Tag Archives: Good Deeds

Random Cups of Kindness

Did you get one of these??

Did you get one of these??

Has it really been a month since I was wandering around surprising people with “Random Cups of Kindness” courtesy of Tim Hortons? What a week that was!! I got to do something that I had talked about doing for a long time. I got to surprise random people with a small gift to help brighten their day. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!!

For the past two years, a friend of mine, Jo and I had talked about doing exactly what Tim Hortons was doing for their customers. We had planned to go and buy a handful of gift cards with enough on each card to get a coffee and then proceed to hand them out to random people. We wanted to give back or as some say, “Pay it Forward”. Putting positive energy into the universe always seems to help. With everything that has happened in the world in 2012, we sure could use some positive energy, don’t you think??

Our friends at Tim Hortons contacted Jo and asked him to help them spread good cheer with an initiative called, #RandomCupsofKindness. Their initiative encompassed people in social media giving out gift cards, random people on Twitter being awarded a gift card and random people in their stores receiving their order “for free”. A perfect tie in for what Jo and I had been talking about.

By participating in this initiative, I was able to surprise many random people. There quite a few stories from the people I surprised.  Some of the highlights and memorable ones were:

– The Service Advisor at a garage I use. He was taking a lot of grief about an exhaust system from a customer on December 19. The guy was upset but also difficult and not pleasant. The Service Advisor stayed calm and positive and did his best to help the customer. I overheard it all and before I left I quietly slipped him a gift card.

– The person in line at Tim Hortons in Hamilton that was standing in front of me, consumed in their thoughts and frowning. When they stepped up to the cash, I stepped forward and offered them a gift card. The frown became a smile and they said, “It’s amazing how little things can brighten your day”. I later saw them with their spouse and children getting pictures with Santa. It felt good to help a young family at Christmas.

– The group of people who I surprised at Tim Hortons on Yonge St in Toronto, that I later saw in the Eaton Centre where they were still smiling, drinking their coffee and wishing me a, “Merry Christmas”!!

– The two police officers that I surprised, while they were working on a cold evening in Toronto, at the entrance to a construction site, directing vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

– The lady the was so startled by the kindness that she was sure I was up to no good. After a few reassurances, I convinced her that I was, in fact, simply being kind and the card was from legitimate sources.

There were many more instances and many more people who received a #RandomCupsofKindness. Even my friend, Julie, was inspired by all my tweets and posts on Facebook.  She surprised someone at a Tim Hortons in Grand Rapids, MI with a #RandomCupsofKindness!!

At a time when the news media was reporting on the #26Acts initiative taking place in memory of the victims in Newtown, CT, it felt good to be able to brighten a few days and help make the day a little easier at Christmas.

I was truly inspired to read about the Tim Hortons in Winnipeg, where over 3 hours, 228 people in a row treated the person behind them for a coffee!!  An amazing story that makes me smile even when I just think about it!!

I have to thank Tim Hortons, because with their help, I was able to do something I had wanted to do for a very long time. They also helped me see that even a small gift can make a big difference sometimes. It is something I will definitely do again. Probably before Christmas is here again.

Couch to 5K – Week #8 – Stalled – Cancer Sucks…

This week has not been a good week. I ended up with a week off, which was not planned.

Six weeks ago, we found out that my Mom has cancer and two weeks ago she was admitted to the hospital. My mind is still comprehending how things deteriorated so quickly in the past six weeks. I can’t believe that it is my Mom lying there in a hospital bed. I don’t want it to be anyone’s Mom, especially not mine.

My Mom is a kind, gentle and caring person and this thing has knocked her on her ass…fast.  That’s the part that surprises me the most.  Six weeks ago she went to Curves and was shopping.  Today she is struggling with a minimal amount of activity.  I have had no up-close experience with this disease until now and this has been a real eye-opener.  For those of you that have lived through this in your own lives, my heart goes out to you.  I never realized how tough it was for you.

