Kind Strangers Kindness

That’s One Amazing Gas Station

| Lancaster, PA, USA | Kind Strangers

(I have to stop for gas after a long, exhausting week, and I feel I’m about to lose it. I’ve got 60+ miles before I get home. I walk into the gas station to put money on my pump, as my gas tank is on empty. I get through the door, the cold air hits my face, and I lose it. I sob hysterically. I hold up a wall for a second or two when a young man with a trainee badge approaches me.)

Trainee: “Is there anything I can do to help?”

(My story pours out.)

Me: “I was robbed earlier; I am failing a class, and am in an abusive relationship and trying to get out.”

Trainee: “I get off in five minutes. Let me finish what I’m doing, then let’s sit and talk.”

(We sat together in the little cafe almost all evening. I cried and talked, he listened and comforted. I got home, and had strength to leave the relationship. I recovered most of my losses, and moved on with my life. I quit my demanding job, and went back to school full time. I’ve never been happier.)

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Road Reason

| Cheshire, England, UK | Transportation

(The street I live on is not really built for high speeds. Cars are often parked on both sides, especially the part I live on, there are a couple of bends that are awkward to see around, and a few junctions concealed by parked cars. Still, you get the idiots who think they’re invincible and can do 40 mph in a narrow, built-up area. I am getting out of my own car when one of these drivers comes pelting down the road, only to have to slam his brakes on to avoid an oncoming car. The driver who is nearly hit rolls down his window, and slowly moves into a gap between parked cars to be level with the speeding guy. I expect a full-on row. Instead I hear this:)

Driver #1: “Mate, how fast were you going down there, then?”

Driver #2: “What?”

Driver #1: “How fast were you going?”

Driver #2: “Don’t know. Wasn’t speeding, was I?”

Driver #1: “Yeah, you were, actually. And you’ve got a kid in the car. You’ve got to be more responsible, mate. Drive like that on your own if you don’t care about crashing, but not with your son in the car. All right, mate? You’ve got to look after your kid.”

(The second driver looked like he’d just been told off by his mother. He gave a “thank you” gesture, which the first driver returned, and they went off on their way. If road-rage could be turned into that kind of conversation it will be a lot more productive! Hopefully the speeding dad learnt something and started being more responsible.)

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Kindness Never Tires, Part 2

| Weatherford, TX, USA | Kind Strangers, Transportation

(I am going home after taking my two miniature horses to the vet clinic for their annual vaccinations. Halfway home, my borrowed truck starts to shudder, then with a loud BANG the right rear tire blows out! I find a nice place to pull over on FM 51, and get out to assess the damage and check the ponies (they are fine). The tire is shredded, so I dig out the jack, and jack up the truck. I also manage to get the spare out from underneath, but it’s soft- I’m a bit concerned. As I struggle with the lug nuts, a truck pulls up on the road right next to where I pulled over and a man and his two young sons get out.)

Man: “Do you need help?”

Me: “I’ll take all the help I can get! I can’t get the lugnuts off.”

Man: “I have a bar, we can crack the nuts and get them off.”

(He manages to get all the nuts off the wheel, but the rim itself has rusted onto the wheel. Kicking and pounding have no effect. Another man in the yard next to where I pulled off comes over.)

Nice Man #2: “Do you need a sledge?”

Nice Man #1: “It might help.”

Me: “Do what you need to do!”

(Meanwhile, trucks and cars are flying up the highway way too fast for my liking, and I am afraid someone will plow into the back of my trailer with my ponies in it. I am off the road, but barely. Nice Man #1 and Nice Man #2 beat the rim, and it finally lets go. Nice Man #2 takes his sledge and goes home.)

Nice Man #1: “This tire is soft. Let me take it home and put some air in it.”

Me: “Sure, thanks so much!”

(Nice Man #1 goes home, and returns 15 minutes later.)

Nice Man #1: “I think the valve is bad; I’m going to run it to Weatherford to my buddy’s tire place and get it repaired.”

Me: “Wow, thanks so much!”

(Twenty minutes later, he returns with a tire. I help him put it back on, but I notice, it’s NOT the same tire he took, that one was muddy from being under the truck, and the tread was different! It’s used, but in FAR better condition than the spare had been! I offer him money for his help, but he refuses.)

Me: “Can I give you a hug then, instead?”

(He gave me a hug and went on his way. Thank you, nice men and two sons. I have no idea what I would have done, as I had no one to call and no way to get my ponies home.)

Related:
Kindness Never Tires

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Kindness Farming

, | England, UK | Popular, Transportation

(I was 20 years old, travelling abroad for three weeks on my own for a research project. I took a coach into Brighton from Birmingham and am now on a bus to Telscombe to get to my hostel. I start chatting with a middle-aged couple about my journey so far, and they ask where I am heading to. After I explain where the hostel is:)

Wife: “Oh, no. That’s at least a four-kilometer walk from the bus stop, and with your luggage, that’s not going to be a good time.”

