On 1 March 2014, Redditor Maebyimannoyong asked, “How did a non-sexual random encounter with a complete stranger, completely change your life?” Here are some replies:
1) gabew101 wrote, “Six years ago my wife and I had just had our first child. He was born through emergency c-section because he wasn’t responding to labor. He went straight to the neonatal intensive care unit [NICU] due to rapid breathing problems. My wife and I were allowed to see him only at certain times of the day after we had spent 20 minutes scrubbing up. We were allowed to feed him but not hold him. After three days of staying at the hospital, we were extremely tired, frustrated, scared, and unsure of what would happen next. The doctor gave my wife an Rx, and I volunteered to head out and pick it up. I hadn’t showered in a couple days, and I imagine I looked somewhat like a zombie. I walked in to the nearest drug store and gave the clerk at the pharmacy the paperwork. He was a 20-something guy working the night shift. He must have noticed I was a little down, and he asked how things were going. I told him that we had just had our first son but that there were complications and that he was in the NICU. He asked my son’s name and I told him. He repeated the name back to me and said thoughtfully, ‘That’s a strong name, sounds like a Heisman Trophy winner … I’m sure he’s gonna be just fine.’ He smiled and I teared up. He handed me the medicine and told me to make sure I got some rest and I thanked him and went back to the hospital to stay with my wife. Two days later on Christmas Day we went home as a family with a healthy baby. It may have not changed my life, but I will never forget the kind words he spoke … it gave me a glimmer of hope in the middle of a hard circumstance. Never underestimate the power of a kind word to a stranger.”
2) birdslug commented, “The man in front of me in line at an ATM [Automatic Teller Machine] goes ‘WOAH!’ He turns around to me with a smile and holds up several hundred dollars cash and says ‘bank error in my favor!’ Then he started walking into the bank, and I said, ‘Wait, you’re not gonna keep it?’ and he said, ‘You are who you are in the darkness.’ I stopped lying after that.”
MrPur3D asked, “Can you explain that line? Not my native language.”
Poopshoes answered, “It’s saying the sort of person you are is determined by how you act when no one can see. He might have gotten away with the extra money, but since he was an honest person, he chose to return it anyway.”
3) OT2424 wrote, “There is an elderly couple who live in my apartment complex; sometimes I see them walking around together. The husband clearly has no concept of what is going on; he cannot talk or do anything for himself anymore. The wife spends all of her time walking around with him telling him stories about their life and making sure he is warm on the really cold days. It made me realize the kind of love I want to have, and what is really important in a life partner.”
4) Mmmm wrote, “I work as a manager at a restaurant. Unfortunately, a good number of our guests feel like they should be waited on hand and foot, especially when it comes to families. Nine times out of ten, they will be the ones who complain about their food taking forever minutes after they have ordered, complain about something so minuscule that it is more inconvenient to fix than it is to ignore, or ask something so ridiculous from me that it might as well be comical.
“Quite a while ago I was so close to my breaking point; in those past few weeks I felt like almost every customer I spoke to was rude and nothing was going well at work. We were understaffed yet again and everybody needed help. I was ready to find a new job, but decided that I would finish my shift before I decided to quit, so I went to go help a server take some orders. Right away on the first table I approached, I immediately noticed that it was a husband and wife who had three children with them. All I could picture was me, approaching this table, and having what might as well have been two demons and their little hell spawns ask me for food in the most rude way possible and then proceed to eat what little bit of dignity I had left for the day. Well, while I was introducing myself, one of their younger daughters started holding my hand for no reason. I had no idea why she grabbed my hand, or what I should have done about it, so I just kind of let it happen. Her mom told her to stop but didn’t explain anything to me.
“As strange as it was, it was a nice gesture, and as little as it may have seemed it made me feel better. I finished taking their order without saying much and went to go help some other guests but the more time that passed the less upset I felt about work and the more I thought about this little girl. I could not figure out for the life of me why she held my hand and what she was trying to say to me. I brought out their food about 15 minutes later and asked if they needed anything else. They all thanked me, and said they were all set. The little girl did not say a single word to me but she did try to hold my hand again. I didn’t know if she could talk or not, but I did not want to ask. Her mom must have read my mind because she looked at me, apologized, and began to explain that her daughter had autism and didn’t understand how to communicate very well. I told her it was no problem and it didn’t bother me at all, but I had to ask what she was trying to tell me by holding my hand. Her mom smiled and said she saw that you were upset and decided to hold your hand because she always feels better when someone holds her hand. I swear I almost cried. I said thank you to both her and the little girl and spent the rest of the day with the biggest grin on my face.
“That one girl showed exactly how one small gesture can change someone’s day by flipping mine around without even saying anything to me. She doesn’t know but she stopped me from quitting my job just by being one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and it is because of that little girl that I spend everyday appreciating the small things I see people do for each other.”
For Further Information: Maebyimannoyong, “How did a non-sexual random encounter with a complete stranger, completely change your life?” Reddit. 1 March 2014
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