Cheryl, our MH Manager made the suggestion to start a thread like this in our communities. It's a great way to share some positive experiences we've had with our fellow man. With all the negativity in the world today, it's nice to stop an appreciate the good stuff once in a while.
So, please share your stories of how you were either the recipient or giver of a random act of kindness to/from a stranger. Even the smallest things can make an impression on us and brighten our days!
I hope you all will take the time to participate...especially considering that we all are very used to living in moments of darkness with anxiety.
Ok, I'll go first...I have one of each to share, where I was on both ends of random acts of kindness.
The one was just last week when I took my 5yr old son to Chuck E Cheese. A young couple walked by my son as he was playing a game and gave him a huge handful of left over tokens they didn't use b/c they were leaving. Now, no big deal, but they had kids of their own and could have easily saved them for their next visit. I do believe they overheard me saying to him that he only had a few tokens left and then we would be done. It was very nice and generous (especially b/c Chuck E's is NOT cheap!). It thrilled my son and I was very grateful!!
A time where I was on the "giving" end was a bit more dramatic. A few yrs ago, I was driving down our road (heavily travelled, yet rural road) and all of a sudden I noticed that the car that was 2 cars ahead of me seemed to disappear. The car in front of me slowed down for a second but didn't stop. Well, off to the side of the road, I see this car in a ditch completely on its side. So, most people would stop and offer help...and being a nurse, I would do so every time, I feel a sense of obligation.. so that's not the important part. This was a young man who was scared out of his mind.
I stood at a safe distance and was talking to him. He was trapped inside and we were waiting for rescue to arrive. He kept saying..."OMG I'm so scared...I'm so scared". I tried to reassure him that he would be okay and that it wouldn't be normal if he WASN'T scared. He wanted desperately to try to climb out of the car...I had to distract him with small talk to keep him from doing so. Soon after the firetrucks and police and medics came, they were of course trying to get those of us who stopped to get out of the way, understandably. This young man begged the police officer to allow me to stay until he was transported and asked if I could be the one to call his Mom b/c I was so "comforting". I was touched. They reluctantly agreed and I stuck around til they drove him away. I held his hand as they were putting him in the back of the ambulance and I swear I thought my hand would break.
I called his Mom AFTER the police officially notified her and tried to reassure her that he was lucky and so far his injuries seemed very minor. They lived close and I offered her a ride, but she had one. She was grateful and thanked me a million times b/c she couldn't imagine her child going through something like that alone...she was glad I was able to comfort him.
A few hours later, I was still wondering about how he was doing, so I decided to stop up at the ER. Now, there are privacy laws to prevent me from getting actual medical info, so I inquired at triage about him and explained that I wasn't family but would like to know he was at least stable. The nurse then asked me.."Are YOU the nurse angel that was with him at the scene?" I was a bit taken aback. Angel? Not even close...but I was flattered nonetheless as she told me he hadn't stopped talking about me and really wished he's have some way to contact me to thank me. I was floored. She went back and checked with him and his family to get the OK to allow me back to visit.
His Mom and Dad were there and I swear, really...as minor as this kid's injuries were, they were making such a big deal over me just talking to this kid. It was what his Mom said that made me understand the gravity of how important my effort was. She said that as parents, the worst possible thing to imagine is that our kids would get hurt, as us not be there to comfort them. She told me I was her "Mommy substitute" at that moment and told me that she would not typically be inclined to stop at an accident scene, but from that moment on...she vowed she would so she could hopefully be a "Mommy stand-in" for someone else's child who needed someone in a scary time.
I was beyond touched, b/c I really didn't "do" anything...and most people would have done the same. They got my name/address and a few weeks later I got a beautiful gift basket signed..."From one Mom to another...thank you for being there when I couldn't be". I'll never forget it. That card is still on my fridge. I still get Christmas cards from this young man, always with a sweet handwritten note. I still get choked up thinking just what a HUGE impact my fairly simple act made on these people. The best part was that he was SO lucky and had minor injuries compared to the severity of the wreck. Has has said many times that he was so freaked out if I had not been there to keep him calm and still, he would've tried to climb out of that car, which may had led to disaster.
We have a fast food restaurant where I will drive thru for a soda when I'm in the area. The girl at the drive-thru is always smiling and very cheery. Last week I asked her how she was doing and with a smile said "I'm fine." I said "that doesn't sound very convincing", at which point she leaned forward and said her husband had left her. I drove up the street and got flowers and a card for her. I took them inside and gave her a big hug, and she cried stating nobody had ever given her flowers. I left her with some encouraging words and my phone number should she need anything. I am at the VA hospital often with my husband, and one time they had a man lying on a gurney in the hall all alone. I stopped and asked how he was doing, and was there for half an hour. He was obviously alone in this world and was telling me war stories, and even sang a song to me, I stayed until they came to take him wherever he was going. If in church and I see someone sitting alone and crying, I approach them if just to give them a hug. We often eat at a restaurant by the VA which is in a poor neighborhood, and when we see someone who looks like it may be their only meal for the day, or just doesn't appear to be doing very well we quietly talk to their server and pick up the check. I smile at very person I see throughout the day, because I know from experience that often we feel very alone (and some truly are) and just getting a smile from someone lets you know that someone not only noticed you, but smiled at you. While feeding the homeless like we do every Saturday, a woman dropped off a 22 year old young man right in the middle of the worst part of town. It was obvious that he had never seen or dealt with this type of environment. I sat down with him to get his story and he was very honest with me. His parents gave him everything, but he couldn't stay out of trouble or away from drugs. My husband and I Paid for him to saty at a local church in the area where he could shower, ahve a bed at night and 2 meals a day. Early the next morning he called me, saying his arm was swollen and hurting and he didn't know where any of the hospitals were. I told him to stay put and we would be there to take him to the hospital. I stood there holding his hand while they lanced an injection site that was infected from shooting up drugs. It saddened me, because it was in the same hospital where I had just lost my son who had fought for years for one more day in this world. Now I'm helping a young man who is doing everything to get out of this world. I felt this was a "tough love" situation and called his dad who was a police chief in a well to do neighborhood. He confirmed that it was, and I didn't want to interfere, but I explained that this area is no place for a young man like him....he would not survive. Long story short, we got him into a drug rehab program and he was reunited with his parents and is continuing to do well. He calls me often. While walking at the park if I see and elderly person sitting all alone staring off in the distance, I make a point of sitting down and striking up a conversation. I worry that they are all alone and need someone to talk to. We were in a fast food restaurant one day and it was very busy. I heard a chair fall over and turned to see what had happened, only to find a man dragging a little boy by his shirt collar on the floor and out the door, everyone just stood there....even my husband. I went out and tried to get the boy but he literally threw him in the back seat while calling him and me the worst names. I stood there where the man either had to either stay in his parking place or run over me, while I called 911. I no sooner hung up the phone when it appeared he had chosen to run over me and my husband grabbed me. The police called me about two hours later to let me know the man was in jail and the boy safe with his mother. They thanked me, saying they wish more people would get involved. I am helped by helping others, they make me realize so much, and how to appreciate how fortunate I am. Seeing the world thru their eyes is truly a blessing, and makes me not worry so much about "me."
Wow Mammo, you are a very kind and generous person. All very touching stories! I really liked the one about the drive thru girl. In all your stories, it just goes to show you how touched people are when someone reaches out to them. All of those people were lucky to have you around!
Thanks nursegirl, I was also touched by your stories. We just never know what others are enduring, and it's so simple to reach out. By the way, you do an excellent job on here reaching out to others!!!
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