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Archive for the ‘Something for others’ Category

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

I decided to go do my “reverse panhandling” at Starbucks in River Forest as it is a favorite haunt for both my husband John and myself.  In the evenings it quiets down, making it a nice place to read or write.  Tonight I found out it’s also a nice place for a gathering of women who share a common hobby:  knitting.

This Starbucks has a cozy corner tucked in the back away from the fray.  A coffee table sits on a worn Persian rug and is surrounded by three burnt orange wingback chairs.  Most people covet this prime real estate, myself being one of them.  When I arrived, I headed back there immediately, only to find one chair taken by a studious young man reading a Bible.  A silver-haired woman sits knitting in another.  The third chair holds a wicker basket stuffed with yarn.
I eyed the chair and the woman eyes me.  These are the words in the cartoon balloons floating over our heads.

“You’re not taking that chair!”

“I don’t want that chair!”

“Yes you do, and you can’t have it!”

I really don’t want the chair, and besides, it’s pretty obvious she’s holding it for someone.  What I am thinking is,“Hmmm, is she the one?  I don’t know.  She’s guarding that chair like a pit bull.”  She really is a bit intimidating.  Maybe I better approach the Bible reader instead.  I mean, what could go wrong there?  A Bible reader is bound to be interested in the YOG project.

Trying to make up my mind, I once again eye the Bible reader, the chair, and the woman.

The woman eyes me back.  I think I detect a certain fierceness in the click of her knitting needles.  Suitably daunted and uncertain about bothering the young man, I decide to wander the length of Starbucks looking for someone else to draw my attention.  But I don’t want to leave my Asus unattended, so I return to home base—a table just outside the coveted cozy corner.

Well, I have two reasons for finally deciding to approach the silver-haired knitter.  One, I could’ve wasted all night looking for the right recipient.  Two, I’m overcome with an unreasonable need to reassure her I don’t want her chair!  I don’t steal parking spots either!

“Hello, excuse me,” I begin timidly, “is someone sitting here?”

“No, but they will be in less than fifteen minutes,”comes her firm reply.

“Oh, that’s ok, I don’t want the chair,” I swear, barely resisting the temptation to finish with “cross my heart and hope to die.”  She explains she meets here weekly with a group of women friends numbering from six to fifteen.  They gathered to knit, share knitting patterns and shoot the breeze.

Then I ask her if she’d be willing to hear about a project that might interest her.  I’m starting to think that’s not the best pick-up line because it seems to arouse suspicion when my goal is to inspire generosity.  I would probably feel the same way.  Whoever approaches somebody with the sole purpose of giving away money?  My assumption would be this project is probably going to cost me something.

She is gracious, though, and allows me to tell her about Reed and the Year of Giving blog.  When I finish, she tells me she’s struck by the notion anyone would be interested in what she was going to do with the money.  It seems odd to her.  She’s also adamant she doesn’t want to be involved in something she has to perpetuate, as if it were a “living chain letter” of sorts.  I assure her this is not the case.

She’s clearly ambivalent, and I don’t want her to feel pressured.  I’m on the verge of trying to find a graceful way to bow out when another member of the group shows up.

“Glenyss!  We have a project to consider,” she says, gesturing to me.  “This is right up your alley.”

Glenyss pulls up a chair and listens while I explained it again.  The silver-haired knitter is right.  It is right up her alley.

“Oh sure, we can take the money.  We can find a charitable knitting project and use the ten to buy the yarn for it.”
I actually have a friend who is involved in “competitive knitting” but I’d never heard the phrase “charitable knitting.”  I ask Glenyss to tell me more and she explained she’s been involved in a number of charitable knitting projects, both personally and through her church.  For instance, in 2008 Iowa was flooded for the entire month of June.  Her church knitted caps and mittens because, “no-one was thinking about winter coming, when they’d discovered they’d lost the caps and mittens in the flood.”  So this way, they would be prepared.  How wonderful it must have been for those families to have one less thing to worry about during that difficult time!

A few more women show up, including Marion, for whom the chair had been reserved (she tells me with a pat to the bum “I have no padding so I need a soft chair”).  The other is Lori.  Lori wants to hear about the project too.  The project brought a big smile to her face, and I sense I have finally made the sale (boy, whoever thought you’d have to go to so much effort to SELL ten dollars?).

“So, shall I give you the ten dollars,” I ask the group of four knitters.

