Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

--by RoseMarie, posted Nov 19, 2016
Yesterday I went into town. I was using my crutches and I had a bag on each crutch, which was not a good idea. I had an item I wished to get a refund for. It has been awaiting return over 8 weeks (from before my injury) and I really wanted to get rid of it. I switched my debit card so a refund was not possible. I ended up having to exchange the returned item for another, this meant I still had an item to carry. I hadn't been counting on this as I was out to purchase items and I had items which needed to be wrapped and posted. I really struggled through the shopping mall with my bags on my crutches. I had a winter coat on so I was roasted and exhausted! After a while, I found a space on a bench in the mall. I sat down, took my coat off and was relieved to rest.

Then I noticed Michael. He was a former student and he was with a man in his late 50's. It's been years since I taught Michael but he stopped to chat. When he noticed I was on crutches, he enquired with care as to what had happened to me. After a while, he asked me if I was alone and was astonished to learn that I was.

"Let me carry your bags for you." Of course, if you know me, I thanked him but graciously declined his offer. Then Michael pointed to a coffee shop nearby, "I'll be in here Rose-Marie, if you change your mind." How lovely, how mature to give me an opportunity to change my mind.

I know I often talk about my current and past students but why I am relaying this story to you is because Michael is very much tattooed and pierced. Some people find young people like this a bit intimidating. There is nothing intimidating about Michael, he's as soft as putty. Michael's appearance with tattoos, piercings in his lip and massive big piercing in his ear lobe which makes his lobe look like a polo mint, and aren't my idea of beauty but they are Michael's idea of self-expression. Under his tattooed and pierced exterior lies a gentle guy.

I love that my job and connection with big tattooed and pierced guys helps me to recognize and appreciate the tenderness in youth regardless of how they look. 
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Readers Comments

spd1029 wrote: Agreed sometimes we as people and society are too quick to judge someone by their appearance and don't give them a fair chance whether it's for work, seeing them on the side walk etc. We need to learn to be a bit more open minded and not be so quick to judgement. Thanks for sharing your story.
Alice wrote: Mish has just asked my question! There is a joy in giving and i have found myself it is often harder to accept kindness than to offer it to others. It is like the 'quality of mercy - being twice blessed. '
Dandy wrote: The whole story would be a long one but the moral that a very dear friend taught me at the end of it was that no one can offer charity (or even a good deed) if no one will accept it. So being humble enough to let someone help when you need it is as much a virtue as the offer to help.
kala wrote: Your story is a beautiful reminder not to jump to conclusions based on appearances. I too, know a young man, who is tattooed and pierced, as you put, who goes out of his way to help folks, like changing a tire at 2am for an elderly couple stranded on the road, after putting in a long shift as a security officer. Just goes to show you, that kindness are often hidden beneath a 'rough' exterior. Thank you and god bless you.
Mish wrote: Did you change your mind & allow him to give?! :)))))
savraj wrote: So true. We should never judge a person based on their appearance. Bless dear sweet Micheal.
mindyjourney wrote: to allow someone to give kindness is just as important as giving, dear friend <3. I am so enjoying the different ways people choose to "decorate" themselves lately :)).
pyronik wrote: :-) I bet he knew you needed the help really but couldn't make you accept. Did you? It's great that you had such an impact on your students :-)
KiwiCat wrote: This is a lovely story x x x apart from wearing a winter coat and getting hot and being on crutches.
leoladyc728 wrote: why didn't you let him help you? Why struggle when the universe sent someone to help you. Totally agree about never judging a person. My ex-student who is now one of my closest friends is covered in tattoos and at first I was taken back, now it doesn't faze me at all

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