Your Good Deeds

This isn’t my page, readers — it’s yours! I’d love to hear tales of your Good Deeds, large and small. I know they’re happening all around us — so tell your stories here, won’t you?

133 Responses to Your Good Deeds

  1. Alma says:

    Erin, thanks so much for your “Good Deed” book – what a great idea! I started reading on Jan 1st and really enjoy the minute or two each day absorbing the “goodness” approach to life. As it would happen though, I seem to be the recipient of good deeds lately, rather than the “doer” – however, I believe that I’m more aware now (because of your book) and I’m always on the look-out for an opportunity to do something good – hopefully I’ll get better at this as time goes by 🙂

    Thanks again for such a helpful book… Alma

  2. Kate Lund says:

    First of all, I LOVE your book. It took me 2 months of taking it in and out of my local library to finish it, because I didn’t want to let go of it. Before your book, I always subscribed to the life philosophy “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty”. Your book just made me want to be an “itinerant good-doer” even more.
    I wanted to let you know that I am spreading the message of your book. My work is substitute teaching. I was working recently at a high school library, and saw that they had put up a Christmas tree for students with a sign asking them to write descriptions of good deeds from their favorite books on ornament-shaped paper cut-outs and hang them on the library tree. I looked and saw a LOAD of stuff from Hunger Games, but nothing much else. I happened to have your book with me. So, I quickly wrote up a condensed version of your friend Erika’s encounter with the Stranger, which had just touched my heart a few pages earlier, and hung it on their tree, making sure I put your name and book title on the paper.

  3. Michele says:

    I’d like to share two ideas for Good Deeds.

    One is to donate blood on a regular basis. I took my son today for his first time.
    We can go again on August 14th.

    Another activity that I take part in on a regular basis is donating my pop cans and bottles to a
    local high school scholarship fund.

    • Michele, those are both great ideas. I’m not sure anything is better than donating blood, and that’s the truth!

      Tanks for chiming in!

      • Michele says:

        The past two nights I went to watch some of my students, present and past, play baseball. These are first, second and third graders. They are so excited when you show up. They were two rewarding evenings for me.

        Also Erin mentioned in her book, that not “everyone can afford to buy a book, but everyone can afford to read one”.
        So yesterday I used my coupons to buy some books for some former students; and today I ordered a copy of my son’s book for my niece.

      • Fantastic, Michele. I went to my nephew’s baseball game a few weeks ago, and got the same reception.

        I’m a bookseller by day, so thanks for this!

      • Michele says:

        Made food for my nephew’s graduation party-hand rolled 325 meatballs, (family recipe) Made another batch of cocktail meatballs, ( my son’s request) and made two dirt cakes

        Our extended family always helps each other out for these big occasions.

        We will be hosting the annual 4th of July party but I know everything will bring their special dish

      • We do the same! And we never miss a chance to celebrate.

      • Michele says:

        June 24:

        I had a friend who was treating herself to a longer than normal vacation and was sharing that she would have to bring along a lot of books to read at the beach.

        I had a series that she hadn’t read.
        So I gathered them together, about 7, and took time to take them to her.
        I hope she enjoys them as much as I did.

        Another activity I have enjoyed recently was attending graduation parties of students I taught in first grade. Also if I couldn’t attend their party, I sent a card to acknowledge their accomplishment. I like staying connected.

      • I think the teacher/student bond is a lifelong one — god for you. And of course reading…well, that goes without saying!

      • Michele says:

        June 26, 2013

        My husband generally does the majority of the driving when we go places.
        But today I suggested that I drive back from our outing so he could rest or just enjoy the beautiful scenery here in Yellowstone. He seemed very appreciative.

        Also my hubby is our main family photographer.
        Today he agreed to take this long somewhat strenuous hike to the brink of the Canyon lower falls because I wanted to.
        Well about 3/4 of the way down, the battery on his camera went dead. He was obviously disappointed as the best picture taking opportunities were still ahead.
        So I volunteered to go back up to the car and get another battery.
        A long way back up and back down again, but he was appreciative. We got great pictures, and I got some extra exercise.
        A win-win situation

      • You’re a better woman than I.

  4. Denise says:

    Hi Erin! Yesterday I was on the hunt for some last minute Easter finery. As you can imagine, it took some time, however I am happy to report it was a successful journey. On the way home, I was speaking to my daughter, who said ‘Hold on, Daddy is on the phone..’ Hmmm, that’s odd, I thought, since he was driving the car I was in. Alex returned to the phone and instructed us to turn around to meet a woman who had his phone. She saw it fly off the back of his trunk when we pulled out of the lot and stopped HER car to retrieve it for us. Amazing!!!

    Of course I offered her a monetary reward, which she refused. Of course she had driven from the city out to here to shop…( I don’t know why, I don’t ask questions) but I did offer to pay her gas, and again she refused. What to do? We met in the lot of a convenience store. The lot itself was littered with glass beer bottles that we needed to navigate around. So I thanked her again and said ‘One Good Deed deserves another’ (you know I instantly thought of you) and got down to business cleaning up those bottles in the lot.

    I never thought to ask her if she read your book… I bet she did!

    • Denise, what a fun and funny story! And a great and really u usual way to pay forward a good deed! Bet ther are going to be some eggs in your basket! Thanks for passing this tale along.

  5. Change TheWorld says:

    If anyone is interested, here is a short Youtube video about how one woman began to change the world with just $100 and a lot of love in her heart:

    Thank you!

    • Very nice and good luck! Keep in touch — I’m sure you’ll hear reverberations for sometime to come. A great idea — thanks for sharing it here.

      • Change TheWorld says:

        Thank you so much! If you’re so inclined, please feel free to share this link through your personal channels (Facebook, e-mail, blogs, Twitter feeds, etc.) so that it might get more exposure. Already it has inspired someone to start a campaign to raise funds for a homeless shelter, so it’s doing good things. I appreciate you taking the time to watch it, and thank you for your kind words!