This week was filled with hospital visits and truthfully I just didn’t have the energy to head for the gym when I left the hospital. Family comes first and that won’t change. I had planned on at least getting a run in when I was out of town for work, staying in a hotel. That fell through too, since I my day ended up being quite long.

Sorry to be ranting here this week, but I really have nothing else that I can write about. Cancer sucks. The good news for this week, is I did register for my first 5K and like I mentioned in my last post, I am going to run that race on May 6.  I feel like I want to kick someones ass, so it may as well be my own, across the finish line!!

I have set up a page with the Canadian Cancer Society to help them raise funds for the fight against cancer.  I hope that I can raise my goal of $500 for the run and help do some good with this effort.  At least that has made me feel better.

I am going to get back to my training this week.  My work schedule is a little lighter this week and I will definitely find the time to get to the gym for a few runs.  Once the next three workouts are done, it will be time to head outside.  Sadly, the weather is turning more seasonal and it won’t be quite so comfortable to run.  I am sure I will get by, once I get rolling and warmed up.

I know that the workouts are helping me with the stress of everything happening and that is motivating me to get back to them too.  It will help with keeping me sane when everything around me seems to be going crazy.

I hope to have good news about my Mom and my running when I next update my blog.  Fingers crossed for that, for sure!!

Couch to 5K – It’s Official – Help me, help the Canadian Cancer Society

This effort is now, official!!  I have registered for the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon 5K.  I might be crazy, but I am going to run this race and finish it.  Simple as that.

I was pleased to find out that the race organizers have partnered with a number of charities to allow participants to raise money for the charity of their choice.  During my training with the #C25K program, we found out that my Mom has cancer.  That kept me motivated to keep training and in some ways it has helped me stay committed to the program.  It has also helped as a stress outlet for me, I am sure.

I want to tell you a little about my Mom.  She is a retired teacher and is a friend to many people.  I can’t even begin to mention them all here.  Her life has been filled with stories of helping others, caring for others and showing kindness to others.  She has been cheering me on even when she hasn’t felt well.  She has been finding the courage to face news that no one should ever have to face, especially my Mom.  This won’t change that news or the fight she is facing, but it will hopefully make a difference for others in years to come.

My hope is I can turn my hard work and dedication into a positive.  I am going to reach my goal of finishing this 5K on May 6.  It would mean the world to me if you would consider helping me, help the Canadian Cancer Society reach their goal of finding a cure for cancer.  If you would like to help me, you can donate via their secure site here.

I sincerely appreciate the support everyone reading this blog has given me and I will continue to draw on your support as May 6 gets closer.  There is no turning back now and the only option is to run the race.  I can’t thank you enough for believing in my abilities and cheering me on to reach that goal.  I can’t wait to blog about the race!!

Toronto Bakes for Japan: People Helping People

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn

On Sunday April 10, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the “Toronto Bakes For Japan” Bake Sale that took place at 5 locations in Toronto. When I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed by the amount of baking that was available; and I was only at the Liberty Noodle location in Liberty Village!

Overwhelming contributions from you!

Sushi anyone!?!

My friend, Niya Bajaj, an event planner and social extrovert had taken this idea to heights that I had not anticipated. Her team of volunteers and her fellow organizer, Heena Punwani, had motivated, inspired and encouraged Toronto into putting together a massive spread of baking to help the people of Japan, following the earthquake that happened there on March 11, 2011.

There was also an auction of art, specialty baked goods and gift certificates for restaurants, spas and other locations in the city. One of the most impressive items up for auction was a cake that looked like sushi on a wooden stand! I can tell you that when I saw it, I thought it was sushi! I understand that @allcondohotels bought the sushi cake! I hope they enjoyed it! It was a very impressive item!

I also had the opportunity to visit the crew that was working at Cafe Diplomatico all day on Sunday and they had some interesting stories of their time on the patio! Their day had started in the rain, but thankfully the weather had warmed up and the sun had come out! They had provided people with snacks to enjoy while doing laundry nearby or to enjoy with their coffee on the patio. These folks had given up their day to sit outdoors and help raise money for the people in Japan. Their efforts should not go without a huge “Thank You”.

