Heart Stories

Name: Cindy

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Simi Valley, CA

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I was at the supermarket and there was a young woman who seemed a little dazed. She was holding the cutest baby that just loved me. He gravitated to me, smiling at me. I struck up a conversation with the mom and I found out that her husband was overseas on a cruise ship. He is a chef and she had not seen him in eight months. I wanted her to smile and I remembered I had a heart to give her.

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: It made me feel good to see her smile.


Name: Peter 

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Chicago, IL

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: Fran is an Admirals Club agent for American Airlines and she always makes you smile, inside and out. Fran constantly tries to find the good in people and events and if you are upset or sad, you leave an interaction with Fran with a smile on your face. I gave Fran a heart because she moves me every time I meet her or see her interact with others. Thanks, Fran!

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: It made me smile, and I enjoyed seeing Fran smile!


Name: Lannie

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Indianapolis, Indiana

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from.: My husband John underwent open heart surgery at St. Vincent's Heart Hospital in Indianapolis last week, and within the first day of his hospital stay, I experienced the love and care of so many doctors, nurses, caregivers, plus family and dear friends. I was moved to show my gratitude and appreciation in a concrete way. I was also touched by John's brave and sweet attitude--always showing interest in others and gratitude for their care--even when he was in pain or probably scared. I secured the hearts from my friend and began giving them out.

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: The hearts were a perfect "thank you" to those taking care of John's heart! From the surgeon, to the nurses, to the patient care technicians, to the housekeepers, we showed our gratitude openly and often. I have to say, John led the way in these relationships with his fantastic attitude, and I would also say, we had some of the biggest laughs we've ever had in our lives there in the intensive care unit with those blessed helpers. Nothing like helplessness to bring out our humanity! Those who received the hearts were surprised and pleased, some more openly than others. In turn, I am sure John was probably helped more because of his attitude and gratitude. Many of the workers put them in their plastic ID badges, keeping their pewter hearts close to their own heart. I like think the pewter heart will remind them of the deep importance of their work and of the lives they touch and save.


Name: Elizabeth

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Norwood, MA; Alabama, England...I'll be in Wyoming soon and I’ll share some there as well! I have mailed them across the country to friends I love and miss and hand them out to everyone I can. Everyone deserves LOVE!

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from.: I'm a GIVER. I LOVE giving these! Here's the note people receive from me: “Hi! If you are receiving this, you know me in some way. I am a happy person and love to spread smiles, happiness and joy! So here is a heart, from me to you. I found these and LOVE these so I want you to know you are not alone. I am not alone. You are loved and so am I – just as we are. Share your story #SpreadingHearts https://www.spreadinghearts.org/.”

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: I have had people cry, hug me, be thrilled, and excited like it was the best gift in the whole world. I am humbled by people. I just want to share, simple things are the most beautiful. I have shared almost 350 hearts and have ordered more.


Name: Kathy

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Johnston, RI

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I, and a group of great women, received a heart from Elizabeth Ekborg while at a gathering. What a wonderful way to spread love. It warmed my heart.

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: It encouraged me to spread my love and affection to those who mean so much to me. It's not the gift giving which is meaningful, it's the love which was signified by this heart.


Name: Terie

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Norwood, MA

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: Elizabeth is an amazing wonderful, loving person who always, always has a positive outlook. She continually has kind words and knows how to make any situation look positive. She truly emanates spreading love.️

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: It has had a loving impact on me and my family.


Name: Ashley

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Birmingham, Alabama

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: My sweet friend from Boston, MA sent my two children and myself hearts. My daughter put hers in her special box and I put mine on my vision board for the year. My son wasn't as excited although he does love getting treasures from my friend!

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: I love my friend. To be reminded of her love for me across so many miles and so little time spent together was a beautiful testimony to our friendship.


Name: Meri

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Minneapolis, MN

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I received a heart from my only brother, Pete. Along with warming my heart, it brought tears to my eyes and still does every time I wear it. I have a special place in my heart for Pete that will never be vacant. I've been with him twice now as he has given hearts to others. My brother is not only earnestly seeking the good in others, he is purposefully bringing their kindness to the surface, telling them he admires their strength (sometimes through difficult situations). Although the first two alone are spirit lifting gifts, he gives another gift of the everlasting pewter heart, as a constant reminder to always continue kindness and seek the good in others.

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: Words can't reach the depth of impact in my mind, heart, and soul. Continue impacting. THIS is an important labor.


Name: Peter

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)?: Chicago, IL

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: Alisa, a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight from Chicago to Minneapolis. An passenger on the flight was consistently telling Alisa what to do relative to his luggage and I loved her reaction and handling of the issue. I see flight attendants deal with customer issues on a daily basis and when one is so professional and still very nice, it makes me happy to be traveling with the likes of Alisa. Thanks, Alisa!

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You?: I appreciated Alisa's attitude and professionalism and it felt good to acknowledge that to her.


