each other’s inspiration as we travel life’s highways, trying to figure it all out.

So please share your experiences with us. We need them. They help make us better people.

What acts of kindness have you performed?

What kindnesses by others have blessed your life?

Please share your thoughts.

Photo by eflon

Avatar of Ken Wert

About Ken Wert

Ken Wert is a teacher and personal development blogger at Meant to be Happy where he inspires readers to live with purpose, act with character, think with clarity and grow with courage. Sign up for his free eBook, A Walk Through Happiness and newsletter! Connect with him on Twitter.

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  • urooj shahid

    The feeling of giving someone else happiness is far more intense then doing something  for yourself! Many times helping others will actually make us help ourselves, When we feel good about ourselves that is when we start to believe how empowered we are and how strong we stand against all that happens. Life is not fair it never will be, Its just the little acts of kindness that makes us believe we have a purpose, we are here for some reason and how blessed we are to be able to help others and be the giving hand! :) 

  • http://www.davidsfinch.com David Finch

    If we listen, compassion tugs happen more frequently then we realize. Many times we shrug them off because we don’t want to be bothered. However, if we develop a habit of listening to these simple whispers, it’s a win-win experience for everyone involved.

    Thanks for reminding me to open my eyes, my ears and my heart. 

  • http://hanofharmony.com/ The Vizier

     Hi Ken,

    That is a very warm and moving story you have shared about how a small act of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of others.  And the act of kindness which you showed the old man in the rain was moving as well.  Indeed, we may never know the full extent of the struggles people face.  But we can see they pain they bear on their faces.  

    Aid, in one’s darkest hour when it is least expected, can be a life-altering experience.  It can give a person hope where there was none.  It can bring a person back from the depths of despair and worse.  Who knows how a simple act of kindness on our part may change the lives of others when it matters the most?  It may cost us little but mean so much to the person who receives it.

    I have never had any dramatic experiences.  But whenever I see a friend in pain, I would gladly offer a listening ear.  If advice is needed and asked for I would offer that as well.  It doesn’t cost me much time, but the confidence they gain on how to manage a situation after talking with me is well worth it.  

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

  • Kylie Mulholland

    What a lovely post, thank you Ken.

    A neighbour and friend of mine is training to become a school teacher and is having a tough time with the huge workload they are given. She studies and works very hard all day, every day, and since the course began last year she’s missed out on almost every social occasion and celebration. All being well though, she will qualify this July.

    On my way to work today I bought a blank card and wrote a story about a sailor drawing a blue line around the walls of his house ‘so he can always see the horizon’, inspired by a Brian Andreas quote. I drew a picture of a girl pirate up in the crows nest of a ship, looking out at the horizon with her telescope, a smile on her face. I wrote that as long as she sets her boat on course and sails forwards, everything will be fine.

    I’m going to post the card through her door this evening, I hope it brightens her day :)

  • Friesentanya

    Amazing stories coming from this group I had started which lead to more groups being created <3
     https://www.facebook.com/groups/273107532740577/334071963310800/

  • smile

    I am doing 40 days of random acts of kindness and while i try to be kind it is the intension that I have put forth that is now bringing those opportunities to me. Everyone needs kindness not just the poor but the lonely at heart. Kindness is a form of inspiration.

    i lifted a bag for an old woman in a store.
    helped an old man up the stairs
    i gave my old iPhone to a coworker for their step daughter.
    donated my time to a neighbor
    but my favorite is giving others an opportunity to be kind by my daily offerering of a smile and in return i receive a smile…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1727551623 Jennifer Chua

    My friend, Pete is a Scottish man who is now staying in Malaysia. He and his wife, Feexa started a group called Reach Out – Malaysia. I am a member of this group, Every night except  for Thursday, the members would go out on the streets of Kuala Lumpur to distribute the food and some clothing to the homeless. The gratitude and relief on their face when they see us coming with the food is priceless. They know that there are people out there who still care for them. What do we get out of this? A lot of vibrant SMILES. 
    The group consists of members ranging to rich people to the poor college students. It shows that one need not be rich to be kind. 

  • Linnaeab

    thank you for your genuine-ness, and your example.

  • scilla

    I will say one thing, out of all the homeless people i have ever helped, I can think of more than a few of them immediately responding with “God bless you.” These words always leave me with a sense of hope.. hope for both the homeless and hope for my own life.   

