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How An Unexpected Friendship Changed My Life

What can opening up to receiving kindness from others lead to? See how an unexpected friendship formed between a California rideshare driver and a passenger, proving that friendship can change lives.


How An Unexpected Friendship Changed My Life

Lois Paula Riturban: Whether you’re hoping to heal the world or heal yourself, this podcast is here for you to highlight how kindness moves.

Nan Zapanta: Moves you to take action, yourself, or just makes you feel something so good, it’s contagious. You might have been touched by a simple act of kindness. You might want tips on how you can act now in your own community or you just love the feeling of doing good.

Lois Paula Riturban: Welcome to Kindness Moves, a podcast brought to you by the INC Giving project. We’re your hosts LP, and Nan. Now we’ve discussed together and with our guests the importance of kindness, its benefits, how we can share it with others, but today, we’ll turn the tables actually and talk about receiving kindness. Now what happens when we are the recipient? What can taking a chance on kindness do for us?

Nan Zapanta: Yeah you know, that’s a great question LP. You know, sometimes, especially these days, when someone’s kind towards another person, there’s a little bit of skepticism right? From those at uh receive, are on the receiving end of kindness. Some might even ask, you know, “What’s the catch? Like, what, what are you doing? Why are you being so nice to me?” So that kind of skepticism can lead to someone maybe passing up on a helpful or even positive experience and maybe a life changing one too. So, on one hand, I don’t blame them. We live in unusual times. So that degree of skepticism is understandable. But on the other hand, you might be passing up on a great opportunity if you ignore that act of kindness, right?

Lois Paula Riturban: Right. And I guess it depends on what the act of kindness is, you know the context of it all. But yes, you never know what an act of kindness can really lead to. So today, we’ll hear from a woman who actually took that chance on kindness during a ride home from work. So let’s welcome everyone to the show Teresa Rios from California. Hello.

Nan Zapanta: Hi, Teresa.

Teresa Rios: Hey.

Nan Zapanta: There you are.

Lois Paula Riturban: Thanks for joining us today. Hi. 

Teresa Rios: Hi. How are you doing?

Nan Zapanta: Doing well, doing well. We’re super happy to have you here. We’ve heard your story on “Stories Of Faith” and we’ve heard so much about you. So you know, as, as you know, today, we’re talking about taking a chance on kindness. So let’s just go ahead and jump right in and let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, like your childhood or maybe what your biggest influences were when it came to your outlook on kindness? 

Teresa Rios: Where do I start? 

Lois Paula Riturban: That’s a lot. That’s a loaded question. 

Nan Zapanta: I know it’s a lot, right?

Teresa Rios: My childhood, my parents, they split up when I was seven. So mostly it was my mother that raised me and–inspiration for kindness, I mostly got from the strength my mother had in raising a child on her own. I felt like it really taught me a lot on how life really does give you obstacles to face and it just depends on how you choose to face it.

Nan Zapanta:  Right, right. I mean, all of us, right, we face different challenges, but I think at a young age, you know those challenges kind of shape exactly who we are and just how we, we see things so yeah, it’s definitely something significant, especially when you’re talking about like, your outlook on kindness.

Nan Zapanta: Are there any things that Yeah, anything that you remember, as a child, that, that really shaped how your outlook on kindness was?

Teresa Rios: I think one significant moment as a child was there was a time after my parents split apart, my mother and I stayed in, like a women’s shelter for a couple of weeks. And I remember it was, I believe it was around the holidays. And at the time, I didn’t really know why exactly we were there. But I remember still being grateful that we were there and having fun with the other kids that were in the shelter as well. And I remembered the volunteers went to every room and left a gift for each child. So I woke up to a little “Raggedy Anne” doll in the morning and you know, they didn’t have to do that. But I always remembered it.

Lois Paula Riturban: It was that unexpected gift, that unexpected moment. 

Teresa Rios: And that’s my story.

Lois Paula Riturban: Yeah, no, thank you for sharing that. I think that’s why it’s great because you come from such a personal background of knowing just a true and genuine selfless act and thank you to your mom, props to your mom. Thank you for sharing that firstly. But you know, Teresa, when you look back considering just those challenge–challenging experiences itself, you know, it’s natural for a lot of us to maybe lose trust or change our perspective of the kindness that is out there. And you have that that moment that you described, that you can really hold on to but in a way because of these challenges that we have in our life, we, we tend to guard our hearts right, you know, so did you experience that, you know, growing up now moving forward into your adolescence and into your adulthood? Did you experience maybe having a different outlook because of what happened in your, in your childhood?

