Friends and Chicken Soup for the Soul fans near Burbank, California – I will be doing a book signing along with four other contributors to the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book “Random Acts of Kindness.”
We will be at Barnes and Noble, 731 N San Fernando Blvd., Burbank Town Center, Burbank, CA 91502, on Saturday, February 11th, between 2:00 and 4:00. There will be food, discussion, story readings and general fun and hi jinx.
I have contributed fourteen stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul books, two of which are in this book. I’m particularly excited about this book for several reasons:
1) I’ve always considered kindness to be the most important thing in the world. In fact, it’s the the only thing in this world that keeps us all from destroying each other outright. As the song says, “In the end, only kindness matters.”
2) 2016 was one of the most hateful and divisive years in American history because of the election. The only thing that can counterbalance all that anger is love and kindness.
3) On a personal note, this is the first time I’ve had two stories in one Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I’m glad it was this one.
My first story in this book is called Flower Children. It’s about some very kind-hearted “hippies” who befriended me as a child. The other is called Put-Pockets, about two Israeli friends I made while traveling in Belgium who talked me into playing their favorite game – putting money into the pockets of random people, and the potentially disastrous but heart-rending way the “dare” ended.
Chicken Soup for the Soul has been inspiring positivity and kindness for twenty-five years now. I’m always proud to contribute. I hope to see you there!
I read your story titled “Put-pockets” a few days ago and it almost made me cry. In fact, I had a similar experience when I was on vacation in Granada, Spain. After getting off the airport bus at the city center, I was trying to figure out how to get to my hotel. Then I found an elderly woman who was begging for money. She didn’t look like a beggar at all because she was wearing decent clothes. But she looked so worried and even terrified probably because she was wondering how she would be able to put food on her table that night. I was so shocked to see such a decent-looking old lady begging in the city center. I thought, “What is she doing here? Where are her children?” I walked over to her, handed her 10 euros, if I remember correctly, and headed for my hotel.
Several days later, I was in a plane to fly back home when suddenly the image of the old lady popped up in my head. To my surprise, tears started welling up in my eyes. I tried to hold them back and it was no use. They fell uncontrollably for about five minutes or so. After calming down, I thought about why I cried so hard. Maybe the woman reminded me of my elderly mother or the scene of a weak-looking old lady begging for money broke my heart so much it probably left a scar in my soul.
Whatever the reason was, I wish her the best and hope that we as a society can take care of one another better. Thank you, Mark, for sharing your story and I also wish you the best in your career as a writer.
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Thanks for sharing that story, Seung, and thanks for reading mine. Yes, we all need to take better care of each other. As Mother Teresa said, very few of us can do great things, but all of us can do little things with great love, as you did with that old lady. Bless you, my friend.