Positive, feel-good stories

The Convergence Of Kindnesses

, , , | Right | July 12, 2013

(I am tending to my customers’ needs, and watching the front door. A customer enters and asks for a table. I seat him and get him a cup of coffee.)

Customer: “How far is it to Quebec?”

Me: “I honestly have no idea, sir. But, if you don’t mind my asking, why are you heading there?”

Customer: “Well, I have to be at work by tomorrow, and I’m sure I would have made it if the tire hadn’t come off my truck.”

(He looks over the menu, orders, and receives his meal. As I am putting in another order on the computer, the father of the family seated at the table beside the other man approaches me.)

Father: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Yes, sir? Is there something I can help you with?”

Father: “Has the man beside us ordered yet?”

(The customer with the car problems is clearly of East Indian descent, and I immediately fear that this other man is about to make some racist comment.)

Me: “Is there some kind of problem, sir?”

Father: “No, not at all. But I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind putting his dinner on our bill.”

(I am pleasantly surprised by this, and get into the computer to add the unfortunate customer’s check to the families. The family leaves soon after. When I next check on the customer, he has finished eating.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can do for you tonight, sir?”

Customer: “No, I’m fine, thanks. Just the bill, if you please.”

Me: “Well, sir, I’m pleased to say that the family seated beside you earlier asked to pick up your bill.”

Customer: “Did they really?”

Me: *smiling* “Yes.”

Customer: *smiling* “You know, it really makes me glad to know that there are still good, kind people in the world. It gives you hope.”

(Not having anything else to do, I take some time to sit and listen to the man, as he’s expressed a desire to tell me why he’s on his way to Quebec. After having served as a soldier for some time, he grew tired of feeling as though he were living a double life, having to keep secrets from his loved ones so as to fulfill his duties. He then decided to leave the service, receiving a dishonorable discharge and losing nearly everything he owned in the process. During his time of service, he lived in Quebec and met a young woman who befriended him and showed him that there was more to life than simply having money and material possessions. The two of them ended up in a relationship that was cut short because of his constant dedication to his duties, and she claimed that it had grown hard to trust him.)

Customer: “So, I’m heading back to Quebec to see her. I have nothing left to lose but her, and I’m going to take up a job as a mechanic, get a place for the two of us, and ask her to marry me.”

(At this point, I am nearly in tears.)

Customer: “But that’s where I’m unsure. I don’t know if she’ll want to marry someone like me.”

(We talk a bit more, and I tell him that, in the time I’ve spent listening and chatting with him, he seems like a very good person, and that giving up his pension and career in the service for this woman speaks very strongly about his character. After a while, he goes out to his truck, and returns with a coin.)

Customer: “I told them that I didn’t care. I told them that I was tired of living a lie. They laughed in my face and gave me this. They told me to find someone who gave a s***.”

(The customer hands me a foreign coin and smiles.)

Customer: “So those are the words I live by: ‘Find something to give a s*** about’.”

(As he walks to the door, he thanks me, and I wish him all the luck in the world. This night at work really emphasized two things for me: A little kindness goes a long way, and if you give a s*** about something, you won’t give up on it. Whoever you are, sir, I truly wish you the best. I hope that the woman you love sees just how much you care about her, and that the two of you can spend your lives together. And to the man who paid for his meal, I will never forget the kindness you offered to another in need.)

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Acts Of Kindness Do Register

, , , , , , | Right | April 24, 2013

(I’m working as a cashier during the Black Friday sale. We just had new registers installed a few months ago. It is extremely busy because of the sale. I’ve finished scanning everything for a customer.)

Me: “Okay, your total is $1,458.97.”

Customer #1: “Okay, credit.”

(She scans her card, and my entire register crashes. My screen is totally black.)

Me: “Uh… I need to call a supervisor over. My register just crashed.”

(My supervisor comes over and I explain the situation.)

Customer #1: “Oh, no! Did I break it?”

Supervisor: “No, it’s possible that all the transactions have just overloaded the system. I’ll take you to the service desk, and we’ll fix this.”

Customer #1: “Oh, okay.”

(She follows my supervisor. The other supervisors move the rest of my line to the service desk. I go outside to take my break when another customer approaches me.)

Customer #2: “Were you the one whose register broke down?”

Me: “Yeah, that was me.”

Customer #2: “That must have been a bit nerve-wracking.”

Me: “Yeah, but at least that lady was calm about it. It could have been a lot worse!”

Customer #2: “Are you guys allowed drinks while you’re working?”

Me: “Not normally, but they are allowing it tonight because of the sale. I should go back in and get back to work. Have a nice night.”

(I return and my register is working properly. About an hour later, [Customer #1] and [Customer #2] come back through my line. They set one of every drink we sell by the checkout lines on my counter.)