  6. Connie says:

    I heard you on Martha Steward Living radio today and you inspired me. I am a hospice nurse and drive around town daily to see all of my patients. I drove into Tim Hortons to get a coffee with a gift card I had been given at Christmas. I used the card to purchase my coffee then told the salesgirl to give the remaining amount on the card to the person in car in line behind me. I have heard of people doing that and it felt great because I really didn’t need the gift card and thought maybe the person in line behind me could use it more. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Connie! That’s always a fun thing to do, and you really do get a kick out of it. A lot of people are doing this lately — I wonder if we shouldn’t ask cashiers to hod on to it until someone who needs it comes in? I’ve been touched to similar stories of wealthy people anonymously paying folks’ layaway bills in stores at holiday time.

      Either way, it’s terrific!

  7. Kerry Fair says:

    I started a FaceBook page called threesix5kindly to encourage folks in my geographical area to live their year, 365 days, with kindness. I encourage them to perform one kind act a day and post their efforts to the page. The goal is get people thinking about kindness, how they can perform kind acts and incorporate this into their daily lives. I truly believe that kindness is contagious and by empowering others to be kind, we will have an epidemic of kindness in Northeast CT!

  8. Lindsay says:

    Today I drove by a couple (and a dog) holding a “HOMELESS” sign in the middle of the road. I felt the urge to help, so I went to the nearest McDonald’s and ordered a decent amount of food. On my way home, I drove by and handed them the steaming hot bag and said Merry Christmas. The man hadn’t even finished saying thank you when he threw the sign down and immediately opened the bag. I have felt great all day.

  9. Jen says:


    For when you have a few spare moments and need something to read while enjoying your coffee or tea (or hot dog):

    Stop by and see what you helped inspire.

    • You know any book project is close to my heart, Jen — and your taking a page from ONE GOOD DEED made me smile. Thank you so much!

      And you’ll neer beliee it, but when I picked up this message earlier, I actually *was* eating a hot dog — topped with macaroni and cheese!

      • Jen says:

        I TOTALLY believe it! Though the macaroni and cheese bit was a little surprising.

        Thawing out hot dogs in my fridge right now; maybe I’ll have one tonight and toast you from California. Without the mac n cheese though; I like mine with just mustard and dill pickles.

      • You don’t know what you’re missing.

  10. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Today I helped my mom clean out her linen closet.

  11. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Our power was out yesterday.A car took out a couple of poles. When we finally had power again,I cooked Hubby one of his favorite meals. He was very happy!

    Today I let a couple of people ahead of me in the grocery line. They only had a few items and were grateful to get out of the store as quickly as possible. I love to let people ahead of me,the look of surprise makes me smile every time.

  12. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Good Deed #1 I voted today. Such an honor to live in a country where we have this right!

    Good Deed #2 I donated to the local Salvation Army. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the need is great.

  13. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Yesterday was a bad day,had to have the car towed and that WAS an ordeal! So,no good deed done….maybe I will double up today!

  14. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Today I mixed up some healing, herb-infused oils for my brother. I hope it helps his dry skin rash.

  15. Darlene Roudebush says:

    I babysat today so my son-in-law could go to a college football game. Unfortunately his team lost. But he was grateful to be able to go.

  16. Darlene Roudebush says:

    I have to admit, I feel like I should quit this with all the turmoil from Sandy going on. But I commited myself to a year of good deeds,and so….with unease,I will continue on.
    I was out in traffic again today and let cars in when I could. I also put a couple of shopping carts back in their spot that were just left in the parking lot. I’ve had carts hit my car before by careless shoppers.

  17. Darlene Roudebush says:

    The traffic today was terrible,so every time I saw someone needing to pull onto the road,I let them in. I may have upset those behind me,but I felt great about helping those trying to pull into traffic and they all smiled and waved their thanks!

  18. Darlene Roudebush says:

    I consider today a cheat really….I babysat so my daughter could take the older ones trick or treating. Not a hardship at all!! I love babies!

    I missed a chance to pay for a friend behind me in a line.Must pay better attention!!

  19. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Trick or Treat was at our mall this evening and I held the door for some very tired looking moms with their hands full of kids,strollers and bags. The costumes and excitement from the little ones was wonderful to see.

    I also thanked a shoe salesman for his time spent finding my hubby some shoes. I made sure he knew how much I appreciated him. I know it is his job,but he did it well!

  20. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Stayed inside because of the storm. So,my good deed was to support the local pizza place. Dinner was delicious!

  21. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Well,this may be harder than I thought! I saw 4 small deer out in our yard and thought I would give them some corn I had drying. The corn had molded,so I threw it away. Sorry,deer!
    Stayed home today because of all the rain we are getting. A relative dropped by and I listened while they vented about 45 minutes. I think this is a grey area…does it count as a good deed to listen? I think yes!

  22. Darlene Roudebush says:

    Today is my birthday and the first day of my journey doing One Good Deed every day for a year. My first deed was to send the One Good Deed book to a friend. I hope she enjoys it as much as I have. This was an easy deed and I am sure there will be days I stumble…but I am looking forward to trying to do a bit better each day!

  23. jenn says:

    Several years ago a rare snow storm hit the Seattle area. my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I saw all the stranded people at the airport on the news. Like 2 fools, we jumped into the car and drove 20 miles to the airport in the storm in the hopes of finding someone who needed a place to stay. Easier said than done. I finally found an older couple who was en route from Mexico to Canada with their dog. they stayed with us for 3 days. I don’t remember their names and we never heard from them again but I Will never forget what it was like to offer shelter to people who so desperately needed us.

    • Ah, youth! Jenn, if you’ve seen ONE GOOD DEED, the book, you’ll have run across the story of a man falling in the store I work in and folks being afraid to help him up because our country has become so litigious. I feel like your story bears some of those earmarks. Would you do the same thing today, in a world where folks worry so about fraud and strangers?

      I have a feeling you might still! Great story. Bet there’s a family in Mexico who think about you now and again, too.

  24. Laura Syre says:

    So, I was reminded of your book this morning, Erin, when I was in Talbots in Hingham checking out their buy-one-get-one-half-price fall sale. I managed to find a small mountain of things (not big enough that I needed a sherpa, but a smallish one.)
    While checking out, there were two older patrician-looking women — perhaps in their 70s — who each had a couple of things, so I told the cashier to please wait on them. I could wait (not really, but I was Good Deed-ing).
    Now, I know that we shouldn’t look for thanks for a random act of kindness, but I was taken aback that neither woman thanked me or even threw a smile my way. The cashier, however, did thank me for my patience. I thought, “Well, one out of three is OK.”
    Well, I tried.

