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The Act of a Teenager

Today I was driving through a busy area and I noticed a teenager helping an elderly man with a walker through some of the construction that had impacted the man’s ability to get through. At first I thought it was a sweet gesture of a grandson, but as I looked again, I noticed the young man ensure the elderly man was safely through the obstacles and jog back to a waiting car. He had stopped to help this man!

Melted my heart!

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Today’s story is from Ashley at AWS Photography. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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Food Bank Fridays

Food Bank Fridays started over a year ago as a way to keep my little sorority group of ladies motivated to donate to our local food banks on a regular basis. Then I wondered why not involve more people, so I started a blog with Food Bank Fridays as one of my core components. And now I have my hardcore group of 10 ladies plus a small following around the world (a food bank in England is tweeting a link to my challenges!) It feels great to take what is such a small gesture and amplify it.

What is Food Bank Friday?

I’d noticed that the Food Bank bin at my local store is always empty or nearly so. It is often hidden away in a corner. Out of sight, out of mind. I try to remember to grab something most trips to pop in on my way out of the store. I rally my ladies group in the fall to do a little food drive. I had this idea that I could do more. More to help people in my community. And I could help others help people in their communities. Food Bank Fridays.

Food Banks need donations and support throughout the year. There is an ongoing need to keep the shelves stocked. Families in need don’t just pop up at Christmas time and then conveniently go away right after. There are people that need the Food Banks assistance January-December, so why couldn’t I do a little part to remind people.

I come up with a theme or category for each month and then send out a weekly challenge every Friday. People post it to their Facebook page or forward the email to as many people as possible. The challenges are just something to get you thinking of ways you can help out your local food bank. They are a way to remind you that the need is out there and YOU CAN HELP. You can choose to follow the challenge to the T or you can go all rogue and buy something different or heck even ask the cashier to scan in a donation. The choice of what and how much you do is up to you.

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Today’s story is from Tennille at Frugalista Mamas. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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Kindness During a Crisis

I have discovered that a true example of your character is how you step up when times are tough. It’s very easy to be there when life is easy but to step up during a time of crisis takes a special kind of person. My husband and I were fortunate enough to be the recipients of true kindness during one of the most difficult moments of our lives.

Five years ago, my son was born with very serious health issues. Within 48 hours of his birth he was rushed by ambulance to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and before he was even 3 days old he was having life-saving surgery.  I am a planner. I had planned for everything you can imagine during my entire pregnancy, except for this. We were shocked, we were devastated and we had no idea what to do.

We turned to our parents. Holding back tears my husband called both my parents and his mother and without missing a beat, both of them showed up at our side. They hugged us; they cried with us, they sat by our sides every step of the way.

I’m not sure when they came up with their plan but somewhere in all the tears and confusion, they organized a schedule between the two of them arranging days when they would come and bring us supper. Each and every evening just before dinner time, they would arrive at the hospital bearing a wonderful hot home cooked meal. They would find a quiet table somewhere in the hospital and they set a real table; tablecloth, dishes, cutlery all making it feel a little bit more like home. After a long day, sitting beside an incubator hour after hour it was a welcome relief to sit at a table and eat a home cooked meal.  We were running on very little sleep, sometimes not eating much throughout the day and we were in a very emotional state, these home cooked meals helped us stay strong.

After particularly rough days we ate dinner in silence reflecting on what was happening, silent tears falling from our eyes. Other days, when things were going well, we smiled and chatted and talked about how great it was going to be when we finally got to bring our little man home.  We were getting through this as a family and it was the greatest way to handle such an unimaginable situation.

It must have been very tiring for them, to work full days, then get in the car and fight downtown traffic just to eat dinner in a hospital cafeteria. It must have been exhausting to stay up late at night cooking and preparing meals for us. Yet they did it. For six weeks without missing an evening. We even had a full Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital cafeteria with our little man by our side.

This act of kindness has stuck with us. We continue to be very close to our parents. My son was strong and healed well and we welcomed him home 6 weeks after his birth. He was joined two years later by a perfectly healthy little sister. Both our children share a very special bond with their grandparents.

We survived this very difficult time thanks to the support of our parents and I would like to take this opportunity to share with the world just how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

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Today’s story is from Natalie at Tales From Mummy Land. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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The Right Thing To Do

One day this summer as I was leaving my house to go bowling with some friends, I was driving down my street and saw an elderly lady fall to the ground. I Quickly turned my car around to see if she was okay. She couldn’t get up so I helped her to her feet and into her house. I just couldn’t leave her there alone so I told her she needed to go the hospital to get checked out. She said no, it’s okay, I have a friend that is coming later. I asked her to call the friend so I could be sure she would be alright.

