Bushiri Salumu is truly one of the most joyful, kind, and ambitious people I have ever met and just thinking about him makes me so happy.
The kindest person I’ve ever known is my wife. I came home from work one day years ago and she asked, “what would you think if I had another baby?” I said that we had talked about it and thought we had decided that one was enough, that we were done having kids. She responded, “what if it wasn’t yours?” I was confused and upset until she clarified that she wanted to become a surrogate mother. She wanted to use her body to give a pair of strangers the gift of a family when they had all but given up hope at ever having one. Through an agency we were matched with a couple who were unable to have children of their own. The wife had significant injuries from serving in Afghanistan and was unable to carry a child because of them. We tried an IVF procedure three times, and failed all three times. It was devastating, for the couple, and for us as we had come to consider them close friends. After all this heartache and pain my wife decided that she would never give up. That we would start over. We were then matched with another couple. The wife had a genetic condition that rendered her unable to carry a baby, or even to donate her own eggs for the procedure. Using an egg donor we tried the IVF procedure with them and they were blessed with twins on the first attempt. My wife carried twins to term and had them during one of the hottest Julys on record in Saint Louis. She gave birth to these twins, and we sent them home with their real parents. She handled it better than anyone could ever have expected. She handled it better than me. We still get pictures of the twins, they consider us an Aunt and Uncle. We love them, we love their parents, but we miss them every day. Right now there is a family making a memory with two perfect children who could not have existed without my wife, the kindest person I have ever known.
When I was travelling on an airplane, there was a girl who overheard her neighbor talking about his wife being on the same airplane, but they were assigned different places. So, she traded places with his wife. I think it is just nice to be nice to people when you see them.
My family and i met Alberto in Cancun, Mexico. He was very friendly and always said hi when him and his family bumped with my family during our trip. He also gladly taught my dad some spanish whenever they met. His friendly personalty really has touched me and my family.
Amanda and I went to the vet to get Laslo, our cat, checked out because he hadn’t had his checkup in a while. While we were there we found out he had a couple vaccines due, which we knew about, but he also had some other procedures due which we didn’t know about. Since he’s an indoor/outdoor cat, he’s susceptible to feline leukemia and FIV and he’s been an outdoor cat for around 6 months now. We didn’t know about this otherwise we would have gotten him the vaccinations before hand so we were a little bit worried. The tests to get him checked for all this is pretty expensive, not to mention the doctor’s visit and all the other stuff, so we were trying to limit what we could get done in this visit and there were quite a few things we could not do. So we were going to get him vaccinated for FIV but we could not get him tested for it because we figured we might as well save the money and just get him vaccinated just in case. Everything we were gonna get was going to come up to quite a bit and they knew our situation, they knew we were strapped for money. We spoke to the doctor and asked what we would recommend we do and he went to the back. When he came back out, he told us that he would give us six months worth of flea medication for the price of 2 and a free doctor’s visit. Overall, the whole thing should have cost around $400 but they only charged us a little over $200. We were just so shocked, I was almost in tears and Amanda was in tears and it was just so awesome of them to do that.
I may not have a picture of him or with him but he’s firmly etched in my mind. The story I would love to share is about this man everyone fondly called Bahadur bhaiya. I studied in NAFL for 12 years, and every single day I was there, he would make sure that after school, each child went home with the familiar driver or parent. He was so sharp and intelligent that he knew all the names of the children and their respective support systems. At the end of each of those 12 school years, I would say good bye to him for the summer vacations and he would too along with some very valuable advice I remember to this day. He would tell me not to just sit around in the summer and watch TV but to go and see the world and come back with very interesting stories. He still works in school and every time I go back, he enquires about my life, my family and my future plans, and always has a beaming smile on his face that makes my day!! Thank you Bahadur bhaiya for making me feel so safe and loved in NAFL!
My girlfriend Tiffany sprained both of her ankles and had to be in a wheelchair just a few days before we traveled to Munich. Our first night in Munich we were attempting to get on the tram as rain drizzled on us. I threw our luggage on, but we went to the door that doesn’t lower. The only other passenger on the tram was a teenager exiting. He immediately realized we were struggling and began helping me lift Tiffany and her wheelchair the few meters up into the tram. If he wasn’t there we would have been helplessly stranded in the rain. We are both still grateful for his small act of kindness which impacted us greatly.
There are few random days in the year when Keith comes to my desk in the morning and gives me an orange. It turns out that on many of those days I did not have time to get breakfast. Thanks Keith!
