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Day 739: Falling for transit

So, I came across this story today and it really hit home (no pun intended).

Ever since I had a bad fall last September on a city street and dislocated and broke my wrist, I have been very nervous walking down the stairs at the subway.

Just like the man in this story, I’d been rushing … to catch a bus to meet my husband for dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary, as it happens.

I still can’t remember if I tripped on the streetcar tracks, or was jostled by hordes of Toronto Blue Jays fans (I still blame the Jays), but I came crashing to earth as if in slow motion and immediately knew something was wrong with my arm.

I had my own guardian angel that day. A lady in white who appeared out of nowhere and asked if I’d like her to go inside the restaurant I sat in front of to ask for some ice.

A passing police officer also helped me, along with a coworker who happened by and wondered why I was on the ground talking to a policeman. He said he didn’t think I’d had enough time to leave the office and tie one on at the bar. 🙂

Anywayyyys, enough about me.

The reason I mention that is because reading the story below about Yves Allard — who fell down the stairs at Toronto’s Bathurst station and was helped by a Good Samaritan —  reminded me of those lovely people who helped me that day.

I really hope I’ll jump in and help too, if I’m needed. I know now how much simple concern and kindness can mean so much when you’re disoriented and hurt and feeling vulnerable.

I’m going to share this story on social media and I hope anyone reading this does so too, the original link is HERE… to help Yves find the “Good Samaritan” so he can thank him.

Here’s an excerpt of his story:

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 9.45.08 PM.png

by Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com

A Toronto resident is searching for a “Good Samaritan” who called 911 after he tumbled down a TTC staircase while rushing to an appointment on Saturday afternoon, sustaining a head injury.

Yves Allard fell down a flight of stairs in Bathurst Station around 4 p.m. while he was making his way to the subway platform. … A man standing on the platform rushed to his aid until emergency crews arrived.

“He kept my conscious so once in a while he would tap my face to make sure I didn’t pass out,” Allard said.

He was rushed to hospital where he was treated for a deep gash wound on the back of his head, receiving eight staples. … Now he wants to thank the stranger in person and has started an online search, posting to social media “letting my guardian angel know I’m okay and that he saved my life.”

The “Good Samaritan” is described as a shorter man, believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, with dark hair.

“I don’t know how to reach him or too much about him … [but] all I want is to thank this man from the bottom of my heart for helping me through a severe trauma,” Allard wrote in his online post.

Full story here.

p.s.

Song for the day:

Love the message of this song, and the performer, Gregory Porter, who I was fortunate enough to see in concert at The Toronto Jazz Festival last summer, and meet him by accident in the CBC Building that same day! It gave me the chance to tell him how much I love his music. I NEVER do things like that if I spot a celebrity… but he was so gracious, he made me glad I did.

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Day 737: Lost and found times two

mitten.JPGOnce upon a time I had a pair of mittens. Warm mittens. Emblazoned with a maple leaf.

I was so careful with these mittens, you’d think they were spun with pure gold, not wool. When I wasn’t wearing them, I’d tuck them into my purse or a tote bag so I wouldn’t drop them. I kept them in a safe place every night so I could grab them in the a.m.

But then, one morning, as I was coming into work, I got distracted by holding the door from the street open for a young guy using crutches, his left leg in one of those hard plastic casts.

I’ve had my fill of casts this past year, so I was eager to help him out. When I left the office that night and my mittens weren’t in my bag, I thought I’d just left them behind on my desk.

Nope. They weren’t there in the morning. I’d lost my beloved mitts.

I shared my sad tale with some colleagues when we were out at lunch and they suggested I check with the security desk on the main floor. Since I’d dropped them somewhere between the main door of the building and our office on the seventh floor, there was a chance some kind soul might have turned them in.

So, on the way back from lunch, a lovely coworker stepped up to the security desk and asked about my mittens. Bam. He pulled out a red, white and grey woolly item. Only one. Then I struck out at the other security desk closer to where I’d opened the door for Mr. Foot Cast.

I was happy to have one back but wasn’t about to give up. A few days later, after a prayer to St. Anthony (the patron saint of lost articles never lets me down 🙂 ), I kept looking around the main floor of the building in case someone had left it on a ledge or something. Nada.

Then something told me to ask again at the security desk I’d struck out at. And Bingo! The security guard pulled out a bin that looked like it was designated for lost and found items and there was my second mitten!

So that meant two different people were kind enough to turn in each of my mittens (which I must’ve dropped separately) at two different security desks.

There is much good in the world my friends. Much good.

p.s.

Song for the day, enjoy!

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Day 735: Ice, ice, baby


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Okay, so it hasn’t been quite this icy on Toronto streets lately, but it has been pretty slippery in spots out there.

And I have broken both wrists over the past two years … the left one after a very bad fall that bruised both my arm and my ego.

So, forgive me if I’ve been a little skittish out there and inching along even more slowly than my 82-year-old Pops.