The friend didn’t answer and my heart just wouldn’t let me leave her there alone, so I asked her to please come with me to the hospital just to make me feel better. She then agreed to go. I explained to the nurse at the hospital what had happened and I also explained that I didn’t know this lady but was quite concerned for her health and safety.

A few months went by and this lady found out who I was and came to my door to thank me. She had broken her shoulder and other injuries and wanted me to know that she felt that I was her guarding angel and I told her I’m no angel, it was just the right thing to do. I couldn’t believe how many cars drove by her that day and the number of people walking by that gave it no concern.

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The Driving Lessons

“You’re having a baby? You need to learn how to drive.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was 4 months pregnant and living in London when one of my more practical friends hit me with this. It was true that I’d never got my license and was happy to sit in the passenger seat while everyone drove me everywhere. But Vanessa pointed out that once that baby popped out, I would become increasingly dependent on The Huz and what if he wasn’t around? What if I needed to get somewhere in a hurry? What if I couldn’t manage the Underground or bus?

I had to admit she had a point; I might become isolated.

That thought scared me. But there were obstacles.

“Well, we haven’t got much money and driving lessons are expensive.”

Vanessa simply said, “I’ll pay for them.”

She insisted; she said it would be a gift. You couldn’t argue with Vanessa…well you could try, but once her mind was made up, that was that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I considered it. As she was financially stable it wasn’t going to put her in troubles. So I decided to graciously accept what became known as The Driving Lessons.

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I got my license three weeks after my baby was born. I loved zooming around London in our 1969 VW camper van with our little sweetling and our giant Newfie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When The Huz went away on tour, I could easily shop for groceries, visit friends, and head for the doctors if the wee one ran a fever. When I suffered from post-natal depression, and everything overwhelmed me, my driver’s license got me out to mother/baby playgroups every day.

Vanessa had been right. I was ever so grateful.

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Years passed and we moved to Vancouver and eventually Montreal. I was working full time as a producer and had a decent salary. I began to think, why not pass Vanessa’s gift on to someone who needs it? I began to search for suitable candidates…someone whose situation would mean they’d benefit from the ability to drive but who couldn’t afford it financially. I approached several people but it wasn’t so easy! You’d be surprized at how many people are actually unwilling to learn to drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They say they want to, but if you put it within their reach, they will shy away. They may prefer to be driven, or the responsibility of being behind the wheel is too much. People have their reasons, I guess.

And then I met Martin. Martin and Colleen were the parents of our daughter’s kindergarten BFF. We became good friends with them; we hung out, we went to the countryside together with our collection of kids and dogs, and we had some pretty great dinners. Martin rocked a fantastic salad with baby spinach, lemon and salt. Good times!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin did all the driving in their family as Colleen was a NON-DRIVER. Actually it was kind of a bone of contention between them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As our friendship grew, the closer we became, the more certain I was that Colleen would be the ideal recipient for Vanessa’s gift.

You see, Martin had terminal brain cancer. It’s strange to become friends with someone knowing that you will one day lose them completely. By the time we met he’d already survived a couple of brain surgeries to remove tumors, and all kinds of radiation therapy and chemo. He’d lived longer than modern medicine said he would, managing to help raise two daughters from babyhood to children. He was doing okay… but I knew that someday he wouldn’t be able to drive anymore and that Colleen could be stranded…and isolated. The family had little money and their collective ability to work was becoming sporadic. I decided to offer her The Driving Lessons.

Colleen resisted at first, perhaps not wanting to accept a charity. But I asked her to reflect on it; I said that someday, if she ever was in a position to do so, she could pass on The Driving Lessons to someone else. And that way Vanessa’s gift could keep on giving. She agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several months later Colleen got her driver’s license. She eventually took over all the driving for her husband, their two children and two large dogs. Martin, once an Ironman triathlete, lived as long as he could and when the cancer took too much, he gently passed away at home. He is missed. I made some spinach salad yesterday and it made me think fondly of him.

Our kids are still great friends, and well into the throes of their adolescence.

And Colleen? I just saw her in her car outside our kids’ school and she honked at me.

Thank-you Vanessa.

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This story is courtesy of JC Little from the site, The Animated Woman. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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House Full of Happiness

This is a story that a dear friend shared on her Facebook wall. It is something she did and it was so kind and such a heart-warming story that I had to share it!

