28 March 2010

MISSION: We Wish Shoe a Merry Christmas...in March!

See those smiling faces above? That is the result of kindness in action. It's not often that I get to see the faces of the recipients of the Secret Agent L project's acts of kindness. But thanks to a new friend on Twitter, I've been given this gift.

A few weeks ago, my new friend on Twitter was at a Filipino party, where she met Tin Tin (left) and Lin-Ai (right)--two young women from the Philippines. These ladies recently arrived in the United States to apprentice for a hotel program in Ohio. Unfortunately, they didn't pass the lifeguard test, after their parents borrowed $6000 for each of the girls to get here. Thank goodness, though, they managed to get work at a Subway Sandwich Shop, right outside of Pittsburgh.

These girls arrived in the U.S. with virtually nothing but the clothes on their backs and the pair of shoes on their feet. At the party, Tin Tin and Lin-Ai mentioned that they needed shoes very badly. My Twitter friend decided then and there to put out a call for help.

I received a message on Twitter telling me about the girls and asking if there was something I could do. I then put out a call to my followers on Twitter--and answer they did.

Within a few days, I received 14 pairs of shoes from the kind souls who answered my plea: shoes from Massachusettes, shoes from Pittsburgh, shoes from Irwin, PA.

After coordinating a drop-off location, my Twitter friend was able to get the shoes to the girls a few days ago. Needless to say, Tin Tin and Lin-Ai were quite happy to receive them.

Thank you so much to those of you who were able to get the correct size of shoes to me, for being so generous with your time and resources, and for extending your hearts and hands to women you've never met. I hope the smiles on their faces will let you know how important and special you are, as well as how integral you are to kindness on this planet.

Tin Tin and Lin-Ai still need things. They are currently sharing a studio apartment, and they don't have laundry facilities (they wash their clothes in the sink and let them dry on the radiator). Here are some items they desperately need:

  • umbrellas: 2
  • waterproof raincoat: 2 (XS and S)
  • waterproof shoes, for work, they have to be totally closed (size 6 and size 7), black or brown, and waterproof boots, as they will be here until Dec. 2010 (they walk to and from work)
  • gift cards at Shop N Save (they don't have a budget for food/groceries)
  • a water pitcher
  • laundry detergent
  • bus passes
  • rice
  • extra stuff for fun, like maybe gift cards to Target, movie passes, let them tag along when you go on day trips, etc.
If you think you could provide any of these items, please leave a comment with your email address and I'll get in contact you about how to proceed. They are near the Robinson Township area. Thank you in advance for extending your hearts and hands.

Acts of kindness like these, as simple as they are, are life-changing. I hope you will open your heart to these graces. I have, and my own life has been forever changed.

Love to every single one of you,
Secret Agent L

27 March 2010

MISSION: A Contest!

Hello, Readers! I, Secret Agent L, am thrilled to announce my VERY FIRST CONTEST!

A Free Ticket to Attack Theatre's Annual Dirty Ball!

I was approached recently by a follower of mine on Twitter who indicated that he had an extra ticket to Attack Theatre's Dirty Ball, a huge event that will take place here in Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 24, 2010, at 8 p.m. The Dirty Ball is an event where you can join "1,000 of your closest friends for performances, libations, installations, multiple DJs, and dancing at the 'red-hottest, way-coolest, sold-outest' event of the year."

This year's event includes:

This follower generously offered the ticket to me. Rather than keep it for myself, I thought it only appropriate to offer it as a prize here on Secret Agent L.

The contest?

I'm looking for someone who can complete a really outstanding mission of kindness. Something unique, creative, and extraordinarily kind! Do you have what it takes? I bet you do!

If you're interested in winning this free ticket to the Dirty Ball, then enter the contest!

Contest Rules:

1. Complete a random and anonymous act of kindness in the coolest, most unique way possible.

2. Email photos and specifics of the mission.

3. Dollar amount of mission may not exceed $25.

4. Mission must be completed and submitted to Secret Agent L via email by 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 9, 2010.

5. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 12, 2010.

