Random Act of Kindness - to balance all the ranty threads, tell me of a random act of kindness that you have never forgotten.

(340 Posts)
LynnCSchreiber Wed 25-Jan-12 16:33:42

There is a lovely thread in Classics about Random Acts of Kindness so I thought we could do with a lovely fluffy thread to distract us from the shooting and disembowelment going on at the moment.

I will start.

When DD was going through the "terrible twos", she had a tantrum at the supermarket. She lay on the floor and wept bitterly because I would not give her what she wanted it. I tried reasoning with her, I tried being stern, and finally I walked away.

The sound of her screams echoed in the supermarket, people were looking at us. I thought that they were judging me, thinking that I was a bad mother.

A man walked by with his two daughters - about 9 and 11yo they were. He stopped, patted my arm and said, "It is a phase. It passes. You are doing the right thing".

It meant so much to me, that I was not alone and that other people were not judging me but feeling sorry for me. And probably being thankful that their DC were past that stage.

Has a stranger ever done or said something nice to you that you still remember years later?

BibiBlocksberg Wed 24-Apr-13 21:41:13

I know the last reply to thread was a month ago but have just finished reading all of it and dear god, the tears I've shed at the utter kindnesses I just have to resurrect.

In a world where the media seem to take every opportunity to tell us just how uncaring the world is/has become its a real antidote and proof that goodwill and kindness are everywhere.

A couple from my recent past bestowed upon me - neighbours buying specific cat food from far away supermarket for fussy cat (who will only eat one specific luxury flavour) and then refused to take the money for it. They'll never know just how much further they've stretched my very modest budget this month.

One I always like to share - a lovely MN member sent me £20 via PayPal a couple of summers ago when I was on my arse due to unauthorised funds being taken from my bank account (and taking ages to be returned to me) I would not have been able to feed the cats for two weeks without you and I'll never forget it.

Two I've done - slipped a £10 note in to the handbag of a lady at work when she told me she'd dropped the note and was very upset about it. Got rumbled as turned out I was the only person she told but lied my backside off claiming not to know what she was on about blush

Was able to offer a temporary home to a homeless guy and his dog over Christmas last year.

Anyone got any more to save me feeling like a total egomaniac and feed my addiction for hearing about loveliness in the world? grin

NakedPanpipeLady Fri 22-Mar-13 13:37:28

This is one of the best threads I've read on here - thanks to OP and all who've contributed. Some have even made me cry!

Here's my contribution:
Many years ago when I was 16, I spent some time in hospital and was in a very bad way. When I was finally well enough to sit up and eat, we were served toast and marmalade each morning. However due to excessive shaking/tremors and inability to hold a knife, I really struggled to spread and cut my toast to the point I gave up and would have eaten it uncut and dry.
There were about 3 other people in the same ward as me and the guy in the bed across from me noticed I was struggling and each day during my hospital stay, he would come over to me, spread and cut my toast for me.
It doesn't seem much but it meant so much to me, especially as at that point I was going through a very bad period of my life.

This always remained with me and when my DH's Nan was in hospital in a ward with other elderly people, we took time to chat to them if they wanted and would bring in things like drinks and puzzlebooks as some of them were so bored or had no-one to visit them.

This thread is wonderful! It's do nice to know that there are so many nice people in the world. At the beginning of the thread I didn't think I had any stories to add (terrible baby brain) but you lot have jogged my memory so I shall add my experiences!

A lovely couple who at about 1.30 am stopped and offered a very drunk and upset 16(ish)yo me and bf a lift home after seeing me sprawled on the floor. They said they had a daughter my age and would like someone to help her if she were ever in that state! Thank you whoever you are I was far too out of it to say thank you properly but I was very very greatful!

And about 5 years ago when my car got a flat on the a23 on the way to Brighton I had to pull over (from the fast lane) at the beginning of the slip road to the a27. A lovely man pulled over and offered to change
my tyre for me (which I could have done myself but I had quite a small skirt on so it would have given the other drivers a show)! I was very greatful but slightly blush that he was using a crutch for a leg injury! He wouldn't even take any money off me just said 'if it was my wife/daughter I'd expect somebody to do the same!' thank you, you very very lovely man!

