The Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”. “Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown”? “It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now”. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. “How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse. “Nothing,” I said. “You have to make a living,” she answered. “There are other passengers,” I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.” I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

Anonymous

Dexter Senior Center’s Sewing Kit Surprise

This Kind Act is a project in which the clientele at the Senior Center in Dexter Michigan put together packets of much needed mini-sewing supplies for Ann Arbors local homeless shelter! I was pleasantly surprised to see what they had done for the shelter. While volunteering at the homeless shelter, I noticed that sewing kits were one of many much sought after items. I mentioned this by chance to the Senior Centers Director Valerie, and lo and behold she led a project with the seniors to put together these great sewing kits!

Thank you Valerie and all of those at the center for your thoughtfulness!

View pictures of the sewing kits on our flickr page.

September 21st is the “International Day Of Peace”

September 21st is the “International Day of Peace”. How we wish everyday could be peaceful here on earth. Unfortunately it is not, however as the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”. Those wise words are true as true can be. Peace and kindheartedness must begin within ourselves first and then shared with others. So let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

www.internationaldayofpeace.org

Faye Dietiker of Breast Cancer Angels

Our tribute and praise goes out to Faye Dietiker of California. She is the founder of Breast Cancer Angels. Below you can read Faye’s own story of her awesome organization, and I have to say that Faye is truly an Earth Angel! Thank you so much for making this world a better place to live in with your selfless kindness and compassion!

The following is written by Faye Dietiker.

I live in Cypress, California with my wonderful husband Don. I am a mom with an extended family of five adult children. I have a beautiful baby granddaughter, Carianne who is 2 years old. I am also an 8 year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer and the founder and director of Breast Cancer Angels. Breast Cancer Angels is an organization that I began in 2000 to financially and emotionally assist women in treatment for breast cancer. When I was going through very aggressive experimental treatment I sat next to several young women who had to decide whether to buy their anti-nausea medications ($270.00 for 9 pills) or buy groceries to feed their children. Of course the children came first and the mom’s were sick for days. I decided that if I survived I would find a way to help these women feed their children and buy their medications.

My concept was that for $20 a month anyone could become an “Angel” and help support women going through breast cancer treatment. We started with 6 “Angels” putting in $20 a month and we now have over 250 “Angels” who send in from $20 to several hundred dollars a month. Our motto is “We can all be Angels here on earth”. In the past six years we have given out over $650,000 in financial aid. We are currently assisting over 70 women a month, with 56 children in these households. We assist with food, housing, utilities, medical co-pays, prescription costs and much more. We get referrals from ten Breast Centers in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties and from other agencies. Breast Cancer Angels is run out of my home office and 100% of all donations go back out in financial assistance. A corporate sponsor meets our overhead.

I feel blessed every day that I am still here and able to make the breast cancer journey a little easier for the women we assist.

For more information about Faye and the Breast Cancer Angels go to breastcancerangels.org

Thought For The Day

They Grow In Clusters, Brett Blair

Though I have never seen the Sequoia trees of California, known as Redwoods, I am told they are spectacular, towering as much as 300 feet above the ground. Strangely, these towering trees have unusually shallow root systems that spider out just under the surface of the ground to catch as much of the surface moisture they can. And this is their vulnerability. Storms with heavy winds would almost always bring these giants crashing to the ground but this rarely happens because they grow in clusters and their intertwining roots provide support for one another against the storms.

When we are together, either as a family or as a church, we provide this same support. Pain and suffering come to all of us. But, just like those giant Sequoia trees, we can be supported in those difficult times by the touch of one another’s lives. The knowledge that we have someone; that we are not alone; that there is someone who is willing to touch us, hold us, keeps us from being destroyed.

“May you always have someone to uphold you in the storms of life.” – Lorraine Jara

“The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.” – Julia Alvarez

Love Is Patient

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Elementary School Children Create Mother’s Day Cards For Seniors

The second graders at Bates Elementary School in Dexter, Michigan poured out their hearts and souls to make absolutely beautiful Mother’s Day Cards for our local seniors!

What a wonderful job they did. I delivered 51 Cards to The Northfield Place Nursing Home in Whitmore Lake on May 12th the Friday prior to Mother’s Day. The director there said the staff would give them out on Sunday, Mother’s Day! The residents were so excited to receive them! One resident said, “Are we allowed to keep them”? I said of course, the children made them just for you!

I delivered the remainder of the cards to the Dexter Senior Center. The director there said that they would place them along with their Meals-On-Wheels program so the homebound folks would receive them for Mother’s Day! They were thrilled to receive the cards from the children.

I would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to the children and teachers who made this possible, and to the entire staff at Bates Elementary who assisted in making this event possible! Thank you again for your Kind Acts in Action!

Relay For Life 2006

The American Cancer Society held a “Relay For Life” on April 29, 2006 at the Chelsea Fairgrounds in Chelsea Michigan! They had a wonderful turnout and many “THANKS” goes out to all who participated! This was a “Kind Act In Action” if we ever saw one!

Below I have posted a few of the photos taken at the event. We were unable to include all participant’s photos, however we did manage to get quite a few nice pictures of the event.

Many thanks again!

Be Kind To Humankind

Welcome to the new home of BK2HK. If you have any kind news that you would like to share, let us know and we will feature it.

Established in 1988 as Be Kind To Humankind Week, Be Kind To Humankind is a celebration of kindness all year long. Be Kind To Humankind was created for a special young man who died at a very young age (23) under very special circumstances. You can read the full story on our About page. This organization was born to celebrate his life, as he did not die in vain, and to help all of us to remember to be kind 365 days of the year! Thank you.

Enjoy the new website!