Smiles For Miles!

, , , , , | Friendly | June 10, 2021

My wife and I race grass track sidecars in our spare time. We are getting our bike ready the morning of an event when we are approached by a man and woman with a child.

Man: “Hi. We don’t want to bother you, but would it be possible for our son to have a sit on your bike? He’s going through chemotherapy right now and could do with a smile.”

Me: “If I can get permission and it’s okay with you, I can do one better and have him come out with us on the parade lap if he wants?”

The boy’s eyes go as wide as dinner plates and his smile’s not much smaller as he looks at his parents expectedly.

Woman: “I think that’s a yes, then.” *Laughs*

I went to check that it was okay with the right people and came back with the good news. I also told them I’d arranged a surprise during the presentations afterward. They thanked me and left until it was time for the parade lap. When it came to the presentations, the boy was asked to come up onto the podium and help hand out the trophies, prize money, etc.

I often see the family when we are at events in the area and the boy is now all clear and healthy.

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Sounds Like Someone Made A Friend!

, , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2021

As a black American living in Germany, I’ve had my share of “unusual” experiences with strangers based on my skin color, whether it’s someone getting up and moving when I sit across from them on a bus or a smarta** teenager coming up to me and yelling, “Yo! Yo! Yo! Compton!”

My most memorable ones always involve small children, such as one child who removed her hand from her mouth and proceeded to rub her slobbery fingers on my cheek, causing her poor mother to turn bright red and profusely apologize.

But my favorite was an incident in which I was working in a restaurant sweeping up and a woman motioned me to come over. She motioned toward her daughter who looked about three or four.

Woman: “My daughter won’t eat her food and keeps watching your every move. I think you’re the first black person she’s ever seen. Can you say something nice to her?”

I made sure to put on a large smile, told her my name, and asked for hers — which she squeaked in a barely audible voice — complimented her stuffed dog that she was clutching, and gave her a fun-sized packet of jelly beans that employees include with kiddy meals. By then, she managed a smile, and her mother thanked me before I went on back to work.

They did come back to the restaurant a few other times after that, and the mother would always come to my register, with the child smiling brightly whenever she saw me.

I just hope the impression I gave will be a lasting one on that sweet child.

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No Such Thing As Overinflated Kindness

, , , , , | Right | May 26, 2021

My sister and I are flying from New York to Texas. I’m a very nervous flyer and get massive anxiety. We are in the air when I feel a panic attack coming on. At that moment, my sister gets my attention.

Sister: “Uh, [My Name], is this normal?”

I look at her tray and the bag of chips she bought in the airport has inflated a crazy amount. I’ve never seen that happen before.

Sister: “I really want to eat them but I don’t know if it’s safe to open.”

Me: “I’m not sure either. We really don’t need it to pop.”

The flight attendant is coming around, and when she gives us our drinks, I ask about the bag.

Me: “She really wants to eat them, but we’re worried it’ll pop. Is it okay to open the chips?”

The flight attendant is so nice and assures us it will be okay as long as we open it slowly. We have a good laugh about it, and my sister is able to eat her chips. We spend a week in Texas, and on the plane ride home, my sister gets my attention.

Sister: “Hey, isn’t that the same flight attendant from the trip here?”

I look over and I’m not sure. We argue for a bit until the flight attendant comes over to us. 

Me: “Excuse me. I’m sorry if this is a weird question, but do you fly this route often?” 

Not surprisingly, the flight attendant gives me a confused look. 

Me: “A week ago today, my sister and I flew to Texas. See, she had this bag of chips that was really inflated and—”

The flight attendant cracks up.

Flight Attendant: “Yes! I remember you! You were sitting over there! Any over-inflated bags today?”

Me: *Laughing* “No, none today. We didn’t get any snacks from the airport.”

Flight Attendant: “That’s okay! What can I get you?”

The flight attendant gives us a handful of cookies and pretzels for free!

Me: “Oh, no, really, it’s okay!”

Flight Attendant: “You were so nice on the last flight and so nice today. This is the least I can do!”

To that flight attendant, thank you for making me laugh and forget I was flying because flying is my least favorite thing to do. You helped start and end an amazing trip and that ended up being the last time we saw our dad before he passed away.

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No Spare Change? K.

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 24, 2021

I am pushing my cart of groceries to my car when a man approaches and asks if I could spare some change.

Me: “I don’t carry cash, but you can have a banana.”

I offer him a banana, which he takes.

Man: “Potassium! I love potassium!”

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Making A Stranger’s Day A Little Lighter

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 20, 2021

I’m fourteen years old and going to a convention. I’m going with friends but I’m also quite independent. I’ve made a costume that includes ribbons, but when I get it out at the hotel to steam before the con, I realise I’ve forgotten to seal one of the edges. I seal them by carefully melting the edge of the ribbon to stop it fraying. I also realise I’ve forgotten the lighter Mum gave me that I use to do this, so I decide to head down to the local corner shop and head straight to the counter.

Clerk: “Hi, how can I help?”

Me: “Could I just buy a lighter? I don’t mind what colour.”

The clerk gives me a funny look and a man walks up behind me. Totally oblivious to the funny look, I hold up my ribbon.

Me: “I need to seal this, or it might fray, and my fabric shop doesn’t stock this ribbon anymore.”

Clerk: “Yeah… but you have to be eighteen for me to do sell a lighter to you.”

There’s a really long pause.

Me: *Whispers* “But my ribbon…”

Clerk: “Sorry.”

They don’t really sound sorry. I step out of the store and contemplate my life; naturally, fourteen-year-old me feels that this is a disaster.

Man: “Hey, girl.”

I turn and it’s the man who came up behind me. He’s holding out a lighter.

Man: “Stupid enough not to be a lie, so I bought you one.”

Me: “Ooh! Thank you so much! Really! Thank you! How much do you want?”

Man: *Handing me the lighter* “Don’t worry about it; just sort your costume!”

He heads off and I head back to my hotel. I note that the lighter looks very different from what Mum uses; it’s heavier, generally bigger, and much much easier to use. I don’t think much of it. I fix my ribbon and pack away the lighter. I enjoy the con and head home.

Whilst helping me unpack my stuff, Mum comes across the lighter.

Mum: “How much did you spend on this?!”

Me: “Huh? Oh, a man gave it to me.”

Mum: “What do you mean, a man gave it to you?!”

Me: “I forgot to seal the ribbon and went to buy a new lighter, but the clerk said no. The man behind bought me one instead.”

Mum: “This is a [Brand] lighter. They’re £5!”

Me: “Oh… Is that a lot?”

Mum: “Mine are 50p!”

Thanks, random man who helped a random fourteen-year-old. I still have that lighter fifteen years later.

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