Kind Strangers Kindness

Newfound Love In A Hopeless Place

| UK | Holidays, Kind Strangers

I’ve struggled with depression for a few years, and, for some reason, this Christmas period has been particularly hard. I’ve felt miserable and run ragged for about a month straight, and am spending my last day off before Christmas Day with my partner. As we are walking into the large supermarket near our flat, he points to a huge, black dog in front of us. It is a Newfoundland — my favourite breed in the world. The lady walking him lets me have a cuddle, and says that, when we come out of the shop, there will be more Newfoundlands waiting to take our shopping to the car in their carts!

I am so excited. We run around the shop, grab our stuff, and come out to find six beautiful dogs waiting for us, each with a little cart or a silly Christmas outfit. They are collecting money for an Alzheimer’s charity, so I give them as much money as I can, and get to hug all of them, as well as have my shopping taken to the car.

I can’t remember the last time I smiled that much. They really lifted my spirits, enough to get through the last week before Christmas.


Full Of Helpful

| Marion, OH, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Holidays

(I have a birth defect called Phocomelia; my arms are short and I don’t have hands, but I get by decently well. To avoid an extra stress I tend to go to the store late at night or early morning. I go late, as with four shopping days left until Christmas I know I can’t handle the extra large crowds that were made up of people who love to stare. I have gotten good at ignoring those around me unless they are in my way and in line of sight. I was putting my items on the belt and was in my own world. I hear a man and kids talking, but don’t think anything of it, until the two little girls come up to me.)

Older Girl: “Can I help?” *I am thrown off by the question, because it’s usually an adult that asks*

Me: “Sure, thank you!” *the older girl grabs the last of the items in the cart*

Younger Girl: “I didn’t get to help.”

Me: “It’s the thought that counts.” *I feel a little bad; she truly does want to help*

Their Father: “You can help her put the bags in the cart.”

(The father and girls talk, joke, and laugh while I wait to pay for my items. It’s a nice change to hear a parent interacting with the kids and keeping everything light and happy, as all the other parents I see in the store this night ignore or yell at their kids. When my items are being bagged the father tells them to help. I get one bag, the older girl gets another and then helps her little sister with the last bag.)

Me: “Thank you, girls!” *and then I thank the father*

(The father helped renew some of my faith in the future generations. Not only did the girls happily help, but they didn’t stare. They looked a little, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from younger kids. To the father: Thank you so much! I’m used to doing things on my own, but to be offered help when I’m obviously tired and struggling means so much to me, especially after waiting to see if I had things handled or was struggling. And the fact that you are raising your girls to be respectful to others is heartwarming.)


Secret Santa’s Little Helper

| Bay Area, CA, USA | Holidays

(I am counting tills at the end of the night while my manager is writing the daily recap. This manager organized Secret Santa for all the associates. The associates are leaving for the night. Associate knocks on the door and Manager lets him into the office.)

Me: “Hey, [Associate]! What’s up?”

Associate: “Uh, not much. Can I see the people who signed up for Secret Santa?”

Manager: “Oh, did you want to join?”

Me: “It’s kind of late; we’re already exchanging gifts.”

Associate: “I don’t want to get anything. I just want to give more gifts.”

(Manager and I blink but don’t hesitate to give him the list of people that signed up.)

Associate: “Okay, I want to choose, like, two guys and two girls. Maybe someone I don’t really know either. Please don’t tell anyone it’s from me. I just wanted to do something nice this Christmas.”

(This associate has always been a sweet person but I never would have expected this. Thank you for your kindness this Christmas season. I’m sure they appreciated it!)

Adorable Children

Not All Cash Is Cold

| CO, USA | Adorable Children

(I work at an entertainment retail store. One of our services is buying back used movies, books, CDs, and video games, and you can get cash or store credit. However, we don’t give very much cash back. A young couple with a baby girl comes in with five bags of things to buy back. They look like they’ve had it really hard, and are in desperate need of some money. After processing all the items in our system, we can only take one of the bags. The couple are the first people in my line. A second customer comes up just as I tell the woman what I can offer.)

Me: “Ma’am, I can give you $[small amount] in cash, or $[small amount] in store credit.”

(It is a very low price, and the woman looks devastated.)

Customer #1: “Really? That’s all you can give me? What about the stuff in the other bags? Why can’t I sell those?”

Me: “I’m afraid we aren’t selling the other items you brought in, or they aren’t up to our policy standards.”

Customer #1: *sighs* “I guess I’ll take the cash, then.”

(I have her sign the receipt. I have to leave to make a copy of the receipt, but I’m not so far away that I can’t see and hear what goes on in my till. The second customer is making funny faces at the toddler, who is giggling up a storm. He has one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. Then he grabs one of the toys from the till – a Hello Kitty light-up fan – and pulls out his wallet. He gets the mother’s attention.)

Customer #2: “Excuse me, miss? I would like to give this to you, and buy this toy for your little girl.”

(I can clearly see that he takes $200 from his wallet and hands it out to her.)

Customer #1: “Oh, no, please, we can’t take your money. That’s way too generous.”

Customer #2: “I don’t think so. Actually, I don’t think it’s enough. Not after what your daughter did.”

Customer #1’s Husband: “Why, what did she do?”

Customer #2: *grinning widely* “She stole my heart. Now, I insist that you take the money and the toy. Chances are I’ve been where you are, and I wish someone had done this for me. You deserve it for taking such good care of her.”

(I came back to give her the cash I owed her, just in time to see the tearful woman slip the $200 in her purse. The second customer purchased the toy for the girl before his own items. The husband shook his hand, thanking him over and over. The woman hugged him, blessing him, and the little girl happily waved goodbye as she left with the new toy.)


Tipped Over The Edge

| Calgary, AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome, Money

(I am ringing up a customer’s purchase, around $30. He pays with a $50 so I hand back a $20 plus some coins.)

Customer: “No, keep the change.” *hands me back the $20, keeps the coins*

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not actually allowed to take tips.”

(Our store does in fact have a very strict “no tips” policy. Keeping a tip is grounds for termination.)

Customer: “Well, I just got paid and I have a bit of spare cash, so why don’t you just keep this and buy yourself a coffee or something?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I really can’t take this!”

Customer: *looks at me, and then at the other two cashiers with me, who currently don’t have any customers* “Well… I guess $20 is pretty hard to split between three people…” *pulls out wallet and gives me another $20 and $50* “That makes $90, right? You girls treat yourselves!”

(The customer walked out as we tried to tell him that increasing the tip wasn’t what we were trying to get him to do. All three of us cashiers looked at each other blankly. We ended up calling our manager because we had no idea what to do. At first he got a bit upset with us for not giving the customer his money back. But after reviewing the security cameras he changed his tune and told us we looked pretty funny constantly trying to get this man to take the money back and him responding by giving us more instead. The money ended up going to the local charity our store raises money for.)

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