  • Alawlor4

     “Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one
    believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate
    kindness and compassion.”–His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from
    “Kindness, Clarity, and Insight” by Snow Lion
    Publications.

  • jshah

    Thank you for sharing your story, it made me cry and I wanted to share one experience I had, too.

    Once when I was running errands I stopped by the market and picked up a quick lunch and sat at the tables outside, eating by myself. There was a man at the next table with a half bottle of soda and smoking a cigarette. It seemed like he wanted to look at me or talk but I was keeping to myself, as usual. After I was done I went back inside and picked up some fried chicken and a drink. I went back to him and said, “Excuse me, did you eat yet?” He said no, so I handed him the food and said,  “here’s some lunch for you,” and he smiled and said “Thank you!” and I left. After I got home, I started crying in the car because someone like him could have been my uncle, or grandpa, or a friend’s relative, or just anybody we could know personally. Some people have a soft spot for animals or orphans. For me, I don’t like seeing people go hungry.

  • http://profiles.google.com/shelley.mcelhiney Shelley McElhiney

    A wonderful, inspirational post, so often we walk or drive by & avert our eyes, afraid to see or afraid to act. I’m reminded of a friend who used to do “drive by soupings.” No, he didn’t throw the soup. He would buy leftover soup, from our old cafe, at $1 a bowl & as he was driving home from work, he would stop, (as you did with your coat) & give the soup to the homeless that he often saw. At first, they’d be afraid, but when they saw he was giving them soup, they were grateful. 

  • Amy

    I often give my own gloves to people who look like they need them more than I do. I have done this a number of times, and recently, I received a new pair of gloves from a friend who has seen me do this. He gave me the gloves, and then he gave me a second pair to keep in my glovebox, so that I wouldn’t have to give mine up the next time an opportunity like that arose. I thought it was so sweet to think of someone else that could benefit from this, and what I’d done in the past had been noticed and essentially “picked up on” by someone else. That is kindness going full circle, I think.

  • Mariana

    I feel that a lot of us are hungry for stability and a balanced soul in this much fast paced life.  I write inspirational quotes everyday on facebook, I will share what I wrote today.

    Happiness is given to us in doses, we may have a few doses a day, perhaps you received a compliment from someone that made you happy, your child kissed you and tells you that you are pretty, just to later find out that he needed 5 dollars, perhaps your boss called in sick!! jk. A peace of mind and balanced soul is when no matter how your day or your life goes, you will keep a strong attitude and a loving character, that will always pull us through the bad times. Plus, we have each other, we are all connected. Today I will reach out, be happy, have a balanced day and stay possitive. By: Mariana Abarca

  • http://lovelylittleone.blogspot.com/ Bettina

    Thankyou for this reminder to look outside ourselves and our own little ‘bubble’. I will be looking for these opportunities because of your post.

  • frances

    Thank you for this lovely story and thank you for encouraging us to share ours. It reminded me of a similar experience.

    I was stopped at a traffic signal on a busy urban intersection. A haggard looking man on the corner held a placard asking for help. We locked eyes and I knew I couldn’t turn away this time. I reached for my wallet and looked inside; all I had was a ten. It seemed like a lot, but before I could let myself think twice I rolled down the window and handed it to him. His warm smile was Gratitude itself. He blessed me as the light turned green and we separated.  My three kids were silent in the backseat, probably wondering what had come over their super-frugal mother. 

    A few blocks later my son, who was about eight at the time, remarked, “Mom, it seems like everyone is letting you into traffic. It’s probably because you gave that guy some money.” I laughed, but then wondered, was it true?  A number of cars had let me merge instead of zipping ahead and cutting me off. It seemed to be the case all the way home. Why not?! The Universe was blessing me, giving me love for my act of love! It was an incredible lesson, one I may have missed had my child not pointed it out. That day, I was indebted to the homeless man for the opportunity to be generous, and to my son for teaching me how to notice my blessings.

  • http://www.sweetandsage.com Sage

    Beautiful post. I don’t have a story to share, but I’m enjoying reading the stories in the comments.

  • Natl9

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and the subsequent comments and stories from others. Thank you all for sharing your stories and your light.

