Help Is A New York Minute Away

, , , , | NJ, USA | Hopeless | April 1, 2016

(It’s my first visit to New York and the only place I can afford to stay is a really tatty motel in New Jersey beside a major road. I’m from the UK where most places are walkable and most bus stops clearly marked, so am very confused as I try to discover where to catch a bus back into the city. I go into a donut shop but no one will answer when I try to ask them. I’m 19 and the area is really rough, so I’m pretty worried. I head next door to a garage where I figure that people will need to get away by public transport sometimes.)

Me: “Excuse me, can anyone tell me where I can catch the bus into New York?”

Mechanic: “You’re catching the bus?”

Mechanic #2: “You okay, kid?”

Man In Queue: “There’s a stop outside [Store], isn’t there? But that’s across the freeway.”

Woman Halfway Down The Queue: “I have my car booked in at 10, but I’m taking this girl to the stop first. Come on, honey.”

Mechanic: “No problem, ma’am.”

Mechanic #2: “Travel safely, kid.”

(Bemused I follow her and we drive off.)

Woman: “So, how did you get here?”

Me: “I caught the bus out yesterday. I stayed at [Motel] but it was pretty grim so I decided I’d head back to Boston this evening rather than tomorrow.”

Woman: “Hmm. I’m taking you to the train station. I’m not putting you on the bus when you are all shaken up.”

(We pull up outside a railway station.)

Me: “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Woman: “I have kids your age. Now, do you have enough for the train ticket? Here, have a candy bar to eat on the way. You take care now.”

(That was almost 20 years ago and I haven’t forgotten the lovely lady who rescued a very confused English teenager! It is also the story of how I broke the golden rule: never get into a car with a stranger…)

Being Good, For Goodness’ Sake

, , , | Scotland, UK | Hopeless | March 31, 2016

(Every weekday morning my church has a coffee bar where anyone can come in and have unlimited tea, coffee, cakes, and biscuits for £1. One of our regulars is a mentally disabled woman in her 40s who comes in almost every day with a carer. One morning as she’s coming in she runs into my friend, who is trying on his costume to be Santa at the children’s Christmas party the following week.)

Regular: *to carer* “It’s Santa. I don’t like Santa. Santa’s loud.”

Carer: “It’s all right. Remember I told you Santa’s a nice man. ”

Friend: *gently* “Hello, [Regular].”

Regular: *amazed* “Santa knows my name!”

Friend: “Of course I do, [Regular]. That’s why I came here this morning. I was checking my list and I saw you’d been a good girl this year. I wanted to make sure I got you the right present for being so good. Would you like some nice chocolates?”

Regular: “Yes, please, Santa.”

Friend: “Well, I’ll make sure they get to you on Christmas morning. Is that okay with you, [Regular]?”

Regular: “Yes, Santa. Thank you, Santa.”

Friend: “You’ve earned it by being so good. Now I have to go upstairs and make sure [Minister] remembers to put the carrots out for Rudolph. She forgot last year. Merry Christmas, [Regular].”

Regular: “Merry Christmas, Santa.”

(She told all of us for the rest of the week that Santa knew her name and my friend made sure a box of chocolates was given to her carer so she did get her present from Santa that year.)

A Full Quarter Of Honesty

, , | Orlando, FL, USA | Hopeless | March 31, 2016

(I’m hanging out at an arcade at the end of a roller coaster when I come across a sandwich bag full of quarters forgotten at a machine. I look around, but no one is nearby and no one is watching them. I pick them up, and when no one reacts, I bring them to the counter.)

Me: “Hi. Someone left their bag of quarters behind.”

Employee: “Oh, wow. Thanks for turning this in!”

Me: “No problem.”

(I know that at least two employees have to log any found money, so I leave him to get his partner as I head to the next attraction. When I’m on the other side of the esplanade outside, I hear someone calling.)

Employee: “Miss! Miss!”

(I look around, and see the man I handed the quarters to running towards me.)

Me: “What? Sorry, is something wrong?”

Employee: “No, I just wanted to offer you a reward for turning in the money. It was a pretty full bag, after all.”

(He takes out a voucher park employees have that can get you a free soda, ice cream, or get to the head of one line.)

Me: “Um, that won’t be necessary…”

Employee: “No, I insist.”

Me: “Then I suppose I wouldn’t say no to a soda.”

Employee: “Consider it done.”

Me: “Thanks.”

(He fills out and signs the voucher and goes back. I exchange it at the nearest ice cart. I was really impressed with what he did. Not only rewarding someone for simply not stealing/ignoring lost money, but for him to chase me down when I’d already left instead of shrugging and moving on shows just how dedicated he was to fulfilling the park’s values of customer service.)

Help Taking The Wait Off Your Foot

, , | Canada | Hopeless | March 31, 2016

(I have just finished my shift as a cashier when my ride calls to say she’ll be an hour or two late. I’d had minor foot surgery the day before and I’m in a lot of pain so I find some nearby grass to sit on while I wait. A truck drives by, then turns around and parks not far away. Two guys and a girl get out and walk over.)

Guy #1: “Hey, we saw you crying and had to come back. Are you okay?”

Me: *rubs my eyes, embarrassed* “Oh! Uh, yeah. My foot hurts and I can’t walk, and my ride is late. It’s no big deal.”

Girl: “We could give you a ride home if you want. Do you live nearby?”

Me: No, that’s okay. I don’t want my ride to worry about me. Thanks, though.

Guy #2: “Well, we can’t leave you here, so we’ll wait with you.”

(The three of them sit on the grass with me and start showing off their tattoos, talking about video games, and trying to make me laugh. When my ride finally calls to say she’s only a few minutes away, they wish me a better day and leave. I don’t think I even learned their names, but I’ll never forget their kindness.)

Happy New Cheers

, | Germany | Hopeless | March 30, 2016

(I’m working as a barista on New Year’s Day. It’s incredibly busy and the line is almost to the door. Since New Year’s Eve obviously made everyone forget their manners, I’m pretty stressed out. Nonetheless, I try to smile and be friendly to each and every customer I get. I just finished serving a particularly difficult and unfriendly customer and turn to the next one, still smiling.)

Me: “Hi! What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “Hello! First, I’d like to wish you a very happy New Year and thank you for working today and being here for me!”

(Stunned, I thank him profusely.)

Customer: “And now I’d like [order], please.”

(I used some chocolate powder to draw a smiley onto his coffee. He laughed and wished me a great day before he left. That customer completely made my day in a very annoying shift – I was beaming for the rest of the day.)

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