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The Kindest Act

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In a world where people seem all too eager to get in heated discussions about raising children, how to fix the environment, or how best to drown the tea party, it's time to take a look in a different direction.

Let's spend some time remembering the kindest acts you've done for a complete stranger. It'd be terrific if you'd share some positive actions that you've been the recipient of too.

I initially remembered simple things - offering extra change to someone cash short ahead of me in the checkout lane, waving someone ahead of you at a busy intersection, but we've likely all done these, or continue to on a daily basis.

Think long and hard. Go beyond simple material offerings, although they count too, and share some of your better moments with 'us'.

Comments

Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

I bet she was scared to death! For all those people who don't already know this, do not drive to your house if you think you're being followed. Drive to the police station.

I'm glad she didn't appear to be armed, Roe. You just never know these days what people are carrying or concealing! I bet she felt badly for giving you the come Jesus, but understandable.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

MaryK,

I hope the thief didn't take your stash of pills along with the 15 dollars! :)

Terrific story - now that's an example of going above and beyond to assist someone. What have you done to pay it forward?

I've found a couple of purses that have been lost as someone went around a corner and the purse, left sitting on the roof of the car, slid off. It's a great feeling to be able to return something you know is so important to people.

Me, I only seem to leave coffee cups on my car's roof and then I hear a crash as I take a cor ner too fast. It beats a baby in a car seat, though.

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MaryKatesPillStash 3 years, 7 months ago

I was visiting Boston in 2004 and was out late partying with some friends one night. I was taking the subway back to my hotel, and I stupidly (and probably drunkenly) put my handbag down on the bench right next to me at the station. A man sprinted by and snatched it. It all happened so fast, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief as pretty much no one in the vicinity even batted an eyelash at the act.

I made my way back to my hotel on the local train, panicking, as I had to be on the plane home the next morning. I stopped at several stops to look for a police station. How would I get on the plane without my ID? How would I drive my car home from the airport without my keys? How would I do anything without any money or my cell phone to make phone calls?

I asked the person at the front desk of the hotel if I could use the phone to file a police report so I could maybe get on the plane. She said "hold on--what's your name?" I told her. She retrieved my handbag from behind the desk. She said that a woman had delivered it there, and that the woman had seen a man throw it into a dumpster. The woman told the hotel clerk that she had gotten it out of the dumpster, looked in my wallet, found my hotel card, and called Holiday Inns until she had found my hotel. Everything was there, except the 10 or 15 dollars I'd had in my wallet.

I wish that woman had left her name. I would have sent her flowers every day for a month. She saved me so much inconvenience and worry. Even more importantly, she taught me a lesson--the power of doing such a kind act anonymously. I get tears in my eyes when I think about what she did. I hope that she still gets an amazing feeling when she thinks about it, and that she has told the story of her kind act just as people are doing here.

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acg 3 years, 7 months ago

A few weeks ago I was at Kwik Shop (QT?) at 6th and Waka area and I noticed this nicely dressed gal buying a gas can inside. She started filling it up near where I was pumping my gas a few minutes later and I asked her if she ran out of gas somewhere. She had, a little way up 6th street. So I helped her fill her gas can (she was having a heck of a time, spilling it all down her pants and stuff) and then I gave her a ride to her car and waited to make sure it would start. She seemed legitimately surprised that someone would do that for her. I get it, these days you can't just give rides to strangers and all, but I would hope that someone would do it for me.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Oh, I'm sure he remembers. He probably thought he dreamed it the next day! You give great hugs.

You're doing an act of kindness very frequently and I only know what I've observed. You're making quite a difference in at least one little life. And you're reaping the benefits along with some heavy heart moments.