CinnabarRed Thu 12-Jul-12 10:35:22

I have been inspired by this thread. It has opened my eyes to the welfare of the many strangers I encounter day to day. Not that I was indifferent before, you understand, just unobservant.

Everyone who has posted on this thread - you have changed my behaviour, and made me a better person.

Thank you.

I have also packed a small selection of emergency childcare stuff (wipes, snacks, drink, toys) into my briefcase, just on the off-chance I ever encounter a fractious child during my daily commute.

feedmecake Mon 09-Jul-12 21:44:49

These are really lovely.

My brother and his wife had two young children, he'd just been made redundant and both went back to University to retrain. They were completely skint and some kind soul put £50 through their letterbox to help them. No note attached.

When I was at Uni I suffered with panic attacks in crowded places. I was on a bus once when I started having one, and had to leap off the bus. I walked straight into the Tesco metro and told the shop assistant, who took me back into the office, called my friend to come and get me, made me a cup of tea and calmly talked to me until she got there.

One very kind elderly lady who saw me looking very flustered with a 3 week old baby stopped to talk to me about her own experiences of parenting her two grown up children. She was enormously reassuring and gave me exactly the pep talk I needed at a point that I was feeling particularly anxious about it all.

The lady in the car park pay booth at Chatsworth who trusted me to park first, then pay her once I'd got some cash so I didn't have to travel back to Bakewell, the nearest cash point, which was 10 miles away.

When my MIL died of a long-drawn out terminal illness, she's left a request that everyone on their Christmas card list be informed of her death. This included the neighbours who MIL and FIL had hardly known. The news also included information about her memorial service that would be held in their local church. FIL's neighbours took the time to come to the service, get home and write FIL a beautiful letter saying that they'd been extermely touched by the service and wished they'd gotten to know MIL as she sounded like an incredibly caring woman, and offering any support they could give to FIL. He was very grateful for that thoughful act.

My mum made two little girl's day once. I'd long since left home when she was clearing out my old stuff and came across two beautiful rag dolls she'd made me when I was a child. Two little girls were walking past our house with their mum and mum rushed out to give each child one of the dolls.

One my flatmate started that was passed forward; when I was at Uni, my flatmate got to know a guy whilst they were both getting paid for some clinical trials of some drug or other. This guy was backpacking around Europoe from Australia and my flatmate invited him to stay with us. He stayed for two weeks, then wanted to go onto London, so I put him in contact with my brother, who he stayed with for a week. He then wanted to go to France, and my brother put him onto a friend of his etc etc.... think this guy got most of the way round Europe through friends of friends of friends!

LurkingAndLearningForNow Tue 19-Jun-12 02:04:02

When my mother got an Intervention Order against my father, the judge 'forgot' to put an end date on it. So he has to stay away from her forever.

I'll never forget that.

NicNocJnr Tue 19-Jun-12 01:51:18

My darn screen is too blurry to really see what I'm typing.

Yawningmonster - what a lovely, lovely boy your son is.

MiladyGardenia - your DS is also a credit to you, what a kind and selfless thing to do.

Although I have been lucky myself with random acts it's still incredibily heartening to read this thread.
I hope the things I've done and do, although small, will mean as much to the recipients as other people's kindness has meant to me over the years.

There are so many people I wish I could thank again and let them know that the 5 or so minutes out of their day has made a lifetime of difference to me and my family.

The one act of kindness that is closest to my heart is actually not very random but - I was paired with a guy during a competition to run an event and we spent the day talking, I was having a hard time as I was 100 miles away from my brother who had just been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour just after I left. I was feeling very alone and heartbroken, I was rubbish company mustering only the smallest of small talk during the lunch he treated me to. We parted ways with a hearty handshake and off I went.
Two weeks later I got a phonecall from the organisers & friends of mine asking if it was ok to pass my number on to the guy as I'd left my fleece in his car and he wanted to return it (yes, I know!) so he called and invited me out to cheer me up.
I was travelling from home to cambridge to Addenbrooks as often as I could to see my brother, I was shattered and I didn't drive, I was barely keeping my eyes open as I was missing sleep to make up work shifts.