A couple of years ago, my uncle went canoeing in the James River, and he found a baby beaver that just kept following him around. He would actually go back there everyday to find the baby beaver there and so he realized that his mother wasn’t going to back for the baby. He decided to take it to our house because he didn’t know what to do at first, but he nursed it back to health and then he gave it to a veterinarian, who was able to release it safely into the wild again.
As students, we don’t devote enough time towards taking care of the self. I know I didn’t. After a busy first year, I found myself generally unhappy with the direction my university life was going. One day last spring, my best buddy, Craig Wendleken, took the time to sit down with me and let me know that we all need a break sometimes. His words helped to start a period of self-reflection and self-discovery for me. Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for his advice that day. It had made me a better leader and a better man. I love you, Craig!
When I was about to get into trouble for unintentionally throwing a chalk piece at our new teacher in Josephs, it was Raj Sir and Nikhath ma’am that understood that it was just a mistake and they were the ones who had my back and defended me. Without their help I would’ve probably been expelled because of this silly situation. I’ll forever be grateful to them! :)
We had our first TurnUP event at the Plaza of the Americas a few weeks ago and I wasn’t too sure what to expect with regards to how people would respond. We had a map of campus which we were going to ask people to put pins in wherever they’ve seen or experienced an act of kindness to build a kindness map. We had cookies and candy to kinda lure people in as well. Within 15 minutes this girl walks up and asks what we’re doing and whether she could get a cookie. After we explained what Unsung People is about she got super excited and said that this was an organization she wanted to be a part of. She then stayed for an hour and a half helping out, snapchatted it the whole time, and even called and texted all her friends (about 10 of them even showed up). It was awesome, and I never expected someone to be that willing to help out at the drop of a hat. It really highlighted the whole point of this organization about how easy it is to perform an act of kindness and made me super confident about the future of Unsung People here at UF.
Ramesh uncle is a helper in Vidyaniketan School. For a man who has just enough to get through the day, he gives plenty to others. No matter what it may cost him, he is always ready to help someone else out. He used to get me a cup of coffee or some snacks from the school’s kitchen. I am pretty sure that was not allowed, but he did it anyways. If you go back to visit him, he always tells you to work hard and do well in life. He even gives you his blessings unconditionally. Thank you, Ramesh Uncle. For being the most amazing, kindest person we all know you to be.
My mom was looking for a book at the airport store to read on the plane, and a stranger woman came up making small conversation. Mom explained oh just browsing to get something for the plane. The woman then took out a book from her bag and said here, I just finished this book and it was great. So, my mom got a great book for free and is going to now give it to someone else next time at the airport ~sisterhood of the traveling book
My son Likhithbhargav was having breakfast in a restaurant and suddenly witnessed an accident. An old lady was hit by a motorbike - she fell down and had injuries on her head. My son immediately lifted her in his arms, put her in an auto rikshaw, admitted her in the hospital and left. For my son to exhibit such kindness to a stranger made me proud.
It was my first week in London, and my friend and I made the rookie mistake of hailing a black cab, notoriously known for their slit-throat prices. As we rode to Oxford Street and made our way through all the traffic, the meter just skyrocketed. My friend and I looked at each other in disbelief, vowing to never take a black cab again. On reaching Oxford Street, we got out of the cab and were just about to pay, when our cabbie looked at us and said, ‘I don’t have the heart to charge you guys the full meter, you look like students and it wasn’t your fault that the traffic was so bad! So just give me a fiver each and that’ll be fine.’ His small act of kindness left me happy all day, and was a really nice start to my first week in the City.
My roommate made sure I was awake in time to move my car so it wouldn’t be towed.
Every single car that Saumya’s family owns has a loaf of bread and chappati at all times. Every signal that the car stops at when they’re travelling the driver rolls down the window and feeds all the cows and dogs around. Sometimes they even hand out food to beggars at some junctions. When most of us spend those 60-120 seconds doing nothing, this family has fed countless dogs, cows and underpriviledged people on the roads.
The students at SJCC hang out at their adda “Chetas” regularly after class for Cheta’s infamous egg puff and oreo shake. When the lunch bell rings an old and frail homeless woman stands besides chetas and waits for her buddy from SJCC who buys her an egg puff and oreo shake everyday... And they also never forget to share how their respective days have been. I’ve been a student there for almost 3 years now... But there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t witnessed this... It’s not just part of their daily routine anymore :)
In my house in Mumbai, a kitten was stuck on the roof. The kitten was stuck in an iron mesh and was having a tough time getting out. It was constantly moaning and this drew the attention of many people sharing the same roof. People started peering through their windows. When it became unbearable for me, I called a vet who said that the only way to get the kitten out was to use a fishing pole. I contacted our apartment watchman Shambu who then called a fisherman. The fisherman came in after an hour and helped remove the kitten from the mesh using his fishing pole. Both the watchman and fisherman went outside their normal duties and had no reason to do this. These are some amazing things that you can do in India.
