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Positive, feel-good stories

One For All The Struggling Little Kids

, , , , , , , , , | Right | March 17, 2023

I occasionally volunteer for a charity that helps provide medical care to children in need. It’s late October, and there is a community event happening in the park, so we’ve set up a table to both share what we do and collect donations which I’m manning. Given the nature of the event, we are not the only charity to have set up a table.

A young boy comes up to our table. He appears to be alone, but given how many people are milling about, I just presume one of them is his parent and is keeping an eye on him.

Boy: “Are you a charity, too?”

Me: “Yes, we are. We’re [Charity].”

Boy: “What do you do?”

I give him the usual spiel and answer a few fairly standard questions he asks. After I answer his last questions, he seems to stop to think very hard for a few seconds before apparently coming to a decision.

Boy: “You seem pretty good; I’ll think about it. Thanks for talking to me.”

With that, he runs off before I can respond. I found the whole conversation a little bemusing, though the boy’s very intent expression and questions were cute. I mostly forget about it until a little while later when the boy shows back up with two women and an even younger girl in tow.

Boy: “This is the one.”

Girl: “Hi! You help sick kids?”

This girl is young enough that I decide to simplify my usual explanations a bit.

Me: “Yes, we do. We help to pay for them to go to a doctor and for the doctor to do whatever is needed for them.”

Girl: “And you make them better?”

We’re not supposed to promise that our charity will save everyone since, sadly, even with the best treatment, some children don’t pull through. So, I hedge just a bit here.

Me: “We do the best we can to make the kids we help get better. And we’ve managed to save many kids and help others who were too sick to do things get healthy enough to go back to their normal lives.”

Girl: “Do you get to meet the kids?”

Along with the other material at the table, we have some photos of children we’ve helped along with descriptions of what our charity did for them. I intentionally pick a picture of a girl around the same age as the one I’m speaking to and show it to the family as I’m talking.

Me: “No, I don’t get to; I’m busy helping in other ways. But they tell us about some of the kids. You see this little girl here? Her heart didn’t work right and it was making her very sick, but we found someone who could help fix it. Now she’s healthy and getting to go to school and play with her friends.”

Girl: “Awww. I want to help! Mom, can I pick this one?”

Mom: “Sure, you can; it’s your choice. But you have a month before you have to pick. We could wait to see if there are any charities you like better, and if you don’t find one, we can send the money to these folks closer to Christmas.”

Girl: “No, I want to help them now!”

Mom: “Okay, honey. Well then, why don’t you ask the nice man if they’re accepting cash donations here?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, we are.”

Girl: “Can I give it to him?”

[Mom] pulls out a wallet and hands a twenty-dollar bill to the girl. The girl in turn hands it over to me beaming with excitement.

Girl: “Here you go. For sick girls.”

Me: “Oh, wow! That’s a lot of money. Thank you so much! We’ll make sure we use this to help other kids. It sure is very kind of you to help other kids like that. Your mom must be very proud of you.”

Mom: “Oh, I’ve always been very proud of both kids here.” *To the girl* “And honey, I think you made a good choice. Your Mama and I give some money to this charity every year, also.”

Me: “Oh! Thank you for your contributions, as well, then.”

Mom: “Oh, it’s no problem. We try to give back to a few charities at the end of the year. Mostly we donate it all online, but we’re letting each of the kids pick a charity of their own to donate some money to this year — you know, to help them see how charity works and get more involved.”

Me: “Oh, that’s a wonderful idea!”

There were a few more pleasantries I won’t bore you with before they ended up leaving my table. But what I remember most about the whole encounter was just how excited the little girl was to hand over her twenty to me. Both of the kids were adorable.

That’s His Specialty

, , , , , , | Right | March 16, 2023

My very first job was at a pet store, part of a regional chain. It was the summer after my freshman year of college, and I had never worked retail before. Thankfully, I had a good manager and some decent coworkers, and it was fun and interesting to learn how to take care of various animals and to advise customers on the same. We had some unpleasant customer experiences but nothing too bad.

One day, an older gentleman came into the store. He bought a few small items, and as I was checking him out, we had the following exchange.

Customer: “Have I given you a special person card before?”

I figure he means a senior discount card or something.

Me: “Oh, no, sir, I don’t think so.”

Customer: “Here you go.”

He handed me a card that had an affirmation on it, something to the effect of, “You are a special person, and you should never forget it.” I was so touched; it was genuinely the nicest customer interaction I had while working there. I kept that card in my wallet for over a decade.

 Do you ever feel like you’ve lost all hope for humanity? Check out other awesome customers like this one in our roundup: 14 Times Awesome Customers Proved That They Do Exist!

She’s Both All Mouth And All Trousers

, , , | Right | March 15, 2023

I’m in the car with my stepmum, running errands around the small town my parents live in. At one point, mum slows down the car because of a cyclist in front of us that is swerving quite a bit. I wonder out loud if he’s just a bad cyclist or started drinking early, but mum’s answer shuts me up.

Mum: “Oh, no, I know that man. He has a condition, I can’t remember what it’s called, but he sways when he walks as well. What they used to call “spastic”, but that’s the wrong word of course. He used to live with his mother on [Street]. Nice man.”

Okay, now I feel really guilty for assuming, but mum is not done. She proceeds to tell me the following story from years ago:

Mum used to be a store manager at a local clothing store, and it was not unusual for her to be alone in the store for a shift or part of it (small store, small town, several decades ago). One day she was manning the store alone again, and the man mentioned above walked in. Hesitantly, he explained that he would like to buy a new pair of trousers, but he was worried about trying them on because of his condition.