Simple enough, right? So get your kindness thinking caps on and enter the contest! You could win a ticket worth $50! Then, if you bring someone with you to the event, it'll be like Buy One, Get One Free!

Now, get goin'!

Secret Agent L

21 March 2010

MISSION: OBAD (Operation Be A Donut), Part 1

If there's one thing you've learned about Secret Agent L, aside from the fact that she loves being kind, it's that she loves donuts.

A lot.

Especially ones from Dunkin Donuts.

Her dream, aside from having an unlimited supply of Dunkin Donuts, is to actually be a donut.

That's right.

Be a donut.

But when, and, more importantly, how would that ever happen?

Why, today with the help of the Dormont Dunkin Donuts, of course.

Now, Secret Agent L can't reveal too much at this point, as the mission she completed today is in the process of undergoing further review before it can be fully posted. But let's just say this:

It all happened in good time. All in good time.

Secret Agent L decided that she still wanted to partake in some of her traditional mission tactics while she was out today in Pittsburgh, such as handing out cards with little gifts in them:

We all know that Dunkin Donuts is known not just for their delicious donuts, but for their coffee as well.

And a lucky Pittsburgher received this little gift today, simply because she felt compelled to hug a donut.

Yes, friends. Hugs will get you kindness in return.

And since Secret Agent L is also a fan of Breast Cancer Awareness, she thought she'd spread that message a little bit today, too. Thanks to these adorable little compact mirrors, with proceeds going straight to breast cancer research, she was able to do just that:

Stay tuned for OBAD, Part 2, where you'll get to see Secret Agent L for the first time. Well, sort of anyway. Don't let the sprinkles confuse you.

17 March 2010

MISSION: D.C. Operative

Our nation's capital could definitely use some kindness, don't you think? So much frustration and stress and, well, you get the picture.

Thanks to new Affiliated Agent S, our nation's capital got a little bit happier yesterday. I mean, really: who doesn't like Mad Libs?

Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Time: Before Lunch

Location: Washington, D.C., Federal Office Building, Women's Restroom

Affiliated Agent S states: For my very first mission, I thought I would start somewhere easy -- my own office building. Everyone could use a fun little break in their work day, so how about some Mad Libs?

(sweet card included with Mad Libs)

Affiliated Agent S continues: I hid the gift in my purse so none of my coworkers would see me sneaking it out, and I sneaked into the ladies room after breakfast, but before the lunch rush began.

I crept into one of the stalls and hung the bag on the purse hook -- thankfully there were no other people in there to hear me snapping photos!

There are tons of hard-working women in my building and I hope this little gift brightened their day! I have many more gifts ready to go and lots of ideas, so look out DC area!

Awesome job, Affiliated Agent S! AND in a government location no less! You're a perfect secret agent, that's for sure. Can't wait to see what you do next!

15 March 2010

Affiliated Agent: On the Road

Seeing as how my Boss, Secret Agent L has decided to out herself, I find it only fitting to post a plethora of recent (and not so recent) missions from my being out...on the road. But first, I introduce the theme of these missions:

Being Number 2 to the most amazing, kind, and generous anonymous individual in Pittsburgh (ok I'm a bit biased) is hard work. There is a lot of pressure to live up to the standards she maintains, day in and day out. This is not only true in her missions to inspire, but in her daily life, as a real human being. Because I will not reveal my identity at her party, I am taking this time to stand on this stage and give the Boss her propers. You may want to skip the next few lines if you get weepy. 

Many mission recipients, twitter friends, and blog followers have commented that SAL changed them - somehow.  Before the SAL project began, I knew my Boss as one who changed my life by offering a friendship, an understanding, and a model for the kind of life I wanted to lead.  By merely being around SAL, my life transformed before my very eyes and I've become a better person for it. Her inspiration is what keeps me affiliated, as an agent, and also as a friend. 

It's important to me to share this love, to let her know and to let you know how much she means to me.  Because I will likely be sobbing uncontrollably at #hellosal (the reveal party) and therefore unable to convey this type of thought. And I know that all of you will want to have your chance to get up close and personal with a woman of whom I am extremely proud. 

