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One senior's insistent acts of generosity: "She is just a vessel for giving and being loving"

California woman inspiring kindness worldwide
California woman inspiring kindness worldwide 08:40

Gayle Noble spends her days driving around Oceanside, California, doing random acts of kindness for people. Rocking a Grateful Dead tie-dye shirt and her signature plush hat, the 77-year-old hippie-at-heart is driven … to give.

Since she retired, Noble has made a job out of making others feel good. Almost every day, she drives around town delivering goodies to people who are working often thankless jobs.

In a stop at the post office, she skirted the line, squeezing past a customer, to give a postal worker muffins.

But no time to chit-chat! She was off to her next stop, at the UPS Store, where she placed some cookies on the counter. "It's nice every morning to have that smiling face come in," said Bryan, a UPS employee. "She'll tell us, 'You guys have such a hard job, I know what you're going through, I've done it before, and here's some muffins to get you through the day!'"

Gayle Noble making deliveries of kindness, with her daughter, Nisse.  CBS News

And boy, does that make their day — as it did at Trader Joe's, where Noble got a hug from an employee, who remarked, "She's an angel. There's a halo under this hat."

Noble said she began these random acts of kindness as a child: "When I was 5 or 6, my grandpa would let me go to the store and buy different things, and then he would take me where I wanted to give them," she said. "He started, you know, nurturing that. He said, 'That's our job in life.'"

It's a lesson she took to heart — so much so that her youngest daughter, Nisse, 37, describes her mother's generosity as "aggressive kindness."

"Most people will perform the niceties, ask you if, 'Maybe would you like ...?'" said Nisse Noble. But that's not how it is with Gayle: "No — you're getting a cookie! You're getting a muffin! And by the way I know you didn't even want one. You're gonna get 12!"

Gayle is unapologetically herself, the type of person who picks a penny up off the floor to give to the cashier … the person who puts the dividers back in place at the grocery store line. But she also has a fascinating history.

Gayle Noble was a female chief engineer at a Los Angeles radio station in the 1970s; she didn't know another woman with that job. Friends tell us that in the 1980s Noble designed the interface chip for one of the earliest home computers, and the chip was named after her. She went on to have more than 50 patents to her name in different technology fields.

Gayle was a radio engineer in the 1970s, which led her to designing computer firmware code. She has more than 50 patents in a variety of fields.  Instagram/@gayle.tales

The radio work led to Noble being a computer engineer and writing code for the U.S. military. 

"What got me to do that was the Vietnam War," she said. "They put me on the stealth fighter and a couple other things." The codes were to determine whether a plane was friend or foe. 

"What I wanted to do was save lives," she said. Yet again, wanting to help people.

And that has been a hallmark of her entire life. And, at times, it wasn't easy for Nisse. "I was never very close with my mom," she said. "She's a little hard to get close to. I mean, you've seen how she is. She does her drive-by kindness. It's kind of like a delivery service! And then after my dad died, I did some work on myself. You know, it takes some work."

What did she figure out? "I found out that she is just a vessel for giving and being loving, and that's all she wants to do," said Nisse. "And you can't help but be moved by that."

And now, Gayle's giving nature is moving people all over the world, thanks to Nisse, who created and manages Gayle Tales, an Instagram account dedicated to her mom's kindness. It's a place where people shower this 77-year-old widow with nothing but love. 


The response has been overwhelming. "Yeah, they love her so much," said Nisse. "I think they love what she represents. It's giving a lot of people freedom to be themselves. And what a beautiful thing, to be loved and accepted for who you are."

And now, Nisse feels pride watching her mother be herself. The child who understandably was embarrassed, is now the daughter dedicated to honoring and saluting her.

Gayle says she asks for nothing from her acts of generosity. "What I get out of it is the joy of knowing that I've added some spark into each one of them," she said. "That's the best part."

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