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Author Topic: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers  (Read 161053 times)

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #120 on: May 23, 2012, 10:51:52 PM »
Does anyone else find it interesting and a bit sad that there are over 1000 pages of Special Snowflake stories and only 9 of acts of kindness?

1) I had just moved home from Chicago and was really missing my friend base there, had moved back into the house I own where my mother lives, and into a much more stressful job.  I knew that I had to do something or I was going to go crazy so I decided to get a sportbike.  I was talking my lead at work about it, saying how excited I was and how I thought I had found a bike, but it was on Craigslist and I had to go find a mechanic to look it over for me.  His office mate, who I didn't know very well, turned around and told me he'd been a bike mechanic for 15 years and would be happy to come look at the bike for me.  He lived about an hour from where the bike was.  Not only did he come check out the bike for me, he spent the entire summer showing me how to ride, and rode with me every day after work and on the weekends.  He was just coming back from Iraq and was having problems with PTSD and integrating back into his family.  When the summer was over, he was good to go back to his family and I met the members of my sportbike club.  The rest, as they say, is history.  With out him, I wouldn't be where I am today and I spend every day trying to pay back a small fraction of what he did for me by paying it forward.

2)  The day Cole died, there were a lot of strangers at the accident scene, but there was this one lady who was on the scene almost immediately.  I remember her putting her arm around me and just standing there with me until the guy in my previous story showed up with his truck to take me home.  I never found out her name but with out her I probably would have done some not e-hell approved things to the lady who hit Cole.  I am very glad for her presence as I would have regretted those actions for the rest of my life and the lady most certainly would not have deserved them.  There was also a very nice fireman who looked at me and said, "You don't have to be brave for us, it's ok to cry.", as he and 5 others lifted my bike into my friend's truck.  I was trying to not make too big of a fuss and really didn't know what to do. 

3)  Just recently, OMW to work, I had left my tank bag unzipped and when I took off from a stop light, my wallet flew out somewhere on the side of the road.  A bicyclist picked it up and when I circled around and lifted my helmet shield, he looked at me and said, "Christi Little!"  He was riding into work and was going to call me when he got there.  Nothing was missing and he refused the money I tried to give him.

4)  At Dules International Airport on Monday, there were a few of us trying to figure out how to get to the right gate as the train didn't go the way we expected and we were all really confused as well as tired as it was 4AM.  A very nice lady, who is one of hte attendants who pushes the wheel chairs, got on the train and not only helped us find the right path, but escorted us to the gate and made sure we were all comfortable before she moved on.  We were all kind of scared and exhausted and she took time to make sure we got where we needed to be.

5) Not strangers, but my best friend spent Wed - Sunday helping me fix my motorcycle and then came back on Monday with another friend of mine to redo something he thought wasn't quite right to make sure I was safe. 


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #121 on: May 24, 2012, 02:41:37 AM »
The vets office gave me my mika's pawprint pressed into clay for a keepsake to remember her by.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #122 on: May 24, 2012, 04:38:27 AM »
One time I had an abscessed tooth and felt horrible and kept throwing up.  I had managed to visit my dentist who started the root canal and then sent me off with a prescription for pain meds and antibiotics.  I went to a local target located inside a mall, but as I was walking to the store, I felt the urge to throw up.  Fortunately I was prepared with plastic bags, so I threw myself into a corner, pulled out at bag and was sick into it.  A woman rushing up to me, make sure I was ok, and she then went and got me some water and wet papers towels while my stomach settled.  That woman's kindness went a long way to helping me feel better.

And from this very board.  Back in 2008 I was having pretty bad Christmas.  One of my cats was dying from a tumor, so I was staying home rather than visiting family for Christmas.  We had a thread of "things you really want for christmas but are afraid to ask for"  I posted I wanted a present to open Christmas morning(knew my parents would just bring any gifts for me down with them when they came home)  Tabris contacted me and offered to send me a little something.  She sent me a wonderful package of treats and books and a little something for the kitties


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #123 on: May 24, 2012, 11:21:32 AM »
Two quick ones:

When my partner was in the hospital over the summer, my little girl dog, Sassparilla, was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia. This eventually was fatal, and I had to go, alone, to have her put to sleep. The vet, who had been rooting for us as we went (he'd been following DP's progress, along with the dog's) was so emotional, he couldn't do the procedure - he came out of the back, hugged me, and passed the sad job off to another vet (and I saw tears in the man's eyes - he really is an amazing vet). He also waived the cost of the euthanasia - said he couldn't see charging me for that after all we'd been through. They sent a lovely card with the cremains, too.

