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Archive for the ‘Gave the money to someone else’ Category

Cast4.jpg

A Year of Giving cast: Patrick Miller, Devon DuPay, Reed Sandridge, Steve Langley. Photo courtesy of Tim Sharpe

Friday night was a great show! We sold all but 5 or 6 tickets. It was the first show I did without forgetting some portion of the play…thankfully the way the play was created it makes it quite easy to go on if you forget something without letting the audience know.

As I had done the previous two shows, I gave my daily $10 to an audience member. I handed it to a tall guy (ok, a lot of people seem tall compared to me!) seated on the left side of the audience. He told me his name was Josh.

Normally after the show I find the $10 recipient and take a few minutes to grab a photo and ask a few questions – just as I did every day during my year-long journey in 2010. Unfortunately this one got away!

Well, I looked at the ticket list and found someone named Josh and Googled him, found someone in DC with his name and I sent him a tweet hoping that he was in fact the same Josh who was at my show.

Josh plays softball in DC’s Capital Alumni Network league. Photo courtesy of Joshua Novikoff

It was, and as it turns out, he is a critic for DCist and was reviewing our show! Oh no. I hope the fact that I gave him $10 didn’t make him feel like he couldn’t do a fair review…I mean after all it is just $10 and I had no idea who he was.

Yesterday, his review was published. “A Year of Giving is among the best shows I’ve ever seen at the Capital Fringe Festival,” he said. Wow…what a compliment!

Today I traded some emails with Josh to find out a little bit about him and what he planned to do with my ten spot! Josh, who moved her from Brooklyn, NY, has settled in Columbia Heights. He’s a busy guy. In addition to being a contributor for DCist, he works on environmental policy issues. And when he is not hard at work, you might find him playing softball or football, checking out some authentic Asian cuisine at Eden Center in Fall’s Church, or making some final arrangements for his wedding this fall. Congratulations Josh!

As for the $10, Josh said he plans on giving it to, “someone on the street that seems like they need it, like someone who is homeless but is not panhandling.” Hopefully he will leave a comment here and share how it goes once he has passed it on.

Also in attendance this evening were two other friends of the Year of Giving: Brad D. from Day 101 and Robert E. from Day 225. Both their stories are woven into the stage version of the project. Thanks for coming out to support the show! Oh, and as always, Knox, from Day 1, was outside shinning shoes!

Only one show left and based on current ticket sales, it should sell out, so get your tickets in advance.

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Blog post by Rose M, a Kindness Investor from Forest Park, IL.

Today I was in Antigua.  I began the day with a zipline tour.  We had to drive inland for a half hour to reach our destination—the rainforest.  Our taxi driver introduced himself as Spice Man.  He was a big man with a good sense of humor.  He gave us a talking tour all the way there and back telling us many things about his island.  But I was mostly fascinated by the small, colorful houses we passed, many in a state of extreme disrepair, which began to appear as soon as we left the posh tourist harbor area.  This was the real Antigua.

The zipline experience was fun.  It felt very settling to be among all those trees after more than four days at sea.  The way it works is that you are strapped into a harness similar to what you wear when you parachute.  Then you are hooked with big metal hooks to cable wires that are strung between a series of trees.  Each tree has a platform built around it and a certified zipliner (although I don’t know what that means exactly; I was helped by one of these zipliners and she had acrylic nails that had to be two inches long) who makes sure you don’t fall off the platform into the forest below before sending you on to the next platform.

We ziplined through twelve different stations down to the bottom of the forest.  That was the grueling part because we then had to climb many, many steps back to the top.  There we were able to tip our certified zipliners, as well as buy a t-shirt or two.

Spice Man brought us back to the harbor.  I asked him if he could help me find some Cuban cigars.  My husband had asked me to smuggle some back into the country with me.  Spice Man took me to a liquor store owned by a friend who then directed us to another location.  This was a bonafide cigar store.  I was able to find John some Cuhios, Romeo y Julieta and a few others.

