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From the mouth of Chris,

     The very first Altruism was brought to me, I didn't initiate it. I tried to start prior Altruisms but was yet to hear from them and decided I would like to invoke a favorite project of mine, PostSecret, as a tool to spread the word of I went to a local Barnes and Noble with the intent of leaving an Altruism card in a PostSecret book with the message, "I hope this affects people."
     I hoped this note would meet a person who would be moved enough to start an Altruism, as it turned out, someone else's note found me. I opened a PostSecret book and it fell open to a torn piece of paper. Written in black ink were three statements: "I fear I lost the only person I'll ever love. - I fear even more that I'm too sad to find my true love. - Maybe death is best."
     I immediately lost all sight of why I went there and became frantic, fearing for the life of someone with whom I had never met. Unbeknownst to the writer, when they tore the paper the name of their workplace was left on the back.
     After many phone calls I went to this business and spoke to the manager. I carefully and sensitively explained the situation, showed him the note and he verified that it looked like the writing of his employee Jackie. Understandably he could not give me Jackie's contact information so I asked that he contact her to assure she was okay and to give her my contact information.
     From the moment I found the note I thought nothing of Altruismed and did not associate this act with the project but my number was quickly scribed on the back of an Altruism card. In half an hour I was contacted by Jackie who had visited the website:

     I'm the *business name removed for privacy* girl. When I ripped the paper off, I didn't realize the name of my work was on there or that anyone would be as bothered as to do something. I'm okay. Sometimes, I'm not. And that moment of writing and placing my secret in the book was a not okay time. However, regardless of why, you actually caring and taking the time to go to my work to make sure I was okay means a lot. It shows me that the world isn't just some horrible place with horrible people. But, even strangers can be the most caring people of all. I guess it's because strangers really see you. They don't know your past or what mistakes you've made. All they see is what is right in front of them.

Thank you, honestly.


     The e-mail from Jackie brought tears to my eyes and a bit of relief but by her tone I could still clearly see her depression. Over the course of a few e-mails I offered assistance in setting up an appointment with a professional counselor.
     It was not until after the fact that I began to think that this is truly the very first Altruism. It is all the more meaningful because it was brought to me. And as for my message: it came true without even delivering the note...not to say that sometime you might not find an Altruism card tucked into a random PostSecret book!
Jackie's Secret


If you or someone you know is depressed, suicidal, or feeling hopeless please contact the Hopeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433)