Don’t Mess With The Mousse

, , , | Hopeless | April 23, 2016

(I am a student teacher with my mentor teacher at a popular local restaurant. My mentor teacher is kind enough to buy me lunch, so I decide to buy myself some dessert. I go to the counter and spot some chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup.)

Me: “Okay. I’m going to have to get that. I’m sold.”

(A customer in front of me overhears me and laughs.)

Customer: “That looks delicious, doesn’t it? You should get a big one!”

Me: “Aw, I wish, but I gotta be careful. Got a bit of a gut. I’ll take the small one.”

Customer: “Hey, go big or go home. Am I right?”

(I smile and get one of the workers to get me a small mousse cup. While I’m waiting to pay, I realize that I can only use my credit card if I am paying a minimum of ten dollars. I have no cash, so I decide to buy a few other things to make up the difference. The customer finishes up in front of me and leaves the restaurant, and I head to the counter with my mousse cup.)

Me: “Hi! So I just realized the credit card minimum, so I’ll also take—”

Cashier: *cuts me off* “You know what? The customer ahead of you didn’t want you to worry, so she bought the mousse for you.”

Me: “I… really? Oh, my gosh. That’s so sweet!”

Cashier: “It really is a blessing, isn’t it?”

Me: “I wish I could thank her! Thank you so much!”

(I happily enjoy my free chocolate mousse before leaving the restaurant. That customer’s generosity inspired me to pay it forward as well, so when I stopped by one of my favorite coffee shops, I paid for a stranger’s chai tea! Here’s hoping that I helped contribute to a string of kind acts and deeds where I live.)

This story is part of our Pay It Forward roundup!

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Food For Thoughtfulness

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | April 22, 2016

(A group of friends and I travel to New Hampshire to campaign for a political candidate. We are sleeping on the floor of a community center in a tiny town with very few food options, and since we’ve traveled with a group from our school, none of us have access to a car. After a long day of knocking on doors in the snow, we desperately try to find a restaurant that delivers, to no avail. We set out to the nearest place we can find, which is about a 20-minute walk. We get there at least a few minutes before the stated closing time, but there is already a woman sweeping the front entrance, so I know they are done for the night. Since I work in foodservice and hate people who demand complicated meals right before we close, I tell my friends we should just go home. Then, the woman opens the door and motions us in out of the cold.)

Woman: “What can I do for you all?”

Me: “I’m really sorry; I know you’re trying to close. We were just looking for a place to get something to eat.”

Woman: “I’m afraid our kitchen is closed, but I can get you guys some drinks from the bar while you warm up.”

Me: “You’re very kind, but we’re really hungry, and since we’re all under 21, I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

Woman: “Most of the places in town are closed, but there’s a Mexican place about a 10-minute drive from here that’s open for another hour. Do you have a car?”

Me: “No, but thanks for the suggestion. We can walk or take a cab.”

Woman: “Don’t be silly; I’ll give you guys a lift.”

(Before we can say anything, she takes her apron off, runs to the kitchen, and comes back with her purse and keys. She ends up driving us to the restaurant in her minivan. During the conversation that follows, we find out that she owns the restaurant, and she is also working as a nurse because she doesn’t make enough from the restaurant to pay the bills. She also has a daughter in college, about our age. During the ride, we all pool our cash and try to pay her for her time and gas.)

Woman: “Absolutely not. You kids just make sure to pay it forward someday.”

(I will probably never see this woman again, but I think of her all the time and the kindness she showed us.)

This story is part of our Pay It Forward roundup!

Read the next Pay It Forward story!

Read the Pay It Forward roundup!

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An Anti-Depressing Turn Of Events

, , , , | Healthy Right | April 22, 2016

(This happened during what was one of the worst times in my life. I’ve just transferred to a new college and it is a rough transition. I am lonely, self-conscious, have about a million doubts about myself and my life. My anxiety has gotten so bad that I am literally sobbing in the doctor’s office just by attempting to discuss it with him. This man has been my whole family’s doctor for most of my life.)

Doctor: “I know you’re reluctant to try medication, a lot of people are, but sometimes it’s just brain chemistry. And seeing you here like this, hearing that you’ve already tried therapy, I just want to help you find something that will help you.”

Me: “I just don’t want that to mean that there’s something wrong with me.”

