View Full Version : Random Acts of Human Kindness

2009-Dec-20, 03:14 AM
Okay, so here's the deal. I had an unpleasant experience with someone recently who was very rude to me when I was trying to do them a favor.

This made me a little mad.

But I thought, okay, let's not focus on the bad stuff. I know there are good people around.

I train customer service to new hires in a call center and I always have them tell me their experiences of good customer service and bad customer service. Their stories always fascinate me.

So I'd like to hear some good people stories to remind me there are some decent human beings out there. If they're space/astronomy related, then even better :)

I just have two rules:

1) No negative comments or stories
2) No mentioning of company names, whether in a good or a bad way. I believe one of rules of the forum is that we should not promote or market a company, so let's not name names :)

I'll start...

A few months back my 3 year old son needed new glasses so we went to the optician, they checked with our insurance company and we were told the insurance would cover everything but $75. So we said okay, but we wanted to pick them up a week later when we got paid. The lady said that wouldn't be a problem.

When we got home later that day, we found a message on our answerphone from the optician to say a customer had paid our balance for us. Wow :) She had been in the store, had seen my son and overheard our comments and decided to pay for the glasses. That really touched us.

But that's just half of it. A few weeks back, we got a letter from the same optician to say the insurance had denied our claim because we were only entitled to one pair of glasses every two years and my son had had a pair last year. The outstanding amount was $125.

So the next day my wife rang them and they said that, technically, it was their fault because they hadn't given the insurance company the right information and the insurance company wasn't initially aware that my son had already had glasses last year.

My wife asked if we could break the amount into 2 or 3 payments so the lady checked, came back and said yes, we could. Then she put my wife on hold again, came back and said the manager had told her "it's Christmas. Let's just forget about it."

So they wrote it off :) My wife teared up. So did the lady on the phone LOL So did I when my wife told me.

There are some decent people out there. If something like this has happened to you, please share it. Let's spread some cheer this holiday season :)

2009-Dec-20, 03:32 AM
Some soldiers station in Iraq were kind enough to dedicate and ship over a flag that had been flown over Baghdad to a friend of my family in memory of his service in Vietnam. This family friend was so grateful he was in tears when telling my family about it on the phone.

It's comforting to see threads like this. A refreshing reminder of what humans can do if they really find it within themselves.

2009-Dec-20, 03:48 AM
I shall always remember my situation as a young navy guy going home for Christmas, and changing duty station at the same time.
I had flown into Boston, trying to get to the bus. My parents dreaded driving into Boston (Rhode island ...old folks,...yep.)
I had a guitar, a sea bag , some records and another case.
This guy asked me what I was doing? When I told him, he picked up my bag
and drove me and my stuff to the bus station with his family in an old station wagon and bid me "Merry Christmas , young sir." I thanked him in return.
I got home in time for supper with my family. 1968
Never forgot that kind stranger and a good deed my way.

To this day, I try to do a good deed for someone .
We serve each other well.


2009-Dec-20, 03:50 AM
I got stranded at a bus stop in the middle of the night, having arrived after the last bus of the day left. I had no ride, and was seriously looking at the prospect of spending the night at the bus stop, which is no place to be in my city.

The security guard on duty struck up a conversation with me, and we developed a rapport of sorts. She was very talkative, enthusiastic, and full of anecdotes; I liked her at once. I expected the worst when she started locking the building (it was a fairly cold night), but was wonderfully surprised when she offered to give not only me a ride home, but also one to two other people who were also stranded, despite her apologies for her car being rickety and small.

She dropped the others off first, and me last; though I had a fair amount of cash on me, she refused payment. It was one of those experiences that was both heartwarming and humbling, the way it is when you run up against a mensch. I saw her a few times after that (it was on a regular route), but then she apparently quit or was transferred.

I'm sure I'd recognize her if I saw her on the street today, though it was several years ago...

2009-Dec-20, 03:55 AM
In my carreer, I have taught quite a few apprentices. They would bring their little tool box and set it down. I would ask them, not to open their tool box, but rather if they could tell me the golden rule.

"Measure twice and cut once ? "
Well, no. That is a good rule but it is not the"Golden Rule" .

It is .... " Do As You Would Be Done By ,.....and you will get by . "

Many years later, these carpenters would thank me for the lessons I imparted to them, especialy the Golden Rule , which they pass on to their

May it serve you well.

Best regards,

2009-Dec-20, 04:17 AM
Excellent stories - and I always tell my new hires something similar - treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.

