Kindness Is Its Own Reward

, , | Right | May 20, 2017

(I am meeting a friend for lunch at a popular chain restaurant. It is a bit crowded and I have gotten there first, so I decide to get my food first and then find a table. I wait in line until it’s my turn at the counter.)

Cashier: “Hello, what can I get for you?”

Me: “Hi, I’d like a chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl, please.”

(I reach into my bag for my wallet. I open it and realize that I don’t have any money or debit cards with me. I had gone out the night before and had put them in a smaller bag.)

Me: *to self* “Are you serious? That’s so stupid of me.” *to the cashier* “I’m so sorry, but I have no way to pay. I’ll have to cancel my order.”

Cashier: “Do you have your rewards card on you?”

Me: “Well, yes, but that won’t pay for my meal.”

Cashier: “Go ahead and swipe it.”

(Confused, I swipe my rewards card. The cashier punches in a few buttons, then to my surprise, takes out his own debit card and swipes it.)

Cashier: *smiling* “You’re all set. Here’s your pager.”

Me: *jaw dropped in disbelief* “Wow, thank you so much, sir! You really did not have to do that.”

Cashier: “It’s no problem, miss. Enjoy your meal!”

(I went to get a table, still in awe of the cashier’s generosity. He probably will never read this, but thank you so much for your small act of kindness towards a neglectful college student!)

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Home-Baked Goodness

, , , | Working | May 18, 2017

(I am struggling with what will later be diagnosed as depression, causing me to randomly start to cry without any apparent reason. During one such crying bout, I decide to go for a walk to distract myself and hopefully calm down a bit. After a while, I pass by a bakery and go in to buy myself some small treat to cheer myself up. It’s in the afternoon, shortly before the bakery closes.)

Baker: “Hi, what can I get you?”

Me: “Hi. Could I have a chocolate pastry, please?”

Baker: “Sure thing.” *she takes out the pastry with her tongs but suddenly stops and adds* “You know what? It’s a bit on the small side. Why don’t I give you two of them? For the price of one, obviously.”

Me: “Uhm, okay? Thank you!”

Baker: *smiles at me and gives me the bag with the two pastries* “Have a lovely evening!”

(Once I had left, I looked at the bag and saw that the “small” pastry was the size of my hand, a perfectly normal size! So I realized what must have happened: She saw an obviously upset young woman (I had stopped crying when I went in there but you could still tell) and decided to do something nice for her, just because she could! Thank you so much, dear bakery lady, for this gesture – and the chocolate pastries were delicious!)

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The Conversation Keeps Flowing

, , , , | Working | May 13, 2017

I am meeting someone for the first time and arrive a bit early, so I get coffee and while waiting chat with the baristas about a few books.

After the other person shows up, we are deep in conversation and have already finished our coffees when I see the main barista cleaning the next table. Out of the corner of my eye, I see her glance up, smile in our direction, and then head back to the counter.

She comes back just a few minutes later with two large glasses of ice water for us and exclaims, “You two are just having such a great conversation that I wanted to give you these so you can keep chatting!”

It was such a sweet gesture and I didn’t realize that our short coffee date ended up lasting almost three hours!

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They Knew Their Panic Stations

, , | Working | May 8, 2017

I’ve suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for almost 15 years, but in the past year, they’ve transformed from simple hyperventilation-style ones to completely debilitating ones which cause hyperventilation, sobbing, shaking, inability to move without help, and a severe stammer that makes what I say almost unintelligible. These attacks happen out of the blue much of the time, on an almost daily basis (up to 5 a day sometimes), but are also triggered by crowds and sudden loud noises

One day, my parents and I are at the supermarket when I feel the beginnings of an attack coming on. Within minutes, I’m clinging to my dad’s mobility scooter, trying to calm down. At the worst possible moment, one of the staff pushes a pallet of goods into the back, banging into a door a couple of feet from us and, as you might expect, it’s the catalyst for the attack going into full force. A couple of minutes later, I’m hunched over the scooter, crying, shaking, and trying to move but unable to do so.

My dad spots a staff member (I’ll call him Jim) and gestures him over, explaining the situation and asking if there’s anywhere I can sit down. Immediately, Jim says yes, I can sit on the edge of the fridge cabinet next to us, and starts pushing stock out of the way so I can sit safely. Once I do, he hurries into the back and comes out with a stack of plastic crates and sets them next to me, adjusting them until they’re the right height, and helps me to shift over to sit on them.

Meanwhile, my mum goes up to the front of the store to ask for a wheelchair for me to sit in. A few minutes later, during which Jim has been talking to me to help me calm down, and has told me he too suffers from anxiety, another staff member shows up with my mum (I’ll call her Jill) and a wheelchair. She and Jim help me into the chair, Jill explaining that she has debilitating panic attacks too, so she knows what I’m going through. She gives me a bottle of water and offers to push me to the front of the store, but by this point I’m able to use my upper body (my legs are still not working properly), and much of my stammer has cleared, so I say I would like to try to continue with the shopping. She says she thinks that’s a good idea, not letting it beat me, and she and Jim leave us to carry on with our shopping, after a few more assurances from us that I’ll be okay.

It may not sound like a lot, but to be treated with such kindness when I felt like a complete fool was such a relief. We’ve already taken in a letter to the store to tell the manager what great staff he has, so I hope they get some kind of commendation. They absolutely deserve it. It just goes to show that sometimes staff really can go above and beyond their jobs and really care about customers.

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Catered To Your Needs

, , , | Hopeless | May 2, 2017

My brother is in the Navy and is about to join ship in Hong Kong for a five month tour of duty when our father dies. He asks his CO if he can take a few extra days leave. Because of the logistics involved, he can only be allowed five more days. In order for him to be able to attend Dad’s funeral, we have to organise it within a week. We manage to get everything set up for an 11 am funeral the following Monday morning — not a convenient time, but all we can manage at such short notice. My brother has to leave for the airport immediately afterwards.

The last thing I need to organise is some catering for ‘afterwards.’ People will be travelling some distance and will need some lunch. I phone various places, but with no luck. I have to do some shopping, and while in town, I go into several places that advertise catering, but they all say that the earliest we could collect the food is 11 am. The last place I try is a large Sainsbury’s supermarket. Again I am told 11 am is the earliest pick-up time.

Although I am trying to hold it all together, something must have shown on my face. The employee asks why I need the food earlier. I tell her what it is for, and why we need it so early. She asks me to wait and disappears for a couple of minutes. When she comes back she tells me that she is on first shift on Monday and will come in an hour early to get everything ready for me. It will be ready for 9 am.

I’m ashamed to say that with everything else that was going on, I didn’t take her name so I could write to her manager. I did thank her profusely both then and when I collected the food. I hope she reads this so I can tell her what a difference she made to our family at a difficult time.

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