Friday, 31 July 2009

Kindness on a train journey from Athens to Yugoslavia

About 20 years ago, when I was a school kid, I took a overnight train from athens heading for "yugoslavia".
and happened to share a compartment with a korean guy who seemed to be around thirty.
in spite of summer, the temperature began to drop rather low. then he proffered his blanket to me.
although I appreciated his kindness, I felt too bad to make him chilled because of me, and had to decline with thanks. but he told me to use it and pretended to be alright and sleep.
we didn't seem to have the choice of being wrapped up in the blanket together.
so with thankfulness I slept in it. woke up around dawn and since I got to sleep enough in warmth, I returned it to him so that he could sleep well at least till thessaloniki where he was supposed to transfer for turkey.


Thursday, 30 July 2009

A woman in need, the woman who helped and the lad who....

In January this year it was very icy. I was walking to the shops, pushing my babies in their tandem pushchair. I skidded crossing a road. I'd just got the pushchair up the sloped kerb on the other side when I heard a thud behind me. An middle-aged woman had slipped and fallen in the road. She looked as if she was in pain. A small crowd gathered around us, keeping traffic away, as I gently helped her to her feet. She already had one arm in plaster and she was worried she had broken the other arm. We were outside a bicycle shop so I took her inside. One of the shop assistants called for an ambulance, another kindly wheeled my boys inside. The small crowd had dispersed, probably because there was nothing more to see.

Although the injured woman, Sharon, told me to go, I could sense that she didn't mean it. So I asked the shop assistants for a chair and a glass of water for her. The she needed the toilet. She said she would be okay on her own, but after a couple of minutes she called for me. I was worried about leaving my boys, so I kept talking so they could hear me. I knew they would cry if anyone tried to take them (I know, I'm paranoid - that's what being a parent does to you)! Poor Sharon. With two broken arms she couldn't do anything for herself in the toilet. If either of us was embarrassed we didn't show it.

As we waited for the ambulance, Sharon showed signs of going into shock. I managed to sit her on the floor and kept talking to her. Eventually the ambulance arrived and they took her to hospital. I thanked the lads in the shop for their help, although I think they were glad to see the back of us.

One week later I was passing the bike shop. One of the lads ran out to talk to me. I thought he may have heard from Sharon, or was going to ask if I'd heard how she was. But no. He asked "Have you wiped any old ladies' arses this week?". S.
This is a great example of kindness and the contrasting ways in which actions can be perceived. On first and second reading, I didn't quite get the final paragraph, but on qualification I was correct in that the lad in the cycle shop was trying to be clever. Trying to be clever but not quite coming across that way?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Our daughter amazes us AGAIN

I am a mum of four with a family that you all too easily stop seeing for what they are on a day to day basis.

I have just returned from a five day trip to Blogher in Chicago. Leaving my family behind was tough for us all but I can see now that it has ignited a flame between us all as we feel the magic of stolen conversations and messages that we should never have lost.

My kind act is small but monumental to me.

My little girl has personally special things - her cuddly bunny that I gave to her on her first Christmas and her snuggly blanket.

As I was getting ready to leave for my trip she gave them both to me so that I could have the same safe feeling when I am alone miles away from home that she feels when their comfort engulfs her.

She is seven years old and very special.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Neighbour, stranger but a saviour.

A few months ago, I had purchased a new counter top that we use as a desk, balanced between several drawers units. the whole piece was about 12ft long and weighed a ton being wood. I needed to carry it up 5 floors with my girlfriend, as we were half way through the first floor and already frustrated, a neighbour we have never seen came into corridor. she was a middle aged woman, she basically left her bags there, kicked off her heels and started carrying the table with us all the way up to the 5th floor. Without her help, we most likely would've left it halfway and continued later as it was so hard to manuever in the staircase. the fact that she would stop on her way out and spend a good 10 minutes helping us even though we've never met before was really heart warming.

Mike L

Sunday, 26 July 2009

My daughter amazes me.

The thing I love most about my kids is their ability to completely astound me. Take this morning. Biba 7 and Betty 5 had spent the first three hours of the morning shouting at each other. This is not an uncommon occurrence. We then did our usual thing of going to the local car boot sale. We did not anticipate how cold it was going to be as it has been reasonably warm over the last few days. Betty was shivering and complaining how cold she was. Biba immediately took off her jacket and gave it to Betty, leaving her with just a T shirt on. She said that Betty's needs were greater than hers. It's things like this that make my life so much richer.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Kindness in Melbourne = A crime in New York

Just thought I would share, this happened last year.