The next week he turned up at my house and said he wanted to drive me, it was no bother and I needed a break - I was hmm but he talked me round. He drove me all that way, booked a room for me to stay in, collected me, dropped me off and then went all the way home. I cried at his generosity. He called everyday to 'keep me going' and one night, after a surgery that found they couldn't de bulk the tumour, I was in bits - having stayed capable all day for my mother I had not a shred left I rang off and laid in a heap. A few hours later there was a knock at the door, it was 2am, pissing it down and there he was. He had a bag full of chocolates, warm socks (as I lamented my lack of packing) and a bear for my brother, he looked all sheepish and said I sounded like I needed a hug. That's pretty much what he did, after driving for hours after a full day just to be with me. He stayed over the weekend and took my mother out for food, got supplies and did everything you could think of that would help.
Then as quietly as he arrived he went home.

When I got home I called him to say thank you and how much he had been appreciated, he popped round and cooked dinner and was halfway through hoovering my house when I pounced on him, he never left and we've been happily married for 10 years. He thought he was being a good friend and I cherish the memory of the look on his face of surprised delight when I made my intentions clear. Every single day since he's done something for someone that has made their life a little bit easier, today he was late home from an overnight shift because he was giving a tourist couple a lift back to the B&B after their car broke down. When we had the snow he turned up at the house with a couple and their young baby so they were in the warm while he got their car out of a ditch, they had dinner with us and sent him a lovely bottle of wine. He seems to have this inexhaustible supply of goodwill which I find wonderful and baffling in equal measure.

scubastevie Thu 14-Jun-12 20:41:56

Yawningmonster, that is lovely

I am still working my way through the postings but just wanted to add mine as I was so proud I cried on the school field.

DS is 7 and has aspergers and had been practicing cross country all week. He had been so excited because he he hadn't been last in the practices. On the actual day of the race we watched him second to last giving everything he had when he suddenly stopped and waited for the boy behind them and they finished together. He arrived at the finish line and said to the boy "today you weren't last either we both were"

idococktailshedoesbeer Fri 01-Jun-12 21:57:41

What a heartwarming thread this is.

Last year my OH's mum collapsed and was taken to hospital. We got there two hours later and were told she had suffered a suspected brain hemorrhage and was unlikely to make it through the night.

At 2am I set off for a nearby hotel while my OH and his family waited for news. I managed to hold myself together checking in but must have looked pretty white and shakey. One of the managers then came out from the back and smiled at me kindly. I burst into tears.

He couldn't have been lovelier. A few minutes after I got to my room there was a knock at the door and he stood there with a fresh pot of tea and big slice of cake. A cup of tea always makes things seem better.

The staff there (it was the Sheffield Hilton) treated my OH and I wonderfully over the next week, which was very traumatic. Above and beyond.

BikeRunSki Thu 03-May-12 20:43:28

This thread has reminded me of when I was a child and my dad was working in America. I was 9, DSis was 5 and we had saved up our pocket money to change into US$. We went to the bank to change it, and we didn't have enough to cover the fee! The man behind us was getting US$ too, and he took our pocket money (and I assume my mum's money too!) and changed it with his - one set of fees.

QOD Thu 03-May-12 19:04:32

My DD had a full on tantrum in Woolies once. She'd been good at nursery and not cried (she hated it, I had to work....) so I had promised her A toy in Woolies.

In 3yr old fashion, she didn't want A toy. She wanted 2 giant unicorns and a baby one. She ended up tantruming on the floor whilst I stood their repeating that she couldn't have that as I couldn't afford it. I had gone thru the whole A toy and moved onto the "I've not got enough pennies".
It got to the well don't have anything then, we've an appointment at the bank, if you calm down we will come back later and try again.