Doctor: “That’s not what this means. It means that you’re doing what you need to do in order to live a happy, healthy life. And if it doesn’t work for you, you can stop whenever you want. Look, there’s this new anti-depressant that’s still in trial stages but it’s doing really well and has minimal side effects. How about I give you some of the free samples and you just try it out?”

(I eventually, reluctantly, agreed to this. As I left, I was handed a cardboard box, definitely bigger than I’d anticipated for just a few free samples. It turned out that my doctor had given me ten bottles of the stuff, all free samples, so that I would have enough that I could take back to college with me if I decided to use it, plus some free samples of an allergy spray that he knew I sometimes had trouble affording, and a prescription for another anti-depressant just in case this one didn’t work for me. This doctor honestly saved me. I took those anti-depressants for just about a year and they worked. I don’t take them anymore; I’ve changed enough in mind and body and lifestyle that I don’t need them now. But I never would have gotten to this point without them. My doctor took the time and effort to think of me as a person as well as a patient and went the extra mile to make sure I’d be ok. THANK YOU. This, to me, is what all doctors should strive to be.)

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True Value Of The Dollar

, | Hopeless Working | April 22, 2016

(My husband and I are in line for the register. Ahead is a man with a couple kids buying a few things and behind us is a pair of women with a few children. The man seems to have just found out his payment is declined. He is asking the cashier to put his things aside and he’ll be right back with a different form of payment.)

Woman #1: “How much is it?”

Cashier: “Like… five bucks.”

Woman #1: “Oh, I have that. Here.” *she pulls out a $20 bill* “Let me pay for it.”

Woman #2: “She’d be unhappy all day if you didn’t.”

Man: “Oh, thank you so much!”

Cashier: “Now I have to do math in my head… Here’s your change.”

(In short order the man had his purchases and was on his way. I wish there were something I could have done, too. It was the sweetest thing I had seen all day.)

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Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Taxi-ng

, , , | Working | April 21, 2016

(It is around 8:00 at night. I have just taken a cab to Port Authority to get a bus back home. The cab drops me off at the corner right before the station. I suddenly have a feeling that I’ve forgotten something and reach into my purse… to discover that my cell phone is not there. I begin frantically trying to find the cab I was just in, but there are at least a half dozen cabs in front of the station. After asking one cabbie if I was just in his taxi, I ask another, who, seeing my distress, asks what’s wrong.)

Me: “Was your cab the one I was just in?”

Cab Driver: “No, I don’t think so.”

Me: “Oh. Um… I’m sorry.”

Cab Driver: *sees that I am in distress about something* “What’s wrong?”

Me: *trying not to cry* “I can’t find my cell phone and I think I left it in a cab. I don’t remember the cab number and I have to get a bus back home soon and I don’t know what to do…”

Cab Driver: “Okay, why don’t you give me your number and we’ll call and see if the driver answers, then have him come back here to give you the phone.”

(I give the cab driver my cell number and we call several times, but there is no answer. We start figuring out an alternate plan so he can get my phone back to me if he finds it after I’ve left, which freaks me out even more because I don’t live in the city and have no idea if I’m ever going to see my phone again. We’re about to try calling my phone once more when the cab driver’s phone rings. It’s a random number. The driver puts his phone on speaker.)

Caller: “Hi, I found someone’s iPhone. Is it yours?”

Me: “Yes!”

Cab Driver: “Yes, it’s hers. We’re in front of [Bus Station]. Where are you?”

Caller: “In front of [Bank that I was dropped off nearby my original cab driver].”

Cab Driver: “Okay. We’ll find you. What is your cab number?”

Caller: “My what?”

Cab Driver & Me: “Your taxi number?”

(This goes back and forth for a few minutes, as he seems to have no idea what we’re talking about. Not wanting to wait any longer, the driver gets out of his cab, and we walk not even half a block to the bank, trying to find this cab. A man is standing in front of the bank.)

Caller: *sees us* “It’s you!”

(We all take a beat to realize that he’s the one who called the cab driver. We’d thought he was a cab driver himself, but he was a stranger who had found my phone on the street, where it must’ve fallen when I got out of the cab. He still has his phone up to his ear, and in his other hand is my phone, which he holds out to me.)

Me: “That’s mine! Oh, my God, thank you so much!”

(I nearly sob with relief and give him a huge hug. I profusely thank him and the random cab driver for helping me, and apologize to the driver for all the trouble. And to top it all off, I still made my bus, with two minutes to spare. There really ARE good people in this world…)

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