  • Creinhard

    I have decided to quit complaining about poor service and always recognize good service. Whenever I receive service of any sort, but especially by phone, I ask to speak to a supervisor to share the experience of having great service.  
    Recently my husband and I were in a restaurant in another city.  We had an excellent server, thanked her, left a nice tip and spoke to the manager about her.  Imagine our surprise when one block away from the spot, she came running up behind us with the camera we had left on our table.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     It’s truly amazing what we start to notice when we have it in our minds to do something. I call it the “new word syndrome.” Have you ever learned a brand new word you know no one else really knows because you’ve never heard anyone use it before? Then you learn it and immediately start hearing it everywhere. Our minds filter the meaningless and unimportant until they become meaningful and important. But there are so many opportunities to bless and serve and extend kindness to others, if we would only look for them.

    I think that’s so wonderful that you have challenged yourself that way. What I bet happens is after the 40 days, you’ll be addicted to goodness! :)

    And the rewards are so much more than the specific act of kindness received by the person you extend it to. It ripples out into the world. Studies have shown that people on the receiving end of kindness act more generously and even give bigger tips and donations to charity.

    Thanks for sharing that bit of inspiration!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Absolutely true, David! We can so easily get so focused on ourselves and our own little worlds or responsibilities and interests that we become islands unto ourselves, with prominent “No Trespassing” signs posted on our shores in the form of busy-ness, attitudes, facial expressions and the like, and just failing to notice others’ needs around us.

    When we give, we truly do receive, don’t we? A deeper sense of meaning and purpose to our lives is but a small measure of that win-win condition of kindness you so wisely mention.

    Thanks David! We can all work at keeping our eyes, ears and hearts open.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Hi Urooj Shahid! Thanks for that insightful comment!

    At the end of the day, we have to look into the mirror and see who stands there staring back. Life is just a better place to be when we can respect that person looking back at us. And filling our lives with significance because we live it, in part, to bless others lives, makes that reflected image start to look better and better.

    You’re right about the fairness of life too. I love the thought you share that we can help, in some small way, to level life’s bumpy road of fairness by reaching out to others in need.

    Great comment, Urooj!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     I like that, Scilla.

    I have heard the same and feel the same way. The danger to those who receive “gifts” from governments or individuals is the sense of entitlement that can develop. Expressions of gratitude for what we get is so important in protecting ourselves from that spiritual poison. So yes, again, I agree! Thanks for sharing, Scilla!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Hi Jennifer!

    There is not much better in life than the gift of a spontaneous smile. Thank you for the amazing work you, your friend, and so many others are doing — modern-day Mother Teresas!

    So true that we don’t need to be wealthy to give. There is much more than money-bought stuff that people need. How many broken hearts need to know that people care? How many lonely people need a friend. How many people steeped in doubt and depression need an ear and a heart to connect to? So much that doesn’t need any money at all to give away!

    Great comment! Thanks so much for that important insight.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    That’s awesome, Creinhard!

    I do that too from time to time, but need to do it more often. I think goodness and hard work and thoughtfulness ought to be recognized. But there is another reason other than the justice of good being praised and rewarded. Anything that’s recognized and given attention tends to increase. Pain focused on increases in intensity. So does beauty.

    I LOVE that the server chased you down and took a picture! Your kindness reinforced her thoughtfulness and guess what! I bet her gratitude expressed to you reinforced your desire to talk to more managers about future good service, right?

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Ditto on the stories shared. So many decent people spreading human compassion and decency around the world. It’s inspiring and heartening and encouraging. I second Natl9 and thank you all!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Yes, the stories are great, Sage! But I bet you have stories you don;t think of as stories. Some of the most profound acts of kindness are the little ones we don;t even always notice giving. Smiles from others can change lives. :)

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Absolutely beautiful, Frances! Out of the mouths of babes, right? I do believe in the idea that those who bless are blessed, or what goes around, comes around.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Bettina! That means a lot to me. We do so easily get into our own little bubbles, don’t we. But the rewards of stepping out of them are tremendous.

    Thanks so much for the comment.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    What a wonderful piece of inspiration, Mariana. So much wisdom packed into those words. I like that day-to-day choice you inspire us to make, to reach out, to be happy, positive, living a balanced life. To think about living that way permanently, forever, can be quite overwhelming. But to that for just today? Well, that can be handled!