Second, much happier one - we're moving in July to a new place, in Georgia (leaving Arkansas!). We found a place, and will just barely be able to swing two mortgages for a couple of months while we transition (our daughter is taking over the mortgage here in Arkansas, as she's in school here). DP is still pretty disabled - has to use a walker, can't lift anything heavy, etc. The real estate lady not only let us in to the house a couple of hours early (we were driving in the night before, and were exhausted) but helped me unload our extremely full van (we were planning on staying a day or two to get things prepped for the move). She even helped me unload the 80 pound mattress we bought (a foam thing that was rolled up small enough to fit inside the van) and helped us get everything situated. I don't know that I'd have gotten it done without her - and she came over, on her own time, and wouldn't accept a dime!


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #124 on: May 24, 2012, 10:29:45 PM »
1) BIL was the 2nd in line at a red light. The light turns green, car in front goes through BIL follows. A woman runs her red and T-bones BIL. She yelled and screamed that BIL had run the red light and she had a green. Multiple people gave BIL their contact information so they could testify that she ran the red. Several other people took care of the woman's terrified daughter  - that the woman had left in the car to scream at BIL.

2. The people that rescued a friend of mine's stepdaughter. The girl's "mother" was drunk, so the 16 yo was driving. Well "mom" decided she wanted to drive. So she literally kicked the girl out of the driver's seat and left her sitting on a 2 lane black top in the middle of nowhere Texas. Thank God the girl had her phone in her pocket.  A friend's mom picked her up, helped her contact the police (her younger 1/2 siblings were in the car). The younger sibling's Dad picked them up from the police after MOm was arrested. The friend's Mom drove  the girl to the airport, where her Dad and Stepmom had a ticket home waiting for her.

3. Help wasn't needed but was nice. I had left the overhead light on in my car. When Brett and I came out of the movie, the car next to us noticed and said they would wait to make sure my car started. It started fine.

4. Air Canada stewardess found Dad's wallet on the plane after we got off. She literally chased us through the airport to return it.

5. My Cousin C and I had taken my Sister and her friends to a Teen club. (Why I got dragged into this I don't know). Driving home a lane ended suddenly (sign had been knocked down so no warning. Cousin C hit the median - which was banged up and ripped up her tire.

This was way before Cell phones and the area was not well traveled. So I start to change the tire. I got the jack in the right position, remembered to that you loosen the nuts before you jack up the car. But I could not loosen the nuts. We are getting ready to hike to a more well traveled place and find a pay phone, when this truck pulls up and two big guys get out and offer to help us. The really nice part was they confirmed I did everything right, but that getting lug nuts off that have been put on by a machine is nearly impossible. They got the spare on and, then they offered to follow us to the next well traveled road in case there was a problem with the spare. They also made cousin promise to get a real tire on ASAP because spares are for emergencies.

Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #125 on: May 25, 2012, 07:27:59 AM »
When I was in college and working two jobs, I was totally stressed out when my car needed repairs and I didn't have enough cash to pay the bill.  I was going to charge it or ask my mom for a loan, but when the mechanic called and I asked him the total he said it was "taken care of" and to just come get the car.  My boss had paid the bill and would not accept a nickel from me in repayment.

Flash forward 20 years later.  One of my staff who started working for me as a HS student and is now in college is working 2 jobs, taking care of her grandma and trying to pay her tuition for Spring semester.  Her 2nd job (not the one working for me) is stressful and demoralizing.  She wants to quit but needs the money for tuition.  I called her into my office and gave her a check for the tuition and told her to quit the 2nd job if she wanted, and find another if she needed, but to get out of that toxic work environment because she was already running herself ragged and her grandma was not doing very well and needed her more.

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #126 on: May 29, 2012, 05:05:01 PM »
This was a while ago, and taught me the importance of always having cash on me, just in case.   :P

I was in the airport, on my way home from Christmas at my parents, waiting for my luggage to come on the luggage carousel.  This kid (I say kid like I'm so old -- he was probably college age, I was not yet 30) is on the phone and he sounds on the verge of tears.
Apparently his carry-on bag got opened in the waiting area somewhere and something (ticket? Money? Wallet?) got taken and he's saying stuff like, "I don't know what I'm going to do, I don't have any money, I can't get to {somewhere}, I could go back and stay with so-and-so for four days, but I have no way to get there."
And then he says, "Mom, stop crying."  Even as he's clearly on the verge of tears.
So I pulled out most of the cash I had on me ($60-70 or so) and gave it to him.
He was so surprised and asked three times if I wanted him to take my name so he could send it back to me.
I said no.
And so he thanked me profusely.

