Your Generosity Is Highly Visible

, , , | Summerset, England, UK | Hopeless | March 30, 2016

(I’ve just finished and am setting off home. The road I take back home has no streetlights, is poorly maintained and has a lot of tight bends, so I wear a high-vis vest, as I’m on a moped. As I go around one particular tight bend I almost run straight into what looks like a shadow riding a bike: all black, even the bike. I pull in front of him and realise it is a young teenager cycling back home.)

Me: “Hey, buddy! Do you not have a high-vis?”

Teen: “Oh, hey! No, I don’t. Why?”

Me: “Because all I saw there was a floating shadow, mate. Hold on. I have a spare vest.”

(I dig into my bag to find my spare, realising I left it at home.)

Me: “Ah, sorry, mate. I’ve left my spare at home.”

Teen: “Thanks anyway, though.”

Me: “Hold on, mate.” *I take my own high vis off and offer it to him* “I can be seen a lot better than you can. Take mine.”

Teen: *in disbelief* “Wow, thanks, man! I’ve just been pulling into the hedges hoping cars don’t wing me!”

Me: “No worries, mate. They’ll see you now! Ride safe!

(I sped off and left him safer than he was.)

Warm Actions Melt Icy Streets

, , , | Helsinki, Finland | Hopeless | March 29, 2016

(It is a typical March, with some warm days followed by wintery sub-zero temperatures. My car is parked on the street, parallel between two other cars. The remaining snow has frozen, so now there are some ice sculptures on the street blocking the car. I’m 5’3” and pretty skinny, but nevertheless, I go to get a shovel. I start to break the ice slow but steady. Across the street there is a bakery. Two Estonian construction workers come out of the bakery to their car. One of them notices my struggle.)

Construction Worker: “Ma’am, do you need help with that?”

Me: “No, I’ve got it. I’m in no hurry.”

Construction Worker: “Neither are we. We’ve got some tools in our car. It won’t be too much trouble at all.”

Me: “Well, okay, if you insist.”

(They fetched the tools, and it took them less than two minutes to break all the ice blocking the car. I thanked them and they drove away. I really wanted to thank them properly, so I went to the bakery and asked if the construction workers come there often. The owner of the bakery said that they come every day to have a coffee and something sweet on their break. I paid for two coffees and two danish and told the owner to thank the men for me the next time they showed up.)

Granola Bars, High In Iron, Gamma Rays, And Vibranium

, , | Boise, ID, USA | Hopeless | March 29, 2016

(A mother and her young son, about three years old, come into the frozen foods aisle where there are three carts filled with clearance items. The mother immediately starts digging through the first basket while her son sits quietly in another cart. Just as she pauses to look at an item in the first cart the boy becomes VERY excited.)

Boy: “Oh, look, Mama! You see dat right there?! It’s Avengers! See? You see dat?!”

Mother: *confused* “What? Where?”

(The mother glances though the second cart then into the third and spots a garishly colored box decorated with the Avengers characters. She picks it up and begins looking at it while the boy is clearly trying to physically restrain himself from launching himself out of the cart.)

Boy: *begging* “You see dat?! It got Iron Man and Hulk Smash and Cap’ ‘Merica and Thor! Oh, please, Mama, please, you buy it for me? I really like it! Please, you buy it for me?”

Mother: *absentmindedly* “Hold up… Trying to read it.”

Boy: “I just like it so much! I like Cap’ ‘Merica and Iron Man and all the Avengers! Please, you buy it for me, Mama? You got coupon for it? You buy it for me?”

Mother: “No, sweetie, I don’t have a coupon for it.”

(Although the boy has been begging for it he hasn’t been angry about it. He just clearly wants whatever is in this box and as soon as the mother declares that she doesn’t “have a coupon” the little boy deflates. His shoulders slump, he puts his head down, doesn’t say a word at all, but continues to look at the box with a look of pure longing. It’s rather heartbreaking to witness. At this point the mother has finished reading the front of the box and turns it over to look at the back. Because the item is nearing its expiration date there is a small white tag indicating the sale price. The second the little boy sees this he practically launches out of his seat and very loudly continues begging.)

Boy: *pointing* “You see that, Mama?! It on sale! It say one five zero! That not too much! And, look, it got Hawkeye on the back! I just love that guy! Please, you buy it for me, Mama? It my favorite!”

(At this the mother bursts out laughing as she turns and looks at the boy.)

Mother: “It’s your favorite? Sweetie, you don’t even know what’s in here! They’re granola bars!”

Boy: *nodding* “Uh-huh. Yeah. Those my favorite! I really like those! And I like Cap’ ‘Merica and Hulk Smash and Hawkeye and Thor! Oh, Mama, I like them so much!”

Mother: *looking from the back then back to him and trying not to laugh* “All right. You know what?”

Boy: *suddenly serious* “What?”

Mother: “I have dragged you out to a billion different stores today which, I know, is really boring.” *the boy nods in agreement* “And this whole time you haven’t thrown a single fit, so—” *tosses box in his lap* “—here ya go. I’ll buy it for you.”

(At this the boy looks like he’s about ready to cry because he’s so happy.)

Boy: “Thank you so much, Mama!” *holds the box out and gazes at with complete adoration* “Wait!” *puts the box down and holds out his arms towards his mother* “Kiss and hugs!”

(The mother obliged him and the two went on their way with the boy excitedly talking about how cool the Avengers were. I’ve seen loads of kids throw temper tantrums or demand things from their parents but never had I seen a child beg for something so sweetly.)

Understanding Mental Health One Hug At A Time

, , , , | Canada | Hopeless | March 29, 2016

(I have just started a short practicum at a mental health centre, with mental health care included. I decide to swing by the cafe in the centre to grab something before work. It’s very early, so the two baristas are still finishing opening procedures and the only other customer is a nurse who walks in ahead of me.)

Barista #1: *to the nurse* “Good morning! What can I get for you today?”

Nurse: *gives her order*

(As the first barista gets started on the nurse’s coffee, a woman comes out of one of the offices down the hall. It’s clear she’s not staff and she looks very worried. She walks right up to the counter beside where the nurse is paying.)

Woman: “I need a hug.”

Barista #1: “You need a hug? [Barista #2]!”

Barista #2: “Oh, hi, [Woman]. Hug?”

Woman: “Yep. Really bad.”

(Barista #2 hurries around the end of the bar and gives the woman a big hug.)

Woman: “I have to go to the hospital for a meeting today.”

Barista #1: “Oh, that is big. I’ll be right out!” *hands the nurse her coffee* “There you go; have a good day!” *to me* “Just one second!” *to Barista #2* “Can you come help this lady so I can give [Woman] a hug?”

(I’ve had my own issues with mental health, but if this is the way society’s going, my faith in humanity is fully restored.)

One Less Thing On Your Plate

, , , | USA | Hopeless | March 28, 2016

(I am eating at a restaurant when a toddler at the table next to me drops a plate and breaks it. He begins to cry and apologize.)

Waiter: “Hey, that’s okay, kid! I do that all the time. See?”

(He proceeds to drop all of the plates he is carrying onto the floor and let them shatter. His manager runs out and begins yelling at him. He then begins to leave. On his way out he notices my shocked expression and stops by me.)

Waiter: “I was planning on quitting anyway. My boss is horrible. At least this way I go out with a bang and make a kid feel better!”

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