On 5 January 2015, Redditor Fluffstermonster asked, “What random act of kindness has a stranger done for you that you’ll always remember?” Here are some replies:
1) TWSS33 wrote, “I was 18 and out on my own travelling the world. I was near the end of my trip (London to New York for a week and then home to Australia) and I fell ill with what I didn’t know at the time was glandular fever. Anyway I was in terrible condition and I barely had any energy. I was pretty worried because I was so sick and had no idea what was wrong with me. All I knew is that I was in a bit of trouble.
“I was desperate to get home, so I pushed forward. On the plane I met a girl who was a fair bit older than me — around 30 odd. She was English and spent the whole flight chatting to me. She could tell I was pretty sick and did her best to keep me happy.
“She was flying over to meet her friend who was American and lived in New York. When we got to the airport, they met up and hugged. They had a quick chat, and the English girl turned to me to say what I thought was goodbye. Instead she asked me how I was getting to the city and where I was staying. I answered I didn’t know to both these question. She and her friend insisted I cab into the city with them. I said ok as I had no idea how to get there otherwise.
“When we got to the American girl’s apartment, I thanked them and said I would be on my way. They said no way as they could tell I was unwell. They insisted that I come upstairs and have a rest and when I was ready that I could find a hostel. I ended up sleeping for 20 hours straight there. When I woke up, I was so embarrassed. However, they cooked me dinner and insisted I stayed a few more nights, which I did.
“Anyway, I have rambled on a bit, but what they did for me was amazing. I was a young sick kid in a big city who had met one of them 8 hours before and one for only 5 minutes and they took me in. I offered [them] all of my money and some wine I was taking home, but they refused. They just said pay it forward. Definitely the biggest act of kindness I have received from strangers, and I have never forgotten it.”
2) BeatnikThespian wrote, “I was backpacking through northern Italy in the middle of winter and my bank froze my account even though I’d told them multiple times I was going to be overseas. This left me in the middle of a sleepy college town with only twenty euros to keep me going until my bank opened again in three days. I thought I’d be able to just sleep on the streets, but I quickly realized how horribly that wasn’t going to work.
“I found a local bar, went in and bought a cheap mug of mulled wine, and just started talking with people. Eventually, I made friends with these two Scottish girls studying abroad at the local university. When I mentioned my predicament, they let me live with them for a few days. I don’t take having a warm place to sleep for granted anymore. Keep in mind, I’d been on the road for like six months and probably looked sketchy as all Hell. That kind of generosity and trust really stays with you.”
3) Hedrix wrote, “Does a compliment count?
“In seventh grade, I was walking to the subway on my way home when two girls from the high school near my middle school stopped me and told me I was going to be so cute when I grew up and one kissed me on the cheek.
“13-year-old me felt so good about myself. Still think about it randomly when I’m feeling down.”
4) ScootScootAway wrote, “I was under one of the worst depressive lows of my life when my friends/family could not be trusted, had an argument with some of my closest friends, and that every aspect of my life was crumbling apart. I had to bike ~20 miles total round trip to get to my counselor that evening because of an emergency. On the way back home, I was speeding up to clear [the] steepest hill on my route. Halfway up the hill, my chain popped off the track and got into a really nasty knot that got stuck. Since it was already nighttime and the bike was a last-minute thing, I did not have my lights or tools to check it out.
“I had to lift the bike to a nearby lot to check it out. After a few minutes of fumbling around with the only light source in the area for a good while, I saw the owners just peeking through their windows and I felt a little freaked out so I grabbed my bike and I just kept running up the hill. After carrying the bike for some time, I finally reached a commercial lot and stopped in front of a Safeway to inspect the bike.
“After a few minutes of [me] fumbling, this man came out of nowhere on his skateboard. He looked like he was in his early thirties, wore a dark cap, a hoodie, and some old jeans. He also had an unlit cig in his mouth and what looked like a rosary underneath his shirt, which were probably the two things I remember him the most by. After [I explained] my situation with the bike to him, he went to work. Few minutes later, he managed to fix my bike. I have never felt so grateful in my life.
“I offered a monetary tip for his help, but he told me of a story where there was a time when a stranger came just on time when he needed it the most. I thanked him again and told him that he really just made my day. He smiled and wiped the grease off his hands onto his jeans. And as fast as he came in to help, he rode off into the night.”
Finally, this is Fluffstermonster’s own story: “When I was a teen, I was sitting by myself in my town’s ER (nothing too serious). Had been there for a bit, still waiting to be seen, when two middle-aged men came in with their elderly mother. After a while, one of them left to go get some food for the three of them. He came back with two McDonalds bags and gave me one, saying he noticed how long I had been waiting and that I must have been hungry. He then said he hoped I liked cheeseburgers. It was so sweet (and delish, I was starving), I never forgot about him.”
For More Information: Fluffstermonster, “What random act of kindness has a stranger done for you that you’ll always remember?” Reddit. 5 January 2015
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