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!)

Another Reason To Be Thankful

| GA, USA | Awesome, Holidays

(It’s Thanksgiving, which is one of our busiest days of the year, so almost all of the staff has to work. One of our more frequent regulars is coming in. From what I can gather from past interactions with him, he’s a very wealthy person.)

Me: “Good afternoon, sir.”

Customer: “Hey, how’s it going?”

Me: “I’m doing all right. How about you?”

Customer: “Good to hear. Good to hear.”

(He then pulls out his wallet and hands me $20.)

Me: “Wait… are you serious?!”

Customer: “Just wanted to let you guys know you’re doing a great job. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Me: “Wow, thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!”

(He then proceeded to hand out twenties to the rest of the staff. He even came back the next day to make sure he didn’t miss anyone. He was always a nice guy, but this is above and beyond his usual actions.)

Respect Your Elders Children

Voicing Her Thoughts At The Right Time

| Greensburg, PA, USA | Family & Kids, Musical Mayhem, Respect Your Elders

(I have not been having the greatest week. First my car starts throwing out warning lights, and then I get word from my mother that a close family friend, my brother’s godfather, has died unexpectedly.)

Me: “I should really go to the funeral, but I’m not sure I want to take my car out on the highway since it’s been acting up…”

Roommate: “Why don’t you take mine? I got it checked out before I drove home for my grandmother’s funeral a couple months ago, and I’m not going anywhere this weekend except for choir practice.”

Me: “Awesome. Thanks!”

(I get to the church where the funeral is being held and hug my brother’s godmother, who has always been “Aunt” to me and my siblings, although we’re not related. I’m sitting beside her while she looks at the program for the funeral, when all of a sudden she bursts out:)

Aunt: “I told them I didn’t want that hymn, but there it is! [Uncle] hated that hymn! I don’t want it sung at his funeral! What are we going to do now?”

(Suddenly I realize. I have my roommate’s car, which means I have her music books, jncluding the piece she sang for her grandmother’s funeral, which I helped her learn.)

Me: “I think I have something I could put in, [Aunt], If that would be okay with you?”

(It is okay with her, and with the organist, and with everyone at the funeral if I could judge by the number of people wiping their eyes. But the best compliment I got is what my aunt told me afterwards.)

Aunt: “You always loved to sing when you were a little girl, and your voice was okay, but it wasn’t anything terribly special. At least, that’s what I thought. Your uncle always used to tell me, ‘Wait and see. Wait until she grows up. It will be something really amazing then.’ And he was right.”

(That’s when I cried.)

A Thoughtful Gesture By Principal

| USA | Awesome, Family & Kids, Teachers

(During my senior year of high school, my mother passed away from stage-four lung cancer on the day before Thanksgiving. Since her passing, it has been a really difficult time for my family and with the holidays being right around the corner makes it a lot harder for us money wise. My mother was well known around my school district for being on the school board and volunteering within the community so during her battle and after her passing, my school has been nothing but great to my family. During the final class on the day before school lets out for Christmas break, I am called down to the principal’s office and when I see my dad sitting in the office waiting for me, I am not really sure what to expect, until the principal hands me a gift bag.)

Principal: “I know this has been a really tough time for your family and I wanted to give you my deepest condolences once again for your loss. [My Name] is a wonderful student and your family is well-respected within our district. We wanted to do something a little bit special for your family for the holidays.

(I open the bag and see a bunch of Christmas cards, gift cards for different restaurants and stores, and a bunch of Christmas cookies and candy inside, and look back at my principal speechless.)

Principal: “Your family has been a wonderful addition to our district and we couldn’t appreciate everything your mother did for us. Some of your teachers and other staff members in this school have each bought a gift card to a restaurant or store to help make this difficult time a little easier for you. I have a list of the staff members who helped contribute and I will read the names to you.”

(As the principal reads the list names of everyone, my father and I looked at the gift cards and each of them are worth more than 100 dollars. When he finishes, my dad and I are both close to tears and I am too speechless to even speak.)

Dad: “I don’t even know how to thank you for what you’re doing for my family.”

Principal: “You don’t have to thank me. [My Name] is a wonderful student and all of her teachers love having her in their classes. And [Mother] will be missed by everyone in this district. This is our way for giving back to you for all that you have done for our school. If there is anything else we can do for your family, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are here for you.”

(My dad and I left the principal’s office a couple minutes later in tears. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done to us during an extremely difficult time. My father wasn’t sure how he was going to get through Christmas after the funeral expenses and the gift cards have helped us a lot!)

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