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Author Topic: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers  (Read 161011 times)

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Or even acts of kindess you have seen strangers do for each other..

Does anyone have any stories like this?



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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 10:31:08 AM »
YES!!! Just this morning, the person ahead of me in the drive-thru at Starbuckies paid for my order.....and I only found out about it when the cashier told me my order had been taken care of and refused money!  How did that person know that I get paid once a month and, by this time in the month finances are a bit tight? :)


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 11:00:02 AM »
I have a bad ankle due to a staph infection when I was 12 and therefore have to wear special (and expensive!) shoes. As a poor student, I couldn't afford many shoes, so when my winter boots died, I knew I'd have to make do with sneakers and thick socks for awhile.

A couple of days later my grandmother called me. One of the couples in their biblestudy group had given grandma DKK500 (US$100) to give to me, for a pair of shoes (note: grandma did not know my boots had just died). They'd been part of the crowd who'd been praying for me while I was at the hospital with the infection, knew about the expensive shoes and had recently been feeling a burden on their hearts to help me out financially.

At the time I couldn't afford NOT to take it, and they insisted I didn't pay them back, but paid it forward, when I had the money.

I still have those boots, and I've paid it forward more than once.
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 11:04:51 AM »
I had a flat tire once. Managed to make it to a gas station. Someone there changed it for me.

One day I had food poisoning but still went to class to take a test. A fellow student walked me to the classroom and made sure I could stay up.

A friend prayed for me during a tough time and stood up for me. Someone else changed her mind about me and stood up for me even though beforehand she had followed the crowd. Various other people followed and stood up to the bullies.
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 11:08:49 AM »
This might not seem like a big deal, but its the one that I think of most. Years ago, when my son was about 2, maybe younger, we went out of town with his father and his fathers family. We received a call that there was a family emergency and I had to go home right away. I had received this call when I was at the store, and because I wasn't thinking straight afterwards, I opened the door too quickly and took off the top of my pinky toe. I wasn't old enough to have a drivers license, I didn't have money for two plane tickets, and I couldn't ask all of his family to come home early for me.... so we decided to take the bus. Just me and my 2 yr old and my busted up toe taking 24 hour bus ride home with a lot of luggage. We had already been on the road for about half a day when we changed buses. I had could barely hold myself up with all the stuff I was carrying and trying to protect my son from anybody that might not see him walking in front of me. This man who wasn't even close to the front of the bus came quickly and asked to carry my stuff for me. I let him and he led me and my son to two seats close to him and his son. They both had a lot of funny stories to tell me and my son and were just so ... warm. When the bus had a stop, I couldn't get down because my son was alseep and I wasn't hungry. When they came back on the bus they had bought us some snacks for whenever we got hungry. They had no idea how dark my life was at that moment, and they were still so caring.

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 11:21:56 AM »
I was trying to get home for Christmas break one year.  We managed to board the plane.  We even managed to fly over my hometown.  But my hometown was covered with fog, and the airline decided to take us back to our departure city, meaning they were not liable for overnight accommodations.

I was a poor college student with maybe $2 to my name.  There was no way I could afford the cab fare back to school, just to turn around the next morning and pay for another cab back to the airport.  I decided to sleep on the floor of the airport.  My seatmate, a businessman, tried to convince me otherwise.  But when I said it was easier for everyone if I spent the night at the airport, he took me to dinner in the airport cafeteria and gave me $20 just in case I decided I wanted to go back to campus.  I took his address and sent him back the money afterwards, with a huge thank you.  What a great man.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2009, 11:33:56 AM »
I've told this before, but here it is again.

I was in the mall with my SO, and my wheelchair broke (came apart under me and dumped me to the floor kind of broke). Thankfully, a wonderful man and his son came over to help. When the chair proved to need some major fixing they helped me and SO get me, and the busted up chair back out to the parking lot.

Wherever he is, I wish I could pay him back.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post



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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2009, 11:54:20 AM »
I was feeling a pain in my leg, and I was urged by friends to go to the hospital.  I found out I had a blood clot in my leg.  I was pretty freaked out because my boss told me I couldn't work, and I didn't know when I would be better.  My friends got together and bought me an Xbox because they knew I couldn't get off the couch and was pretty much home bound.  To this day I still tear up when I think about it. 


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2009, 12:03:13 PM »
I was in line to buy concerts tix as a special gift for my DH. When I got to the cashier, I found (to my horror) that they were only accepting cash as the CC terminal had quit working. I managed to scrap enough money from my purse, but I was short $5. The gentleman in front of me gave me the money, and insisted that I didn't need to repay it. I saw the name of a locally owned hardware store on his shirt, and b/c of that, I did give him back the fiver, and have bought mucho stuff off of him (bought a house; needed lots o' things--) :)
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2009, 12:14:27 PM »
Just recently I was grocery shopping and had my usual cart filled with a week's supply of everything.  I step up to the aisle and start to unload my cart.  The cashier was finishing with the lady before me and, without looking up, started to grab my order and scan it.  When she had done about 5 items she looked up and said "Is all of that your's?  Cuz you are in the 15 items or less aisle!"

