your stories

Eric Sophiea writes …

I found a Ben’s Bell today. I’ve always known that if I found one of these in the city I would admire it, ring the bell, and leave it for the next person to claim.

However, this bell was in the desert that I love, at the head of a trail I’ve walked over four-hundred times. It’s a trail that has granted me passage in blazing heat, snow, sleet, hail, graupel, torrential downpours and gentle drizzles, frigid cold, crazy wind, gentle breezes, fog(!) and so many days of perfect weather. This trail parallels an arroyo who’s sand has been under my feet on the most joyous day of my life, the saddest day, days of brilliance and my darkest times. I’ve followed every canyon and drainage that crosses it, run my hands over its beds of fossilized ripple marks, admired the ancient glyphs chipped into its patinad stone, and been blown away to see glow-worms on its rocky slopes. I’ve seen it in bright sunlight, radiant moonlight, dim starlight, and many shades of “sunset.” I've run up it at full-speed on the strongest legs and limped down it with agony in each step. On it, I’ve watched a tiny sliver of moon rise just before dawn, chased sunsets, enjoyed meteor showers and seen eclipses of the sun and moon. I know it intimately and that allows me to appreciate and see new things nearly every time I’m on it.

I lifted the bell gently. It gave a pleasant ring. As the sound of the bell faded, these words went through my head, as though someone spoke them to me: “this is here, on this trail, for a reason; for you to find.” I didn’t expect that.

I deeply respect the Ben's Bells Project and what they have done. The random but intentional acts of kindness that are spread through your work are remarkable and fill a deep need in my hometown of Tucson. I also had the pleasure to work with Ben’s father, a good man and brilliant teacher. Thank you, Ben’s Bells, and whoever put this bell out there!

Posted on August 5, 2016

Keri Bierman writes …

Today during a trip to the first movie I have been to in maybe over two years I saw your beautiful wind charm hanging from the tree in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Phoenix. I said to my hubby how beautiful it was and proceeded to investigate it. I was overjoyed when I read the card attached to it as the timing was so spiritual and meaningful for me. I have not been a very nice person lately, not to my husband, my family, or the people I pass on my travels through this world. Well, last night I got a migraine worse then I have experienced in years and no matter what medication or steps I took it lasted for over 6 hours until I finally passed out for lack of a better term. Well during this I saw my life and realized how blessed I am that I am usually healthy and that I have such a wonderful family. I vowed to myself and my God that I would change and try to make at least the small change of being a kinder person to make others lives better. Then today (the day after) I find this, it will ALWAYS be a reminder of my vow and the importance of kindness to ourselves, the ones around us, people in this world and the animals that enrich our lives. Thank you, you will never truly know the blessing that this has brought me.

Posted on July 25, 2016

Kerri writes …

Every year my family spends a week on Cape Cod. We stay in the same house on the same week, a vacation steeped in tradition. In past years this house has swelled with our growing family.
This year the house was all too quiet.
My 2 year old son Kai died from an inoperable brain tumor in November 2012. A year later my 30 year old brother was diagnosed with a different unrelated cancer, which took his life this past November(2015). Two weeks later our uncle Greg, the life of any party, the giver of joy and innocents, died after a long and fulfilling life with Downs Syndrome.
Needless to say the cape will never be the same.
One morning, overwhelmed by the quiet I took a walk down the street to a coffee shop, Woolfies. On my way I noticed an SUV with CT plates that was adorn with bright bumper stickers. One stood out. It read "BE KIND. Ben's bells" Being a bereaved mom, who also now works with other families with sick kids I had a feeling I should know more about Ben and I took a picture of the sticker so I would remember to look it up later.
As I walked out of the shop coffee in hand, I noticed something hanging on the white picket fence in front of me. I walked over and it was a Ben's Bells!
I read the card but hesitated at first to take it, wanting to leave it for another to happen upon. But as I stood there, a family to my right, me all alone, I accepted that this bell was for me. I shared Ben's Bells with my family and we kept it out on the table the rest of our vacation. My Ben's Bell now hangs in the window my son Kai's room, a bright and colorful reminder of the joys of childhood and the transcendent connection that the death of a child can bring to us if we are willing to look up and accept it.
Thank you Ben, Ben's mom and Ben's Bells for helping me to remember in that moment, that I am not alone.
Kerri, Kai's mom
www.lifeofkai.me

Posted on July 24, 2016

Trish writes …

What a wonderful site. A Bens Bell in a tree. I had just left my home after a very bad day. Life has been a challenge recently and to find a bell was amazing. It put a smile on my face and hope in my heart. I have hung the bell where I will see it every morning. Thanks to all of you that have helped make this happen.