“Sure, we’ll take it,” Glenyss speaks for the group, reaching her hand out for the money.

The silver-haired knitter—whose name I finally learned was Debbie—doesn’t want her picture on the web, so I suggest they display their knitting projects and I will take a picture of their work.

What you’re looking at here is beautiful sweater for a young child, a gorgeous woman’s white cardigan and the start of a knapsack.  Debbie is making it.  It brought back a bittersweet memory for me.  My grandmother had once made me a knitted knapsack that I adored.  I loved it because it was cool and reminded me of her.  Then, my apartment was robbed and only two items were taken—a ring which cost five dollars, and the knapsack.  It’s been over twenty years and I still miss it!

Thanking them for their time, I return to my little writing post.  The group has grown from four to nine while I write this.  I overhear conversations about knitting quickly give way to more personal stories interspersed with jokes, laughter and the occasional display of a project for the generous admiration of all.  Their words knit one, pearl two a soft, warm shawl of goodwill and friendship around them which spills out to wrap around me as well.

As the evening draws to a close the women start to leave, one by one.  A few wish me goodnight and good luck with my project and I’m tempted to say, “It’s your project, too.”  But that’s not for me to decide.  They have the ten-dollar bill.  What they do with it is up to them.  Still, I’d like to think it has added a unique stitch to their evening.  I hope it won’t get dropped. 

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

Hi, my name is Rose and I am this week’s Kindness Investor.  I am underemployed this year.  However, I had an opportunity to take a cruise recently to the British Virgin Islands as a Teaching Assistant to Donna Eden, by whom I am trained as an Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner.  So my first four opportunities to give away ten dollars a day began on the cruise.

I started my week of giving early here on the island of Tortola.  I spent the morning on a nature hike in the Sage Mountain National Park.  Then we went to some touristy beach the name of which I do not recall.  No, it was Cane Something.  Well, anyway.   It has a centuries old rum distillery on it that is still operating.  Samples were wasted on me since I don’t drink, but the distillery itself was fascinating and beautiful to photograph.

We had about an hour on the beach which was a bit crowded.  The pelicans here are to the locals what seagulls are to American beach-goers.  No, they don’t beg from you, but they are very tolerant of people and float in the water very close to shore.  I was lucky enough to get a shot of one flying up into the air.  However, I couldn’t get a reverse shot of any diving into the water to grab a fish.  It was fun watching them swallow their meals.  Just like in the cartoons, you can see the little lumps wiggling down their pouchy gullets.

When we finally got back to the area near the boat, I did some shopping.  There were two areas which sold “local crafts.”  The first area sold mostly cheap junk.  I didn’t even bother looking for anything here.  I just made off for the other area.  It was very close to the same.  However, I found one gem there.  An artist who is a fourth generation Tortolan had a little hut full of his artwork.  His ancestors came from West Africa, and art has been in their blood.  His dad, he said, was also a painter like him.  “But, when my parents divorced, I didn’t divorce the tradition.  So I kept on painting.”

I bought a small painting of slaves cutting sugar cane which touched me deeply with its sense of peace despite hardship.  Then, upon his recommendation, I headed down the street to Bamboushay, a coffee shop which also sold locally made pottery.

When I walked in there was an Asian woman—very pregnant—typing on her laptop, a Caucasian woman with long blonde hair I pegged for an ex-pat, and a beautiful slender black woman behind the counter.  A small array of cookies and muffins was on display, and—much to my relief—a long list of coffee specialties were available.

At first I ordered a large decaf iced latte.  Then I spied Chai latte on the board.  So I said, “Wait a sec, how’s your Chai tea?  Is it really, really good?”

I asked that because I don’t think Starbuck’s Chai is all that good, and I wanted a really good one.  She cut a smirky glance at her ex-Pat friend that looked just a little eye roll-ish, if you know what I mean.  Then, without looking at me, she said, “Yes, it’s really, really good.”  Her friend giggled a wry giggle.  The whole encounter made me feel a bit self-conscious, even though I knew I’d set myself up for it.  What was she going to say, after all?  “No, we make lousy Chai?”

“Well, I’ll take your word for it,” I said.  “I’ll take a large.”

Trying to adopt a sweeter attitude, she asked me to wait a few moments while she finished her friend’s order.  But I sensed she was feeling irritated and maybe sad.   I wondered if it was because she took me for a rich, white American girl out Island-hopping.  I wanted to protest my innocence, but what was the point?  In comparison to her world, I was exactly that.