When my family and I were travelling up to Maine, we hit a major accident on I-95 (I think) just north of Boston. All three lanes were closed. It took us 3 hours to travel 2/3 mile to the nearest exit.

Of course, the only way to get to US-1 was through a town and, naturally, everyone was going that way and it was nearly rush in the town, so it took us another hour to get to the town center.

By this time we were all thirsty and needed the bathroom. Except my 3 year old who had bottles of juice and diapers LOL He was fine!!

So we stopped at the first sandwich shop we could find - but unfortunately, he was just closing. We told him about the accident and he very kindly let us in, let us use the bathrooms and although he couldn't offer us food, we were able to buy some sodas from him.

He was a very nice guy - he went out of his way to help us :)

2009-Dec-20, 04:26 AM
I got in a car accident where my front tire lost it's thread while on the interstate. Luckily, I was able to get over to the side off the road with no difficulties.
Fellow stopped, offered a jack, service of his phone, and did everything he could to help.

Unfortunately, it ultimately came up my truck was totaled, still appreciated the help.

2009-Dec-20, 04:50 AM
LOL The ONLY time someone stopped to help me fix a flat was in torrential rain. I was almost done anyway, but I had to admire the guy.

thoth II
2009-Dec-20, 02:46 PM
I'm a heartless old grump with the a heart size smaller than grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. But this year I had a 17 year old student who made my heart grow 1/10 size larger: a girl who said she had a heart monitor and if I heard a beep in class, it was she! Even a grump like me couldn't be touched.

So this year hope I get visits from 3 spirits and then maybe next year, I'll end up like both Scooge and grinch did.

Messier Tidy Upper
2009-Dec-20, 03:06 PM
Just today (technically yesterday I guess) my neighbour gave me - competely free of charge a whole heap of heating oil that he no longer needed because he'd just gotten rid of his oil heater.

2009-Dec-20, 03:54 PM
I have two,

When I was in college, me and my roommate used to have dinner at a small family run place. One day due to some reason we arrived pretty late in the night and they were all out of food by then. The old lady refused to hear any objections and actually cooked for just the two of us.

My last motorcycle trip , we had to stop at night on a deserted road as one of the motorcycles seemed to be having some trouble. A farmer in his tractor came across us. He stopped and offered to give us and the motorcycle a lift to the nearest mechanic. He stayed chatted with us till we made sure that the problem was not anything severe and we could continue.

2009-Dec-20, 11:53 PM
I once took my wife for a winter evening telescope session in the deep of Franconia. It had snowed for a few days, and I got the car stuck in a deserted field road in a really idiotic way. We walked into the nearest village, and the local pub-cum-brewery landlord got out his tractor late on this Sunday evening and pulled us out. He refused any kind of payment. We couldn't do better than have a lavish dinner at his place and leave a very good tip afterwards. Best of all, my wife did not divorce me for irredeemable stupidity.

At the risk of infringing on the principles set out in the OP, if you ever visit Franconia, have a few of Hetzelsdorfer Bier (and buy a few bottles for the driver to enjoy later, as of course he/she must by all means remain sober for driving) at Penning Zeissler brewery in Hetzelsdorf (http://maps.google.de/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=de&geocode=&q=hetzelsdorf&sll=51.151786,10.415039&sspn=21.97528,31.640625&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Hetzelsdorf+Pretzfeld,+Forchheim,+Bayern&ll=49.727142,11.181679&spn=0.089106,0.264187&t=h&z=13). The Schnitzel are huge, and they are excellent.

2009-Dec-21, 01:42 AM
It probably shows something about me, I know I've seen several examples of people helping each other just 'cause they were there and could.
However, I can't remember them.
I do remember, however, a few where they didn't.

2009-Dec-21, 03:03 AM
I grew up with the Golden Rule being a part of everyday life. We lived about 100 yrds off the highway and about 10 miles north of the city. I was guaranteed we would get at least 10 times a summer with people over heating engines, broken fan belts, etc. we always kept a minimum of 4 - 4 liter (1 gallon) jugs of antifreeze/coolant on hand, and generic hose and belts. They would pull in, we would fix em up and send them on their way. I never saw my father take payment for any help we gave.

