This Week in Kindness – March 19

Hi folks. I was already happy to see the weather slowly warming and the time change means that it’s staying light later which feels incredibly good. But there’s also been a lot of good things happening in the world shared with me here and in various social media sites. Here are a few:

From Connecticut in the US:

“Sometimes it is right at home. When my husband looked at the exhausted me he took the puppy out into the wind and rain on what was ‘my turn.‘”

Sometimes the smallest things at the right time can make a huge difference. If an idea comes to you for something kind to do, don’t fall for our mind’s trick of telling us “It probably won’t matter.” The only certain way it won’t matter is if we don’t do it in the first place.

From Karnataka, India:

“When we were in Kolkata, we saw many people sitting in a line outside our hotel. The receptionist said some people come every afternoon with food for them, There were about fifty people there.

On the other hand, there are acts of kindness that can be bigger but the biggest and most important part of it is the consistency. Those people know that if they’re in trouble they have a consistent source of food. Reducing difficulty for someone who is leading a very difficult life even for a few minutes can have a big impact.

From Herefordshire, UK:

A Mastodon post that says "Small acts of #kindness. 

I'm going through a troubling time in my life right now and small things can have a big impact. Yesterday I was walking through woodland near home, and I passed a cottage of an elderly woman I know only from chance meetings in the woods. Her husband died a few months ago. He was a poet, and she'd said she'd show me some of his #poetry. She saw me, called me in and gave me 4 books of his poems. She wants people to remember know & him - Jim Dening. I'm so #grateful." - Four books are in the photo also: Les chemins d'ici - The Roads Round Here, Pebbles, Debris, The Accident of Birth, and Dealing with the Edge all by Jim Dening
Original Mastodon post is here

How many different directions is kindness flowing in this particular story? It’s like a feedback loop of kindness.

From an unknown location – shared via the Little Free Library page on Facebook.

A letter shown in front of a little free library. It says: 
Hello owners of this free library.
Last year, at the end of June a few days before my birthday, I had a stroke. Luckily I was downtown near Haborview. In short time, a doctor went into my brain and, as he put it, 'snagged' my clot.
Stll I was in Harborview for many weeks in rehab before I could come home. I could not sort a deck of cards, I had no processing on my left side, I could not put a children's puzzle together. BUT I could walk, talk and discovered, read a book. Today I am writing this. It's not perfect but I'm so much better.
Reading helped I'm sure. I walk with my neighbor most every morning. He graciously lets me mull over books at your library. I've found many a good book here and wanted to thank you.  That's all. Just thank you. You've made a difference in my life.

We often don’t know the impact of what we do in the world. But sometimes, like in the note above, we learn about the difference we make. Here’s a mental exercise for you. Instead of thinking “What difference could this possibly be making?” assume that you’re making a huge difference like the above. In either case, in the absence of evidence you’re making up things – why not make up things that encourage yourself to keep going? This isn’t just advice for kindness, this is for your day to day life. You’re more successful and making more of a difference than you know.

Twitter post. The text says "Just landed  NYC. People across aisle didn't know each other. She was flying for first time and was terrified. He talked her through it and held her hand. Just people being people.  In the photo we see two people holding hands sitting next to one another on a plane.

Again, the little things.

The caption says "This australian man built a tricycle that allows his disabled wife to go for bike rides!" Beneath it is a picture of a teal tricycle with two wheels in the front. An adult sized plastic seat with seat belt and footrests is in front of the handlebars. Beneath it we see a photo of him and his wife both wearing helmets first relaxing in a grassy area, and then enjoying a ride on a path near a lake.

Again, here is kindness not just affecting the person “receiving” but both the giver and the receiver.

Last week I talked a bit about how some things we do that seem easy on the surface have a huge impact.

One of the best examples of this is blood donation. Here in Canada, Canadian Blood Services operates many whole blood and plasma donation centres throughout the country. In addition to these they organize donation clinics at libraries, schools, community centres and workplaces around the country. The donation process is extremely simple. After filling out a short questionnaire, your finger is pricked to test your iron level to make sure it’s sufficient, your temperature is taken to make sure you’re not fighting off an illness. After that there’s often a short wait before you’re taken to a reclining chair. A phlebotomist comes, finds a vein and after a quick pinch the needle is inserted. After that you will sit for 5-10 minutes while the donation happens. During that time you can chat with friends if they came with you, read a book or use your phone. At the end of the donation, you’re given snacks and drinks and if you’re feeling good you’re sent on your way. End to end it takes me 20-30 minutes and I can do this about every eight weeks. For those who can do it it’s one of the easiest ways to help people. And already lots do it. Canadian Blood Services takes about 70,000 donations per month. The need is great, though, and there have been times donors were particularly needed. One weekend when I showed up, they told me they only had three days supply left. Fortunately in response to that, they did a lot of outreach and that day the donation centre was full of people.

All of this to ensure that when someone is in need, the hospital or caregiver can just get what they need from the blood bank when they need it.

It wasn’t until I got to spend time in India and got to know a few people there that I learned the process isn’t always so easy. Even though only 4% in Canada routinely give blood, even fewer routinely give in India. As a result, getting blood or blood products when needed can be much more stressful. Often the patient’s family or friends will need to go to the blood bank to pick up the necessary blood or blood products. The blood banks often require that others give blood to make up the difference so friends, family, and acquaintances are recruited to give blood and of course this is more difficult for vulnerable people or those with rare blood types (or both). The result is that people can die before the necessary blood has been obtained. Around 12,000 people every day die of this in India.

Enter Kiran Verma. He was working as a professional back in 2016 when he donated to a teenage cancer patient whose platelet count was low. After some time he learned from the young man’s father that the young man had died after his platelet count got too low and not enough platelets could be secured. This tragedy stuck with Kiran so much that one day his wife said to him that he needed to either do something or stop crying – that he couldn’t just cry forever. And so they decided that she would move back in with his parents and he would start walking – 21,000 kilometres throughout India to talk to people about the importance of donating blood and to get millions more people to donate. He’s still walking today.

He has also developed an app, “Simply Blood” to connect donors and patients needing blood to make the process easier. You can follow him on Facebook here.

There’s been quite a bit of good news this week also:

  • After being bullied as a kid first for being an immigrant, then later for being gay, Juan Acosta was considering suicide. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and a kind guidance counselor got him through the worst of it. Now he’s a prominent mental health advocate. Story here.
  • A 12 year old boy from Bosnia, Benjamin Mehanović went out and sold tea to generate the equivalent of over $1,000 CAD to help those in Turkiye and Syria who were suffering after the earthquake. He was just awarded a full scholarship to the International University of Sarajevo.
  • In New Westminster, BC a six year old girl cut off her hair as part of a fundraiser for Wigs for Kids, a charity that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. She originally was aiming to raise $1,000. In the end she raised $2,095.

Did I miss some? What acts of kindness or good news stories do you know about? Share them below!

Header photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “This Week in Kindness – March 19

  1. Thank you Todd. The world is a better place due to kindness. Ramesh Naik , Manjunath Tenkillaya and his team have made a trust and are helping people at the grass root level. My mother and we donate money for the cause. Ramesh is a special educator in Asare, Home for the mentally challenged.

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