altruism: pass it on

Okay, I'm going to warn you, this is going to be a wordy post, and even a little personal. Since Monday afternoon I've been thinking about an elderly man, and I can't help but wonder if I could have done something to help him. When Chris and I were on our way home from Culpeper on Monday, we stopped at Sheetz for gas and snacks. While Chris was pumping gas, I noticed a frail elderly man looking through a trashcan in front of the store. He first pulled out a sandwich wrapper, and when he realized there was no food inside, he continued searching. Next he pulled out a cup of coffee, drank what was left and searched for a minute more, without success, before walking into the store. I told Chris that I saw the man searching for food, and that we could give the man the crackers and drinks we had with us. I stayed in the car with Flojo and the kitties while Chris went inside Sheetz to ask if he could buy the man some food. After talking for a minute, Chris noticed that the man most likely wasn't completely lucid, but he bought the man two apple pies and told him to take care.

Right now Chris and I are going through a bit of a difficult time financially because of troubles at the office Chris works for. While we're having to find new ways to make some extra money, discontinue our satellite service and cut back at the grocery store, I realize just how rich we truly are. We always know we'll have a home to call our own, a vehicle to take us where we need to be, food for every meal, and even things we don't need to the internet. I never pity myself, but sometimes I don't realize how much I really do have until I see someone who has almost nothing, and I think that's true for most of us. That leads me to the next part...

A while back, Chris told me about this idea he had that he said he hoped would change the world; a tall order, yes, but a noble goal. He wanted for one act of kindness to be passed on, and on, and on, and on. While we've been "altruism-ing" people in town and out, we haven't really gotten any response to the project. I'd like to think that even if we never hear anything, that first altruism has been continued and is still going around. Today I was reading about a study of kindness, and I'd like to ask you to help me "breed kindness." Seeing that old man searching through the trashcan not only upset me, but made me think that if there were more kind acts being passed on, maybe there wouldn't be so many people who were hungry. And it's not just food related; I think kindness can fix a lot. So, even though true altruism is a deed done without expecting anything in return, I'm more than happy to spread a little love in the form of a surprise mailed right to your door if you can help me out. Do something nice for someone, and it doesn't have to be something that requires spending money (you could help an elderly person unload their groceries, share your umbrella with someone in the rain, donate your time or expertise, and the list could go on), then give them one of these cards, and just let us know how you passed on a little kindness!

It may seem like I'm begging, and maybe I am, but I'm not above kicking and screaming on the floor if it means someone else will receive something, be it a smile or a surprise free lunch, without expecting it, or even earning it!


  1. I think this is a lovely idea... really! this past weekend I lost my voice trying to get tips from people for the puppeteering that we did. I only made about $50 but gave it to a friend who is working with us and just lost his job. He has been wonderfully dedicated and is a good friend to us, so this was how we could help him out! Good luck with your project!

  2. this is such a neat idea, danielle.
    and one i think we should ALL be a part of.
    i love this.
    and i'm sure you touched that man's heart!


  3. I remember coming across this when I started my own pay it forward project, which I recently just let fade away. And Ive been thinking about kindness lately, so after reading your post I wrote one of my own.

  4. I totally agree with you and think this is a lovely idea, I shall print some cards when I get home. I actually think I did a bit of a good turn this week. I was in work and an american couple were visiting cardiff for the first time and wanted some info so I chatted to them for a while and then they asked very nicely if there was any world cup pub merch i could give them for their grandson. If customers have genuinely been nice I will go out of my way to help them, so I nipped to the office and rooted in some boxes to find 3 big posters, a timetable and a full set of flag bunting (that is huge!!) and gave it all to them. When I was leaving for my break them slipped me alot more of a tip then usual, saying I had been the nicest person they had meet on their travels. So after my good fortune I went and grabbed a burger (only when I work!) and noticed a frail guy sitting outside begging. So feeling good after my tip when I was leaving I bought him a burger and a hot coffee. He was so thankful and I felt tons good with myself! So a little kindness can flow.
    Daisy Dayz Home

  5. I think this is a great idea. I'll print a few and keep them in my handbag. I know I often get down about how I work and work and don't seem to be able to do much more than pay the bills, but I think thats pretty lucky nowadays. Sometimes I just need to stop thinking about me and look big picture.


  6. i love this!!!!!!
    i am a sucker for helping people out bc well its just the right thing to do!
    even if i get taken advanage of sometimes (non sexual)

  7. Danielle, this was SO inspirational.
    I think we all have a lesson to learn about what you have said here, and exactly what you did for that little man. Such a beautiful gesture, and it just makes me wonder why that doesn't happen more often?
    Random acts of kindness make my day every-time I make one, I think everybody should make it their mission in life just to strive for that feeling.

    I'm going to print out some cards and talk to my school's principal about starting a Altruism group at our school. Thank you for this, so much.

    Your blog never never never fails to inspire, impress me or to make me giddy with smiles-so from the bottom of my heart, Danielle, I thank you.

    Never stop being the person you are, because you have this aura (even in the virtual world) around you that just makes other people's days. All the time.

    Much Love,
    Norah xxx

  8. i love this.
    i loved it when you first told me about it months and months ago. i'm on board, dude.
    helping others is how the world goes round...

  9. There's tons of stuff to do to help and this a great project. It's so much easier to give a dollar than our time.

  10. Great idea. This is something everyone should do. I will post on it and help you spread the message. <3

  11. I just started a class on "poverty and global health" and have once again been reminded of how very much I have compared to others. It's so hard to put our lives in perspective every day and remember to pass on kindness like you did when you helped that man. Thanks for the reminder, and let's hope we can all keep this up :)

    P.S. The world definitely needs more people like you and your hubby <3


I'd love to hear what you think!