    • Oh, brother. I find these are the times it’s hard to do a good deed. It’s not that I need recognition — but I do insist on good manners (which seem to be practically gone with the wind). People. Sheesh, Laura.

  25. Betsy Harkins says:

    Erin, my Mom is reading your book right now and I have gotten interested.
    The Atkinson sisters are now residing at Autumn Glen in North Dartmouth. One, I think, Ruth, has recently fallen and broken her hip. Her sister needs help getting to St. Lukes for visits. Perhaps some of your local fans would like to do some good deeds and provide rides to the hospital for vists for now and for the rehab to follow.

    • erinmchughwrites says:

      Hi, Betsy!

      In this, at least, there are no flies on me. I visited Hope on Sunday only to hear the news about Ruth. I’ve told a few people already, so hope they help out. In fact I emailed one mutual friend who had been out of town and returned to find many calls form Hope — she’ll be bringing her tomorrow. Seems incredible — I thought The Girls were invincible.

      Thanks for checking in. Love to you and your Mom — what a treat it was to see Kathy after all these years!


  26. Amanda says:

    Sometimes, when I’m in the drivethru, I like to pay for the order of the person behind me. I never see their reaction, but I always just assume I put a smile on their face.

  27. Pam McNay says:

    I love to go to the See’s candy kiosk during the holidays. My intent is to get a box of candy to remind my family of our lives in Southern California where they have actual stores, (where my elderly mother lives and I can’t see her as often as I’d like). Then I spot an elderly person looking over the products, engage him or her in conversation about my childhood favorites. We end up at the register, I push my way forward to be first, and pay for their choices. It makes me so happy to bring joy to them!

    • Love this, Pam – I think it’s hilarious that you rev yourself up to trick these folks in such a special way each year. And the holidays are coming! Now. How about adding a few more holidays?

    • Jen says:

      I have a friend who is now on the East Coast who misses her See’s something fierce! I always incorporate a 1/4 of her very favorite (Kona Mocha) with every Christmas package I send her. It’s more than a tasty treat for her; it’s a flavor of a memory.

      • “A flavor of a memory” — love that, Jen. Reminds me of one of the first posts in ONE GOOD DEED, the book, where I ponder about the experience of going out for ice cream. Seems to me the delight comes from the fact that all those times roll into one big ice cream memory.

  28. pam holmes says:

    last night i paid a good deed forward. my dear friend anne aka annie surprised me with a copy of One Good Deed. i received her wonderful package in the mail last week. gift wrapped! and even better, it was signed by erin along with an inscription to carry on the ODG revolution. anne’s thoughtfulness brought me such joy. she’s a special friend. always thoughtful. always amazingly upbeat. i met her 21 years ago when i relocated for a job. we worked together for only a year before she moved back to massachusetts to get married. i was sad to see her go but glad to be able to move into her historic row house rental. this is such a silly expression yet annie is a breath of fresh air! and her sister helen is equally as upbeat.

    when i moved to “the south” 10 years ago i’d always make it a point, when i came “back north” to visit her at her beautiful boutique. my friend betty and i always make it an afternoon outing. lunch first and then shopping at her shoppe or shopping first and then lunch…hopefully with annie joining us.

    annie has always been a doer of good deeds. she would sneak a little something (chocolate, a small bowl, etc.) along with my purchases into my bag. or take time out of her busy day to join us for a quick bite of lunch…and then treat us! or when not able to join us, betty and i would go next door to the cute little lunch spot, have a lovely lunch and then realize annie had called the owner and paid for our lunch! every so often we are able to share a few hours catching up over dinner with her husband, sister or sweet mom.

    annie is the type of friend who lifts your spirits so high, even if you’re already in a great mood. her laughter and spirit is infectious! i am so blessed!

    okay…i’m running long. fast forward back to yesterday. i’ve been enjoying OGD so much that it’s been a part of my daily read. as in a true book. paper pages with a hard cover. oh how i love hardcover books! i have a new friend who i met through another friend two years ago. recently my new friend and i have gotten to be good friends. so she’s been having a very hard time personally the past 10 months yet she never shared until a few months ago. shared with only three close friends and she’s included me as a close friend. last month we went from being new friends to being close friends after having spent four days at the beach with her along with our dogs…and her company paid the tab since she was on business. ka-ching! wow! jackpot! especially since i’ve been out of work since february. so two days ago, she asked me to come over saturday night for dinner. she’d cook and she needed a listening ear so to share and have a good cry.

    so yesterday i said a small prayer yesterday before calling my local indie bookstore to see if they had OGD in stock. jackpot! and they gift wrapped it for me! i’ve paid forward annie’s generosity and good deed by sharing this great book with my close friend who is going through a rough spot in life. one could say i’m going through a rough spot beginning in 2012. my 18 year old gay nephew, bullied since third grade took his life new year’s day. two words. life changing. i will never be the same. and then i was downsized one month later (my close friend is still ballistic about this as recently as last night) and then my 13 year old dog had to be put down in march. adopted/rescued her only three years earlier. nope. not making this up. all this to say despite all of these challenges i never once hesitated to buy this book for her. never. i knew she needed it. would love it! just like i love it! sure money is tight yet she deserved the hard cover copy. she loved it. she cried.

    thank you erin. thank you annie. you’ve both brought joy to me and i’ve been able to do a good deed for someone in need. the first of many.

    (apologies, if needed for such a long submission. obviously got carried away!)

    • Pam —

      An incredible note. What a rough time you’ve had of it — so hoping things begin to turn around immediately. And special condolences to you for your nephew.

      Your words encompass all I could ever have hoped someone to feel from reading ONE GOOD DEED. Thank you so much for telling your story.

