Author Topic: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers  (Read 91665 times)

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PeasNCues

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2009, 01:44:28 PM »
There was a woman in college named Linda. Ms. Linda (as everyone called her) swiped your ID badges for you to go into cafeteria to get food. She was (and is) a joyful and loving woman. I was in a really bad place in life. I worked midnight - 8 three days a week and went to school from 1000-1700. I was exhausted and sick all the time. Then, at the beginning of the semester, I had a series of financial snafus and my hours at work were cut back.

I had a decision to make. I could either buy the books I needed for the next few weeks in college, or I could buy food. I was on a limited meal plan, so only 1 meal a day could be in the cafeteria. That day I went into the cafeteria to her desk, my backpack full of overpriced books, seriously lacking on sleep to the point of exhaustion and my bank account empty and Ms. Linda said, "What's the matter, darling, you look pale."

With 10 or so people behind me in line I started bawling my eyes out. I was so embarassed! At that point I was so exhausted I couldn't even stop myself. But Ms Linda got someone else on the desk, sat me down and asked me what happened. When I told her, she was sympathetic, said everything would be ok, etc and I went in to eat. When I went to thank her - she had a bag full of food for me. She gave me food every day until I said I would be ok. Every day she gave me sympathy. Every day she was a kind ear.

And I wasn't the only person whose life she touched. If you were sick, she'd drive you to the doctor herself if she had to. She'd bring food to your dorm if you were too sick to move. She knew everyone and, seemingly, anything. So, if she couldn't do something for you, she'd find someone who could. In that cafeteria, everyone was united because we were all Ms. Linda's "kids." You could sit with anyone, talk to anyone because of the atmosphere of acceptance and kindess which she fostered right at the front desk.

One year her husband got very sick. He was in the hospital, and then he died. Everyone was asking about her - "where's ms. linda? how is she? what can we do to help?" She had touched everyone's lives so much that now everyone wanted to be there for her in her time of need. She got offered rides to wherever she needed to go. She recieved at least 10 "Someone at MYCOLLEGE loves you" teddy bears. Her husband recieved teddy bears while he was in the hospital from people he didn't even know - but everyone loved Ms. Linda so much that he, by proxy, was loved as well. He asked to be buried with them and he was. She was inundated with flowers. Students went to her husbands funeral to support her and hug her - to give her sympathy and a kind ear.

I think it really showed her that she was loved. When she came back, she simply could not communicate how important it was to her that students did that - that we cared. But she started it :)
'I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit, and perhaps go out later for a sniff of air.  Mind your Ps and Qs, and don't forget that you are supposed to be escaping in secret, and are still on the high-road and not very far from the Shire!' -FOTR

http://inanitiesofanidlemind.blogspot.com/

Ferrets

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2009, 02:03:09 PM »
Though I have some absolutely wonderful friends who are happy to regularly transport me to and from battle re-enactment events (I always offer petrol money, but they always refuse, so I've started thanking them with bottles of good beer ;D), there are always a few events a year that they don't attend and I do. In those cases, I just get there under my own steam via public transport...and then, once there, almost invariably encounter someone else in the group that I don't know but who, when learning that I hacked it over to this Godforsaken patch of countryside by a combination of bus, train and and shank's pony, lugging tent, kit and a musket, have of their own volition given me lifts home to my front door (and also refused any petrol money). :)

Interestingly, all of those last have used the exact same phrase when I've offered money and profuse thanks - "No worries, just pay it forward to someone else when you get a car!" In fifteen years of re-enactment, and a lot of those events reached under my own steam, it has been literally only once that I have returned home via public transport instead of in a nice comfy car. (I'm beginning to think I should just give up buying return tickets, and take beer to 'pay' for lifts instead. ;) )

PeasNCues...I actually cried reading your story. That was just...well, amazing.

KitFox

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2009, 03:08:42 PM »
This reminds me of the most amazing thing anyone ever did for me. I was 19, coming home from college for a visit, and my clunker of a ten-year-old van broke down in the middle of nowhere. I had been trained not to panic in those situations...but I was close. I didn't know where I was, really, and I didn't know how far it was going to be until I could find a phone. (This was back in the old days before everyone and their dog had a cell.) I figured it was time to stop crying and start walking, and hadn't made it more than ten yards from my van when a car, a Lexus with a leather interior, pulled up next to me.
Two very sweet gentlemen let me borrow their cellphone to call my parents, and AAA, and this was in a roaming area, so I can't even imagine how expensive those ten minutes were. Then they say with me until the tow truck came, and tried to give me money to get a hotel room. It turns out I was about five miles from the nearest exit, so I was a good long way from help if they hadn't shown up. I tried to give them the little cash I had to pay for the phone call, and they laughed at me. They said they weren't hurting and I needed to hang onto my cash.
Thinking back on it, I should have been terrified. I was a teenage girl alone with two grown men in the middle of nowhere? That could've been bad. But they were so kind to me, and treated me like a lady instead of a goth-punk college kid with too many piercings, peacock hair, and combat boots.
I got to do a little pay-it-forward a few years later, when on the same trip I saw a woman broken down on the side of the road. I helped her with her car, let her use my cell phone (which was purchased that weekend of the disastrous trip home) and told her the story of the angels in the Lexus when she tried to pay me for my trouble.