Wandering around the shop I took the time to admire the local pottery.  Some of it was exquisite.  I would have bought something if it wasn’t such a fragile souvenir.  Eventually she finished making my chai.  Perhaps feeling a little bit of a need to please, I asked if the cookies and muffins in the case were fresh, and where did they come from.
“They are home-made,” she replied (in a lovely, soft BVI accent), adding, “I make them in my home.”

Well, I was sold.  So I also bought a small, whole wheat, carrot muffin.  The total bill was $6.95.   I handed her a twenty.  She started to make change when it hit me.  I could begin my week of giving with her!  Why not?

She handed me three dollars, a nickel and a ten.  I said thank you, and then I dove right in.  My explanation of the project was a little bumbling as I wasn’t prepared in the least.  I wish you could have seen the look on her face when I first told her I wanted to give her ten dollars, no strings attached.  It was a look of pure surprise.  Who was this weird stranger offering her money for nothing?  In fact, at first she thought I was describing a sort of “chain letter.”  I would give her ten dollars, and then she would be required to find seven other people to give ten dollars.  No wonder her look of surprise quickly changed to one of wariness.

I explained it again.  By that time a worker had come out from the back to find out what was going on.   They both got the gist of it finally.  I wished the worker had been out there earlier because I would have offered both of them $5, rather than $10 to just one of them.  It took her a few minutes to make up her mind, but she finally agreed and I handed her the ten.

The smiles that broke out on our faces at that moment were like two simultaneous sunrises peeking over the Caribbean horizon.

She told me her name was Susan (pronounced Suzanne) R.  She wasn’t the owner of the coffee shop, but its manager—and apparently its baker (the muffin was delicious, by the way).  When I asked her what she would do with the money, she hesitated for a long moment.  I sensed she was expected to do something altruistic with it.  So I offered, “Listen, you can drink a bottle of $10 rum with it if you want.”  That got a laugh from both of them.

Finally she said she thought she might by some all-natural juice for her daughter, Enya.  I asked if she was named for the singer, and she said yes.  This was another small moment of connection for us as Enya is one of my husband John’s all-time favorite musicians.  I told her so, and we both agreed it was a shame she hadn’t put out anything new lately.

We chatted for a few minutes more.  Susan told me Enya is five years old and is in the First Level of school.  I didn’t know what that meant, so she explained to me it would be analogous to our kindergarten.  Then she wanted to know if it would be possible for her to do this as well.  Only, she thought it would have to be for less than ten a day.  She couldn’t afford that much.  I was deeply touched by that.  I could see she had a big heart, and it would be in her nature to want to give more than receive.

It also brought to mind one of my favorite sayings:  God cannot be outdone in generosity, and it occurred to me I had already received much more than I had just given.

Finally, although she had protested earlier, she allowed me to take a picture of her.  I thought it caught something breathtaking about her, something I noticed earlier despite her slightly churlish mood.  It was a defiance and pride that made me like her instantly.  If I lived in Tortola, I would have to have known her better.  I think she’d make an inspiring friend.

Just about then an older couple came in, presumably looking to escape the heat as I had earlier.  I made my goodbyes quickly, making sure to leave the website address, my name and email.  At the door I turned and looked over my shoulder for one more glance.   Her mood was entirely different from when I had entered twenty minutes earlier.  It suddenly dawned on me then the real gift was not the ten dollar bill.

Bambooshay is a festive Virgin Islands dance performed to invoke good luck.  I hoped she would remember this day as one in which good luck danced her way.

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-Blog post by Mike B., a Kindness Investor from Cromwell, CT

Two days in a row, to waking up with more snow on the ground!  I know, I live in New England so I should expect it.  I do expect it, but to expect it and to like it are two very different things.  I am not complaining though.  After going to school in upstate New York (Oswego) and seeing snow fall for eighteen straight days one year, I am definitely not complaining.  Besides, pitchers and catchers show up for spring training in a little over a month.  I didn’t ask today’s recipient, AJ if he was a baseball fan, but you’ll see, at least his heart was in the right place.