OK ok ok, sorry everyone. On to the missions of inspiration in hope!

DATE: February 15 - March 7

TIME: Various

LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA to Gainesville, FL and locations in between

Ah, vacation. We can never have too many. My most recent vacation started out on Pittsburgh's Southside where several notepads, journals, and crossword puzzle books, each with a writing utensil attached, were dropped.

This vacation south was a heck of a drive and if you have kids, you know, they need entertained along the way.  In the mountains of Georgia, this bag of goodies was left on a van out of which several children piled before heading into a popular retreat, Anna Ruby Falls natural area.

The mountains of North Carolina were full of travelers from all over the United States. With a long drive likely ahead of them, too, crossword puzzle books and pencils were left behind. 

The final destination of Florida proved cooler than anticipated but enjoyable nonetheless. It is my hope that the recipients of these items enjoyed their trip just a little more because of these surprises.

12 March 2010

MISSION: Shout-Out.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to struggle with addiction. Whether it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, food...it really must be painful. I've watched A&E's Intervention, and each episode leaves me with tears streaming down my face and a heavy heart. I know people who struggle with addiction, and I know people who know people who struggle with addiction. And let me tell you, I feel helpless. Maybe you've felt this way, too.

On Twitter today, @steelcitydiva announced that her husband, Shane, has been sober for 30 days as of today. She was so excited! And while I've never met @steelcitydiva or her husband, I'm excited, too! What a wonderful accomplishment and show of courage and strength. So, as a way of spreading kindness and hope, I told @steelcitydiva I'd give her husband a shout-out. He deserves it. It's my way of giving him the hug and high-five I wish I could deliver in person.

Apparently, Shane said to his wife, "Why would anyone care if I'm clean or not?" The answer is, because you're a human being. And you share this earth with people who love you. And you have the potential to change someone's life, even if you don't believe it. Someone loves you, Shane. Someone needs you. Someone believes in you. You have a soul, and that makes you worth more than anything in this world. And that's why people care if you're clean or not. Because you are irreplaceable. Because we're all trying to get through this thing called life, as messy and complicated and fussy and ugly and difficult as it is, and it helps if we do it together. But life is also beautiful and precious and lovely and funny and amazing. And so are you.

I commend @steelcitydiva and Shane for deciding to take it one day at a time and to fight for Shane's life. They're climbing the mountain, and I believe they'll make it to the top. They're almost there.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please seek help. And know that Secret Agent L is praying and rootin' for you. And sending so much love.

Happy Friday, Everyone!


09 March 2010

MISSION: On the Spot.

A while back, I got an email from Jennifer England from On the Spot, a brand new project created to address the scarcity of menstrual products for many young girls in low income communities in and around the Pittsburgh area. Many school employees were providing supplies for the girls out their own pocket when faced with the overwhelming need for such help. Jennifer asked that I spread the word about the project, which I am absolutely honored to do.

Ladies, can you imagine being a young girl, just getting used to getting your period, and being stuck at school without the proper supplies? The feeling of helplessness, embarrassment, and discomfort... My heart breaks for these young women.

Stop on over to Jen's website and take a look around at how you can help. Are you in the Pittsburgh area? Then maybe the next time you pick up some feminine products at the grocery store, you can pick up an extra box (preferably pads) and drop it off at one of On the Spot's several donation locations. Not from Pittsburgh? Then perhaps you could donate $5 or $10 to their cause.

You can also help simply by spreading the word, joining their Facebook fan page, or dropping them an email to find out about future events (one, of which, will be a back-to-school fundraiser in August/September).

Think of the young girls in your own life: little sisters, nieces, grand-daughters, daughters, cousins. Now think of those girls not having the basic necessities they need in order to deal with their monthly visitor. Will you please consider helping out with this very worthwhile cause? I know I'll be picking up some extra supplies when I stop at Target tonight.

Secret Agent L

04 March 2010

MISSION: Crunches, Cardio, and Candles

You know who I love? My Affiliated Agents.