In her own words from her Facebook post…..”A heartwarming Sunday morning experience. I go out to my front porch to water my plants. A young woman and her toddler daughter are taking a picture of my house. She explains that her grandfather lived in this house as a child and she’s putting together a slide show of his favorite memories for his 90th birthday. Of course I ask her in to take pictures. She bursts into tears when she sees the fireplace, as she has a picture of her grandfather as a little boy sitting in front of it. I learned that his parents both died when he was eight years old, which was when he moved here with his grandmother and a myriad of Aunts and cousins. He adored his grandmother and speaks of this house always being filled with family and fun. We’re going to arrange to have her grandfather come and visit. This morning my house came alive with memories of love & joy. I can’t wait to hear more stories from grandfather.”

Such a kind and generous thing to do. Just a few days ago, she shared with us the letter that the grandfather wrote to her. I’ve removed the address of the house.

Letter from ‘the birthday boy, and past resident of the house…’
“I lived and grew up for 18 years at this address! Last Saturday night, at my surprise birthday party (I turned 80, for heaven’s sake!!) when I saw the recent photographs of your apartment inserted into my old baptism party film, I was dumbstruck and deeply moved. So many memories flowed forth with every image. Although little seems to have changed, you have made it a truly beautiful lodging. I want to thank you so very much for having invited my grand-daughter Caroline inside and allowed her to take these pictures. They certainly struck home…literally!! Once again, from the bottom of my (aging) heart, thank you!!”

What a beautiful gift this act of kindness provided for this man!

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This story is courtesy of Cynthia Bland from Voice Found. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

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An Early Lesson In Kindness

We are trying (and I stress using the word trying more liberally than using the word succeeding) to teach our kids from a young age that there are many kids and may adults who haven’t as much as we do.

The concept of “having less than us” is a little loose when described to a child.

“Why don’t they just buy more?” they’ll ask.

“Well because they don’t have as much money as we do to buy some of the things you guys have lying around,” we’ll try and respond.

“Then why don’t they work for longer?”

And so on it will go in the game of why that kids are so good at. And instead of explaining the concept of poverty etc we’ve taken up a project that has us saving our quarters to donate to the Caring and Sharing Exchange’s Christmas Exchange program.

It’s nothing too big, but it’s a start and every time we throw our quarters in there it gives us a chance to reiterate why we’re collecting them and who we’re giving them to. It doesn’t always go according to plan.

“I want the money so we can go to a show Daddy.”

“Well these are for families who might not want to have money to go to a show.”

“Then can we go to a show right now?”

“Well no, we’re about to eat supper.”

“If we can’t go to a show right now, we must need the money too.”

“Can we just collect them for other boys and girls please.”

“Ok Daddy, we’ll go to a show another time.”

Which leads us back to where I started this story—the trying part. We have two young kids with one big heart each. It’s been a lot of fun teaching them the value of kindness.

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This story is courtesy of Mike Reynolds from the blog Puzzling Posts. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

Dan Hill

Canadian Singer/Songwriter Dan Hill’s Kindness Message

It’s World Kindness Day and we are honoured to have received a video Kindness story from Canadian singer and songwriter Dan Hill! Dan’s song, “Sometimes When We Touch”, which you all are now humming knowingly, went triple platinum in Canada! His message in the video is that Kindness isn’t always the huge overt gestures and that sometimes Kindness simply starts at home. It’s a message we can all relate to and implement in our every day lives.

Once you are done with the video, please head over to Dan Hill’s Website and check out what he is up to! You can also catch up with Dan on Facebook and Twitter!

Typhoon Haiyan

On World Kindness Day ~ Help Those Affected By Typhoon Haiyan

On this, World Kindness Day, there are few who can use our help more than those who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.  Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines and has caused the loss of an estimated 10,000 lives. The storm has caused widespread damage, including landslides and flooding. Among the people affected are those who were left homeless by an earthquake in mid-October. You can read more about the impact on the Canadian Red Cross website.

What we are asking of you today, is to open up your hearts and your wallets in order to help the people who are suffering through this incredible tragedy. It has been reported that up to 4 million children are believed to be living in the areas that were hit and you can do your part to help them get through this. Thanks to the Canadian Government and UNICEF supporters, you have the possibility of tripling your donation if you hop over to the UNICEF page to donate now. No one deserves to go through something like this alone and if we can all make a difference by giving just a little bit, it is well worth it. Thank You!

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Small Gesture, Big Deal

I can’t remember what it was we were doing, but I’m sure it was important. A doctor’s appointment, picking up tiles for the renovation that was stressing us out, something. What else would make my husband forget that he left his wallet on the top of his car and drove away? Panic set in when we arrived home and realized what happened My husband is the type of man who carries every single card he owns in his wallet at all times. Read more