      • pam holmes says:

        thank you erin for your thoughts. jeffrey patrick fehr (take a minute to read about his life on the internet to include SAP’s 11 minute It Gets Better video in his memory) was an amazing young man, proud of being gay yet also experienced depression. his personal credo was “do what you love” which i wear his yellow bracelet with those words. so despite my other losses this year his death pales in comparison. actually, no comparison. i have a new perspective and outlook on life. one being…strong faith and doing good deeds. let me just say my original post was intended to honor annie, pay forward her good deed(s) and to share OGD with someone in need. thank you for taking all of us on this journey. a true bright spot for me.

      • Yes, and I agree — Anne is something else, and she does those sweet things for me, too. She is special indeed.

    • Pam —

      An incredible note. What a rough time you’ve had of it — so hoping things begin to turn around immediately. And special condolences to you for your nephew.

      Your words encompass all I could ever have hoped someone to feel from reading ONE GOOD DEED. Thank you so much for telling your story. And yes — that Ann is some special chick!

  29. Gail Cosgriff says:

    My mother taught me “Do what you’re supposed to do, PLUS ONE THING MORE.”
    It can be as simple as putting a loose shopping cart in the parking lot corral, letting someone pass through a door before you, or picking up a piece of trash from the sidewalk.
    Imagine what the world would be like if even a tiny portion of people adopted this motto?

    • Gail, I am CRAZY about Mom’s motto! I’m going to use it everywhere, and on everyone. Thank you.

      And yes, this is just what ONE GOOD DEED, the book, is trying to do: help get the critical mass on board.

  30. Jen says:

    Today included an Erin moment wrapped in a mom day, and I wanted to tell you. Forgive the length.

    My mother passed unexpectedly on Sunday April 29. Although she had battled mental illness for decades, her general health was good, and we had been enjoying the fact that a recent move in care facilities had resulted in her being much more physically close than the last several years (the difference was now an 8 minute drive from my home; previously, 60 mins each way, minimum). She had only been there two weeks, and expressed frequently how happy she was to be there. I had seen her four hours prior to her death, exchanged lots of hugs and kisses and “see you on Tuesday”, so the call later that evening was, to put it mildly, a shock. She was only 66.

    Having dealt so long with the mental illness, in many ways I’d said my goodbyes to “mom” years ago, so the past couple of days of grief have been mingled more with relief (that both of us can set these burdens down), gratitude that the last couple of weeks of her life were filled with such joy, and some regret that we didn’t have a chance to do some of the things I had planned on taking her to see now that she was so nearby. One of those was the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, one of the finest in the country. My mother loved roses all her life; you could say it’s one of the “things” she was known for, and I just knew that she would find this place magical. I went today without her, and felt a nit heavy around the heart as I drove there, regretting that we never made it.

    I meandered through the garden a bit, taking a few pictures, and then sat on a bench near a fountain to peruse the map of the garden, curious to see if they had any plantings that shared my mother’s name since I knew of a few varieties that might (they didn’t). While looking, a hesitant voice said “Hello?”. I looked up to see an elderly man in a hat and trim mustache smile and say, “Could us help? Please?” He gestured with his cane toward an older woman in a headscarf being escorted by a younger man (wife and son I presumed after a moment). The man spoke with an accent; I couldn’t tell from where, but Eastern Europe, perhaps. With his gesture, the younger man bustled forward with a tiny digital camera, saying “Oh thank you” and the like in less broken phrases. I immediately thought of you, Erin, and your recent park bench story. “Absolutely!” I said with a huge smile, jumping up from the bench and setting my own sorrows aside for the moment.

    “Which would you like? By the roses? Or over by the fountain?” The younger man glanced at both, uncertain. “Is hard to say, can’t tell about the sun…I’m not sure…” he hesitated. Solving the dilemma, I declared “How about both? We’ll do both, and then later you can decide which you like better.” As the younger man translated for his older guests (parents?), they smiled and nodded shyly, and we commenced with backdrops of blooming white icicle roses, and a spraying fountain. I handed the camera back to the younger man, made sure he didn’t forget the case he’d set on the bench beside mine, and they set off back down the path. “Have a wonderful day!” I said as they moved off. Clearly not willing to let language be a barrier, the older gentleman stopped and nodded, stating “Bye bye!” three times and giving a little wave before turning back to his family.

    As I sat back down myself I could smell a fragrant mix of roses on the breeze and realized then how completely silly I’d been to come with such sorrow around me. My mother had been there all along.

    • Jen — What a wonderful story. So good of you to share it during this hard time (perhaps it even helped a little?). My mother died at 66, too, following several rough years, so I understand the shock, combined with — I thought sometimes — no surprise at all.

      I love that you went right off to the Rose Garden with your mother — if only in your heart — and that such a memorable little “sideshow” took place. Funny how that family will always remember your kindness, and yet never know what you were going through. And now you’ll remember them for what they added to your day.

      My condolences to you, and wishes for years and years of more great memories, brought to you one way or another by your mother.

  31. Jennifer Dowd says:

    After a lovely fondue dinner in NYC with some very special friends, I shared a cab to cross town, and when my companion left the cab I realized I had misplaced my cell phone. I started to go into panic mode and was rustling around in my bags trying to find it. The cabbie, who had probably seen this happen many times, was extremely calm. He offered to pull over, call my phone number from his own phone hoping that we would hear the ring from a distant corner of one of my big bags. Unfortunately the phone did not ring in my bag, but rather in the home of the friend we had been visiting who answered it and confirmed that I had indeed left it on her coffee table. The cabbie who was about to go off duty to pick up his daughter ( we were minutes from my destination when this unfolded) said that it would be his pleasure to drive all the way back across town to get my phone and that he would try to take the shortest and quickest route to help me catch my train as well as save me as much as possible on the fare that was now about to double. I got back to my friends house, grabbed my phone, and went on my merry way back across town with my newest friend– the cab driver! I have to say that this event which could have been MUCH more stressful without the kindness and calmness of my cab driver pal. I will never know his name, and I bet he was probably pretty late to pick up his daughter, but he treated me like a friend, instead of a “fare” and it left a big impact on me. I told him about this blog and I hope he reads this and realizes his “one good deed” will not soon be forgotten!

    • Fantastic, Jennifer! Cabs are so expensive these days that you’re usually miffed just getting in one — but to hear that great cabbie story will make anybody think twice who usually says, “Ahhh, New Yorkers!” Proof positive that they’re some of the kindest people around. What a guy!

