I wound up getting lost at a military base along with a fellow blogger, and we wandered in circles for quite a while looking for a museum. We stopped a woman, who was just about to drive away, and asked her for directions. She wasn't too sure either, but despite having someplace to go, she invited us into her car, and drove us around, looking for the building, until she finally found where we had to go. A small kind of kindness, but much appreciated! Not everyone would have taken time to take two complete strangers in their car to look for some museum.
I went to the New York Public Library recently to do research, and I needed to photocopy the book I was reading. There was someone using the photocopy machine already. The librarian noticed that I was waiting and she offered to give me a pass to go photocopy my pages somewhere else. Before I could even accept the offer, she said, "no, I'll do it." She photocopied all the spreads that I needed within a minute and didn't charge me any money. If I had had to use the regular machine, it would have taken me longer and also I would have had to pay for each copy. Such a nice thing to do . . .
They left the door wide open. I was flabbergasted.
But then again, perhaps they wanted the man to know that his conversation was being overheard by three B'not Yisrael (Daughters of Israel, Jewish women).
They offered to help him get a better parnassah (living, job).
They even dangled an outright bribe in front of him, offering significant financial assistance from our organization for his child--and they were willing to put it in writing.
All he had to do was sign a paper authorizing a Bet Din (Jewish court) to give his estranged wife a get, a Jewish religious divorce. They were ready to call in an eid (witness) and have him sign the paper on the spot.
Sadly, he insisted that he had to consult some other rabbis (in addition to the two rabbis who were doing the persuading).
I've never been prouder to work for this organization.
I pray that this act of kindness results in a kind conclusion.
First, baruch Hashem, I've been blessed with a new job.
I've been praying for this one for a little while, and have been on Cloud 9 ever since I found out Monday that I got it.
I'll be working for a company called Freedom Scientific, which develops technology for the visually-impaired and learning-disabled.
I'll be handling technical support, and will be working from my home.
Also, this job will go with me when I move, which is another goal of mine that is finally looking like it will be realized.
At any rate, a friend of mine got in touch with me this morning, asking if I have a Paypal account because she wants to donate towards covering my initial hotel expenses.
I'm very touched by this.
I'll have to stay in St. Petersburg, Fla. for a month training, and that hotel bill will get very expensive.
So every bit helps.
Baruch Hashem for kind people.
A wonderful friend sent this story to me in an e-mail. I've seen it before, have no idea if it's actually true, but can't help but tear up everytime I read it. And I thought it was perfect for Kindness Happens, so enjoy!
One day, when I was a freshman in high school,
I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.
His name was Kyle.
It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?
He must really be a nerd."
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.
They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.
His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes
My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.
As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. "
They really should get lives.
" He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"
There was a big smile on his face.
It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.
We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.
He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.
I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends
He said yes.
We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!
" He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.
When we were seniors we began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.
I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.
He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class.
I teased him all the time about being a nerd.
He had to prepare a speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak
Graduation day, I saw Kyle.
He looked great.
He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.
He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.
He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.
Boy, sometimes I was jealous!
Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech.
So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.
" Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began
"Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.
Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach..but mostly your friends...
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.
I am going to tell you a story."
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met.
He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.
He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.
He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
"Thankfully, I was saved.
My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.
I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.
Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions.
With one small gesture you can change a person's life.
Last week, when the New York/New Jersey area was hit by the nor'easter, I was running late on my way to school. As a result, I jumped onto the train that I take to school without purchasing a ticket beforehand. The train schedule was very erratic because of the weather and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get another train soon. However, because I didn't have a ticket, that meant that I would have to pay an extra five dollars as a surcharge for purchasing the ticket on the train. I noticed a man from my shul sitting in the same car and decided to ask him if he had an extra ticket I could buy from him. He did have a ticket, but refused to let me pay him - he insisted that I take it for free. So not only did he save me the cost of a ticket, but he saved me from having to pay the extra fee! Then, later in the train ride, he offered me some food in case I didn't have any snack with me. What a mensch!
