Category: Transportation

Race To Do Good

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Time, Transportation

Many years ago I was doing the Zoo Run 10K at the Metro Toronto Zoo and my boyfriend (now my husband) meets me at the hotel before the race. He says, “I have bad news. On my way to work my tire blew so I can either get it fixed first and miss seeing the race, or we’ll have to skip walking around the zoo after and get it fixed before the garage closes.” I tell him to go ahead and get it fixed first so we can still spend the day at the zoo together. Anyway, I cross the finish line and text him and he texts back, “I’m looking right at you.”

Turns out he went to the Canadian Tire near the zoo and there was a two-hour wait for service. He said, “I know this isn’t your problem, but my girlfriend is doing the Zoo Run 10K right now and it would really mean a lot to her if I was at the finish line.” Apparently they had him in and out of there within 45 minutes.

I emailed the company after and the person who wrote back assured me that those employees would be recognized. They truly went “above and beyond” for a customer.

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

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

Put Them Back In Their Place

| Montreal, QC, Canada | Awesome, Musical Mayhem, Transportation

It is some years ago. I am in the metro and it is semi-late evening. I start to hear the beat to a famous, easy to recognize song. A beautiful gothic girl is doing the stomp-stomp-clap, and then a few persons around her join in. The goth-girl sings “We will rock you” from the song, and is joined again by more and more people, doing the beat and singing. I surprise myself by doing same, too! The whole train car is now loudly rocking “We Will Rock You.”

The goth-girl stands up, making everyone stand happily with her: We Will, We Will Rock You! stomp-stomp-clap, stomp-stomp-clap.

Then she walks toward a corner. I notice there are about four or five guys surrounding a young looking female, quite uncomfortable, and scared. The goth-girl’s eyes are dead-locked on those guys and gathering the crowd with her. I think it is some cool staged flash mob and tag along, keeping the beat and singing with everyone else. The goth-girl goes close enough to split apart the guys and motion to the cornered girl to come closer to her and push her behind her back. The guys look unsure about what to do and nervous faced by about 40-50 people. She then jumps into the song again:

Buddy, you’re an old man, poor man. Pleadin’ with your eyes, gonna make you some peace some day. You got mud on your face. Big disgrace. Somebody better put you back into your place!

She did not sing as much as talked it, but it was charismatic and intimidating. She waves the pumped up crowd into two more: We will rock you!

We reach a station and the guys slowly back outside the train.

The girl turn to us, smiles, and claps: “Thank you everyone! You were all amazing.”

We all cheer and return to our places in a light mood. That’s when I realized no one was filming this. The goth-girl just spotted a girl who was cornered and scared by suspicious guys and made the whole place act on it! Thank you, miss, for not closing your eyes on the situation and opening ours. Best save ever.

Will Be Walking Tall Today

| OH, USA | Kind Strangers, Transportation

(I work at a popular sub franchise. There are three locations in town and we are the most recommended for our great customer service. My roommate comes in time and time again to get food. On this day he comes by to check his mail and get a quick meal. My co-worker is running late and I’m handling a small rush by myself. I finally get to the last lady in line who is obviously new to the area and has an accent I’m not familiar with. Her sandwich is simple and I get her through the process quite quickly. As I’m ringing her out she asks where a specific church is. Sadly, I do not go to any of the churches in town so I am not familiar with which church she is talking about. The customer only knows that it is downtown, which is not far but could take 30 minutes with a brisk walk. I look to my roommate for help and he intervenes. He and I both look up the church she is looking for and confirms it’s right behind the bank in downtown.)

Customer: “Thank you both so much! I have to walk down there and I wanted to make sure I was going the right way.”

Roommate: “No problem! You know, I can easily give you a ride to the church. I know my way around the area and it’s not far. It’s a long walk. I’m only here to bother her.” *points to me*

Customer: *obviously flustered and on the verge of tears* “I… I don’t know. That’s so nice of you. I would appreciate it so much. I am not from around here, so it’s so nice of you!”

(My roommate insists on her finishing her sandwich in the store as he has nowhere to be. As they continue talking about the area, he gives her his phone number in case of emergencies. She is absolutely flustered and grateful at the offer and assistance that she nearly cries multiple times. By the time they are leaving, we offer her some water bottles to take with her and anything else she may need.)

Roommate: “All right, I’ll be right back.”

Me: “No problem, drive safe.” *pulls him to the side and whispers* “Free meal for you tonight, man.”

(Sometimes small things like rides can prove to be something life changing. I don’t think you should always lend a helping hand for your safety, but sometimes it is honestly the best thing you can do.)

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