Teresa Rios: I think even through that experience, it didn’t change as much. I always had, and I still try to have, a positive outlook on any situation. Because I, I always feel like no matter what you are faced with, you can’t really do much about it. You just have to decide on how you face it. I talked about it on my “Stories of Faith” of when I was 12 I was abused. And that is what really changed my outlook. I felt like that was the moment where I really lost my innocence that I had throughout my adolescence. I had really great friends that helped me get through it. Even when I didn’t talk about that experience to them. I think that was kind of a moment where I thought okay, like, you know, life isn’t all, you know, candy and rainbows. There’s going to be hard times and even as a child I had to face that but I sort of try to surround myself with really good people that always support me no matter what. And that’s still carried on into adulthood. I do still struggle sometimes. I struggle with, you know, mental health issues. There’s days where I want to go out and walk in the park and be happy all day, but there’s definitely days where I don’t even want to get out of bed. So I still struggle with it. But I mean, I have my son now and he’s my complete world. So I try to keep a positive outlook now anyway.

Lois Paula Riturban: Yes, and it’s so beautiful that you say that because that’s exactly the situation that so many of us face where we have these experiences but really like you said, it is the outlook that we have; the choice that will make whether to look at it as a positive opportunity or, you know, something that’s going to weigh us down and you choose those moments very wisely and you take it with a grain of salt when when you have to. And you know again, just thank you for sharing, you know those moments with us. Many of us, we have those things that have made us want to turn inward and maybe shy away from others as well. You know, in those instances sometimes, like, you mentioned it, someone, the friends that you choose, someone who intentionally goes out of their way to reach out and pull us out of that shell so to say right? When you shared your story first on the Stories of Faith, another INC Media podcast and show, you shared that exact thing–a moment where someone took a chance and reached out to you. Can you take us back and briefly describe that moment with us? You know, when someone extended an act of kindness, so to say, and it changed your life?

Teresa Rios: I think probably the main moment would be meeting Chris that led me into the Church. I feel like before then, I was kind of just coasting through life. You know, everyday was go to work, go home to my son,go back to work and back home. 

Lois Paula Riturban: The cycle. 

Teresa Rios: I felt like at that time I really, especially coming from a really small, small hometown–I never really looked past “there has to be something more out there for me”. It was always like okay, well now I have to be a provider. And it’s just about how much money I can make to provide for my family. So when I met Chris that eventually led me into the Church. That also led me to bigger opportunities and bigger outlooks on–okay, like this isn’t just the life that I have to have. I can look to a better future for myself. It’s not just about what I can do for my family, but how I can make something bigger out of myself.

Nan Zapanta: Wow, that’s great. I mean, yeah, you know, to be able to kind of make that breakthrough, right? Like, it’s easy to get stuck in the routine of life. But then when you kind of come to that realization or have that clarity where you make such a significant realization, I think it’s really fascinating to hear. And you also mentioned Chris, that whole experience and him introducing the Church, sharing his faith, or actually before I jump into my question, could, could you share a little bit more detail as to how that all kind of came together? You know what exactly happened? I know you kind of shared on it. Yeah… 

Lois Paula Riturban: I’d love to hear it. 

Nan Zapanta: Yeah, you shared on Stories of Faith, but it would be cool to hear again, like kind of how that all unfolded.

Teresa Rios: So really, at that time, I was working at Kmart. And that was just a job that when I came here to California from Pennsylvania, I kind of came without much of a plan. At the time I was, you know, separated from my husband and it was just, you know, we need something different, we need to change in our life. So, my mother and I and my son we just packed up and moved to California and you know, kind of like we’ll just see what happens when we get there. So ended up getting the small job at Kmart and at the time we have started from nothing with our apartment. Like our dining table was a cardboard box at the time. And like we really started from absolutely nothing here. And so I didn’t have a car. I was always taking the bus but if I had to work late I would use, like Uber and Lyft. And yeah, at the time Chris was, I believe, my Uber driver a couple times. And usually because I am so introverted it’s really hard for me to talk to new people. I believe the first couple times I didn’t talk to him. 

Lois Paula Riturban: That’s ok.

Teresa Rios: The last time he recognized me and started a conversation which helped me a lot to open up.