The same thanks should go to the other locations that hosted the volunteers and were generous with their support and time for the volunteers to sell their product. I had the opportunity to meet Sang Kim, and learn about his Toronto to Japan effort that helps raise spirits via sending short videos to people in Japan. Liberty Noodle played a large role in this effort and hosted a sushi making event on April 2, 2011 in conjunction with Sang. Please check out their website and visit them for dinner or one of their special events. It is now on my calendar to do so!

I really liked that all of the items were stylishly packaged. The level of care and concern that everyone had committed to their products was evident just from looking over the tables. There was a large selection to choose from and almost every item was labeled with the ingredients that went into the product. Every detail was taken care of especially for those with food allergies!

OMG! Was this ever good!

I didn

I even caught Jo shopping for some baked goods! Imagine that!

@clickflickca selecting his baked goods!

I know that I left Liberty Noodle with an armload of baked goods (that were all delicious), a good feeling in my heart! Thanks should also go to The Rivoli, Amaranto Cafe, Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market and Yoshi’s Sweets that also hosted volunteers over the weekend.

As of writing this, the efforts of this team of volunteers was approaching $30,000 raised for the Red Cross in Japan and they are still working. If you would like to help them, please visit their website and contact them for how you can help donate. They and the people in Japan will appreciate it.

A San Francisco Experience – Day 1

I was lucky enough to receive a free trip to San Francisco from Klout and Virgin America, due to my influence on Twitter. This in and of itself was flattering, because for me it meant that there was some value to what I was contributing to the conversation on Twitter.

I was on the fence about taking the trip, for a number of reasons. I had to rearrange my work schedule; Lots of others were coming at other times; I already had my vacation for the summer planned and paid for later in August. I decided in-spite of all of that to still jump at the opportunity and claim my ticket.

From the moment I arrived at Pearson Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, I encountered nothing but friendly people.  The check-in staff for Virgin America was busy, but they were friendly and doing what they could to keep the lines moving.  I met a fellow “Klouter” in the departure area and had a great chat about food and San Francisco.  Erin (who is apparently getting engaged – congrats!!) and Deb on the flight crew were friendly and cheerful during our flight.  They took the time to talk about air travel and how much they like working for Virgin while I was stretching my legs and having a coffee!! They did everything they could to make sure that our flight was great!!

When I arrived in San Francisco, getting to my hotel was easy and efficient thanks to BART (their rapid transit system).  I dashed off to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants and got into line for  a ticket the ballgame. Two scalpers were doing their best high pressure sales tactic on me when a fan walked up to the line, right beside me and said, “Who needs a single ticket for free”? After a quick, “I’ll take it for free”, I was on my way to a Club level seat in the ballpark, still not believing how my day was going!! The fan that gave me a ticket wouldn’t even let me buy them a beer!! I am forever thankful to them and their co-workers for their generosity!!

When I got back to my hotel, I got checked in and discovered that I had a fantastic room at the Harbor Court Hotel, that is right on the bay in San Francisco.  The view from my room is fantastic and I couldn’t ask for more. For being part of their “member” program I was given a mini-bar credit and for mentioning a “codeword” promo that they had mentioned on Twitter, I received a secondary credit!!

My day didn’t end there, but what more could you ask for in less that 24 hours!?!  This trip has restored my belief that all people at their core are willing to help their neighbours.  Sometimes you encounter so many angry and frustrated people, you begin to wonder why everyone is so angry.  I can’t tell you how happy I am now that I took this trip!!

The world is a much better place when the attitude you are shining out gets shone back at you.  I am not sure if it was the positive attitude of those I encountered that caused me to smile back at others.  I hope that it was my smile and “Hello” that maybe changed their attitude towards me. I don’t know and I guess it dosen’t matter.  What does matter is that there were people on the planet  all working at being kind to each other on July 29 in Canada and the United States.  My hope is that my story was repeated in other ways in other cities around the planet as well!! What more can you ask for??