Someone Who Gives A Truck

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 22, 2018

My family and I were traveling from Tennessee back home to Virginia. We had a great trip in Tennessee, where we surprised my great uncle by visiting him in Nashville.

Everything was going great until we hit the Virginia line on the return trip. We then stopped dead on the highway because for about twenty miles ahead of us the road was closed because of bad weather and jack-knifed tractor trailers. We were there for eleven hours, just stopped dead. This is where my faith in miracles and humanity was restored.

This man, this Godsend, took it upon himself to talk to the truckers in front of us and get them to move in such a way that most cars could get through. He then started taking cars one by one to the exit, which we ended up being about half a mile from. He got to us and navigated us the half mile to the exit, through trucks. There was snow on the ground and he was not dressed warmly. His pants were wet and he only had a thin coat on, but he walked us and God knows how many more cars to that exit.

I have never felt better about humanity than I do now. He completely restored my faith in humanity and he was totally humble about it, as well.

Random guy on the highway, if you are reading this, you have no idea how much your help meant to us and what it did to our spirits. It took us another seven hours but we got home safely and it was all because of you.

I should mention the entire return trip should have taken nine hours and we had been driving for four hours by the time we got stopped on the highway. The total return trip took about twenty-seven hours when it should have taken nine. Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm and with the people you love. Without you, we would have been stuck there for a very long time and I will forever be grateful to you.

Sympathy Should Be More Accessible

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 19, 2018

(This takes place a few months after a car accident leaves me permanently in a wheelchair, and I’m still getting used to the changes and taking full responsibility for my mistakes. I’ve traveled three hours to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, traveling with a friend who is also a bridesmaid. I’d requested an accessible room but didn’t check before traveling that the room we needed was available. We arrive at the motel to find our room will be on the third floor without an elevator, or we can pay for an upgrade to an apartment that is suitable for an extra $200 a night. I know that we have no chance of finding something else we can afford and that neither of us can afford to pay for the upgrade. My friend — 55 kilos — would have no chance of getting me — 80 kilos — and my wheelchair up the stairs. We are sitting outside, while I try to work out public transport home so my friend doesn’t miss the wedding and our friend getting married isn’t down two bridesmaids while my friend is trying to find another motel with an accessible room we could afford. Ten minutes later the same receptionist we dealt with comes out.)

Receptionist: “I’m really sorry for the upset. I’ve spoken to the owner and he’s agreed to upgrade you for no extra charge, and we’d like to offer you both free breakfast for your stay. I just need to see your IDs.”

(I’m now in tears. This was my mistake as the website did say — I checked later — that I should contact them to ensure the room was what we needed before traveling as it couldn’t be guaranteed.)

Me: “Thank you so much. It’s my fault; I booked the room. This is the first time I’ve traveled since my accident and didn’t think to double check.”

Receptionist: “Anyone else would have yelled and sworn at me. You took full responsibility for your mistake. The least I could do was talk to my boss. Enjoy your stay, and if there’s anything you need don’t hesitate to ask.”

(Before leaving we gave her a thank-you card and a box of chocolates. It just goes to show that when you own up to your mistakes and don’t cause problems sometimes things work out.)

Kind People Don’t Have System Errors

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 16, 2018

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough time lately and living from paycheck to paycheck. The day I get paid, I can’t sleep, and I head to the ATM at 4:30 am leaving my partner at home with our two kids.

Since I’m with a bank that has recently shut most of their branches, I have to use a different bank. The ATM gives my card back without the cash before displaying a system error. I check my online banking to find it has taken the money from my account but not actually given me the cash.

I call my bank to find out I have to go into a branch to dispute it and it will take up to two weeks. By the time the bank opens, I’m a complete mess, I have two kids that need nappies and formula, we have no food in the house, both my partner and I need medication, and we have rent to pay.

The first employee fills out a dispute transaction form and then tells me there’s nothing else they can do as I’m receiving government benefits — which actually is this bank’s policy on overdrafts. She then gets the branch manager. The manager spends over an hour on the phone but reassures me that if they can’t sort it out today, she will give me $100 out of her own account to make sure we at least have the basics until it’s sorted out or until my partner gets paid in a few days.

In the end, she manages to get an overdraft for the full amount I am due. I truly believe she would have given me the money from her own account, too. Before I leave she gives me a hug.

To the manager of the branch of a small, out-of-state bank in Melbourne City, if you’re reading this, thank you for going above and beyond for a very stressed-out, crying woman. Your kindness and understanding are amazing.

