Driving Home The Kindness, Part 2

, , , , | Hopeless | April 12, 2016

(I am taken to the hospital by the police because they insist I need a mental health check. The hospital refuses to send anyone to see me, so I need to get back home again. I am broke and it is around one am, so the only way home is going to be walking. I’ve been walking about ten minutes when a taxi pulls up beside me.)

Driver: “Hey, kid, where’re you heading?”

Me: “Uh, home?”

Driver: “Right. But where’s home?”

Me: “It’s in [Area]. Why?”

Driver: “You can’t walk that. Get in.”

Me: “Mate, I can’t. I’ve no cash or nothing on me.”

Driver: “Seriously, it’s okay. Get in.”

Me: “Mate, I’m really not kidding. I’ve no money, can’t get any when I get home either. I can’t pay you for a taxi ride home.”

(At this stage I start walking again, because it’s a cold night and I’m a genius who went with the police with no coat on me. But I’ve not got more than two steps or so when the driver stops me again.)

Driver: “Look, I get it. You’ve no money. Take down my taxi reg number, my license plate number, whatever you need, but I am taking you home, because you’re not walking halfway across the city at this time of the night.”

(At this point, I’m torn, but decide I’ll take a chance staying warm. And he does, indeed, take me straight home, for free. I explain the situation to him on the way, and as I am getting out, he hands me the card for the firm he works for.)

Driver: “If you ever get stuck like that again, give that number a call. Nobody should be left walking around at that time of the night.”

(I didn’t even know how to say thank you at that point. I was that gobsmacked that he’d do something so nice at all. I never did see that guy again, but thank you, Mr Random Taxi Driver in Belfast, for helping a kid out, way back when. I still owe you one.)

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A Young Appreciation Of Underground Music

, , , | Hopeless | April 12, 2016

(I’m in the subway. There’s a black young man, probably 18 or 20, sitting on a folding seat just in front of me. He’s listening to music with his headphones. A young mother sits just next to him, holding a baby. The baby stares at the headphones.)

Young Man: “This is a cute baby! Does he like Celtic guitar?”

Mother: “I don’t know.”

(Then the young man turned the volume lower and put his headphones onto the baby’s ears. The baby opened wide eyes and looked fascinated, like someone who listened to the most wonderful music in the world! The mother was obviously moved. This magic moment lasted a few minutes for me, and then I had to leave the train and walk back home. I think it’s the most adorable thing I have ever seen in the subway.)

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Park That Thought(fullness)

, , , , | Hopeless | April 11, 2016

(During our mother’s final days, my sister “camped out” at the hospital with her for days on end. The parking garage charged an hourly rate, with a maximum of $8 per day. My sister hands the parking ticket to the cashier on her way out.)

Cashier: *not looking up* “That will be $24.”

Sister: *in tears, tries to count out the money*

Cashier: *looking up, sees my sister, and immediately tears up the ticket* “Oh, you lost your ticket. That will be $8.”

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Fries Are Good For The Soul

, , , , | Hopeless | April 10, 2016

(I don’t feel like cooking so we drive into town to a local franchise. My husband, small son, and I are the only customers in the store. We have just been brought our food when three teen boys come in drenching wet and sit down at the next table. We overhear them:)

Teen #1: “We have to buy something or they’ll kick us out. Mom won’t be here for 20 minutes.”

(They started to pool their money counting out change. Then go to the counter to order.)

Teen #1: “Small fries and some water, please.”

Teen #2: “Same for me, please.”

Cashier: *to third teen* “And for you?”

Teen #3: *embarrassed foot shuffle* “Just water, please.”

(A few minutes later the cashier, a middle-aged man whom I believe is the owner, comes out with three orders of fries.)

Teens: “We just ordered two?

Cashier: “Well, he should have something, too.”

(It was a small gesture, and though we didn’t normally eat fast food, we always went there because of their kind act.)

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I Can Vouch For The Grouch

, , , , , , | Hopeless | April 8, 2016

(I am on a crowded bus. Next to me is a man with a plastic shopping bag of groceries, and a woman with four canvas bags of groceries. The woman is honestly the most surly-looking person I have ever met, just a scowl on her face, glaring at her phone, like someone forced her to be alive today when she had better things to do. The bus rolls up to the next stop, and the man next to me shifts to allow people out… and his bag splits open on the side, but he doesn’t notice. [Grouchy Woman] quickly condenses her belongings between the other three bags and hands the fourth, now empty, bag to him.)

Grouchy Woman: *mutters at the floor* “Your bag’s ripped.”

Man: “Oh! Thank—”

(Before he even finishes saying thank you, she is shuffling off the bus. I get off, too. Now the grouchy woman is waiting at the bus stop for the next connection with me.)

Me: “Hey. That was very kind of you.”

Grouchy Woman: *just glances up* “Oh.”

Me: “He said thank you but I don’t think you heard him.”

Grouchy Woman: *just shrugs* “I guess I didn’t need a thank you. You just watch out for other people. That’s just what you’re supposed to do.”

([Grouchy Woman], even though you were having what was clearly a rotten day, I was glad to see your priorities were in order and it didn’t stop you from doing something simple and selfless. I was happy to see that little gesture, and I hope someone makes you smile soon.)

This story is part of the grouch day roundup!

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