I hope to see you soon and get a hug myself. I've met someone who knows your parents -well, kinda sorta met them! :)

Have a terrific weekend, Twinetown girlie! :)

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twinetowngirl 3 years, 7 months ago

This is not my greatest act of kindness but I was downtown on Mass and came across one of the homeless guys selling their monthy newsletters. I was interested, and bought one, after a few min of talking with the fellow, I felt the biggest desire to give the guy a hug. It just came to me, and I felt guided to do so. I asked him if I could hug him...I don't know if it made him feel any better, but the feeling I got has lasted for years. Hugs can do wonders. And yes, he was clean cut and shaven, but I think that even if he was not, I would have felt the need to hug him.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Judy, good point. I hate hearing American tourists bad mouthing the people who live in the country they're visiting - and it's sad when we're referred to as 'ugly Americans'. It's great you had a positive experience, but it's equally difficult imagining the two of you being anything other than gracious and friendly. Wonderful memories!

I'm glad to see you on here.

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Judy Grant 3 years, 7 months ago

We were in France a couple of years ago, driving on our own. It was getting rather late. We were to stay at a bed&breakfast that night,but couldn't find it. We stopped at a convenience store to get gas and ask for directions. The people inside all gathered around to look at our directions and give advice. Of course, they could speak English. We couldn't speak French. As we left with some guidance, a young man came out and got out his own maps to search for where this place might be and called the number and found the directions. He spent his own time and his own phone minutes. Anybody who says the French people aren't friendly, probably hasn't been there.

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BorderRuffian 3 years, 7 months ago

One simple way to do something good, for not a whole lot of money: next time you go grocery shopping, grab a few cans of stew or chunky-style soup and carry them with you in the car. Then, the next time you pass one of those "will work for food" guys on the street corner, roll down the window and hand them a can or two. It will give them something to eat without having to feel guilty about the possibility of giving them cash to buy booze or drugs with. Try it - it'll give you a great feeling to be truly helpful.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Sorry about the above errors - with iPhone.

I had a chance to give a car to a woman with several small children following that time. She was having to walk to a bus stop, then take her children to daycare, walk back to a bus stop and then catch a bus to work. She'd repeat that process in the evening. I was thrilled everytime I saw her driving that car. (especially since my own children would run and hide when I'd go to pick them up from school). It was a very old Subura that just didn't stop. And her children were still too young to care! :)

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually your story just reminded me' of another, Ron.

Several years ago I was in my Buick and it stopped running after a few weird sounds. I was across town but here in Lawrence. I called Triple A and a nice young driver came out. He said he knew a lot about cars as his grandfather had owned a station, so instead of towing it to Rich's station, per my request, he put oil in it and said he'd fixed it and left. I began driving the car and soon it began to smoke. I, like the idiot I am, was determined to make it to Rich's station this time. As I pulled in, Rich happened to be standing by the gas pumps and when I rolled my window down, he informed me my engine was ruined. I was devastated. I was a younger single mom with no money. He tebuilt the engine and took it upon himself to have the tow company the Tripe A sent out reimburse me'. Unfortusnteky it went bust and Rich never got his money back. He never told me. A woman who worked at his station informed me' at the grocery store one evening. Needless to say, I stood there and cried. I've Bern a faithful client ever since.

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Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 7 months ago

I had to think about this for a while, then I remembered one of the nicest things anyone ever did for me. Actually, it wasn't just one person, it was at least three.

I was driving to California but hadn't made it out of Kansas yet when the alternator went out on my car about midnight. I was fortunate that I made it to the very small town of Bucklin, Kansas, where it seemed that my broken down car was the whole town's problem.

First off, a relative of the West Side Motel's owner took a look, and agreed with me that the alternator had failed. So, I was checked into the motel for the night at a rate that was unbelievably low. The following day, I met Mr. Travis Price, who owns a car repair business in Bucklin. He dropped everything and replaced the alternator the next day with a rebuilt part from O'Reilly Auto Parts. He explained to me that it came with a replacement warranty that would cover the part but not the labor, and with the paperwork, the warranty was good nationwide.

