Yahoo! How Good Grows

>When Yahoo! gave its Motherboard members $100 to do acts of Kindness I was overwhelmed with choices.

I pictured being in the store and noticing a single mother unable to pay for her groceries. Seeing her in trouble, I would swoop in and pay for groceries. She would cry. I would cry. We would hug.

In reality, I have been taking my kids to the grocery store with me lately, which usually ends in disaster. I was so consumed with getting out of the store without causing a scene, I forgot until we were safely in the car.

I kept waiting for inspiration to strike and it finally did in early December. My family and I were waiting in line at Home Depot to buy a Christmas tree. The line was long, but I was intrigued by a family in line behind us. The oldest daughter seemed so sweet. She would go from quietly standing in line next to her parents to watching her younger siblings while they ran around the tree lot. When it came time for them to pay, I told them I would get the tree for them. They seemed confused and I told them about the Yahoo Acts of Kindness and how I was doing something nice for them in the hopes that they do something nice for someone else.

Of course, I barely got those words out. I was so choked up, which is odd because I don’t get emotional. It just felt so incredible to be doing something nice for someone else. They seemed touched and happy. Can’t ask for much for than that.

After such a great experience, I decided to wait until inspiration struck again. That happened at Los Angeles International Airport after my kids and I were stuck waiting for our flight to Tucson. It was delayed more than an hour, not because of the bad weather, but because something was wrong with the plane. I fought the urge to just go home and Skype with my family instead of getting on the plane, but then I had an idea.

There were so many kids on our flight that my 2 boys and I bought a box of See’s Candy lollipops. My boys split up the lollipops and handed them out to all of the kids waiting in our terminal. The children were excited to get the lollipops, but the parents were even more thrilled by the gesture.

That wasn’t my kids first Act of Kindness for the holiday season. They both helped pick out gifts for girls who were spending Christmas at the Maryvale orphanage. It was arranged through my son’s preschool. I also donated some of the fabulous gifts that I got from the Los Angeles Latina Bloggers Discovering Mas Luncheon that I went to a few months ago to Maryvale.

The kids and I were full of ideas for the rest of our Yahoo! How Good Grows money, but it was my niece who had a truly inspired idea. It was pouring rain when we got to the San Francisco Bay Area and she thought it would be nice to buy rain slickers and give them out to the homeless. Unfortunately, the day we planned to do it was sunny and beautiful. No rain for the next few days.

Instead, I donated the rest of the money to Help A Mother Out to buy diapers for kids whose mothers can’t afford them. It’s a great organization and they are definitely spreading Kindness. I love Yahoo’s Kindness program and it was a fun way to teach my kids that the holidays aren’t all about us. If you’d like to read more about how other people spread a ripple of kindness through their community, check out the Yahoo! How Good Grows page or Yahoo! Motherboard’s page on Shine.

A West Los Angeles Day

Every Saturday I do a long run with the LA Roadrunners Marathon Training group. Yesterday, I took a day off from the group to sleep in a little bit and run in a different part of Los Angeles. My friend agreed to come with me and we decided to try Beverly Hills.

Excellent choice. The first part of the run is a slight uphill. That was no problem since the weather was perfect, about 50 when we started. Not so good was that I forgot my asthma inhaler and we had to run back a half mile to get it. We started over and ended up running up Canon to Sunset. The leaves are finally changing and it was a beautiful sight.

We went back via Rodeo Drive and stopped a few times along the way.

It was so quiet and almost none of the stores were open, even the restaurants. At the end of our run, we stopped at Peet’s Coffee and then went our separate ways.

The day only got better. The family and I went to Home Depot in Marina Del Rey and bought our Christmas Tree. Then I had an idea. I’m part of Yahoo! Motherboard and they are giving us $100 to give away to spark acts of kindness. It’s called How Good Grows and I used part of my money to buy a family a Christmas Tree. I thought the tween daughter was really sweet. She was looking after her 2 younger siblings while her parents stood in the long line at the tree lot. The family looked pretty confused when I bought the tree, but I told them that I was doing it in the hopes that they would turn around and do something nice for someone else. I was so choked up that it was hard to get the words out.

After that, we went home and put up the tree. We don’t have a big house so we had to move furniture around to get the tree in the living room. It’s very festive now.

We worked up a big appetite so we went over to the Westside Pavilion for dinner and to see Santa. He was by far the best Santa I’ve ever seen. We didn’t go until 6 pm and there was no one else there. Santa chatted up my boys, 5 and 6, and told them that Santa really likes gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate.

My older son asked how he manages to be so quiet when he delivers presents and Santa said it was magic. He said that Mrs. Claus looked an awful lot like me and he pulled out a framed vintage picture of a woman, who bizarrely, did sort of look like me.

After the boys took the world’s cutest Santa picture we went to dinner at the Westside Tavern. It was very good. I had butternut squash risotto with sage, brussels sprouts and green beans and my husband had lamb with polenta and brussel sprouts. I think it was the best lamb I’ve ever had. And one of the nicest  family days we’ve had in a while.