The Cosmos Of Kindness

, , , , , , | Hopeless | July 5, 2018

This is one of those weird cosmic coincidences. Five or so years ago I was driving home from work and noticed a homeless girl, probably in her early 20s, standing at the exit of an underpass. It was the middle of a Phoenix summer in the afternoon, so this girl was braving near 115-degree weather, which is hot enough to cause heat stroke. Her shirt was in tatters, held together with safety pins, and she only had a rough-looking bag slung over her shoulder.

As I didn’t have any food or cash on me, I pulled over and talked to her. It turns out she’d been kicked out of her home by an abusive now-ex boyfriend, who had destroyed all of her belongings out of spite. I offered to get her some healthy food from a nearby grocery store, which she gladly accepted. In the end, I got her some healthy-ish meals that wouldn’t spoil easily — lots of dried fruits and unsalted nuts — vitamins, a new shirt, and tampons, as the poor girl had been without for several months. She was immensely grateful, and refused any further help from me. She went about her day, and I quickly forgot the incident.

Fast forward a few years later, and one of my roommates was in a horrible car accident. When I rushed to the hospital, guess who the EMT who got her in the ambulance was?

That girl helped save my roommate’s life, and I’ll forever be thankful to her for it.

Just goes to show you that kindness really can save a life!

Long Hair, Short Argument

, , , , | Friendly | June 19, 2018

(All my children have long hair through preschool. They look like Kurt Cobain or Bilbo the Hobbit or Robert Plant, and wear no clothes that could be gendered as feminine, by their choice. I have this kind of conversation with strangers so often for so many years that it has became a well-established ritual, usually with strangers in the street.)

Woman: “Oh, my! Your daughter is so well-behaved!”

Me: “Actually, he is a boy.”

Woman: “You couldn’t tell with long hair. Long hair is for girls.”

Me: “But you have short hair.”

Woman: *disconcerted* “Yes, but not all women have long hair.”

Me: “And not all boys have short hair. Moreover, he doesn’t wear dress. He wears blue jeans… like you. Are you a man?”

Woman: *realizing that crying “discrimination” would make her a fool* “I must go. Bye.”

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H2-Slow, Part 18

, , , , , | Friendly | May 10, 2018

I noticed a car stopped on the side of the road with the hood open and smoke coming out of the engine, so I pulled in behind it. I got out and approached the driver, asking him if he needed anything, wanted a ride into town — about another 3km — needed to borrow my phone, etc.

He said that his engine was overheating, he thought he was low on coolant, and he was just hoping to let it cool down and try to limp it into town. I asked if some water would help get it there, and he said it probably would. I went back to my car and got out one of the 5L bottles of water I keep stashed inside, and handed it to him. He promptly undid the lid, turned it upside down, and poured it directly all over his still-smoking engine. Then, he smiled and thanked me.

I backed away slowly, maintaining eye contact, then got in my car and out of there as quickly as I could!

H2-Slow, Part 17
H2-Slow, Part 16
H2-Slow, Part 15

Please Just (Bus) Stop

, , , , , | Friendly | May 8, 2018

(It is late afternoon, and I just got off my lunch shift as a waitress. I am at the bus stop waiting for the next bus home. The bus stop has a handful of people waiting, including an old man. The old man comes up to me and starts talking.)

Man: “Hi. How are you?”

Me: “Good.”

(I am young and have a friendly face, which unfortunately seems to make me a magnet for chatty strangers in the street. I have since learned to keep my answers short and my eye contact away from strangers.)

Man: “So, you are waiting for the bus to go home?”

Me: *nods, but quickly darts my eyes away*

Man: “What’s your name?”

(I start to get nervous and annoyed for many reasons. The first is that I just got off of a waitressing shift, which means I have a lot of cash on me. I also don’t want to answer him, but we are both waiting for the same bus, and I won’t be able to avoid him even if the bus comes soon. I am tempted to just walk away, but the buses in my city typically run every 45 minutes, which means that it would be dark by the time I got to my home bus stop if I waited for the next route. Eventually, my fear of getting mugged for my lunch shift money in the dark outweighs my fear of a creepy old man, so I decide to humor him, but to lie for the rest of the conversation.)

Me: “My name is Catherine.”

(My name is not Catherine.)

Man: “So, I guess you are a student here?”

Me: “Yes, I am a nursing student.”

(I am a foreign-languages major and absolutely can’t handle anything medical.)

Man: “Oh, a nurse. Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Man: “Ah, good for him. If I were your age, I would certainly like to see what you could do.”

(He then proceeds to list a few crude acts. I am now completely uncomfortable and dart my eyes around the bus stop for help.)

Me: “Sir, please stop talking to me.”

Man: “Oh, what’s the matter? I am paying you a compliment.”

Me: “No, you are making me uncomfortable. Please go away.”

(Three girls are standing nearby, and one of them immediately goes over to me and takes me by the arm.)

Girl: “Hi, how are you? I haven’t seen you in ages!”

(She then leads me over to her friends and talks to me as if she has known me for years. I have never met this girl in my life, and I gratefully play along and have an animated conversation with them until the bus comes. When we get on the bus, she and her friends make sure to sit around me so that there is no way the man can sit near me. He sits far enough away that we can talk without him hearing.)

Me: “Thank you so much! I was starting to get really freaked out.”

Girl: “Yes, we saw how uncomfortable you looked when he went over to you, and when you told him to leave you alone, we decided to help out.”

Me: “I am so glad you did!”

(They sat next to me for the rest of the bus ride. The man was still on the bus as we got closer to my home bus stop, so I exited the bus two stops prior to my stop so he would not follow me home. Luckily, the girls were still on the bus by the time I was ready to get off, so I was not left alone on the bus with him. I took a very roundabout way to get home, but I got there just before dark. I never saw those girls again, but they were my angels that day. If you ladies are reading this, know that I never forgot what you did!)

A Beautiful Scam

, , , , | Friendly | May 7, 2018

(I have just left work and am walking down four blocks to meet up with my husband at his building to head home. I’m about halfway there when an older man stops me on the sidewalk.)

Man: “Oh, miss, I just had to stop you to tell you how beautiful you are!”

Me: “Uh, thanks.”

(I assume he is going to try and sell me something, so I am prepared to turn whatever it is down.)

Man: “You must be stopped like this all the time. How often does this happen to you, miss?”

Me: *thinking that if I appear overconfident perhaps he will stop badgering me*All the time. Constantly.”

Man: “Oh, how nice for you, miss. Now, how do you respond when people say this to you?”

Me: “I say, ‘Thank you.’”

Man: “That’s all? You don’t offer to take them out for lunch or dinner to thank them for such a wonderful compliment?”

Me: *now convinced this man is trying to get a free meal from me* “I tell them that I’m on my way to meet my husband.”

Man: “OH. Oh, I see. OH. Okay. Um… Okay, well, you tell him that is very lucky man and that you get stopped on the street. Oh. Okay. Bye now.”

(It might have been flattering if it didn’t seem like he was trying to scam me! My husband got a good laugh out of it later.)

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