The next day I left the repair shop, turned the corner, and the new alternator went out. I drove around the block and they were surprised to see me again, since they thought they had sent me on my way to California.

Mr. Travis Price was not pleased at all. He ordered in two different makes of alternator, and I had to wait another day at the West Side Motel. And even though the labor to replace the part was not included in the O'Reilly Auto Part alternator's warranty, he didn't charge a dime extra for having to replace the part twice!

Moral of the story: If your car ever breaks down in a town where you don't know anyone, hope that town just happens to be Bucklin, Kansas!

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Equal, I understand what you're saying, I think it's a bit generalized or overstated, perhaps. I don't think everyone anyone, is any specific way every time. I personally would rather be asked several times if I needed help when I did need it rather than not asked once.

It's hard to overdue kindness -enabling, that's a whole different discussion.

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equalaccessprivacy 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a fun discussion thread, but sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a stranger is stay out of their business. Especially in places like Lawrence people are way too aggressive about approaching strangers, and it's just a little self-important drama they are putting on to show what "Good Samaritans" they are. People need to use better judgment and more perceptiveness about when to bother those they don't know. People around Lawrence have been trained up into a mindless version of profiling and bigotry("Help the old lady"..."Help the cripple" ) that involves choosing people out for different, demeaning treatment for profiling and discriminatory reasons. I certainly don't welcome braindead people getting overly personal. It's a safety hazard, and no one should have to put up with such a terroristic onslaught to their dignity. It's politically and spiritually unaware.

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schula 3 years, 7 months ago

Here is an act of kindness for all of you -- I am giving everyone the day off starting at 11:15. Have a great Friday afternoon and rest of the weekend!

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ashamedofyou 3 years, 7 months ago

I must be getting sentimental in my old age. Reading these posts have had me choking up through the whole thing! As for acts of kindness that I try to show; my family raised me with pretty traditional "country" values. I'm only 27 but I tend to act like a 1940's housewife in many areas of my life. I find myself unable to stop from giving everyone a compliment, even if it's for something as simple as their nail polish or how well behaved their children are. You wouldn't believe how BIG that makes some people smile! I've gotten out of my car at 23rd and Louisiana in 5 inch heels and helped a mom with 2 babies in the car push her car out of the intersection (when no one else would help??) Given people all the help I'm capable of giving, both friends and strangers.

As for the acts of kindness I've received, the ones that are most special to me are really quite simple. I've suffered with depression for most of my life and as an adult, when I'm feeling extremely low and all around worthless I keep it very hidden. No one knows anything is wrong. Yet, somehow, it's like God? is guiding them but I will get a random text message from a random friend saying "I was thinking about you today! I hope everything's good!" and that manages to lift the dark and depressing feelings, even if only for a little bit. Also, when I was in junior high and high school, I had a really rough time with my parents. I used to walk down the block, sit on the corner and cry my eyes out. I mean, I'd really be sobbing. Toward the end of my senior year I was considering some really bad choices one of those times and without knowing anything other than I was crying, my neighbor - a woman a little older than my mom, came outside and just hugged me for an hour and never said a word. Thanks to her I'm still around today.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

So, Jesse, did you reconsider that karma thing after your neighbor's assistance?

You sure went above and beyond helping others out that Christmas morning (I love how two of these have occurred at Christmas time) and I'm sure the recipients still remember your act of kindness. It sounds as though your neighbor is like minded - either that or he wanted out of the house - tired of wrapping gifts and putting things together. Lol.

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Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 7 months ago

You remember how much snow we got on Christmas Eve last year? It was easily up to my knees on the streets that hadn't been plowed.

Well I had to work that evening and as I was driving home Christmas morning I happened upon a car stuck in a snow bank. The driver had tried to get onto a side street and got stuck on the pile of snow left by the plow (they had only done the highway and no side streets yet). So I stopped, got out the tow strap and jerked him free. I got back in my truck and continued home... until I ran into another vehicle who had gone off the side of the road and was halfwya in the ditch. Pulled her out too. I ended pulling four vehicles free that morning in my normally 20 minute commute.

