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Making Friends at the Tim Hortons Drive-Thru

I never thought about this until I read the tweet regarding stories lacking on the Kindness Canada site.

This past weekend my wife and I were running behind and decided go grab some food on the go. This time we decided to use Canada’s favourite coffee joint and off to the Tim Hortons drive-thru I went. There are two ways to get into the drive-thru line so I lined up one way and another vehicle containing a mother and her screaming child entered from the other way. As three vehicles would not let this mother (who had also just came from the dentist) in, I did.

When I pulled up to the window, I was handed a $10 gift card from the Timmy’s employee. I asked what this was for and was advised the mother ahead of me wanted to thank me for letting her in.

She was having a rough day and was thankful for me letting her go ahead of me.

I have yet to return this random act of kindness but plan on paying it forward very soon!

Thanks.

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Today’s story is from Steve. 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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Make It A Family Tradition To Help Other Families

I’ve always been a Christmas guy. Meaning, I’ve always been part of a family that put much stock in Christmas. I’ve also always been part of a family lucky enough to fill our table with a full Christmas dinner, a Christmas tree with overflowing presents underneath it and plenty of love to spread around. Since having kids, we’ve had the opportunity to continue those traditions.

In Ottawa there are many people celebrating whatever holiday it is they celebrate and many of those families have plenty of the love to go around but maybe not enough of the rest. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was our kids who pointed out to us that not only is that not right, but that it isn’t right for us to do nothing about it.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to do something to make another family’s holiday season a bit more comfortable. It doesn’t have to be anything monetary, it could be as simple as holding open a door for someone carrying gifts through a door. Trust me, being someone who goes through periods of up and down emotional stages, something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day.

If you would like to make a financial contribution, there are plenty of organizations out there to help local families celebrate with their loved ones. Many of these organizations are smaller ones that rely on the generous donations of families who can and would be thrilled to have your help.

My personal suggestion is to make this part of your own family tradition–start teaching your children from young age that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of everyone else. Let them help you hold the door, let them put some change in a collection jar or let them put a non-perishable food item in a collection bin. I promise you’ll all feel better and a family you might even know will be able to put something on their table this holiday season.

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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.

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Raising a Compassionate Child

One of my proudest parenting moments was when the Grade 1 teacher described my daughter’s compassionate behaviour when a classmate wet herself. While the other children stood around in horror, Clare had taken the disgraced child by the hand with a, “That happens to me too” (not the case) and led her to the washroom.

I’d like to claim that my five year old’s act of compassion was the result of the remarkable examples set by her mother but unfortunately I was often too stressed with kids and work to let my inner compassion shine through. It’s tough to consider others when wet laundry is rotting in the machine and your work pants are held together with tape. However, here are simple things to do in daily life with your child, and who knows where they may lead.

It’s NOT about money or even time
Donations, fundraisers and volunteering are important contributions to model to children once there is more time (and money) but you can sow important seeds of compassion without leaving home or giving money. What you do want to model is a compassionate attitude.

It IS about judgements
Try not to judge other people’s behaviour in front of your child. Maybe the mom that pushed by you wasn’t intentionally rude, maybe her rent cheque just bounced and her son needs glasses. If you do find yourself issuing judgements, discuss it later, “Remember how mommy complained about the smelly man on the bus? What I should have realized is that he probably doesn’t have a home.”

You never know what someone else is going through
It’s infuriating when Sophia comes to daycare yet again with lice. Can’t the mom get it under control? In this situation, it’s easy for a mom to criticize the negligent parent. Alternatively you could say, “I’m sure Sophia’s mom doesn’t want her to have lice, she must be ill or have bad things happening.”

Be sensitive to the less fortunate
When your child hosts a birthday party, makes the team or talks vacation at show ‘n tell, encourage him to be sensitive to the children who don’t have those benefits. “You know how you’d feel if Ethan got a cell phone? Well that maybe how some kids feel when they see your new bike.”

Practice regular random acts of kindness
You probably don’t have the money to buy coffee for the homeless or energy to garden for your neighbours, but next time there is a woman with a screaming baby behind you at the cash, encourage her to move ahead of you. Your child may express surprise and there’s your chance to explain the mother needed to get home more urgently than the two of you.

Talk about mental illness
Many children are confused by people who beg for money and frightened by those who create disruptions in public. When you teach your child to behave politely and with caution around these people, it’s also an opportunity to explain that mental illness can make people act in confusing ways. Greater knowledge is linked to more sympathetic attitudes. Stigma tends to emerge when children don’t understand mental health behaviour and have no other language to describe it. If your child can say “He has an illness that makes him do that” the world will be a better place.

Sow the seeds
My little Clare was a wise old soul in many ways but for years she freaked when she spied the developmentally disabled woman collecting carts at our supermarket. Despite coaxing from me, she couldn’t let go of that fear. However, now at university, she takes a similarly challenged woman for a weekly gym workout.

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Today’s story is from Lydia at TogetherMoms.ca. 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.