  • Mariana

    Thank you for your kind words Ken, we are inspiring each other today.  What have I done today to keep a positive attitude and make feel someone else loved? I cooked a wonderful soup for my co-workers and pretty much for my whole family.  My sister did not have time to cook so she fed her children the soup, my co-workers enjoyed it so much, my mom came over last night and she had something delicious to eat.  Bottom line, the soup is gone but the love and the reaction I got from my beautiful people is priceless.

    Enjoy your wonderful day and some freshly made soup for the heart.

    Mariana

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     LOVE that story, Amy. What a great thing for you to do and for your friend too. We sometimes put canned food (the kind with the pull-off lids) in the car for homeless people. Your gloves in the glove compartment reminded me of that. Frankly, I haven’t done that in a little while. You’ve inspired my to start up again. Now that kindness shared has extended the circle even further!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Thanks you, Shelly! I wonder if there was a public opinion poll conducted, what percent of people who don’t give is due to not caring vs. fear vs. concern it will go to drugs, tobacco or alcohol vs. whatever other reasons there might be.

    That’s pretty awesome of your friend, though. As I said in another reply to a comment, my wife and I used to carry food with us to give instead of money to keep from directly funding habits that are helping keep many of the homeless in their predicament. I need to start doing that again.

    Thanks for the inspiring story, Shelly.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Awww! Thanks for sharing that, jshah! You have a huge heart. That is so wonderful. And you know what adds to the beauty of acts like that? Sometimes such acts of kindness is all it takes to change lives. I remember a true story of a teacher who walked by a boy who he walked by every day. Then suddenly had a feeling to turn back and say hello. He did and spoke to the young man for a few seconds, then went back into his classroom. The boy later confided in this teacher that he had made a commitment to himself that day to commit suicide if, like every previous day, no one said hello to him. He felt invisible and was going to end it. This simple act of kindness changed his life.

    Thank you for sharing the beauty of your soul with us here on Lori’s blog.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Awesome quote, Alawlor4! Thanks for sharing. Such a true statement!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    That’s so sweet, Linnaeab! There are so many people (lots of them here in the comments!) who have been and are currently my examples. All I do is pay it forward. Thanks you for your kind words

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Kindness does that, doesn’t it! One good deed inspires someone else to act compassionately, which leads to others doing the same. And soon, you have a movement. Our world could use that kind of snowball effect. An avalanche of kindness descending on the world. Those are headlines I could get used to reading!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    I’m drinking deeply from your kindness and example. Thank you, Mariana!

  • lisa0003

    my greatest joy is seeing my children do a random act of kindness having learned from watching me do one.  that’s how it is continued…

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    It will, Kylie. What a beautiful act of thoughtfulness. It’s just such acts that make life such a wonderful experience. One person reaching out to another, one on one, to say thank you, to encourage and uplift, to let them know they are seen and appreciated. It’s the glue that hold people and hearts together. Big acts of charity are good. But the daily little acts in many ways are more accurate reflections of our character. Yours seems to be shining brightly!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Thanks for that, Irving! Good to see you here at Lori’s place.

    I think the little acts of kindness are often the most important ones.

    I love what you said here: “It can give a person hope where there was none.  It can bring a person back from the depths of despair and worse.” Such a profoundly important understanding to have. There are so many opportunities to lend an ear, a shoulder to cry on, a meal, a smile, a hug.

    My wife and I visited a woman who has become a friend who was struggling emotionally. Every night she dreamed of her son who had been killed by a drunk driver 1 1/2 earlier. My wife asked her to tell us about it. That was the first time she opened up and talked about it. It was also the first night she slept well and the first time she dreamed her son was happy.

