“Have you ever met a stranger that you only saw once but still think of?”

On 28 May 2014, EDS-1275 asked on Reddit, “Have you ever met a stranger that you only saw once but still think of?” Here are some replies (lightly edited):

• nosaJ4297 wrote: “I was in an airport and my flight was delayed for ten hours due to mechanical problems. Around hour six, I got hungry, so I walked to the food court. After walking around looking for some decent food, I decided to go to the Cinnabon. So I’m waiting in line, and the guy in front of me asks for a cinnamon bun. The cashier tells him they’re out of single cinnamon buns. He can either buy a two-pack or five mini-buns. He thinks for a moment, then turns to me. ‘If I buy the two-pack, will you take the extra?’ he asks. I accept his offer, and I try to give him some money for mine, which he declines. We decide to sit together while we eat them, and as we’re eating, I ask why he wouldn’t let me pay him. He tells me, ‘I’m flying out for my mother’s funeral. She always tried to make the best of a bad situation, so I wanted to honor her good nature.’ I’ve never seen or spoken to that man since then, and he’s probably long forgotten about me. But every time I smell a cinnamon bun, I think of him TL;DR random guy in an airport bought me a cinnamon bun.”

• crocodilejim wrote, “There was a nice guy at a Walmart who looked like a badass biker. He helped me find my parents when I got lost.”

• Openminded_skeptic commented, “A street clown in the French Quarter proposed to me when I was 15 years old. No one has proposed to me since, so I think about him with regret every so often…”

• [Namecensored] wrote, “I once saw a homeless old man fall down right in the middle of the street, smack onto the blacktop. It was a wide city street, 3 lanes each way, and he was basically rolling on his back and flailing, unable to stand or right himself.

“Waving my arms over my head like a madman so cars would see me, I ran out into the road. ‘Can I help you up, sir?’ I asked him, but he was so scared and stressed, he couldn’t really answer. He kind of moaned and whimpered in panic, which I took to be approval, so I crouched down, told him to hug his arms around my neck, I hugged my arms around him under his arms, and we stood up together.

“At this point, cars had stopped around us, and were honking their horns, and I was torn between heartbreak and rage with the callousness, but with his arm over my shoulder, I walked him to the side of the road and sat him down on a bus stop bench, and asked if there was anyone I could call for him, or if he wanted me to call for an ambulance.

“He immediately burst out crying. Loud, wet sobs of pure anguish. I just sat with him, and when he could talk, he said, ‘I can’t believe you stopped. I can’t believe you helped me. I was sure nobody would help me. I was sure I was dead out there. I just can’t believe you would stop for me.’

“I told him I only did what anybody would do, and asked him again if there was anybody I could call, or anything I could do for him. ‘No, there’s nobody to call anymore,’ he said, with a sad little laugh. ‘You just keep being a good person. That’s all you can do.’

“We shook hands, and I walked away, then I got home and cried my f[**]king eyes out, without really understanding why.”

• eDgAR wrote, “When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money, so we often shopped at [a] thrift store. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which one I wanted to get and then decided after I’d gone through them all.

“One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, ‘Promise me that you’ll keep reading.’ I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.

“This was probably about 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.”

• FuzzyManPeach wrote, “I remember when I had gotten my first job, working as a cashier at Walmart.

“It was my first day and I’d received pretty substandard training, and I was really nervous with it being my first day, at my first job ever. I was ringing a man up, and I couldn’t remember the PLU code for something, and I couldn’t find it on the paper fast enough for his liking. He threw his pastries at me, and called me a stupid c[*]nt and tried to walk off.

“I was sort of … choking back tears a bit, I was really upset that I’d already messed up. An old lady behind him in line was watching this all go down, she FREAKED THE F[**]K OUT on him, she must have been 70 or so. I’ve never heard anyone swear like that before. Then she turned to me, and said something like ‘It’s okay, sweetheart, I’m doing this because I know you can’t’, and proceeded to chew him out some more.

“I think of her often. I was so grateful.”

• thrillho97 wrote, “At one point I had a lot of body image issues […] and the skirt and top I was wearing one day made me feel/look like a sausage and I was pretty grumpy. Some little girl was trying to catch quick glances at me, probably for wearing all black, I thought. Later on a woman comes up to me and she says, ‘My daughter has something she’d like to say to you,’ and this kid is like ‘I think you dress really cool!’ and it brightened up my day and I didn’t act like a cranky bitch the rest of the day.”

Source: EDS-1275, “Have you ever met a stranger that you only saw once but still think of?” Reddit. 28 May 2014


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