A Hot Slice Of Kindness, Part 4

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | February 16, 2018

(I recently divorced my abusive, controlling husband. I have been awarded custody of our two kids, and he was ordered to pay child support. My ex-husband left us with nothing, has never paid any of the alimony or child support that the court ordered him to, and has constantly done whatever he can to make life difficult for us. Ordering food deliveries has been his latest weapon of choice. One evening I’m standing in the kitchen, looking over the little food I’ve been able to buy, wondering how I’m going to feed both of my children and myself, when there’s a knock at the door. I groan, as I know it’s yet another food delivery that my ex-husband has ordered, and that I’m going to have to explain a painful and embarrassing situation to yet another person. I open the door, and sure enough, there’s a man from a local pizza company here with a large amount of pizzas, enough to feed an entire sports team. I barely manage to return his greeting before I start crying.)

Delivery Man: “Hi, I’ve got an order for… Ma’am? Is something wrong?”

Me: *between sobs* “I… I’m so sorry. You were pranked. My ex-husband ordered all this, trying to hurt me by making me spend money I don’t have. I’m so sorry, but I didn’t order this, I can’t pay for it, and you’ve had your time wasted.”

(At this point, my children start quietly asking me:)

Children: “Mummy, are we having pizza tonight? Can we keep it? Please?”

(Their pleas cut me to the quick, and I start sobbing, unable to control myself any longer.)

Delivery Man: “Your ex did this? To what end? To hurt you? To upset those adorable munchkins that are trying to hide behind the wall over there?”

Me: *sobbing harder* “Yes.”

(The delivery man looks incredibly angry.)

Delivery Man: “Ma’am, all of this is on me. There is no circumstance where I’ll stand by and allow someone to cause so much hurt to a mother and her children. Keep all of this. Whatever you can’t eat, freeze. If you reheat it in the oven, it’ll be as good as fresh. Whenever you run out, call the store and ask for me by name. I’ll bring you enough food to keep you and your kids fed as long as you need.”

(At this point, I am crying so hard that I can barely respond to him. His kindness has completely overwhelmed me, and my children are smiling for the first time in weeks. I try to offer him money, and he brushes my attempt away.)

Delivery Man: “Ma’am, I cannot take anything from you. Your ex tried to use me to hurt you; I’m not going to be used in such a manner. I’ve had my own share of experiences similar to yours, and turning an act of hate into an act of empathy is enough for me. You keep taking care of your kids, and call my store whenever you need.”

(With that, he carried everything into my kitchen, ruffled my childrens’ hair, flashed me a cheerful grin, and wished us all a good night. While I never took him up on his offer to deliver us food whenever we needed it, I will never forget the impact he had on my children and me in the darkest time of our lives. His generosity and kindness not only gave my children a full belly but renewed my faith in the kindness of people. I doubt he’ll ever read this, but if he does, I want to say thank you. He brightened all our lives.)


A Hot Slice Of Kindness, Part 3
A Hot Slice Of Kindness, Part 2
A Hot Slice Of Kindness

Beginning To Think These Christmas Miracles Aren’t Miracles

, , , , , | Hopeless | February 12, 2018

Many years ago, before cell phones, my wife and I were traveling through rural western Pennsylvania late Christmas night when our car broke down with no houses anywhere in sight. We resigned ourselves to spending the night in the car. When the sun came up, we saw that there was a farmhouse not too far away, so I knocked on the door, explained our predicament, and asked to use the phone to call a tow truck.

That’s all I asked for: to use the phone.

This is what I got:

They invited us inside, gave us coffee, and fixed us breakfast. The farmer told us there wasn’t any place around where we could get the car fixed on the day after Christmas. I asked about auto parts store. I had tools; I could fix it myself if I could get the right part. He called around until he found a store that was open and drove me there, while our wives had more coffee in the kitchen. They had the part, but I had no credit cards, and they didn’t want to take my personal check because it was from out of state. The farmer told the store manager that he would guarantee my check. After we got back, he insisted on helping me install the part in freezing rain.

And he wouldn’t take a dime.

We stopped there again on our way home a few days later, with a box of chocolates.

And since that time, I have never, ever accepted payment for helping someone else out. When people ask why not, I tell them this story. Thirty-five years later, I still can’t tell — or type — this story without crying.

