11 Ways to Lend a Helping Hand to Strangers

 eleven ways to lend a helping hand to strangers

Easy Ways to Help Others

Odds are you run in circles: work, friends, family…you know who you know. You love who you love. And those outside your circle are likely irrelevant to your life.

But consider the following quote: “Smile at strangers and you just might save a life,” words from a fellow named Steve Maraboli.

Steve has it right: one of the most important things we can do is help others, and that includes those we don’t know. Here are some creative ways to do just that.

11 Ways to Lend a Helping Hand to Strangers

1. Leave a dollar taped to a vending machine for the person lucky enough to walk by it next! No, a dollar is not a lot of money, but the pleasant surprise of a free treat will most assuredly brighten someone’s day. Spruce it up with a little note explaining that this one’s on you. Skittles for everyone (okay, one person; maybe two if you want to leave a couple of bills.)

2. Give generously to those entrepreneurial youngsters peddling iced tea or lemonade. We were all young once and privy to the thrill of that first money-making endeavor. So if you’re driving by one make a point of stopping and helping their cause and confidence. If a glass is 50 cents make the kids’ day by giving a few bucks for good service.

3. Add 10 or 20 dollars to a gas pump. Gas is an irritating, built-in cost of living for anyone who needs to go places (i.e. everyone). A few dollars in the tank on a kind stranger (i.e. you) is an excellent treat for an unsuspecting stranger. Hopefully they will pay it forward. Just like that you’ve started a chain reaction!

4. Leave a huge tip! Waiters and waitresses work extremely hard to provide you with excellent service, and while your average 15-20% tip is just fine, pick an exceptional server and make their day with a tip far out of the ordinary, if you have the means (and the heart!) Rest assured they will be deeply appreciative.

5. Help out those less fortunate. One of the most valuable things you can offer society is your time, whether it be volunteering at a soup kitchen, or simply sitting down alongside a homeless individual and talking to them. Listen earnestly and offer support in any way you can. There are many good-hearted people that are down on their luck and looking for someone to listen. You can be that person, and all it will cost you is your time!

6. Continuing with the theme of giving, take some time to empty your closet of all the clothes and other items you no longer use and donate them. Your old jacket is much better off keeping someone else warm than it is gathering mothballs at the back of your closet, and your storage space will also be de-cluttered as a result of giving away the things you no longer need.11-Ways-To-Lend-A-Helping-Hand-To-Strangers_Helping_Others_Baltimore_New_Haven_Apartments_Hirschfeld_Homes

7. Search everywhere for opportunities to perform small acts of kindness. Be the one who springs down to pick up something dropped by a passer-by, then respond with a sincere “no problem” and a smile when they thank you. Hold the door 100 percent of the time if someone is behind you. Be the person who slows their car down and lets another motorist into their lane. Every day you will get multiple chances to be your most altruistic. Take them!

8. Give someone a ride (but not in a creepy way!) Say you’re driving through inclement weather and you spy someone walking in the same…why not pull over and ask if you can give them a lift to where they’re going? They may politely decline or follow the old adage to not take rides from strangers, but there are many people who would be happy to accept. Enjoy a few pleasant minutes of conversation with a new person while you get them where they have to go.

9. Eating in a crowded cafeteria, food court, or someplace like it? Slide over and allow another patron to share your table. There’s no reason for you to horde an entire table to yourself, especially if you’re eating alone, so look for someone bearing the telltale signs of table searching and volunteer a spot at your table. C’mon, that person’s food is getting cold.

10. Always stand so that others may sit. This works on a train, bus…pretty much anywhere there are more people than seats. No one wants to be uncomfortable – duh – but you can be the one to brave that discomfort and make someone else’s day easier. This is especially true when the elderly/disabled are involved, but you know that already.

11. Finally, to return to the original quote: smile! You never know the affect a simple smile can have on someone else’s life. You may encounter someone who is down in the dumps and just needs to see a happy face. Let that face be yours!

There is a limitless amount of ways to make this world a better place. These are just a few of them. Remember to be creative with your joy-giving!

eleven ways to lend a helping hand to strangers