We had the appointment, came out and some woman came running up to us with a giant pink unicorn from Woolies ..... They were in holiday, they'd seen DD and felt sorry for us and wanted to treat her with some of their holiday spends. Would I please accept it as it would make their day.

I was gobsmacked as bless them they'd missed the point of the episode which was not that I couldnt afford one, but that she was a greedy over tired spoiled lil cow bag I wasn't prepared to provide and entire family of fecking unicorns.

I did accept it with good grace, I felt very moved, but also bit gutted that DD had got what she wanted!!

another fried then bought her the other giant one a few weeks later and bloody mother got the baby

Dd cringes now when I relate the tale. I like to think that they still feel good about that day, although they didn't actually do me a favour !!!

WhiteTrash Thu 03-May-12 18:58:36

Awesome thread.

When I was 21 I went travelling on my own, it didnt help that I was shite scared of flying. On the first plane out I was sat next to an old lady from Iraq who was wearing something similar to that of a nun (not sure what Im vair uncultured) she reminded me of one of the witches from the Disc World (thats not a negative observation D.W witches are ace). She didnt speak my language and I didnt speak hers but she could tell I was shitting myself and as the plane took off she held my hand.

I still feel warm and fuzzy when I picture it and her kind face. It really did make me feel better.

BikeRunSki Thu 03-May-12 17:03:33

Last autumn, DD was born by very emergency CSection - what the surgeon later called "a real slash and grab job". I was very sore and took ages to heal (9 weeks to standing up straight). DH went back to work after 4 weeks, leaving me with a bonkers 3 yo, a newborn and a sore middle. He'd been gone about 2 hours before he rang me up to tell me he'd been made redundant. It was not a good time.

The next day a lady I don't really know very well turned up at 11.30 with her son to play with DS (they know each other) and my favorite lunch. She had checked with a mutual friend what I would like. She made us lunch, washed the kitchen floor and played with the baby to let me get a nap and went home again, leaving no trace that she and her 3 yo had been.

The following week she picked us up and drive us to a lovely soft play centre, where she has arranged to meet some other friends.

She did something lovely like this for us every week on her day off until I was on my feet again, which happened to coincide with DH getting a new job. She did it kindly, with to expectation. She never asked my to pay for lunch when she bought it. After the first lunch, she always rang to check if her plans were OK with me. It was a lovely, lovely thing to do, and cheered up a gloomy winter and helped me enjoy my new DD.

She is now one of my best friends. She is also pg and will have a CS. I can't wait to repay the favour!

most recently, the nice woman who turned in my wallet/purse that I had left in the trolley blush. She refused to leave her details, otherwise would have thanked her, but she left the £40.00 in tact, so thank you.

The man who offered to move on the NYC - LAX flight so the DCs (one of whom didn't have a seat as was booked to sit on my lap) could spread out and sleep. A tall man, he had to sit in the middle of 3 seats.

RabidAnchovy Thu 03-May-12 16:54:16

BEAUTIFUL THREAD

marcopront Thu 03-May-12 16:44:22

And I'd like to share one I did.
My flight from Orlando to Amsterdam was delayed by about 18 hours. I was put on the first flight from Amsterdam to Heathrow. There was a young man who was on the same flight from Orlando, but he was on the later Heathrow flight. The only thing was he was due to attend a reception before starting his first graduate job that night. I let him take my place on the earlier flight. I imagine his Mum saying, "I told you, you should have left a couple of days between arriving back and starting work."
I hope his job went well.

marcopront Thu 03-May-12 16:35:18

The couple who took my postcards from Goa and posted them to my family in the UK.

The lady in Durham cathedral cafe who came and asked if I was alright when I was crying after an argument with my ex.

The couple who gave me the dollar I needed to get from the US to Mexico, where bus tickets were much cheaper.

All the people who helped me when traveling alone from Kenya with my 9 month old daughter. I had lived there for three years so had a lot of luggage.

