your stories

Donna Z. writes …

I found a Ben’s Bell today, I am HAPPY.
While walking my Chocolate Lab, Cocoa, there, hanging from the branch of an evergreen tree, I spotted it. A shiny object reflecting in the moon’s light. I stopped to take a closer look and saw a beautifully crafted piece of art with a bell dangling from its bottom. Not knowing what it meant, I carried it home and listened to the sound of its bell ringing as I walked in the night with my dog, feeling very happy inside.

I found a Ben’s Bell today, I feel so SPECIAL.
Why me? Why on my walk, that I routinely do every evening with my dog, should I find this very special gift? The thought of someone carefully making it by hand, stringing each sculpted piece together, and placing it in just the right spot for someone to find is very unique. Yes, I truly was meant to find this special gift.

I found a Ben’s Bell today, I am BLESSED.
The Bell’s simple message of intentional kindness is very uplifting and empowering. During this dark time of hatred in the world and the feeling of hopelessness and despair, we certainly need to carry on this simple act of kindness. I am blessed to have received it and will continue to extend it.
Donna Z. – Stratford, CT

Posted on December 9, 2015

Jaime Jenett writes …

This past weekend, I visited a dear friend who just moved to Tucson. As we were getting ready to take me to the airport, she handed me a small clay token with a tag attached and explained that it was to be given to anyone I observed showing kindness.

As I was going through security, I noticed a mother and a very cranky toddler ahead. I was about to offer to help when I realized that a young man (whom it turns out was a stranger to her) was already helping her. He took her stroller all the way to the gate, sat with her belonging while she took her son to get a snack and carried her stroller to help her get in line. I ended up in line right behind him and was thrilled when i remembered my "be kind" token. His face lit up when I gave it to him as he said he had heard about the project and the tokens but never seen one. He immediately vowed to pass it on .

My now 7-year old son got critically ill when he was a baby and through his illness, we have been fortunate enough to be the recipients of an incredible amount of kindness from loved ones and strangers. I try to look for ways to do Random Acts of Kindness but I've just felt so overwhelmed with life these days, it's been hard to keep it going. I realized that your project is the perfect mental health intervention in these troubled times because it trains our brains not only to look for opportunities to help, but to see the kindness happening all around us. The more we train our brains to see the good around us, the stronger the "people are good" messages will be and will replace the "everything is terrible/we're in danger/don't trust anyone" messages we're being bombarded with.

I live in Oakland California and I want to find a way to set up a project here to recognize the kindness that is all around us.

Thanks for the inspiration!
simonlev.blogspot.com

Posted on December 7, 2015

Richard Burke writes …

Today I found a Bensbells creation as I was taking my afternoon walk. Like so many others who have posted on here, I have been familiar with bens bells project for a number of years, saw a few in Irvine, CA.

This is a terrific project which I hope moves everyone to kinder to their fellow man.

I live in North Central Phoenix and was happily surprised to find the hanging.

Thank you

RSB

Posted on December 2, 2015

Gemma Gaudette writes …

A few days ago, a made the decision to be more mindful about being kind and gracious to others, especially during this holiday season. So, I felt extremely blessed this morning when I was driving out of my neighborhood in Boise and there was a Ben's Bell hanging from a tree. I thought it was a sign from Ben and other angels letting me know that kindness is key.

I've known about Ben's Bells for years, and I've always felt so moved by this family and organization, partly because I'm the mom of two boys: Ben (7) and Joe (4) and because this organization inspires all of us to be better and to do better.

I'm just told my Ben the story of Ben's Bells and showed him our bell. We are going to hang it in our backyard, so whenever we see it, it reminds us to be kind and to pay that kindness forward.

Posted on December 1, 2015

Cindy Doutrich writes …

I found my Ben's Bell on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park in July, 2015. As my husband and I walked along the trail, something caught my eye. Hanging from a tree branch were beautiful ceramic pieces with a bell at the end. I had no idea what this meant, but then saw the tag and read the instructions to take it home and spread kindness throughout the world. As soon as we returned to our hotel room, I looked up the website on the tag and read the story of Ben. This bell has been a constant reminder to me every day since finding it. I know that I am more intentional about looking for moments to be kind because of the bell. I have told the story of the bell to many friends but until today, I had not spoken to an audience about it. At a Thanksgiving service at the college in Pennsylvania where I teach Spanish, I volunteered to be a reader, even though I had no idea what I was going to say. A week ago, the organizer asked the title of my reading. I still hadn't decided, but I knew she needed a title for the printed program, so I told her I would speak of Gratitude in Action. Just three days ago, I was still thinking about what I would say and then I looked at the bell, which is hanging by my back door. I incorporated the story of Ben into my reading as an example of how the kindness of others helped bring about healing and motivated Ben's parents to show their gratitude to those who had helped them through an incredibly difficult time. I can't tell you how many people told me that they were touched by the story.

