Share A Taxi, Share Some Kindness

, , , , , | Friendly | March 17, 2020

When I was fifteen, I went on a trip to my cousin, who lived in Vienna, Austria. I’m from The Netherlands, so I had to take four different trains to get there, and for two of them I had to make a reservation. I was at the station on time, but the first train had a delay of half an hour, which meant that I would miss the next train that would take me through Germany and for which I had made a reservation. I started panicking on the first train and called my parents on my old Nokia, but of course, they couldn’t do anything, either.

When I got to the station, I was almost in tears. Wi-Fi wasn’t a thing and I didn’t know what to do or who to call. But then, a man came up to me, and asked me where I was heading and if I wanted to share a taxi. It’s not usual in The Netherlands to take a taxi, as the public transport is very good, plus it’s way too expensive for a fifteen-year-old, so I didn’t think of it myself. I heard my mom’s voice in my head, saying that I shouldn’t go to a different country in a strange car with a man I didn’t know, but I really didn’t have a choice.

So, we went to the taxis and found a guy who would take us to the town the train was supposed to go. He charged 90 euros, and the man and I agreed that he would pay 70, and I would pay 20, as I didn’t have that much money.

During the ride, the man turned out to be really nice. He was from Brazil, living in Germany, so we spoke to each other in a mix of German and English. Even though I didn’t always understand what he was saying, he still managed to calm me down.

When we got to the station, even though he had to travel a bit further to get to his home, he got out of the car to help me get my bags. I took my wallet to get him the 20 euros I owed him, but he pushed my hand away and said, “No, no, it’s okay. I’ll pay it. Enjoy your stay at your cousin’s.”

This happened seven years ago and I still think of it. It probably didn’t mean a lot to him, but it sure did mean a lot to me. He made me realise that day what being kind and giving what you can miss — 20 euros weren’t a lot to him, but to me, at fifteen, it was — can mean to someone else. 

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I made the train.

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A Wheelie Cool Therapist

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 16, 2020

(I’m a physical therapist. My next patient is reportedly frail; she’s wheelchair-bound and doesn’t leave her bed.)

Patient: “Can you teach me to do a wheelie?”

(I couldn’t help but laugh. She ended up being a fairly healthy girl, albeit with less muscle tone due to her condition. The reason she hadn’t left her bed? The nurses had put a bed alarm on her — standard procedure for someone like her — and she hated moving with an IV.

I wasn’t allowed to teach her how to do a wheelie, but I was able to teach the basic concept. Get a friend to pull you back, practice balancing for a while, and then try it on your own. Shove the wheels, hard, and have someone catch you when you fly backward. I think she’ll be just fine.)

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A Regular Nice Guy

, , , , , | Friendly | March 15, 2020

I was enjoying breakfast at a small, locally-owned diner, sitting at the counter. I was chatting with the owner — also a waitress — when a regular walked in, strolled up to the counter, and sat down two seats away.

The owner said, “Good morning, [Customer].” He never ordered his meal; it just showed up — a definite regular. I began chatting with the man, who seemed to be in his seventies.

I mentioned that my wife and I were considering moving to the area from about 70 miles away. It would be a significant commute for me for work, but the area is gorgeous. He told me about a place down the road from his apple orchard. It turned out to be more acreage than we were interested in and about double the price we were looking for.

The waitress pulled off my food ticket and set it down in front of [Customer]. I thought she had made a mistake. I then saw [Customer] grab his ticket and mine off the counter. I sat there with my mouth agape, looking at her, then at the tickets [Customer] took, and back at her.

She said, “He does that now and then for people.”

I said, “That’s not fair. That’s not right.”

He didn’t say anything. He just paid both bills. I left a large tip even though he’d left a tip, too. I profusely thanked him and left. I don’t know if he reads this site, but if so, I’ll see you during apple season because I am going certainly be at your orchard to buy some apples.

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Big Voice Belonging To An (Eventually) Big Person

, , , , , | Right | March 14, 2020

I was working in customer service at a car dealership a few years ago. A man came in to pick up his truck after service and, as a safety precaution, we had to remove some aftermarket floor mats from the driver’s floor and put them in the back — as per liability for the dealership.

As I was explaining the situation, he interrupted me and just started yelling. He stopped listening to what I was saying and stormed off.

The next day, he came to my desk, apologized sincerely, and gave me a $50 gift card to a coffee shop near the dealership. It’s not often you get a customer apologizing for getting upset and taking responsibility for his actions. It takes a big person to step up like that and I’ll always remember him for going above and beyond an apology. I hope he sees this and knows I appreciate what he did.

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All Cats Are Equally Evil (And Adorable)

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 14, 2020

On my fifth date with my new girlfriend, she’s invited me back to her house for the first time. Since my parents are highly superstitious, they instilled a lot of irrational fears in me as I was growing up that I’ve had to work hard to dispel. I haven’t yet fully rid myself of the idea that black cats are evil.

She invites me in, we settle on the couch, and what do I see but a black cat, perched on top of the bookshelf. Knowing that if I make her choose between me and the cat, I’ll lose, I try to deal with it, but after a few minutes, it’s obvious that I’m nervous and uncomfortable. My girlfriend extracts the reason why.

She then goes over, picks up the cat, brings it over, and sets it on my lap. The cat curls up and starts purring. As it turns out, my girlfriend adopted the cat from a shelter after it was abandoned by its former owners, and as a result, the cat loves its humans and is very clingy, worried it will be abandoned again. 

It takes about three more trips over before I decide once and for all that my parents are morons and black cats are awesome. It’s very hard to dislike a purring furball that snuggles up on your chest and rubs its face against your cheek. It’s been three years since I met the cat, and I’m now engaged to the cat’s fellow pet human.

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