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Souped Up Kindness

, , , | Working | February 2, 2017

(I’m a university student struggling through my busiest day of the week on little sleep when I decide to get some lunch. I stop at a cafe on campus, planning on getting some soup since it’s cold outside.)

Cafe Worker: “I’m afraid we’re out of soup today.”

Me: “Oh, um, I guess I’ll have [sandwich], then.”

(I go to pay and realize I don’t have very much money on me, which adds to my already growing stress levels.)

Me: *exhausted and near tears* “I’m so sorry; I was only planning on getting soup so I’m short money for the sandwich. I can run back to my dorm; I think I have time.”

Cafe Worker: *shakes head and smiles* “So that’s one small soup. Your total is [total]. Have a great day.”

(I’ve since graduated but I haven’t forgotten the small act of kindness that helped an exhausted and very stressed out student get through the rest of that day.)

A Hot Slice Of Kindness, Part 3

, , | Hopeless | January 31, 2017

(A few months prior to this story, a new pizza delivery place opened in our neighborhood, owned & operated, though we didn’t know it at first, by a family of Ethiopian refugees. It’s absolutely the most delicious, and often most unusual, pizza either of us has ever eaten, and even though we really can’t afford to, we wind up ordering it once or twice a week. One evening there’s a knock on the door, and it’s our pizza guy, with a large pizza in his hands…)

Me: “Oh, hi, [Pizza Guy]. Good to see you but we didn’t order a pizza tonight.”

Pizza Guy: *beaming* “Yes, we know. You order so much pizza from us. You tip always. We bring you pizza, say thank you.”

Me: “Oh, but we know you guys are struggling. You don’t have to do this.”

Pizza Guy: “Mother say we must.” *holds the pizza out more* “You take, thank you.”

Me: “Oh, in that case…” *I take the pizza* “Thank you, and thank your mother.”

(We had to move away from there a few months later. I hope they did well. Wonderful people, and awesome pizza!)

A Good Attitude Pays Its Way

, , | Hopeless | January 30, 2017

(I recently just had my car repossessed due to family issues like loss of job, relocation, higher living costs, etc. It’s right after Christmas and I’m freaking out because the car company wants a LOT of money to be able to reinstate the car loan. I have to go to work that day and my neighbor has to drive me. This is after I’ve been at work for a few hours.)

Me: “Hi, [Car Loan Company Representative], I’m [My Name], calling about [Car that was repossessed]. I am in a really bad place and I want to get my car back, but I just can’t afford [high amount to reinstate the loan]. Is there anything I can do?”

Rep: “Hi, [My Name]. Let me see what I can do for you here. It looks like we’re willing to settle and reinstate for [slightly less amount but still pretty high] but if you make a good faith payment before January 9th, we will extend the auction date another 10 days.”

Me: “Okay, how much would that be?”

Rep: “[Sum that’s close to the regular monthly payment].”

Me: “That is something I can work with. How much would I owe after that payment was made?”

Rep: “It would be [amount still high but still workable with a single income family]. But that wouldn’t be due until January 20th. It was the 19th, but I extended it to that Friday.”

Me: “Thank you so much. So if I make this payment tomorrow, via Western Union would that arrive right away?”

Rep: “It would take 24 hours to post but you’d also want to call us as soon as you send it so that we can get the money applied faster.”

Me: “Once the [high amount] is paid off, will I be able to get my car?”

Rep: “Yes, but the repossession lot charges a flat fee to our customers of $150.00 to get their cars out.”

Me: “Well, that makes sense. Okay.”

Rep: “Because [Car Company] wants to keep you as a customer and wants to help you make this right, I’ve asked management to put the cost of the repossession lot fee onto your account so you don’t have to pay any money at the lot to get your car out. Management approved it.”

Me: *speechless for a moment* “Oh, wow, um, thank you! That’s really nice!”

Rep: “It’s my pleasure. Please let me know if I can do anything else.”

Me: “Thank you so much, [Car Company Representative]! You’ve really helped me today. I hope you have a great day.”

(The point of this for those who think it’s too long: sometimes, a car company doesn’t want to lose your business or sell your car. It’s best to work with them and they will work with you.)

Hail To The Bus Driver, Part 6

, , , | Hopeless | January 29, 2017

I use our city bus system regularly to get to work. Unfortunately, our city’s bus system is notoriously… not good. I have to transfer twice across three buses total to reach my stop and if my second bus, the #11, is late, I miss my third bus, the #15, and must wait an hour for the next one, which means I am late to work.

Today, the #11 arrives a few minutes late to the transfer terminal, but due to some hiccups with loading passengers, leaves the station late and is cutting it close to missing the departure time for my third bus, the #15. As we’re pulling up to the stop before my transfer stop, I see the #15 coming down the road in the opposite direction of traffic, which means we are too late and I’ve missed it. When that happens, I will get off at this early stop to buy a snack at the convenience store across the street on the corner and walk down to the next stop to wait the hour.

As I’m standing at the light, I watch the #15 bus turn the corner, as it is supposed to for its route, but then it starts slowing at a place that isn’t a bus stop, and its hazards start flashing. My favorite driver drives this route around this time some days, so I start wondering if he recognized me in the rear-view mirror, and decided to wait, even though the drivers aren’t allowed to stop anywhere not an official bus stop.

The light for me to cross comes on as the bus comes to a full stop, so I book it across the road and on to the bus. It is my favorite driver and he has indeed stopped just for me! It meant a lot to me, as my work place is really busy with the aftermath of Christmas and my coworkers really needed me there. Thanks to him, I got there on time and I’m giving him a gift card the next time I see him!

Turn Up For That Red-Letter Day

, , , | Working | January 28, 2017

(I was adopted as a baby, but never had much curiosity about my birth family. At 27, I begin to have some medical issues, and it soon becomes apparent that I will need to make contact, and maybe my curiosity wins out a little. I find the address of my birth mother and decide to write her a letter. It sits on my kitchen table for three days before I feel like I have the courage to mail it. I finally decide to try, and grab it as I go out the door. I get to the vestibule of my apartment building, and our mail lady is there, filling boxes.)

Mail Lady: “Hey, A6, how’s it going?”

(Even though we’ve only lived there 6 months, she is the sweetest, friendliest woman and always jokingly calls people by their apartment numbers.)

Me: “Hi! It’s um… going good!”

Mail Lady: “Nothing good for you today, it looks like probably a bunch of junk… Oh, hey, have you got a letter there? I can take it!”

(She holds her hand out for it, but I don’t give it up. I promptly start crying. She smiles gently.)

Mail Lady: “Not quite ready?”

Me: “It’s… it’s a letter to my birth mother. I was going to go to the mailbox to see if I was strong enough to drop it in.”

(She gently puts her hand on mine.)

Mail Lady: “Now you don’t have to.”

(I look at her uncertainly.)

Mail Lady: “I’m a sign, A6. Me being here right at this exact moment is the sign that you’re supposed to mail that letter.”

(She gently takes it from me and I let her. I’m speechless, all I can do is wipe my tears.)

Mail Lady: *smiling at me as she leaves* “They’re gonna love you.”

(I went out to my car and cried for ten minutes. Reuniting with my birth family has been an emotional rollercoaster. In five weeks I am going to meet my birth father for the first time. Thank you, Mail Lady, for making all this possible for me… Without you I might never have mailed that letter.)