I was reminded about this thread today. Back when I was young and poor, strangers would help me out. I always remembered their kindness and even 50 years ago, "pay it forward" was a common expression. I always tried to do that when I was able. Several years ago, when gas was so expensive, I was at the local Mom and Pop place getting milk. The young lady in front of me paid for $5 of gas with change. I looked out the window and saw that she had an old beat up car with a child seat in the backseat. I figured that she wasn't going to get very far on that gas (we are out in the sticks), so I gave the clerk (who knew me by name) and told him to fill up her tank with it and to not tell her who did it, but to just pay it forward.
I had to wait for her to fill her tank so Les could run my card, so I went over to the area that people used to fill out the lotto cards and pretended to be picking my numbers. She came in just crying and asked who had been her angel, then choked out thanks and ran out.
Today, I was in the same store (again, out in the sticks, not a lot of options if you just need 1 or 2 things) and Les gave me a card. From what he told me, the young lady came in last week and asked if he remembered her angel and he said that he did, so she gave him a card and asked him to give it to me the next time I came in.
It was a thank you card. In it she had written that due to my kindness, she was able to get to her job interview and back home. She said that she had gotten the job and due to the gas I bought, she was able to show up at work on time everyday and was now a manager. She said that her life was much improved, so much so that now she was able to pay it forward and she thought about me every time she was able to do it.
I'm still crying, and I know I shouldn't have bumped this old thread, but I just wanted to let you all know that you can change someone's life for the better by doing something simple and random.