About 6-7 years ago I was in Kansas, near Emporia, in one of the toll road rest areas ( I was driving long haul truck at the time). It was the middle of the night, I was sitting on the phone for talking to my wife and noticed these 3 young girls who were quite upset. They were repeatedly calling people on the pay phone and getting more upset with each phone call. After I got off the phone they were sitting at one of the tables near by, two of them crying, and I approached them asking what was wrong. They apparently blew a tire on the way home, which wasn't a concern because they had pulled over to change it on the toll way. A highway patrol officer stopped and helped them out to change the tire, but had them put on the parking break before he changed the tire. Well it turns out the break had stuck on, and they had another blow out. They had made it into the rest area but now no one would come help them and they had no money. I told them to hang on, walked over to the payphone and called a local tire company that dealt with semi call outs. They handled car tires as well so I had them come out. I talked with they guy when he got out there, he put a new tire on the front to cover the blow out, but as it turned out the rim was bent and the rear tire was also flat. I bought the girls a new rim, paid for the new front tire and the driver was able to get a used tire for them that he threw in for free. The entire time you could see the fear of the cost in the oldest girls eyes but when I said it was paid for and they could get going she started crying. Her entire life she had been used and abused, at 14 moved out of her step fathers house, etc. No one had ever done anything for her that payment wasn't expected. I still think about her and her friends to this day, hoping that I helped her out in some way.

2009-Dec-21, 04:37 AM
Bless you sir.

Click Ticker
2009-Dec-21, 08:57 PM
During my extending recovery time at home, some of the parents at my kids school provided meals for my family. With four kids, not having to cook was a nice relief for my wife. She had her hands pretty full as it was.

2009-Dec-22, 11:08 AM
We also have our local example (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/80387-kaptain-k.html).

2009-Dec-22, 11:42 AM
Many years ago, when I returned to my native Switzerland after having grown up in L.A., a good friend of my Mom's, a wonderful lady from Southern Carolina, paid us a visit around Christmas, and invited us to dinner a the plosh Baur au Lac in Zürich.

It was hard times for my parents, my Dad, who always worked independently, had a big setback with his company, and we were flat broke. Dad was always too trusting and had been double-crossed by his business partners. Dad was searching for an alternate strategy (he was in the import business), but knew he would probably no longer be independent, but for the first time in his life, apply for a job somewheres. Not easy when you are in your 60's....

When my Mom's friend heard about our plight, she immediately made out a check for ten thousand Swiss francs! Said she was going to invite us all to Gstaad for a week, but that she would give us the cash as a gift instead!

She was the daughter of a governor of Southern Carolina, a real lady, and came from a very wealthy family. But she was always extremely simple and never flaunted her wealth.

This saved us. Dad, four months later, found a representation for a U.S. cosmetics company, and we were back on the road. It would not have been possible, hadn't she helped us. She refused to be paid back, but we had a couple of oil paintings from a Swiss artist she particularly admired, so we gave them to her.

It was a real Christmas story for me and though she is long gone, will always remember her with great affection.

2009-Dec-22, 01:03 PM
Early '90s, nasty snowstorm in the Midwest. I and others were stuck between two tall icy street hills; those in the front of traffic (both directions) were trying to gain enough traction to get through the traffic light on either hill -- mostly to no avail. It was a nightmare.

After about 30 minutes of this and feeling doomed (stuck in the shallow street "valley"), a Good Samaritan came along: A man in his 60s. His car had excellent chains/snow tires, and was weighted down in the trunk. With ease he drove us to a nearby grocery store, bought me 50 pounds of cat litter. We sprinkled cat litter around my tires to provide traction, and the rest went into my trunk (weight).

In 5 minutes' time I was free and driving HOME! :D And yes, I thanked the man profusely (who refused monetary compensation).

Click Ticker
2009-Dec-22, 01:29 PM
Buttercup's reminded me of another one. One particularly icy day I was driving my son to school (Snow days are hard to come by in West Michigan. Too much snow to take them all off). On one steep heel, my vehicle was having a hard time. Traffic was backed up and once you lose momentum, you're done.

As luck would have it, the four wheel drive pick up in front of me had a tow rope. He hooked it up to the front of my van and towed us up the hill. Worked out great. We were all on our way in no time.

2009-Dec-22, 10:40 PM
LOL The ONLY time someone stopped to help me fix a flat was in torrential rain. I was almost done anyway, but I had to admire the guy.
Many years ago, when I lived in New Orleans, I got a flat and pulled into a business's parking lot to change it. As I was getting the jack and the spare out, this fellow came by driving a towmotor and asked if I wanted some help. He used the towmotor to lift the car, saving me a lot of work with the jack. The whole thing took about 5 minutes. Sweetest tire change ever.