My car was not running this past weekend. It was a bit distressing, as I don't have an extra mode of transportation to rely on. My downstairs neighbor, who has three small children and works part-time, offered her help. She left her keys for me in the morning, so I could use her van to jump-start my car. Thankfully, I got to the dealership and they took care of my car quickly, but she has also offered to drive out to the dealership and pick me up if I needed a ride. If she had needed to pick me up it really would have been an inconvenience, so it was really, really nice of her.
As I'm cooking for Shabbat this past Friday, I get a phone call.
Voice on phone: "Hi! How are ya?" (Okay, I don't recognize the voice. Probably some telemarketer.)
Me: "I'm good! How are you?"
Voice on phone: "Good. Ah . . . I'm calling from the train. Someone left this cell phone here. I'm the conductor."
OH MY GOSH! MY SISTER LEFT HER CELL PHONE ON THE TRAIN!
Me: "Oh my! Well, that would be my sister's phone! Okay, let me think. Um . . . where is the train now?"
Voice on phone, whom I now know is the conductor: "We're going to ______." (The next stop after ours.)
Me: "Well, is there a lost and found or something that you can send the phone to?"
Conductor: "Yes, that's in New York. This train is going straight back to New York, and isn't stopping at [my stop] on the way back."
So I spend the next fifteen minutes on the phone with the conductor, trying to work out a way for us to get Pickle's phone back before Shabbat. I ask him if he can mail it to us but he says he won't get to a mailbox before Monday. Okay, scratch that. He suggests that we meet him on the same train on Wednesday - not good because:
1. She needs the phone before Wednesday
2. Nobody that I know will be on that train on Wednesday
Finally we decide that the conductor (his name is Anthony) will give the phone to another conductor (Wayne). After the train gets to Trenton, Wayne would be riding a train back to New York and would be stopping at our usual stop, and we could meet him on the platform and pick up the cell phone. Anthony tells me that Wayne is tall and bald, and will be in the second car of the train. I speak to Wayne for a few minutes (he has one of those molasses-moving, deep voices) and confirm that someone will meet him on the train platform as the train pulls into our stop.
So my sister arrives home about ten minutes later and I inform her that she forgot her cell phone on the train (she hadn't realized this). So she goes off to pick up her cell phone, but because she doesn't have one with her, I have no way to get in touch with her and am worrying and worrying whether or not she managed to make it to the train on time.
Finally, Pickle calls the house. "I got my baby!!"
Apparently Wayne was just where he said he would be, and he was very tall and very bald. My sister was so thankful that she gushed to him, "Wow, you guys are amazing!" and he looked sort of bemused.
Baruch Hashem, and thank G-d for conscientious and well-meaning train conductors. Anthony was thoughtful enough to pick up the cell phone, call the "home" contact and take pains to try and return the phone to its rightful owner. He could have simply dropped it in a lost and found and we never would have seen it again, or he could have left it on the seat and someone else would have stolen it. And thanks also to Wayne, who took responsibility for giving the phone back to my sister. They were both so nice and polite on the phone to me as well. I think I will write a letter to New Jersey Transit and tell them what happened, because these two men deserve recognition and thanks in writing.
Yay for Anthony and Wayne, and yay for New Jersey Transit for hiring these two responsible and dependable conductors.
The network of Chabad Houses on College Campus, otherwise known as COC has responded to the tragedy in Virginia Tech. COC has launched a week of goodness and kindness.
"As a university and nation began the transition from shock to mourning one day after the deadliest shooting attack in American history, the network of more than 100 campus Chabad Houses declared a “Week of Goodness and Kindness” as a way to honor the memory of the slain. The goal of the effort, according to organizers, is simple: to translate the pain of grief into the healing of positive action.Read the entire article here.
For one week beginning this Friday, Chabad on Campus representatives will be handing out pledge cards at the campuses they serve. Students will be encouraged to pledge a good deed in the merit of those lost; the collected cards will be presented later to the students of Virginia Tech"
You can send condolences to the Librescu Family here.
Search for a local Chabad on Campus here.
Wow. Sunday we experienced a Nor'Easter, and like many people, my sister's basement was flooded.
