Top 10 Kindness Stories of 2011
--by HelpOthers, posted Jan 1, 2012
For the first time last year, we featured a top ten list of stories published by our members in 2010 and it was very well received, so we decided to do it again and compile this year's top ten kindness stories of 2011 to share the inspiration!
During this past year I’ve had three instances of car trouble: a blowout on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out-of-gas situation. [...] Each time, when these things happened, I was disgusted with the way people didn’t bother to help. I was stuck on the side of the freeway hoping my friend’s roadside service would show, just watching tow trucks cruise past me. The people at the gas stations where I asked for a gas can told me that they couldn’t lend them out "for safety reasons," but that I could buy a really crappy one-gallon can, with no cap, for $15. [...] But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke any English. [more]
I truly believe in the power of paying it forward and I have always gotten enjoyment and fulfilment from it. Last year, I was waiting at the traffic lights on my way to work, when my car was rammed from behind. After pulling over, a flustered young man admitted his fault and proceed to apologise and explain why he had not been ‘in the moment’ whilst driving. He told me that he had just been evicted and that his insurance had just run out. I could feel his genuine stress, and as he gave me his details and promised to find a way to pay for it, I tried to comfort him and told him to not worry too much; we will work it out and to please have a great day. [more]
I was twenty-four years old and three months pregnant when my husband died. I was a widow and an expectant mother in the same day. We had bought a new home and I had filled our two bedroom apartment with nursery items in anticipation of moving in. Now the house would be taken away. I knew I would have to go back to my parents' home, at least until I delivered the baby. And the shock of my husband's sudden death had made losing the baby a very real possibility. I moved back into my old bedroom. My twin bed, a crib and a dresser was all that could fit in the 8 x 10 foot bedroom. The rest of our furniture had to go into storage. I was able to pay for three months worth of storage and then I would have to sell all the new furniture we had bought for our new home because I wouldn't be able to pay any more storage fees. [more]
“Everyone says the flowers smell good but I don’t smell anything. Nothing. Do you smell them?” she asks, in her heavily accented voice. After walking around a busy street looking to do a random act of kindness, I had stumbled into this flower shop. Even though my mind was busy devising possible scenarios, I had a gut feeling that something was going to present itself. A little startled by the flower lady’s question, I tell her that “the flowers smell ah-mazing and perhaps you should take a break once in a while so you can enjoy them too.” Before I realize, I find myself in the midst of a conversation about her life -- she got laid off from United Airlines a few years back, took the unemployment money and traveled the world for a year. Then, she ran out of money and came back to work at the flower shop. We talk about all sorts of things as I try to decide on the flowers. [more]
I watched from a distance as the homeless man bickered at those who did not leave money for him – the majority. I walked up to him and right on queue he asked me for a quarter. “I’ll give you a quarter if you tell me your story.” He laughed, “You’ll give me a quarter for my story?” I lay the quarter in front him and corrected myself – “Nah, here's the quarter but it would be nice to hear your story.” I followed his eyes to the quarter and for a brief moment I saw a glimmer of reflection. I sat down next to him and waited. [more]
I was heading to my writing group yesterday. Standing at the bus stop I decided to run back for a book to read on the journey. (Something I don't normally do.) While waiting for the bus, I flicked through the pages and found my place. Because it was an old book I didn't want to "dog-ear" the pages, so I searched in my pockets for something to use as a bookmark. All I had was a couple of ten pound notes, so I carefully folded one of them and slipped it between the pages. Sitting on the bus I took the book out and was about to read but and I was distracted a young woman behind me who was speaking on her cell phone. She was talking to her brother. She wanted to know where he was, why he wasn't where he was supposed to be, why he had lied to their mother again and did he know that their mum had broken down in tears that morning because of him. [more]
Dear Mr. Rupp, The day I met you was the first day of high school. I walked into your class with a t-shirt that said, “supermodels suck,” and you were rocking a ponytail and had your Harley parked next to your desk. We liked each other immediately. You gave me a lot of advice over the next four years, like how I should get my ass to Berkeley where I belonged. I’m still there, by the way. I wish you were still around too. [more]
About two weeks ago I saw a very sad, blue eyed, homeless man sitting outside my local coffee house. I said, "Hi. How are you doing today?" He seemed shocked that I was talking to him. "Not very well," he replied. He proceeded to tell me how he had been hit by a car while riding his bike. He had been in the hospital for a month and a rest home for another month. During that time the person that paid for his SSI checks died of a heart attack and his wallet was stolen with all his IDs. He had several checks waiting for him but had no ID and therefore no access to his money. I decided that if this was all true I'd like to help him get a copy of his birth certificate and social security card. I asked him to meet me at the Department of Vital Statistics at 11:00 on Monday and gave him the address on a piece of paper. [more]
"Conduct Your Blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind."
Strange message in a stranger place. I don’t know who said it, but this pronouncement suddenly appeared on a huge wall of the 59th St. subway tunnel connecting the Lexington Avenue trains to the N and R lines. For many months I’d passed the area, which was roped off and covered over with heavy paper - reconstruction in progress. What else is new in NYC! Then one fine day the plastic barrier was cut and the brown paper pulled down. There, gleaming in vivid colors, was a giant mosaic mural with a great scroll of a message running through it in a waving line that ran up and down from ceiling to floor and back. [more]
I was walking home from work on a busy city street with lots of people. I wasn't looking forward to going home and my friends weren't able to hang out with me. That's when I walked past a homeless person that I hadn't seen before. He was moving back and forth to stay warm, and very gently asking for change. He spoke so quietly I could barely hear him. Something made me stop, turn around, and walk up to him. All the while anxious thoughts whirled around in my head like, 'What do you think you're doing?' 'You're alone, it's dark out and you're a woman.' Before I knew what I was saying I asked him if he had had dinner yet and would he like to join me at a nearby restaurant. He said he hadn't eaten and he would like to. So, he walked with me a few yards to the restaurant and held the door open for me as we entered. [more]
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