Tag Archives: kindness

Changing The Current

20 Jul

It’s the downfall of every  parent.

You have your plan …the  snacks, a good attitude, and the sunscreen. You think you’re set. Until … the lines.

long-lines-at-disneyland-e1381152445575

Duuuuuude.

You’re there to celebrate …birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, vacations. All that.

And you thought you’d hit a couple of snags here and there, but when this happens and ugh … you just feel that vein in your forehead ready pop during your George Costanza moment.

Now mind you, I was prepared for it. I even prepared my kids for it, so when we encountered a 55 minute wait at the Radiator Springs Attraction at Disney’s California Adventure I was totally on top of it. I knew there would be a battle for the spot in front of the chain, for the one next to the rails so that climbing would be possible, for the spot in the shade, for the spot in the sun, for the spot in front of me, for the spot next to the wall, for the spot with of view of the attraction.

I knew there would be a lack of patience running rampant throughout the park and with the heat in the 90s I prepared. I did. I had all the snacks and the positive vibe going on, but nothing can really suck the air out of your balloon like long lines and tired kids.

And I witnessed this happening in multiple languages throughout the park, but the one Dad rubbing his head and having a George-Costanza-Serenity-Now! moment  … he seemed to be having the toughest day yet.

The amount of pressure used to rub his forehead was the first clue and his 14-year-old son was the second. Had the cause and effect right in front of me.

I could totally see this happening and I nodded my head like … yeah I know, I know.

But luckily for me I never got to that point that day. I was able to salvage some moments that could have really turned gruesome in that heat.

Thanks for the deep breathing and peaceful talks Deepak Chopra OnDemand.

But aside from this meditation guru helping me find the Zen, two complete strangers helped keep things in the right frame of mind.

We met these two lovely ladies that just happened to get in line with us. They saw the birthday buttons on my kids and began conversation. It was regular stranger-nice-day-good-luck conversation. But when we got on the rapids ride laughter ensued with all of us and all the waiting in line from the morning faded as we enjoyed moments of unexpectedness and fun on that raft.

These ladies had such a good vibe, and were totally digging our laughter fest, that everyone on that raft gelled.

The rest of the day followed the same pattern and I was glad to have met those two ladies. The universe had put us on the FastPass tip and we bumped into them, helping to improve the rest of our day. It’s really too bad that the father of the teenage boy hadn’t met them earlier as well. Things might have turned out differently for him. Never know.

So while reflecting about the day’s events, I remembered those two ladies and hoped that the universe had paid them back for crossing our path. Conversations with strangers are something I don’t do often, especially when I’m with my kids. Sometimes things get weird, like that time at Michael’s Craft Store when this guy swore I was a spy and was upset because he thought I had overheard his conversation with headquarters and knew I had told “her” to do “it.” I didn’t know who “it” or “her” were,  I almost had to call security.

But this time … this time the conversation changed the current of our flow. Their kindness and vibe was a good thing that day and I was grateful.

 

 

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40 Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No.15, No.16, No.17 …

1 Jul

Father’s Day Weekend seemed to kick off a series of Guat flashbacks where I owned every color of Levi jeans possible and Boy George was on the radio. I was reminded of the time when I had no kids and I was actually I kid myself, with a curfew and chores to accomplish.

During these flashbacks I was reminded of bits and pieces of what my Dad seemed to enjoy. A good cup of coffee. A good movie on TV or the Big Screen. I remembered how both of these things stirred up some good conversation, how we’d both laugh and argue, and be blown away by something that we saw in the movie, or something that we said about our lives.

During these coffee and movie flashbacks, I also remembered all the ball caps he wore. SuperBowl. Baseball. Football. Golf. Souvenir touristy caps. He had them all. For some reason he’d always take off his hat when drinking coffee. I don’t know if it made him hot, but he seemed to relax more without it. He’d put it on the table or couch, or hang it off the chair and take a deep breath, trying to exhale all the bad vibes of the day. Or just exhale all the weariness.

I remember those three favorites specifically. Coffee. Movies. Ball caps. They’re not really the sum of his life, just the simple things I see everyday that remind me of him.

