Internet snark-free day was recently proclaimed. Were you too busy leaving nasty comments on websites to notice? Actually, there’s good in the world, as Patch users like to remind us when the crime and politics stories start to get to them.
Don’t believe us? A lot of people helped each other out during the recent government shutdown, and we have proof that right here in Maryland, people can be good.
So, here’s our effort to add to the positive vibe on the World Wide Web. It’s all about what you and your neighbors are doing for everyone else.
We’ve asked readers on Facebook to share their stories about acts of kindness, big and small, from around the state and we’ll be bringing them to you on a regular basis.
Elyssa Goldman Yankelov wrote on Owings Mills-Reistertown Patch’s Facebook page: “Baked a fresh apple pie for our new neighbors. Nobody does that anymore. I remember my mom always doing that for new neighbors.”
“A few weeks ago I went to the MD SPCA and paid the adoption fee for an animal that had been there for a long time,” wrote Ann Marie Diegelman wrote on Parkville-Overlea Patch’s Facebook page. “That way, all someone needed to do was adopt him—he had already been paid for!”
“My friend Sharon has established a Facebook page called Kate's Great 8” in memory of her cousin, Jamie Perrera Taylor wrote on Perry Hall Patch’s Facebook page. “Do 8 random acts of kindness in a year. I personally love the idea of doing kindnesses for strangers and hoping they pay it forward!”
“The car in front of me paid my toll. Made my day and inspired me to copy!” wrote Kim Carter Clayton on Columbia Patch’s Facebook page.
Maybe it was this Annapolis Patch reader who paid the toll?
“We have paid for the tolls over the Bay Bridge,” wrote Kara Sexton Maddox on Annapolis Patch’s Facebook page.
Despite these examples of people helping strangers, a recent study suggests that giving to someone we know makes us “happier” about the act of giving. The study published in the Journal of Happiness and Development examines the effects of social giving where offering help to someone you know can “foster more emotional benefits than giving without the social aspect,” according to a report by Huffington Post.
“I talk to a girlfriend long distance every week. Someone told me she had been living in her car with her child,” wrote Janelle Whye on Catonsville Patch’s Facebook page. “I was going on a much-needed vacation but when I heard this I knew i couldn't go enjoy one day until I helped. I called her and she admitted she had fallen on bad times. I sent her money to take care of herself. Although I didn't get to travel physically my heart went to her and the good feeling is still indescribable.”
Some people want to do something kind or help people they know but without the recipients knowing where the gift came from.
A reader who asked to remain anonymous sent Patch a Facebook message in response to our request for details about acts of kindness. The reader shows appreciation for those who work at a local school by leaving lottery tickets for the secretaries with a “pay it forward note.”
But the kindness doesn’t end with the school staff: The reader gives $20 every other month to the cafeteria supervisor and asks that the money be applied to the accounts of the neediest families and sends in cash for students to use at the school book fair. The staff uses their discretion to distribute the donations and the donor doesn’t know who the recipients are. The reader writes, “Not a lot of money out of my pocket but it sure goes a long way.”
If you’re looking for people in the community to help, check out GoFundMe campaigns to help support someone in your area looking to accomplish a project, achieve their dreams or recover from a crisis.
If you have a story about kindness to share, leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.