The Big Q
When did a total stranger go out of their way for you?
February 11, 2019
I experienced a flat tire on a lonely country road while working as a county public health nurse. A kind young man stopped and offered to change the tire for me. When I tried to pay him, he responded, “No, just tell your husband to help my wife when he finds her in a similar situation.” I will never forget his random act of kindness.
When they adopted me.
Swanzey, New Hampshire
When I was a junior in high school, two of my best friends and I set out on an adventure riding our bikes up the North Shore of Lake Superior. The first night it rained so hard that our tent was virtually floating by morning. We could not get a fire started to even think about eating. There was a resort across the highway so, swallowing our pride, we crossed over to ask about a place to eat. The innkeeper said she’d noticed us trying to wring out our wet clothes and told us to bring her our belongings—she’d dry them for us. While we waited, she cooked us a wonderful hot breakfast. We thanked her and headed up the highway.
Hours later, the rain was back. Soaking wet, we rode to a police station with the intention of asking to sleep in a cell for the night. Before we could enter the building, a squad car pulled up and when the officer heard our story he took us to an empty house he’d recently purchased but had yet to move into. He told us we were free to sleep in the house and even to use the new mattresses in the back bedroom. He turned on the electricity and heat, gave us the key to the house, and blessed us before he left!
My wife, Phyllis, is battling Alzheimer’s and I am living with prostate cancer. When we do our grocery shopping, I walk down the aisles holding on to the shopping cart to keep my balance. Phyl walks slowly behind me and looks over all the shelves. I take her hand sometimes just to keep us moving.
On one trip there was a bit of a wait in the checkout line. When our turn finally came, Phyl had wandered over to another line, delaying two other shoppers. The clerk had already bagged our groceries, and as I tried to bring Phyl back to our line and pay our bill, a good Samaritan handed over his own credit card and paid for us. I tried to thank my newfound friend, but he was already out the glass doors and into the cold autumn air.
Several years ago, within the span of about three months, my mother passed away, I lost my job, and we had to move. Our daughter was attending a private school and without my income the cost was way beyond our reach. An anonymous friend donated the full amount of her tuition for that school year. Although I’ve always suspected who it was, I’ve never known for sure.
Deerfield Beach, Florida
I dropped my phone in an airport, and I didn’t notice until after I’d already boarded my plane. A woman found my phone, saw the flight information on the lock screen, and realized my flight was about to take off. She tracked down my gate (on the other side of the airport!) and literally ran my phone up to the gate attendant, who dashed onto the plane and handed it to me just before the door closed and we took off. It was a small thing, but she went out of her way to save me a huge headache.
Six of us were out to eat several years ago. We were the last customers in the restaurant and when the waiter came to give us our bill (or so we thought), he said, “We don’t have a ticket for you tonight because someone paid your bill.”
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I took my motorcycle out to Yellowstone a few years ago. It was my first time riding through the mountains, and another more experienced rider got on the road right behind me. He could see that I was a little nervous, so he rode behind me and kept the traffic from riding up on me and pushing me to go faster. At a pullout we were able to talk, and he gave me some great advice. He stuck with me all the way to the next town—he probably saved my life.
Ham Lake, Minnesota
Two years ago, I bought a home in Idaho. That winter we were hit with snowstorm after snowstorm. One day my little car got stuck. Some gentlemen pushed me out—only to see that I kept getting stuck. The five of them pushed my car two more blocks into my driveway. What Idaho lacks in snow removal it makes up for in great people.
Theresa Lynn Love
While on vacation in Alabama, we took our dog to a dog park. Without realizing it my husband dropped the keys to our travel trailer. A woman found them and followed us all the way back to our campground to hand them to us.