Color Me Kind

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 24, 2018

I had to start fifth grade in a new school in a new city. My new school was six times bigger than my old school, and it was overwhelming. My mother had left an abusive situation that spring, and we had to start all over with no support. We only moved to the area a few weeks before classes started, and with very little money for necessities, let alone anything else, I went to school with a nearly empty backpack and a promise that she’d get my supplies as soon as she could.

A couple of weeks passed, and it must have become obvious that my mother was not going to be able to provide all of my supplies in a timely manner. Meanwhile, homework was starting to be due, and I was running out of what little I had. One day I opened my desk to see a couple of cute notebooks — with pink paper! — some name-brand colored pencils, and other basic supplies. I found out that my teacher and the teacher’s aid had quietly taken it upon themselves to buy what I needed.

After that year, we moved halfway across the country and I’ve never been able to find that teacher online to tell her how things turned out. It’s been several years now. I have a college degree, a family of my own, and the finances to pay it forward, which I do any chance I get. I will always remember that act of kindness.

A Priceless Attitude

, , , , | Hopeless | April 23, 2018

The town I am working in is known as a resort town because it is close to a river. We have what is known as River Season, meaning we have a lot of people from out of town. I work in a grocery store.

My manager is doing count in the cash office, leaving me with my 17-year-old coworker to man the registers and sales floor. It’s close to closing, and we have a small supply of alcohol. A couple come in and purchase a few things. As they are checking out, the man says to me, “I am really sorry, but I broke some beer over there.” I tell him it happens and that as long as no one is hurt, it’s not a huge deal. They leave, and my manager is back, so I go to clean the mess.

By the time I am done, we are closed. I get back to my register, and under my drink is an envelope. Inside is $40 and a note that says, “We have been coming here for six years, and no cashier has had such a good attitude about something like that. Buy yourself something as awesome as your attitude.”

Full Carts And Full Hearts

, , , | Hopeless | April 22, 2018

(My mom volunteers to collect food for a national charity. She is at the entrance of a local supermarket handing out papers asking people for food to be offered to people with low income during winter, and collecting whatever customers are willing to give away to them. Most customers either give away canned food, or just ignore them.)

Child: *to his dad* “Daddy, what’s this? *points at my mom*

Customer:Shush! That’s for tramps and hobos, ignore them!” *pulls him in the store*

(My mom and the other volunteers are a bit taken aback, but they don’t think anything of it and the day continues. In the middle of the afternoon, an old lady pays for her purchases, and notices my mom and the charity collection.)

Old Lady: “Oh.”

(My mom watches as she slowly makes her way out into the parking lot with a small bag of purchases in one hand and her cane in the other. My mom then goes back to handing out paper and collecting food. A few hours later, my mom notices the same old lady, slowly making her way back into the store, this time with a shopping cart.)

Old Lady: “Thank you.” *takes paper and goes back in browsing shelves*

(One whole hour later, she goes to the cash register for her new purchases, struggling to push her shopping cart full of groceries. She pays, slowly pushes her full shopping cart towards my mom, and stops it at the charity’s stand.)

Old Lady: “Here you go.”

(The charity volunteers all thanked her a lot. Turns out that, despite her age and the fact she didn’t own a car, she did her best walking back home to put her groceries to her fridge, and walked back to the store only to donate a cart full of groceries for charity. One of the volunteers offered her a ride home, which she said she didn’t need. Thank you, unknown lady.)

Charity Starts At Home, A Dozen Times

, , , , | Hopeless | April 21, 2018

(I am working for Concern, a very well-known charity in Ireland that focuses on famine relief and aid for developing countries. I go from door to door, asking people to sign up for a small monthly donation. It’s quite a gruelling job; I have a list of a hundred doors to knock on in a day, and am only expected to sign up two or three people. The rest will all be no-answers or refusals, sometimes very unpleasant refusals. I’m at the end of a long, tiring day of knocking on doors and giving my pitch over and over. I genuinely care about the work our charity does, but when you’ve said a thing dozens of times in a day it’s hard not to sound like a robot, and though I never resent a simple refusal, some people really are shockingly rude about it. I approach one of the last houses on my round, trying to pluck up my energy, and knock on the door. A slightly scruffy-looking young man in his late twenties opens the door and I start my spiel. He holds up his hand to stop me and I’m expecting a refusal, just hoping he’ll be polite and won’t shout at me.)

Guy: “Yeah, it’s okay. I’ve been expecting you guys; I saw you going around the neighbourhood earlier. Come on in.”

(Surprised, I follow him into his kitchen.)

Guy: “Here, sit down and show me how to sign up. Oh, do you want a beer?”

Me: “I… uh… Thank you so much, but I don’t think I’m allowed to drink beer while I’m working. So, you’d… like to sign up?”

Guy: “Yeah, sure. I know about what your charity does already. How much would you like?”

Me: *not believing how easy this is* “Well, the minimum is €11 a month, but if you could manage to make it €21 a month or over, the charity gets an extra tax break from the government, which would increase the value of your donation to us.”

Guy: “Let’s round it up to €25 a month, then.”

Me: “Wow, thank you!”

(I start walking him through the donation forms.)

Me: “You know, I’ve never actually met anyone who had already decided to sign up before I came to their door!”

Guy: *nonchalantly* “Yeah, well, I’m already signed up to twelve others, so…”

Me: “Twelve?! I have to ask, is this okay for you financially? We don’t want anyone to feel pressured to do more than they can.”

Guy: “Don’t worry; it’s no problem. I came into quite a lot of money recently, and I’ve enjoyed donating to charities ever since. I like to spread it around to lots of different organizations rather than giving a lump to just one, you know?”

(We finish up the forms and I go to leave, thanking him profusely all the time. He caps everything by saying:)

Guy: “No, thank you for coming around today. I might have forgotten to include your charity if you hadn’t come to the door. Keep up the good work.”

(I was so touched I nearly cried. I hope that if I ever get rich, I’ll enjoy generosity as much as that guy did. For now, I just do what I can, and try to remember how much pleasure there can be in giving.)

The Train Tracks Are Long And Bend Towards Justice

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 19, 2018

(The ticket machine at Winchfield train station is super crappy, and constantly has issues accepting cash payment. There are also no buildings anywhere near the train station. I am heading into Basingstoke for a Christmas work do at about nine pm. It is wet and icy, so it’s horrible. There’s a young girl, probably about 11 or 12, at the ticket machine. She has her cash in hand, so I know it won’t be a long wait, and I start fishing for my card.)

Girl: “Erm… Y-you can go ahead of me.”

(I look up, and she’s stepped to the side and pulled out her phone.)

Me: “Oh, thanks.”

(I go to the machine and the girl walks a fair bit away. The ticket machine isn’t accepting cash, and it takes a moment for me to click that the girl can’t get her ticket. She hasn’t cleared all her information from the machine, and I see her station is not one where she can get off without a ticket, so I buy hers and mine with my card. I head over to her after.)

Girl: *on the phone* “Please, Mum. It’s really cold and the ticket office is closed. Can you really not be here sooner? There’s nowhere I can wait! Mum, please?” *she starts crying*

Me: *tapping the girl’s shoulder* “Your ticket.”

(She turns round, and I hand the ticket over.)

Girl: *hesitantly taking it* “What?”

Me: “I bought your ticket. Get home safe, okay?”

(I head into the station platforms and start crossing the bridge.)

Girl: “Hey! The money for the ticket!”

(I look round. She’s trying to hand me a tenner, and I have no change on me.)

Me: “It was a few quid; it’s fine.”

Girl: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Positive. Good deed for the day and all that jazz.”

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