instigating a life, one story at a time…

A smile for alms

A smile costs you nothing, but is worth a great deal to those who are lifted up by it. The truthfulness of this expression was taught to me by a beggar in Hyderabad. After having tea with some friends, we stepped out onto the busy road only to be confronted by a young girl in rags who was asking for alms. I was still a student then. All I had that day was Rs.50, no change and no coins to giveaway. There was no way I could have shared. As I stared at her dirty but expectant face, my frown turned into a smile and sympathetically told her I was also short of money and couldn’t spare anything for her.

The next moment she exploded into a big smile. I will never forget her face, ever. The happiness and joy that shines on her face turned her into a beautiful girl though she was covered in rags.

A young girl who was used to rebukes, scorns and anger tasted love and sympathy that day. Perhaps, the first time in her life. That day I could not give her what she asked for but unknowingly I gave her the best gift ever – a smile, sympathy and love.

Remember, what sunshine is to flowers, your smile is to others.




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41 thoughts on “A smile for alms

  1. That’s so moving! I often smile and say I don’t have any cash, (cause I don’t) and they always smile back, but I have seen those who just walks right past the beggar and gives them an ugly frown, they seem sad.. It is sad to see people not using their smilingmuscles! 🙂


  2. Here in the UK we have our street beggars too but the police always move them on. To be truthful most of them are alcoholics who beg for money to buy drink. Whenever I come across someone like that I offer to take them to lunch or buy it for them but usually when I make that offer they turn it down. All they want is to feed their drinking habit. I refuse them the cash to do that. About the smile….I find that smiling breaks down many barriers. It is a shame that some people find it hard to smile because life isn’t going so well for them.

    Shirley Anne x

  3. This is such a lovely post. 🙂

    There was a beggar woman who came to the gate a few days ago, she was asking for some money to pay for a ride home. I went to find my wallet and it has a few change. I thought for a few moments first, just in case I might need that money on my own. But then I realized the woman needed the money more than me at the moment. I gave all to her and added a few more.

    When she smiled and thanked me, I thought, that smile and gratitude made that little sum of money even more valuable.

  4. Things which are free we don’t give like smiles , a comfort word a helping hand. We are to be the feet, the hands and mouth of Jesus..There is always something any person can do that won’t cost a dime..

  5. That story, my brother, put a smile on my face! Thank you.

  6. Really beautiful, Smiling is something I have always gladly given often and daily.

  7. Hi thanks for the Like on my post 🙂 that was a beautiful post you wrote

  8. When I was in the seminary, a group of us were sent one Saturday morning to beg for alms in the inner city as a learning experience. I experienced much kindness, but none greater than that of a real poor man who gave me his tattered gloves to keep warm.

  9. Just like sunshine to the flowers… you said, a thousand explanations wouldn’t have expressed it better! 🙂

  10. This is the exact sentiment I also love to tell people about. Thank you for sharing. If everyone simply opened their eyes enough to actually SEE each other, they could enrich not only the other person’s life, but their own. Thank you for sharing and for following my blog earlier.

  11. Beautiful! Thank you for the reminder that what costs us so little can mean so much. Bless you my brother.

  12. Every week, while at the shopping centre, we see people who look as tyhough they have the world on their shoulders. A genuine smile can bring an instant response. Maybe a smile won’t change their circumstances, but it can change their attitude and bring them a little moment of joy.

  13. Beautiful story and so very true. Someone once said, people will forget what you say but they’ll never forget how you made them fee. The difference between a person’s life and death may be the smile you give them. It never hurts to make someone smile – and it costs nothing. 🙂

  14. I am delighted to share with you my nomination for One Lovely Blog Award…please see my site for details. God Bless.

  15. shofar on said:

    I have a similar true story called ‘Fare for a Bus Ride’. Do read it in the ‘Hearing from God’ category on my blog site!

  16. I love this post. Thanks for sharing.

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