      Thanks for sharing your near-tale of woe!

  32. Friend and author (of a terrific novel coming in June, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.) Nichole Bernier reports in with a grand post-St.Patrick’s Day story:

    I’m not Irish (though my husband and kids are Ahern), but I’m always doing a little fabricated jig on the 17th, even while I’m sad in memory about my beloved aunt/godmother who left us on St Pat’s Eve. She was known for making all food green on the 17th, even putting food coloring in the milk.

    I love what you’re doing here with OneGoodDeed. The world would be a stellar place if everyone lived by this daily: letting someone merge in traffic, chattering back to kids in grocery carts, saying “I like your shoes!” in the coffeeshop line.

    Last week I did something that still effects me more than the old gent I did it for, if he even remembers. Charley is 88 and walks to the coffeeshop daily because his wife is in the hospital with pneumonia. When I was down the street at cvs, bought him one of those cheesy battery-op blooming flowers in a vase. When I gave it to him at the coffeeshop to give to her he looked like he’d won the lottery. He probably forgot it under the table, but it made my afternoon, imagining it making its way to the hospital.

  33. Norah Griego says:

    I like and thank you for post.Many thanks. Much obliged.

  34. Hilarious, Ellen! Imagine the wrath of that trio if you had screwed that up. Talk about a Good Deed gone bad!

    Thanks for posting this!

  35. Ellen Brickman says:

    A community agency I support offered a fundraising event featuring Judith Viorst as speaker. I invited my mother as a Mother’s day gift. She agreed and I bought the tickets. Then thought of a friend who might like it and invited her. As I made arrangements to pick up my mother, in the wrong direction for me, but who, thankfully, doesn’t drive at night, she asked if I would pick up her friend, who lives in a different wrong direction from me. Of course, I said. That day, at work, I got a call from one of the event organizers. Would I pick up an older lady who might live somewhere near me? Sure, I said. I’ll figure it out. So I called the 3rd oldster and in making arrangements with her, discovered I had the time wrong and would have arrived as the event was ending. Do a good deed and don’t miss out.

  36. Stella says:

    Our Feathered Friends!
    What I love about this story is that there were so many participants in this good deed.
    An injured baby sparrow wandered into our office the other day. Being terrified of birds, even the baby kind, my lovely assistants took over with getting him into a safe place. We noticed he had what looked like an abrasion on his little head. We packed him up into a small box and begin our quest to find help. We called many animal facilities and walked to a neighboring vets office, but no one would take him. Finally, a woman waiting for her cat in the vets office offered us help. She knew of a place on Amsterdam Ave, Animal General, who would agree to take him and made the call for us. We quickly got him back to our office and called a favorite messenger of ours to safely deliver him to the facility. He agreed to take our injured bird, by bicycle, uptown at no cost to us.

    It turns out his head was cracked open and was missing a piece of his skull (yikes!) either from a fall or adult bird attack. They promised to operate, but no guarantee that he would survive. We named him “Lucky” because he was lucky enough to find people that care 🙂 The following day we called our contact, Rita, at Animal General and were elated to hear that Lucky had survived his surgery and was doing well. They were shocked that he had lived through this entire ordeal.

    A special thanks to Animal General on Amsterdam Avenue. Those people pay it forward with a good deed or 2 every day!!

    • You’re so right, Stella — it was like a chain letter of folks helping! And I love that you all didn’t give up when you got turned away.

      Love, love, love this story — thanks for sharing it with everybody!

  37. Lift says:

    I’m glad that I’ve found this site. You sure can write and teach and inspire. Keep writing – I’ll keep reading.

  38. Howard says:

    maybe i”m only saintly when it comes to money…

  39. Howard says:

    today i went to the bodega ATM and it gave me an extra $20. i immediately alerted the bodega owner, who looked at me like i was crazy when i insisted he take it back.

    • Howard: you are a walking good deed, who the universe is trying to foil at every turn! What a mensch!

    • Chris says:

      I had a similar experience during the holidays recently. I have gone to the bank every Friday for months to cash a check covering my elderly mother’s expenses for each week. The tellers have gotten to know me, at least by sight. There’s one man who is always very accommodating and pleasant, but often calls me by my mom’s name; they’re technically her checks, even though I sign them. I’m loathe to correct him– it seems petty somehow. One day in late December, while I waited online I overheard the tellers talking about discrepancies in their cash boxes. My male teller friend was particularly distressed– it seems that he was off by quite a bit and it wasn’t in his favor. I knew the difference might have to come out of his own pocket and could see that he was very distracted when I went to cash larger check than usual, to cover holiday gifts to my mother’s health aides. After I walked away from the counter and counted my money I found that he had given me an extra $100. I went back to the teller and told him, and handed back the bill. He beamed over the counter and said, “Nancy, I could just hug you!” When I got back to my mom’s apartment I passed along the hug to the real Nancy!

  40. Karen says:

    This isn’t so much a good deed as an attempt to promote feeling good. As we all know, the Megamillions lottery drawing was at a record high this week. I went out and bought a bunch of tickets and gave one to each of my co-workers. Not one of us won a thing, but it was fun thinking about what we’d do with the money if we did win!

  41. Daniel says:

    Hi Erin! I’m always happy to find people who are taking such beautiful initiatives. My brother and I have also put orth the challenge of doing 1 good deed a day throughout 2011. Hopefully, by the end of this year, doing good deeds daily will have become a habit, not a challenge =D

    Our mission is to do one good deed per day. Large or small, it doesn’t matter. Self-sacrificing or not, extraordinary or mundane, it doesn’t matter. Just one thing every day, that’s all.

    Small acts CAN change the world right? And in order to achieve great things, we must first be willing to take the initial small steps.

    I’ll post here the link to our Journal where you can follow our daily good deeds.

    P.S.: Loved your post about the “I love Joshua Day”, Barbara. I’m getting some ideas for good deeds from it 😉

    • Thanks for sending the link, Daniel, and thanks so much for following. You’re right, the deed is not in the size, from what I’ve experienced so far, and in fact it does become a habit, and one of the first things I think of when I face the day.

      Good luck to you guys, too!

