Thousand Bucks For A Stranger?

If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do?

Following her show where she gave away $1000 bucks, Oprah asked that question on Yahoo Answers. In less than a week, more than 35,000 people have responded to her query with answers like:

"Having once been homeless and living on handouts of change to eat at 99 cent all you can eat places and soup kitchens, sleeping on doorsteps and trolley stops and sidewalks and having guns pulled on me for cigarettes...I would carefully like to choose homeless folks who are not of the ones who don't want to get off the street( met many of those while out there who love to work the system) but those who need a hand up, a first step to get out of that cycle."

"I'd give it to the orphans, they have no parents or they can't afford much to eat."

"Buying farming tools, helping to provide better water supplies, giving a child an education or helping to buy medicine would all strengthen a person, so that they in turn can help themselves and others."

"I would probably go to Africa or the Middle East and give the money to a family there and invest the money in making their lives better."

"I would donate the money to the make a wish foundation for the kids last wish. I would really want to see the kids and their families experience a happy moment at such a tragic time in their lives. "

"Well when I go out to diner I would give the waiter a $1000 tip it would bless them and then all throughout the day all the people would get a really happy waiter that would be happy to serve them. My sister was once a waiter and she would often have annoying cranky people to serve and after work her tail off the costumer would give lousy tips ( Like the change from their pocket) So i think by giving a random waiter a 1000 bucks would make all those cranky people worth it. Also many waiters are trying to make there way through college so the money might help with their education."

"I would rather like to split it up and give some to a lot of people instead of just one because as they say a little goes a long way. It really doesn't take much to get started, if invested and so on. But, given it must be one person, I would put half in an interest earning account and give the other half in person to them and say, hey, I thought maybe you could use this, be wise and think before you spend but do spend, because money is nothing but paper sitting in box when not used. ;) "

What would you do with a thousand bucks?

I like the idea of micro-philanthropy, so I would probably setup a five-bucks club and for all those who donate five-bucks, I will match their five-bucks so they can do something in their local communities in a secret-santa sort of a way.

Posted by Nipun Mehta at December 1, 2006 06:44 AM

Posted by: MBJ on December 4, 2006 03:24 AM
Nipunís reminder of the power of tiny, compassionate gifts put me in mind of a story that goes back a few years, but which is worth a retelling. You can read "1,000 Crisp Mohandases" at
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