Tw1gl3t Tue 17-Apr-12 07:49:08

It's about the anniversary of our random act of kindness: We were invited to a DearFriend's Wedding in the middle of no-where. They very kindly paid for our overnight accomodation, and my ex who was on his way past there the following day had agreed to pick us back up.

All we had to do was get there.... We worked out a tortuous route by public transport (a train and three busses) which got us to within spitting distance. We had the phone number of the local taxi firm which we decided we would splurge on when we got there. Only to discover that he'd retired the previous week, meaning there was no practical way to get from the village to the venue.

As we were sitting dejectedly on the bench outside the post office trying to work out how to walk there, a lady, her mum and her little boy drew up in a car and tried to explain the most direct route (only about two miles); but then she changed her mind....turfed her Mum and little boy out of the car and whilst they waited on the bench drove us to the wedding.

So to that wonderfull lady (a costumier for a ballet company) who must have reponded to the International call-sign for fellow costumiers in distress: I would like to thank you. We had a wonderful time, and you made it possible.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Mon 16-Apr-12 22:03:07

Panda I am now crying. That's lovely.

I lost a friend to suicide some years ago, and briefly saw a bereavement counsellor. He turned up one day and I was in a bad way. He asked me if I'd had a hug that day and I said no. I soaked that poor bloke's shirt with tears.
He was a volunteer for Cruse, and he brought me back from the brink.

When dd was six we were flying home from visiting my mom. Grandma had given her a snow globe as a gift, and foolish me allowed her to have it in her backpack for the journey instead of packed in luggage. Going through security there was a soldier in line behind us who looked exhausted and after polite hello I left him alone. At the security check they took away dd's snow globe as it was over four ounces of liquid. I felt terrible and she sobbed her heart out. As I sat her on a bench to put her shoes back on the soldier came and knelt down next to her and asked could be give her another keepsake to replace the globe. I said of course, and thank you. He took off one of his dog tags and handed it to her, telling her it had travelled the world with him and had a lot of memories in it. She was quite interested and distracted by him and forgot about how sad she'd been.

She has it still, hanging on a nail in her bedroom.

lovely thread. I have so many I am not sure which to include...

we had some hard times since moving to america on only my husband's grad student scholarships (no working visas). at one very low point I posted on craigslist asking if anyone had access to a church food pantry who could possibly deliver some food to me as we had no money, couldn't drive (and I hadn't eaten in 2 days as was giving dh and the kids everything I could rustle up). a lady asked for my address and showed up an hour later not just with the milk and bread I had asked for, but with eight bags full of meat, dairy products, loads of potatoes, fruit, veggies... even a huge cake, which she said was because it was valentines day and she hoped my kids would enjoy a treat. it more than carried us over till the next pay day and I was sobbing at the kindness of this total stranger, vowed to pay it forward by buying the food donation bags whenever I could afford the extra at the grocery store.

two years later I had saved up for a special present for my daughter for xmas. she wanted an american girl doll, which are very expensive, so I had found one on ebay that came with lots of clothes and accessories for almost $150, a collossal amount at that time. I was devastated when it never showed up... fed ex had apparently dumped it on my doorstep without a signature and someone nicked it. the seller tried claiming for it but it wouldn't be sorted in time for xmas. I turned to craigslist again, posting a photo of my stolen doll , asking that anyone who might get offered it for sale contact me as it was stolen. I wasn't expecting to hear anything, only hoping the thief might realize it was a child's xmas gift and return it.

a week later I got the strangest email asking me to contact a lady about the doll. that lady was anne, a complete stranger who collects american girl dolls. she told me she had searched ebay for the auction I had won and then contacted my seller to check my package had been reported missing. when she knew I was genuine she contacted me, asking if she could please make up an american girl package for my daughter. she said she knew how it must have ruined my christmas spirit and how hard it would be to replace, so wanted to show me there still were good folk out there. I was uneasy about accepting such a generous gift from a stranger, but she assured me she always chose a child each year to bless with a doll and some accessories, as it was good fun making up a girly gift when she only had a teenaged boy to buy for.