Lois Paula Riturban: Very cool–and that’s so cool because rideshare you know, you, you don’t necessarily always get the same, you know, person helping you and so it’s also a coincidence that he happened to also be the one to respond, you know, to the ask and, and be there to, to, you know, be your company along the way of going home. So yeah, and it’s okay because I always stay quiet in the car too. So that you know, yeah, go ahead Nan.

Nan Zapanta: No, no, yeah, I think it’s, it’s really cool because, “A”, you know, just the way it unfolded, but you know, when you really think about it, right, like you think getting a ride from a rideshare service, it’s such a normal occurrence, right? You don’t really think twice about it. But when it all unfolds in this really amazing way like it did for you. I think it’s really cool. So it shows that you really did take a chance on kindness in this instance. So what were your thoughts? You know, because we’re kind of reflecting on this moment. What were your thoughts when you first said yes, to Chris’s invitation?

Teresa Rios: I don’t, I didn’t really think about it very much. At the time, I was looking to find a church that was right for my family. Um, I mean, I grew up in the Catholic church until I was 12. And once I was old enough to say, you know, I don’t feel that I belong in this church, I don’t want to go anymore. And my mother gave me the freedom to stop going. So I was looking, I went to a couple different churches, and I was just trying to bring, you know, God and faith and religion to my son that he could grow up in. So once Chris invited me I was like, okay, like, you know, there’s no harm done, I might as well. 

Lois Paula Riturban: What do you have to lose? Yeah.

Teresa Rios: Yeah, exactly. And one thing I always appreciated about Chris is that I always have, you know, you get good vibes from people or you get negative vibes. So for me, it was just once he talked to me, it was easy to talk to him.

Nan Zapanta: That’s awesome. That’s exactly, actually what I was gonna ask. I was like, what is it that kind of made you open to the invitation? Because you know, when in the beginning of the show we’re talking about people can be a little skeptical. They can be a little guarded if someone’s being nice to them, right? What was it about Chris? Is there anything else, maybe that, that made him sharing an act of kindness easier to receive?

Teresa Rios: I think one thing that helped was during our first conversation, he was very open about asking me questions about, you know, myself and my son, and he never really fails to ask about my son as well. So I really appreciate that. So even though we had just recently met we would hang out with some of the Kadiwa. So once I did go to my first service, I already recognized some of the members there. So I appreciated that more than just taking me to a random service one night and being okay, we’re here. 

Lois Paula Riturban: Yeah. You’re part of the family already. 

Teresa Rios: Yeah. Like, oh, like I know, this person. You know, it was kind of nice to be, you know, edged in there a little bit at a time. 

Lois Paula Riturban: Absolutely. And you know, Teresa we’ve been discussing you know, that moment. We’ve been discussing this, this time where you were introduced and God led you to, to meet and to be introduced to a couple of other friends, you know, in the Church Of Christ and, and how that specific act of kindness just took off right? And so now, how many years are we from that moment? How long was that? Four years?

Teresa Rios: Four years. 

Nan Zapanta: Nice.

Lois Paula Riturban: And so, you know, from that, that day, or that, that time where you started learning about the Church Of Christ and you took that chance, you know, on that act of kindness, that invitation–if we can now just reflect how has your life changed? How has it, you know, changed for the better? You and your son? How, how have things been? You know, now that you’re a member of the Church Of Christ?

Teresa Rios: In those four years, I’ve, I went to school to become a CNA. So I was able to leave Kmart. 

Lois Paula Riturban: Congratulations, congratulations. Congrats.

Nan Zapanta: Congratulations.

Teresa Rios: I work at the hospital. I’m currently saving up for a house. I’m back in college pursuing writing. 

Nan Zapanta: Very cool. 

Lois Paula Riturban: So beautiful. Yes. 

Teresa Rios: Yeah. It’s kind of nice. And um, one day I’ll graduate, and I’ll write a book. And it’s kind of nice to be able to know that I’m pursuing something that I genuinely love to do. Because I’ve always loved books. So I feel like that never would have crossed my mind had I not met Chris or been part of the Church. 

Nan Zapanta: Oh, wow. 

Teresa Rios: Because I said before, you know, coming from a tiny town–we, I come from a town of 10,000. So it’s kind of the town where you know, you go to high school, you go to college, and you get married from someone from high school, and you settle down, and it just keeps on going. And you just get whatever job you can. So I’m like, it’s different, you know, it’s kind of nice to know that I can be in college and I can be working towards a bigger dream than I ever thought I could have. And I have a big support system from the Church as well so it really has changed my life and my outlook on life a lot in those four years.

