Pale Potential Papa

| IL, USA | Awesome, Employees, Non-Dialogue

I’d been at work almost 14 hours one day, and was pretty worn out. People tell me that I tend to turn rather pale when I’m tired.

I am on the road, and my wife calls me.

“Please don’t freak out, but I need you to pick up a pregnancy test. The one I used tonight said it was positive, but I want to make sure…”

I head to a local big box store, and find a multi-pack of tests, so I buy that one. My wife has wanted a baby for years, and I’m sure she’ll want to triple check.

By now I’m exhausted, but I am not stressed or upset.

I go to the cashier, and she rings up the tests, and we’re waiting for the credit card to process.

I haven’t said much to the cashier, and she seems too tired or bored to even notice me.

The cashier then glances up at my face and does a double take. She seems concerned when and stares at me for a few beats.

She suddenly looks at the bag that is holding the pregnancy tests, then back at me.

She hands me my receipt, and as fast as she can, grabs the bag with the tests, wraps the bag tightly around the box, then drops the bag into another bag trying to hide what’s inside.

When she goes to hand me the double-bagged tests, she decides to wrap the whole thing tightly back up again, and hands me everything as a tiny bundle.

I laugh a little, smile at her, and tell her I’m okay. She looks a bit sad and sheepish.

I then thank her and head home.

This was five years ago; it ended up being that the pregnancy wasn’t viable.

I still think of that cashier’s attempt at helping the quite, pale, stressed-out-looking man that I was that night, and it makes me smile…

Kind Strangers Kindness

It Took Some Back And Forth But You Got There

| Yonne, Burgundy, France | Awesome, Kind Strangers

(My mom is eligible in the French charity that distributes food packages to people with low income, so she decides to volunteer to ask for donations in the local supermarket. The charity waits behind the registers with empty shopping carts and ask to people if they want to donate part of their groceries after their purchases. While it’s obviously not an obligation, some people still have rude reactions.)

Child: *stares at my mom*

Mom: *waves*

Child: *to his dad* “Dad, what’s that?” *points at my mom*

Customer #1: *in a huff* “Don’t mind them. That’s for hobos!”

(Later in the morning…)

Mom: “Hi, would you like to donate food for charity?”

Customer #2: *unintelligible grumble*

(Later, beginning of the afternoon, my mother notices an elderly customer at the register, being very slow to get checked out. Once she gathers her groceries in her bag, she proceeds to walk towards the main entrance very slowly, barely walking. She then notices the charity stand.)

Elderly Customer: “Oh…” *looking disappointed*

(She then leaves. My mom sees her barely walking through the parking lot, carrying her groceries. Two hours later, she notices the same slow and elderly lady coming back into the store, this time pushing a shopping cart. They think nothing of it, until they notice one more hour later that she checks out with a cart filled with canned food, bottles of milk, and boxes of eggs. She then pushes the cart towards my mom, smiling…)

Elderly Customer: “Here.”

(Yes. While it was winter, and she was very old and barely walking, she did a round trip from her place back to the supermarket, just to donate a completely filled shopping cart. My mom and the other volunteers thanked her a lot, and the lady only replied with a smile, and then my mom told the other volunteers about her while they watched walk away from the supermarket, again through the parking lot. Thank you for bringing back faith in humanity, unknown nanny!)

Kindness Never Runs Out Of Batteries

| TX, USA | Transportation

(Less than two weeks after my husband and I are married he loses his job. Our rainy day fund is lost to car repairs and vet bills, and my income barely covers the rent and utilities. After a few months his car is repossessed and our living style drastically changes. We hit problem after problem, and just as the cold winter weather hits I lose all heat in my car and my battery dies. After selling some personal possessions I go to the auto store to finally get a new car battery.)

Salesman: *after grabbing the battery I need* “Hey, don’t I know you?”

Me: “I’m not certain… You look familiar.”

Salesman: “Yeah! We worked at [Retailer] together! You’re [My Name], right?”

Me: “Yeah. Wow, you remember that? That was almost a decade ago.”

Salesman: “I finally left that place and came here for the management position. Decided to be assistant manager instead. Let’s go test that battery of yours to make sure it’s really shot before I go sell you some expensive thing you don’t need.”

(We step out and talk a bit about our prior and current work while he tests my battery. It checks out good, so he tests the alternator. Everything seems great and yet my car still has a lot of trouble starting.)

Salesman: “You know what? I’ve got a hunch even though the battery is testing okay that still might be an issue. Tell you what: Your battery is out of warranty, but I’m going to see what I can do to get you a new one and we’ll try it out to see if that helps.”

(After a few minutes he rang the new battery out and approved an even exchange, despite the warranty not covering it, and got it installed. Sure enough, my car started right up as if nothing was ever wrong. He wished me luck and saw me off, never charging me a penny for the battery or the time. I don’t think he realized how much he helped me as I was crying on the way home. I don’t know how he remembered me, or why he helped me, but I can’t thank him enough. Because of him I was able to get to and from work on my own, afford food for the week, and catch up on a bill, and the following week my husband found a new job!)

Extreme Pay It Forward: Home Edition

| WA, USA | Pay It Forward

A couple friends of mine just moved out together after living with a friend of a friend whose relationship with them had deteriorated over time. When they moved out, they realized they’d mostly been using their former roommates household items, and only had very few themselves.

After helping them move into their new apartment, which has depleted almost all their combined checking and savings, I take them to a big box store so they can buy their most necessary necessities. They grab a cart for themselves, but I also grab one as well. As we go up and down the aisles, I ask them things like, ‘do you have a trash can? Paper towels? A broom?’ and when they reply no, I grab one and put it in my cart. We also go by the grocery section, and I pick up a bunch of boxes of mac and cheese and some large packages of chicken breasts, a jug of milk, and a few other grocery items.

When we get to the checkout stand, I take a separate aisle, and as they wonder what I’m doing, I tell them I’m paying for all the things in my cart. They look at me like they can’t believe it. They try to refuse, but I tell them I am just paying it forward, after my mother helped me out the same way when I moved out on my own, and that they should do the same someday in their future when an opportunity arose.

They gave me a big hug and promised me lots of future home-baked treats, which I couldn’t refuse.

Book-Driving Home The Kindness

| Broomfield, CO, USA | Books & Reading, Kind Strangers

A lady lost her wallet in our store, so she left her name, phone number, and a description. Next day, someone turns it in and I call her quickly because she is from out of state.

Later, she comes in to get her wallet, and gives the manager $60 to go towards the book drive we are holding for a hospital. We picked out some good books for to donate, thanks to her.

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