The Washington Post

For a small act of kind­ness, all you can do is say ‘thanks’ — and pay it for­ward

- Hints from Heloise Lifehacks · Albuquerque · San Antonio · Ohio · Oregon · Bend · Texas · Warren

To­day’s Sound On is about the mag­i­cal words “thank you.”

Dear Heloise: I re­cently went to a meet­ing at my church and heard a speaker talk­ing about the im­por­tance of grat­i­tude. She asked how many of us had ever had a flat tire and had a stranger stop to help change it, or been a dol­lar short at the gro­cery store and had a per­son in line give us the money we needed. Sev­eral in the au­di­ence raised their hands. She said that maybe all we could do was say “thank you” when the stranger re­fused to take money for their help.

So go ahead and thank them and pass it on. When it’s your turn to help some­one, re­mem­ber those who helped you and “pay it for­ward.” The only re­ward you should ex­pect is to feel good that some­one in need was bet­ter off be­cause you reached out to them. You may never know if you saved their life, or helped them feed their fam­ily, or en­sured they got home safely, but you’ll al­ways know you per­formed an act of kind­ness by pass­ing it on.

— Gra­cie R., Austin

Dear Read­ers: Got an ex­tra eye­glass case? Here are some uses for them:

• Hold small den­tal sup­plies or tooth­picks.

• Hold ex­tra tis­sues.

• Store a cou­ple of pens in­side.

• Store loose change.

Dear Heloise: We have a long drive­way and walk­way from the street to our house. In­stead of try­ing to sweep or shovel a light snow­fall, we use our leaf blower. It’s eas­ier than a shovel and less work than sweep­ing.

— Micky W., Al­bu­querque

Dear Heloise: When I got my new washer and dryer, I called ev­ery church and char­ity I could find to of­fer a washer and dryer that was still in per­fect con­di­tion and only six years old. No one wanted these two ap­pli­ances. When it was time for “bulk pickup” in our city, I man­aged to get both ap­pli­ances out to the curb by 1 o’clock the day be­fore pickup. By 2 o’clock that same day, the washer and dryer were gone! If I’d known how easy it was to get rid of those ap­pli­ances I would have put them out there a few months


— Kate C., San An­to­nio

Dear Heloise: My hus­band’s shav­ing cream al­ways left a rust stain on my bath­room tile, and it was dif­fi­cult to re­move. Fi­nally, I got a foam can holder — the kind used on cold beer and soda cans — and put his shav­ing cream can in one of those foam con­tain­ers. No more rusty stains!

— Frances P., War­ren, Ohio

Dear Heloise: Some­times I need a tooth­pick af­ter a meal, but many restau­rants don’t pro­vide those any­more. So I took the lip­stick out of an old tube of lip­stick and placed sev­eral tooth­picks in­side. Now I can re­tire to the ladies room and make cer­tain there is no spinach stuck to my teeth.

— Loretta S., Bend, Ore. Heloise’s col­umn ap­pears six days a week at wash­ing­ton­­vice.

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San An­to­nio, TX 782795000, or email it to

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