Stories of Kindness from Around the World

An Antique Coke Bottle

--by Cyrano, posted Oct 30, 2007
Some 20 years ago, I went to a huge antique show at the local fairgrounds. After perhaps an hour of shopping, I found a nice collectible Coke bottle and since it bore no price tag, I asked the older gentleman behind the table
how much he wanted for it.  He told me it was $5.00, and since that was a good price, I bought it, and put it in my bag with my other purchases.

This antique show was the largest in the state, boasting thousands of dealers, and 7.2 miles of tables.

Perhaps 45 minutes later, I had shopped most of my way through the next exposition hall, and spotted another item which caught my interest.  I wanted to ask the seller about it, but he was talking with another customer, so I stood and waited for him to finish.

He was speaking with a young lady who sounded quite upset.   "I left my dad watching my table," she told him, "and he sold a coke bottle I was asking $50.00 for - for just $5.00!"  She went on to say that she was so upset,
that it had ruined the show for her -- and that she knew it wasn't her father's fault, and that he felt terrible, too.  I listened to her telling the story while I stood barely an arm's length away, with the bottle in my bag.

I heard her finish her story, and begin the obligatory small-talk which normally precedes the end of a conversation.  As she did so, I interrupted.  "Excuse me" I said.  I couldn't help overhearing what happened to you.  I
can certainly empathize, as I've had similar things happen to me.  I was just wondering -- if you could get the bottle back somehow, would that make things right again?"

"It sure would." she said sadly.

"Well, then, give me $5.00," I said with a smile, while reaching into my bag.  She had a quizzical expression on her face.  Clearly she didn't know what was going on.  Then I pulled out the bottle and held it out to her.  And in turn, I saw, first understanding, then amazement, then embarrassment in her expression.

"Oh no," she said.  "That's okay.  You don't have to return it.  You didn't do anything wrong."

But I insisted.  I told her that I'd had similar experiences in the past, but never got the items back, and wish I had.  I told her that I was only doing what I would have liked someone to have done for me.

I gave her the bottle, she gave me $5.00, and we each got an amazing story to tell. 

Think about it for a second.  What are the odds that out of the thousands of people at the show, spread over 7 miles of tables, I would find myself standing within earshot of the very person who had owned the bottle, while she was relating the story to someone else?

I'm glad it happened that way.
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Readers Comments

Oumu wrote: Thank you for sharing this story for me what you did wasn't only an act of kindness but honesty as well.
rosebudd wrote: You are a Good person, and an Inspriration to many.
Thanks for sharing, reminding us of the Golden Rule. God bless you...
karan wrote: excellent man . may god bless everybody with this kind of atitude
lmil1954 wrote: You are a person of integrity. And God orchestrated that meeting for you to give the bottle back! Thank you for sharing your kindness and your story.
Linda M
Swift wrote: That is amazing Cyrano. It makes you stop to think that sometimes, some things were just meant to happen. Who knows what meaning that bottle may have held, but for it to resolve someone's inner conflict like that is worth the $5. Thank you so much for being the person you are. I hope that I will be as unselfish as you if I encounter that type of situation in the future.
Arashs99 wrote: Good because of these kind of attitude the world is moving on.
Candy wrote: I believe it was very unselfish to return the coke bottle. Shows there are still good people, honest people in this world. He was honest in his buying it but even more so he was honest in his own feelings.
makhosi wrote: Do unto others what you would like to be done to you
julie wrote: It's more rewarding to give without expecting anything in return. If we could just give one thing each day - our time even to listen to someone, or greet a person who is would make a big difference.
lynd wrote: What a cad you would be if you hadn't did what you did and went and sold the bottle for $50 yourself..... Opportunities knock in all sorts of ways.... Compassion and empathy....makes more of human beings in the need of it than the greed of one ......The gift you gave.......priceless.

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