I looked up at the light/where the aisle number is and it didn't indicate that.  She pointed to a hand-made sign that was at the end of the conveyer belt and that I was blocking with my stomach while I was putting things on the belt.  I apologized and offered to take my stuff elsewhere but she said she had already started.

Up walks elderly man with a hand-basket and 3 items.  I apologized and told him I didn't see the sign.  I was already in a bad mood that day and all of this didn't help.  He smiled and said "No problem.  I can wait."  I really, really needed to hear that!


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2009, 12:19:04 PM »
I was having a reeeeeealy bad few months my last year in NYC. I was sooooo broke, dealing with a horrible roomate situation, life was pretty much throwing me all kinds of curveballs, and my DH (then fiance) had already moved down here to S. FLorida so I didn't even have him with me. And, it was a bitter winter day to boot. I. was. miserable.

I went to the Duane Reade next to my office building one morning to get some things I really needed for the week. I was on a very very tight budget (read: poor) and I had just enough money in the account to pay for what I needed and still have some left to barely survive until pay day.  My debit card was rejected. I was humiliated. I apologized to the cashier started to leave when the lady behind me pulled some money out of her wallet and just gave it to me. I tried to politely refuse but she insisted. She said, "Please take it. I have been there." and gave me the money. I started crying as I thanked her and paid the cashier. As I tried to give the woman her change, she insisited I keep it. It was quite a considerable amount. I just started sobbing. She just smiled and went on her way. It was a small thing but I guess I was overwhelmed by the generousity that a total stranger had just shown me when my life seemed so bleak at that time. That one act of kindness actually helped me get through the last few months there.

I did get a chance to repay her although not literally. I ended up being able to do the same thing for someone else in a Publix when my financial situation got better here in Florida. It was my way of paying it forward.

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2009, 12:19:34 PM »
I was working at the Mall of America in 2001.  If anyone remembers the Anthony Zappa case, I came to work on the bus one morning and came to find out that he was rumored to be hiding in the Mall & security wouldn't let anyone inside.  I was supposed to open the store I worked in by myself, I had no cell phone.  Another mall employee let me use her cell to call my manager at home & our corporate office in another state and let them know what was going on.  

Meanwhile we had no idea when/if the mall would open that day, and as I was taking the bus, I had to wait about half an hour for another bus, so I wasn't stranded, but inconvenienced.  The nice woman who had let me use her phone & her husband gave me a ride home even though it was out of their way, and I had never met them.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2009, 12:29:50 PM »
Many years ago when I was a grad student, a friend and I decided to go Inter-railing around Europe for a month during summer break (Inter-rail is a student rail ticket that lets you take almost any train anywhere in Europe). Well, we arrived in Paris the night before Bastille Day, at around 10 pm, and found that the connecting train to the south (which we had planned to sleep on) wasn't running. So we were in a strange city with nowhere to sleep. It was a warm night, so we decided we could just crash out in the park until morning. As we got to the Park (after a much longer trek, carrying backpacks, than it had looked on the map!), a French couple was walking by, and they saw we looked a bit lost and tired. We explained our plan about kipping in the park, and started chatting. After a bit, they offered to let us come back to their flat nearby, and we were welcome to sleep on their floor! In the morning, they gave us breakfast.

A month later, on the train back to England, there was a German girl sitting opposite me. She was going to the town I lived in, and planning to get to the youth hostel there. Trouble was, the train was going to get in late, and she wasn't sure what time they closed for the night. So I invited her to come and sleep on the sofa in my flat. In the morning I bought her breakfast.



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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2009, 12:36:41 PM »
When I was living in the dorm my first year of college, I did not have a license yet, but I had a bike.  Generally I would get one or two bags of groceries and hang them on my handles and walk on the way back to the dorm (the store was quite a few blocks away).  One day I needed a bit more than I could manage and was trying to figure how to make it all work when it started to rain.  I didn't have a raincoat or umbrella.  Then an older woman and man who I had seen in the store saw me and offered to take me, my grocieries, and my bike back to the dorm in their big van (not a creepy one--big windows and space for my bike).  It was so nice, and I really appreciated it at the time.

In hindsight, I would never get into some stranger's van again, but I'm glad it worked out at the time.  I totally forgot about it until I read this thread.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2009, 12:41:07 PM »
Snowballs post made me think of.....9/11 - I was in my car in DC, very near the Whitehouse.   We had been stopped there by the military and Secret Service for so long that folks were getting out of their cars to talk, sharing info heard on news radio etc.  I was struggling to call family in MA to let them know I was OK and would call when I got home.  But, I couldn't get a signal for the life of me.  A lovely lady in the car next to mine walked over, handed me her phone and said, "I've got a signal, use this."  When I said no, it was a long distance call to my Dad, she said, "Who cares?  Please just use it." I have never forgotten her kindness.