Posted on November 23, 2015

Lacy Ooi writes …

Today I parked at work to run in for just a minute and noticed a beautiful chime hanging from a tree. I took a couple photos and then left it to hang. I went back to it and got closer and read the note that I could keep it. My family is closing on our first home together tomorrow...I thought this was such a wonderful house warming gift.

I didn't know about Ben's Bells but went in and talked with a coworker that I had seen had a token before. She was so excited for me that the bell had found me. When I got home I had to learn more about the program.

I read the story about Ben and that's when this charm of kindness became amazing for me. On November 1st, my just turned 3 year old, had been dealing with a minor cold and stopped breathing in his sleep. I worked with him to get him to start breathing again. We took him to the doctor and the doctor also happened to notice our older son, 5, had croupe. She found our 3 year old has enormous tonsils and believe he has sleep apnea....we're still learning more. Ben's story just took my breathe away with the similarities and what I've been struggling with since, what would I do if one of my boys were gone?

While I hope to help my boys understand the ability to spread kindness, I know each time I look at Ben's Bells it will remind me of my daily blessings.

Posted on November 23, 2015

Sam Banks writes …

I found my 2nd Ben's Bell today! I was on my way back to work after lunch and there it was hanging on a rail at NW Hospital. I was so excited that I took it in to work with me to show everyone. One of my co-workers, a Tucson native, told me how she could not wait until her 3 year old son was old enough to go with her to volunteer at the downtown studio. My 15 year old daughter and I did that a few months ago and had so much fun. I almost felt guilty keeping the bell for myself since I had already found one in 2007 in Del Mar, CA. So, I gave it to her and told her to hang it at her new house. The happiness it brought to her was more than it could have ever brought me hanging in my tree. If I ever find another one, I will do the same again. Thanks for all that you folks do!

Posted on November 13, 2015

Nicole writes …

Today I was riding in the car; listening to what was going on in the world on the radio. While I was listening, all I was thinking was I really hope things don't get any worse and just thought about my girls and what they might have to endure in their lifetime. I pulled up to my building, parked the car and noticed cool art hanging from the tree. I park near an art museum so just thought it was something the museum hung for decoration and then noticed the tag. I read it and all the despair I felt listening to the negative news melted away. It felt so good to be reminded that there still is love, hope and kindness in the world. And even a better reminder that we all play a part in spreading that kindness - it doesn't just happen. I was so pleased to find this treasure and can't wait to spread more kindness!!

Posted on November 12, 2015

Greg Pearson writes …

Such a beautiful way to memorialize your child. We just lost one of our three children -- Grayson -- our oldest, at 18 years old to a senseless act of violence (he was shot and killed). We are far from closure, and the grieving period is just beginning. I will be giving a mini bell to each of my other two children to hang in the memory of their brother, and to help Grayson get his angel's wings. The coins I ordered will be given to those family and friends who stopped everything in their lives to reach out to our family and make sure that we were taken care of in our time of need. Thank you, and God bless you. Greg Pearson - Pearland, Texas.

Posted on November 10, 2015

Alicia E. writes …

Today served as the perfect reminder of why I love my hometown. I currently live in Scottsdale with my significant other (Nick) and his daughter (Riley - 7) but my parents and siblings still live in Tucson. The holidays for us can always be hectic with split households, as there are lots of family to visit and it's difficult to see everyone in the same day (especially mine, as they're long distance). So Nick and I decided that the weekend of November 6th would be our "Early Thanksgiving" with my family. My parents and siblings live in a home directly across a small park. The morning of our Thanksgiving (today, 11/7) Nick and I took Riley across the small street to the park so that she could play. As Riley was swinging and Nick was pushing her, I looked over towards the fields to see a Ben's Bell hanging on the community board.

Seeing the act of kindness brought me to tears. How fitting is it that we find a Ben's Bell on our early Thanksgiving. It served as a reminder to be both kind and thankful for those around us, and I felt so fulfilled sharing the meaning of the Bell and organization to Nick and Riley. It is small moments like these that make me deeply proud of the Tucson community and I miss it dearly.