I was a block from my house when I realized karma doesn't exist. Passing a truck coming in the opposite direction I got over too far to the right and slid off in the ditch. Being that it was Christmas none of the side streets had been plowed and it was too much snow and ice for me to pull myself out. I abandoned my truck and trudged through the knee deep snow the last 100 yards to my house.

After opening gifts with the wife and kid and having some breakfast I started to head off to bed to get a few hours sleep; secure in the knowledge that my truck was probably where it would stay for the next couple of days until the snow plows could get to our area. It was then I noticed our neighbor across the street firing up his little tractor (it's no bigger than a small riding lawnmower). He proceeded to plow the street in front of our homes and the area right in front of my truck. After that he got out his truck, he hooked up to mine and pulled me free from the ditch.

I'm sure he had better things to do Christmas morning, but he decided that he was going to spend it helping me out. Which I appreciated.

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Benjamin Roberts 3 years, 7 months ago

Kindest act received:

I don't recall the exact year, maybe 1987. The wife and I were traveling from Illinois to Kansas City for the Christmas celebration at her parent's home. Being the workaholic that had to give his all to the company I did not bother getting off work until midday Christmas Eve. It was late evening that Christmas Eve, nasty icy roads, and slow driving. We had driven almost to Ottumwa, Iowa, when around 9 to 10 PM the car gave off a funny smell - not funny, in fact it smelled exactly like transmission fluid - burnt transmission fluid. A few minutes later the car sat in a parking lot at a 24-hour convenience store.

As luck would have it, my wife's sister and her husband lived in Ottumwa. As luck would have it, they had left several hours before to go to Kansas City for the Christmas celebration at the in-laws home. My brother-in-law, Joe (we'll call him Joe, because that is his name) was a youth pastor at a Baptist Church in Ottumwa. We had met Joe's boss (the Pastor, not the Big Boss) once before when visiting.

With a hope, a prayer, and two dimes for the pay phone we called the pastor of the church that we had met one other time. Amazingly, they had not traveled for the holiday and answered right away. I wish I remembered his name ... Anyway, he said, "Wait where you are I'll be right out." He arrived within a half hour, gave us the name and number for a towing company and a transmission shop. We put our luggage and gifts in the trunk of his Buick (Baptist preachers always drove a Buick back then). He (I wish I could remember his name...) said he would drive us to his house, where we could figure out where to stay and how to finish our trip to Kansas City. He (what was his name?) drove us to his house to "warm-up and get a cup of coffee" (Baptists always have to give you a cup of coffee).

We pulled into his driveway and got out of the car. He (I sure wish I could remember his name!) came around, handed me the keys and said, "I just filled the tank. Have a Merry Christmas and a safe trip." Some preach it, some teach it. That night, I found one man that lived it.

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beatrice 3 years, 7 months ago

I hope this isn't my kindest act, but it is the first to come to mind. I live in Phoenix, and in the summer the heat is just brutal. 110 to 115 isn't that uncommon in the summer, and it is almost always above 100. So I always have a case of water in the car. I regularly stop and give people a bottle who look like they can use it. This includes people waiting for buses, the "Will work for food" people on the street corners, and the day laborers standing out in the heat looking for work. It isn't money, so they can't buy drugs or anything, but it is what they need. I rarely get turned down when I offer, and people are always grateful. It is a little thing, I know, but I like doing it.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

And make no mistake, Jay, your kindness shows through every time you appear on my blog. Your huge heart beats loudly enough that 'we all hear it. Thanks for being a part of my life through your online words and person of good will.

Never take for granted simple acts or words, 'we may truly not appreciate what they can mean to those who aren't accustomed to such things. Sad, yet precious.

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Jay_lo 3 years, 7 months ago

As I enjoy writing simple poetry, I do so many times simply as a way of saying thank you, or acknowledging someone's accomplishments.

