Extending A Lilac Branch To A Stranger

, , , | Friendly | September 22, 2020

I’ve worked customer service my whole life. As a result, smiling at people is so ingrained into my nature that I smile at everyone out of reflex nowadays.

One day, I’m walking home after getting some necessities in town. It is a tough time for me. I only got a low-wage job too far from my real home so I have to share living in another town with a friend and I only see my husband on weekends. Money is always tight and while my job is great, my bosses suck, and life is overall just miserable and I can’t see it getting any better anytime soon.

While I’m walking down the street lined with nice one-family homes on my way to my shared flat, I see an elderly woman standing on the walkway cutting some branches from her lilac tree which is in full bloom. She looks up at me, and out of routine, I smile at her, nodding, as a greeting.

She smiles back.

I’m passing her and think nothing of it, but before I can go on, she steps in my way.

Woman: “Excuse me, miss.”

I turn back to face her.

Woman: “A smile like yours can open doors. You’ll see, a very lucky life is waiting for you!”

With those words, she handed me the branches she’d just cut from her tree, gathered those she’d cut before from the walkway, took her stuff, and headed back inside.

I smiled a little longer. Life was just so miserable at that moment that I didn’t believe her, but she had just gifted me my favorite flowers and made my day brighter.

But it turned out she was right. Not soon after, my constant job hunt earned me a great job above minimum-wage where I could work remotely, so I was able to move back home. Money isn’t so tight anymore and life is much better than I’ve ever dreamt, even if it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

If you’re in a tight spot, don’t give up on yourself. Keep smiling at people. Even if it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to get better, there’s always a chance someone will gift you at least a little happiness now and then, if you just gift them your smile.

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A Picture-Perfect Ending

, , , , , | Right | September 5, 2020

My mom is usually chill but has a streak in her that will cause her to be all Karen-y, especially when it comes to being able to get something free out of it. This is unacceptable to me and I usually try and fail to calm and quiet her down.

It is the day of my prom and I am super excited to take pictures at this gated nature preserve close to my house. We are meeting the photographer there and my mom comes with me so that we can get pictures together. 

When we get to the place I realize I don’t have cash on me and can’t pay the $1-per-person entry fee (amounting to $3). While we are still in the car I ask my mom:

Me: “Will be okay if you pay our entrance fee?”

Mom: “That’s fine.”

When we get to the gate she pulls one on me and asks the gatekeeper:

Mom: “Do we really need to pay entry? We’ll only be here for half an hour, and we just want to take some pictures for my daughter’s prom.”

I tried to quiet her down when I heard the direction it was going. Since the money was going to the conservation of the area, I was very embarrassed about her being that stingy.

When the gatekeeper heard “pictures,” he showed us a document that, lo and behold, brought the entry fee to $30.

I laughed in my sleeve and didn’t reimburse her, since she got what she asked for.

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Life Goals!

, , , , | Related | September 4, 2020

I am on holiday on the Gold Coast, Queensland. I go for a walk while my wife takes a nap. I walk 12km, but along the way, I need a “rest stop” and go into a local Surf Lifesaving Club. 

When I come out, there is an older woman sitting there looking out at the beach. I ask her what city I am looking back at.

Woman: “I don’t know; I’ve only been here a week.”

It’s Coolangatta.

Me: “What brought you here?”

Woman: “Well, I lived in Tasmania, and I sold my house when my husband died and rented a smaller place. My son and daughter-in-law moved in with me as they had a few problems and they could save a bit of rent money that way. I just had my seventy-fifth birthday, and my son said to me, ‘Well, Mum, time to get a power of attorney for me and for you to move into a retirement home.’”

She pauses and looks out at the beach again.

Woman: “I left them a note on the kitchen table that night and came over here. I’m going to live here where it’s nice and warm. Move into a retirement home and give them access to my money, my foot. They can go find another sucker to be their goldmine.”