  42. Barbara G. says:

    OK, so you’ve inspired me to start a blog. I’m calling it The Corner on Character and I’ll share stories about people who are cornering the market on character. You can check it out here:

    • Babara, it’s great, and I’m glad I could inspire you in any way. Now you’ll spread the word and your stories as well: that’s the whole idea of ONE GOOD DEED! Thanks for letting me know.

      Hey, and feel free to point your readers this way as well!

  43. MJ Vineburgh says:

    About 8 yrs ago, I went to open the door to my office. which was in the basement of my building. It was nighttime and dark. I couldn’t get in — something was in my way. “Something” turned out to be someone. A street lady was sleeping. She got up – scared. I told her not to be. We talked a bit. I liked her. I gave her $100 ( The party I had just catered gave me a cash tip – I like that!) bill. She couldn’t believe it. I felt great!

    The next day, in the sunlight , I went to my office. I found a rose outside my door.
    Wow, what a sensation. I was overwhelmed and so touched.

  44. says:

    Your thoughtful BUY TWO, GIVE ONE post prompts me to suggest BUY THREE, GIVE TWO. I rewarded myself for good behavior with the purchase of three lip glosses. Only one was for me. I had the other two in my purse. So when a friend had a good day with her battle against anorexia “Congratulations!” I said to her, after a healthy dinner. I gave her two lip glosses, one for her achievement, and one so she could do a good deed and reward someone else. Buy three, give two and it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

  45. Barbara G. says:

    Hey Erin –
    As I grabbed my knit bag, I thought of another Good Deed you or your readers might want to try. Why ‘knot’ join my third graders and knit (or crochet) a cap for an underweight newborn in a developing country?! Visit Save the Children’s website for details at then watch our video for inspiration:

    • Great idea, Barbara. Also, if you want to knit with others socially, lots of bookstores have knitting groups that meet like reading groups. They often knit for causes as well.

    • Ellen Bernstein says:

      I’m getting started on this tomorrow. I have just finished knitting scarves for my two grand-daughters and had heaps of yarn left over. Perfect synchronicity!

  46. Barbara G. says:

    I should have attached the news clip – My Fox Houston featured the story on their Building Better Minds segment – get those tissues ready!

  47. Barbara G. says:

    When S.O.S. Means Santas for Our Soldiers

    It was a situation that even Santa wouldn’t have believed. But since Christmas magic has a way of making holiday miracles happen, we were making a list of things that soldiers might want or need and gearing up to solicit donations from our school family before we even had a single soldier to sponsor. Since our third graders had sent 44 care packages to our two adopted soldiers on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan last December, the Glaze-DeMarco leadership duo that pitched the project figured we ought to open it up to the whole school and see what would happen. Would donations double, or better yet, triple in size? We didn’t know, but we did know that the Rotary had doubled its contribution and paid for the first 40 boxes. You see, a flat-rate US Postal Service military box costs $12.50 each to ship, so we had to believe that we’d get the rest covered.

    So our call for the names of soldiers we could support as well as for the donations we’d need went out simultaneously. We aligned our collection with Veterans Day – items would be collected between November 8th and 12th – so that the children could make a connection by honoring and saluting those who’d served before, and treating and thanking those who are serving now. Each of our 710 students at Westwood wrote a letter and drew a picture to be sent with the boxes. As the names of soldiers serving overseas trickled in, so did basic-need toiletries as well as games, books, toys, candy, non-perishable food and other fun goodies for our troops. Every afternoon, a little elf would pick them up from the classrooms and take them to the Donation Station, where volunteers stood ready to separate and sort the stuff. By mid-week, we had adopted 15 soldiers from the Westwood family and gathered a mountain of treats, trinkets, and treasures.

    By the end of the week, our collection had exploded! I had stumbled on the illustrated picture book, A Soldier’s Night Before Christmas, by Christine Ford, over the weekend and picked up the five copies I found. Our volunteers thought we ought to have a book for each of the soldiers, so they headed out about town and found ten more so that we could include those in our packages as well. Monday afternoon, our elves moved the goods to our Packing Station and started to assemble APO boxes. Boy Scout Pack 445 phoned and asked if we could include some of their surplus popcorn packets, so Monday night we picked up their donation of eleven cases of kernels for the corps. By Tuesday, our students were packing the large shipping boxes for our troops. Before we left school that afternoon, we had 80 boxes ready to go and at least 28 more to pack. Unsure that we had secured enough postage, we put out an S.O.S. to rally the troops locally by asking them to Adopt A Box; before we knew it, offers to adopt one, two, five, and ten rolled in.

    Wednesday afternoon brought us a sweet surprise when Sgt. Benjamin Stilwell, a Westwood alum and the recipient of 22 of our boxes from last year’s drive, stopped by Santa’s Westwood Workshop to help our first graders put the finishing touches on the packing process. He told the children how much their priority mail (and especially their pictures and letters!) meant to him and his platoon during his tour far away from home in Afghanistan. With a huge, child-like grin on his face, this 28-year-old soldier said that the Nerf football we sent was their favorite thing of all.
    Thursday afternoon found our amazing volunteers completing the 125 customs forms that it would take to ship boxes to all of our adoptees. First thing Friday morning, second graders from Teresa Waltenbaugh’s class helped carry out the boxes and load them into the vans so that our elves could transport them to their 9:00 a.m. appointment at the Friendswood Post Office.

    It was a scene even Santa wouldn’t believe. Volunteers almost too numerous to count swarmed the van to offer a helping hand to the Santas For Our Soldiers project. Laura Danielson, whose son-in-law Patrick just returned from Iraq in July, cheerfully shared our story as an assembly line ferried the boxes to Patsy, the clerk behind the counter. Our community connection, Mayor David Smith, was on hand, too, to present the Rotary check for the boxes they’d adopted. Nancy Glaze, who saw the project through from planning stages to completion, was there to coordinate the Post Office stop with her friends Jamaica, Cheryl, and Holly. Pam DeMarco, who had also worked tirelessly from the start for this cause, was there in spirit! Three hours later, our goods were good to go, all 125 boxes, now en route to Iraq and Afghanistan to simply say, “Thank you, heroes, for your service and sacrifice. We appreciate you!”