Posted on July 18, 2016

Steven Cota writes …

Sunday's I usually go down to Green Valley after walking Brandi Fenton Park with my dog, to visit my dad while my mom goes to church. My dad passed last Sunday the 10th. So today after walking the park I was about to drive off to go home and not Green Valley, and BAM! there it was! a Ben's Bell! I looked up and smiled!

Posted on July 17, 2016

Yasmin writes …

During a recent trip to Washington DC I visited the FDR memorial early one morning. I sat down to take in the beautiful view and looked up and there was a Ben's Bell hanging in a tree.

I am going to hang it in my garden in Orlando, Florida. What a wonderful message and an unexpected souvenir from a great family trip.

Thank you!

Yasmin

Posted on July 17, 2016

Kathie writes …

What a joyful surprise to find my bell hanging from a sign post near the Northwest Fire Station on North Camino de Oeste. My husband and I, along with our three dogs, were taking our morning walk and had just about reached our turn around point when we spotted the bright flower. It was 4th of July weekend and our little bell rang as we walked-a perfect beginning to a happy holiday.
Thanks for all you do

Posted on July 13, 2016

Hannah writes …

While out catching Pokémon this afternoon (and getting in some much needed steps), I was hopping from shady patch to shady patch of the trees going south on 1st street toward Monroe in Downtown Phoenix. I heard a distinct tinkling and found the most beautiful windchime with a bright orange flower at the top and colorful ceramic "beach ball" in the middle! I wanted to take it but didn't think I should; then I saw the tag attached!

After following the news these past couple weeks and both being the type to get in our own heads a little too much, my fiance and I have felt equal parts helpless and disappointed with state of the world. I never thought an object or gesture so small could reinvigorate us with so much joy and optimism.

Thank you for our beautiful new bell. It's way cooler than any Pokémon. :)

Best,
Hannah

Posted on July 13, 2016

Alejandra writes …

Today my family decided to go to Blue springs, Florida. After exploring and swimming we decided to take a snack break under a nice tree. After about five minutes a small group of kids walked around to the side where I was sitting and started playing with one of your bells. It sounded like they were reading off a paper and talking about how you have to take it home and spread kindness but they didn't stay much longer and left leaving the bell. I started to get a little curious and went to look at the bell too. That's when I saw the message on the tag. Bringing the bell home I looked up the link and here I am. Ben's Bells is a cute and creative way to spread kindness and now my new bell will always remind me to do just that!

Posted on July 12, 2016

Catherine writes …

I work at the Orlando Science Center, and summer camp around here is chaos! Many of the employees are a little bit on edge at work. I was sent outside to collect nature items that would be used in an activity, and when I reached up to a tree to get a leaf, I found a Ben's Bell! It made my day and I showed it around to the other employees. Everyone loved it.

Posted on July 4, 2016

Vicki writes …

Today my husband and I decided to take a road trip and visit some old mining towns in Arizona. We stopped in Bouse, AZ to look at some old military relics along the side of the road. This town is remote! We noticed a sign next to an old box that said to sign in. We opened it and saw the Ben's Bells next to the sign in log. I had heard of them before but my husband hadn't. I was excited to find them. I plan to spread kindness by placing them somewhere for someone else. Great way to spread kindness and make someone's day!

Posted on July 2, 2016

Courtney writes …

I was walking around Downtown Orlando because my friend and I wanted to pay our respects to the victims of the Pulse shooting. We decided to park a few blocks away from the memorial that was set up because we wanted to take our time and enjoy our beautiful city that we call home. On our way back to the car I unintentionally left my friend, who stopped to take some pictures, so when I noticed she wasn't with me I stopped and waited for her to catch up when I noticed something hanging in a tree nearby. I walked over to it and I was unable to read the note as it hung so I took it off the branch and read that it was a Ben's Bell. I felt honor that I found such a thing! So I placed it back where I found it and left to get my friend. She was interested and went over to the tree and took it. She gave it to me and said I need to learn to read because it says to take it not leave it. We both laughed and at that moment we knew everything was going to be okay.

Posted on June 30, 2016

Debbie Earnhardt writes …

Been in a slump lately. Walking my dog yesterday morning in Durham, North Carolina, and noticed a little ring echoing in the breeze. Looked up and saw this beautiful little thing. I noticed a tag on it so I went to read it - thought someone in the neighborhood might be selling them. How tickled when I read the note. And realized that someone intentionally placed it there to make someone's day. Someone who had their eyes wide open, looking for the beauty around them. I found it. And will continue to spread happiness to others, known and unknown, remembering how good it feels. Thanks resident of Chancellors Ridge. I am thankful for you taking the time to participate in this beautiful movement.

