random act of kindness

Oklahoma Restaurateur’s Note Of Kindness Teaches Us A Lesson

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By now, you may have already seen this photo as it has gone viral since being displayed outside P.B. Jams, an Oklahoma restaurant, and on Facebook.

Oklahoma Restaurant Owner Writes Note For Dumpster DiverThe restaurant’s owner, Ashley Jiron, posted it after realizing an anonymous person had been sifting through her garbage. She told ABC News of how her heart sank when she noticed bags and containers in her dumpster that once held disposed food, were emptied. “I knew I needed to do something right away,” she said.

Perhaps that person’s plight struck her so deeply because Ashley understood better than most.

“I am a mother of two little girls and I’ve struggled like a lot of single parents out there, and I’ve had to ask for state assistance food stamps and such,” she told Good Morning America. “Sometimes at the end of the month there wasn’t enough to feed me and my family. Something as simple as even just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is very comforting to somebody and maybe even offer them a few words.”

It got me thinking, of the times in my own life when I have faltered. I will never forget the people who were there for me with support and encouragement, even when I didn’t ask for it. They were just there. They grounded me and kept me focused in a positive direction. Those acts of love and kindness embed in our souls.

They strengthen us. They nurture us. They give us wings.

There is something so powerful about our human connection. Often we don’t even know of the impact we are having on those whose lives we touch. But make no mistake; kindness has huge potential for affecting change in individuals, families, workplaces, classrooms, and the community.

And the giver can be just as much the receiver as its effects boomerang. Helping someone else has a way of lifting ourselves up as well, even more so sometimes when we are dealing with our own challenge.

Yet, how often is it that we know someone may be going through difficult circumstances but in our busy and already cluttered lives, we don’t reach out.  Not because we are not generous people. We just don’t get around to it for any number of reasons.

Ashley and her compassionate sign that has been seen around the country, maybe even the world, make me question – if the tables were turned, if I had seen that someone had been rummaging through my garbage, would I have posted a sign like hers.

The truth is, in my life, I have been a shoulder for so many people. I have mentored youth. I have given of my time and resources to help people when they needed it. I have encouraged others to see their own strengths when they were focused on their weaknesses. I have volunteered for causes when I can.

But…I may not have thought to put that sign on my restaurant door if I noticed someone had gone through my trash.

I am so inspired by Ashley’s gesture. Whether or not that anonymous person comes forward, Ashley has reminded me of the power we each have to impact those around us.

Let’s make a point to not forget.

A Random Act Of Kindness For A Little Boy And His Family

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The other day I received an email from a friend, Christy Berning, that was sent to a large number of us.  It told the story of a little boy and his family in an unfamiliar city living temporarily in our Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as they battle health issues no little boy should have to face.  They are on the waiting list for the Ronald McDonald House, which is about 20 days+.

Braylon – like Christy’s neice – has Dandy Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation involving the cerebellum (an area at the back of the brain that controls movement) and the fluid filled spaces around it that causes seizures, physical and cognitive delays and many scary surgeries and hospital visits like the Random act of kindnessone he is experiencing now.

Doctors suspect that he may have a defect in his T-cells and are running some tests to determine whether he would be a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. If this is the case, it is a very long six-month process where they would completely wipe out his immune system starting with chemotherapy and rebuild it from scratch.

He would need to wait, however, until they could get his infection under control, because he is currently not stable enough to undergo the treatments. Additionally, Braylon has some major GI issues, and is currently connected to a central line for feeding. Prayers that they can get his feeding better to remove the line, since these lines carry with them a very high risk of infection.

I have been to our Children’s Hospital so many times. It is an incredible place where hallways are lined with bright colors and on any given day you may see therapy dogs or clowns or other volunteers roaming to take the seriousness away even for just a few moments.

Families like Braylon’s come from around the globe for the opportunity to seek medical treatment from the very best.  Still, all in all, it can be a lonely journey with long hours of waiting, worrying, wondering and hoping.

So people like Christy who take it upon themselves to reach out and organize efforts to build a community around a family living at the bedside of their child are so incredibly meaningful.  Christy asked us to write a card, contribute to a welcome basket or send another token gift, cook a meal, or just keep the family in our thoughts and prayers.

I’ll be sending along a card and Mylar balloons.

Christy and I had lunch this week, and we talked about how acts of kindness have such broad spread impact not only on the receiver but also on the giver.  It is such a powerful gift we can give others and ourselves. And it has a way of spreading. I am in awe of Christy’s beautiful heart, and am inspired to give kindness to others.

The Lesson In A Random Act Of Kindness

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When I look back on my long career, I have so many reasons to smile. I have been so fortunate to have worked on so many truly heart-touching, community-strengthening and even fun causes and organizations. I have worked side by side some of the most passionate people who dedicate their days to improving the lives of others.

For me, it is great fulfillment knowing I have been a part of helping those people and those causes to further their ability to impact positive change. I admire them and am inspired them constantly, learning so many important life lessons from their example.

This week I was reminded of one of those lessons. On a steamy hot Cincinnati summer day, I walked into my bank with an envelope in my hand.

However, as I walked up to the table where I fill out my deposit slip, I had no idea how my day was about to change. There, in the envelope, resting on top of my check was $30 in cash with a hand written note from my client. The note reads, “Lisa – Thanks for everything! Great work. Take yourself to your favorite restaurant.” (and then signed by my client)

The smile that swept across my face was for the most part stuck there the rest of that day. I shared what had just happened with the bank teller, with an old friend who I happened to run into at a restaurant, and with my friend who I was meeting for lunch. quote about a random act of kindness by Lisa DesatnikActually I think I shared it with everyone with whom I spoke.

When I got back to my desk, I was feeling so happy. I was more creative in my thoughts, more productive in my work, more enthusiastic about goals. Later I reached out to a few people who I hadn’t talked to in way too long, one being someone I had helped years back.

It is amazing what appreciation and a random act of kindness can do to a person, and the ripple effect. Day in and day out we are so used to our daily routines. We work long hours to meet deadlines and goals. We try our best to manage many demands on our time. And as we go about our way, it is easy to forget to let others know we appreciate them and the good effort they put in; to smile at a stranger as we hurriedly rush to a meeting; or to help someone who is having a bad day.

As humans, whether we admit it or not, we all have a basic need to feel valued. It is how we get the most out of ourselves, others, and our relationships with them.

A random act of kindness is just that. It is random. It can be as simple as a smile or a hug, writing a note of encouragement, or opening a door. But it is also a deliberate act that brightens someone’s day.

My challenge to you is this: today and every day, find simple ways to let those around you know that you value them; and be conscious to look for opportunities to spread kindness. Let’s keep this ripple flowing.

A Random Act Of Kindness Has Far Reaching Impact

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The person who told me her story, gave me permission to share it with this reason…”The world would be a better place if we all gave an unsolicited compliment to a stranger every now and then.”
…Something to think about.

random act of kindness note

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