Positive, feel-good stories

When The Fare Is Fair

, , , | Working | June 29, 2016

(I didn’t hear all of this exchange, but I heard enough to know it belongs here. I’m getting on a bus when a passenger in front of me starts putting coins in the fare box. I should note that fare boxes on buses in my city don’t give change. The driver stops him after he’s put in $1.50.)

Driver: “Okay, stop there. You put in $4 last time, so I’ll just apply the $1.25 you overpaid as a credit toward your fare today.”

(Thank you, bus driver, for reassuring me that some drivers really do know and care about their passengers.)

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Drive It Forward, Part 2

, , , | Hopeless | June 29, 2016

It doesn’t snow here that often so when it does, folks lose their minds. It may be important to this story to say I am a very tall, rather burly black man. It snows a few inches while I am at work. I generally carpool with a friend. Their offices let out early but mine does not. After work I walk over to a bookstore and make some calls, trying to get a ride home. No one wants to go out in the weather.

Finally, I just decide I’ll have to ask a stranger. I stand in the door of the bookstore and look over those who are leaving. I do not ask a few women who left; I think that it might be awkward for them. A tall, young blond man steps out and I ask him if he’d be willing to give me a ride about four miles. He actually recoils before hemming and hawing that he can’t. But, right after him, an older red-headed woman steps through the door. Before I can say anything to her she speaks.

Woman: “I’ll give you a ride.”

Me: “Really? I mean, thanks. It’s only about four miles away.”

Woman: “No worries. This is lousy weather to be walking, but it’s really not too bad for driving. That van is mine.”

She drove me right to my door. She said it was only half a mile from her own home. I hope that was true. We had a very nice conversation and I even asked her why, as a white woman she had no hesitation to give a ride to a black man. Her answer:

Woman: “I’ve needed a ride in the past. I’ve always gotten one, too. It’s my turn to give one.”

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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A Minty Fresh Reaction

, , , | Hopeless | June 29, 2016

(It’s been a rough several days, and I’m having a panic attack a few minutes before class. A close friend of mine from that class finds me and gets me some water, and we sit and talk for a few minutes before going in together. Meanwhile, a complete stranger has been studying a few feet away, and suddenly she approaches me.)

Stranger: “Hey, I don’t know much about what’s going on, but I overheard your conversation, and I wanted to offer you some of these mints. I’ve had anxiety issues my whole life and they’ve gotten me through a lot.”

(I declined the offer, but I was really grateful for her kindness and I don’t know if I’ve ever loved my school more than I did in that moment.)

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Making New (Zealand) Friends

, , , | Hopeless | June 28, 2016

(It’s my last night staying in a hostel in San Francisco, and I’m taking the train home to Pennsylvania the next day. I’m in the cafe talking to some guys from New Zealand, who I met just that day. We really hit it off and even teamed up for a trivia contest the hostel held that night, which we won.)

Guy: “So, you said you’re heading back home tomorrow?”

Me: “Yep, catching the train home. Unfortunately, that means I have to wake up at 5:00.”

Guy: “Why?”

Me: “Because I have to take the subway to the train station, and I have to take the bus to the subway station, and to make sure I catch the bus on time, I have to get up really early!”

Guy: “Oh, no, f*** that, man. I’ll drive you!”

Me: *amazed* “Really?”

Guy: “Yeah, mate. Just wake me up about an hour before you want to leave so that I have time to get ready!”

Me: “Wow. Thanks, man!”

(He and his friends did indeed drove me to the train station in their rental car the next day. Because I didn’t have to wake up as early, I got to eat breakfast at the hostel, which I would have missed if I stuck with my original plan. This is what I love about the hostel experience: you get to meet so many nice and interesting people. We friended each other on Facebook and I still chat with them occasionally. I call them my kiwi bros.)

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Working Out That Attitude

, , | Friendly Working | June 28, 2016

(A new member has recently joined my gym, and it’s obvious from the start that he’s incredibly socially awkward, tending to strike up conversations with the other members while they’re trying to work out. I don’t mind him, because even though he’s slightly inappropriate, he’s very sweet and it’s obvious he’s just being friendly. One day he stops showing up.)

Me: “Hey, [Receptionist], I’ve noticed [New Member] hasn’t been going to his regular classes.

Receptionist: “Oh, yeah, he hasn’t been in for a few weeks.” *quietly* “Are you asking because he was making you feel uncomfortable? We’ve got a lot of complaints about him, and I’m sorry if that’s the case. Nobody should be made to feel like that.”

Me: *a bit agitated at her* “Yeah, I’m sorry, too. I hope he didn’t leave just because everyone here gave him a hard time for being friendly.”

Receptionist: “Uh… sorry?”

Me: “I mean, I agree; nobody should be made to feel like they’re not welcome just because they’re a little odd. It’s obvious coming here to get fit was a big deal to him, and considering how socially awkward he is I think it’s really great he’s taken this step.”

Receptionist: *sheepishly* “Oh… uh, yeah.”

Me: “I’m so glad you think so, too.”

(Luckily he came back the following week, and with a bit of time and encouragement he started to catch on to social cues a bit better. Shows how far a little self confidence can get you!)

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