A senior from Newington High School, A.J. works part-time in Goodwill Industries Store and Distribution Center in Newington, Connecticut.  He’s been there since the beginning of the summer and he likes his job.  He’s 18, a generally quiet guy and likes to be honest with everyone.  He’s learning how to be a diesel mechanic at Newington High and will hopefully work in a garage somewhere. He says he loves cars and likes being around them.  When he’s working, he works in both the Goodwill Store and the Distribution Center.  He doesn’t really prefer one to the other, but he was in the Distribution Center today.  There’s what looks like a garage door and a little car port for the people driving up and donating their goods.  People drive up, unload their donations and then AJ and others in the center, divide them up into good stuff and trash.  I asked him about that, thinking maybe a manager or higher level employee would decide what was trash or not, but no, he made that decision.

There were a lot of very large blue bins which were all stacked up waiting for donations to be put in them and three other bins that were marked trash.   Those had mainly pieces of cardboard, some clothes hangers and miscellaneous trash in them.  When I asked him how he got into the business, he mentioned his buddy was already working there and thought it was a decent job.   He sees all kinds of donations and what he called the “crazy stuff”.  What makes it crazy I was wondering and he said he saw a lot of antiques, people cleaning out their houses and donating it instead of just throwing it away.  I did see a very large rimmed bright purple hat with some flowering around it which made me think of something out of a 1970’s movie involving pimps and did I mention it was the color of bright purple?  That was my definition of crazy stuff.  AJ said one item that came in recently was an old-fashioned electric razor, which could have been the one of the first ones ever!  I was there really by chance as I was on my way to somewhere else, saw the Goodwill sign which made me think I needed to go through a lot of stuff of my own and decided to just stop in and see the place.  I’m glad I did or I wouldn’t have met AJ.

He preferred not to have his picture taken, but when asked what he was going to do with the $10, he mentioned his girlfriend’s birthday was coming up quickly and he wanted to get her a necklace she had seen at Claire’s.  The necklace apparently had little elephants on it and she was a fan of elephants.  I just saw a movie trailer for Water for Elephants recently (a really good book) and wonder if he’ll take her to see it?  I took a couple of pictures of the place and was on my way.

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This blog post is by Petra, a Kindness Investor from Seattle, WA.

Solana in front of wooden wall art carving.

It’s a bit intimidating writing a story about a professional story-teller. But the truth is, as soon as Solana has her baby girl – which is any day now – and is back doing what she loves to do, I will be front and center, mesmerized by her gift of telling tales that are grand and important.

Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center occupies 20 acres on an extraordinary location in Seattle’s largest park – Discovery Park – located in the neighborhood of Magnolia just north of the city.  The structure itself was built in 1977 and hosts a wealth of original Northwest Native American art.  The center is part of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation and is a major gathering place for cultural activities and events from business meetings to powwows to weddings. This borough within a park within a city has a dramatic view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. And Solana enjoys that perk whenever she has a moment to look up from her job as the center’s go-to person for all things regarding prenatal/Headstart programs and Operations. It even says so on her business card.

This exquisite 30-year-old woman, whose own Native American Indian ancestry is both Lushoolsled and Kostalish, has been an integral part of Daybreak for 10 years.  She began as a lead teacher and then spread her wings into other education related horizons – and of course – storytelling. The center’s Headstart program embraces 108 children – 42 are Native American. The other 66 kids complete the tapestry, coming from an eclectic, precious mixture of cultural backgrounds: East African, Spanish, Caucasian, Black, Asian and more. Suddenly I wanted to be a kid in the Headstart program at Daybreak!

Painting at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center

Solana is already a mother of two girls – one is old enough to understand the value of becoming positively involved in the lives of those less fortunate. They spend holidays and other occasions helping those in need at various locations throughout the city where homeless people gather. It’s something Solana knows all too well. She was homeless for two of her teenage years.

Then, immediately out of high school, Solana began her storytelling career which she now weaves into curriculum for schools and programs to enhance mental health. Currently she is devoting much of her own education to Chief Dan George who she reports is a major influence in her life and also paramount in her mother’s lineage. I suspect Chief Dan George will also occupy prime real estate in Solana’s storytelling nation.

As for the big question: What is the baby’s name? Oh, no. That was my question. As for the other big question – what will she do with her $10?

Artwork of Native American leaders at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center

“I don’t know yet. I find that I am constantly giving. I keep small packages of food in my car in case we meet someone who is hungry. I have change for those who need some money.”

“I’m going to hang on to it until the moment is right. I’ll know. My daughter and I will know when it’s the right time to pass this gift on to someone who could really use it.”

“You know this giving thing is contagious!”