:)

🙂

So in honor of some of my dad’s favorites things, I decided to give a few lucky people some unexpected kindness. The first on my list was something he always enjoyed in the morning and after dinner. Apparently some people just can’t live without it. They can’t function. Me, I just have it once a year, on his birthday. Have a cup of coffee and talk about life. But it seems that for others it’s an everyday occurrence. Yup. Coffee. A cup of coffee.

It’s simple but it seems to make people happy, although the lady with the Lady of Guadalupe picture on her dashboard could have used the Starbucks card I gave her for some tea. I’d understand that. Tea I can do. In any case I know that something small like that would have made someone’s day, especially in the morning.

Now the afternoon, well that’s another story. Seeing how the summer has kicked in full blast in my neck of the woods and the heat has been bringing it on a daily basis, I figured someone would have enjoyed a little shade. So I got someone a nice home team ball cap. Don’t know if they were die-hard Dodgers fans, but I figured the little decal on the back windshield was a good clue. Personal shade is extremely important in 90+ degree heat. I’m sure my Dad would have agreed.

Now once things cooled down at night I thought someone would have enjoyed a pair of tickets to see an action or drama flick. A lot films coming out this summer that take you away from your life for just a couple of hours. My Dad always enjoyed an escape especially if Robert DeNiro was involved, or if there was a car chase or dramatic A-Ha! moment that made you think duuuuude I didn’t even see that coming. Those were my dad favorites, so I thought I would give someone that movie magic experience too.

I was able to remain anonymous this time, which helped me imagine the recipients better. I always picture  them smiling, never sassy, and always with this confused happy look when they read my notes. Always hoping that I’ve made their day better. I think my Dad would have enjoyed these bits and pieces of kindness, hope they did too.

.

.

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindess Before 40 … No. 9

1 Apr

People dream of having something like this in their neck of the woods. Some people never even get a chance to see it, which is hard to believe. But it happens.

I do feel lucky having it within driving distance.

Nothing like the beach to set you right.

Peace always seems to find me here. It’s a place of refuge and I enjoy it whenever I can. Every weekend during the summer, and some weekends in The Spring you’ll find The Guat family spraying on the Coppertone 75 and putting on their board shorts, bucket hats, and flip-flops.

We’re beach people. Most definitely.

So it occurred to me that I could spread a little more sunshine down here on the coast. Yup, this was the next stop on my 40 Before 40 Tour and some unsuspecting dude or chick would love going to the beach even more because of me.

:)

🙂

Because no matter how amazing the sun, sand, and waves can be, fighting traffic to get there and then battling over a parking spot can totally burn you out. It makes you think twice about going there. Luckily for me The Guats leave at the break of dawn to avoid that disastrous Southern California traffic and we always find a spot within walking distance from the waves.

But there are those people who get a late start or for some reason just operate on a different clock where they sleep too long and end up sitting in traffic and going from parking lot to parking lot trying to find a space.

Regardless of the reason I thought I’d cut these people some slack, and brighten their day. So when they found spot #270, pulled on in, set her in park, and unloaded all the plastic buckets, shovels, blankets, and Tommy Bahama beach equipment purchased from Costco and walked on over to the parking kiosk … they found some Guat magic written with a Sharpie marker on the back of an envelope, at the foot of the machine.

FREEEEEE PARKING! YES! FREE!

Duuuuuuuude! Today is your lucky day. If you parked in space #270 parking is on me. All day parking.

Take the ticket and enjoy your day at the beach 🙂

🙂 40 Random Acts of Kindness Before 40

As we drove away I saw her approach the machine, pick up the note, look around confused, and then smile.

Yeah … that felt pretty good.

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 8

26 Mar

I think the best part of it is leaving the notes and imagining their expressions.

It would be nice to see their reactions, I’ll give you that. Confusion. Disbelief. And then a pause. A moment when they realize it’s a good surprise and that’s when the smile appears. Something good has happened to them, but they don’t know why. And it just makes things good … for a moment it makes things good.

But for them to see me? Nah I like to keep things under cover when I can.

