How We Carry
Can small acts of kindness change the world? Beliefnet users share their
Like ripples circling outward in a pond, individual acts of kindness, taken
together, can have world-changing effects. We asked Beliefnet users to describe
the most profound act of kindness they ever experienced, witnessed--or did for
another person. We've gathered some of the most moving ones to inspire us all
to do a little something more.
Helping a Homeless Person
The one act of kindness that always touches my heart (whether I do it or I
see it) is when someone helps out the homeless. I'm not talking about giving
money to them either. I'm talking about picking them up and taking them to a
shelter, giving them food instead of money on the train...or even talking to
What most people don't understand about the homeless is that they have their
pride. A lot of them don't want help. But all of them want to be heard. They
want to feel like a human being and sometimes just talking to a homeless person
makes a world of difference. I have been witness to a man that would talk to a
homeless man for a year...just small talk...but that was enough for the
homeless person to be inspired to get up and get himself together.
Being Your Brother's Keeper
The most profound act of kindness I've ever witnessed is one that I received. I
spent many years experiencing the consequences of my own actions. I was an
active drug addict, a thief, a liar, and a fool. During this time I caused so
many people, which loved me, harm. My family, I'm sure, was affected the most.
Due to my choices and my actions, I went to jail, and almost went to prison.
The court system gave me one last chance. I was let out on the streets with no
where to go, so I turned to my brother. Everyone told him not to trust me; that
I would only do what I had always done. My brother said, "He's my brother
and I love him...if I don't help him, who will?" Since that day my life
has changed. I've been clean off of drugs for 3 years; have an excellent job
working with good people, and better relationships with people than I've ever
had. That one act of kindness from my brother changed my life.
--Jason K. Wells
Reassuring a Child
One evening [12 years ago] while at the arcade [playing Mortal Kombat] with a
friend I noticed a situation at the baseball simulator....I saw the arcade
attendant holding his head and the little boy clearly upset. The boy had
accidentally hit the attendant in the head with his swing. As the boy, feeling guilty
for causing the attendant pain, began to cry the arcade attendant moved in and
gave him a hug as if to say "See, I am okay, don't be upset."
Suddenly, decapitating my opponent [in Mortal Kombat] on quarters I stole from
my sister did not seem very important.
The attendant was hurt, had every reason to get mad, and could have scolded the
child for being so clumsy. But he didn't. Instead, he set his own pain aside to
comfort the child without showing any displeasure. It is difficult to describe
how much this moment struck me. The arcade looked different and my skin tingled
in an unusual way. As I recall it now I struggle to hold back tears. I was
thirteen at the time....
It goes to show how much doing the right thing can impact people even if we do
not ever see the results of our good will.
Giving What You Have
The most profound act of kindness ever received by me happened as a child and
reminds me as an adult how I should live. A neighbor girl, my friend, lived in
very poor circumstances due to a father that drank and a mother who was always
pregnant with another of the many children he created.
One day, she offered to me a slice of bread, with some lard and a very precious
commodity, rarely seen in her house...sugar. It was all she had, yet she
offered it to me with a smile. I have never tasted anything better since.
Comforting a Stranger
When I was 17 my aunt was in a horse-riding accident and went into a coma.
My mother flew on an airplane to be with her sister and her family. While en
route my mother learned that her sister had died. My mother was terribly
distraught with grief, and the woman next to her on the plane, whom she did not
know, held her hand the whole way. My mother never knew her name, but often told
that story of how that kindness got her through one of the most painful moments
of her life.