By then it was getting late and I was starting to run out of time.   I decided to run back to the ship and drop off the cigars, then come back to the edge of the harbor and enjoy one last coffee before leaving.  I wasn’t certain whether or not I would give away $10 today.  But as I walked towards the coffee shop I was moved by the site of a young girl in her school uniform leaning listlessly against a post, holding handmade jewelry in her hand.  Her mother was busily opening a suitcase, trying to get passersby interested in buying the trinkets.  I took a candid shot of them.  Then I decided I wanted to give that ten to them.

I began by asking to look at their jewelry.  While I browsed I asked the girl her name.  Euresha she replied before explaining that she was eleven years old and in grade six.  I couldn’t imagine what her life must be like, having to go to school all day and then work selling jewelry to help her family survive.  The mother told me her name was Brenda.  I found out she was the mother of ten, and Euresha was the youngest.  I was browsing very slowly, trying to work up my nerve to offer the ten.  Brenda didn’t take my hesitation as a good sign.  She started bargaining with me, lowering her prices more and more the longer I looked.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, it started to rain.  We moved under the awning of the coffee shop and sat down opposite a couple who were also on my cruise.  I could tell Brenda was getting antsy to move on, and worried I wouldn’t buy anything at all.   Finally I settled on a matching abalone necklace and bracelet.  I said, “Brenda, I’d like to buy this bracelet and necklace.  What would it cost?”

“Bracelet is five, necklace is twenty.  But I give you both for $20.”

“Well, I’d be happy to pay you twenty for them, but would you be insulted if I also gave you ten dollars for no reason at all?”

You should have seen the look on her face.  It was like she’d won the lottery.  But she didn’t miss a beat.  Immediately she responded, “Give it to my daughter.  She needs it for her science project.”

I said, “Oh that’s great, Brenda!  I’ll give it to you, and you can give it to your daughter.  Because I was going to ask you what you were going to do with it, and now I know.”  Then I went on to explain about the Year of Giving.  Frankly, I don’t think Brenda cared.  That ten dollars was manna from heaven, and the unexpected boon was all that mattered.
Meanwhile Euresha was grinning from ear to ear.  I doubt she’d had many experiences like this of sheer good luck.  I asked her to tell me about her science project.  She said she is writing a paper on the Fallow Deer, which is an endangered species.  Her mom explained she needed the money to pay for some computer fees so she could type up the project.  She then went on to boast about her daughter, saying she’d be sitting for an exam next year that would allow her to go on to the next level of school.  “I know she will do very, very well,” she proclaimed proudly.  Euresha told me she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up.

Euresha wrote down her address for me, and we all admired her lovely cursive handwriting.  The couple at the table with us who had witnessed this whole exchange asked me if this was part of a Christian ministry.  I explained to them about the Year of Giving website and suggested they check it out.  Then I took a picture of Euresha and Brenda, smiling broadly and looking hopeful, the worry and strain wiped away for a moment.

The rain had let up a little and now it really was time for me to get back on the boat.  I dashed between the drops, imagining the story Euresha and Brenda would have to tell the family that night.  It gave me such a good feeling, I thought, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to stop this after seven days!”

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Blog post by Sibyl W, a Kindness Investor from Brentwood, Tenn.

Today I needed something to read.  I love book stores, I love perusing the different books to find the right one.  Being unemployed I try very hard to stay away from them because I know what I’ll do.  This trip I had meant to buy only one, but walked out with three.  At least I was shopping at the Book Gallery (half price books) and the three were cost less than one hardback book.

While checking out I asked the person behind the register, Judy, if she would be my recipient of the day.

She explained how she happened to be working at the book store, “My husband is retired and years ago.  I used to be an RN, then mom but now just enjoying working at the book store two days a week and I play tennis three days a week.”

It sounded like a dream schedule to me, but then I realized it would probably cost me to work there, I would probably spend more than I made.  I also admire anyone in the medical field and I told Judy she must love what she’s doing because it comes with some heavy responsibility.

