Tag Archives: life

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:

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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 738: The power of music

We’ve probably all experienced the power of music at one time or another … how it can entertain, bewitch, even heal.

This story struck me for two reasons. How volunteering can change the life of the volunteer even more than those they’re helping (it’s done that for me).

And how music connects with a deep part of our soul, and brings us to life.

Just had to share, hope you enjoy it.

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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 734: Random or not-so-random, kindness matters

coverstory-blitt-newspaper-revised-875x1200-1478270888I love hearing about random acts of kindness. That’s basically what this whole blog is about. Those small, everyday kindnesses that can make a big difference to someone else.

So I found this article by Dr. Susan Smalley, called There are no random acts of kindness: the non-random nature of kindness is key to its value, really interesting.

Here’s an excerpt:

I think it is a misnomer to describe acts of kindness as random; kindness arises with an intention to “be kind” followed by an action. While the acts may be directed toward anonymous people or animals, the person’s act of kindness is anything but random — it is deliberate and directional — non-random in nature.

I think that the non-random nature of kindness is key to its value. It reflects a conscious choice on the part of the actor, to give, to help, to share and to soothe. It seems to me that it is in the conscious choice we reveal our role in shaping our own humanity and even our evolutionary future.

The preparation of a sack lunch for a loved one is full of kindness; it is intentional and directional. I remember writing little notes and including small “surprises” (e.g. Hershey kiss) for my kids in their lunches when they were little. A sack lunch can carry a lot of love within it.The other day I saw my daughter preparing a “sack lunch” for her boyfriend who is in a rather rigorous 5 day a week 8 hour a day school program. She wrote his name on the bag — just like I used to do for her and her brothers when they were little. It was such a sweet act of kindness, and it made me think about all those sack lunches that will be prepared in the next months as the fall school season begins.

But there are many non-random acts of kindness around us all the time. When we meet a homeless man or woman on the street, we may offer a cup of coffee, give some change, or just wish them well with a smile and hello. That is anything but random — we choose to place our attention on them and we choose how to respond — with kindness or not…

I think what we really want to practice are more non-random acts of kindness – directed to those we know and to those we don’t know – as much possible.

I am sure it will make our lives happier and the world a kinder place.

So, whether we call them random or deliberate is clearly not the important thing. But that we try to do them at all.

One very non-random thing I’ve done a couple of times is to donate stacks of my beloved New Yorker magazine (which I try to read cover to cover, because every issue is just so dang amazing, but don’t always get to do) at my local hospital.

They conveniently have a big bin near the entrance to collect reading material for patients and their friends and families. What a great idea!

Recycling is all well and good but if you can share a great read with others that, to me, is an act of kindness… although definitely not a random one.

p.s.

Song of the day, for the holidays. 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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