Following a bake sale at work, I wrote a simple little poem extolling the delicious pies that one of my co-workers provided. She emailed me back that what I had said was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.

As I pondered that response, it occurred to me that she apparently had not received very many compliments in her life.

From that point on, I have made it a priority to tell people thank you when I see them perform an act of kindness or helpfulness, to compliment people when the opportunity arises, and to congratulate people on their accomplishments.

For example, every year following the Relay for Life, I write and send company wide a poem praising the efforts of the company team. One year I handed out a personal thank you along with a single flower to every member of the team.

Another example, when we reach a certain number of accident free days, we are treated to a free meal at work. I always write a company wide poem expressing thanks for the meal to those who made the meal possible, the company executives who allow the expense, those who either prepare or help serve the meal, the safety committee, and especially my fellow co-workers who worked safely over that period of time.

I know that most people who perform charitable acts do not do it for the acknowledgement, but I also think it only takes a few seconds to let them know that they and their efforts are appreciated. And for all you know, it might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to them.

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kernal 3 years, 7 months ago

I think it's all the little things we do for each other day to day, whether it's holding a door open for a mother who has her hands full with babies and packages, for someone on crutches on an icy day or letting someone go ahead of you in the grocery line when their child is obviously sick. They all add up and I really believe by setting the example, those we help will in turn help others. It all comes back somehow, someway.

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schula 3 years, 7 months ago

RJM -- I must say I agree with your assessment of Ronda. I have been truly blessed to have her in my life.

When my grandpa died, all of my co-workers provided a very nice lunch for my family after the funeral. They were truly a blessing to us. On a personal note, one of my co-workers wrote in a card that I do so much for everyone else that I need to remember to take time for myself. That note really touched my heart.

As Ronda mentioned, I do lots of volunteer work, mainly with the Humane Society when they have their annual garage sale. It is a lot of work to get everything sorted and ready to sell. The reward is the money made for the animals. They don't have a voice and need us to take care of them. The Lawrence Humane Society does a great job of taking care of the animals.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 7 months ago

My son was born a month early and had special needs. As a consequence, the first year after he was born I couldn't work. He was receiving care through the Shriner's Hospital in St Louis and the first Christmas after he was born the Shriner's unit that sponsored him got together and bought all kinds of toys for him and his sisters for Christmas. They also bought well over 300 dollars worth of groceries. I sat in the middle of the living room on the floor and just bawled at the kindness of these men. Two years later in a "pay it forward" I anonymously "adopted" a woman with three children in a battered women's shelter. She was moving in to her own apartment for the first time and had absolutely nothing.I provided a complete Christmas for her and her children including even the tree, lights and ornaments. I worked with a tremendous number of single moms. One of my best work friends was the dingle mother of two teenage boys. She had told her sons that they were going to have to wait for her income tax refund to get Christmas. She couldn't qualify for Christmas assistance because her kids were teenagers. After work one day I insisted she come to my house for coffee. I handed her a Christmas card with 200$ in it and told her to go buy at least a few things for her boys so there was something under their tree and to get the stuff for Christmas dinner. She sat in my couch and bawled too, bless her heart.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow, RJM, I'm touched. It's been an example to me' of how important it is to let people know how much we care about them on a regular basis. That seems to be a life lesson that keeps coming up to me again and again. I'm hoping I learned it this time. :)

I'm truly thankful that I had a chance to let you know what an impact you made on my life when I was in shock and loss over my Father's homicide. I know I didn't have a clue at the time how much your standing beside me helped. Sometimes 'we' do get a second chance. I'm grateful we did. ! I love you!

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Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 7 months ago

A few years back at an Interstate rest area, I saw a group of people standing around a car, trying to do something to it. I was a little curious, so I kept my eye on the situation for a couple minutes. Then, everyone except for one woman got into the car parked next to it, and drove away.