I LOL’d and exclaimed “That’s what I keep saying!”

Solana has a Website which houses the details of her work and the importance of keeping the oral history of Native American Indians of all Tribes alive. Although it’s “down” for the moment, she hopes that after her baby girl is born, she’ll have time to tend to it again – it and the million other selfless acts of love which Solana demonstrates every day.

View of Puget Sound from the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center

Spring is around the corner and Daybreak is around the bend. Me thinks I’ll be spending more time with my new friend and mentor when she returns to Daybreak Star with her girls in tow. What fun it will be to sit on the grass, watch the birds, water, and mountains – just like Native American Indians of the great Pacific Northwest have done for centuries.

..and then she’ll tell me a story!

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Kindness Investor: Petra from Seattle, WA

Curran made me so happy. After we’d chatted and I gave him $10 I couldn’t help but tell one of his co-workers in the grocery store, that he made me so happy (even though poor Elle had no idea what was going on).

I’d paid for my modest purchase and couldn’t resist. I walked over to the register where Curran was now helping other customers and gave him a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. “You have made me so happy!  Thank you.”

Frankly, I don’t think I actually embarrassed him – although I may have. Curran instantly understood what being a Kindness Investor is all about. So, I think he just took my public demonstration of gratitude in stride and smiled, and went back to work. However, my bet is that his smile – both inside and out –has remained with him as long as mine has with me.

Curran is an associate at Trader Joe’s Grocery. Although I had $10 in my pocket, ready to give to someone, I didn’t expect it to be an employee where I was buying my food. But there he was. He just walked up to me. It was kismet.  After briefly explaining the project and extending $10 to him, he was quick to grasp the concept.

“That’s really cool! It’s like paying it forward,” he stated matter-of-factly. I couldn’t help but think I was actually trying to catch-up, karmically. The past few years have been very difficult for me but my own family and friends Kindness Investors have helped me through so many of the extremely rough patches.

Curran grew up in the Portland, Oregon area and moved to Seattle about seven years ago; he’s now 28. He’s been a crew member of this store since it opened two years ago. One thing I know after today’s encounter, if I were in need of any kind of crew member, I’d want it to be someone like Curran.

“I got engaged on December 22nd,” he proudly announced. “We are hoping for a November wedding in Hawaii. We want a small ceremony and it’s really exciting.”

He and his fiancé have a three-year-old girl named Hayden (OMG, I can only imagine how lovely they both are). “It’s an amazing feeling.”

“What is?” I inquired.

“Settling down. Everything. All things are just lining up. I must’ve done something right.” He was beaming. Proud. Excited. Grounded.

Although he has no pets (you know I had to ask!), he loves dogs and hopes to add one to their family when they can.

As far as what he plans to do with the $10? He didn’t miss a beat when I asked. “I think I’m going to buy bouquets of flowers to keep the random act of kindness going. Won’t that be cool to make people smile with a beautiful arrangement of flowers? I’ll just hand them to people like you gave this $10 to me.”

Earlier when I was taking Curran’s picture, Elle had stopped by to get the string of beads which he had been wearing. Evidently the person donning the au natural necklace indicates to customers that s/he is available to assist and answer questions. Later when I ran into Elle said that Curran had briefly told her about our exchange and the money.

“I wonder what he’s going to do with it?” she asked.

“I don’t know…I guess you’ll have to wait and see,” I replied with a smile.

Who would think that three minutes and $10 with Curran (or any of those with whom I’ve spent time as a Kindness Investor) would make me so very happy?

Oh, I mentioned that, didn’t I?

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I love my new job. I have been dreaming about this for years. Seriously. I’ve so often thought how wonderful it would be to head out the door with a hand full of cash-and just walk up to someone and say “Here, have some money. Please, take it.” And walk away.

Dreams do to come true.

Except in my reality (as I discovered today), the joy was not only in the giving, but in the fellowship of two unknown people thrown together by – what? Fate? A Spirit nudge? An angel? Coincidence?

As I began to run errands on my first day as a Kindness Investor, forecasters were threatening snow in Seattle so I paid close attention to whom I was drawn to; who was the intended recipient of my crisp ten-dollar bill? Several people caught my eye but none spoke to me, if you will.

She was on the right hand side of the street making her way toward a small bridge which crosses over freight trains and their many tracks. It can be a dicey, if not dangerous area for anyone making their way over this small viaduct. But there she was and now I had to figure out how to get her attention without scaring her; she was somehow calling me to be the recipient of my first Kindness Investor’s random act. And so it was.