Husband: “Definitely not; not on that gravel road. Here, get off at this next stop with us. I’ll drive you to the hostel.”

Me: “It’s all right! Honestly, my bag isn’t that heavy, and I don’t mind the walk. I’ve been sitting on a coach all day, and it’s lovely here. I just came from the states where it was just so hot outside. This weather and everything is perfect.”

Wife: “We insist! Right here, now.”

(I get off the bus with them, and the husband carries my bag to their car. After stopping for some fuel, we start on our way. About halfway into the journey, we find out the rest of the road is on a private farm road that is gated.)

Me: “I can walk the rest of the way! This was such a huge help. I don’t want to inconvenience you anymore.”

Husband: “Nonsense!” *to the farmer* “Can we please just sneak through? We’re just going to drop her off at the hostel over the hill. She was going to walk from the bus stop with her luggage, and I insisted on driving her.”

Farmer: “I’m really not supposed to; I’ve got to gate up right now. If I let you through, you’re going to have to leave at the bottom, down by the train station.”

(We snuck through, and I arrived safely at the hostel. I actually ended up transferring to the Eastbourne location at the insistence of the director at the hostel, because of the difficulty accessing public transportation and the travelling I needed to do for my research. The director drove me to the Lewes train station herself the next morning and wished me luck on the trip. Considering it was at this point of the trip that my homesickness kicked in, and I really was having a rough time, the help of these kind strangers are what encouraged me to keep it together through the rest of my trip.)

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They Haven’t Tire-d Of You Yet

, | Medicine Hat, AB, Canada | Awesome, Employees, Popular, Transportation

(I am on a road trip by myself from Manitoba to Alberta, about 12 hours of driving. My car is in rather rough shape, but I had gotten it tuned up before the trip and am trying to keep an eye on everything as I go. One of the things I check at each stop is the tire pressure, but somehow I never actually notice that my tires are so badly worn the metal wire is sticking through. Needless to say, my tire blows as I am driving. I pull onto a side road when I feel it going, and start the process of changing the tire for a spare. It’s getting late; I want to finish quickly so I can get to a store to fix the tire before everything closes. Unfortunately all the lug nuts are badly rusted, so I am really struggling when a convertible pulls up beside me.)

Driver: “Are you all right?”

Me: “Yes and no. I’m fine, but I can’t get this tire off.”

Driver: “Maybe I can help. Oh, wow, this tire is worn down to the wire.”

Me: “Wire?”

Driver: “You didn’t notice all the metal showing through? You’re lucky this didn’t blow while you were driving.”

Me: “Oh, geeze. I’ve been checking the tire pressure constantly and didn’t even notice. Yikes.”

Driver: “Your other front tire’s the same.”

(At this point I am starting to freak out a bit. I am very far from home, neither tire is coming off even with help, and I have no idea how I am going to get to a store to get new tires.)

Driver: “These aren’t coming off. Come on. I was actually just heading to the tire shop. I’ll give you a lift and they can come get the car.”

Me: “Thank you!”

(The tire shop he is going to is literally only two blocks down that road. He is well-known to the employees, and when he explains the situation they were happy to get their truck and grab my car. They tow it back to the shop and got to work taking off the damaged tires.)

Employee #1: “What did you do to these tires?! [Employee 2], come see these!”

Employee #2: “How were you even still driving? There’s nothing left to them.”

Me: “I actually just got them this year. And I had the car checked before I left and no one mentioned they were in bad shape. I still can’t believe I didn’t notice the metal when I was checking tire pressure all along.”

Employee #2: “That’s insane. These are literally the worst tires I have ever seen.”

Employee #1: *has managed to get the first tire off and is looking at wheel hub assembly* “And everything in here is completely rusted.” *he literally breaks off bits of the rusted metal disk inside with his fingers*

Me: “Oh, no. Will it still work to get me through the rest of the trip?”

Employee #1: “Yes, it can still go a bit, but when you get back home you’ll need to either replace the entire assembly or the whole car.”

Me: “Okay. That’s good. The car is only supposed to be temporary anyway; it wasn’t expected to last more than a year, and it’s already been almost two.”

Employee #2: “If you’re going to get rid of the car anyway there’s no point in getting nice new tires for it. We can probably just re-tread your tires. I’ll go see if we have everything we need already.”

(They did have whatever they needed, and in less than an hour my car was ready to go again. The original helpful driver even offered to pay for the repair for me. I paid, and gave him a huge hug for all his help. I was so overwhelmed the whole time. Not only had I been so lucky that my tire blew when I was going slowly, but it had done so within blocks of an awesome tire shop, and right when an amazingly kind stranger was about to pass. A major thank you to that friendly driver and those helpful employees. Because of them my trip went great and I made it home safely.)

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