Friday, June 22, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness - Always Remembered

My friend Cindy thoughtfully sent me a link to the Toronto Star Newspaper. She knew I’d be interested in their column called The Multiplier Effect, found at

The Multiplier Effect is a collection of stories from the Star’s online readers who wish to share their experiences with random acts of kindness. It provides solid proof that no act of kindness is too small and some have such a profound affect that the memories last a lifetime.

Below are a few examples from the Star:

From Grace Ross of Toronto - We moved to Toronto last month from a much smaller city. The move was uneventful, but [we] were exhausted from the seemingly endless chore of unpacking. On top of it, we had just purchased a large dining room suite with hutch – a private sale in Oakville. We had no idea how we would get this very heavy set to our new home in the east end. Meanwhile I answered an email [seeking] a donation of paint which was needed for a shelter. Two individuals came to pick up my paint. They had a van, and on the spur of the moment I asked if we could rent their services to help us pick up our furniture. They readily agreed and set off with us to Oakville. Not only did they load the furniture into their van, and set it up for us here, they refused to let us help carry the items, saying they were used to this kind of thing and didn’t want us to get in the way. When I offered to pay them for their time and labour, they refused, saying this was their way of giving back. Finally I urged them to accept gas money, which they reluctantly did. After hearing horror stories about the arrogance of big city people, we were converts to a new appreciation of how wonderful Torontonians can be!

From Nancy Martin of Toronto - As a child of about eight, I was riding the Carlton streetcar past Broadview in Chinatown when I spotted an elderly man with a package that was covered in pretty stamps from a distant and - to me - exotic country. I noticed he was cutting them out and I thought he must also be a stamp collector. As he got off at his stop, he presented the stamps to me with a small bow and said quietly, "For your collection." What a kind gentleman to notice the interest of a small child. I was thrilled and couldn't wait to show my parents.

From J. Fowler of Toronto - Last summer I foolishly decided to ride my bike home from work on a smoggy day after donating blood. When I reached my neighborhood I got off my bike to go to the store, and wham, fainted on the sidewalk. Two women came to help me. They tried to walk me home which was a couple blocks away but I couldn't fully regain consciousness. So they locked up my bike, put me in their car, loaned me a cell phone to call my husband and drove me to the hospital. They sat with me while I waited in emergency and spoke to the triage nurse for me. They were incredibly kind, generous and patient. They were my saviors that day.

From Patrick Croley of Pickering - When I was 16, my parents sent me to Europe to help me learn French and gain an understanding of the rest of the world. One Sunday found me on the outskirts of Amsterdam, trying to hitchhike back to Brussels. It was hours and hours before an elderly Dutch couple stopped for me. They were only going as far as Utrecht, but when they found out I was from Canada, they exchanged glances. At the outskirts of Utrecht, the driver said they'd decided to take me as far as the border with Belgium, which was about about 100 km out of their way round trip. At the border, they said it would be difficult for me to walk across, so they drove me into Antwerp, and then, since the city was large and busy, out the other side and then looked for a good place for me to get another ride before they'd let me out. As I got out of the car, the lady asked me if I'd had anything to eat all day. I told her that I hadn't, because I hadn't expected to have so much trouble getting out of Amsterdam. She got out of the car, opened up the trunk, and took out their own packed lunch of sandwiches, juice and an apple and handed them to me. "Thanks for all the brave boys from your country in the war" she said.
Then they turned around and headed back the way they'd come. The feeling of gratitude between our two countries does indeed go both ways.

What a difference it makes when we care for each other instead of seeing everyone and everything as a threat to our way of life and well-being. If we remember our humanity and that we are each simple souls struggling to make our way in this often confusing and often lonely world we will be more likely to watch for a moment longer, stop in our tracks, and reach out with a helping hand.


Alexandra said...

What a fun blog to discover! I feel the same way - our entire family does random acts of kindness as a hobby! In fact, we started a company called Angel Quest - The Random Acts of Kindness Cards ( as a game to get families/folks to get out there and have fun doing acts of kindness! In the words of Gandhi "Be the change you wish to see in the world." That is what kindness is all about!

Lisa McGlaun said...

Hi Alexandra,

What fun! I'd love to know more about your game. Glad you found my blog, too. Come back anytime, leave a comment and get to know the growing community of readers.

Best Wishes,