And man, I felt like crying, too!


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #127 on: May 29, 2012, 08:23:07 PM »
Two stories:
Someone spotted an elderly lady walking down the road on a Sunday afternoon, carrying a framed photo.  It seemed odd, so she stopped and talked to her, and concluded she was pretty confused.  Got the confused lady to walk with her over to the local police department (all of five officers!), and no one there knew her, but they put out a report on her.  The Good Sam insisted on staying with the lady until her family was located (they were out quartering the town looking for her); she was indeed diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but had never wandered before.

Different small town, parking lot of grocery store known for excellent customer service, very cold day:
I'd run in to pick up some groceries, leaving my elderly mom in the car -- she hadn't wanted to go in.  When I got back, mom pointed out an older gentleman trying car keys in all the black 4 door cars.  I tried to talk to him, and he kept saying "I don't know you", so I went inside to talk to the manager.  Manager came out in his store uniform of bow tie and green butcher apron, got him to agree to come inside and give his opinion of a new fruit display, framing it as a favor, while a clerk called the local EMTs, who arrived promptly, assessed him and discovered he was having a small stroke and took him to the local ER.  Next time I was in the store, the manager recognized me and updated me on what had transpired, and was able to tell me he was home again, and doing well.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 08:27:34 PM by kkl123 »


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #128 on: May 29, 2012, 09:14:32 PM »
Okay, this one was kind of my fault for staying out too late and not watching the weather, but still.

I have never been able to learn to drive, but usually I get around on buses pretty well.  One particular time, I had taken the bus out to a little strip mall and I had been browsing in the shops, and I ate some dinner in a little restaurant, blah blah blah. 

While I was eating, a huge storm blew up and the sky turned black.  By the time I got finished eating and could leave, it was raining so hard that even had it been light out, you couldn't have seen your hand in front of your face, and also there was thunder and lightening.

I, of course, did not have an umbrella or anything, and by this time, most of the stores had closed, besides the restaurant and a Jo Ann Fabrics.  I went into the Jo Ann Fabrics and looked around, basically to get any possible idea to cover my head, because the actual place the bus would stop was a few blocks away (an easy walk in decent weather-almost impossible in the weather of that moment).

This was the end of September, so I was lucky enough to be able to find, for a dollar...a plastic witch costume hat.  So, I bought it, and though I felt foolish, I put it on and held on to it tightly, then headed out across the parking lot to the main road, and then...

I proceeded to fall in a puddle.  It was so dark, I had no idea it was even there.  But this was a really serious, crater-like puddle that would have been at least ankle-deep had I just stepped into it.

And then the good part happened! A car pulled up and they rolled down the window and asked if I needed a ride somewhere! They were all total strangers in the car, and maybe I shouldn't have gone with them, but they looked like students from the local university.  Total strangers offered me a ride, not only a total stranger to them, but a soaking wet total stranger.  A soaking wet total stranger wearing a witch hat, in September.

I thanked them very profusely after we got back to my place, and they just said, "No problem, glad to do it!".  I seriously don't know what I would have done had they not offered me a ride.  What with the hidden puddles and the darkness and the lightening, I could have been really badly hurt by the time that was all over.

I try to "pay it forward", for that and all the other times people have driven me places or back from places, by doing little things like when I am walking and I see a nail or a glass bottle in a parking lot, for example, I pick it up and throw it away so it can't get anybody's tire.  Once, after a big windstorm, a giant branch had fallen right into the lane of traffic and people were stopping and driving around it, and I thought that was probably an accident waiting to happen, so I dragged it up onto the curb.  Whenever I see things in the bike path, I pick them up so bicycles don't hit them and get hurt and cause bigger accidents by falling into the main road.  Once, I even called the police non-emergency number because of a pile of random huge branches in the bike lane that spilled out into the road itself so they could get rid of the traffic hazard.  (Too many and too big of branches, I couldn't do it myself.)  So, that might not be very much, but it is a little bit, and maybe one day I'll be able to do something that's actually big.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 09:16:14 PM by whatsanenigma »


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #129 on: June 01, 2012, 12:25:03 AM »
Im currently involved in a "paying it forwad".. I frequent a dog forum, one of its members has fallen into a little financial trouble, so a call has gone out.  We are all sending her food. Ive ordered a few things online and having them delivered tomorow...

Small things to help ease someones mind and keep doggies bellies full.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #130 on: June 03, 2012, 04:47:33 AM »

Small things to help ease someones mind and keep doggies bellies full.

