Big Q: When did a total stranger do something kind for you?

Several years ago my husband and I were traveling late at night when we ran out of gas. We hadn’t been paying attention to the fuel gauge and ended up stuck on the side of a Michigan highway with our infant daughter and our dog. As we tried to figure out if we should all try to walk back to the previous exit, a man hiked down from the overpass just behind us. He had seen our car pull over from his farmhouse window and guessed that we needed help. He loaded all of us into his pickup truck, took us to the nearest gas station, and returned us to our car—a couple hours of his evening spent just helping these young strangers.

It was a reminder of the kindness in the world. We’d like to hear your experiences. Did someone fill a need for you at just the right moment—extend a word of comfort, buy a cup of coffee, return an item you thought was forever lost? When did a total stranger go out of their way to do something kind for you? Respond below or email


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  1. Back when I was a junior in high school, two of my best friends and I set out an adventure riding our bikes up the North Shore of Lake Superior; little did we know that we’d be meeting three total strangers – “angels in disguise” – before the trip was over. The first night, as we lay huddled in our little tent pitched on the shore, it rained so hard. Our tent was virtually floating by morning; we could not get a fire started to even think about eating. We noticed a resort across the highway and, swallowing our pride, we went over and inquired about a place to eat. The innkeeper, a middle-aged woman, said she’d noticed us this morning while we were trying to wring out our wet clothes. She told us to go back over to the campsite, get all our belongings and bring them to her – she’d dry them in her dryer. And while we waited, she cooked the three of us strangers a wonderful hot breakfast. As we sat down to eat, she opened a Bible and read for us (none of us were believers). We thanked her so much, and headed out, up the highway. Hours later, the rain came back, and once again we found ourselves soaking wet, heading into Silver Bay, MN. Without much money, and now even less pride, we rode up to the Police station with the intention of asking them to allow us to sleep in a cell for the night. But before we could enter the building, a squad car pulled up in the parking lot and the officer driving called us over to his car. “What’s up?” he asked. After explaining our predicament, he told us to get back on our bikes and follow him up the street. He lead us to an empty house, which he said he’d recently purchased but had yet to move into. We were free to sleep in the house, if we wanted to, and even to use the new mattresses that were in the back bedroom! He turned on the electricity and the heat for us, wished us well, gave us the key to the house, and blessed us before he left! Before long, a neighbor dropped over with a portable radio and an offer of any help we needed! Two days later, as we had begun our return south along the lake, my chain broke and I had no way to repair it. I flipped the bike over, sent my two friends onward, and stuck out my thumb, hoping for a ride. Minutes later, a van pulled up and offered me a ride to Gooseberry Falls. I arrived earlier than my friends, was able to use a pay phone to call a family member to drive a couple of hours to pick the three of us up, and bring us safely home.

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