Posted on June 22, 2016

Paul writes …

A week ago, friends and family gathered here to inter the cremated remains of my companion and spouse of more than 50 years. And in her honor and memory we planted a tree that will provide food for birds. A friend from Tucson came to be present and to participate. She brought a Ben's Bell. Many years ago my spouse had carefully printed on a 3x5 card attached to the refrigerator that simple message: BE KIND she wrote. It became the key to our lives together. I am delighted that the idea, even if from a different source, is spreading. More information about her and many of her essays and poems are posted at www.SmashingIkons.com.

Posted on June 18, 2016

Lisa writes …

I love to take my dog into the foothills of Boise, Idaho for long walks. While doing so yesterday, I heard a soft bell tingling in the sagebrush. Paying closer attention I discovered a Ben's Bell tucked up out of sight on a sagebrush branch. I knew immediately what it was and could barely contain my excitement. After all that has occurred in Orlando this past week it was a beautiful reminder there ARE kind people in the world we live in. I now have this wonderful token to view every day! Can't wait to pay it forward with an intentional act of kindness.

Posted on June 15, 2016

Jennifer Pearson writes …

I routinely take a four mile walk along the St.Johns river in Jacksonville,Fl.The other day as I was heading back to my vehicle,a stream of colors caught my eye.I look over along a wall near a drinking fountain and there was my Ben's Bell.At first I thought maybe someone dropped it and another had found it and placed it there in hopes of owner finding it.I get closer and noticed the tag,at first it was Spanish,flipped it over and was able to read what it was all about.One word for me,amazed! I've been going through a lot of trying times.Me being the one to discover this bell really makes sense.Gave me such an inspiring feeling along with giving me hope that things will improve.Want to say thank you to whomever left it,and to the creators,great work your doing.Keep it up!

Posted on June 13, 2016

Rose and Rose writes …

Tonight while we were working at Citifield the home of the New York Mets, we saw something hanging on the gate at the entranceway to the ballpark. We though someone had lost it and just waited for someone to return to claim it. As the night passed we saw that there was a tag on it. It was a Ben's Bell. Never hearing about it, we continued to read what the message said. It was so inspiring, and I knew it related to my kind friend too. Rose is a person that while walking throughout Citifield everyone says hello to her. Staff that works in all aspects of Citifield, not just the area that we work in. She has touched so many lives and goes out of her way for friends and strangers too. This bell symbolizes my thoughts too. We do have the chance to change the world through even one act of kindness. We plan to make a trip to Connecticut one day and visit and maybe even make a bell for someone else.

Posted on May 28, 2016

Kimberly Smith-Rosenbaum writes …

On Friday, May 13, 2016, I was the first staff member to arrive at my job. I work in an elementary school in Stratford, CT. I spotted a Ben's Bell hanging from a shrub near the entrance to the building. I was so excited because I have taken part in a Ben's Bells workshop in the past, I work in a community in which many of the schools are "Be Kind" campuses and my building is directly next door to the newly constructed Victoria Soto school. I brought it in and hung it in the main office of the school where it can serve as a reminder to be kind to all who see it...
My own life has been chaotic and very, very painful in recent years and being kind is how I try to live my life daily. It is not always easy. Calmly and kindly. Thank you so much for putting the message out into the world. If everyone just lived in a more kind and gentle way this world would be a much, much better place.

Posted on May 17, 2016

Teddie Roberts writes …

Today I found out I will have to have neck surgery for a third time seems my body doesn't like to work. I took my two large dogs for a long walk in Saguaro desert close to the museum. When I came upon one of the bells made with so much love made me smile. It is now hanging on my back fence and the girls run and ring it when they want to walk for them it's every ten minutes. I needed a smile and I found it in the strangest place. On a cactus in the middle of no where. So thank you.

Posted on May 10, 2016

Peggy writes …

Both my elderly parents have cancer and caring for them is not always easy. There are days when I feel energetic and able to easily summon compassion, and days when I'm exhausted and unable to find very much kindness in my heart. Sunday was one of those hard days and so I headed for Wilder Ranch State Park just north of Santa Cruz and set off on a hike with my husband.
A few minutes into the walk, I saw a bright color out of the corner of my eye and spotted this beautiful wind chime hanging from a old, grey fence post. I frowned, stepped around a patch of poison oak, and found a note attached to the chime.
"Ben's Bells Project," it read. "This Bell symbolizes our connection as a community and the power we each have to change the world by committing to an act of kindness... ."
I had never heard of Ben's Bells but the emotion was almost overwhelming. Someone I had never met had purposefully set out a gift with a message that was exactly what I needed at this moment in time. It felt weird and magical and almost instantly changed my day from one of exhaustion and anger to one of smiles and the feeling there was good in the world.
Thank you to Ben's Bells Project for helping me truly see the power of random acts of kindness. And thank you to whomever left that gift.

Posted on May 9, 2016

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