    Human expressions of love and kindness truly change lives. Thank you for sharing that insight with us, my friend!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Thank you Lori for this opportunity to share here at Tiny Buddha. You have an inspiring group of readers. They have inspired me even further down the road of kindness and compassion. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ODKWMO4HR74FDNCMONQRV4O7JA datspliffy

    Ken you make a really good point about how many people won’t do acts of kindness because of fear. It is HUGE. People are followers, and they don’t see their friends randomly stopping to help people – so they don’t do it. I definitely don’t like to give money to the homeless because they might spend it on something else. Which is why I need to start buying specific things, or asking them if they want a meal or something. What do you think? Are most homeless people pretty good with the money they get?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ODKWMO4HR74FDNCMONQRV4O7JA datspliffy

    that is really really really sweet jshah you have a huge heart

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ODKWMO4HR74FDNCMONQRV4O7JA datspliffy

    Super great gesture by you and your wife Ken. I know if I get married it will be someone who tries to do good, so we can both come together and be better people.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Ken! Thank you again for sharing this post. I love your story, and I’ve really enjoyed reading all the comments. =)

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    While I don’t remember the exact number, a very large percent of the homeless in the U.S. suffer from one or both of two conditions: They have some mental disorder and/or are addicted (often to intravenous drugs).

    We prefer keeping some pop-lid cans of food or granola bars in the car to give out. When we’re coming out of a grocery store and meet someone asking for money, we’ll reach into a bag and give some fruit or something. I’ve also bought a meal at a fast food place before too. But I also prefer to give food over money. But what condition the homeless are in elsewhere, I’m just not sure.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     I like that. So many people pay so much attention to personality traits and what likes and dislikes others have when dating. I wish more people were like you and looked closely at character traits they want in the person they marry.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     I so agree, Lisa! There’s nothing better than to see our kids emulate our good examples. And there’s nothing more distressing than to see them emulate our bad ones! :/

  • Jamie

    I try to do little things all the time. There have been two times were it really impacted me. Once when I was living in San Francisco there was a homeless man selling news papers. He asked if I’d like to buy one, I gave him the money and then refused the paper. He was so greatful, he lit up. He said thank you so many times then told me that it was the last he needed to pay for his room that night. The other time it really impacted me was I was walking out of the library and through the door I could see a woman fixing her hair and clothing after walking in the first set of doors. I walked out the door next to her and when I realized that she had been ready to go in I turned around and reopened the door and held it for her. She stopped and looked at me, almost confused and I smiled at her. She didn’t smile back but her whole energy shifted. I don’t know how to explain it, I could tell she was greatful and that it made a differenence somehow. I’ve wondered about her several times.

  • fragment of heaven

    This is one of the first times I have ever told anyone about the kindness I perform.  I usually do it in secret, because I don’t want other people to think that I am showing off.  But you are right, it inspires me when I read about others doing kind things, and I know I can inspire many. 

    I tithe 10% of my income and donate to KIVA, and other online charities.
    I live in a warm place, but sometimes I take my kids to cold climates.  I had a lot of left over winter clothes.  I mailed them to a Goodwill in NYC, anonymously.
    I did a collection at work and packed up a big box of clothes and medical supplies for a rural clinic in the Philippines.
    At the start of the new year, I gave away ALL of my clothes to charity ( a minivan full).   I went shopping for a $400 new wardrobe. I have less and it feels better.
    Each day, I try to remind myself that I am a fragment of heaven and that I am here to be a gift.

  • Sam Brown

    Today I took all my sons teachers in a cake and his nurse , they all do such a great job x

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    I love that, Sam! I’m a high school teacher and always feel so touched when kids bring me cookies or a cake or surprise me on my birthday. Keep spreading the love and joy, Sam! It’s a wonderful thing to do.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    I so love that line: “I try to remind myself that I am a fragment of heaven and that I am here to be a gift.” We all are those fragments and you have inspired so many people here to increase the nature of the gift they are to the world.

    I personally think it’s wonderful that you give anonymously. I do the same, though admittedly, on a smaller scale than you. I’ve never given away my closet-o-clothes before! I know the blessings of tithing as well and am so grateful you opened up and shared your acts of kindness here.

    Some people and organizations give to be seen. The gifts given are helpful and I hope they don’t stop. But giving anonymously is a clear reflection of the heart and soul of the giver.

    Thank you.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Those are very special stories, Jamie. Thank you for sharing them. I’ve had similar experiences where the person was so stunned they never smiled or said the words, thank you, but there was something in the face, in the eyes, that spoke more clearly than words could have.

    The power we have to lift and encourage and spread hope and love and change lives, even if only for a moment, is simply awesome.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, Jamie.