They’re Not Going To Throw You Under The Bus

, , , , | Hopeless | December 15, 2018

I’m a fairly young-looking girl. I’ve recently started working a fairly horrible shift — three am to eleven am — sorting parcels to make some extra money for Christmas, around three miles from my home. I don’t drive, so I bought a bike to make life easier, as there’s no one I know that can give me a lift at those sort of times.

This morning I set off from home as usual. It was pretty icy out, and I blamed that for the slight veering and wobbling along the way. About ten minutes in, I realised that my handlebars had misaligned, and were getting looser and looser. Thinking that by the time I got home to take it back I’d be late for work, I decided to just push the d*** thing to work and deal with just being a few minutes late… completely forgetting that the route I take is cycle-based into an industrial area outside of town, and most of the rest of the way is pitch-black and without pavement or a sidewalk. But at least I had my visibility vest from work, and nothing happened apart from being rained on.

I finally finished work at 11, realised that I was exhausted, and I couldn’t risk veering all over the road when there was actual traffic, but at least I could catch a bus halfway and just push my bike the rest. I saw an off-duty bus driver pull up at the parcel depot I was leaving to collect a parcel, and thinking that I’d never tried to take a bike on a bus I should probably ask before detouring to the bus stop. He told me that unless it’s a long journey route, there’s no bike racks or space, and none the city buses in this area allow them. And at that point, I realised how much I’d been counting on the idea of not having to walk the whole hour in the rain. I was exhausted. I managed to hold back the tears that started to form and thanked him for telling me. I began slowly pushing the dang bike in the general direction of home, trying to map a walking route on my nearly-dead phone.

About five minutes later, the same guy pulled over next to me in his not-in-service bus and told me that it wasn’t ideal, but the route to the depot to drop his bus off went quite close to town, and he wouldn’t mind dropping me off.

I almost began to see the world as if I were in some anime, and a shining white Knight was offering to help. My eyes widened and glistened as I could only croak the word, “Really?”

My house was actually nearer the depot than the town centre, and this wonderful person dropped me off less than two minutes from my house, for free. He spent the journey asking questions and taking my mind off how awful I’d been feeling since starting these horrible shifts, and telling me how things will get better.

I know it’s a stupid and small thing in the grand scheme of things, but at that moment it felt like the single nicest thing anyone had ever done for someone. And I’m not one for fuzzy feelings or faith in humanity. But today, at least for a little while, faith in humanity seems like a viable concept.

Anchorage, Alaska: A Thousand Thank-Yous

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 14, 2018

Anchorage, Alaska experienced a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the morning of November 30th, 2018. There was significant damage to infrastructure, roads, and buildings, but no collapses, and only a few older buildings have been deemed unsafe. No deaths reported! 72 hours after the major destruction of some of our main highways, they are back in commission, paved and striped. All the recovery efforts are simply amazing.

Stories have poured in thanking our amazing engineers and workers of the Alaska Department of Transportation getting our roads safe and fixed, the utility workers for going 24 hours a day to get us back on the grid and get us safe drinking water, and our first responders for a quick and calm emergency response.

But I’d like to take a minute to thank the gas station attendants who stayed at their jobs right after the quake to service the hundreds of panicked people filling up on gas before attempting the four- to five-hour trip home — a normal commute of 30 to 45 minutes — to Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley. I would like to heartily thank the hundreds of grocery store clerks who stayed that day to keep the stores open, and who put in countless hours to clean up warehouses of glass and spills so that we could go in and get bread, water, and necessities — like deli sandwiches and any wine that survived the shake-up. And I want to thank the baristas who showed up at five am the day after, who held down the shaking syrup bottles through the many, many, many aftershocks and kept smiles on their faces. I just cannot even.

I would like to extend my enormous gratitude to the store clerks at our local True Value Hardware who swept most of the mess into a roped-off corner and opened early the next day because, “People are going to need to fix stuff up, and they need us open, not picture perfect.” At the same store, my husband witnessed a clerk scolding a fellow for trying to buy more than one set of water heater hoses saying, “Do you have multiple water heaters?” The fellow responded by shaking his head. The clerk asked, “Are you helping your neighbors?” The fellow sullenly shook his head in the negative again. The clerk said firmly, “Then I’ll only be selling you the one set; there are going to be a lot of people needing those today.”

To the cheerful diner waitress who kept our coffee topped up the day after this crazy event, to the artisans who forged ahead with a holiday craft show because people needed to have some cheer, to the musicians and actors who said that the show must go on… thank you a thousand times. THANK YOU.

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