Handy With Handedness

, , , , , | Friendly | March 30, 2020

(I am eating lunch at my college when a couple of young men sit down at the table nearest me with some snacks of their own. They are close enough that I can hear them talking, and although I don’t speak it, I recognize the language they are speaking is Vietnamese.

It’s also necessary to note that I have Asperger’s Syndrome and one of my peculiarities is noticing and remembering someone’s handedness. It is kind of like noticing someone’s hair color; if you use your hands in a way that demonstrates your laterality, I can’t NOT note your dominant hand, I just do.

So, I can’t help but notice that one of the men nearby is left-handed by the way he eats. They finish quickly and get up to leave, but I notice that the left-handed man has taken his backpack, but neglected to pick up a smaller bag by his chair.)

Me: “Excuse me… Excuse me, sir? Sir?

(The two are too engaged in their conversation to realize I’m talking to them and are quickly walking to the door to the building. Out of desperation to get his attention, I blurt out the first thing I can think of.)

Me: “Uh… Left-handed Vietnamese guy!”

(The two men stop and slowly turn to look at me with bewildered expressions.)

Me: *awkwardly* “Um… y-you left your bag behind.” *points to the sack by the chair*

(The young man looked surprised when he saw it there, jogged over to pick it up, and thanked me, and they left.)

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There’s No Age Limit On An Adrenaline Rush

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 19, 2020

When I was fourteen, my Ma, Sis, and stepdad Jim — nicknamed Jimbo Bimbo Spam by my sis and I — and he had a cool little powerboat. 

One evening my ma, sis, and I were at the lake with the boat. There was a park near the spot where you back your boat into the water. While I waited for my turn, I happened to talk to a lovely couple. 

I’ve always remembered these things about them: they were in their mid-seventies, had been together for fifty years, and they had never officially married. 

After a bit of talking, my ma and sis popped up and joined in the conversation. My ma offered a ride and they gave each other a look, talking in their own little way without words but looks. They took the offer. My ma took the woman out for a bit and when they came back I got my turn with the gentleman and we took off.

We were going for a bit and this fellow was enjoying it with a smile and the wind whipping through his hair. This boat was good with catching the waves from other boats if you could whip the boat itself just right. I went in with a bit too much juice and caught a wave, the boat tilting a good bit.

I looked over in time to see this man in his seventies fall into the water. Now, I almost panic, hoping this man can swim and expecting a good earful if he can. I got the boat turned back around and saw his head pop up. When I came up to him, I reached out and helped him up. He got onto his seat and, after wiping at his face, he waved his hands and said with excitement in his voice, “That was crazy, mannnnnn!” and I swear I saw the youth in his face.

We started laughing for a good few minutes. We rode only for a little bit longer with him being soaked. I pulled up and we got off the boat, and before he left, the man gave me a good hug for a few seconds, along with back pats and a thanks for a good time. My ma and sis got on for a turn and I watched them ride off.

At one point, I saw the cutest thing: the man with his arm over the woman’s shoulder and her arm around his waist. She pulled him tight against herself, even with him soaked. It was a moment of genuine love.

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Do Your Hair Toss, Check Your Nails

, , , , , , | Working | March 17, 2020

(I have just moved to a small town after leaving an abusive relationship. As I’m starting a new job and my birthday is coming up, I decide to treat myself to a haircut.)

Hairdresser: “What would you like today?”

Me: “I’d like it cut to here–” *indicates to shoulders* “–with layers and half a head of foils, please. Will it be any more than [amount I have budgeted for]?”

Hairdresser: “That’s not a problem; I can do it for that.”

(As she’s cutting my hair, we chat.)

Hairdresser: “Are you new in town?”

Me: “Yes, I’ve just moved from [City] and start work on Monday at [Local Hotel]. My birthday is coming up, so to celebrate I thought I’d treat myself.”

Hairdresser: “Happy birthday and welcome to [Town]!”

(Once we finish with the foils and it’s time for me to pay:)

Hairdresser: “If you have time, I’ll do [expensive hair treatment].”

Me: “I only have [amount we agreed on].”

Hairdresser: “Don’t worry.” 

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

(When I go to pay)

Me: “Thank you! I love it. I definitely will be back.”

Hairdresser: “Great, I’m glad you like it. That’s [amount half of what we agreed on]. Happy birthday and good luck with the new job.”

Me: *almost in tears* “Are you sure?”

Hairdresser: “Perks of being the owner; I can charge what I want.”

Me: *crying* “Thank you, this means a lot. I’ve had a tough time lately and thought this might give me a boost.”

Hairdresser: “You’re welcome. If you ever need someone to talk to, you are welcome to come here for a cuppa.”

(Years later, with her support, I’ve married, had kids, and moved away, but I’m still friends with the other hairdressers and she’s become like my second mum.)

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Angels In The Outback

, , , , , , , | Working | March 17, 2020

(I’m on holiday when the town I live in is evacuated due to bushfires that have claimed three lives and damaged or destroyed over 200 homes. My husband, our three kids, and I have been staying in a motel for a week when the owner knocks on our door just after the evacuation orders are given. We are due to check out the next morning.)

Owner: “You guys are from [Town], right? I just heard that it’s been evacuated.”

Husband: “Yes, we’ve just heard. We might need to extend our stay if that’s possible.”

Owner: “You should be able to get housing through [Government Service]. I have a contact there; I’ll see what I can do. If not, we’ll work something out. Don’t worry about checking out tomorrow; just come to the office around 9:00.”

Me: “Thank you so much.”

(The next morning, he calls his contact, but due to us not being in our home they can’t help us.)

Owner: “Look, don’t worry about paying for the room. It’s yours as long as you need it; you guys have enough to worry about.”

Me: *crying* “Wow, thank you so much. This is our first holiday since before [Oldest Child] was born. I don’t know what we’d do, otherwise.”

Owner: “If you need anything, let me or [Owner’s Wife] know.”

(Thank you to these angels who have given us a little bit of hope when we don’t know if we could lose everything as there are catastrophic fire conditions throughout New South Wales and Queensland today. Please keep the people living in these areas in your thoughts and prayers.)

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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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