I slowed down and let several cars pass me as I approached this quintessential Seattleite riding her bike. I gently beeped my horn and rolled down the window on the passenger side of my car.

“Excuse me; can I talk to you for a moment?” As if she had a choice; I felt like I had practically run her into the parking area which we both approached. I pulled up in front of her and popped out of my car. It was cold.  Frozen snow drops had begun to fly through the frigid air.

Once I was close enough to see her beautiful face, I understood why she was wearing a flowing, flowery, silky skirt over what I hoped were very warm leggings.  The skirt said so much to me: Kindness, an independent spirit, fun!

As I began explaining to her why I tracked her down, I described the project…etc., etc., etc., and asked if she would please accept ten dollars from me. I handed it to her. She smiled in delightful surprise.

As we talked, I learned that Nora is a student who is now studying to be a pre-school teacher. In the meantime, she also works in upholstery and ceramics. I knew it. Between the bike, scarves, and skirt, she had “eclectic” and “artistic” written all over her.

While Nora lives in Seattle’s Central District, her parents live in Ballard. Via bike, a hike, a bus, or car, this is not an easy journey. Seattle’s many hills and waterways create challenges for anyone trying to get from point A to B, much less point A to point K. But there she was-our Nora peddling the trails and streets and yes, train tracks of Seattle!

As I explained that Reed in Washington, DC had begun this most wonderful journey of Kindness Investing more than a year ago, I added that giving away money has been my own dream job for some time.  And there I was – with Nora – my first “client” on the first day of my new job.  Together we were shivering on the outside but both compassionate on the inside – kindness can warm up the mood of nearly any spirit. It can also be very contagious.

“I’ll have to start my own year of giving,” she stated, smiling as she again looked at the ten dollars.

When I asked what she thought she might do with the money, her first notion was to buy the book “Finding Your North Star” by Martha Beck. Nora had read it and felt a friend could benefit from the uplifting messages within the books’ pages.

“My friend has been struggling with darker feelings…maybe the book – and your story – can be a catalyst for her; it’s about being fearless and following your passions. I think this should cover the cost of the book.”

I wanted to spend more time with Nora-she was clearly kind and considerate.  And for some lucky Seattle toddlers, they would soon know a teacher and friend who would soon be encouraging them to nurture their own desires and creative passions. Besides, who in pre-school doesn’t like a pretty teacher?

When Nora asked what I did, I explained that I was unemployed, but when I connected with Reed and we discussed the yearofgiving.org project, I knew I had to participate.  It is my own North Star. My own passion. From where ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred dollars a day will come, I do not know. But this I do know: I think my new job is a great fit. I have faith that the money will appear so I can pass it on to the Nora’s of my world who in turn will use the blessing to help their friends and perhaps others in need. And when that friend is inspired, she too, will continue to invest in kindness.

This is addicting. And very, very fun.

Thank you, Reed.

Bless you, Nora.

-Petra from Seattle, WA

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Today I went to downtown Dayton again attempting to find Pappy from Day 7.  I thought I was in luck a man walking toward the corner where I met Pappy at with a coat that resembled his.  I ran across the street and ran under the bridge area yelling “Hey Pappy”.

The man turned around and I said, “Oh, you’re not Pappy”.

“No, I’m Ted,” he replied,”can I help you.”

Hmmm, well yes you can.  I told Ted about the project I was working on and that today I wanted to give him $10.  “Are you serious,” Ted replied, “you don’t know what this means to me.”

When asked what he was going to do with the money Ted replied, “look over there at the BP, do you see the girl walking with the purple pants on.  That’s my girl, I’m going to go buy her and I some food.”  He then said, “maybe tomorrow you will meet her and give her $10.”  Ted made me laugh with that reply.  “You never know,” I replied.

Ted told me that Pappy had left for the day and he was leaving as well, “The cops give us tickets after 3:30 you know.”

As we walked back toward the streets Ted told me he was young and dumb and it really messed his life up.  He’s been on the streets for 8 years now and doesn’t see being off of the streets anytime soon.

“You’re a real gem,” he said.  “Most young girls would never be brave enough to confront people like me and you were very willing to talk to me, that shows you are a real genuine person.”

Thanks Ted!

-Melinda T. from Xenia, OH | Dec. 24, 2010

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