This reminds me of the Pongo Fund in Portland:


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #131 on: June 04, 2012, 03:37:18 PM »
The time that stands out most to me is thus:

One early Sunday morning, my then-boyfriend met me just as I was getting off the night shift at the grocery store I used to work at. It had started to snow (a rare thing for where I live!), and we decided to go eat breakfast so that we could enjoy the beauty of it.
We settled on the local IHOP, ordered and ate our breakfasts, and about the time we would have recieved our check, the waitress came over and told us that someone had just walked into the restaurant, handed the manager $100, and told him to cover as many meals as possible, because he was very blessed, and wanted to share that with others.
Money was particularly tight at that time, and eating out was a real treat for us, so to have a perfect stranger show such kindness to people he didn't even know (and to trust that the manager would do as requested and not just pocket the cash!) gave me a little bit more faith in humanity.

Thank you, kind stranger, wherever you might be! :)

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #132 on: June 05, 2012, 10:14:08 AM »

{snip} the waitress came over and told us that someone had just walked into the restaurant, handed the manager $100, and told him to cover as many meals as possible, because he was very blessed, and wanted to share that with others.

That totally reminded me of a story.  When I was in high school, we would go out to Denny's in large groups.  Like, 10-15 high schoolers.  I'm sure the staff cringed on our entrance -- usually that many high schoolers together has major potential to get...messy.

I know we've had many threads here about dining in groups and getting stiffed because people forget to add in tip, or tax, or beverage, or are just plain sneaky.  We had the opposite problem one night at Denny's.  Everybody rounded up so much, we ended up with way more money than we needed.  Someone in our group suggested we just leave it all -- she's working at Denny's, a low-priced restaurant, let's make her day.

So we left it.  It was something like a 60% tip.  I think.  We all went out in the parking lot (and the only cars there were ours as we were some of the last to leave) and then huddled around, trying to see in the window to see her reaction when she found it. 

She came out the door (and caught us, oops  :P) and asked if we meant to leave all of it, we said yes, and she started crying -- it was her birthday and she was having such a bad day and we had just made it so much better.  It was kind of humbling to see how much we could impact someone's life with something that seemed so relatively small.

Oh, and then we sang her happy birthday from the parking lot.   >:D


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #133 on: June 05, 2012, 11:25:33 AM »
Last summer, I was riding my motorcycle when it broke down. Thankfully I was only several blocks from home, so I could push it. The unfortunate part was that it was about 80 degrees and I was wearing heavy jeans, a black armored jacket, and my helmet. I had no way to stow my gear, so I had to wear it while I pushed. And my neighborhood is very hilly. :P

I got about halfway home when a car pulled over and asked what was wrong. I was getting a little upset by that point but I just said the bike broke down and I was trying to push it home. The man in the passenger seat got out and helped me push it the rest of the way home. He chatted with me and was a very soothing sort of person, really helped me calm down. We got it to the bottom of my driveway (a pretty steep incline) and I said I'd get it the rest of the way later. I thanked him profusely (he told me "that's what us bikers do for each other" :)) and offered him a drink, though he declined.

I was going to leave the bike out until later (I was way too beat to get it up the driveway by that point) when a guy from across the street came over and asked if I needed help. Ours is not a friendly neighborhood, everyone keeps to themselves and I don't know a single neighbor's name. I said no thanks, it was okay, I'd get it inside later. He said he didn't mind, picked it up by the handlebars, and half-carried/half-dragged the bike into my garage. I thanked him, we introduced ourselves, and I learned that he wasn't even my neighbor, he was just related to my neighbor. I still see him occasionally and smile and wave, though our houses are too far apart to say hi without shouting.

A month or so ago, I was leaving my house when I saw a guy pushing his bike. I pulled over and asked what was wrong, and he said it was broken down and he was pushing it home. I had my 2yo with me in the car, and thus could not help him push it home. I felt terrible--it was the perfect opportunity to pay it forward--but I really had no way to help with my 2yo there. I did make sure he was okay and offer him the use of my cell phone, but I wish I could have done more. :'(
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #134 on: June 15, 2012, 06:35:36 PM »
Today I was running work errands. I stopped at the bank and saw an elderly gentleman with an oxygen tank getting out of his car, which was parked in the handicapped spot. Even walking slowly he got to the door before me. He saw me coming and waited; I figured he needed a hand opening the door. I hurried up and he opened it...stood to one side and gestured to me to go first.
A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. CS Lewis