Puppy Power

, , , , | Hopeless | May 10, 2016

(My family, and our new golden retriever puppy, are taking a long road trip. We stop for gas and to let the dog out; my mom walks her away from us and is approached by a scary-looking biker, with torn clothes, covered in tattoos, and at least six and a half feet tall. My mom looks worried, so I go over to her.)

Biker: “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to scare you. It’s just… I lost my dog last winter, and I just wanted to see your puppy.”

(The puppy is done, so my mom picks her up and lets the man pet her.)

Mom: *still looks a bit nervous* “This is [Name]. She’s eight weeks old.”

Biker: *in a baby voice, gently petting her and letting her sniff him* “Well, hello, [Name]! Aren’t you adorable! My hands are as big as you, but you don’t need to be scared… I bet your mama loves you very much.” *he notices me* “…and your sister does, too!”

(Suddenly, the man looks really sad, like he’s remembering his dog.)

Biker: “Could… could I hold her for a minute? I promise I’ll be careful.”

(My mom allows this, and he cradles the puppy in his arms like a newborn while she squirms and tries to lick his face. Eventually, he carefully hands her back.)

Biker: *softly* “Thank you. That meant a lot to me. I hope I find a dog like her when I’m ready.”

(In all her 12 years, the dog brought many people into our lives, but I’ll never forget that man.)

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Kids Can Be Pretty Awesome

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 7, 2016

(We’re nearing the end of final exam period at university and since I’m graduating the past few weeks have been excessively stressful. Between all night study sessions on and off, working off campus, and grad papers, I haven’t had much time to take care of my appearances and haven’t showered for a few days. Because of this, I’m really self-conscious about how I look, especially in crowded places like public transit. I’m heading to take my final exam waiting for the bus when I notice a little kid nearby with his mother who is staring at me. I assume it’s because I look like total crap, so I pull on my hood to hide, hoping the kid will look away. When he doesn’t, I turn to him and nervously try to play it off.)

Me: “Yeah, take a good look kid… This is what university does to you.”

Boy: *gets really happy* “You mean it makes people pretty?!”

(His delightful compliment was so genuine I almost started crying right there. That kid managed to make me smile and feel amazing for the first time in weeks. The feeling didn’t leave me even after I finished and passed my exam! Thanks, kid!)

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A Stranger Can Be A Friend You Haven’t Made Yet

, , , , | Hopeless | May 2, 2016

(A friend that I haven’t talked to in nearly six months calls me, late at night, and tells me that she has an Internet friend who is stuck in the Twin Cities for the night before she can get a ride home to Duluth (about a three hour drive). She can’t bring the friend to her house because she still lives with her parents and they don’t trust anyone randomly met on the Internet. Although it seems really weird, my husband and I agree to let her stay with us for the night. The girl seems shy and is quiet.  We also have friends over, and after everyone leaves, we run to the store to pick up some essentials and food, and bring her with us.)

Me: “Okay, is this everything we need?”

Husband: “I think so.”

Me: *to girl* “Do you need anything, sweetie?”

Girl: *mumbles* “No.”

Me: “Okay, then let’s go home.”

(I suddenly realize the girl has started crying.)

Me: “Oh, my gosh; what’s wrong?”

Girl: *crying harder* “This whole weekend has been such a disaster! I spent all my money to fly all the way to Texas to see my boyfriend and none of his family or friends would talk to me the whole time I was there. Now that I’m back, my supposed best friend who was supposed to pick me up just calls after I land here to tell me she changed her mind and left me stranded hundreds of miles from my home with no money! But you’re letting me stay at your home and are giving me food and I don’t even know you! You’re the only people who’ve been nice to me all weekend and you’re STRANGERS!”

(After this spiel I gave her a hug and she cried into my shoulder for five minutes. I felt really bad that she’d had such a terrible weekend, but it made me feel good to know that what I saw as a simple act of kindness meant so much to her.)

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Ornithologically Correct

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 30, 2016

(I’m browsing in a card shop when I overhear an older lady asking for help from the young woman running the counter.)

Customer: “Hi, can you help me find an anniversary card?”

Employee: “I sure can. Our anniversary cards are right over here.” *she walks the woman over to the relevant section*

Customer: “Okay, but, see, I’m having a little problem. The card is for my neighbours, and they’re both men. A lot of these anniversary cards feature a man and a woman.”

Employee: “Hmm. That’s true… Wait, I have an idea. See this one, with the two peacocks on it?”

Customer: “Yes…”

Employee: “Well, both the birds have beautiful tails and bright plumage, right? Only male peacocks have that; peahens look different. So it’s a card with a same-sex couple on it!”

Customer: “That’s perfect! Thank you so much.”

Employee: “You’re welcome.”

(After the other customer has left and I go to be rung up.)

Me: “That was a clever solution.”

Employee: “Thanks. Good to know my degree in ornithology is helping someone!”


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Pizza In Multiple Languages

, , , , | Hopeless | April 29, 2016

(I am on a long international flight from Canada by myself. It is a flight journey of over 26 hours and I have just gotten off at the Montreal Airport. There is a five hour layover there, and I realize that I have left my cards back home and I have absolutely zero cash except for some local money of the country I am travelling to. At this point, I am sitting at the boarding gate, my stomach growling because I have barely eaten, and I have a whole 4 hours more to go for my next flight. There’s an old Indian lady who is frantically trying to talk to people in Punjabi, an Indian language. I walk up to her and try to talk to her in Hindi, another Indian language which is sort of similar.)

Me: *in Hindi* “Are you okay? What do you need? You seem upset.”

Old Lady: *in Punjabi* “My son told me to go and ask for the boarding gate. I am flying to India and I don’t know who to ask. Nobody understands what I say, and I don’t understand what they say.”

(As the languages are fairly similar, we attempt to communicate through gestures and common phrases to communicate to each other.)

Me: “No problem. Let me see your boarding pass. Ah, you are headed towards Delhi.”

(I make small talk and I take her to her boarding gate.)

Old Lady: I am hungry. Could you show me vegetarian places I could buy food at?

(I take her to different food stalls and list out options. I try to make sure I show her completely vegetarian options. She settles on a pizza.)

Old Lady: “How much is that pizza?”

Me: “It should come to around 15 Canadian Dollars.”

Old Lady: “It is so expensive. I will barely have enough left. And it is so small.”

(I smile sadly at her, my own stomach growling. The lady buys the pizza and invites me to sit with her.)

Old Lady: “Won’t you have anything?”

Me: “No, thank you. I am quite full.”

Old Lady: “No, no. This won’t do. You must take some of the pizza.”

(Despite my protests, she makes me take about a quarter of her already quite small pizza.)

Old Lady: “Now we are both full. I feel happy.”

(The old lady proceeded to thank me and bless me to have a great trip ahead. We sat together and talked until she had to board. The old lady made my day so much better!)

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