Hurricane Marathon

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2009, 03:22:35 PM »
My friend and I parked in downtown Toronto late one night and after we locked the car doors she said, "Juicy, where are my car keys?"  Then, as the interior light slowly faded, we saw them dangling in the ignition. A man and his friend came along, saw our situation, called CAA (using his account), then pressed $40 into my friend's hand.  She thanked him profusely and he just shrugged and said, "Meh. As a father. I only hope that someone would do the same thing for my daughter."

SiotehCat

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2009, 03:28:10 PM »
Oh, I got another one! My sister and I were in the waiting room of a doctors office waiting for my dad to be finished with his check up. We see an old man get out of the doctors office and start for his car... and he is obviously in a lot of pain as he walks. The waiting room is facing the parking lot and has been windows so we can see. We see him start getting a spare tire out of the back of his van. It was even painful to watch. He looked very old and very frail. The conversation between me and my sister went like this
Sis: He can't do that alone, what do we do?
Sio: We need to help him.
Sis: Do you know how to change a tire?
Sio: Nope

With that, we got up and went outside to change his tire. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but luckily we didn't have to do it for long. A very strong looking man saw two damsels in distress and ran over to help. He realized quickly that it wasn't our van, but he still changed the tire.

So Mr. Strong Man ended up doing all the work, but I helped get him there. Well, me and my low cut shirt. It was still a nice gesture!

Hijinks

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2009, 03:29:16 PM »
When my office keys fell out of my work bag in the skywalk, someone turned them in to building management.  They could have waited until after hours and then gone around testing doors in the bulding, then stolen all of our stuff, but they didn't.

twilight

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2009, 04:17:09 PM »
When I was younger there were tough times at home...my mom was sick and in and out of the hospitol, on occasion for months at a time, and my dad took full advantage of her absence by being a big bully and very abusive both physcially and verbally.  I also was given full charge of my much younger siblings and all of the housework and cooking.  I was so sad, lonely, and desperately wanted to be mothered.

My parents never came with me to church and I was always sent by my myself.  One day at church I was sitting next to a red haired woman.  I don't even remember her name and I don't think she even knew who I was except that I was part of the congregation.  For some reason to me she just glowed like an angel.  I don't know what gave me the courage as I was horribly shy but I asked her if I could sit on her lap.  She let me sit on her lap and hugged me through the whole service and she even gave me a dollar to put in the collection plate.  I remember she was really soft and smelled like flowers.  Just sitting like that on her lap made me so happy that I cried silently throughout the whole service.  At the end she gave me a kiss on my forehead.

It was such a small act of kindness but it meant so much to me... 
 

Daffydilly

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2009, 04:22:18 PM »
There was the day my dad's semi truck went off the road and over an enbankment. It was a cold December day and I had just come home from school. My mother was gone trying to get everything arranged so we could go to the hospital for my dad.
Now, earlier in the day, my teacher had told me at school that someone was taking a turkey to my house for my family. It was a private school and I was one of the not well to do students, and they were sweet to help us out from time to time. So I watched out the window, and an older woman walked up with a bag. She put it on the door, waved to me and walked away.
I went out and dragged the turkey inside. The bag tore open and I found a little gift wrapped box with my name on it. I was curious, so I ripped it open and found two fifty dollar bills inside. I'd never had that much money before! But made the best decision I could. So I tore my name off the top half of the card and tucked the money back in the box. And I buried the wrapping paper deep in the trash can.
My mum cam home in tears. There was nothing left in the bank account for gas to get to the hospital.
So I showed her the turkey and present. She nodded that it was nice and got on the phone to call family for help. So I opened the box and handed her the money.
We went out to see my dad and were just able to afford the drive, a cheap room nearby and breakfast at McDonalds the next morning. But the best part was taking my dad home the next day. He had stitches and bruises, but he was okay. And my parents never found out my little secret!

Sabbyfrog2

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2009, 04:25:40 PM »
When I was younger there were tough times at home...my mom was sick and in and out of the hospitol, on occasion for months at a time, and my dad took full advantage of her absence by being a big bully and very abusive both physcially and verbally.  I also was given full charge of my much younger siblings and all of the housework and cooking.  I was so sad, lonely, and desperately wanted to be mothered.