Mum was worried as well, as she knew the store’s fitting rooms were small and cramped, and though they did have a stool in them, it was more hindering than helpful because of the lack of space. There was also not really anything for people to hold onto to prevent falling over. This was before safety and accessibility regulations became what they are today. So, mum and the customer were worried he would fall over and hurt himself, or that mum would be unable to help him get back up if he did fall.

Mum pondered the best way to help this customer. As she said, he should be able to buy new trousers just like anyone else, she just had to figure out the best way to help him do that. She couldn’t very well physically assist him in trying on the trousers, neither of them would be comfortable with that!

Then, she struck upon a solution! She asked the customer if he would like to pick out a few pairs of trousers he liked and take them home with him to try on in the comfort of his own home. He wouldn’t have to pay for them right away, he could come back later to return the clothes he didn’t want to keep and pay for the ones he did want. That way, he wouldn’t have to struggle around in the store’s fitting rooms.

The customer’s eyes went wide, and he asked her if that would really be okay. Mum assured him it would be, the store’s owners trusted her, and she trusted him. She knew him and his mother, maybe not closely, but enough to know they were reliable.

The customer was ecstatic! He’d been so worried about this shopping expedition but had wanted to try anyway. It was all shaping up to be better than he imagined. Mum helped him pick out some nice pairs of trousers, and a few shirts she thought would look good on him as well. He walked out of the shop with a bag full of clothes to try on, thanking my mum all the while and assuring her he or his mother would come back soon to pay.

Two days later, his mother came into the shop, while mum was again manning the place on her own. The mother asked mum if she had been the one to help her son two days ago. Mum confirmed this was the case, and the mother of her customer thanked her profusely for helping her son so well. She then proceeded to pay for the items the customer had decided to buy and returned the items that didn’t fit, as agreed upon.

I’m sure you’re wondering what mum’s bosses said about all this when she told them. They were very happy with her decision! As they put it, it was her job to sell clothes, and she had done so, while making the customer happy. Happy customers were likely to come back and spend more money at their store, and maybe spread positive word-of-mouth advertisement about their store, which was important for their small store. They commended my mum for a job well done.

The customer mum helped came in many times after that to shop for clothes, and the store continued their special arrangement. If he came in when mum was working, she always made sure to help him herself.

Mum no longer works for that store, which still exists, but has remodeled their fitting rooms to make them larger and more accessible for people with disabilities.

Note to self: Be more like mum!

Designing A Strong Woman

, , , , , | Working | March 11, 2023

In the mid-1990s, when I was still a graphic design student, my classmate and I answered a call from a publishing company that wanted to publish a beautiful and creative illustrated cookbook with recipes from celebrities. My classmate got hired as an illustrator, and I got a job as a designer and art director.

The company had an in-house designer who became my contact. He was really, really old. (He was probably the age I am now or younger.) I remember that he had a computer with 2 GB of hard disk space. I had never heard of GB; it was absolutely mind-blowing!

Now, I was a young woman going to a higher education design school, and at the time, I had absolutely no practical industry experience (apart from a band flyer or two).

[Designer] was “old school print trade”, was originally a typographer, and was educated from within the industry.

I have since thought of all the ways this working relationship could have gone wrong.

But [Designer] became a wonderful mentor. He was always respectful of me and what I was. He would sometimes roll his eyes and say, “How come you don’t know this?” but it was always in a way that meant, “How come they don’t teach this?”, not in a way that was putting me down.

After the book project — where he gave me completely free rein to create a layout I am still proud of to this day — he hired me for other projects, as well. I designed the logo and packaging for a kids’ DVD set! And I did a range of advertisements for their books. Everything was a first for me, and everything felt exciting and gave me tons of valuable experience.

It was only later that I understood just how confidence-building this was. The nineties were a very different time, and as a young, female designer, I have since certainly experienced my share of grumpy and/or condescending older men. Not letting them get to me was easier because of my self-confidence.

I could have gotten a lot more work from [Designer], but in my final year, I decided to stop working for the company. I think now that it was the wrong decision, but I was also in a band and working in a restaurant. By the time I was out of school and starting to understand how important that client relationship was, [Designer] was no longer working there. 

I don’t even remember his name! But I think of him with gratitude for all the trust and faith he had in me, and I always try to “pay it forward” when I work with young or inexperienced people of our trade.

When You Can See The Music

, , , , , , | Right | March 10, 2023

I am waiting for my coffee in a coffee shop. The front counter has a machine that makes a certain two-beep noise every few seconds when an online order comes in. The notes the beeps make sound familiar but I can’t quite place it.

I have been coming to this coffee shop every day for a while so I know the nationalities of the workers.

Moroccan Worker: “That beep…”

Mongolian Worker: “Yeah…”

Italian Worker: “What about it?”

Moroccan Worker: “It sounds like the first two notes from Super Mario.”

Mongolian Worker: “Oh my god, you’re right!”

Moroccan Worker: *Makes the noise.* “Do-dee…”

Mongolian & Italian Worker: *Both chiming in.* “—do-dee…doo-de-do—”

Argentinian & Gambian Worker: *Both chiming in.* “—do-de-de-doo-doo-de-doo-de-doo-do-do!”

Within seconds every worker, regardless of where they came from, and even a few customers finish the riff, and it brings a smile to everyone’s face. Just goes to show no matter where you’re from some things transcend cultures!

Today is Mario Day! Get your fix of more Mario-themed stories with our Mario Day Roundup! Let’s-a go!