“Yes,” she agreed”, and you have a lot of shifts and you weren’t home on a regular schedule. I actually retired when I had my kids.  Now my kids are raised, I have one in Chicago and one in Knoxville so any time I want to take off and see them I can, and not have to worry about my schedule.  They’re very nice here so they give me the time when I need it.“

I asked her what she might do with the ten dollars.

“I will definitely pass it on.  I have no idea right at the moment but somebody who needs it will get it.  Thank you, you’ve made my day.  Can I give you a hug?”

And with that, she made my day.

It has been so fulfilling to meet and interact with seven awesome people who used to be strangers.  It has definitely done more for me than the $10 did for them. I want to thank Reed for starting this project and continuing it in the way that he has.  Evidently I am the first one in Tennessee to be a Kindness Investor, so come on Tennessee, give it a try.

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Blog post by Sibyl W, a Kindness Investor from Brentwood, Tenn.

Today I met Jeannie, who is a total sweetheart.   I was just getting out of my car when I saw her and just knew she was the one to be today’s recipient.  Lucky for me she said yes.  I wasn’t even ready and had to ask her to wait just a moment to get the things I needed out of my car, including the $10 dollars.

I explained what the Year of Giving was about and asked if she would be willing to share a piece of her story with me.  Like a lot of others, she has a lot going on in her life right now.

“This week my aunt, who’s 85 years old, had open heart surgery.  She lives in Toledo, Ohio and we just got back. She’s my mom’s sister, they are the only two siblings left in that part of the family.  She’s the golden star patient and she’s doing phenomenal, better than everyone expected.  Her mind is good; everything else is good it was just her heart.  But it was miraculous.  God healed her.

“There’s just so much to say.  I was in an accident in January but all is well thank the Lord.  My Aunt, the one in the hospital, was going to give me her car but she’ll be able to get back out and drive, go back to church and enjoy the things she likes to do.  So my brother-in-law, he’s in Afghanistan, they loaned us one of their cars.  God is amazing; you just can’t stop giving Him the glory.

“And, my husband and I have been approved to be adoptive parents.  But, I just found out Monday the birth mom changed her mind.”

Worried about her disappointment I said, “Oh no.” But she responded, “Oh, that’s good, she’s going to keep her baby and my prayer is that God is going to give us our baby. We believe in adoption, there are a lot of adopted kids throughout our family.  We were doing an independent adoption over the summer, the mother was a family member, but when the baby was born she decided to keep it and that’s great too.  I always promote babies being with their natural mother.  So we’ve been dealing with this since January.”

In my opinion, Jeannie’s life consists of things that I would refer to as stressful, but I don’t think she saw it that way.  She was so positive and upbeat it totally brightened my day.  We hugged and I thanked her for sharing her story. I told Jeannie I had one more question, could I ask what she might do with the $10 dollars. She immediately replied, “Give it to somebody.  I’ll bless somebody.”

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Blog post by Sibyl W, a Kindness Investor from Brentwood, Tenn.

After trying twice today and being turned down, I met Linda as she was coming out of a Borders that’s closing its doors. On this gorgeous day I asked Linda what she was doing and she shared that she was, “running errands, getting my car fixed, I saw Borders is closing and decided to get some books to read. “

Linda isn’t from this immediate area, but drove the short distance from Nashville.  I asked her what she did for a living and I was impressed when she told me she’s an engineer for a pacemaker company.

Family?  “Yes” she replied, “I have a daughter, she’s four years old, and I take care of my 81 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s.  She came to stay with me about three months ago; she moved here from Chicago.  So that is what my life is right now, taking care of a 4-year-old and an 81-year-old.  My mother goes to an adult day care while I’m at work and we have someone come in once a week, a medical aid, that helps with other stuff like bathing, housecleaning and things like that.”

I asked her what she might do with the $10 and she answered, “Interesting question.”  She thought just for a moment and answered, “I was just about to give to a college fund for one of my church member’s granddaughters so I’m going to put it in the coffers.  I was going to give $100 so now I will give $110.  So that’s what I’m going to do with it. “

I would bet that young lady will be very grateful for Linda’s generosity.

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I appreciate a kind heart!

