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March 23, 2014

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We have so many bags (that I often forget to bring into the store with me) that I've decided to try to bring extra to give away at the checkout line. I was also at a Trader Joe's yesterday and offered one of my bags to the person in front of me (my first time reaching out) and I was rebuffed. He went with plastic! Your story is much better.

She probably did have a tough week. A little kindness can be a big deal.

That is a lovely story, Elisa. I have no idea if this is what you mean, but it's what comes immediately to mind.

Two of my daughters take ballet class downtown, and the bus routes run fairly actively during class time. We arrived early and were sitting in the truck while I did their hair. The bus stop was right in front of us, and I saw a woman waiting for the stop. She had a tall white cane - the cane for the blind - and dark glasses on, and it was apparent that she was at the very least heavily visually impaired. A bus came, and she tried to get on, but after talking with the driver she got off. She stood back under the bus stop sign.

Thirty minutes later, I had dropped my daughters into their class and was back in my truck - and she still stood there. At this point, I'd been aware of her for almost an hour. It was very cold out, around 25 degrees, and beginning to get dark, and I saw another woman go up to talk to her, and then she pulled out her phone to consult something.

Long story short, the first woman was, indeed, blind, and she needed to get a ride to the social services building, as she was new in the city and didn't have a place to sleep for the night. There was no bus that was scheduled to drop her at that route for an hour - and so I drove her.

I felt like, what if it was my mother, or my aunt, or grandmother? She is someone's mother, and I would absolutely hate it if my mother was standing at a bus stop in the cold for an hour.

It's not a green thing, but I hope that it had ripples for my daughters, who saw me do it, and more importantly, for the woman - new to our area and unable to navigate.

I try to keep my eyes out for opportunities to help because it does mean a lot to me when people help me. I was buying a burrito when an older man came up to the stand and counted and counted his handful of change, looking at the board to see what he could buy. He settled on corn burritos (bean taquitos), which are cheap. I could tell from the way he counted that that was all the money he had, and from the way he waited that he was hungry. We were surrounded by people, so I didn't want to humiliate him by handing him money. I thought and thought about what to do. Finally they called my order. As I walked by him, I handed him $5 and said "I think you dropped this." He looked me in the eyes and got what I was doing. His eyes shone and he thanked me, and I quickly grabbed my burrito and disappeared.

Kim, I'm surprised you were rebuffed, but I hope somewhere inside the man realized you had reached out in kindness.

Carmen, you did something that is way more than a "little thing" in my book. That was a big kind thing. Youi rock!

Suebob, that's a really nice story because I like how you thought about how to help without making it seem like largesse.

*slow clap*

I try. I really try to pick up on little moments like that; to tune in to being helpful if I can. I honestly think blogging, and the blogging community, is responsible for that awareness. A word, a smile, a like, a reusable bag, they're all meaningful to the people receiving them. I'm so glad you shared this. I love it.

This reminds me of a grocery store experience I had a few months ago. I was in a rush, towards the end of a stressful day and I jumped into line at the self-checkout, not realizing there was already a line tucked back in the aisle. A woman yelled at me from the line. Mortified I picked up my stuff took them to a regular checkout and balled my eyes out. Recently I was in the same line chatting with an old friend. It was my turn and she was behind me. I saw the same thing unfold with a man jumping in before she could step up. He had no idea. She patiently waited. He realized and apologized and all was well at Safeway. Simple civility goes a long way. Kind gestures go even further.

This is wonderful Elisa. I was raised by a mom who taught me to give. If I liked a tee-shirt if hers a lot she would just give it to me. So I do the same with my friends and people I care about. If someone needs something and I have it to give, I give.

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