Nan Zapanta: Wow, that’s, that’s so much change and really super positive change. And it’s so nice to hear that. So congratulations on all that. That’s really nice to hear. You know, when, when you think of what Chris did, right? He shared his faith, which you know, we can say is the ultimate act of kindness. Have you had an opportunity also to share your faith? And how has that gone and maybe who you’ve been able to share it with that’s maybe significant in your life? 

Teresa Rios: Yeah the biggest one for me is my mother, having been able to bring her into the Church as well, meant a lot to me. 

Nan Zapanta: Awesome. 

Lois Paula Riturban: Aww yay. Congratulations as well to your mom. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? You know, your mom is such a big person and she, like you said, she has given you so much. So how did it feel that, as her daughter, now you’re able to give something back and that “something” is not just anything in this world. It is the most important thing and you know, it’s our faith in membership in the Church Of Christ. How does that make you feel that you’re able to do that as her daughter?

Teresa Rios: I remember the very first time that she agreed to go to a service with me. I don’t know, it’s like, there’s, there’s nothing like it, you know, because she had pushed so hard against going while I was going with my son firsthand and I would invite her and she would say “No.” And the more I would invite her, the more she’d be stubborn. So just that one time where she was like, “Okay, fine. We’ll go. I’ll go with you and we’ll see what it’s like.” It was like a huge relief when we finally went and I remember when she went, there was one hymn and I wish I would remember which one it was. But there was one hymn where she felt like it was made for her. And she cried.

Lois Paula Riturban: Aww.

Teresa Rios: And she was just completely stuck ever since.

Lois Paula Riturban: Aww, we love the hymns. Yes. Okay. And it’s so motivating to hear that because you have been so inspired yourself that it it was no hesitation to you, to continue and to pass that on, so to say, to pay it forward and to share that act of kindness and as members of the Church Of Christ, you know, we celebrate that, we celebrate our membership, we celebrate our gift and the best way we’re taught to do that is to give thanks to God and in return, you know, make kindness moves of our own, to share our faith. You know, so now that the tables have turned and you know, you can share an act of kindness in such a profound way, you know, to practically anyone, how are you waking up each day and you know, living differently than, than you were, you know, a decade ago, so to say?

Teresa Rios: Yeah now, so there’s days that are still hard but overall I still pray all the time and you know, I’m grateful for the life that I have now that I never thought I could have had before. And it’s something that I consistently, every day try to improve and be like, “Okay, what can I do that’s going to reflect even more for my son? Like, what can I do that he’s gonna see me and be inspired by, to know that he’s destined for even something greater than I have?” I’m definitely grateful for you know, the Church and for God and everything that I’ve been given through being here.

Lois Paula Riturban: And it’s so inspiring that everything you do in your life, you know, is really, you think about it, it’s a reflection of, you know, how can I pave the way for my son? How can I make, you know, my family’s life better. And so, again, we’re just grateful that you’re sharing all that you are and you’re, you’re opening your heart to allow us to also be inspired to do the same. You’ve been touched by an act of kindness and now you’re paying it forward and you’re continuing to do that, with those closest to you as well. So, thank you for that. We will come back to you in just a moment. But we did ask, and we do ask usually on Kindness Moves, our ambassadors to chime in as well about how kindness moves them, how kindness moves you. But for this episode, in particular, we have a special guest, who’s also joining us from Orosi, California. We’d like to welcome Chris! Chris Baniaga. Did I say that correctly? Ban-Yaga? 

Chris Baniaga: Yes. 

Nan Zapanta: Chris. 

Chris Baniaga: Hello hello.

Nan Zapanta: Hello. If that name sounds familiar, you know to those, to those that are listening, it’s because Chris is the share, uh the driver that, that Teresa was talking about who shared his faith with Teresa. So you know, we’re super stoked to have you. Welcome to the podcast Chris.

Chris Baniaga: Oh thank you.

Lois Paula Riturban: Yay. Welcome Chris.

Chris Baniaga: Thank you for having me. I am the Uber driver.

