We are most inspired by selfless acts of kindness and compassion. We believe that selfless acts make the world a better place. They inspire others to perform good deeds. Being open to responding in such a way requires cultivating awareness to moments that present themselves as opportunities for good. Sometimes that happens through planning and at other times opportunities may arise in the moment.
We believe that doing good for others comes back to us in a full circle and often in astounding ways. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, addressing the subject of altruism, said, “If you are going to be selfish, be wisely selfish.” So, as the Dalai Lama reassures us, in helping others we can guarantee our own happiness. The Twisted Challenge is to begin to develop this point of view more and more in our daily lives. For us, these stories remain the inspiration for of all of the Foundation’s work. It means a lot to us personally to be able to inspire and support others to perform selfless acts of giving, supporting and caring. And we are always looking to be inspired by other’s stories of spontaneous generosity and kindness.
We invite you to tell us about your personal story or about an organization or individual who inspired you with their selfless act to create change in our community or to simply brighten someone’s day through a selfless act. We will celebrate those stories by sharing them here.
It was holiday season. A woman had pulled over on the side of the highway waving her arms and was crying. I pulled over to ask if she needed help and saw two small children in the back seat. She sobbed and embarrassingly said that she was lost and was trying to get to the airport. I told her that it was going to be ok and I could tell her how to get there and that she wasn’t far. She had a sigh of relief. I started to give her directions and saw a glazed look come over her face. She started to cry again and told me that her husband’s coming back from Iraq and that she hadn’t seen him for several years, and was two hours late picking him up. If you could have just seen her face! She was so upset and just beside herself. Feeling so bad for her, I just took my TomTom GPS out of my car, programmed in the airport address, and attached it to her windshield. “This will get you there. If you make a wrong turn, don’t worry, it’ll re-calculate the directions and get you back on track.” I said. She responded, “I don’t have enough money to pay you for this.” I told her “There’s no need. It’s a Christmas gift to you and your family.” Her name was Ruth and she gave me the best hug, sobbing the whole time. I told her to hurry up and get to the airport.Anonymous
The Drive Through
I went through Starbucks drive through one day and ordered a skinny vanilla latte. When they gave me my coffee they made a mistake and didn’t make it “skinny.” They said they were very sorry and would quickly re-make my drink. The clerk and I were chatting while the new one was being prepared. She told me that there would not be a charge for my latte because of their mistake and the delay. I thought for just a moment and asked how much the bill was for the car right behind me. It was around $12 and then I asked her about the next car back. That one was only $4. So I quickly decided to pay for both cars coffees. I could afford it and heck, I had just gotten a free coffee. By the time they drove up and learned their coffee was paid for, I was long gone. As I drove away and later sitting in my office, I kept thinking about them with a chuckle in my head thinking about what their faces must have looked like after their anonymous gift. It actually brightened my day. Even to this day every time I think about it, it brings a smile to my face.Jason P
Husband’s Winter Coat
I was driving on a dark and empty stretch of rural road close to my home during a blizzard. It was hard to see thru the flying snow but then suddenly, there in my headlights, I saw a man walking on the side of the road. He looked very cold and was not wearing a warm coat. His shoulders were hunched, his arms folded across his chest. I was all alone in my car and not far from my home but didn’t feel safe stopping to give him a lift or offer assistance. Not knowing what else to do, I hurried home and got one of my husbands coats and a knit hat. I drove back down that road hoping I could find him again. He was now close to the edge of our small town. As I drove by, I threw the coat and hat out the window. I never saw this man again but I know he was much warmer then.Naomi J
My elderly neighbor’s trash pick-up area was almost a half-mile away from her home. I walk to get my mail everyday, which was past her trash pick-up area. On those days when her trash can was out, I would always drag it back to her house since I was coming back down the road anyway. I knew she was never home at that time of day when I did this and I never told her. One summer day we were hanging out and she just told me that someone always brings her trash can back to her house but didn’t know who it was. She was happy about it because she didn’t have to drag it back herself. She told me she believed it was her lawn maintenance crew. I found out a few weeks later that she had started making them a small loaf of banana bread every week for their kindness. I was so pleased right then because I realized that I was part of a true pay-it-forward experience. I thought it couldn’t get any better than this. I sometimes wonder if the lawn crew did an extra special job on the next house they serviced. I will always believe they did.Anonymous
Pay It Forward
How did you make a difference for someone? Please share your story.