Apparently there was something wrong with our sump pump ( among other things, but this was a biggie ), and we were hard pressed to find a plumber who would help.
One guy said he was too busy. Another came, started working, and in passing mentioned that his "rates had gone up". Significantly. After my brother in law refused to pay the seriously inflated fee, the guy packed up and left.
Finally, one guy comes in and offers to do the work for less than his usual fee!
"Today's a day for helping people, not for making money," he told us. He stayed with us for three hours, and when he had to leave to another call, promised he'd come back and install the new sump pump. He made good on his promise; he came back at three in the morning!
No more plumber's crack jokes from me!
I didn't kasher my kitchen for Pesach because I knew I would only be eating a few meals in my apartment, since I go out for all the Yom Tov and Shabbos meals. When I got back in town from the first days of Pesach, I went downstairs to my neighbors to get my mail that they had brought in. My neighbor asked me what I was eating for dinner. I told her that I wasn't sure, but I would throw something together, probably matzah and cream cheese. She was making dinner for her family, and offered to make me up a plate also. A few minutes later, she came upstairs with a plate heaping full of really yummy food. And then told me that if I want any more, there's plenty. So, despite the fact that I don't have a kosher-for-pesach kitchen, I'm still eating really well, thanks to the amazing kindness of my neighbors!
Update - In case I was too nice to ask for more food (and what she gave me initially was plenty!) my neighbor sent two of her children up to my apartment to see if I wanted any more. So nice!
Yet another beautiful act of kindness on our trip to Cleveland for the first days of Yom Tov...
Serach & I decided to go bowling last night with our friends, Pobody's Nerfect and Stoner. Stoner [who is not a stoner] was driving, and with a lot of swirling snow, construction, and few lights on the road, it was hard to see where we were going. When we were almost there, it appeared we were lost. We turned around and started trying another street, but still couldn't find the alley - and it was nearing 11:30 while the alley was only open until 12:00. Finally, we called up the bowling alley and asked exactly where they were and if they knew which way we should be going, since our directions didn't seem to be right. The man on the phone started asking where we were, and after we'd turned around yet again, kept asking what we were passing and was directing us all the way there. He spent almost 15 minutes on the phone with us, kindly guiding us on our way, and freaked us out a bit when we were still a few blocks away and he suddenly said "Oh, I see you guys! Keep coming straight..."
When we walked in, he immediately asked which of us he'd been talking to, and stuck out his hand to shake mine when I responded that was me. He then announced to us that seeing as how it was about 11:30, he'd just turn on a lane for us for the half-hour - and all we had to pay was $3.00. That's for four people, including shoes - just three bucks. It was mind-boggling kindness, and we had a wonderful time. (And we managed to finish the game in the half-hour, too. :) )
A beautiful story via Pobody's Nerfect:
I was in [one of the two Jewish bookstores in Cleveland] today and I saw such a beautiful thing. Basically, [one of the owners] told a customer, "No, we don't have that in, but I just called [the other Jewish bookstore in Cleveland] and they have it in..."Chag Sameach, everybody!
Today was a very frustrating day, and I was getting to work (yes, on a Sunday, right before Yom Tov) way later than I had planned. I had just spent about 15 minutes circling the area between 52nd and 56th and Madison and 3rd in vain, looking for a spot, and was completely frustrated. Finally, as I made a left onto Park Avenue, I saw a spot behind a car that had just parked itself. A young boy and his mother were standing on the sidewalk and the father was about to get up onto the sidewalk as well. I started to back into the spot, but had tried from too far out and had come in at a bad angle, and couldn't straighten out. The man motioned for me to wait a second, and I thought he was getting something from inside the car and just didn't want me to hit him by pulling out to start over, so I waited. After a few seconds I realized he was actually starting the car - he moved his car up about a foot, leaving me with plenty of room to maneuver without having to start over again on a busy Park Ave. (for a Sunday), and actually boxing himself in a bit with the car in front of him.
Some people are just selfless... and the small things are often where you get to see that. It was a bright spot to a rough day.