Lois Paula Riturban: You are the driver. You, you took your chance on kindness. So this is so special, usually in [the] Kindness Moves podcast, this segment of our episode is dedicated to someone who’s not connected to our guest, but you have a direct connection to our Teresa and her story that she shared with us. We’d love to hear from your perspective. I mean, here you are. You meet a lot of people, you know, every week, maybe every day, depending on how many you, you help throughout the week. But can we hear what was it about Teresa? Can you describe, you know, these, these, these days wherein you met her and these interactions, this experience on your end?

Chris Baniaga: Yeah, so I’ve been, at that time until now, I’ve been a substitute teacher.

Lois Paula Riturban: Oh thank you for, thank you for your service. I want to say. 

Nan Zapanta: Yes, thank you for that as well. 

Chris Baniaga: You’re very welcome. Um, yeah, I think I picked up driving for Uber and Lyft during the summer because I don’t sub during the summers. School sessions are on, are on break, summer breaks. I was driving and I was having fun. Meeting a lot of people. Yeah, just like what Sister Teresa said, you can kind of sense for each person that comes into your or that you meet, yeah, there, there are some who, who I tend to try to talk to everyone but…

Lois Paula Riturban: There’s some who don’t want to talk to you back? 

Chris Baniaga: Right right. 

Lois Paula Riturban: And you try to be as nice as you can, but they’re not? Just kidding. 

Chris Baniaga: Yeah

Lois Paula Riturban: It’s okay. It’s normal.

Chris Baniaga: Mmhmm. I’ll try to like, invite as many passengers that I can. And Teresa happens to be one of them. And I think what helped was we were in the car for longer than usual because we made a stop at a drive thru. And there was a long line so we had a lot of time to chat. We just, we chatted and at the end of the ride, I, I probably did the “Oh, by the way. Would you? Would you want to come, you know, to the movies with me and my friends?” And that’s, I think that was, that was first time we hung out. Yeah, we went out to see a movie, we met up with some of the other youths at Church at the movie theater and watched a movie.

Lois Paula Riturban: Very cool.

Nan Zapanta: What, like, what is it that, that prompted you? I mean I know you invite other passengers and whatnot but um, yeah, like what was it that made you think oh, you know this this could be something that would be good for, for Teresa. You know, like what, what were your thoughts?

Chris Baniaga: I think I just went for it. Like I do with any other person. I don’t know. 

Lois Paula Riturban: Yeah, and maybe there’s not a reason you know, maybe there’s not like a underlying, you know, thing that you can pinpoint. Maybe this was just God’s way of showing you and giving you the courage and making you brave to say, “You know what, this is a positive opportunity, take it.” And, and I think that’s what we’re all you know, this is why we are bringing this up on Kindness Moves because so many of us every single day are around people who we don’t, you know, know if there’s going to be a long friendship, just an acquaintance–we don’t know. But if we don’t take that chance to just say hi, and to share with them some great thing that we have in our life, then we’re never going to know. That’s what I think is so great because you have this bravery, both of you to yourself, you know, to, to share your faith to even talk about your past that, to many people, you know, Teresa, to many people, they can’t even speak about it. But you have this bravery about yourself that you can also, not only talk about it, but know that it’s something that you learn from and grew from, you’re taking that and you’re using it as your strength. So hats off to both of you for thinking even if you are an introvert you are finding the strength and bravery to do the things that are most important in your life. So where do you guys find that? Where do you find your bravery? Let us know your secrets.

Teresa Rios: Honestly, I don’t know. Like, when I did the Story of Faith, I remember I was so unbelievably nervous about talking in front of the camera because I knew, like I just knew that that subject was going to come up and that was the very first time I ever spoke about it out loud to anyone that wasn’t just you know, my direct family that nobody knew. Um, so there were a lot of people and they like, that ended up coming across my story on being shared on like Facebook and stuff. So they found that out as well. And I’m like, man now I keep hearing that it’s like being shown in like France and stuff.

Lois Paula Riturban: You have all these friends around the world.

Teresa Rios: So going from not talking about my experience to, you know, people around the globe knowing my experience. Um, I don’t feel like I’m brave but I also have an outlook which also comes to why I want to be a writer one day is, if my experience can help at least one person that faces the same situation and be like, “Wow, like I’m in this dark place, but you know, she went through it and my life can be like that, then I’ll be okay.” And so even though it’s hard for me to talk out loud, if it can help someone then that makes it worth it for me. So I’m like, I don’t know if that’s really brave or not because it’s still scary, but that’s just how I look at it.

