90% Off With 100% Love

, , , | | Hopeless | July 20, 2019

(My family moves from Florida to Tennessee when I am three or four years old. We don’t have much furniture, and we stop by a furniture store in DC on our way from visiting friends to get some. We have a budget of $500 and aren’t planning on getting much. We see a sale room with furniture that is all on sale, with a lot off. There is a man with one of those wheels that you spin to get a percentage off. My mom spins.) 

Man: “10%? Hmm… That’s not a lot…” *points to me* “She’s so cute! Let her spin.”

(I spin, and the wheel is about to land on 10% again, and this man makes the wheel spin a bit longer.)

Man: “90%! Congratulations!”

(We were able to get just about all of our furniture for $500, and it was a blessing that my family really needed in that rough spot.)

Tubes Of Kindness

, , , , , | | Hopeless | July 19, 2019

I was recently injured while travelling, but my stubborn self just kept on going as normal. My legs were bruised, I had scrapes and scratches, my knee was wrapped, and I had only just stopped bleeding the day before travelling into London with a large suitcase and backpack. Travel was slow and painful, but I still kept going. I had things to do, places to go, people to see, etc.

On six separate occasions, I needed to go up or down stairs with no escalator or lift nearby. Being my first time in England, I certainly looked lost, as well, I’m sure. Each time, someone came over and offered to help carry my luggage, walking up the stairs with me to make sure I didn’t fall and injure myself further. They didn’t accept anything and ran off in the opposite direction as soon as I had thanked them. 

But to those of you who helped me climbing stairs slowly with a suitcase half your size, thank you. I made it safely and without further injury thanks to each one of you.

The Greatest Anthem Is The One Sung Together

, , , , | | Hopeless | July 18, 2019

For the past ten months, I have participated in a volunteer program at an educational non-profit. At the end of our term of service, we have a graduation ceremony with our families, alumni, sponsors, and several high-profile government figures including the mayor and a senator. Two of our members are going to sing the national anthem before the ceremony begins. They sound amazing during rehearsal, but of course, that changes when the theater is full of people.

They start out really strong, but about halfway through, one of the members loses her pitch. The other keeps going and she tries to regain her footing, but it’s obvious that she’s getting flustered.

A few people let out supportive cheers. Then suddenly, someone in the audience begins to sing along. Soon, everyone else in the theater joins in singing the national anthem, and the member finishes the song on a perfect note.

Everyone in the room bursts into applause. Many of my fellow members are crying or holding back tears because we are so moved. 

It had been a lengthy and difficult year of service which tested many of us in ways we’d never imagined, and it can feel incredibly draining to work so hard for the betterment of your community when you can’t necessarily see the results of all your work. But seeing how all these strangers came together to lift up one of our volunteers, even in a small way, reminded us of what an amazing community we belong to.

 

The Real Superheroes

, , , , , , | | Hopeless | July 17, 2019

(I am cashiering at my store on an early Friday morning, the line is ridiculously long, and I only have one other cashier beside me. There isn’t another manager currently in the store besides the stockroom manager; I rarely bother him because I know there is a lot going on it the stockroom. I end up checking out a customer with a small child, and the interaction with him makes my early day completely worth it.) 

Me: “Hi, how are y’all today?” 

(The mother lets her young boy answer.) 

Child: “We are great! My favorite superhero is Spider-Man!” 

Me: “Really?! That’s my favorite too! I would love to shoot webs and swing through the city!” 

(As I continue to ring up their items, he continues to talk to me.) 

Child: “I also like Captain America and Iron Man!” 

Me: “They are awesome! I love Captain America’s shield! And Iron Man’s armor!” 

Child: “I want to be a superhero when I grow up!” 

Me: “You already are, kid; don’t ever forget that.” 

(His mom started tearing up and told me her husband had recently passed and he had always said the same thing to their child. She ended up hugging me and the little boy followed her and hugged me, too. I now see them every couple of weeks and try to keep superhero stickers on me to give to the little boy.)

Hair Apparent

, , , , , | | Hopeless | July 16, 2019

(When I am 24 I notice I am losing weight quite rapidly. I’m a six-foot-tall man and was around 250 pounds with shoulder-length hair. I am at 225 when I go to the doctor about my weight loss. After the blood tests, I am diagnosed with a form of leukemia that is treatable without chemo. I still need to go to an oncologist every few months just to make sure everything is going the way it should be. On my third visit to my oncologist, I am back to my original weight. I’ve seen several patients in the waiting room who have been going through chemo. Everyone else there is going through treatments for more severe forms of cancer and dealing with the effects. I am gaining weight with no side effects from my medication, and have kept my long hair. I can’t help but feel bad, like everyone is thinking I’m not the patient. One day, a woman who is around her mid-30s strikes up a conversation with me. She’s skinny, pale, and wearing a bandanna.)

Woman: “I love your hair.”

Me: “Thank you; I try to take care of it.”

Woman: “So, are you waiting for someone?”

Me: *already feeling my face turning red* “Actually, I’m a patient.”

Woman: “Oh, I’m sorry. Have you just started treatment?”

Me: “No, it’s actually been almost a year. I don’t need chemo; I just come in here so [Doctor] can review my blood tests and make sure my blood count is normal.”

(The woman’s eyes begin to well with tears. I’m feeling really bad, so I start to apologize.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to upset you.”

Woman: *raising her hand to shush me* “No, don’t apologize. I’m sorry for making you think that. I’m just glad to see that not everyone has to suffer with such a diagnosis.” *pulls out her phone and shows me some photos* “This was what my hair looked like before my diagnosis.”

(She had long black hair that went down to her hips.)

Woman: “I actually had it all cut off before my treatment and donated it to [Charity that doesn’t charge for wigs]. I was a stylist and loved helping people take care of their hair. Don’t feel bad because you still have your hair; a lot of us actually love it when people don’t have to compromise their health even more.”

(I thanked her for helping me not feel uncomfortable anymore. As we were finishing our conversation, a man and a boy come in and sat next to her — her husband and son. We chatted about how the boy was about to start youth football and how I coached one of the teams. He ended up on my team and we became really good friends. She even invited me and my girlfriend to her cancer-free party.)

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