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Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

Are you unemployed and want something inspiring to do for the next seven days?  Well, I have a solution for you!  Become a Kindness Investor and give $10 away every day to a new stranger for a week and then share your experiences here on the Year of Giving. I need someone to start tomorrow!!! So please email me today if you or someone you know are up for this amazing experience.

1417 22nd Street Northwest Washington D.C., DC 20037 - (202) 835-2665

On Day 353 I went over to Books for America, a great nonprofit bookstore that I have frequented for several years.  As I was purchasing the book I decided to give my money $10 to someone working there.  Two of the clerks that I mentioned it to both pointed toward a guy slouched down behind a computer off to the side of the register.  “He could certainly use the cash,” one of the clerks said pointing toward Adam who had by now stood up and made his way over to the counter.

I gave him the $10 and he thanked me and said, “I can definitely use it.”  I asked if I could jot down a couple of notes and he invited me outside to talk to him while he smoked a cigarette.

Adam grew up in Maine and attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD.  “I studied Liberal Arts – what do you do with that?” he rhetorically asked.  Well, he ended up working at Books for America and told me, “This is the best job ever.”  Adam picks up donations of books around the city and brings them to the store where they are resold at lower than market prices.

“I one time went to pick up some books from this lady’s house and when I got there she was so upset about parting with her books that in the end I recommend that she hold on to them and think about,” Adam told me.  “I mean, books can mean a lot to people and I want the person to be comfortable with the donation, otherwise it’s not good for them or us.”  I don’t recall if the woman ever called back for Adam to get the books or not.

Adam, who is very thankful to be employed now told me, “The thing that really sucks about being unemployed is having to tell your friends and people from high school that you are ‘in between jobs’ when they ask what you are doing.”  This never really bothered me when I was out of work, but I know a lot of people have shared this same comment with me.

Adam shared an amazing personal story of giving with me.  When he was in high school he and some buddies decided to buy some strangers breakfast.  Their simple altruistic act of kindness lived on for years without them knowing it; until recently when he happened to be visiting one of the same friends that was with him that morning and they received a very unexpected phone call.  Check out the entire story…

My favorite part of his story is, “Her gratitude was so much greater than our generosity in the moment.”  That is beautiful.  It just goes to show you that sometimes the little things you do mean a lot more to others around you.

By the way, the 28-year-old’s ten dollars are going to be handed to a bartender at the Big Hunt in exchange for a few “Bad Ass Amber beers.”

Adam and his ten dollars

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I am still pouring through your emails and comments.  So many amazing stories of people who have been motivated to start their own giving projects.  I have heard from people in Saudi Arabia and Brazil who want to start giving $10 a day in their country.  I have received numerous offers to help recipients on the Lend a Hand page.  Others have told me how they are helping their churches, local schools, community centers, random strangers, neighbors, etc.  Numerous people have offered to help me directly.

I firmly believe that people are inherently good.  When we hear about someone else spreading kindness it triggers something that awakens passive thoughts of kindness that we carry inside us. 

I continue to answer your emails and comments one by one…please be patient if I have not responded to you yet.

My notebook (Photo: Reed)

Today my story is about Patrick, but before I get to him I want to share something that happened to me today.  I keep all my notes in a small black notebook which happened to fall out of my book-bag today as I took some photos in front of a Barns & Noble.  I went to dinner with my brother, his wife, and a cousin of mine and then walked home.  On the way home I stopped in to see Larry from Day 90 at Starbucks to tell him that so many people have voted for him to go to Clyde’s with me (see this post).  It was then I realized that I didn’t have my notebook. 

I took a cab back to the restaurant but they didn’t have it.  I started to walk home and decided to look around the Barnes & Noble.  There is so much foot traffic there though that I was sure it wouldn’t be there.  For some reason I decided to go in and ask if someone had turned a notebook in.

Would you believe that two women had turned it in!  YES!  THANK YOU!  They gave it to a Security Guard named George who gave it to Sultan who was working behind the check-out area.  I tried to give George $10 but he would not accept my money.  I have agreed to try to go back and find him one day and maybe buy him a coffee or something.  I did get the name of the company he works for and will write them a letter telling them of his good deed.  I will also write a letter to the Barnes & Noble to tell them about both George and Sultan. 

Phew….I thought I lost my book.  Ok, back to day 97.

On Sunday night I thought I would look around for someone to give my $10 to at the McDonald’s at the Woodley Park Metro station.  There was nobody in the fast food restaurant so I walked around to the Connecticut Ave. side and found Patrick kicking a soccer ball on the sidewalk into some plastic crates against the wall of a bank.  It was around 11pm so I figured this guy’s gotta have a story to be out here at almost midnight practicing soccer by himself.

Patrick A. (Photo: Reed)

I spent some time just watching him juggle the ball with his feet and knees as well as taking shots on “goal.”  Then I chatted with him some.

The 23-year-old DC native says that he comes out there and practices against the wall of the local bank several nights a week.  A lot of people know him as “crazy soccer guy.”  

Patrick is unique.  He has never owned a cell phone and swears that he will never get one.  He is writing his own Philosophy book.  He enjoys theatre.  He designs his own jeans…the list goes on.

Rather than me talk about him…check him out for yourself.  He’s a trip…I’m warning you.  He uses my $10 for something nobody else has done so far. 

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