Help Is A New York Minute Away

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 1, 2016

(It’s my first visit to New York and the only place I can afford to stay is a really tatty motel in New Jersey beside a major road. I’m from the UK where most places are walkable and most bus stops clearly marked, so am very confused as I try to discover where to catch a bus back into the city. I go into a donut shop but no one will answer when I try to ask them. I’m 19 and the area is really rough, so I’m pretty worried. I head next door to a garage where I figure that people will need to get away by public transport sometimes.)

Me: “Excuse me, can anyone tell me where I can catch the bus into New York?”

Mechanic: “You’re catching the bus?”

Mechanic #2: “You okay, kid?”

Man In Queue: “There’s a stop outside [Store], isn’t there? But that’s across the freeway.”

Woman Halfway Down The Queue: “I have my car booked in at 10, but I’m taking this girl to the stop first. Come on, honey.”

Mechanic: “No problem, ma’am.”

Mechanic #2: “Travel safely, kid.”

(Bemused I follow her and we drive off.)

Woman: “So, how did you get here?”

Me: “I caught the bus out yesterday. I stayed at [Motel] but it was pretty grim so I decided I’d head back to Boston this evening rather than tomorrow.”

Woman: “Hmm. I’m taking you to the train station. I’m not putting you on the bus when you are all shaken up.”

(We pull up outside a railway station.)

Me: “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Woman: “I have kids your age. Now, do you have enough for the train ticket? Here, have a candy bar to eat on the way. You take care now.”

(That was almost 20 years ago and I haven’t forgotten the lovely lady who rescued a very confused English teenager! It is also the story of how I broke the golden rule: never get into a car with a stranger…)

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Raising A Child That Gives A Crap

, , , , , | Related | April 1, 2016

(I’m walking through a big dog park, where people often leave their used dog bags behind them, and it gets kind of gross over time. I see a mom bag up her dog’s poop, and then drop the bag on the trail.)

Four-Year-Old Son: “Mommy, you forgot the bag.”

Mom: “Oh, honey, we’ll get it on the way back out.”

Four-Year-Old Son: “But we need to throw it away.”

Mom: “It’s too far to the next trash can. We’ll get it later.”

Four-Year-Old Son: “But Mommy, we can’t just leave poopy behind.” *picks up the bag and hands it to his mom* “We’ll find a trash can soon.”

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Finding Those Rare Jewels

, , | Hopeless | April 1, 2016

(It’s the beginning of December. My family is travelling through California on our way to a famous theme park and have stopped at a fast food place for dinner. It’s dark and my father and I are taking our time getting out of the car while my sister and mother head in when a lady holding a box approaches us.)

Lady: “Hey, I don’t mean to bother you guys, but I’ve recently lost my job and so has my daughter. Our rent’s coming up so we made some jewelry.”

(She pauses, starting to get emotional.)

Lady: “Sorry, I’ve never done this; I just don’t feel like I have any other option. I understand if you want me to leave.”

(I exchange a glance with my dad.)

Me: “No, no, it’s totally fine! Unfortunately I don’t have any cash on me. Is there anything else we can do to help though?” *half-jokingly* “Do you need a hug?”

(To my surprise she starts crying and says yes, so I do my best to give her the most comforting hug ever.)

Lady: “Thank you so much. Tell you what, I have some bumper stickers in my car. You’re not from here right? I’ll give you one for free.”

(She headed to her car with her box of jewelry and my father and I went to follow when I remembered I had a little pouch with at least $5 in quarters for laundry. I grabbed that and headed over. When I tried to give it to her, she at first refused, saying the hug was enough. Then we decided I was paying $3 for the bumper sticker she would have normally sold for $1. We went inside and ate, telling my mom and sister about her. She was still there when we left and my dad remembered he had a $20 bill, so the whole family came over and my mom picked out a beautiful hand beaded necklace and earring set and my little sister bought a bumper sticker for $2. My mom gave her a hug, too, and we wished each other well in job searches. We never exchanged names, but I hope you and your family are doing well! I didn’t get a job but I’m going to college instead, and am doing fine living with my parents.)

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A Full Quarter Of Honesty

, , | Hopeless | March 31, 2016

(I’m hanging out at an arcade at the end of a roller coaster when I come across a sandwich bag full of quarters forgotten at a machine. I look around, but no one is nearby and no one is watching them. I pick them up, and when no one reacts, I bring them to the counter.)

Me: “Hi. Someone left their bag of quarters behind.”

Employee: “Oh, wow. Thanks for turning this in!”

Me: “No problem.”

(I know that at least two employees have to log any found money, so I leave him to get his partner as I head to the next attraction. When I’m on the other side of the esplanade outside, I hear someone calling.)

Employee: “Miss! Miss!”

(I look around, and see the man I handed the quarters to running towards me.)

Me: “What? Sorry, is something wrong?”

Employee: “No, I just wanted to offer you a reward for turning in the money. It was a pretty full bag, after all.”

(He takes out a voucher park employees have that can get you a free soda, ice cream, or get to the head of one line.)

Me: “Um, that won’t be necessary…”

Employee: “No, I insist.”

Me: “Then I suppose I wouldn’t say no to a soda.”

Employee: “Consider it done.”

Me: “Thanks.”

(He fills out and signs the voucher and goes back. I exchange it at the nearest ice cart. I was really impressed with what he did. Not only rewarding someone for simply not stealing/ignoring lost money, but for him to chase me down when I’d already left instead of shrugging and moving on shows just how dedicated he was to fulfilling the park’s values of customer service.)

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Help Taking The Wait Off Your Foot

, , , | Hopeless | March 31, 2016

(I have just finished my shift as a cashier when my ride calls to say she’ll be an hour or two late. I’d had minor foot surgery the day before and I’m in a lot of pain so I find some nearby grass to sit on while I wait. A truck drives by, then turns around and parks not far away. Two guys and a girl get out and walk over.)

Guy #1: “Hey, we saw you crying and had to come back. Are you okay?”

Me: *rubs my eyes, embarrassed* “Oh! Uh, yeah. My foot hurts and I can’t walk, and my ride is late. It’s no big deal.”

Girl: “We could give you a ride home if you want. Do you live nearby?”

Me: No, that’s okay. I don’t want my ride to worry about me. Thanks, though.

Guy #2: “Well, we can’t leave you here, so we’ll wait with you.”

(The three of them sit on the grass with me and start showing off their tattoos, talking about video games, and trying to make me laugh. When my ride finally calls to say she’s only a few minutes away, they wish me a better day and leave. I don’t think I even learned their names, but I’ll never forget their kindness.)

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