I’ve been following a heartwarming story in my hometown’s Facebook group. It all started with a kind man named Tim.
Tim had just finished up shopping at the grocery store, and while on his way back to his car, noticed a man holding a sign asking for help. Upon seeing this man, Tim did an about-face and headed back into the store. He came out with a gift card and some treats for the man’s puppy.
As he approached the man with the sign, someone across the parking lot yelled, “Leave the junkie alone. Don’t give him anything!”
In sharing this experience in the group, Tim hoped to reach the person who yelled the comments to remind them to not be so quick to judge. What his post turned into, however, became so much more.
Tim made it his personal mission to help who we now know to be Jimmy with far more than a grocery store gift card. Driven by his compassionate heart, Tim coordinated efforts with residents in the group to get Jimmy back on his feet.
Fast forward just a few weeks and Jimmy now has a job, a new wardrobe, and a room he is renting. His puppy, Wild, has been fully checked out by a vet, vaccinated, and has an ongoing supply of food. And Tim and Jimmy have become fast, dear friends.
Tim is what I refer to as a Gratitude Pioneer – someone who takes the lead on making a positive impact on the world; someone who knows that gratitude is more than an attitude — it’s a practice.
While it’s always a good time to put this practice into play, the month of November feels particularly fitting being the month we here in the US celebrate Thanksgiving.
When things look grim in the world, as they do now, you probably have to dig deep to feel grateful. However, when you play an intentional role in the healing of the world, as Tim is doing, you become part of the solution. Instead of dissolving into the misery, you rise above it by getting your hands dirty and helping out.
Ordinary people are doing extraordinary things every day and it can have a strong domino effect. As I read the posts of the residents in that Facebook group asking what else Jimmy or Wild needed, and as a result, Tim compiling a list and organizing a drop-off time and location for these generous souls to contribute necessities, I saw one man’s actions turn into a town-wide mission joined by dozens and dozens of people.
In addition to donated items:
- Electricians volunteered their services to fix the wiring in the camper someone sold to Jimmy for $100 for immediate shelter. (The $100, by the way, was donated by another member).
- A homeowner invited Jimmy to park his camper on her property temporarily so he’d have an address for job applications.
- Men donated dress clothes for Jimmy to wear on interviews.
- People offered to drive him to the appointments.
- A barber offered a cut and a shave.
- And so much more.
Tim has created his own army of gratitude pioneers, and he’s not the only one.
Katha, a long-time family friend, travels into Boston each and every Monday night to deliver pizza and necessities to those struggling with homelessness. When my father was alive, he would accompany her and get such joy out of helping in this way. Since he passed, one of my brothers has stepped into the role, and to help Katha in her mission and continue to honor my father’s legacy, my family assembles 200 Blessing Bags (filled with toiletries, gift cards, etc) every year for her to pass out at Christmas.
Katha, by her example, has also assembled her own gratitude army.
Then there’s Jasper Thompson, a man originally from Jamaica who now lives in Bristol, UK. Jasper wanted to help the homeless population in his new town so he started handing out hot food. Wanting to do even more, he has since launched Help Bristol’s Homeless, which organizes the build out of self-contained micro-flats made out of shipping containers. Jasper has rallied the support of local business and tradespeople to help out to offer temporary housing to those who otherwise would sleep on the streets. Yup, Jasper now has his crew of pioneers!
This is the practice of gratitude in action. While Jimmy, Katha, and Jasper are doing some major things, kind acts of any size have a profound impact on the world — even something as simple as a smile to a stranger can turn someone’s day around.
Throughout the month of November, I’ll be posting a daily Random Act of Kindness (RAK) challenge on my Facebook page. It includes a suggested RAK and an invitation to share in the comments what you’re doing to help heal the world. I hope you’ll join me over there and up your gratitude game.
To be sure you see the challenges each day, you must let Facebook know you want to view my page’s posts first. After coming to my page here and clicking “Like,” click on “Following” as shown below and choose “See First.”
Together, I believe we can right our world’s course and overcome the current loud negativity. So what do you think? Are you up for it?
I’ll see you over on Facebook,