Coming to the Rescue
On Christmas evening 1996, we were on our way home from my cousin's house. I
was pregnant with my youngest daughter and my two older daughters at the time
were 9 and 4. The weather was terrible, the snow was coming down fast and
thick...The cars in front of us were swerving out of control, my husband trying
to avoid the cars pressed on the brakes and went out of control also. Someone
coming out of the toll booth at a higher rate of speed broadsided into the
driver side of the car, we spun out of control and crashed into the highway
My husband was unconscious, my older daughter was just staring blindly ahead of
her. My heart stopped thinking she may be dead. People stopped to help us. My
husband was taken to the hospital separately from us. I didn't know what
happened or where they were taking him. My daughter was in shock. I was
A family of Middle Eastern descent stopped their car to help us, when I
realized that my younger child wasn't with us. In the chaos someone else had
stopped and had picked up my daughter and walked off with her. I started to
yell for my baby, and the people that stopped to help us ran to get her. They
brought her to me safely and held our hands until another ambulance could come
In our moment of terror these kind people sat and prayed with me for my
husband, for my children and for my unborn baby. I thank God for them, I think
about them often and wish I could see them again some day so that I could
properly thank them.
Being a Friend
One particular week, when my son was in 9th grade, I repeatedly had teachers
come up to me to tell me how wonderful my son was. Well, I knew he was a good
kid, but...come on, not THAT good! I finally asked what he had done and was
told that at the school dance, everyone seemed to be dancing and having a great
time, except for a 9th grade girl, who had (I think) cerebral palsy and was
confined to a wheelchair.
My son proceeded to ask her to dance and when she said she couldn't, he grabbed
her wheelchair and off they went onto the dance floor. I heard from her
guardian, later, that she talked about what a great time she had at that dance
for months. I thought my heart was going to burst when I was told about this.
Doing Little Things Every Day
I work with people who struggle. I'll bring in a plate of food for someone
for their lunch. I'll buy one of the young guys a soda or bring in extra
bottles of water from home. I just fixed enchiladas this evening and took a pan
to the couple across the street. I try to do some little something every day.
My kids have started to do it too. Nothing huge, but something to make someone
less fortunate feel better about themselves and the world.
Going the Extra Mile
I work in a medical daycare center and our clients are elderly people who are
medically fragile and often live alone with minimal financial resources. One of
our clients had suffered a stroke and depends on a cane and a leg brace to
ambulate. She can be very demanding and is often non-compliant with her
doctor's prescribed care. Our staff recognizes that her demeanor is a result of
living alone with her physical limitations. We do our best to provide the TLC
that she deserves but we often feel frustrated.
On one Friday, this client was tearful because the strap that secures her leg
brace had broken off. Her big fear is falling and the brace was not secured
enough to prevent a fall. I made several calls but was unable to get the brace
repaired or replaced in time for the weekend. I consulted with another employee
to see what we could do. This employee has been going through many personal and
medical problems of her own and the week had been very stressful for her. But
when I explained our client's dilemma, this employee developed a sense of calm
and devised a plan to help our client. What I witnessed next was nothing short
This employee, who was born with only one hand, proceeded to prepare the sewing
machine and within the next hour had fixed the brace with a strap that was very
secure. To watch her threading the needles, cutting the materials and
positioning the brace was truly a labor of love. This employee understands all
too well what it is like to live with a handicap. She could have said we'll
take care of it next week, but she forgot about her own troubles and ministered
to this client.
I was a witness to a selfless act and true kindness. We all felt blessed that
day and this client went home secure in the knowledge that she is not alone,
but part of a family that cares for her.
Listening to Each Others' Stories
The tolerance, love and kindness I have witnessed and received on a continual
basis over the last six years of my life has come from the strangest place. I
found this place when I was on the verge of suicide; I hated myself, my life
and the whole human race. I thought there was no loving kindness to be found
anywhere in the world. I entered a room full of strangers and listened to their
stories. I am consistently amazed by the generosity I receive from people I
have just met there. I found hope for a better life. These wonderful people
loved me until I learned to love myself. A few of these strangers have become
my closest friends.
I am not unique in my discovery. Everyday, in thousands upon thousands of
locations world wide, people gather to help one another. There are lawyers,
waitresses, doctors and janitors. There are Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists and
agnostics. There are no dues or fees for membership. No political or religious
affiliations. Every person is welcomed with open arms and hearts.
This kindness, love, generosity is available to everyone who seeks it out. I
found it through a Twelve Step program.