My Librarian, My Hero

, , , , , | Hopeless | February 10, 2018

(I used to live on what was basically a commune, accessible only by boat. We also only had a marine radio for communication. Once a month, a couple of us would take the battered farm boat into town to run errands. We would usually go to the library and take out the maximum number of books, which would be due in 30 days. One month, we have a large box of books to go back to the library, but the boat motor has packed it in, and it is a couple of weeks before we can get it repaired and get into town. We approach the library desk with trepidation, fearing a huge fine.)

Librarian: “Oh, it’s you guys. When you didn’t come in for so long, I figured something had to be wrong, so I renewed all your books.”

(Thank you, library lady!)

It Was Worth The Trip

, , , , , | Hopeless | February 8, 2018

(I have been working at the same bookstore for three years, but I have a terrible memory for faces and names. Customers remember me much more frequently than I remember them. One day, I am very busy and overtaxed when a lady walks up to me.)

Customer: “I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I was in here last year.”

(I don’t remember her at all and cringe inwardly, waiting to hear what her complaint is.)

Customer: “You recommended this travel guide to me, and I had the most lovely vacation! I just wanted to let you know.”

Me: “Oh. Uh, thank you! People never come back and tell me when something was good.”

(She left with another travel book.)

When You Have Anxiety Play Possum

, , , , | Hopeless | February 6, 2018

I struggle with anxiety and while I have recently figured out a very effective way to manage it, this happened shortly before I did that. It was kind of the wake-up call I needed to make me realize I needed some help. This will be important later.

I have a little black kitty who had been acting like she had a bladder infection or UTI, so I took her in to the vet’s office. They kept her overnight because she was apparently pretty dehydrated, even though there is always fresh water out for her. The vet said it wasn’t uncommon for cats to stop drinking water when they have bladder issues, because it means they have to go less often.

I left her there and went home. I knew that logically, my kitty was going to be fine, because bladder issues aren’t the end of the world, but I still worried about her all night and didn’t sleep well because of it. She’s a very timid cat and really only likes me, so I worried even more knowing she was probably pretty anxious, too.

By the time I went in the next day to pick her up, I looked okay on the outside, but inside, I was falling apart. I got up to the receptionist’s desk and as I started speaking, my throat tightened up and my eyes started to water, I was so overwhelmed. The lady behind the counter was late-40s or so, definitely a motherly type. She was immediately concerned and asked what was wrong, and I just lost it.

Five-or-so years prior to this incident, my other cat, who is my absolute best friend in the world and my therapy cat, had a urinary issue as well, but in male cats, they aren’t minor issues. He had a blockage over his urethra, which could have killed him. I was 21 years old at the time and spent $2000 I didn’t have to save my cat. He’s been great ever since then, but it was one of the scariest experiences of my life, and apparently it was traumatic enough that dealing with minor feline urinary tract issues now is a trigger and sends me into a two-day anxiety attack.

I explained all that (more briefly) to the receptionist (let’s call her Sandy), and rather than tell me not to worry, or that everything would be okay — two very pointless things to tell people who are experiencing an anxiety/panic attack — she thought for a second and then asked me, “Would you like to see a baby possum?”

I was taken aback at first, wasn’t really sure I’d heard her correctly, but she was not kidding! She took me back to her office, where she did some basic wildlife rehabilitation. She got the baby possum out of its crate and handed him to me! I couldn’t focus on anything except the adorably ugly little rodent in my hands, so my anxiety attack quickly passed. I held him and talked to Sandy a bit about her rescue and rehab adventures, and when I gave the possum back, I was able to take a deep breath and start over. I gave Sandy my kitty’s information and she brought her out a few minutes later. I paid the bill and we were on our way home!

I was so touched by Sandy’s concern and the way she handled the situation. I couldn’t believe that a complete stranger knew what I needed when I didn’t even know myself. The next day, I made sure to stop at a coffee shop that is walking distance to the veterinary hospital and got her a gift card, and I wrote her a thank you note. She wasn’t working when I brought it in, but I hope it made its way to her and I hope she knows just how much I appreciate her. It wasn’t a big thing that she did, but it made a big difference to me!

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