Help! How Do YOU Answer the Call?
Help. We all need it at times for a million different reasons. It can be as simple as someone opening the door for you when you have an armload of groceries or as complex as a stranger pulling you from a burning building. In either scenario, you are truly grateful for that gesture. But does that make you think of how YOU can help someone else? I sure hope so! Whether you help a stranger or a loved one, the fact that you thought about them and chose to assist is more meaningful than anything.
I believe in random acts of kindness & helping total strangers- I wish more people did but nowadays we are so busy in our day-to-day dealings that we don’t see the opportunities. Or, perhaps instead of being blind to opportunities we are suspicious of them and we just don’t want to get involved because we’ve heard the stories of how the Good Samaritan ended up in trouble. I find it sad that our society has shifted to one where we all just mind our own business when we see someone in need. We don’t really think to help people unless they’re someone we know & they ask us. And what about helping those that aren’t people? Animals need help, too!
Here are 4 easy ways that you can help:
1. Random Acts of Kindness – I love to do these acts. Not only do they take the person you are helping by surprise, they make YOU feel good, too! When I go out to eat, if I see someone eating alone & looking lonely or sad I ask the wait staff to bring me their bill. I pay the bill anonymously, tip generously & write a little note to the person which the wait staff delivers. It usually says something along the lines of “It was my pleasure to buy you dinner tonight, thank you for making my day.” And it TRULY is my pleasure. When I see the smile on their face as they look around to see who bought their meal, I can’t help but get teary eyed. There are lots of ways we all can do these acts- some for free even! Open doors for strangers, let the person behind you in line go first, let the guy trying to change lanes in traffic get in front of you, tell someone their shoes are amazing or simply smile at a stranger & give them a genuine hello. Such simple acts go a very long way!
2. Donate – Donations aren’t just monetary- you can give your time, old possessions that you aren’t going to use but are still good, you can even give your hair! I had gorgeous Pantene commercial hair– very long & shiny, many times girls would say they wanted it. Then I learned about Locks of Love, the charity that takes hair donations & makes wigs for kids who have lost their hair from cancer treatments. I chopped off my beautiful tresses & my stylist sent them off to the charity. I felt so good about it that I didn’t care that I now had a hairstyle I couldn’t make sense of – all that mattered was the kid who got my hair. Another time I had a bunch of old rugs, towels & blankets that I wanted to donate. I looked up an animal rescue that needed them for bedding & took them over right away. I didn’t get a receipt for a tax write off but I was OK with that – I helped homeless animals & the people doing all the work – which meant so much more. It’s easy to donate in the obvious ways & it’s a great gesture to make. But when I donate to the lesser-known causes, I feel much more fulfilled.
3. Helping The Less Fortunate – Times are hard & people are losing their jobs, homes, families. How can you help? Giving money to the person standing on the corner holding a sign is quick & easy but I prefer to take it a step further. I will go to the nearest fast food place & order a meal complete with a drink & dessert and then take it to that person. If they have a dog with them, I buy a bag of dog food in addition to their meal. If they have kids there, I buy kid’s meals so they get a toy. Occasionally I’ll get the “I don’t want food, I want money!” response, but that’s OK. I leave the food & wish them the best knowing that they will eventually eat it & not be hungry.
If you do something with the expectation of getting a thank you, at times you will be disappointed. Do it anyways & forget about getting anything in return – that is the true spirit of helping others. You can volunteer at your local soup kitchen or animal shelter if you like & get the same results (although at the animal shelter you may get some tail wags!).
4. Take a Risk – We truly grow when we take risks. Recently, my boyfriend & I helped an injured pelican at Newport Beach. The bird had a big rusty fish hook in its beak & a fishing lure stuck in its wing. He grabbed the bird’s beak while I put the bird in a bear hug to keep it steady. As the bird struggled to get free from my hug, he pried the hook out of its mouth & pulled the lure from its wing. I thought I was going to get dragged into the water or hurt by this huge & strong bird but I held on. In minutes, the pelican was back in the water & swimming away from us, happy as could be. Last year, I heard a kitten crying in distress. I went outside, following the cries until I found the kitten clinging to my neighbor’s screen door 6 feet above the ground. It didn’t belong to the resident but he said he would pass my info on to the kitten’s owner. I took the kitten home & cared for it until it’s owner called me. She could have been mad that I took her kitten but she was very grateful when I took the baby back to her. It was a risk worth taking! Don’t be afraid to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone.
How do YOU help others? I’d love to hear about what you do to make a difference!
You have such an amazing heart.
I love the suggestions you have given and the stories you have shared.
I sometimes find myself thinking after the fact, “I should have………..”
You are correct when you talk about how wonderful we feel when we do help.
It is a gift to us as much as it is to those we are helping.
Keep helping others and sharing your stories with us!!!
Lori, it’s that little voice inside that prompts us to act when we see the opportunity. If more of us listened to that voice & did what it tells us to, I believe this world would be a much kinder place. Let’s set the example for everyone to follow! XOXOX Carrie
Angels come in all shapes and sizes. I know we are capable of much more that just work, play and nourishing and being nourished in our immediate safe circles. When we venture outside of that in a giving, loving way, we are blessed more than it is possible to describe. I have a feeling you are one of the angels of HB. The fact that you held your ground when the homeless man’s troubled mind did not allow him to receive your gift impressed me.
I am glad you were not discouraged by that.
Anne, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m not sure if I’m just stubborn or crazy but in these circumstances I don’t get discouraged when things take a different path. I find it motivating to be truthful. Some people say I put myself in danger when I do these things but I’m very cautious and aware of my surroundings when I do. Sometimes it takes a brave heart to do what is right or needed at the time. I have a feeling you are the same way, given your past blogs & our wonderful conversations. We are kindred spirits! XOXOX Carrie
I love this blog. I get a lot of pleasure out of Random Acts, and giving. I found that it is so much more powerful when I can use it as a tool to teach. I have attempted to raise my kids to HELP! Many times, I have stopped with them to set the example. One day there was an elderly woman unloading very heavy items from her car, all alone. My 3 daughters were in the car with me at the time, 16, 14 & 12 yrs old. I made a quick U-turn, and the girls new immediately what was up. We jumped out of the car, introduced ourselves, and asked if we might help her. She was beside herself. She even let us into her home, which was beautiful and offered us drinks which we sweetly declined and headed out the door. As we drove away and she waved and yelled thanks, you couldn’t have wiped the smiles off our faces. Another moment that stands out was a day my 8 year old son and I were at Panda Express with 2 of my daughters. A young man approached us and said he needed to get home but had no money for the bus. We were very close to the High School, but neither of my girls recognized the kid, or I would have driven him home. I had a ton of change in my wallet, but no bills. I dumped the change into a cup and handed it to him. He was so sweet, thankful, and appreciative and ran across the parking lot to catch the next bus. That wasn’t the best part, the best part was the look on my boy’s face. He was absolutely beaming. Then he turned to me grabbed my neck and said “I bet he wishes you were his Mom too!” There wasn’t a dry eye in the car on the way home that night.
Thanks for sharing!! It was great to relieve these moments, and look forward to more.
Kari, you are helping to change the world one act at a time. And, teaching your kids to do the same is going to ensure the example will be set for others well into the future- I’m so grateful for that! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences & showing others how wonderful it is to be a helper. Carrie