Category: Kind Strangers

Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Taxi-ng, Part 2

| Rome, Italy | Kind Strangers, Transportation, Travel

(My friend and I — both poor college students — are visiting another friend at her summer job on a youth camping site near a small village, about one hour from Rome. The plan is to spend her two days off together at the camp, and the rest of the time she will go back to work and we will take day-trips to Rome while staying at the camp for free. For this we have to take a shuttle bus to a small train station outside of the village, and a train from there to Rome. On our second day, we miss our planned train back to the village, and arrive two hours late. It is now 11:30 pm and the camp shuttle bus has stopped. Since the village is so small, there are no taxis at the train station, just a bus once an hour that goes to the village. We decide to wait for said bus and try to find a taxi in town to take us to the camp. That’d probably make our trip two hours longer and far more expensive than planned, but it seems the only way. While we are sitting on the pathway in the dark, somewhat abandoned station, another passenger from our train tries to chat with us. He’s an elderly Italian man, and we both speak only the standard tourist sentences in Italian. The whole conversation is a weird mix of Italian, English, German and gestures.)

Old Man: “You go to [Village]? Not seen you in Hotel yet.”

Friend: “Oh, no, we need to go to [Camp]. No shuttle bus, so we need a taxi from village.”

Old Man: “Camp? You are kids from [Holiday Group my friend works for]? You look old. Run away?” *laughs*

Me: *also laughing* “No, visiting a worker at camp. We’re university students.”

Old Man: “Students can afford taxis? Italian students can’t!”

Me: “It’s the only way. No shuttle bus today, and we need to go home.”

(After this short chat, the man takes out his cell-phone and has a conversation with someone in rapid Italian, before turning back to us.)

Old Man: “Okay, my friend come and drive you.”

Friend: “What?”

Old Man: “My friend, has taxi. Not working this evening but is taxi. So he can come and take you to camp.”

Me: “Really? Did you wake him up?”

Old Man: *laughing* “No, he only watch TV. I say to him, the kids need help; get your a** over here!”

(He said that in perfect American movie English. Not 10 minutes later, his friend arrived with his taxi. They discussed something again in Italian, and the old man told us the fare will be 15€. The driver took us to the camp, a 30 minute drive, and — in the same English+Italian — says he’ll go back and pick up the old man to go home afterwards. We were so surprised about the old man’s help that we felt like we didn’t thank him enough, so we gave the driver a large bag of sweets we had bought in Rome to share on their way home. Our friend at the camp later told us that since the camp is off the beaten path and it was so late, a regular taxi ride would’ve cost us at least 30-40€. I can only say thank you to the old Italian man who barely understood us nor we him, but realised there were two kids in trouble and helped us so tremendously.)

Related:
Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Taxi-ng

Cosplay Makes My Day, Part 2

| WI, USA | Geeks Rule, Kind Strangers

I have severe anxiety which makes it hard not only for me to get out of the house at times, but to find friends and interact with others as well. Even with my anxiety, I am super passionate about cosplaying as when I do it, I find I have a much easier time being around large crowds and don’t feel like a sore thumb that sticks out no matter what, especially given that I have a tendency to wear clothing that is not necessarily “normal” or necessarily “socially acceptable.”

At this point, my hubby has driven us and a friend to Wisconsin to go to the Ren Faire there and I had spent the month beforehand sewing an outfit to wear. I am worried about how it will go as I don’t do well around large crowds usually. Not only that, but the last time I had cosplayed/dressed up in such a way was four years prior before my diagnosis of anxiety. The entire time, though, I am getting compliments on my outfit. Not only that, but I actually got a high five from one of the performers when he found out I had made my own outfit!

Not once did I feel judged or worry about what others might think of what I was wearing at the time. It was a huge confidence boost and has made me feel more secure with my clothing choices. Now I’m going to three conventions this year with all new outfits that i have sewn since and I’m actually looking forward to being around large crowds for the first time in years!

