Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter - candy for kids? Free air?

We were lucky enough today to be invited over to a friend's house for a gi-normous easter bash. Twenty relatives, six kids and us  - the two friends. We're horribly spoiled to be a part of this family. We love them dearly and they treat us so well.

On the way down to the house, we stopped so Mr. M could put air in the tires. While he ran inside the gas station to get some quarters, a woman pulled up next to us, popped her quarters in and filled her tires.
As M was walking out - she handed him the still running nozzle, said "Happy Easter - want some free air?" and sped away..

How something so simple can have such a profound effect. Mr. M was in a great mood - we went down to see the kiddos go on a massive easter egg hunt, get themselves all crazy on sugar and we all ate too much food.

As the end approached, I asked the littlest for a goodbye hug. She threw herself into my lap, professed her love, made sure she covered my lovely silk blouse with pink peep goo and all I could think was: what an amazing easter sunday. The kids got candy. M got free air. And I'm covered in pink-peep love.

All is good.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The kindess of the community

We're displaced. It is official. They haven't even started the restoration work on our home and because of that, today is our three week anniversary of hotel living. I've decided to look on the positive side of things... We have someone who makes our bed and cleans our house. We have underground, heated parking in the middle of winter! We have a breakfast buffet every morning!
And every night, we get to dine in one of the fabulous restaurants that Hartford has to offer. Now, we're staying above a bar/comedy club - and we haven't ventured in there even once. About twenty steps away from our front door is the front door of this great restaurant that we've always loved, called Dish.
I must say, over the last three weeks, these guys have really risen to the occasion.. They have gone out of their way to make this time in our life a little easier.. Our favorite waiter - Gary, the night managers - Audrey and Doreen.. They really have gone above and beyond to make our life a little better, a little easier, a little gentler.
And they've done it simply by greeting us, making us feel like a part of their restaurant family - always asking how the house is coming along. Not only do we get great food and exceptional service - we get a personal touch that makes us feel, well, a little bit more "normalized".
Thanks to the entire Dish family for making this time in our life a little bit easier.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Desserts are twice as sweet as the desert. ;)

It has been a week. I can't lie. Last night, I'd already put over 60 hours into work - all of which we were in the office. I came home, we went to our favorite sushi restaurant, and were back in the hotel room (current home) by 6:30. I'll admit, I had nothing left in me. It was all done. A few hours later - M decided to run downstairs to the restaurant next door to our hotel. We love this place. We go at least once a week (two or three times a week now that we're living in a hotel).. The day manager is a great friend of ours, and the night manager is fast becoming a friend.
She knows about all the things that are going on with the house, and how hard it is to be out of our home..
Apparently, she was there last night when M popped in for a dessert to go. He ordered. She returned with a bag that weighed 6 lbs.
He brought it upstairs.
We opened the bag like kids on Christmas morning.
She'd put one of every dessert in that bag. We're loaded up with sugar for at least two weeks. I had to freeze several of them so they wouldn't go bad..
Desserts. They are twice as sweet as deserts. ;)
What did you do today?

Friday, February 4, 2011

I didn't hurt the plumber

I have to admit, today it might be difficult to come up with a good random act of kindness.. I had to stretch a bit. Our hot water heater decided to leak (starting the first day of our vacation in maui).. Over the last three weeks, I've been managing multiple insurance companies, building managers, association managers, security officers, water remediation teams, electricians, plumbers and my growing impatience. We're now at week three of not hot water in the house, and we're living in a hotel room. Life, it seems, is not very fair right now.

Yesterday, the approved reconstructionist was supposed to come to our house to make his appraisal. He couldn't get down our street because the city hadn't plowed. So he rescheduled for Tuesday of next week. After a bried phone call, where I explained that Tuesday of next week wouldn't work, but that today would, he promised to show up.

He was scheduled to be here between 8 - 830.. We woke up at the hotel, took showers (thank goodness for hot water) and trooped the four blocks home in minus 2 temps.. Arrived at the house at 745 to find that the water main had burst on our street - flooding our storage units..

Guess when he showed up? 9:48.



And he walked into our light beige carpeted living room and over our wood floors and into our beige carpeted hallway to assess the damage, all while dragging snow and ice melt and other assorted black things through our house. With an "oops - I'm outta my booties", as he continued to melt onto the carpet, he stepped into the destructo bathroom.

10 minutes later he was gone - with promised to fax over his estimate today.

I didn't kill him. Or swear at him. Or kick him. Or even make mention of it.

And as soon as he walked out the door, without a word,  my amazing partner got out the resolve and he started to clean the carpets.

Now, if that isn't the best most random act of kindness to that plumber, I don't know what is.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hawaii and kindness

We spent two weeks in Hawaii, just returning to the frigid northeast..

While we were there, it was beyond evident to me that the lifestyle of the islands simply lends itself to all sorts of random acts of kindness. People said hello to us on the street (and not just the howlies).. We had great service everywhere we went (even outside, and I mean WELL outside the tourist zone). Peopple were friendly and happy and kind to each other. Even the homeless people were friendlier than they are in New York.

I kept catching myself thinking - why are people so much happier here???

I wonder - is it because people are nicer to each other and it has spread and grown? I watched people hold doors, pick up packages for each other - and hell, who couldn't love being greeted with a flower necklace.

Is there something we can learn from a culture on an island that is not just kind and good and calm - but filled with so many random acts of kindness that it was hard to call out one or two - because it was simply a way of life..