My parents never came with me to church and I was always sent by my myself.  One day at church I was sitting next to a red haired woman.  I don't even remember her name and I don't think she even knew who I was except that I was part of the congregation.  For some reason to me she just glowed like an angel.  I don't know what gave me the courage as I was horribly shy but I asked her if I could sit on her lap.  She let me sit on her lap and hugged me through the whole service and she even gave me a dollar to put in the collection plate.  I remember she was really soft and smelled like flowers.  Just sitting like that on her lap made me so happy that I cried silently throughout the whole service.  At the end she gave me a kiss on my forehead.

It was such a small act of kindness but it meant so much to me... 
 

That was beautiful.

Megan

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2009, 04:28:06 PM »
I think I've posted this one somewhere on here before.

I had been living in this city about 2 months, and was really having trouble making friends.  Basically I hardly ever saw anyone but DH, my sister lives here too but she has a really full social life, and at the time just really didn't have any time for me.  I had finally gotten to know one of the girls in one of my classes a bit, and we had made plans to meet up for lunch and to go over an assignment.  

I was so excited to finally be doing something semi-social, and to be making a friend.  However, she didn't show up (it turned out later to be a mix-up on the dates, she had written down the next day).  So I was sitting all alone in the student union building, surrounded by groups of people who all seemed to be there with friends.  I tried calling my sister, but she had a class to go to.  A couple of random girls overheard me tell her I was stood up, and must have noticed that I started crying when I got off the phone.

The girls came over to me and insisted that I go for lunch with them, and when we got to the counter they insisted on paying for my meal.  We had a great lunch, and even though we had nothing really in common, they gave me lots of suggestions of fun cheap things to do in this city.  I've never seen them since, but I'm still extremely grateful for their kindness that day.

And the girl who stood me up insisted on buying me lunch the next day to make up for it, and we're now good friends.  So it's a double happy ending.

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2009, 05:36:45 PM »
I was at a job interview and the parking lot for the business was full, so I had to park in a garage across the street.  The interview took much longer than I expected, and when I got back to my car, I realized that I had seriously underestimated the cost of parking and also saw that the garage didnt take credit cards.  I knew there was a bank in the attached building so I went into the bank to get an advance on my credit card to cover the parking, but they couldnt do an advance like that. 

A gentlemen in the line next to me heard my story and saw how upset I was.  He told me how he was starting a business and gave me $10 of the dollars he was depositing into his bank account. 

I asked him to give me his name and address and I would send him the money, he said that he had been helped by strangers when he needed it and he was just happy to be able to help me.  He hoped it would bring his new business luck, and just to pay it forward when I had a chance.

Now I pay it forward every chance and get and I always think of him when I do.  He will probably never know how much that little bit of money meant to me, but I really hope his business is a roaring success.

Sharnita

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2009, 05:40:10 PM »
Just a couple of weeks ago I got in an accident on I-75.  I was all the way over on the left in ice and slush but 3 different cars stopped to make sure I was OK.

wonderfullyanonymous

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2009, 06:29:09 PM »
Several years ago, I was waiting at the bus stop to take the bus to work. A very nice gentleman asked if I worked at Wal-Mart, and if I wanted a ride. Totally out of character for me, I took the ride. (I trust my intuition, and would not have gotten in the car if he gave me the heebie-jeebies.) He said he and his wife shop there all the time, and saw me standing there, and since he was going that way, he offered the ride.

kherbert05

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2009, 06:51:06 PM »
Not me but the 5th grade teachers at my school. The Mother of one of our students was seriously hurt in a car accident right before the holidays. The English language 5th grade teachers (they are departmentalized) called the family and arranged a time to come over. They showed up with everything you need for Christmas meal - and gifts for all the children and money for gas and parking at the hospital. 
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

stargazer

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2009, 07:10:53 PM »
Not me, but a guy I know on another board (for IBS, this is important to the story).  We'll call him Mark.

Mark was driving down a snowy highway when he realized that the last food he had eaten was not sitting well with him at all.  He started to panic knowing he didn't have much time.  In doing so, he sped up considerably.  He is almost ready to pull off on an exit when, to his horror, he sees the lights flashing behind him.   The officer comes up to him and he blurts out his situation.  He said you can give me a ticket or whatever, but I NEED to make it to that gas station restroom!    He could tell the officer did not believe him at all, but allowed him to go and followed him, saying he would give him the ticket when he was done.   

Mark dashed into the restroom in the nick of time, and was probably in there a good fifteen minutes.  He was mortified beyond belief that this cop was hearing everything as it was impossible to miss.  He finally came out, and didn't see the cop anywhere around.   The reason became clear when he got back to his car, which was covered in snow.  On one of the windows, the cop had traced out the words "I believe you."