Teachable Tuesday|More Kindness Than We Realize

Last week I was on my way home from class. It was late at night and there was a man out near the freeway with his sign. I’m in Phoenix and it gets hot here, I mean really hot. My heart always goes out to people that I see on the street (especially during the day). Whether they are homeless, walking, or waiting for the bus. It’s way too hot to be outside just because you want to. So here I was, stopped at this light waiting for it to turn green and get on the freeway to make my half hour drive home and crawl into bed by 11. Out of the corner of my eye I see this man with a sign. 

The old me was suspicious of people. I would have wondered is he really in need? Is he one of these people that tugs on people’s heartstrings and goes home to a big ol’ house and a nicer car than me? The new me says, it doesn’t matter! I didn’t question his motivation or genuineness. I know it’s hot outside, he’s a human being and he needs water. So I take a cooler with cold bottles of water everywhere I go. I place it on the passenger’s side on the floor. It’s easy to reach and whenever I come across someone that’s out in the heat (even at night) I give them a cold bottle of water.

I’m not telling you this to toot my own horn, in fact I’d rather not be telling this because it’s something I do from the bottom of my heart and don’t seek any attention from it. But there was such a connection I made that night with that man. When I honked my horn and rolled down my window, I know a lot of times they are expecting money. I never know what to expect when I hold a water bottle out of the window. One time I had a man curse me out for offering him a bag filled with toiletries and soft chewable snacks. It made me leery of offering anything other than money but I had to get over it. I couldn’t let one person’s reaction deprive others of the little I was able to offer them. When I handed this man the bottle of water, he gave me such a heartfelt smile that I saw it in his eyes. Not just that his eyes creased in the corners but I really saw the appreciation in his eyes. I smiled back, he thanked me and asked God to bless me as he stood back on the median and drank his water. When the light turned green, I went to give a little honk to say bye but he was already looking towards me and waving.

This week’s teachable moment is two fold-

  1. By choosing to view the world in a kinder way, I no longer expect the worst of people- Instead of being suspicious of everyone and their intentions, I just give from a grateful and kind heart. I’ve realized it’s the manner in which I give that matters. What that person does with it is up to them, I’m not responsible for it or in control of it.
  2. There are people that live off of the kindness of others- This goes hand in hand with the point above. When I stopped looking at people as if they were out to take advantage of me and everyone around me, I was able to see that this man standing under the overpass of the freeway at 10:30 at night in 100° weather is either really dedicated or really in need. He and many others live day to day depending on the kindness of others to fill their stomachs and have the basic necessities to live.

Point 2 really made me realize that there’s more kindness in the world than we realize. Ideally no one would go without and there would be a better social structure in place to help those in need. Yet there are many people in need. I encourage you to be less leery and be more giving. I’m willing to bet you won’t think twice about having given to someone that truly needed it. I personally choose to give water or items because it’s a necessity and I can help more people. I can either give one person some money or I can spend $4 on a case of 32 water bottles and hand them out to many people. When you give without judgement or expectation, it sets you up to give freely from your heart without regret. As individuals we might not be able to fix the problem on our own but we can make a difference even if only in a small way.

Everyday Kindness
Join and spread the word about the Facebook community that focuses on showcasing the kindness around us! Click the photo to visit!

What are your thoughts on this post? Can you relate to being suspicious of others? Do you give with a kind and grateful heart? Do you give without expectation? If not, are you willing to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

21 Replies to “Teachable Tuesday|More Kindness Than We Realize”

      1. It’s funny that you wrote that today, because my blog post tomorrow will be about the importance of drinking water and eliminating sugary drinks. So I just found that kinda funny 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Such a lovely story – it’s all too easy to dismiss opportunities for kindness. This week I have bought chocolates to say thank you to the lovely ladies who clean my art room (very messy!) and written thank you notes to all the children who draw me pictures. I also bought lunch in for my colleague on a day where I knew we’d be busy. I too, gain so much from this mindset. I feel happier 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome Nicky! What great ways to be thoughtful, kind and grateful! I can’t imagine how good they felt having such sweet surprises! Yeah, it’s hard not to feel happy when you’re doing something nice for someone else ❤ Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I battle with this all the time! I never have cash on me—not that I can hand that out every time I see someone standing there in need—and I feel leery, like you did, of what reaction any other item would get me. But you’re right and I will think about this differently now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been doing it for 2 years now and I don’t even know how many water bottles or bags I’ve given out…I’ve only had that reaction 1 time!! As for the cash, I feel like I’m able to help more people in a small way by purchasing things in bulk. A group of ladies and I got together and each brought small toiletries, necessities and snacks and made the small zip lock bags I mentioned. There were about 40 of us and we made hundreds of bags. It was amazing to see how a small group could come together to help so many people. I’m glad that this could help you look at it a different way. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m actually part of a mom’s group on meetup.com. I had to host an event as part of my membership “requirement” we had done a ton of play dates and I wanted to do something different. I asked my 6 year old if she’d be interested in making bags for those in need and she was so we made into a date at the park that we stuffed the bags while the kids played then let them play and have snacks. It was a really great experience. The turnout was great and we were able to make better quality bags and many more than I was able to afford on my own. I think each mom spent between $10 and $15 on items.

        As for the bags themselves, I did some research online. I wanted everything to fit in a zip lock back so we did a bag big enough to hold a water bottle and everything else was mini (soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc). Then one website mentioned people in need not being able to eat hard and crunchy things due to dental issues so soft chewy snacks were better. Each bag had to have at least 1 snack and 1 water bottle and then we stuffed an assortment of whatever fit beyond that.


      2. Yeah, we divided them equally between us. I had so many I gave a box to my mom and a box to my stepdad to pass out on their way to work in addition to the box I had! I let my daughter pass ours out and that always brings a smile to their face ❤


  3. Here in Atlanta it’s pretty well publicized that many in the city exploit the ‘see me I’m in need’ by making it their sole source of income. So it’s bound to make a gal think when stopped at a light. In other areas I’ve given what I could to those groups that I am sure of live on the streets for real. The difference I guess is knowing the need exists and making an effort to ease some suffering as I can. I did actually offer up a need to another tonight-one that negativity impacted me, but I gave anyway because her need is obviously greater than mine. It was hard to do but I did it with a gracious heart. You are an inspiration-don’t ever stop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s unfortunate that individuals do that. It taints people and makes them leery to give as I was. How kind of you to do that Amanda! I’m sure she will remember that! Giving with a grateful heart is so important. I love the way you put it- “making an effort to ease some suffering”. If we all did our small part to make someone’s life a little easier and more comfortable, we’d shift so many things in this world. Keep doing what you do! Your kind heart touches lives! Thank you Amanda, just doing my small part ❤


    1. I understand! A group of my friends came together and made bags for the homeless a couple of summers ago. We made hundreds of bags. We each had about 50 bags to give away. I spit them up and gave some to my mom and stepdad since we all took different routes and were in different areas of the city during our commutes. Out of the 20 bags I gave away only 1 man complained and cussed me out because I offered basic necessities instead of money. Had I let him get to me, 19 people in need that wouldn’t have gotten something to help them through the day. I realized that I couldn’t continue to deprive many of kindness out of fear that few would reject it. It hasn’t happened in the years since and my daughter always checks to make sure I packed the cooler with cold water before we leave the house.


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