    And how does this service project opportunity affect our littlest learners? Our donations had almost tripled, and so had our joy. Bubbling with excitement, six-year-old Madison put it so eloquently when, with a twinkle in her eye, she told a reporter from Fox News, “I think it will make them happy and it makes my heart feel happy.” A worthwhile project like Santas For Our Soldiers has the power to create a synergy that can generate the happiness of holiday magic all around. It’s the little things that make a big difference. At Westwood, we believe!

    • Barbara — that is one hell of a story, and I’m so glad you found me and ONE GOOD DEED. Though your project is called Santas for Our Soldiers, I’m going to alert all my Facebook and Twitter friends to read it now, on the cusp of the Thanksgiving weekend. Thank you so very much for sharing your fantastic feat! Congratulations!

      • Barbara G. says:

        I am so glad I found you, too. I am connecting with your posts AND cracking up at the same time – your poignancy and humor are a lethal combination! (Did that sound right?) Anyway, thanks for sharing our story with your readers; it really was amazing, especially since I had been running on empty and now my bucket is overflowing with joy and happiness.

      • Thanks, Barbara – you just gave my day a great jolt, too!

  48. Polly says:

    When you told me about this blog the other day I thought it was a really cool thing to be doing and writing about. I do Tae Kwon Do and Grandmaster Kim who owns the school is a very big believer in doing good deeds every day. He says to be happy, one has to eat right, meditate, train and do good deeds every day. When I heard him say this the first time I tried to be more aware of what good deeds I can do each day. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any one big thing I did, but little things like holding open doors, let someone make a turn into traffic, sending someone a picture I took, etc are a part of my routine.

  49. Robert D says:

    Wow, you are stepping it up. Makes me think about what I’ve been doing to give back these days. Not much. I have to start thinking more about the world around me. My job, my family, my friends can’t remain the excuse. Thanks Erin for another good deed.

  50. Howard says:

    here’s something that happened a couple of years ago:

    after a nine hour day at work (without lunch) i was looking forward to sprawling out on the couch with a bowl of food. walking home along prospect park south west i saw a cute little dog moving around by some guys moving big boxes, and assumed the dog was with them. as i walked by, however, the dog joined me and the men said nothing. i knelt down to pet the little guy, who was extremely friendly, if a bit shaky. i kept walking and he followed me. as he got in front of me i called out “hey” as i do with rocket (my step-dog), and he fell in at my heel. i started wondering if the dog was a stray, and figured, worst case scenario, i would end up taking a cute friendly dog home. i knelt down again and the dog hopped up to me. he was wearing a collar, and i examined it to see if there was a phone number. it was faint, but it was there. i reached for my cell phone.

    a lady walking by stopped to ask if the dog was lost, and when i explained that i had just found a phone number she expressed her regret that she didn’t have a cell phone. as she was talking i brought out my phone, and started trying to decipher the number. my canine friend got bored of me examining his collar, and wanted to play with the woman. i clucked at him and kept him in place long enough to get the whole number into the phone, and then resumed petting as i called. after three rings someone answered. i explained where i was and told him the situation, and the guy freaked out. apparently the movers i had seen were installing a new dryer in the guy’s apartment, and the dog slipped out while the door was open. the owner came out and called to the dog (either riley or wiley, i’m not sure which). the dog froze in place. i tried to urge him back to the owner, but he didn’t want to go. the owner kept coming closer and calling, but the dog wouldn’t go. “he knows he’s in trouble,” joked the owner. as he reached us he scooped up the dog, turned him upside down and started rubbing the dog’s belly. it was awfully cute.

    the guy was very grateful, and we parted ways. it was a pretty good way to end the day.

    • Howard, what a winner! Everybody loves a dog story! Scary that he might have escaped altogether — but you came to the rescue. Good call, too: it’s easy to walk by a dog alone and just assume his owner is nearby.

  51. Ariel — how I wish I could find something like this to do every day. A bit of searching around and simply keeping your eyes open, a teeny, tiny investment (I think it was $12?), and such a big payoff for Aidan’s confidence.

    I’m going to go check his work out myself, if my heart doesn’t break in two first.

    Thanks for finding this.

  52. Ariel says:

    I love art. I surround myself with it every chance I get – at galleries, in museums, and increasingly online, following tens of tumblrs and twitterers and bloggers all posting things they have created and admire.

    Tonight while clicking around I happened upon a link to Aidan’s Monsters – the Etsy shop of 5-year-old Aidan – a kid who is selling his drawings of monsters to help pay for his chemotherapy (he has leukemia). The drawings are fantastic – all scary clowns and dracula claws and off kilter eyes. I love them all, but decided on Wolf Man No. 2 (a black and white line drawing of a wolverine in a plaid shirt).

    I don’t know anything about Aidan or his family, but his site touched me deeply, and I’ll think of his impish smile and lap full of markers every time I look at my WolfMan. It feels so much more like a gift he gave me than the other way around.

  53. Stella, that’s a great story, and I think there would be plenty more like it — that is to say, the kindness returned — if people took the first step like you did. A deep curtsy to you. You certainly are “Angel of the Week!”

  54. Stella says:

    The elderly make us who we are…..
    I was standing outside my office on E34th Street and noticed an elderly woman looking upset and distressed. Since I was raised with my maternal grandparents and am now looking after my own elderly parents, my awareness is heightened. I approached her and asked if there was something I could do to help as she seemed upset. She said “Oh dear, yes please. I had a doctor’s appointment that ran late and it seems that Access A Ride has left without me and now I have no way of getting back home to Brooklyn. I only have $5 with me.” I invited her into my office for water and a place to sit and offered to call Access A Ride to see what I could do for her. She was beyond elated to have someone help. I proceeded to call only to find out that she would not be picked up anytime soon and perhaps not even that day. I asked if it were possible for her to take a cab and pay the driver when she got home? She said that she tried this, but no one would take her and she was too frightened to just get in the cab and tell the driver she had no money until she reached her destination. I totally understood her fears.