I laughed and said I thought she was fantastic. I’m sorry I didn’t give her a hug. Good on you, ma’am; I hope it’s all still working for you!

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This Guy’s About To End Up At The Bottom

, , , , | Legal | August 19, 2020

I am a male law student. I study crimes, police powers, prisons, and so on. My flatmate is a Ph.D. student from the Middle East. He speaks good academic English, but he struggles under pressure and with phone calls in English. Our apartment is on the third floor, and the living room overlooks a crossroads.

Flatmate: “[My Name], come quick! There be man in street spit girl buttocks!”

Me: “Huh? What are you talking about?”

Flatmate: “Come come fast, man street, spits on girl her buttocks!”

I go and look out the window. A woman is running away from a man.

Flatmate: “See! Call police!”

I’m familiar with how police work. To report something like this, I need to be able to see it and report it myself. I watch the guy in the street for a few minutes. Another woman appears. She walks past the man. He bends down. He spits on her bum. She screams and runs away.

Flatmate: “See? Police, police!”

I call 999 and report it.

Me: “Hello, there is a man outside my apartment who spits on women’s bums as they walk past… Yes, it’s happened twice, just there now… No, it definitely wasn’t consensual; she screamed and ran away… It happened at [Location]. He is wearing…” *Gives a description* ”He is walking towards the river.”

Me: “Hey, [Flatmate]? Police are coming. If it happens again, tell me.”

I turn off the apartment lights so someone on the street won’t see me watching them. Twenty minutes later, I hear the screeching of tyres and I run to the window. There is a plain grey sedan car in the middle of the junction. All four doors open and four people get out. They run to the perpetrator, floor him, grab one limb each, and handcuff him. He is lying face down in the middle of a crossroads. I hear a voice from the street.

Voice: “Police! You are under arrest!”

Full marks to the police for dealing with it very quickly. I hear he was charged with sexual assault.

Two years later, I live as a lodger in a huge, beautiful home. My landlord’s friend visits and we are chatting.

Me: “So, what do you do for a job?”

Friend: “I’m a science teacher. And a judge.”

Me: “…and a judge? How does that work?”

Friend: “Oh, I’m a magistrate. I sit on weekends. I try sexual crimes.”

Me: “Really? There’s one guy I called the police on once. I always wondered what happened to him.”

I recount the story.

Friend: “I would have sentenced him to three to six months in prison.”

I had studied all of this in the classroom. It was entirely different seeing it for real. I hope that he has been reformed.

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You Can Really See The Love Here

, , , , | Friendly | August 11, 2020

I am visually impaired. I go to a training center in Nebraska that helps people like me learn to be independent and function in the world. One day, a buddy and I are learning the route to the gas station to get ourselves a soda and a bag of chips. We are just passing by the bus stop when we are stopped by an Arabic-speaking gentleman.

Man: “You wait for bus? Bus goes downtown here.”

Me: “Oh, if you’re going downtown, you’ll want the bus stop across the street. It’s this way.”

Man: “Oh, okay; I’ll go.”

The three of us make our way across the street, engaging in a little bit of small talk and introducing ourselves along the way.

Me: “All right, we’re here. Is this where you’re going?”

Man: “Yeah. You need bus?”

Me: “Nah, it’s all good. We got it from here. Thanks, man.”

Man: “No problem.”

I extend my hand for him to shake. In response, he comes over for a hug.

Me: “Nice to meet you.”

Man: “Yes, I love you.”

Me: “Uh…”

He walks over and gives my friend a hug.

Man: “I love you; I love you.”

My friend and I laughed a bit awkwardly as we continued on our way. As we kept going, our shop teacher came up behind us to help out, since we got a bit turned around. Turns out, he was watching us the whole time. We all had a good laugh about it afterward.

Every time I look back on that story, it makes me smile. I still think about how nice that man was, and I hope he’s doing well today.


This story is part of our feel-good roundup for August 2020!

Read the next feel-good story here!

Read the feel-good August 2020 roundup!

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