Meet Tom, who not only has a very kind heart but also sells something very sweet and tasty, namely ice cream.  Tom and his wife Shari, opened The Zebra Striped-Whale in Newtown, PA several years after his wife self published her first book, which shares the same name. When I encountered Tom he was busy at work behind the counter but was still open to share his story before I even presented him the ten dollars.  I learned he used to work for years in my town (small world) and that he is the father of two daughters, Maxine (Max) and Ariele, one of which who was having her first day of work at a law firm in Philly.

When I asked Tom what was the greatest thing about his job, he answered that, “People come in excited.  They know it’s going to be a happy experience, not like going to the dentist, but when they come here they know they are going to get something good to eat.”

He says the shop was designed to delight all five senses from attracting your nose with the smell of the crepes and waffles,to the taste of his delicious ice cream.  Tom shared that his favorite flavor was the, “Sweet Cream because you can mix it with anything.”

The Zebra-Striped Whale is known for whirlwinds.  A whirlwind invites you to choose your ice cream flavor and the toppings are blended into the ice cream by hand with a flat paddle.

Tom with Colleen.

Tom was a psych major in college and worked in sales for most of his life.  He shared his dream of opening an ice cream shop with his wife and the two took it to the next level.  Tom is a creative spirit both on and off the job.  He created the artwork for The Zebra Striped Whale Alphabet Book, which is soon to be published. Tom’s motto is create a nice life, live well, and share good fortune and happiness with others.

Before we left, Tom surprised my friend Colleen and I by giving the $10 to her.  She used it to buy “The Zebra-Striped Whale” and Tom also gave both of us a book called “Cop Buddy” that was created to honor a fallen officer.  Tom and Shari not only own an ice cream shop and publish children’s books, but they also created The Zebra Striped Whale Foundation which serves the community through the art of children’s picture book publishing.  He truly has a kind heart and I enjoyed meeting him.

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I honor healthy living and well being!

I met Beth at Starbucks and we chatted over coffee.  She is a mother of four and a breast cancer survivor with a great faith and zest for healthy living.  She knew over 12 years ago she was fighting for her life against the aggressive form of cancer. With the support of her loving husband and the desire to raise her children (ages 5 to 13 at the time), she began “feeding” herself all kinds of fruits, vegetables and healthy foods while surrounding herself with positive people.  She was receiving great support through letters from other cancer survivors who openly shared their stories of what they did to win the battle.  Beth also focused on prayer and asked God to help her with the fight. The cancer itself became a catalyst in itself to live a healthier lifestyle.

With the power of veggies she was not only able to rebuild her immune system but also created a path for her family to become healthy as well.  though Beth went through chemo, radiation and surgery, she truly believes God taught her how to be healthy and in doing so led her to  become educated about whole foods.  She learned a great deal from Christine Pirello, a local food expert and studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Beth is now better known as a health coach and instructs others to eat healthy.  She works with children, teens and adults while also running her own website!  Beth believes you don’t change anyone by telling them to change; rather you give them reasons to want to change. For her, the reason to create change in her own life came from the fight to beat cancer and she now uses that passion to help others change.

I would highly recommend Beth as a health coach.  I appreciate her openness to share her knowledge. Healthy eating for her is less about a diet, and more about creating a lifestyle of choices that are easy to implement.  She says it’s easy steps that make the difference. People, she feels, should simply cook for leftovers,  create their own healthy snack packs (especially for kids) and eat more foods that grow.

I had considered myself a “healthy eater” but Beth shared a great tip for me.  I tend to like “soft” foods: yogurt, avocado, humus, etc.  I honestly I don’t love food and therefore don’t spend much time cooking, preparing or eating.   Beth shared the value of simply taking more time to chew the food I’m eating because it allows the body to release more enzymes to aid in digestion.  Speaking with Beth helped to highlight that I always seem to be eating on the go, even when I am eating healthier foods. I have a new attitude towards healthy living thanks to Beth and now value the time it takes to eat properly.

Much in the way Beth passes along great advice, she is going to give the $10 to someone else.

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