Customer #1: “Pick one.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer #1: *points to [Customer #2]* “My husband told me that he talked to you on your break. You were very calm and didn’t have anything bad to say. So pick a drink; it’s on me!”

(One of my supervisors comes over and assures me it’s okay.)

Me: “Okay, thank you. I’ll take this one.”

(It turns out they were from the corporate office, and they gave my manager a great letter of commendation! I never volunteered for Black Friday after that, though!)


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Radiating A Feeling Of Thanksgiving

, , , , | Right | March 15, 2013

(I am a married father of three and money is tight. A few days before Thanksgiving, my truck develops a radiator leak. I really need my truck fixed on this particular Saturday. I find a local shop that is willing to take a look even though they are usually closed Saturdays.)

Mechanic: “Okay, I found a pinhole leak in one of the side tanks on the radiator and should be able to fix it no problem. It will be about $45.”

(I grimace at the cost, but have no choice.)

Me: “Okay, do what you need to. I just need it fixed.”

(After another twenty minutes…)

Mechanic: “Well, I have good news and bad news. The hole is fixed but it turns out that the seal on the other side is leaking badly as well.”

Me: “How much more will that cost to fix?”

(He leans into the manager’s office and asks how much.)

Manager: “That would bring it up to $65.00… maybe more, depending on how we have to repair it.”

Me: “Well, go ahead and fix it. I really need the truck running today.”

(The mechanic goes back to fix it. My phone rings and it’s a friend. )

Friend: *on the phone* “How bad is the truck? How much will it cost?”

(I proceed to tell him the truck’s condition and cost, and add…)

Me: “…this really hurts because it’s coming out of our grocery money for the week.”

(After my truck is fixed, the mechanic comes in to speak with the boss.)

Mechanic: “Alright, it’s all fixed and ready to go. Boss? How much do I charge him?”

Manager: *to me* “Where is your car parked? Front or back?”

Me: “Out front.”

Manager: *to the mechanic* “Take it out front and put it in his trunk for him. No charge.”

Me: “What? Are you serious?”

Manager: “As a heart attack. You go enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family, and Happy Holidays!”

(In shock and disbelief, I leave the shop with the mechanic, load up with my son, and leave. It dawns on me five minutes into the drive I forgot to even say thank you! I went back the following Monday and thanked him profusely and took a stack of business cards with me. I now recommend them to anyone who has car troubles. And they say kindness is dead in our modern age.)


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Judge A Sandwich On Its Filling

, , , , | Right | March 11, 2013

(A young girl that is about 14 years old walks in. She gets some looks from our other patrons, as she has bright purple hair, multiple piercings, a leather jacket, and ripped jeans. It is freezing outside and she has a scowl on her face that makes me nervous.)

Me: “Hello, welcome to [Coffee Shop]. How may I help you?”

Young Girl: “I’ll take five of the largest black coffees you have, and ten of your ham and cheese sandwiches.”

Me: “Okay, will that be all?”

Young Girl: “Yeah.”

Me: “Your total is [price].”

(To my surprise, she pulls out a $100 bill. I am suspicious, and I check to make sure it’s real. It checks out, and I give her a bag with her sandwiches.)

Me: “Here is your change. Your coffee will be ready in a moment.”

(I keep an eye on her as she stands around glaring at anyone who looks at her. I see her looking at the tip jar. When I hand her the coffees, she asks me about it.)

Young Girl: “Your tip jar says that the money goes to you guys. Are any of you in college?”

Me: “Yes, I’m going to Rochester Institute of Technology. A few others are in college as well.”

Young Girl: “Good for you.”

(She pulls out the change I gave her and a few more $20 dollar bills. She crams then in the jar and salutes me jokingly before walking out. I am stunned, and chase after her. I find her on the street corner talking to some homeless people and handing out the sandwiches and coffee.)

Me: “Excuse me!”

Young Girl: “I’m sorry, did I forget something?”

Me: “No, but you just tipped us over $100 dollars. You’re also giving away a lot of food.”

Young Girl: “Yeah, my dad is crazy rich. I feel like I can do more if I actually interact with people instead of signing a check to a charity. Every Friday I gather anyone I see who needs a good meal, and buy it for them.” *she smiles brightly* “I may be young, but I can make a difference. I usually hand out flyers for homeless shelters or soup kitchens, too.”

(Without another word, she walked off silently. I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the week. It goes to show you that appearances aren’t everything!)


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Suited To The Role

, , , , , , , , | Right | February 18, 2013

(I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

(The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

(I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

(My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here, too. Got it?”

Homeless Man: “I… oh, my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

(Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife — the owner’s sister.)

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