a few weeks later and I met anne for the first time when she delivered the gift items to me. I was shocked at how much she had brought... not only the doll, but also a whole wardrobe of clothes for every occasion, a fancy trundle dol bed, a doll suitcase to carry all the accessories, loads of doll sized hair accessories... there was a fortune in doll stuff there, over whelming. to show how deeply grateful I was, I paid it forward immediately. I organized a free toy giveaway, where local people who were clearing out kids toys to make space for xmas gifts could drop off there things to me... I sorted everything into categories and cleaned it up... then on the day of the giveaway the poor people who had posted on craigslist looking for christmas help, who weren't getting the salvation army help, turned up and took whatever they wanted for their kids. I was able to help a few people whose children had specific requests like itunes credit and an ipod for a 12 year old, link up with some generous people who had contacted me offering to buy gifts for the giveaway. we helped over 50 kids have a christmas, all thanks to anne's kindness.

it was more than a one off experience, it was life changing. anne became like a best friend/surrogate mother to me and we spent many happy days together since then. this last xmas I was unable to run Big giveaway as I had already given everything my kids had outgrown the year before, so I just picked one family to help. I picked a family who had lost their job and needed gifts and holiday food. I contacted a lovely old man who had donated to the previous giveaway... he met me at a grocery store and we went round together picking all the food people like and need at christmas, he paid for that for the family. I used my birthday money and some gift cards to buy toys for the kids off their wish list and make stockings. the family were lovely and the parents so grateful when I showed up with a carload of groceries and brightly wrapped gifts. I even got chocolates and beer for the parents.

it didn't end there either... the old man had met my three kids at the gift giveaway the year before, and said he had something for them in a big box... when we opened it we found over 200 hallmark ornaments, all carefully stored in their original boxes, dating from the 80s and 90s. there were all different animals, sitting on cookies, dancing mice, skating bears, unicorns etc. basically his family's whole collection of childhood ornaments.he wanted my kids to enjoy them as his family had outgrown them. I was so touched... and the kids drew him pictures of the ones they liked best. the boxes still had prices on and were worth a lot of money, and he have them away without a thought of their value just to brighten my kids day. we will keep them until our kids outgrow them too, and continue to pay forward whenever we can. I have found it is a very popular idea over here in the states.

those are just the biggest things. every day there seems to be some small kindness... compliments and smiles abound...I can't go out without someone being friendly...the shop assistants remember your name and ask after your kids, a barista from the local starbucks offered me a ride once when it rained and she was driving by... took me ages to work out where I knew her from, to my shame, though she greeted me by name. those are the reasons I love it here in virginia.

BBisBBack Tue 14-Feb-12 20:47:19

I do readily subscribe to pay it forward, and this is making me bawl! So
Uplifting

MsF1t Mon 06-Feb-12 07:38:12

What a great thread.

I have two, both from when I was much younger.

When I was very little (about 4), I was in hospital for an operation on my ears- gromets. My mother only came in to see me a couple of times, and didn't come in before the operation. So as I was on the ward waiting for the pre-op drugs to take effect, I was on my own and didn't understand what was going on at all. One of the other mothers noticed and took pity on me and left her own child to come and read to me until they came to take me to theatre. It made all the difference to me, I've never forgotten her kindness.

The second one, I was a 16 year old living in the Amsterdam in a tent (I know, madness!) when some junkie stole my only pair of shoes while I was asleep. I decided to leave that site and check my things in at the railway station while I found somewhere else. It was very busy at left luggage, and as I finally got to second in the queue, they announced that after the man in front of me, they wouldn't be serving anyone else. He pointed at me and said that he was checking in my things as well as his. He then proceeded to take me to buy a new pair of shoes. It really restored my faith in human nature. (I should add, he was a very gruff, tough American from LA- he muttered something about preferring to spend money on someone who needed it for a bit of good karma than just getting stiffed by a taxi driver.)

CheerfulYank Mon 06-Feb-12 07:04:32

No cash anyway I meant. smile

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