My friends and I were hiking over break and had stopped to rest - Mr. Landry happened to be there as well, and he offered to take our photograph with his old film camera. He later emailed the photograph to us. I thought it was just awesome how clearly passionate he was about what he did and how willing he was to share that passion with us. He captured a wonderful moment in time, and he did so out of the kindness of his own heart.
My mom was looking for a book at the airport store to read on the plane, and a stranger woman came up making small conversation. Mom explained oh just browsing to get something for the plane. The woman then took out a book from her bag and said here, I just finished this book and it was great. So, my mom got a great book for free and is going to now give it to someone else next time at the airport ~sisterhood of the traveling book~
I remember moments when Sagar was supporting me in Lyon when I’ve had some complications with family. The same he was doing with his other friends. That is how he has changed many persons from depressed to a happy ones.
I saw this construction worker on the corner buy his sandwich and then he came outside and gave the homeless man his change. :’)
20 years ago, my Mom met with an accident. She was riding back home from work, when a school van hit her and drove away. She was gravely injured and unconscious. An auto driver who was passing by, saw her and took her in the auto to a nearby nursing home. The nursing home refused to accept her as it was an accident case. My mom was slightly conscious by then, he asked her for the house number, went to a shop near by, called my Dad, picked him up and then took them to a hospital, where they treated her. We are forever thankful to this unknown hero for saving my mother’s life.
During new year’s eve few years back, a family was struggling to find a ride to the airport. Prem Koshy came across this family, which had two children, one of whom was sick. But because it was a busy day, transportation was a problem. Prem Koshy took the effort to drop this family to the airport with his car, and the family was grateful for what he did.
Many years back, my wife Hari Om Goel had fallen down in the balcony and hit her head on the railing. It was 2 am in the morning and we did not have a way of taking her to the hospital. Just then we got help from our tenant Vinay Kumar who drove my wife to the hospital. What was amazing was the Vinay Kumar had his final MD exam that morning at 8 am. Despite this, he not only drove her to the hospital but also stayed till medical assistance was received and the CT scan was done. He is presently in Orissa, and till today we remember this amazing act and keep in touch with him.
When my friend was traveling to his office in Koramangala, he saw two construction workers to go to the same place. He then decided to drop the two construction workers at their worksite because it is on the way to his office. He now does this everyday. They have a good conversation in their drive to work.
My mom and a few of her friends from church were chatting after the mass at our local church ended and overheard some of the teens talking about prom. One of the guys wanted to go with a girl from church, but she couldn’t say yes because she didn’t have the money for the expenses that come with prom (dress, shoes, makeup, hair-do, nails, etc). She’s been through some tough times with her family- her mother isn’t present in her life, and she grew up as the oldest sister taking care of her younger siblings. My mom and her fellow church ladies decided to get together and make this girl’s prom dream a reality. They split up the work: my mom bought her a dress, another woman provided shoes and accessories, another paid for hair and makeup, and just like that, this girl had the whole prom package. The day of prom, I accompanied my mom to the house where their prom group was getting ready and meeting for pictures. It reminded me of my prom moments, and I was so glad to see that this girl could have that moment too because of the generosity of a few women. It was a small act of kindness on their part, but a permanent happy memory in a young teen’s life.
While I was in the Caribbean over break, I was taken aback and disheartened to see the sheer number of homeless individuals. However, I noticed one day that an old man brought a group of homeless individuals sandwiches, and the most amazing part was that he kept coming back for four days to provide these individuals sandwiches. It was heartwarming to see such kindness from an individual that thought to give back even when he was visiting an island.
Much to my own shame, I let myself go a little too far at a concert one night (Afroman at Theta Chi fraternity to be specific) and I was not capable of getting myself home (it especially didn’t help that it was so far from where I live). One of my friends, even though she was with other people and was having a good time and could have stayed, got me on a bus, got me home, tucked me in bed and stayed the night with me to make sure I was okay. She took care of me better than anyone ever has, and I could never thank her enough for ensuring my safety, health, and overall well being.
