One Life Can

Your Life Matters and Touches Other Lives

One life can change the world. A simple act of kindness can impact another person's life in ways you may not ever fully appreciate. Be inspired by the stories other people like you have shared. Enter your Facebook user name, Twitter handle, or email address in the search bar to see if anyone has left a story about a way you have impacted their life. Or share your own inspirational story of how someone else made a positive impact in your life.

Cupcake Girl

Cupcake Girl

I don’t particularly like cupcakes much but I still stop in to Kara’s Cupcakes once in a while just to see Cupcake Girl’s amazing smile. I don’t know her name and have never had occasion to introduce myself so she’s Cupcake Girl for now. Maybe it’s even better that we don’t spoil it with names. Friends joke that I’ve got a cupcake-girl-crush. Perhaps. But more than that is the purely human connection one can make with the simple kindness of a genuine smile. Whenever I see Cupcake Girl’s smile it always brightens my day. No matter how crazy busy it gets in the shop–and it does–she always has her radiant smile. I imagine that it must become tiresome to keep that smile on all day, so either she’s an amazing actress or it comes from an irrepressible joy from within. I like to think it’s the latter. Without agenda or expectation it’s nice to know that I can count on a bit of sunshine from Cupcake Girl.

I should mention, I find that everyone I’ve ever seen behind the counter at Kara’s has had a wonderful smile for their customers. So smile. Smile more often. You never know how you’ll brighten up someone else’s day.

My Funny Valentine

Funny Valentine

My friend, ML, and I have spent many a sleepless night together. Get your minds out of the gutter. She was my study buddy in college. We were both in very demanding majors and had an insane course load. It seemed like our studies were never ending. But in ML I found a rare kinship…a fellow insomniac. When you’ve always run on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep to find someone who keeps odd hours with you is a special thing indeed. It still makes me laugh to think of the phone calls at 3 a.m.: “Hey, I need 20 minutes of sleep before I get back to studying. Call me in 20 to wake me up.” To this day ML is the only person I don’t find odd at all to ring me at 3 a.m. just to chat. She’s the only person I would call that late and know she’ll answer.

One very special thing we’ve shared through the years is the tradition of calling each other on Valentine’s Day. It’s not a romantic thing, just something special shared between two who share bonds beyond friendship and romance. No matter where we are in the world–she in Sweden, I in the Netherlands, she on the East Coast, I on the West–I know I’ll always have my Valentine. In fact, it’s sort of become an unspoken game to see who can call or message the other first right after the stroke of midnight on February 14th. Thankfully, we’ve both had very understanding significant others over the years who know that there’s no need for jealousy. It makes me smile to think that when we’re crotchety old fogies in our rocking chairs that we’ll still be making those Valentine’s calls. Thank you for being part of my life, my funny Valentine.

My Sister’s Keeper

I love my sister. To know me is to know how important my sister is to me. Though we’re on opposite sides of the country I speak to her almost every other day. In fact, it bothers me whenever my sis falls out of the top 10 most recent phone calls on my phone. She carries with her the strength and grace of our Mom. There are times I almost get weepy because in her I feel the presence of our Mom. Even as I write this words fail to express just how much she means to me and how even the smallest of things about her make me proud to be her brother.

Our connection runs deep. Elemental. When she was a baby I was the only one who could understand her baby babble. As a little girl, whenever my Mom or Dad would take her somewhere and get her something she would always say, “We have to get something for Kuya too.” That’s her generosity of spirit and I’ve been proud to watch it deepen into compassion for others. Countless are the little kindnesses she does for me. She’ll unexpectedly send me pictures of our past shenanigans with no reason other than, “I just wanted to brighten up your day.” She brightens up every one of my days because she is there. She inspires me to be the best possible version of myself I can be. I love you, sis.



She was a wallflower, set apart from the rest of the kids in that charity home. She was a wallflower yet her expressive eyes and the slight tilt to her face beckons me closer. It was an invitation drawing me near to her, to know more about her and the story those eyes would tell.

She was an orphan. Her mother left her when she was a baby to her aunt. She never knew her father. Currently, she resides in the corner of a sidewalk, seeking shelter under the roof of an old dilapidated building. Once in a while, she entertains the kind strangers from the charity home next door whenever they held events where there is free food and education. She said she wanted to be a singer. She told me all about her dreams – her dreams of studying and setting off into the world and becoming a well-known singer.

She was shy, opening herself up to a chosen few. I was one of the lucky ones she gave access to her thoughts and aspirations. She would light up whenever I’d come back to where she was seated. I took notice of her and then my attention was only on her. I listened to her stories, of stormy nights and seeking refuge under cardboard roofs, of her crazy neighbour who would raise his fist at cars driving on the road. I told her that dreams do come true but it isn’t as easy as it seems. I told her that perseverance and faith is necessary. Regardless of background, in the end, it will all boil down to how much you want it and how much you’re willing to do to get it. She listened intently, determination reflected in her soulful eyes.

It was time to go. I hugged her tight. I reminded her everything I said. I showered her with faith, hope and love – values that she needs to hold on to once she comes back to face the harsh realities of the world.

I went there to make an impact on the orphans who were expectant of what new things they will learn and what delicious food they could fill their stomachs with. She was set apart from them all, like a single red rose growing amongst a bed of white daisies. I wanted to change her, make her see the world with hope and faith for herself so her dreams could take flight regardless of her circumstance. But more than what I think I did to influence her, she changed me more than I ever expected to be.

Footbridge Boy

Footbridge Boy

Everyday on my former job I need to walk on a very long footbridge to get to the other side of the highway to take a bus ride going home. My shift starts at 10pm and ends at 6am and so I go home early in the morning. From day 1 I’ve noticed a young boy maybe around 12 or 13 years old sitting near the stairs of the footbridge, at first I did not mind him since it’s normal in our place that people are asking for alms in the streets. One day I noticed that he is all fresh up, clean and wearing a school uniform but still sitting on the footbridge asking for some alms. Out of curiosity I walked near him and that is the time I noticed that he is not sitting down at all but that he does not have any feet and legs. I stop and stared at him and to my surprise he smiles at me, I smiled back. I then talked to him and asked if he is going to go to the school, he answered yes but he told me he needs to sit there at the footbridge every morning before going to school to ask for people’s help (money or food) so that he will have something to eat at school and he can buy some school supplies. I asked him where are his parents and he told me that they are working as street vendors, he doesn’t want to be a burden to his parents and that he really wants to study that’s why he is doing that. He also told me that someday he will finish school so that he can help his parents.

After talking to him everyday for 2 years before I go home I give him some of my coins as my way of helping him with his dreams. After talking to him I realized how lucky I am, that I have my legs and feet and that I did not need to work for my school. After talking to him I kept in mind that eventhough life is so hard and that eventhough it feels like I’m giving up there will always be a way if you really want to reach your dreams.

I have not seen the boy for 3 years now and have not pass by the footbridge anymore since I move to another job nor even got his name but his story serves as a friendly reminder that life is beautiful despite it’s imperfection.