  • Pingback: Sometimes Broken is the Best Fix | Meant to be Happy

  • urooj shahid

    Thank You so much Ken! :) Well said, helping others does make us feel good about us and respect ourselves for doing something great! It also makes us think how fortunate we are to be able to help!
     I loved this article and I’m learning too many things from your e-book! The tips there actually work amazingly! Great work! You’re helping me and many others this way! Stay blessed always! 

  • http://www.modernmom.com/blogs/wendy-irene Wendy Irene

    Ken you are absolutely right! Hearing an act of kindness
    is extremely inspiring. It makes you want to get up and make a difference.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! You have inspired me today and got
    me wheels turning. I really appreciate that! :)

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    You absolutely made my day with your comment, Urooj!

    Thank you so very much. This is a very wise addtion to what’s been said: “It also makes us think how fortunate we are to be able to help!” I really like that thought.

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    When I was going through the most difficult time in my life a couple of years ago, I will never forget every tiny act of kindness that I received… from total strangers, aquaintances and friends.  Many days when I was at my lowest, the right word from a cashier or someone holding a door for me before I entered a building or even just smiling made my whole week.  I also came to realize that, in the midst of my sadness, I was in the best position to be kind to others as well.  Every time I see a stranger, now, I think that they could be where I was back then, barely keeping it together and feeling totally alone.  I never want to be anything less than kind and thoughtful to others.  That period of my life totally changed my whole outlook and how I interact with people.

  • Tinarose29

    this article made me cry. I odnt think i will complain of not having enough of anything again. Gratitude is something I will never forget….I always smile to people. There is a lady at the gym that everyone ignores apart from me, we have a special bond and that makes me smile and I know it makes her feel good aswell. In return for my small kind act, I am living rent free with my sister, till I find my feet. That is HUGE especially in these trying times.

  • http://www.vidyasury.com Vidya Sury

    Beautiful post, Ken. Thanks, Lori.So heart-warming to read this.
    We have a family habit of always carrying something with us each time we leave the house – be it food, clothing, things that can be reused, even empty water bottles, bags that can be reused, etc. I have a close relationship with the homeless and the street-dwellers. I make it a point to give them something every day. Along the road I live, there are several constructions going on, with workers living on site. It is not easy for them. I actually plan my cooking menu with them in mind, some days. 

    I am grateful for this habit handed down by my grandfather, who believed in giving without expecting something back. I am happy to say my son feels the same. 

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    You’re welcome, Wendy. It’s very popular to be inspired by thinking about what Jesus or Gandhi or Buddha (or whoever your favorite example of goodness is) would do in certain situations. That can be a very powerful tool to use to inspire us to do good too. But we also have each other. The stories here, yours and other people’s blogs, Lori here at Tiny Buddha of course, and so many other people and their stories of service inspire me everyday to do a little more, to live up to the best inside me, to aspire to bless the lives of those I’m blessed to come in contact with.

    So thank you, Wendy, for the bit of inspiration you and your writing are to me and so many other people!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     These are, indeed, trying time, Tinarose. What a wonderful thing that you have people who love you nearby to help while you find your footing. I wish you well.

    I so love that you reached out to the lady at the gym who others ignore. You mention your “small kind act,” but I believe no kindness is small. What you have done is to reach into the heart and soul of another person. You’ve extended yourself to another human being. That’s no small thing.

    So many people live in isolation, surrounded by people who never lift their gaze higher than their own navels to see the need of others. So what you did at the gym, and all your smiles given so freely to others, is a profound act of love.

    Thank you for sharing it with others and with us here. Your life is so important. It’s a life that makes other lives better. You are such a blessing to humanity as you spread love within your circle of influence. If we all did the same, just think of all the overlapping circles filled with love and acceptance and compassion and decency that would be radiating out in ever-widening circles of influence.

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    You are such a beautiful person, Vidya. The more I get to know you, the more I’m inspired by you! There is so much suffering out there in the world. It can be truly overwhelming. But if we concentrate on the difference we can make where we are, reaching out to those in need, we can start to change the world, one person at a time.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration your life is to me and us all!

  • urooj shahid

    You make all our days with all those positive advices Ken! :)

    And Thank You, Feels overwhelming! 