Teachers have one of the toughest jobs in the world, especially when you have to deal with 45 teenage girls who seem to think that every problem means the world is going to end. Dealing with that alone, already takes a strong person, but Ms. Mack would constantly build all of us up. Every problem we had, she would not only listen to us, but validate us in a school that seemed like it never cared. She took every opportunity to remind us that we were good people and because of that we all started to believe it. I don’t think I would have any of the confidence I have now without her. She always helped me out in a tough spot, and I knew that she would be there for me no matter what.
Once we went out drinking at Watson’s pub. Since we knew we were going to be drinking, we did not take our vehicles there. By the time we left, it was pretty late and we had had a bit too much to drink. We were walking around ulsoor searching for a cab, but weren’t able to get a cab because they were all booked. Luckily, we saw an empty taxi pass by and the taxi driver stopped and offered to drop us. The cab driver offered to drop us to our houses which are on the other side of the city and far apart from each other as well. When we got off and offered him some money, the cab driver politely refused to take it from us because he knew we were drunk and wanted to make sure we reached home safe. Even after we insisted he take the cab fare from us, he refused to charge us a penny.
It was my first year, and I had been studying for an art history final for the past 5 hours when all of a sudden, a couple of students came into bring everyone in the McGregor room Campus Cookies. They didn’t ask for donations or even a thank you. All they wanted was to spread kindness.
My mother is a beautician by profession who specializes in bridal make up and cosmetics. Bridal make up and cosmetics tends to be quite expensive, so every once in a while, when she is approached by a client who cannot afford to buy the products from her, she gives them her services, completely free of cost. She made me realize that business is not just about making profits, it’s about having good relations with the clients. She helps make someone’s special day, a lot more special!
There was a time when I was in Panera Bread study, and I noticed that the dirty dishes were stacked improperly. Since I am a little OCD about that stuff in general, I kinda arranged them when no one was looking because I was a little self conscious about it. One of the workers actually had seen me doing that; the next thing I know, I go back to my table and he approaches me to give me a free cookie and drink. He says to me, “I saw your act of kindness and wanted to give one back to you.” I was really touched by his gesture, and hopefully people can be as kind.
I was in Trichy for a football tournament being conducted at JJCET college. On one of the days, we were allotted a bus and a driver to go around the city. On our way back to the college, my friend had unknowingly dropped my wallet in the bus. I didn’t realize my wallet was missing until late that night. On trying to recollect where it may have been misplaced, we ended up searching the bus, which was parked in the campus itself, being a college bus. But my wallet was not to be found. The next day, we called the bus driver just to cover all the possibilities. He had found the wallet after dropping us off and had kept it safely until one of us contacted him, as he had no way of reaching us. He came to meet us somewhere in the city and handed it back to me with all of its contents untouched. When I offered him some money as a token of my gratitude, he refused to take it.
So yesterday I was having an alright day, nothing particularly special happened. But then one of my friends, instead of asking how my day was going or how I was doing, he asked what was the best thing that happened to me that day. That question forced me to really take stock and appreciate all the good little things that did happen yesterday and it made me look back and realize that I really did have a good day.
At the beginning of this semester in my biology class, the teacher asked the class if there is anyone who would be willing to take notes for another student who cannot take them on their own. I thought because it was such a large class, not many people would come down to offer their help. Surprisingly, I saw seven or eight people come down and volunteer to take notes, and I just thought that was a really sweet thing for them to do.
Auto drivers have an image of being cheeky and sly. But perceptions are often different from reality. Auto Driver Shabeer is a good example. He saw a boy running to college as he was late and in all the hurry, the boy fell down and was wounded by the fall. Despite having gotten hurt, he got back up and continued running to college. On seeing this boy’s condition, Shabeer offered and insisted on dropping him to his college, free of charge. He didn’t need to, he didn’t have to, but he WANTED to help the boy. And this is what makes all the difference in the world. “There are always people like me who do small acts to help people, but no one notices the good work, they only remember the bad”, he says. Thank you, Auto Driver Shabeer, for helping someone in need. Your act hasn’t gone unnoticed.
We went on a field trip to Monticello for a class, and one of the TA’s brought their section coffee from Starbucks and bagels from Bodos.
It’s a common sight in Bangalore to see children selling roses to people on the streets. This was the case at Airlines as well. But one such time, instead of being sent away or yelled at, these kids were invited in and offered some food. They enjoyed the masala dosas, idlis, and coffee that they were offered by the hotel and the owner. For dessert, they were also treated to some ice cream. Thank you for showing these kids what kindness really means!
A friend of mine went for a run this morning. He got pretty far away, and it got cold. He wasn’t able to run back so someone gave him a ride back.