You know who I don't love? Mean people.

It is with great sadness that I report to you all that the Secret Agent L project has had its first run-in with a Certifiable Jerk.

Yup. Just got word from Affiliated Agent O (whose mission is below), that her mission from last night was...


Today she went back to the scene of her mission to see if anybody had found her treat, only to find that someone had:

1) crumpled the gift bag
2) left the card (out of its envelope, as if it was just a piece of trash)
3) took the candle

Um, hello? Jerks-R-Us? You can have your employee back.

Can you imagine how disappointed Affiliated Agent O was to see her gift treated that way? Who would do such a thing? Affiliated Agent O was so excited about her mission. She even emailed me at the beginning of the day to tell me she was going to do it!

Nonetheless, I want to post this mission for you all to see. Because it was completed out of kindness, out of pure intentions. This post celebrates Affiliated Agent O.

Girl, we've got your back. And don't let this thoughtless person keep you from practicing kindness. It's moments like this that prove kindness really *is* needed in this world.

Date: Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Location: Bridgeville LA Fitness, Locker 99, Women's locker room

In Affiliated Agent O's own words:

I stocked up on a ton of goodies last night, and then had to decide where I'd pull off my first mission. I wanted to do something creative and VERY surprising. Wrapping my gift up with help from a certain feline who was very eager to curl the ribbon...

...I decided I'd make the drop somewhere that I personally would really appreciate a little pick-me-up. The gym.

I hate going to the gym. I hate it as much as I hate eggnog, and that is a lot. And I know that I'm not the only one that dreads it (the gym, not the eggnog!), so it was my feeling that maybe leaving a special something in the locker room might be a nice motivator, a nice "glad you came" to start off someone's workout. What better gift to give a sweaty person than a nice candle they can go home and bubble bath it up with?

I have to say that I felt very sneaky entering the gym. I knew something no one else knew. I hoped that no one had super x-ray eyes to see inside my newly designated "agent tote." Gliding into the locker room sly like a fox, I took the surprise out of my bag, and tucked all of my belongings over top of it. I went and got sweaty myself, but not too sweaty, because I noticed a sudden influx of women heading for the locker room. I realized what time it was, knowing that many of the office buildings in the area would be letting out soon. I hopped off the treadmill, wiped it down, and headed back to the locker room, nervous that I'd be caught on my first try.

The area where locker 99 is located had two girls in it, no way I could pull this off with them around. So I hit the sauna, hoping they'd be gone when I was done. They were gone, but were replaced by a girl changing from work clothes to a gym outfit, which was very inconvenient. I couldn't pretend to fiddle with my phone long enough to not look suspicious so I went back to the sauna, realizing that this was going to be harder (and much sweatier) than I thought. After another 5 minutes had passed, I thought I'd peek out. This time, a woman was putting her belongings away, but my inner ninja told me to make a go of it. I slowly started putting on my coat, watching the lady out of the corner of my eye. She wasn't paying any attention, so I moved my bag and tried to snap some photos.

I had to be quick, and couldn't really get a good angle without being busted. After 5 "click clicks" of the camera, I figured enough was enough, that if I didn't hurry I'd surely be caught. I closed the locker, smiled at the woman, and went on my way. The deed was done, and I really hope that someone is enjoying that candle because it smelled really, really fabo!

Nasty Person: if you've stumbled onto this post, please know that your unkind and thoughtless actions really hurt us. I hope you'll be less selfish next time someone tries to show you some kindness.

Affiliated Agent O: WE LOVE YOU.

03 March 2010

MISSION: The Big Reveal

Mark your calendars, folks.

Secret Agent L will be revealing her identity on Saturday, July 24, 2010.

For those of you in Pittsburgh or able to travel to it, plans are in the works for a public reveal.

In other words, A PARTY.

Being Secret Agent L has been a gorgeous, wonderful experience. But being anonymous can be pretty lonely. But don't worry--missions of kindness will still continue, and my Affiliated Agents will still be out in the field in action.

Details to follow over the next couple of months.