Posted by: Ticktock | December 25, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Christmas (winter solstice) brings out the best in people.  Despite the traffic, the shopping headaches, the tight budgets, and the bitter weather, there are individuals who remember that the holidays are a time for giving, for sharing, and for kindness.   This season, I’ve experienced the goodness that can come from humanity, so I thought I’d share these happy examples before I return to my regularly scheduled doubt and cynicism.

First, a co-worker of my wife wrongly assumed that our family was needy.  He went to the toy drive at work and collected two large garbage bags filled with toys for our children.  Neeldess to say, this gift shocked us because we don’t consider ourselves poor, but it also reminded us of the generousity that comes with Christmas.  We, of course, passed those toys on to a charity in hopes that they would be given to needier children.

Second, an anonymous stranger bought our meal when we were out to lunch with my father and my kids.  The stranger must have thought our kids were cute because I don’t know why else we were selected for the secret gift.

And third, so that I don’t seem like I’m always on the receiving end of kindness, I gave my wife the gift of sponsoring a needy child in the third world.  The charity is the Plan Organization, and it was recommended by skeptic hero James Randi himself, who has many children he sponsors.  He challenged his readers to sponsor a child, and since I trust him, I decided to do so in my wife’s name.  The charity is secular, 80% of the money goes to the child’s community, and Randi personally visited several of his sponsored children to check up on the charity.  Our child is Sothkea from Cambodia.

What acts of kindness have you encountered during the holiday season?  Are there any worthy charities that you recommend.  Please let me know in the comments.



  1. The beauty that humanity is capable of takes my breath away. I’ll definitely be looking into that charity. This year my choice was Women for Women:
    They help women survivors of war get back on their feet. What I love about it is instead of sponsoring one child, you help a family. It’s an incredible organization.
    We also donate to our local food bank almost every time we get groceries.
    All the best wishes of the season to you and your family!

  2. […] favorite charity is PLAN, a non-profit organization endorsed by James Randi. Sign up to sponsor a child, and […]

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