Related:
Cosplay Makes My Day

Differences Are Celebrated

| IL, USA | Awesome, Employees, Health & Body, Kind Strangers

(I grew up in a fairly small town, and all through high school, I worked at a local farm, selling produce at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. It’s only a few days before I leave for college in a much larger city, and I’m worrying about how much it’ll cost to live there, when one of my favorite customers comes up. I suspect he has some sort of developmental delay or had an accident or something, since his speech patterns tend to be very halting and he has trouble focusing his eyes, but he’s always polite and lovely and a pleasure to talk to, so I don’t think much of it. We’re chatting as he chooses what he wants, about $10 worth of produce, and he hands me a twenty-dollar bill.)

Customer: “Do you have singles?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no; it was a busy day today. Are two fives okay?”

Customer: *grinning* “Two fives are fine.”

(I give him his change, and he immediately hands one of the fives back to me.)

Customer: “This is for you. You’re always so friendly and polite when I come here. You don’t make me feel bad, or try to hurry me through what I’m saying. I know you’re leaving soon, and this is my way of saying thank you.”

Me: “You really don’t have to. You’re always so nice; I enjoy it when you come by!”

Customer: “Please, take it. I love coming here; you never make me feel different, or bad. Have a great time at college, and thank you!”

(I’m almost in tears by this point, and I can hardly get out a ‘thank you’ as he collects his vegetables and gives me one last smile. I’ve only seen him a couple times since then, but his kindness made a stressful time so much better!)

Driving Home The Kindness, Part 12

, | Towson, MD, USA | Kind Strangers, Transportation

This happened three years ago:

My roommate and I are on our way back from the store (I am driving us in my car) when we see an assisted living bus sideswipe the living crap out of a parked pickup truck. It is almost like it is happening in slow-motion, and it makes a loud grinding noise. My roommate and I just sit there with our hands on our faces in disbelief.

I memorize the license plate number and the company written on the bus, but because my friend has to get back to our apartment to meet up with her mom and catch a flight, we have to leave immediately. I drop her off and immediately go back out to where the truck is. It is still there, so I write a note explaining exactly what happened, leaving my secondary email address in case she needs to get back to me for something. I am not sure how that kind of thing works, but if a witness is needed, I want to be available.

That night, I get an email asking for my phone number, and I provide it. The owner of the truck has called to thank me personally, and we have a nice conversation. She wants my mailing address to send me what she says is a “small gift card,” so I give her my dorm room mailbox address.

Cut to a week or so later. She mails me a nice letter saying that the company’s insurance paid for the repairs, which would have been about $2000 and a lot more of a hassle had I not written my note. She also gave me a gift card. I am expecting $10-20, but much to my surprise, it is $100! That card gets me out of a few tight spots, and even after I use it up I keep it in my car, where it still is today.

I’m terrible about getting back to people, so I never did get back to her, although now I feel like looking through my email and seeing if I can find her and let her know about this website. If she ever reads this, I’d like to say “thank you so much for your generosity, and I’m glad I was able to help you!”

Related:
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 11
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 10
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 9

Kind Strangers Kindness

Their Thoughtfulness Was No Accident

| Seattle, WA, USA | Health & Body, Kind Strangers

I delivered pizza years ago while in college. One night, I am waiting at the entrance to an apartment building for the customer when I see a pedestrian get hit by a car. He is tossed in the air and lands on the pavement hard.

This was before cell phones are everywhere, so when the customer comes to the door I tell him to call 911. His reaction is to instead run to the curb to see the poor pedestrian lying in the street. Someone else says they have called for help.

I stay to give my name to the police in case they need to talk to me, and then go to deliver the other order I have in the car. When that customer comes to the door, he looks at me and asks what is wrong. I tell him what I had seen, and he has me come into his house to sit down and have a glass of water. Not one word about his order being late or cold at all.

Once I had my bearings, he sent me back to the restaurant. Where I learned that 1) the pedestrian had died, and 2) the second customer had called to report what happened, and tell my manager I needed the rest of the night off. So thanks to the second customer for helping make up for that first jerk.

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