Nan Zapanta: I think that’s definitely brave. You know, your, your, your motivation is, is really a really noble one too, because you want to help someone and it does take bravery to still step out and share the way you share and be the way you are. So you know, we really really appreciate you sharing your story and Chris too, like we’re super appreciative that you’re able to give us some insight into like, just how you are as a person and kind of your thought process when it came to sharing your faith.

Lois Paula Riturban: Like Nan said, we’re just so grateful that you both share your stories and it’s so inspiring to see how, you know, your past and this seemingly normal everyday occurrence really led to something special, it led to an act of kindness. It’s now played a role in, in both of your lives since then. So thank you for sharing that. 

Nan Zapanta: Definitely 

Lois Paula Riturban: Yeah. 

Nan Zapanta: You know I think it’s interesting too because I mean of course we’re, we’re talking about sharing faith and how that’s the ultimate act of kindness. But I think it’s already clearly established that you and Teresa are very nice, genuine people, just in general right? Outside of, of sharing your faith–can can you maybe share with us, you know, why is it important to to be kind to others and just, you know, acts of kindness in general just being kind and and a good person and, and and just doing, doing what you can, doing good to to others as, as much as you can? Like why is that important? We can start with Chris. Why is that important?

Christopher Baniaga: I think it’s important. Kindness is important because just like when I’m at work subbing for a class, um, I don’t know, I don’t know these kids. I don’t know their background, what they’re going through. But all I can do is–I’m usually there just for that day, so you know, I guess my act of kindness is to just help them have a good day at school.

Lois Paula Riturban: You could easily just say just do my job and go home, not care about the kids. But you’re a teacher for a reason and you want to help for a reason and there’s so much passion in saying. “I want to make sure they have a great day today.” Because they easily could not. Yeah.

Nan Zapanta: Yeah without outright saying it Chris you kind of touched on it. It’s like it’s being thoughtful. You know thoughtfulness is, is just that’s an act of kindness in itself. So that’s awesome.

Nan Zapanta: What about Teresa? Teresa, I mean acts of kindness, I’m sure you’ve experienced different acts of kindness. We’ve touched on one of them sharing, with Chris sharing his faith. You know, why is it important to be kind to others or at least strive, you know, to do our very best to be kind and, and do good things to others?

Teresa Rios: I feel like I always try to be nice to everyone because overall we don’t really know what anyone is going through in their life. So, I mean even if some people, you know, you meet someone and they might be mean to you, there’s a reason that they’re mean. There’s something that’s bugging them or hurting them, making them that way you know? No one’s born with a negative mindset. So, if someone’s going through a terrible time and they’re just not talking about it and you can just do one nice thing like you know, paying for groceries for someone next to you or opening a door, just smiling and saying hi. If it can brighten up someone’s day that’s having a hard time, that makes it better for them. It doesn’t cost you anything to be nice, but you just help someone else to make their day better and I think we need more of that in the world than just, you know, any negative word or actions against each other. Life’s already hard enough.

Lois Paula Riturban: Yeah well said.

Nan Zapanta: Well, yeah I think that’s a really great point that you made. You know, now that we’ve already kind of walked through this journey that you both have shared, there is one question I think that we, we like to ask some of our guests. Teresa I’ll go ahead and ask you since we’re, we’re talking to you right now. If you could speak to your younger self, you know, perhaps maybe when you’re going through those challenging moments. Maybe when you’re at a moment where you’re questioning, questioning a lot of things. What would you tell yourself now that you know, what you know now? Like what would you tell yourself? Maybe when you were that, that young girl going through the challenging times?

Teresa Rios: I think I would tell her to, um, I’m sorry.

Lois Paula Riturban: It’s okay.

Teresa Rios: I think I’d tell her to be braver, to speak up more; that it’s not not every bad thing that happens to you is your fault and that you do have people on your side whether they physically, you know, out loud say it or not. You know, the ones that really love you, they’ll always be there. So I’d like her to just speak up more.

Nan Zapanta: Thank you. You know you’ve shared with us how, how wonderful so many things are happening in your life. Would you also share those things to her?