I lived in the Melbourne city and had parking meters, there was an officer putting tickets on cars who's meters had run out. I watched this lady parked her car, got out and walked to the meter and insert coins. As she was about to walk off she saw an officer a few cars down and looked to the meter for the car next to hers. That meter had expired, she then puts coins for the car next to her.

It just struck me as a nice thing for her to do even if they were strangers. Glad to see there are so unselfish people in this world.


Unbelievably this action is an actual offence in New York and would have earned the lady a ticket of a different kind. I guess acts of kindness do know bounds. Geographical ones.

Friday, 24 July 2009


Last week, my ex-coworkers daughter died. She was 5, was born a month after my own daughter. It was a hellish week. The power of imagination, I hope to never deal with you again.

Examples from the Stylezeitgeist Community Part 1

I am happy belong to a community at They are a group of individuals who are passionate about technically brilliant and spiritually dark clothing from labels such as Carl Christian Poell, Rick Owens, Julius etc, Typically the members are young, professional and spend a LOT of money on attire. Although there were no related threads I thought I would see if I could get any examples of kindness from them. I was very happy to receive many examples almost immediately which says so much for that community and why I am happy to be part of it. The first comes from a senior member who goes by the ident CRZ and is from Sydney.

I have heard a lot of stories from friends and family in relation to random acts of kindness, and have had the privilege of helping other people.

A friend was telling me, that one time at a petrol station/gas station, he had filled up his car full tank (expensive these days), he went inside and to the counter told the attendant which pump he was at, and had a pleasant shocked. The attendant pointed to a guy outside who was getting into his car, and said "he already payed for you". He was really surprised, he never met or even saw that guy before. So now, whenever my friend fills up at the pump and has extra money he does the same for other people.

Another story: i used to do contract work around the sydney CBD and caught the train everyday for about an hour. i used to buy 'day tripper' tickets (these were fully reimbursed by my company) , which allowed travel anywhere (on train, bus, ferry) all day. used to start early in the morning (5-6am) and get back to my train station around mid-afternoon. so, at this point i had no use for the ticket for the rest of the day, so i used to give it to people who were about to buy a ticket and 'looked like' they could use the help. a ticket is only $5-10 or so, but i guess it helps!

Ok last one: as i said, i used to catch the train everday, and occasionally stop off different stations depending on where i was working that day. i got off at a station that was at the time under a lot of construction. it was a really busy morning, and i was running late by 10-20 mins, but i saw a blind man, and it was obvious he wasnt used to the train station/platform due to the renovations/construction work going along everywhere. i was checking my watch, cos i hate being late. i was really in two worlds whether to help or not, thinking "he'll be ok"..but i sorta followed him, seeing if he was ok, but after a couple minutes it really was apparent that he was having difficulty. so i approached him, and asked him where he was going. he described the place, which i knew, and it turns out he was going the totally opposite way. so for the first time in my life, i was leading a blind man (he was holding on to my shoulder), and it really did feel good to help. looking back, i havnt ever been in the same situation, it didnt matter if i was late.
i tell this in all humbleness, and hope that people in this world could make a difference in another persons life, no matter how small it may be. "be the difference that makes a difference"

Monday, 20 July 2009


I was sent a link to this by omgpregnant one of the best supporters of this blog. Thank you so much. Its strangely romantic don't you think?

Friday, 17 July 2009

The kindness of a bus driver

My sister came back from a year away in Canada last week and was arriving to meet me in Birmingham by coach. As she didn't have a mobile on her she knew she had to wait until I arrived as I wasn't exactly sure where the coach stop was or where I could park. As I was trying to find somewhere to park I received a call from my sister (on the bus drivers mobile). She then passed the phone to him and he gave me directions. I was quite a way from where I needed to be but the bus driver waited with her so that I could call back if I needed to (I did need to) and so that she wasn't waiting on her own. Bless him he could have just left her (she is an adult after all!!) but I just thought that was really kind of him.

submitted by Keira O'Mara mother and owner of

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sometimes a small act of kindness means a lot.

A tweet

man in the queue didn't have enough to pay at the post office, so I gave him the money. Only 10p but I felt good!

Sometimes what we perceive as a small gesture can actually be a big deal for the recipient. I can just imagine him having to go back home to get 10 pence and go back to the post office. I reckon it was worth a lot more than 10 pence to him! Great story, thanks.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

I am haunted by my actions

I collect and publish examples of kindness. I do not claim to be kind in return as it is not for me to judge. I do however believe that in order to be able to chronicle examples of kindness, I must at least be able to accept my own failings and strive to be a better person. On that note I am haunted by something that happened a couple of years back.

