Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Football Players in Middle school

I am not much of a football fan.  I can't figure out what is happening on the play in most sports.  But I get the sense that something significant happened from my family and friends.  I received this you tube from a friend.  It's a great story about kindness.  Enjoy:

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Unkindness of Ignoring Others in Your Space

It was a busy Sunday afternoon at the Eaton Centre, a big mall in downtown Toronto.  I was surrounded by crowds of people, hurrying forward when I came to a short flight of stairs.  The people behind me were pushing me to move faster when I slipped on the last stair and fell, twisting my ankle.  No one stopped to help.  In fact, two people stepped on my leg while they rushed by down the stairs and forward..  I rolled out of the way of the stairs and slowly stood up with my husband's help.  When I got home, I used ice on the ankle, raising my leg to take down the swelling.  The next day, I went to a local hospital emergency department and found out that I broke the cuboid bone in my foot.  I am walking with an air cast for 6 weeks.  I am slowed down considerably.  I walk more carefully, miss streetcars and buses and I can't drive because my right foot was injured. 

I am puzzled that my fellow walkers did not pause to help me.  I looked around me while sitting on the floor, collecting my dignity and saw that many people were talking or texting on their cell phones while walking, others were walking, head down barreling forward with not a glance to the left or right.  I was stirred by not shaken by what I observed.  I will watch out for others now with more attentiveness so I do not miss the potential of what I see.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcoming strangers to the group

I have been working out regularly at the Y for several years and have gotten to know the regulars who come when I do in the early morning.  New people come and go especially after the summer break and the New Year.  I don't usually step forward to meet them until I see them continually for a few weeks.  But one woman keeps her eyes open for new arrivals and introduces herself to the new person and includes her in conversations as soon as she sees her again.  It seems to me that everyone knows her by name and she knows everyone else at the Y. 

She celebrates other people's accomplishments, praises new clothes and only tells stories about others when there is potential for the listener to be helpful. 

I once spoke to her about how I admired her attentiveness to others.  She told me that in the past, she had felt left out and knows how it feels.  It's one thing to develop great social skills and improve your own situation, and still another to use these skills to consistently get other people into happier situations.  You are a really good woman Rusty! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lost Button in St.Johns Newfoundland

I joined my husband who was attending a conference in St. Johns.   I try to pack light and realized when I got there that my only pair of slacks were missing a crucial button.

My husband dropped my off at the Avalon Mall and told me he'd join me later.  After seeking a place that sells buttons with no luck, I was directed to a Stitch It store.  The 2 women who worked there asked me to give over the slacks and wait in the change room.  Searching my purse there, I realized that I left my wallet in the hotel room.  The women smiled when I told them that I would have to wait for my husband to pay.  "No charge" they both said with a smile, "don't worry about it".  When my husband finally showed up, I tried to pay again but the ladies just said "welcome to Newfoundland".

Monday, May 27, 2013

Help for veteran on US Memorial Day

We are on a driving holiday in the American southwest and stopped for the afternoon at a Holiday Inn Express in Alamosa Colorado. This is a small town that serves a large ranch and farming community that surrounds it.  As we left our rental car, we saw 3 police cars and an older man leaning on an aluminum crutch, with a disheveled appearance wearing a cap with "Vietnam Vet" on the brim.  We checked in at the desk and asked about the man. She said she was hoping that the police would take him to a shelter. Someone had dropped him off at the hotel, and the Alamosa police refused to help, saying they were not a taxi service. The clerk phoned her husband and best friend who came over and took the veteran to a VA facility in the next town and let his family know where he is now.  The clerk said she could not understand why the police would abandon a man who needs help especially on Memorial Day.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kindness as an aspect of national culture

My husband, Harold and I took a trip to New Zealand a few months ago.  The New Zealand trip had 2 parts: we drove around in a rental car on the North Island for 2 weeks and then we boarded a cruise ship to see the South Island for another week.  The cruise ship sailed to Australia after New Zealand but that's another story. 

Harold planned the driving trip using information he found on many sites on the web.  What a great source of information because he did not steer us wrong once.  We stayed in a series of clean, comfortable motels taking a circular route. 

New Zealand is a country that orients itself to the needs of ordinary people.  There are clean accessible bathrooms at no cost in towns and villages and at regular intervals along the 2 lane highways.  Every town has free attractions e.g. all museums and art galleries are free, as well as wonderful paid attractions too.  No one uses their horns on the highways becauses there are long passing lanes every 10 km where slower drivers can pull in so that others can pass.  There is no advertising for anything on the roads so you can count on useful information when you spot a sign, (sometimes too late to make the turn). There are no overhead wires or cell towers on the highways, just an unencombered view of the beautiful rolling hills, the sheep and the sea. 

In the evening, we would watch local TV and read local newspapers.  There were no murders, assaults, or robberies in the 3 weeks we visited.  We saw programs lauding the work of volunteers: rural fire fighters, SPCA volunteers nights and weekends, sport coaches and parks guides .  These programs were documentaries, showing what these volunteer did and encouraged others to play their part but no pressure.

The motel owners, usually a husband and wife went out of their way for us.  One woman drove her car to the area where restaurants were located in town for us to follow her.  Another motel owner offered her washer, clothesline and pins to me.  Another woman who was our waitress at a motel resturant phoned her cousin in the next town to assure us a visit to a Maori village.

In Canada, we say we are interested in the well being of our native people but in New Zealand, all public buildings and many private businesses as well have signs first in Maori language and then in English. 

If you want to travel to New Zealand, you should also be aware that food is expensive even in the summer because there is a high minimum wage for all.  No tips are expected because everyone, including waiters makes a fair wage.

I think that New Zealand might be an ante room to heaven.