Like many of the Kindness Activists I come across, I found Chad Taylor's kindness on Facebook. Sure, it is easy to see negativity, hatred, and trolls on Facebook, but if you look closely, you also see kindness. I saw him post this message and I KNEW I needed to ask for more details:
“It's THAT time of year. I have some money set aside to help out some families who may have a hard time affording Christmas. It's not a lot. Not even as much as I had last year (times have been a bit hard here too), but it may help out two or three families. We all know of SOMEONE out there that's having a harder time than we are.
If you know of a family that needs help, please send me a private message (no need blasting their business on here) and nominate them. Let me know why and how they need help. If I think they're a good fit, I'll find a way to get the money or whatever they need to you and YOU can be the bearer of good tidings. I'd prefer it if I was able to just help from the background.
I'm going to keep it open until Friday and I'll make my decisions then. If you have a little extra that you'd like to put toward the cause, please let me know that too. Last year I had 10 families nominated and could only help five. The more the merrier!”
|Here is Chad, the instigator of the kindness!|
And before you think to yourself, “Well sure, he probably has loads of money, it’s easy for people like that to splurge on others…” - that is wrong. He is NOT a wealthy guy. But, like he told me, “I’m pretty poor actually. But there is always someone who has less. As I’ve gotten older I have seen that December is a really hard month for a lot of people for A LOT of reasons. It’s only now that I have my own bills to pay that I realize what an impact even a small financial donation can have for a family that has nothing. That’s why I have to save all year for it. $20 here and there can add up after a bit.”
I saw back in 2015 that Chad made the same offer on Facebook, and I asked him about it at the time and then completely forgot to share it. So now I am making sure that his message of kindness gets out there so that YOU can hear about it, be inspired, and start saving a bit every month yourself to prepare to help someone out in 2017. Now is the perfect time to start getting ready for next year’s holiday season!
|$20 here, $20 there = a terrific holiday season for strangers, thanks to Chad!|
I asked Chad what gave him the idea to purposely save up to help others out every year, and here is what he said, “It started about 8 years ago. I had a few single mom friends who would have trouble affording Christmas for their kids. I’d take them to ToysRUs and make sure each of their kids would be able to have two individual gifts and a communal gift. It got to the point where I had to start saving for it. Eventually their lives improved (not due to me) and they didn’t need help anymore. So, four years ago, I took the money and started helping strangers with it instead. It was something small that I could do to make someone’s holiday a little easier. We all need help this time of year.”
Just reading about that makes me smile so big! It is such a deliberate, purposeful, yearlong act of kindness. He saves and saves all year long, and then when it is the right time, he shares. He doesn’t have children, and feels that the gift portion of the holidays is really for the kids, so is happy to help them have presents to open. I love it so much!
Like all Kindness Activists I have talked to, Chad had a great kindness role model. His was his dad. Chad said, “The desire to share came from my dad. He grew up in a group home and since then has always made sure to help out people whenever he can. He made a donation to a group home this year of a lot of toys so each of the kids can have a Christmas, even though he didn’t really have the ability to do so. It’s hard not to want to live up to that when you see it your entire life.”
I AGREE, and that is one of the basic premises of this entire Kindness Activist project – that when people see, hear about, or read about acts of KINDNESS (like Chad’s), they, too, will want to “live up to that” kindness and emulate it. Not everyone has a kindness role model like your father, Chad, but YOU are a great example for many people of how to be kind!
Now get this: Chad told me that he, “only had $500 so wasn’t able to give as much as I wanted” to help people out this year. The word ONLY does not belong with the amount $500. $500 is a ton to save to give to strangers!! This year he had 10 specific requests come in from his query, and for the first time one person pitched in $50 to add to what he had saved up for the cause. Chad wondered, “Maybe people WANT to help, but they don’t know how. I’ve never asked for donations to help feed the fund before, but every little bit helps.”
|Chad "only" saved up $500 to give to strangers this year. $500!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
The 10 requests he was given this year ranged from people without resources to provide their kids Christmas, to medial costs and burial expenses for a family member, to vet bills for a dog hit by a car. Each of the 10 requests received something from Chad. Isn’t that fantastic?? If you would like to join in the effort and help out one of the causes, that would be amazing. You can make donations to 3 of the causes that he supported directly:
Chad is not looking for accolades for giving aid to these strangers, in fact, he makes the donations to the causes in the name of the person who recommended it, not in his own name. I sought Chad out and had to add lots of “pretty pleases with cherries on top” to convince him to let me write about his awesomeness. But I just think he is so inspirational, and I want more people to hear about his kindness. He explained it well, “I think my main thing is that the focus is more on the act of giving than who is doing it. I’m a background guy, so having a spotlight put on something that I’m doing makes me a little anxious, BUT if it can inspire someone else to do the same thing than it makes it a little easier. Finally I would probably just say this: the main thing I’ve learned from all of this is that giving shouldn’t always be an impulse decision. Just like we save up to buy a new toy or do something for ourselves, if we plan out our giving in advance, it makes things a bit easier to swallow. Most of us have a “rainy day” fund. Who’s to say that the rainy day it goes toward has to be our own?”
Chad, thank you for letting me share your story of kindness. The concept of a “rainy day fund” to help OTHERS and not just ourselves is so brilliant. My wish for this holiday season is that your kindness inspires others to plan ahead, save, and SHARE.