Name: Ivor

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart? South Africa

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I gave a heart to my friend in 2012 when we first became friends. I saw him today, four years later, and wanted to give him a new heart (forgetting I had already given him one) and he pulled out his old one! It looked worn, and not so shiny, but also beautiful with a story to tell.


Name: Kathleen and Mila

Where did you spread/receive the heart? Illinois and Israel

Tell Us Your Spreading Hearts Story: This morning my manicurist Mila shared with me a heart story: her significant other's mother passed away a few weeks ago and he went to Israel for the funeral. Mila was not able to attend so she wrote a special letter to her would be sister-in-law and included a "spreading hearts" heart in the letter.  Her significant other said his sister sobbed when reading the letter and receiving the heart.

This heart is the same one I gave to Mila at the funeral of the unexpected passing of her husband six years ago. She remembered the story of me handing her the heart at the funeral and how it forever impacted her.


Name: Marcenia

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)? Chicago, IL

My Spreading Heart Experience: I spread a heart to my mom who is paralyzed. I visited her at her home and gave her a small box. I told her “I see you, mom. You are loved. I cherish you.” My mom responded as if she received a diamond! Her face lit up, tears filled her eyes, and she told me - “I will cherish this for the rest of my life.”


Name: Karrie

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)? Chicago, IL

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I spread a heart to a young woman I met at a MRI center when I was anxiously trying to obtain answers regarding my health in a quick and accurate manner. I was extremely frustrated by how slow the referral/insurance process was and desperately wanting an answer to explain my lower leg pain. This woman, let's call her Amy, was so kind, helpful, understanding, and absolutely went above and beyond to help me obtain accurate answers in a timely manner. After I gave her a heart as a small token of my huge thanks she emailed me and said:

"Also, I just wanted to say thank you again for the heart from spreadinghearts.org. I cannot tell you how touching this is to me. I recently lost my mother-in-law and she was such a proponent of these things. This act from you really brought me great memories of her. I told my husband and he even said, wow my mom would have loved to hear this story. I did not even have to say "hey wouldn't your mom think this was cool" he just got it instantly. Thank you again."

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You? Hearing the ways that giving a small pewter heart at just the right time to Amy encouraged her reminded me that God knows -- He knows how to intersect complete strangers at just the right times to remind us of His presence in our lives and fill our fuel tanks with hope and comfort exactly when we need it. I was also reminded that pausing in our busy days and listening for the "nudges" to encourage someone and acting on those nudges can have a lasting impact on both the receiver and giver.


Name: Louise

For My Grandson

My daughter, son-in law, my three grandsons, and I sat down last night and had a special moment for my youngest grandson, Brock. Each of us had one of your hearts and made a special wish for Brock as we placed them around a large heart in the center. It was a very special and precious time. Brock is eight and having an up-to ten hour heart valve replacement at Stanford today. All of your hearts are having ripple effects far and wide and I am sending much love and gratefulness to you.


Name: Pete

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)? Minneapolis, MN

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I gave a heart to one of my four sisters, Meri. Meri is always there as an anchor, life preserver or counselor to anyone in need. This mother of two, along with her awesome husband,  fostered 53 high-risk children, the first two being the children of a childhood friend who had legal issues.

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You? It gave me great joy and, as always, reinvigorated me to keep an open heart and mind for those that I meet everyday.


Name: Pamela

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)? Camden NJ

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: One night at 11:30 PM, as I sat in my office feverishly working (I do work day shift), the woman from Environmental Services who cleans our floor said to me: "Who takes care of you? You are always busy taking care of everyone else. I know, you’re a woman, and you take care of everyone in your life, but you need someone looking out for you! I want you to pack up and when you get downstairs, I want you to ask the guard to walk you to your car so that you are safe." She made me cry because she was right, and she cared enough about me to say it out loud. So few of the people that we work with express their human love and concern for those around them. She is a treasure and she touched my heart, so the next day I let her know what she meant to me by giving her a heart. I explained that her courage to say what she did meant the world to me.

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You? It gave me great joy.


Name: Van

Where did you spread/receive the heart? Detroit, MI

Tell Us Your Spreading Hearts Story: The hearts are a big hit! I sent a few to Detroit. One of our co-founders was having surgery. The heart arrived in time to be a part of her recovery. She loved it!!

Another was given to our secretary who will be at a funeral tomorrow for a friend who's daughter passed very unexpectedly.

Our secretary said, "I have no words to say but giving her this heart and just letting her know that I love her will speak volumes."

So much of what we do in both our high school programs and retreats centers is on the heart so expect that we will be making some orders!

A great idea you and your daughters came up with!! God bless and keep Spreading Hearts!


Name: Jeanne Malnati

Where: Chicago, IL

When Melissa and I left a meeting at Lurie Children’s Hospital, we went into the (amazing) gift store. We passed by a mom and a 12ish year old girl, and I overheard, as they were looking at the jewelry, a piece of their conversation: "Yes mom that is a heart charm!..."