Teresa Rios: Yeah. Like as a child, as I mentioned before I was really shy. I was so quiet because my, you know siblings, they were so much older than I was, that I grew up very sheltered. I was alone a lot of the time so I didn’t have very many friends or social interaction. I was just a very quiet child. So you know, something traumatic happens to you and you already have a hard time speaking to anyone. That just made it even harder. So I think if I was to talk to her, I’d want her to feel safe and comfortable enough to speak her mind; to just be more open and let people in and to show her that you know, life does go past any trauma or any negative obstacles in life; that there are also those good moments that you get to have. And even as an adult, even if it’s challenging at times I wouldn’t take my life back for a moment because I wouldn’t be who I am today without any of what I’ve gone through. And that’s something that I can also relate toward my own child of, you know, bad things will happen. But that’s not the end of life. You know, there’s also the good things that are going to come as well.

Lois Paula Riturban: And little did that little girl know that she wouldn’t just not be alone when she grew up. She would have God as her best friend and she would be a member of the Church Of Christ. So thank you Teresa for, again, that, that, that experience and those words of encouragement. Thank you. 

Nan Zapanta: Yeah, thank you so much.

Lois Paula Riturban: And Chris we’d love to hear if you you know could share with our listeners or um, you know if you want to if, if you could say something to your younger self–words of encouragement that our listeners can also use or even if there’s something you want to say to Teresa. Um, yeah, let’s open up the floor for last comments with you.

Christopher Baniaga: Um, oh man. So.

Christopher Baniaga: Yeah, definitely. I would tell my younger self to get ready. 

Lois Paula Riturban: There’s so many things.

Christopher Baniaga: I would tell my younger self probably something that Teresa would would tell my younger self is to, to read more. Get into reading.

Teresa Rios: Read more Harry Potter.

Christopher Baniaga: I Feel like God has guided me throughout my whole life and I’m grateful for the, the path and the journey and the experiences and the blessings that, that God has, has led me through. So yeah I would just tell my younger self, get ready for, get ready for the ride.

Lois Paula Riturban: Um, well there you go.

Nan Zapanta: Very cool. Is there anything? Um I’m sorry, go ahead, go ahead LP.

Lois Paula Riturban: I’m sorry, I just, I just have to throw it in because you said you would tell your younger self “Get ready for the ride.” And you have been a successful rideshare driver. I’m sorry I had to throw it out there. If you didn’t know that you said that, that was–you know. I’m sorry. Okay, but thank you, Thank you.

Christopher Baniaga: That could be for Teresa too.

Nan Zapanta: Yeah get ready for the ride.

Lois Paula Riturban: See Teresa got it. She was already laughing because she knew it.

Teresa Rios: I Know it’s easy, like repeating. I’m like, I get it.

Christopher Baniaga: I did not even get it.

Nan Zapanta: Chris already set that one up. That was great.

Lois Paula Riturban: Thank you so much to both of you just for sharing. Again as, as you may, you may believe you are introverts, you know it just, uh, sharing your experiences and your triumphs and your challenges with us because we all share them. And like Teresa said earlier, you know if we could help one person, we’re here for it, we’re here for the ride. I’m just kidding. You know, we’re, we’re here and, and we’re grateful that we’re making kindness moves of our own every single day. Taking the chance on Kindness and paying it forward when we are the recipients. So thank you to you both.

Nan Zapanta: Thank you so much to you both.

Teresa Rios: And thank you for having us and for making it so comfortable.

Nan Zapanta: Honestly it just feels like friends just chatting right? So thanks for making it a really special chat.

Nan Zapanta: Again, we just want to say thank you and we also want to thank our listeners for joining us on Kindness Moves. You know it’s really been a journey. It’s ah it’s been a ride. Um, it’s been, it’s been such a great learning experience, honestly. I’ve learned so and we’re so glad that you’re able to join us in even our past discussions.

Lois Paula Riturban: Thank you listeners. And yes, stay tuned for more to all of our followers. There’s still so much to come with Kindness Moves and the INC Giving Project. If you like the tips you’re hearing, follow @incgivingproject Instagram account for weekly inspiration and thank you again for tuning in I’m Lois Paula.

Nan Zapanta: And I’m Nan. Again, thank you for joining us and for more tips and ideas on how you can make kindness contagious, please go ahead and visit And if you liked hearing what you heard today or if you’ve liked some of our past episodes, please go ahead and listen to more episodes on Google podcast, Apple podcast and the INC Media mobile app for iOS and Android. And even if you’re a first time listener, please go ahead and, and check out the other episodes and also please subscribe or follow us to know when the newest episodes are available.

Lois Paula Riturban: Yes, remember act now. Make your move to do good because kindness matters; it’s meaningful; it motivates; kindness moves.