My family holiday in Phuket every February. We take time out of the working year to spend three weeks in what we think of as paradise. We stay at a top hotel where our every whim is taken care of. We spend our days lazily recharging by the pool and our evenings we wander around Patong, the main holiday town.

Phuket is a place of many contrasts. There are many wealthy visitors from Europe, America and Australia who bring welcome currency to this Thai island. The Thais, themselves make the most of the tourists in terms of trade. Like all countries there are a proportion who are forced to beg for a living.

One night we were walking along a main street in an area where there were no shops or hotels, when we came across a beggar. He was on his stomach dragging himself along by his arms. I could see that he had one leg missing at the knee and his thigh bone was clearly visible. He was an old man of at least sixty, which a weather beaten face which did not show any malice or ill towards the world. He was just asking for some money to carry on living I guess.

I looked at his leg and thought about getting him some antibiotics which are readily available over the counter. This would have at least helped him against infection. I would have cost me no more than a couple of pounds. I could have given him enough for a decent meal as well and have had change from four pounds. On this night the urge to carry on walking was greater than the urge to help this man. I ignored him and carried on walking. I looked out for him every night following that hoping to be able to right the wrong I had done.

To this day I still think back to that night and the things I should have done, with the utmost regret. I should have taken responsibility and done the right thing. It makes me think about all the times when we could chose to do a kind thing but end up doing nothing. In a quest to spread examples kindness in the world, perhaps it is those pivotal moments we must first address.

For me, I will carry on regretting my lack of action. I never did see that man again and can only hope that someone better than I gave him the help he needed. I am not worthy of judgement beyond that.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Contrasting kindness from high street brands

My son who is eight has enthusiastically followed his sisters into the world of modelling, with no small measure of success. In fact last week he had two jobs lined up. One for a budget retailer QS Group on Thursday and for a very well known premium high street brand on Friday.

We had been kept well informed as to what was expected of us and the schedule we would undertake by QS but had received nothing from other job.

Thursday came and we travelled to Nottingham to a very light and airy studio in the Lenton area. The only downside was the mini heat wave we were experiencing which obviously made the job harder for all involved. That said, the team from QS really seemed to understand working with children and genuinely looked as if they enjoyed it. In fact one of the team, Simon, spent the best part of four hours playing games with and generally keeping the three children who were at the shoot in a happy frame of mind. The four hours soon passed by and all of the children really seemed to enjoy themselves. In fact my son commented that he didn't realise that he had been working! He also took great pride in telling everyone he had a job the following day as well.

I was getting concerned by this point that we had still not heard about the Friday shoot and it was 3pm by this time. At 4.30pm we were told that he was no longer required . No explanation, no apology. We told Sonny and he quietly went and sat in a corner on his own. I knew he wanted to cry but he's a brave little soul.

Well in my world of rights and wrongs, you just cannot mess with young children like this. They need to be made safe and secure in their world and if they are to suffer rejection it is preferable to at least give them the courtesy of a bit more time. I know kids get over things but that is not the point.

We received a very nice email from James, the head of marketing at QS saying what a pleasure it had been to work with Sonny. That made his day.

I thank James, Simon and the rest of the QS Group team. I thank James for his email. He didn't need to do that and it was a kind thing to do.

A message of support from the Crazy Columbian

I received this message from my friend Diego AKA the Crazy Columbian and thought I would share it with you all as its content is relevant to us all.

Thanks for sharing the story of your epiphany and the impact it had on you. As you start operating in the kindness space you will find just how many people are working on bringing the same message to others, and wanting to inspire the world to be just a little bit kinder.

As you know, whilst you are working on catching stories of kindness, I am working on inspiring more giving in this world ( One thing worth sharing here is that whilst it took a REALLY big act of kindness to raise your awareness to the possibilities of a more open, kind world, for many people this can be achieved through the daily example of small acts of kindness. In a way, few of us will be prepared to give our car to a total stranger, but all of us will feel capable of doing just one act of simple kindness today: smile to someone who looks beaten down and ask how they are (oh, and wait to LISTEN!); Help someone who is carrying somthing heavy; give a handwritten Thank You note to someone who deserves it; Share 5 minutes of grief with someone who has recently lost a loved one. These are a few of the ways in which we can be kind on a daily basis without the need for money; I encourage you and your readers to both lead by example and then catch others being kind and recognise them for their efforts. As the little book "Whale Done" demonstrates, we can all train each other by rewarding the desired behaviour, even if the act is really small.

Good luck in your cause, and thanks for letting me contribute to your blog.