I hope they feel something when it happens. Although sometimes people don’t really appreciate the little things and it’s sad when that happens. But kids … they get happy when anything happens. So this time I thought I’d pay it forward to a future dreamer, who enjoys surprises and can do cartwheels when moments of awesome happen to them … dreamers with a bat and glove …

It’s always the bottom of the ninth, and you’re losing, with two outs, full count, and bases loaded.

That’s how it always happens when you’re practicing in the batting cages. You got your helmet, your Big League Chew gum, and your Babe Ruth confidence. It’s gonna happen. You walk up, bring the that around, and swing.

Smack!

You win the game and you round the bases like a champion.

That’s what’s going on in the cage.

My son is still young so I don’t know if he has that vision yet, all I know is that he’s happy when he sends that yellow ball flying. It puts a big smile on his face.That little connection gives him a boost of confidence, and he does the happy dance.

So when we finished a couple of rounds in the cage it hit me … this is it. This is where it’s gonna happen. I want to give someone a moment of happy. I want a kid to feel like Derek Jeter.

:)

                                      🙂

So I bought a couple of tokens, borrowed some tape, and wrote my note.

I left the tokens on top of a couple of machines with a message …

Everything is Awesome!

Here’s 30 balls on us. Hope you hit a homer.

🙂 40 Random Acts of Kindness

My son looked a little confused and didn’t understand why I had left the tokens on the machines. When he asked me why I had done that, I said it’s always good to be kind to people. It’s always nice to find moments when you can be kind, when you find a chance to do that, make sure you do. It gives you a good feeling.

He smiled and gave me a thumbs up.

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 7

16 Mar

It takes commitment.

Serious commitment to put something on your car. Stickers and decals are your car’s tattoos and they mark your interests and personality types. Proud Parent of So-And-So’s Student of The Month, the members of your family, your favorite radio station, or a wise-ass comment in bumper sticker format.

All of these are insights to the type of person you are, but the true sports fan goes beyond their team logo on the back window and delves into the intensive labor of dismantling the license plate frame and replacing it with that of your favorite team. Most license plate frames remain in their original condition … Wondries Honda, Penske Toyota, Mike’s Motors, etc. Nobody ever really takes the time to replace it unless it’s really worth it.

Nobody except the sports fan. He takes no half measures. So when you’re driving, you know one when you see one. Their commitment is evident on license plates and car windows.

So when I was in search for a person deserving of my next Random Act of Kindness, I knew exactly what to look for, I mean I had to be specific. I didn’t want to give it to someone who hated sports. So while driving out of the mall I found him parked between David’s Bridal and Sports Authority. His teal green Chevy Tahoe’s back window sported the traditional “LA” of proud Dodgers fans and the silver plated license plate frame professing his Dodger Blue spirit.

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

I took out the two ticket vouchers and placed them in an envelope.

However, just like the flower incident I felt the need for a disclaimer so that no significant others would spin into a jealous rage and break off the relationship because of a mysterious gift. Ugh … jealousy sucks. So once again I wrote a note.

 

I see that you’re a Dodgers fan. Hope you can enjoy these this season. Go Blue!

🙂 40 Random Acts of Kindness Before I Turn 40.

 

Just as I got out of the car to attach the note and tickets … I saw them walking to their car. A family of three … a dad and two sons piling into the SUV. I sighed in disappointment, because I didn’t want them to know who I was, and I kind of liked the fact that I wouldn’t know who they were and I could just envision them enjoying Dodger Dogs and a nice cold one. Smiling.

But then as they got into the car, I realized something … they didnt know me. Never seen me and probably never will again. I was just a stranger doing something nice. A good story for the drive home just for being fan. So I kept walking, tapped on the window, gave them the tickets, and smiled.

“I see your big fans,” I said pointing to their windshield.

And then I walked back to my car and drove away.

Their smiles and disbelief was priceless. I’m starting to really enjoy these Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindness. They’re making me mindful of other little kindnesses I can do for people. Things that can make their day better, and even if I don’t get a thank you, it doesn’t matter. I’ve made their day better and it makes me feel good doing it. I’ve given them a story that begins with “Remember the time when some lady …”

And that’s a good a thing.