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

    Hi Alannah,

    While I would never wish pain on anyone, sometimes pain becomes our best, even if not always cherished, teacher. We need those challenges in our lives from time to time, I think. They burn off the dross, leaving the golden us a little brighter and shinier. Still, so glad the most difficult time is behind you now and you can be a blessing to others like others were to you. Thank you so much for sharing that. Those kinds of stories help us feel confident and hopeful about humanity!

  • http://www.hitenvyas.com/blog Hiten Vyas

    Hi Ken,

    Do you know you have the ability to bring a groan man to tears?

    This was a beautiful post.

    It reminded me of the time a very rough looking homeless man came up to me while I was standing at the train station.

    He wanted some money and told me a story about how he wanted to get home to his mother but didn’t have the trainfare to get home. At first I didn’t believe him and thought he just wanted it for drugs or alcohol.

    But then he started to cry. Tears were streaming down his eyes. So, I gave him 10 pounds. The truth is he might still have spent it on something to satisfy his habits. Whatever his true intentions, there was no way I could have ignored his suffering when he began to cry.

  • http://www.hitenvyas.com/blog Hiten Vyas

    Hi Lori,

    I just wanted to say thank you for having Ken guest post on your blog.

    Take care,

    Hiten

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! It was my pleasure. I love Ken’s post. =)

  • Lanaesthetic

    I was at the Denver airport struggling to balance a container of food, my luggage, and a glass of water.  A passerby stopped and offered to take my water to my table for me.  It was such a small thing but so considerate.  I was really touched.

  • Tinarose29

    Oh wow, I never thought of it that way…thanks :)
    I think you too are a special person and I thank you for your encouraging words

  • http://julielangdonbarrett.com Julie

    We are all here to act as earth angels to one another.  It may be a simple word that we’re inspired to share, simply listening when someone needs to be heard, or a physical gift like you gave…and many other things.  We don’t always realize it when we are divinely inspired, as wrapped up in our worlds as we can be.  So it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to be acutely aware of where we are and what we choose to share in every moment.  That is the best thing we can do.  Notice also when you resist the urge.

  • Pingback: What Inspires You? « Rebuild Your Life Coach Blog

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com/ Ken Wert

     Hey Hiten! Don’t know how I missed your comment a month ago, but was just looking through the article and bumped into this gem!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience reading my guest post here. I love the compassion you showed the homeless man at the train station as well.

    I know what you mean when you hesitated giving for fear of where the money will go.  We can actually be hurting people int he long run by funding their self-destructive habits. My wife and I sometimes carry food in our car to give to those in need to avoid subsidizing those habits.

    Thanks for this awesome comment, my friend, and sorry for the delayed reply. :)

  • Xo-xo

    awh! its so cool that i came across this article today because just today i did a small act of kindness that made me happy. so..
    i was in a restroom messing with my hair (which was annoying me cause it was down but i was hot and i couldn’t put it up) but then a woman in a wheelchair came to the sink next to mine and started washing her hands. i noticed the slight difficulty it was for her to reach the soap dispenser and i started thinking, here i am irritated about my hair and going about my day frustrated by it, but then there is this woman having to live her life in a wheelchair..as she was leaving i realized that i probably should help her open the door..but i didnt want it to be awkward and like a pity-act or anything, so i didnt. i just stood there. i left soon after feeling bad…but then as me and my boyfriend were leaving the store, we turned&we saw this same woman in her wheelchair but she had obviously gotten stuck in a bit of mulch (you know, mall “aesthetics”) my boyfriend wanted to turn the other way (he’s a nice guy and all but it appeared to be a difficult situation) i HAD to help her though. it was my redemption. so i walked over to her and she humbly asked me if i could help her. it was the sweetest plea for help. we did get her wheelchair back on the sidewalk and she was super thankful. my boyfriend ended up getting his finger jammed and i got muddy, but it was so worth it to help her. we are just two teenagers and i know it was difficult for her to ask us, but it felt good..and i hope that from now on i can do an act of kindness every day :))

  • Change the World

    If you are interested, here is a short Youtube film about how one woman began to change the world with just $100 and a lot of love.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WbqD5WD-Sk&feature=youtu.be

    Thank you!

  • compassion calls

    It was Diwali & I had to go to a work gala. I got in the taxi & wished my driver Happy Diwali. He seemed surprised & asked if I was celebrating. I told him why i wasn’t. I went to pay him and he refused to take the fare, wishing me a Happy Diwali. The world seemed a bit smaller and safer thanks to him.