Warm regards,

Diego (The crazy Colombian)
Founder and Leader
Pass it Forward, the Australian kindness movement

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Kindness can be found anywhere

My family consisting of my wife, her son who is eighteen and our three children aged under eight go most Sunday mornings to a large open car boot sale or open air market as some may know it. It is mostly full of people just like you or I selling their unwanted possessions interspersed with a few traders selling everything from fruit and vegetables through to electrical goods. Now considering that this is a place where people largely sell for under market value, you may be forgiven for thinking that this would be a strange place to find random acts of kindness and so would I but I guess that the human spirit being what it is, can manifest itself everywhere.

Take today for example, a trader was shouting out "Bunch of bananas only a pound!" I watched a dad with his young daughter approach him and ask if he could buy a single banana. The trader asked if the banana was for the little girl and when the man confirmed this, the trader fetched the little girl a single banana. The man asked how much he wanted and the trader replied looking at the girl, "No charge sweetheart." Now this is a trader who was selling at under market value so his margins must have been tight yet when confronted with a hungry young girl, he saw fit to give her a gift.

The people who run one of the catering units insist on giving us a small discount every time we visit. She didn't broadcast this, she just did it quietly. I only found out when I gave £10 to the lady for a £9 order and she gave me £1.50 change and when I said that it was too much change, she said she knew this but she wanted to say thanks for coming to her above all the other caterers. You could argue that this was good business practice but the fact that she had to be coaxed into admitting that she had given us a discount is an act of kindness in my book.

My young daughters often get small items given to them which is amazing considering that people are there to make some cash in these hard times, yet they can still appreciate the impact that an act of kindness has on a small child. Sometimes they will be looking at a stall and asking how much something is and stall holder may say "You can have it darling." or words to that effect.

These are people who are subject to mindless haggling over ten pence from endless professional shoppers. I know this having sold at these events over the years. It can make you less than patient with people. This said, I find it incredible that some of these people can in one moment stand their ground against an irritating shopper and in the next offer a gift to a small child where the only payment is an excited smile and an amazed thank-you.

I guess the lesson that I take from these experiences is that an act of kindness is not governed by a persons wealth or lack of it. It is a state of mind regardless of who or what they are. In fact I have witnessed more true acts of kindness from everyday folks than from the more well heeled. By that I mean people who don't stand to gain from publicity or a tax break. I am paying homage to people who just give because they want to.

The more I make a point of looking out for acts of kindness, the more I believe that they are never too far away. If we all try to look out for them, maybe we might all feel good about the world around us.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Pass It Forward

I was introduced to a man who goes by the name Crazy Columbian by Maverick Woman. She suggested that there was some synergy in what we were trying to achieve. It transpires that Crazy Columbian is the founder and CEO of the Pay it Forward Australia. It is an important story which has inspired me. His story is as follows.

In the year 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a book called ‘Pay it forward‘ which made it to the big screen that same year. A wonderful story, it tells of a little boy who decides to start a “pyramid scheme with a twist” as a school project. The pyramid scheme is based on you doing something good for 3 strangers, and ask them to ‘pay it forward’. As people pass the goodness of their hearts forward, the world becomes a better place. This little boy starts with the desire to change the world, one step at a time, and finds some obstacles as he tries to do ‘good deeds’ and to get the recipients to Pay it Forward.

The story was uplifting, and left a deep mark on my soul when I saw the movie. But it took me 7 more years to realise I can be like that little boy, and start a Life project to encourage other people to pay it forward. As I worked on the idea with my life partner Ines, we agreed to slightly change the name to ‘Pass it Forward’. We believed that you can’t Pay for acts of kindness; only pass that kindness to someone else.

The concept of the card came from a smashing success by internet columnist Randy Casingham with his ‘Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free‘ (aka GOOHF) cards over the last several years. If he was able to create a card to encourage others to use humour in their everyday life - especially when confronting difficult situations - why not do the same for the Pass It Forward movement?

The concept of trying to change the world, one step at a time came to me in November 2006 as I went through some personal re-evaluation of my life, was inspired to focus on what really matters in life. As a result, I started changing many aspects of my life and started working on the creation of Pass it Forward in Australia.

Diego Villaveces (Crazy Columbian) has a vision of inspiring 5 million incremental acts of kindness by 2012.

Having shared some DMs with him (yes real ones) I am very much looking forward to our imminent first conversation. It is interesting how our approaches to what is essentially a similar goal differs. Diego is successfully persuading people to perform acts of kindness directly, whereas I am trying to achieve that by reporting the deeds from the recipients point of view. Either way I am starting to uncover many groups across the globe who have a goal to spread kindness. I will look forward to maybe starting a dialogue with them too in time.