2009-Dec-23, 03:51 AM
Today, my friend came by with his medium 4WD dump truck with "A PLOW" !
Made short work of my other driveway for christmas company. He shall have his reward. Random acts of kindness beget random rewards. :)


Click Ticker
2009-Dec-23, 01:07 PM
Now that this thread has me thinking, I've been rather fortunate in this regard. Last winter was one of the top five snowiest on record for our area (which is a pretty snowy area to begin with). Quite a few of our neighbors pay for driveway plow service. I still don't know who was doing it or if somebody paid for it for us, but just about every time it snowed last year, I woke up to a plowed driveway.

We did not pay for the service. I even asked a couple neighbors if maybe there guy was taking care of ours by accident. I never even caught the guy in the act because he typically went through in the middle of the night. With three young boys and an expectant mother at home, it was a very welcome gesture.

2009-Dec-25, 09:27 PM
About three years ago, I was attending a bike rally in La Grange, Kentucky, which is roughly 550 miles away. I managed to pull off a one man crash, which broke 6 ribs and put my Valkyrie motorcycle into an inoperable state.

A fellow biker, whom I had only exchanged words with a few times, told me to not worry about getting the bike home, he would take care of it. I was expecting to have to pull it home, with my wife driving, and she has no experience pulling a trailer.

A week later, I am in the hospital again, with blood clots, and this gentleman shows up with my bike, on his trailer, unloads it by himself into my garage and comes by the hospital to see me. Was a bit offended that I offered to pay his gas money at LEAST..... said, I always wanted to see this part of the country and I had a bonus to spend.

Then he headed back home. Pretty cool.


2009-Dec-26, 01:52 AM
Where I live the winters get pretty snowy, and people are always sliding off the roads. That said, the only time I've seen anyone actaully having a tow truck pull them out was a pickup that needed a flatbed to get home anyways--they found the one big rock on that streatch of raod and tore up their fron suspension.

That''s why I have a tow strap in my truck at all times--I've lost track of how many cars I've pulled back on the road myself...

2009-Dec-28, 11:09 PM
Thanks everyone for your stories - I've been busy with Christmas but I've enjoyed reading them.

rommel, you did a good thing. I know this sounds cheesy and corny, but there are several reasons I wouldn't mind being rich - apart from being able to buy the things I wnat, I'd also be able to help out my friends, family and total strangers. When I was younger, I didn't have a problem lending money to anyone and not getting it back. I was just careful to only lend the money who I knew would use it properly and I would only loan the amount I'd be willing to lose. So if they never paid me back (and I would never ask) then I wouldn't be upset over the loss.

2009-Dec-29, 03:09 PM
One summer, some 25 years ago, I was attempting to drive, with my wife and our one-year old son from our home in South Carolina to visit my folks in Chicago. Our old Ford Pinto died on the highway, and we ended up getting towed to an Exxon station in London, Kentucky.

The car resisted repair. After a couple of days in a local motel, we decided to take the bus on to Chicago, hoping that the car would be okay a week later on our trip back home.

But, time was short to catch the next bus out of there. After the hotel stay, we had just enough money for the tickets. The folks at the service station found us some old suitcases, since the bus company would have frowned on our carrying our clothes in trash bags. They drove us to the station and saw us off.

The schedule involved an overnight wait in Indianapolis before a morning bus to Chicago. Upon arriving in Indy, I phoned my folks to report on the situation, and my dad told me to stay put, that my mom was already driving over there to get us. I had anticipated they'd do that, and I was right.

We had our vacation in Chicago as planned. My brother let us drive his car back to London, where our car was finally ready. (Later that week he got someone to drive him out there to retrieve his car.)

So, not only did my family respond well, but I'm still grateful to the good folks in London KY.

2009-Dec-29, 06:54 PM
Although I live in Louisville, I've never been to London, KY. I always thought it was ironic though, being British, that my residency application went through London, KY LOL

2009-Dec-31, 03:19 PM
I had a history professor in college who was Egyptian, and her vita said she was born in Cairo. But she once confided to us that it was Cairo, Illinois, well after her parents emigrated.

2009-Dec-31, 06:07 PM
We are getting our next batch of snow. My friend, the small equipment dealer sold me a good, slightly used snowthrower for $300 and delivered it this morning....
with a full tank of fuel. He's buried with work but made the effort for me.
Nice man.

2010-Jan-02, 10:37 PM
So... pay it forward. I did my friend's drive. He has to shovel. Lucky he policed the area. Branches are tough.