  • Talya Price

    I had a nice thing happen to me on my birthday, this guy, a fellow actor that I worked with on a film, took me out to breakfast the other day, he even got me a cake. He was very sweet, and very unexpected. He made my day. I am usually alone on my birthday but this year was a pretty good one. I always make it my mission to be kind to people. You never know how they feel.

  • jphennessey

    i once was driving my son to school and noticed a mother with a small child walking him to school. on my way back it had started to rain and there was this mother, waiting for the bus. i gave her a ride and an umbrella. i keep many umbrellas in my car, i may not always have the opportunity to gift someone a ride, but i can help keep them dry.

  • Banu

    This totally warmed my heart. You are right, life becomes SO meaningful when we share our hearts . A friend called me at 2 am one day. She was in distress and was freaking out. I got out of bed to go pick her up. I felt honored that she reached out to ME. Lack of sleep was replaced with deeper connection. I will never forget that night.

  • Karr

    Years ago I was gainfully employed and was able to make Thanksgiving baskets for 4 families in need. The money to finance this project came from my own pocket and included a turkey with all the trimmings. The looks on the families faces as they received their baskets brought me to tears. Unfortunately last year was a tough one for my family. However, we received not one but two baskets of food to celebrate the holidays from local churches. I am a firm believer in pay it forward and although I asked for nothing in return for the baskets I handed out, I was blessed with help when I needed it most. My faith in karma has been rejuvenated

  • http://www.true-love-solutions.com/ Nicole Martin

    Thank you, Ken, for your beautiful message.
    My beautiful partner Dave and I baked for
    the whole week before Christmas, and shared the fruit of our labor with many
    people.
    We also sent our warm blessings to all.
    Then on Christmas, we shared our food with
    neighbors whose circumstances are not so fortunate.
    As a blessing to all, I wrote a Christmas
    story. http://blog.true-love-solutions.com/2013/12/the-birth-of-pure-heart.html
    Even though we are struggling financially
    these days, we always find ways to give more.
    We know well that to give is the way of
    love.
    This is our way to say thank you for the
    gift of life.
    Our reward is joy.

  • http://www.sixsimplerules.com/ David Singer/SixSimpleRules

    Awesome story and great to see you here Ken.
    All the best for a Happy New Year and wonderful 2014.
    David

  • Jeffrey H

    My mother recants this story – Back in World War 2, my grandmother had the loaf of bread she just bought pinched off her on the street. The thief ran for a block up the street, stopped and turned around to shout an apology, saying he hadn’t eaten for days. My grandmother, instead of being angry or upset, had compassion for him as she recognised it was hard to find food in those troubled times. So she replied, “You don’t have to apologise – I am giving you this bread as a gift. You did not steal anything from me”. The thief then continued to run.

    Years later after the war, my grandmother had to buy some cloth for her work. She walked into the store and the manager recognised her straight away. He was the person who stole the bread from her during the war! Whether by coincidence or fate, they met again. The manager told my grandmother how thankful he was for her generosity and wanted to repay her for a long time. So he offered the cloth she was after for free. And they also became good friends.

    This story has been inspiring to me and I tell this one all the time. Showing generosity may mean giving up something and facing certain fears and prejudices, but the universe works in funny ways and the generosity may one day pay us back in ways we least expect it.

  • http://instagram.com/melissadobsonny Melissa Dobson

    My husband and I were at our local Olive Garden for date night recently. There was a 15-20 minute wait for a table, so we seated ourselves in the lobby. After several minutes, an elderly couple arrived and put their name on the wait list. The woman’s walker caught my eye because my grandmother used one near the end of her life. I asked my husband if he would mind if we gave the couple our spot in line and he agreed wholeheartedly. When I approached the host to tell him, his face lit up and he thanked me profusely. That alone was worth the wait. My husband and I smiled as the couple was called, not having any idea that we had given them our spot. Tears filled my eyes as I watched them slowly move to their dinner table. I nuzzled in with my husband and was surprised to hear our name called next. We were led to our table and enjoyed our dinner only to have the restaurant manager approach us and thank us for what we did. She comped our check and our waitress insisted that we bring dessert home, even if we weren’t planning on having any that night. This was by far the best date night we’ve ever had.