Love those God-wink moments of hearing a piece of a convo. I mentioned it to Melissa. We smiled. At the check out, Melissa whispered to me, "Mom, maybe give her your heart necklace?"

I turned around to the girl and mom behind me...and I see that this young 12-ish year-old girl is blind. I introduced ourselves and told her I had overheard her talking about the heart charm and asked if she was buying it. The girl responded "No.” The mom said "It looks like she can see you/is looking at you, but she's not...she's 100% blind."

With that, I smiled at Melissa and said something like..."We spread these little pewter hearts.  And I'd love for you to have my heart necklace."  I took it off my neck and put it on hers and said, "We see you. And you matter. We hope this heart will be a reminder that you are so loved!"  

Oh my! Are you kidding me? It was another one of those delightful(!) God moments. The mom teared up and was speechless. The young girl was smiling loudly while feeling the heart around her neck. They both fumbled with saying "Thank you so much"..."You're welcome! We're so glad to meet you!" Hugs.

And we moved on. It's that sweet. Simple. Powerful. If only we are conscious and pay attention to others in our lives.


Name: Lauren

Where did you spread/receive the heart? Indiana

Tell Us Your Spreading Hearts Story: I heard about the mission of Spreading Hearts at Rooted Chicago. Immediately God put a specific new person on my heart. We decided to go out for coffee and get to know one another better. It turns out God had specifically crossed our paths because of similar tumultuous childhoods. He knew we could encourage one another. I let my newfound friend know that God sees her, loves her, and is with her. I was unsure about how she would react just because I had only given one other heart to my mom. She later shared with me that it was EXACTLY what she needed to hear in that moment and it encouraged her in the next steps on her journey. Jeanne Malnati, thank you for sharing your heart at Rooted. God used this ministry to bless yet another person through human interaction and sharing JESUS’ love. 


Name: Shannel

Where Did You Spread or Receive a Heart (city, state)? Chicago, IL

Tell Us about the Person You Spread a Heart to and/or Received a Heart from: I received a heart from Jeanne Malnati. She came into the bank I work for and was so nice. At the end of the transaction, she gave me a heart. I kept it by my computer. Yesterday a gentleman came into the bank, saw the heart, and asked who gave it to me. I replied “a customer” and he asked “was it my wife?” I replied, “I don't know.” He asked, “was she beautiful?” I said “yes, she was” and he replied, “it was my wife.”

So today Ms. Jeanne came in and I told her the story and she said he had just told her the story as well. She is a very kind soul and she made my day. Thank you Jeanne!

How Did Spreading or Receiving a Heart Impact You: I won't say I was having a bad day, but I was not at my best today. When she came in and gave me some hearts to spread, it really did make my day.


Name: Jeanie

Confessions of a Spreader of Hearts.

I am a shy heart spreader. I confess I hand them out sparingly, often feeling a little embarrassed. How will they be received? Will they think I have an angle, or that I’m trying to sell them something? Will they suspect me of having a hidden agenda? This is the state of our world today; that one is suspect for acts kindness.

I happen to be a good friend to one of the original heart spreaders. Her enthusiasm always inspires and recharges my desire to spread hearts. Yesterday I was with her and once again she had an AMAZING story that totally ignited me with enthusiasm to overcome my shyness around kindness.

Since I had the “expert” with me I invited her to watch me do it and then give me some feedback. We had a wonderfully attendant server at the place we were sharing lunch. She was present without being overbearing. She seemed to come at the right moments without interrupting our train of thought. When I asked her if she needed the table (gosh had we been there two hours?) she kindly replied we should stay as long as we liked. I decided she needed a heart. And I wanted Jeanne to coach me after I did the deed.

When our server came back, I asked her name and then if she would put out her hand - there was something I wanted to give her. As she opened her hand, I placed one little pewter heart in her palm.  I told her how much we appreciated her kindness and service and that I wanted her to have this heart. Then I gave her a pouch with two more hearts and the spreading hearts logo and explained that the other two hearts were for her to give to someone who touched her and for them to give to someone who touched them. She was so grateful and sweet and sincerely thanked me. My coach who sat silently observing the whole interchange said I did a great job. I felt good. I assumed that was that. That’s usually how the story ends when I spread hearts. People are gratefully surprised.

However this story has another ending. About 20 minutes later another waiter shows up and sits down in front of us a plate with two huge, warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies with just a little kosher salt on top. It was a gift from our server. (I am smiling as I write this). Often when we spread hearts we’re like little Johnny Appleseed; planting seeds across the country but never seeing the result of the seeds we’ve sown. The trees that grow are for someone else to enjoy. But once in a while a tree grows fast and we actually get to eat an apple from the very tree we planted. I spread a heart; I got an amazing cookie, how great is that!

Share Your Own Story!