Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Pen Pals At The Airport

--by RipplesGuy, posted Sep 22, 2007
I travel a fair amount for work, and almost every hotel room I stay in has at least one pen.  If I pick it up even once to jot down a voice mail message or to scribble down a random idea that pops into my head, the pen usually ends up in my backpack and no matter how many times I have scolded myself to "LEAVE THE PENS" they somehow sneak home with me.

A few years ago on a trip home I was waiting in line at the airport gate counter and the agent was frustrated because a customer had inadvertently walked off with her last pen.  I opened up my backpack and sure enough there were 5 pens, so I handed over all five and said, "Keep the change!"  She was so appreciative of the small gesture that I began packing 5 pens for every trip.  The airline employees at my "home airport" came to count on the pens, so I began attaching little stickers that said "Paul Loves Northwest."

I am sometimes recognized at the airport as "the guy who always has pens" and as all my fellow helpers here at know so well, it just feels so darn GOOD when you are able to help out in such a tiny but useful way.

After reading another story on here -- Cold Hands -- I find myself trying to think of other THINGS I have that might be inexpensive (or free!) but valuable to someone else in a certain situation.   If you want to help, maybe you could post a comment to this story and help brainstorm every day items that might be helpful to others...
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Readers Comments

irongrace wrote: I am always the first one to get up and find things for people. I also have a talent for reading people's minds for what they are thinking. Just by looking at them i can help them with whatever it is they need.
LizTree wrote: My wonderful friend Tom always carries extra umbrellas in his car. On rainy days he keeps an eye out for pedestrians and bus riders. If he sees someone getting wet, he pulls over and gives them an umbrella.
carmen mendez wrote: I think that was such a nice and thoughful thing that you do... I carry pennies, if someone is at a store buying something and they are short a penny...I give them the penny and that makes me happy, that I made someones day.
katlampi wrote: That is something that I will certainly be doing next time I am traveling. Thank you for the fabulous idea!
Jill Marie wrote: Wonderful stories! As I am in a public store or gas station or fast food place, I always try to leave my pennies in the penny thing for someone else or give that little bit of change back to the person who checked me out and say "here's a little tip for you! YOU do a great job or thanks for YOUR smile!" They are always taken back by the gesture! Keep up the positive life style!
Nancy wrote: I am from South Africa and u have given me a great idea. That when i leave home for university or work i should carry a wrapped sandwichs because i always find people standing at traffic lights wanting something to eat more than money. I think a pack of apples wont be bad as well.

Bev wrote: Some years ago my best friend had taken her little girl to school and was walking home. It was a cold winter's morning, and seeing an elderly lady who had no gloves, she unhesitatingly took off her own gloves and offered them to the grateful lady. Recently I asked my friend if she remembered this incident and she casually told me that she has given gloves, in the same way, to several people who seemed to need them more than she did.
Sherry wrote: I wear a very distinct oil that smells like spring and always gets me compliments. I bought a large quantity of it and filled a bunch of small bottles with roll-on applicators. I always have one with me in my purse.You can imagine how surprised and delighted people are when they tell me how nice I smell, I whip out my bottle and give it to them. It's especially fun when they are total strangers! I just tell them to pay it forward!
Lynette wrote: Hi. Love the pen story. My gift is not free. It costs under $20 for 250 3x4inch calendars at Walter Drake. They are stick on full year calendars that you can imprint. I have them print on the top of the calendar "Feed a hungry child today." The next line. "" I give away 250 of these a year and I let the person know if they go to this site, with one click and not costing them a penny, a hungry child will be fed somewhere in the world. The advertisers on the site pay for it. And the person also has a handy little calendar for the year! Its a fun, inexpensive gift to give people. Makes me feel good each time I do it.
Kelly wrote: This is a very small thing, but it's fun. I teach at the college level, and I know that college students are often broke. Whenever I buy something from one of the vending machines on campus, I leave the change from my purchase in the change tray. That way, some student whose quarter gets swallowed by accident or who might only have expected a nickel in change gets his or her change plus mine. :-)

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