 

 

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 6

7 Mar

Nobody knew why, or who, it was just something nice that happened to them. Something that made them smile. Something that made their day better. Something that helped turn it around.

And most of the time it was an anonymous blessing.

They had no idea. And I enjoyed the fact that they had no idea who I was, just that some stranger decided to change the course of their day with a small gesture.

But this time I felt the need to leave a note explaining why …

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

I don’t remember the exact age but I knew it was in middle school. It was graduation day when I got them. And it wasn’t those fake plastic ones you got in those Valentine’s Grams. They were real roses wrapped in cellophane and when he gave them to me it felt like one of those Sixteen Candles moments. And it felt good that someone liked me. It was a nice gesture and it made my day.

I placed them in a glass of water because we didn’t have a vase. But it didn’t matter, they looked awesome and I enjoyed them the whole week.

So when I saw the flowers hanging out in the last aisle at Costco and my daughter told me she wanted some because they made her happy, I thought why not.

I like to keep her happy.

And then I thought I could make someone else happy too. I wanted someone to have that Sixteen Candles moment, but I worried what if a guy got the flowers and his lady was with him, or what if a girl got the flowers from an anonymous somebody and her husband was with her and he freaked out. I don’t know the dynamics of people’s relationships, but I sure didn’t want my 40 Before 40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Act of Kindness to cause drama. I wanted it to cause happy.

So I had to leave a note this time.

I walked back to the car and put away my month’s supply of Arm & Hammer Detergent Soap, OxyClean, and other household items. Then I looked for a car that gave me a feeling. Nothing to fancy, just something for a regular person. I spotted the white Scion parked in the other lane. And it was the right vibe.

I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote my note. I wrapped it around the flowers then walked over and placed them snugly between the side mirror and driver’s side door.

 

Flowers always seem to brighten someone’s day.

They’re here because you’re awesome.

Hope you have a terrific Thursday.

🙂

40 Random Acts of Kindness Before I turn 40

 

 

Felt good knowing that as soon as they walked back to their car, from the long lines, from the packed aisles, from the trays that ran out of samples, that something nice was waiting for them. And no drama would follow.

 

 

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 5

23 Feb

I don’t know if I was feeling bitter … more like burned out and disappointed rolled up in one.

It was a pretty crappy emotional cocktail.

It wouldn’t seem like much to a lot of people, but for me it was kind of something.

A Night Out.

That’s something. Definitely for someone who doesn’t get a lot of them as babysitting is a rare thing. A Night Out. It’s a simple moment that recharges your battery, but that didn’t happen for me last week. When I found out it wasn’t going to happen I got so burned out about the whole situation. But I didn’t stay home and sulk, although I felt like it.

Instead I went out with my kids and tried to have a family fun night at our favorite Italian restaurant. And what I found was an opportunity to make someone else’s Night Out much better.

Their date night actually.

While standing in line waiting for my order I overheard a couple, maybe in their early 70s, talking about the wine selection and not being really sure whether or not to buy a bottle. They talked about it being their night out and maybe splurging a little. As their linguine and clams came up they hadn’t decided what to do. I looked at the wine selection myself and grabbed the bottle of Malbec they were contemplating. They smiled and nodded their heads. I placed it on my tray.

“Is that any good?” They asked.

“Don’t know, but thought I’d give it a try. You guys seemed so interested. Thought I’d give it a chance.” I said.

They smiled at each other and put a bottle on their tray.

As they reached the front of the line, I waved at the cashier and pointed to the bottle.

“Hey, hey … that bottle is on me.”

 

40 before 40

40 before 40

 

 

They turned to look at me, confused.

“Have a great date night.” I said smiling.

“What?”

“Yeah … have a great date night. Drinks are one me.”

They gave me their thanks and walked to their table.

The bitterness, and burned out feeling was no longer there. I wasn’t upset or sad about missing out, because I had gained something by giving. I realized that just because I couldn’t have a Night Out myself, didn’t mean I couldn’t spread some happiness to those that were already out.

 

 

You Gotta Love George

22 Jul

 

:)

🙂

 

Whenever I need a laugh I know I can count on George … he sees things from a different perspective.