I walked up to the woman and saw that she was trying to jam a coat hanger into the window of her car. "I locked my keys inside my car," she told me.

I knew that wouldn't work and so I told her, "Don't do that, it won't work, and it will leak forever! You need to call a locksmith!"

Then she said something about how money was tight, she was visiting relatives that she hadn't seen in 14 years, and she sure didn't want to show up asking for money. I told her (this was from experience) that it wouldn't be that much, and she should go over to the pay phone and call a locksmith. So she headed over to the phone.

A couple minutes later she came back and said, "I can't get a locksmith."

I looked at her and said, "We can get a locksmith." Then, I went to the pay phone and dialed 911. I told the emergency dispatcher about the situation. It was starting to rain, and could he please send a patrol officer out right away to wait with her while she waited for a locksmith?"

OK, I think I made it sound like a much greater emergency than it really was. Anyway, next thing, the dispatcher wanted to talk to her. I don't know what he asked her, but she had to think a while, then she said, "Four." Then she hung up and told me that a locksmith was on his way.

We waited for a bit, there were just the two of us. After a while, the locksmith showed up, and started to do what locksmiths do in that situation. While she was on the other side of the car, I quietly asked him, "How much is this going to cost?"

$37.50 was the answer. So I handed him two $20 bills and told him, "Well, I gotta go," and quietly idled my engine as I left.

I took one last glace back as I was leaving. She was looking over the locksmith's shoulder, still obviously concerned, and she didn't notice me leaving.

I have often snickered when thinking about that event, and about what she must have thought when she asked what the fee would be, and received change instead.

And then being all alone inside her car again, with no one around.

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RJM 3 years, 7 months ago

I know that the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for me was the article that Ronda wrote about my recent illness and the thoughts that she had about me. We hadn't talked for at least 30 years and to know that there was still a place for me in her heart certainly helped in my healing process. I don't know any of you that read her blog but from that post it tells me that youall are blessed to have her in your life.

Ralph mims

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Indeed! But go ahead and share acts of kindness you've received. :)

Did you get my private the other day?

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consumer1 3 years, 7 months ago

Too many to mention. Everyone knows how nice I am.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Great story, Roe. I hope he's still in your life in some manner - or more importantly, you're in his.

It's interesting how much 'we learn how to treat other people from those with disabilities, and it's always nice to learn you've left a positive touch on someone's life.

I'd have to agree with his assessment. Well stated.

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RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

Sticks and stones . . . While online, especially here, I am bulletproof! (Well, you may know better ;-)

However . . . back in the '70's our newspaper was delivered by a young man with the help of his father. This young man had Down Syndrome, and one day while collecting for the paper he rang the door bell while I wasn't home. Mrs Roe was a little uneasy when he barged in asking to talk to me as she opened the door. Disappointed that I wasn't there he told her," I like Roe, he treats me like a real person." That statement has stayed with me all these years and guides my response to everyone, regardless of ability or lack thereof.

Most of the time . . .

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

That made my day and many other people's, schula. Thank you.

I'm sure as you give thought to this topic, you'll remember all types of reciprocal acts of kindness. I know you to volunteer and be giving on so many levels.

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schula 3 years, 7 months ago

On my way home from work last night, traffic was backed up on 19th Street near the high school. There was a car wanting out of the high school parking lot and one wanting in, so I let both of them go.

A kindness done to me was by all my friends I made when I discovered tRonda's blog. They were a help to me when I was going through my divorce and when my grandfather.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

There are several things that come to mind when I think of kindness bestowed on me. A few that stand out in this moment include: being taken in by foster parents and relatives many, many years ago - this enabled me to pay it forward and offer my own home to children of various ages.

I try to make an attempt when I'm hurt deeply by someone to take the energy that could be used in something revengeful or vindictive and use it instead to do something kind for the person you've been hurt by. They don't have to know, but it helps make you grow as a person and rise above the issue.

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