In fact, right outside his building, I almost went flying went I walked across a patch of black ice on the way to the grocery store.

So when I saw that the lock had rusted off the box of rock salt outside the store, I was hit with a brainwave (my annual one).

And a plastic bag left behind at the bank machine beside the supermarket helped me execute my cunning plan.

After I came out of the store with my dad’s purchases, I used the extra bag to scoop up as much salt as I could from the box. Since I was using it for the public good, on a route directly in front of the store, I figured no one would mind. (And I didn’t set off any sirens or alarm bells, so, SCORE!)

I carefully navigated the snowy sidewalk back to my dad’s building, and when I got to the patch of black ice, I carefully distributed my swiped salt as evenly as I could over the surface.

Yes, I ended up having to use my bare hands and risk dreaded chapped skin, but it was well worth it. Disaster hopefully averted… until the next storm, anyway.

In other winter good-deed news, a friend of mine told me that her neighbour regularly takes her snowblower over to my friend’s property and takes care of her driveway too… how nice is that?!

Stay upright, all!

how-to-walk-on-ice

p.s.

I shouldn’t laugh at this after my falling history but I just can’t help myself. Enjoy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Day 731: Fighting the good fight

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You might notice my last post here was in May.

My life took an unexpected turn in May. My sister got very ill. Then, my brother needed emergency lung surgery. And a few weeks after that, my dad had a stroke and my husband and I spent the summer overseeing his care, packing up his house and moving him from his town two hours away to Toronto, to be closer to us.

Oh and I fractured my wrist out of sheer folly and carelessness.

Not only did I have no time to blog about good deeds, I didn’t much feel like doing them. It felt like there was some kind of dark cloud hovering over our family and around every corner was more bad news and road blocks and frustrations.

Did I rise to the occasion and feel appreciative of the small miracles of life and more loving toward my fellow humans? I’m ashamed to say, no. Quite the opposite.

Being sleep deprived and wracked with worry made me short tempered and selfish and resentful. “Why me?” “Why now?” “When do I get my life back??”

Tough times can bring out the best in people, draw out admirable qualities and virtues they never knew they had. You read about average Janes and Joes in the World Trade Center on 9/11 who didn’t hesitate to put others first when it really mattered and rose to the challenge of trying to save as many people as they could.

Or just today, I heard an interview on CBC radio that brought me to tears, about a man in New York who — without hesitating for a second, and at risk to his own health — donated his stem cells to a complete stranger in Toronto who suffered from leukemia.

And here I was complaining about having to trek two hours to Cambridge, Ontario, every Friday after work to pack up my dad’s house and make arrangements for his care.

Very humbling, folks. And a good reminder to me of why I started this blog in the first place.

Because I’m not one of those noble, truly selfless people I mentioned above. I’m usually too stuck in my own head and preoccupied with my own comfort to automatically put the well-being of others before my own. To spontaneously lend a hand. Offer a shoulder. Look a stranger in the eye and smile.

My family isn’t out of the woods yet but I felt like sharing this today after I watched the video above. Not sure why it touched me so deeply but it cracked open a box of worries and regrets and new resolve that hopefully means I can keep fighting the good fight.

It struck me that even though I may not be made of heroic stuff, I can certainly keep trying to be better. Kinder. Even if it’s just in small, simple ways. Doing things from a place of love. For I do believe that’s what we’re here for.

Here’s hoping writing it down like this will help me stick to it. One good deed at a time.

p.s.

In my absence, I missed this really cool project that Patrick shared on my “About Me” page, called the Good Mojo Project. Please do check it out!:

What a fantastic blog and project you have. I wanted to share an idea I came up with called the Good Mojo Project. The idea of the Good Mojo Project is to give a flood of positive messages and posts to one person a day who needs a pick-me-up (like when it is your birthday on Facebook). With enough people buying-in, it would be an amazing experience to see all that support and good energy being directed towards them when they are having a hard time.
What do you think of this idea? Would you be open to sharing the page below and getting more people on board to send the messages?
https://www.facebook.com/GoodMojoProject/
Thanks for checking this out!
Patrick

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Day 729: We are in this together

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Stumbled across this photo and had to share.

It reminded me that acts of kindness can occur in the most unlikely places.

I’ve been practicing “random acts of friendliness” lately, which doesn’t sound like much except that I might be the least friendly person I know.

12670339_1018429908252027_8086540552589000654_nNot that I don’t like people, I do. Most people. Okay, some people. But I tend to walk around lost in my own thoughts so I frequently pass by someone I know and they have to wave their arms in front of me to get me to pay attention and notice them.

In the past few weeks, though, I have made a concerted effort to smile at strangers, hold doors open, the works. This is a big city, so sometimes that has gotten me strange looks, but not very often, surprisingly enough.

But, as I found out the other day, looks can be deceiving.

In our office building, because of a glitch with our elevator system, we need security guards to ride up and down with us from the seventh floor and operate the elevator with a key. I can’t even imaging how long these shifts must feel for the security guards, so I try to chat with them on the trip.