    I took her outside, hailed a cab and handed her $50.00 which I knew would cover her ride plus a tip. She was astonished that I would do this. She said “how do you know that I’m not trying to scam you”. I said “I don’t, but my faith in humanity exceeds my fears of being scammed.” Truth be told, I’m leery of everything……I’m a New Yorker after all. Little did I know that on the way out of the office, she grabbed one of my business cards. A week later I received a letter with a $50.00 check attached. The letter was to thank me for being the type of person that would take a chance and help someone, and a promise to be kept in her daily prayers for my kindness. She said her son didn’t believe that a stranger would just hand her money, to which she replied “I told him there are many angels walking the earth”. It brought tears to my eyes that this gesture not only helped someone feeling helpless, but made me an angel for a day for one little old lady.

    • Rena says:

      I read this a couple of months ago, but I’m glad I just read it again. “I don’t, but my faith in humanity exceeds my fears of being scammed.” …this resonates with me completely. I’m often accused of having too much of a “code” that I live by, making choices in situations that others don’t think is reasonable or useful. I like to think of it as integrity: if I’m not willing to go out of my way when I don’t have to, how can I possibly expect others to? The confidence that I’m trying to treat others as I’d like to be treated is well worth the inevitable disappointments along the way.

      All of that to say, thanks for being the kind of person who does this. It reminds me that I’m on the right track. 🙂

      • I think you’ve hit it on the nose, Rena: if we don’t do it ourselves, how can we expect someone else to stand up? And this resonates way wider than a good deed between two people.

  55. susan donahue says:

    a double good deed

    a couple of weeks ago I pulled into the less used entrance of the local Dunkin Donuts, in a rush to get on the highway, only to find an impossibly long line of cars for the drive thru lined up via the main entrance, pointedly ignoring my turn to enter. it was clear that I was going to have to hop on the highway without a cup of tea – when a young man in the main line spotted my dilemma and waved me in. I waved back madly, thanking him, and pulled in to order. when I got to the window I explained what the young guy behind me had done, and pre-paid a coffee and a donut for him. it was such a small, nice gesture from him that set my day off right – and hopefully he got a kick out of my “thank you.”

    • I love this kind of good deed, and I’ve never been able — or let’s say aware enough — to find a chance to do it. there are so many other instances where you could this, too: I’m going to start searching them out tomorrow. Thanks, Susan — good one!

  56. Rachel, this is a great story and goes into the Above & Beyond category. You’re a champ! It looks like you realized how much it would mean to you, too, for someone to help out your own mother like that. (Or us, in a few years!)

    Thanks so much for this great tale. I only have one question:

    fermented flan?

  57. Rachel says:

    Be kind to the elderly…
    Yesterday I just pulled into my driveway from running errands all afternoon. The kind of piddly stuff you put off until it is unbearable like returning the fermented flan you just bought at the overpriced gourmet grocery store. I was happy to be home. Suddenly, a white Lexus SUV pulls up and parallel parks on my neighbor’s sidewalk/lawn facing the opposite direction. Since my neighbor is an elderly woman who lives alone and is prone to seizures I can spot distress from a distance. It is a tiny korean lady who gets out of her sideways car and says to me “I am all turned around. Can you help me find the Garden State Parkway?” “Of course,” I reply. I run inside to get a pen and paper to diagram the most direct route through the village to the thruway leading to the GSP. As I am talking her through the directions I sense that she is not feeling well or is tired because she is having trouble focusing. “You seem tired” “Oh yes, I have been up since 6:00 a.m. and I am driving to southern NJ from the Albany region to see my grandson, I am 78 and my GPS seems to have gone haywire… may I use your bathroom?” “Yes.” “My birthday is March 19, I just lost my husband, I worked for GE for many years and have few friends but a big house near Schenectady.” “Really? My mom’s birthday is March 18 and I grew up in Saratoga!” Having something in common seems to put her at ease. Once back to her car, I realize that this is too simple; the right thing to do, for this korean version of my mom, is to take her to the Garden State Parkway myself. She is elated when I ask if she would like to follow me. She immediately offers me a reward for my kindness (I decline) and a place to stay anytime I am in the area (I smile). She writes down her name, address and telephone number. I am melting at her sense of relief. She then shares photos of her grandson and her deceased husband. I give her a big hug and we get into our separate cars and start driving. The trip to the destination is approximately 20 minutes, I drive slowly in the far right lane thinking about my mother and smiling deep down inside. Almost there, I put on my turn signal for at least one mile before the exit. My new acquaintance pulls along side and yells through the open window “Go home!” and speeds off like a demon. I smile and drive home.
    Go out of your way to be kind, even to strangers.

    • Emily Arnold says:

      This story is beautful! Which goes to prove that not all seniors sit in rocking chairs on the front porch and watch the world go by. My husband and I are seniors and go to the local senior center in our town. We are more able-bodied than many, and enjoy helping out. It makes the recipients feel good and also ourselves.

      • That’s for sure! So nice to hear from you, Emily — it’s always nice to hear about folks keeping an eye on their neighbors.

        Now that my ONE GOOD DEED year has come to a close, I’ll be asking others, like you and your husband, th=o share some of your own stories and inspire us all. Perhaps you’ll click the “subscribe” button on the home page so you can see what we’re up to! And thanks for checking in!

  58. Lorraine, what’s great about this is the ripple effect: not only are you doing your part to make the world a more civil place, you’ve got your own posse out there making it happen! Thanks for your terrific story.

  59. Lorraine says:

    Boy teenagers are not prone to compliment someone unless that someone has told a hilarious joke or accomplished some radical trick. So in the religious education class that I voluntarily teach to thirteen year old New York City boys once a week, I ask them to compliment someone during the week. Apparently this is a very difficult task for them, although they always succeed. The longer we get into the year, the better they are at complimenting. So that by the end of the year, when they are ready to become “adults in the eyes of the Catholic Church” they have learned that a small, sincere compliment to a female senior citizen in the elevator can make her day and theirs.

  60. Let me start you guys off with a great recent comment from friend Delia:

    Hooray for the people who greet us when we come home or enter our workplace! I do similarly for the security guard at my college. In winter, she’s blasted by cold air every time the lobby door is open. On my teaching days, I give her a packet of hand/toe warmers–those little things you can put in your pockets or shoes–to keep the chill off. In New England, those are gold!

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