What did you do today?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Been gone for a bit

I'll catch you up on the last two weeks - I have some new theories post our time in Hawaii.. Tonight - coming home from my first day back at work - cold, tired, ready to be done for the day.. I was sliding my way down our very non-shoveled/de-iced driveway at our condo complex swearing under my breath the entire time at building management and myself for wearing heels..
I look up, still swearing under my breath, and notice that one of my neighbors - a guy I don't even know very well, has now been standing at our front door for over two minutes, waiting for me to navigate my way down the slippery slope of death that is our driveway.
I looked at him and said "I'm slow - go on in" and he responded with a "I'm in no rush, take your time, just want to make sure you make it in ok tonight".
Random act of kindness that made my entire day better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

22.4 inches here in Hartford. I spent most of the day with dueling laptops, working my way through what was my last day before our long awaited vacation.. I plowed through the day, sending off power points, leaving last instructions, and watching the snow pile up like mad on my deck.

Made it through the day and the snow finally stopped... I made dinner for us and post dinner, instead of donning fuzzy jammies and slippers, M and I decided to go for a walk through our little winter wonderland of Downtown Hartford. Because I'd been inside all day, I really felt like I hadn't had the opportunity to even attempt a random act of kindness..

There really weren't people out on the streets.. A couple of restaurants managed to open.. People laughing and drinking inside the warm walls.. The city was almost totally all ours! We even got to walk down the middle of some of the streets. It was awesome. One of those nights when I love my little city..

After wandering around for a while, we decided to head home.. The sidewalks were pretty slippery, and as we rounded one of corners, we saw an elderly couple coming towards us. She was several steps ahead of her husband, and kept looking back over her shoulder, checking on him. He was walking down the sidewalk, clutching onto street signs and a cane in his other hand.

I asked him if I could offer him a hand. He looked so offended - it made me sad. This gentleman was no match for the sidewalk with its steep grade, yet he refused our help. I looked at M a bit helplessly, and we went on our way.. Singing christmas carols as we walked down our streets home..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Delta airlines - ice storms and snow.

I didn't perform a random act of kindness today - but someone bestowed one on me. I was supposed to fly from Dallas where I was giving a speech, through Atlanta, to Hartford tonight. If any of you have been watching the news, you know that Atlanta was closed because of an ice storm..
Delta rebooked me through Detroit. All was fine until Detroit started getting freezing fog (yup, fog) and snow. My connection from Detroit to Hartford was cancelled. No hotels available within miles of the airport. The option they rebooked me for was to stay in Detroit over night and then fly to Cinci in the morning. Then keep your fingers crossed and we'll go from there.
One of the joys of traveling over 150,000 miles a year is that you get status on airlines you are loyal to. I'm Diamond. That's the cream of the crop for Delta. If any of you have seen Up in the Air, I am the female version of George Clooney.
Anyhoo - called the uber-special-Diamond line where they answer their calls with "thank you for your loyalty"... This woman, named Kathy, who has the best laugh I've ever heard literally walked me (while I ran) through the Detroit airport and got me on a flight that was sold out and I shouldn't have been able to get on. I'm not sure how, and I don't even want to know, but this woman, who doesn't know me at all, stayed on the phone with me for over 25 minutes, working with a super bitch, yup, I said it, gate agent and GOT ME ON THAT PLANE.
It was the last plane that landed in Hartford tonight. We're expecting something like 14 inches of snow between tonight and Wednesday evening.
This woman got me home. And she did it because I really needed to get home. And she knew it.
Random act of kindness.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Buy a little coffee..

When I lived in Minneapolis, years ago, I used to go through a caribou coffee drive thru every single morning. I knew all of the employees there and had a habit of, once a week, buying the coffee for the stranger behind me in line. I'd throw an extra five dollars in - and these guys would always surprise the person behind me.

Today, at the Hartford airport, I bought coffee for the person in line behind me. She was an airport employee and by the look on her face, you'd think she'd won the lottery. It was less than $2.00 out of my pocket, and I truly believe it changed her day.

That - and that fact that although I don't have my caribou coffee drive thru anymore - I do have dunkin donuts employees at the bradley airport who know what I drink. Guess I travel too much. ;)

What was your random act today?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The joys of facebook.

Yesterday, I changed my status to this:

I much prefer random acts of kindness to senseless acts of violence.

This morning, as I sit in my comfy leather chair and watch hours after hours of coverage on the shooting rampage in Arizona, I find myself with tears streaming down my face. I usually only cry at good comedians..

On National Pay it Forward Day, in December, I happened to be in New York. I was supposed to go have a fancy dinner with a bunch of executives at a fancy restaurant. It had been a long commute to the city that day, so I bowed out of dinner.

Instead, I decided I wanted to go for a walk. As a wandered the streets of the city, I stopped into one of my favorite pizza places for a slice. I sat at the counter, eating my slice and thinking to myself about how lucky I am.

I went back up to the ordering counter and ordered 5 slices of pizza, asking the guy to wrap each one individually.. I walked the block to Bryant Park and started handed out slices to the homeless that sleep there at night.

Random act of kindness.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Today is the day

Today, we witnessed a senseless act of violence and I decided that I could use my voice to talk about kindness -  and the good that I see each and every day. So today I start. Today I start sharing an act of kindness a day and hopefully - you will share yours too.

We're all human. We're all people. We may have different beliefs and views - but at the end of the day, we're all human. And I, for one, would like to officially declare that I much prefer random acts of kindness to senseless acts of violence.