Most of those on elevator patrol welcome the conversation, but one guy in particular was particularly hard to read. He was seated on a chair, staring at the ground, willing the day to be over.

But as soon as I asked him how his day was going, he turned around and his whole face lit up. His smile changed him into a completely different person. We chatted for a few minutes, and now when I see him, he smiles right away and we share a few words.

I don’t know whose day got brighter, his or mine.

p.s.

Instead of a song for the day, I have a laugh for the day. Try not to howl, I dare ya!

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Day 713: Beard for Nepal

BeardA colleague of mine is making a very personal sacrifice to raise funds for the Nepal Disaster Relief effort.

He’s planning to shave off his beard — 17 months in the making — if he reaches his fundraising goal of $500.

To paraphrase John 15:13:
“Greater love hath no man than this: to lay down his beard for Nepal.”

And now in an interesting plot twist, an anonymous $500 donation has been made internally at the office to allow The Beard to stay.

Which one do you think I donated to? 🙂

Here’s his funding page in case anyone’s interested in contributing (the Canadian government will match all funds donated until May 25, 2015.

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CanadaHelpslogoNepalGoalAmount

The disaster in Nepal is incredibly heartbreaking worldwide. 2 major earthquakes in less than 3 weeks has affected millions, displaced people from their homes, and injured or taken the lives of thouands.

I’ve been growing my beard for 17 months now, and am even affectionately(i hope) known as The Beard around work. There was a time not too long ago I thought I could never live without my beard, but I admit now that seems foolish. With so many people in Nepal having to face life without homes and loved ones and the life they once knew, living without my beard, something that grows back easily, feels like a selfish thought.

Near the end of May I will be cutting my beard off and hope to raise funds for The Red Cross to help those in Nepal by doing so. If you feel inclined, I would very much appreciate a donation. I have set a goal of $500 but regardless of whether I make that amount or not, ever dollar counts and I thank you for considering it.

Even if you don’t donate to this campaign, I truly hope you read about the devastation in Nepal and do whatever you can to help out.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”- Charles Dickens

You can donate here.

p.s.
Song for the day… seemed only appropriate. 🙂

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Day 706: Recharging batteries

Derek Murray holds a note that was left on his windshield yesterday after he parked his car in a residential neighbourhood and left his lights on before he took the LRT to school. When he got back, a man had left the note and a battery charger for him. (Credit: John Lucas / Postmedia News)

Derek Murray holds a note that was left on his windshield yesterday after he parked his car in a residential neighbourhood and left his lights on before he took the LRT to school. When he got back, a man had left the note and a battery charger for him. (Credit: John Lucas / Postmedia News)

Nothing recharges your inner battery faster than an act of kindness, whether you’re on the giving or receiving end.

At least, that’s how I felt after reading this story in the National Post:

Edmonton stranger leaves kind note and battery charger for student who forgot to turn car lights off

by Andrea Sands, Postmedia News |

Screen shot 2014-11-23 at 5.00.28 PMWhen second-year law student Derek Murray left the headlights on all day Wednesday in his silver Acura, he returned to his parked car to find the battery drained and a note on his windshield.

“I noticed you left your lights on,” the note said. “The battery will probably not have enough charge to start your vehicle. I left a blue extension cord on the fence and … a battery charger beside the fence in the cardboard box. If you know how to hook it up, use it to start your car.”

The note went on to explain exactly how to jump-start the vehicle. “Good luck,” it said.

I was expecting it to be an angry letter from someone telling me not to park there. Instead, I got someone just totally brightening my day

“Sure enough, I looked over at the house my car was parked beside, and there was a blue extension cord plugged into an outlet behind the guy’s house with a battery charger right there beside it,” said Murray, who had parked Wednesday morning in the residential neighbourhood to take the LRT to the University of Alberta.

“When I first saw the note, I was expecting it to be an angry letter from someone telling me not to park there. Instead, I got someone just totally brightening my day. My day could have been ruined but, because of this guy, it was the highlight of my day. …

“It just shows you how such a pure act of kindness from one person can just spread through everyone and help make everyone’s day a little brighter,” Murray said.

Full story here.

And me?

Today, I packaged up a bunch of shoes I really like but never end up wearing (we all have those, right? right??) and donated them to a local charity. If you knew how freakishly protective I am about my shoes, you would appreciate the separation anxiety I’m going through right now. But I’ll spare you the details.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d only worn a few of the pairs once, maybe twice. Yes, I could have tried to sell them in a garage sale or online but because they were in pretty good shape and fairly dressy shoes, I thought maybe someone who needed shoes for a job interview or special occasion could benefit from them.

At least that’s what I told myself to force my hands to actually tape up the box and carry it out of the house. Sigh.

p.s.

In lieu of a Song for the Day, I’ll leave you with this hiLARious Ellen sketch. Enjoy!

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