I know that there is a recent expansion (or plans to) into Phoenix, but please come to Scottsdale too! Heaven knows we need kindness in ASU territory. ;)

Posted on November 7, 2015

Jack Hamilton writes …

I also lost a son Ben two years ago and I believe when an angel gets his wings a bell rings. So when I heard a bell ring I said to myself "It's Ben and he's in heaven". I found them in a tree where I was working a funeral in another town. When I read the tag that said Ben's Bells [my sons name is Ben] tears were overwhelming and I knew it was meant for me. Thank you for this gift of kindness and I promise to pay it forward. Jack Hamilton Oxford, Massachusetts

Posted on October 29, 2015

Meagan Poarch writes …

Although my family has not gone through what Ben's family has, we are huge supporters of Ben's Bells. My mom passed away suddenly in 2013, at her funeral we decided that instead of flowers we would prefer donations. These donations were given to Ben's Bells, because it is such a good cause.

Posted on October 28, 2015

Rick writes …

...Just love the cause and the products...so much gift to community over the years. Thank you Ben's Bells!

Posted on October 22, 2015

Ms. Zurowski writes …

James Williams Middle School located in Rhinelander, WI is so excited to be doing the kindness challenge! We are currently up to 2,000 acts of kindness and our school is filling up with paper chains of kindness. We are being intentionally kind to teachers, peers, and the community. Students have taken the time to decorate teacher's classrooms, pick up trash, and leave happy thoughts around the school, and so many more acts of kindness. I am so proud to be a teacher in such a kind place and am so lucky to have the students I do! These acts of kindness fill my heart!

Posted on October 21, 2015

Lisa writes …

Kindness, Pass it on....

I was thrilled when I found a Ben's Bells hanging from a tree at the streetcar stop across from the Mercado San Agustin, some weeks back. I excitedly told everyone at work and then brought it home. I was familiar with the Ben's Bells project and have even purchased a couple of small ones to hang at home and at work, to remind myself and others around me to be kind.

I got to thinking that I would like to pass on the Ben's Bells, to spread the kindness further. Knowing that I was going to be taking a trip back to Minnesota soon, I hung up the bell at home in anticipation of leaving it in another state. This past week I visited my family and friends in Minnesota and left it there with the hopes that whoever finds it will investigate this website and then spread the kindness to their part of the country or world.

Posted on October 19, 2015

Carol writes …

We had just moved into a new home. We were hoping and praying to find new friends in this area. A nice couple moved in next us. Our new neighbors were celebrating his retirement and invited us to join them. The next week I found the flower. I knew it had to have come from our new neighbors. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I found out one of his darling granddaughters had set it on my table. They had brought the flower from Arizona to Traverse City, MI. I cannot emphasize enough how welcome it made us feel. I still have it but will set it sail to a new faraway place. Thank you bensbells and thank you to the new friends in Arizona!

Posted on October 16, 2015

Jamie writes …

So excited! For years I have participated in making beads for the Ben's with my children. We have enjoyed this activity tremendously and always look forward to the next event. I actually just signed up to do a box activity at work with Ben's Bells. Today we were driving down the street and I saw this sparkle in the tree. I started yelling at my husband to hurry turn around- OMG- I just found a Ben's Bell. Crossing my fingers we made it back to the tree!!!! It felt so good to find the bell. Such a great project for both the giver and the receiver! Tucson, AZ

Posted on October 4, 2015

Chad writes …

Well, another magical day in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado! This morning my friend Kyle and i headed up Wolf Creek Pass as we try to do every year at this time to purchase a Seasons Pass to Wolf Creek Ski Area. After we did that we wanted to do an adventure. So we hiked up Alberta Peak Via The Continental Divide Trail. Alberta Peak is also part of Wolf Creek Ski Area so there are alot of Ski Area Signs indicating black diamond and double black diamond runs. After we made the summit, ate some food, and basked in the glory of the mountains we started taking the trek back down. As we hit tree line there was a ski area sign leaning into a Spruce tree. i happen to glance at it and noticed a white laminated piece of paper hanging from behind the sign. i got closer to investigate looked behind the sign and there it was, Ben's Bells! i had never heard of Ben's Bells before so finding one i knew this had to be something special! i love the message its putting out and feel very lucky to have found a Ben's Bells!

Posted on September 26, 2015

Jim Forler writes …

I found my bell hanging in a tree as i was parking at the Del Webb surgery center in Glendale, Ariz. I have heard of these a few years before and i knew what it was when i saw it. I was taking my wife in for hand surgery and it made me feel better and that she would be ok. It seems as if you find these bells when you most need them

Posted on September 25, 2015

Betty Hudecek writes …

My husband and I went to breakfast this morning at the Desert Diamond on Pima Mine Rd. We had not been there for a long time, but for some reason we decided to go there to eat. As soon as I got out of the car, I spotted Ben's Bells. I told my husband and he thought I'd totally lost it. It was hanging from a Mesquite tree.

Posted on September 24, 2015

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