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THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS

    Yesterday I went grocery shopping and bought some fresh fruit and veggies and a few other essentials, but when I got to the check-out, the clerk said I was $4 short of paying for everything. I told her to take out a few items so I had enough to pay for the rest.

    I was unloading the groceries I paid for in the trunk of my car in the parking lot when a young Hispanic woman came up to me and gave me a twenty dollar bill. She said she hoped that would be enough for me to buy the groceries I had to leave behind. It was more than enough!

    I was so touched by her generosity, I thanked her and told her how sweet that was. Then I went back to the store and paid for the groceries I had left behind.

    She was a total stranger, but must have been in the check-out line behind me and saw my problem.

    It made me think that maybe we TMSWikiers could share our experiences about the kindness of others to us, whether family, friend, or stranger.

    That reminded me of something that I read about a few years ago...

    A young woman from the South named Nelle wanted to become a published writer but earned her living as an airlines reservations clerk in Manhattan. Her closest friends invited her to Christmas Eve dinner with them and their two little boys.

    After spending a warm family Christmas evening with them, the next morning she watched as the boys unwrapped presents of toys and played with them on the living room floor.

    Nelle and her friends had agreed on giving inexpensive gifts to each other, but after they opened the small presents she had given them, she couldn’t help but become disappointed they had not given her anything.

    Then the young wife and mother said they hadn’t forgotten her and she should look on the Christmas tree. There, Nelle found an envelope addressed to her. She opened it and found a check and a note that read: “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.”

    Nelle could not believe the generous gift and refused it, knowing her friends were not that financially well off. But they insisted, saying it was their way of proving their faith in her as a writer. She didn’t even have to sell anything she would write that year. It was just that she could spend the year writing.

    Nelle said it was a great risk they were taking. But her friends replied that it was no risk at all. It was a sure thing.

    What Nelle Harper Lee wrote with that Christmas gift was the novel To Kill a Mockingbird which became a best-seller in 1960 and won her the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Her father Amasa Coleman, who had served in the Alabama State Legislature during the 1930s, was the role model for Atticus Finch, the lawyer-hero of her acclaimed novel against racial prejudice.

    In the movie based upon the book, Gregory Peck won a best actor Academy Award playing Atticus. In 2003, a public poll voted Peck’s portrayal of Harper Lee’s father as their favorite characterization of an American hero.

    What favor did someone do for you? Their gift, whether tangible or “just” friendship or love, when you remember it, can make you feel so good about yourself, that someone cared so much about you. Or, you may have done a favor for someone else, and it made you feel good.

    We need to think of all kinds of ways that make us feel good about ourselves and others. It can relieve a lot of TMS pain.

    Do you have some thoughts to share on this?
     
    Lily Rose, yb44, plum and 1 other person like this.
  2. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Walt, I love this! Too often, I focus on the negative in this world, the lack of compassion, the evil. And sometimes, I overlook the little things (not to mention the larger things) that show us the goodness in each other. But thinking about it, there are some acts of kindness that have really stuck with me. Here's one:

    Last winter, February or so, I was waiting for the bus after class. Harvard Extension courses are mostly at night, and this particular one had ended at 7:30pm. Boston being Boston, it was already dark, and freezing. I was waiting, along with 20 or so others, for the 66 to take me home to Brookline. The 66, which is just a crappy bus line, was already pretty late, so most of us were a bit pissed off already. Once it finally arrived, the whole crowd pushed its way towards the doors, myself included. I ended up pushing my way in front of a man, probably mid-40s, to get on the gloriously heated bus. This man began to really lay into me...but not the usual, "come on, lady, we're all in line," or "are you f*cking kidding me?" First it was "Hey, b*tch, there's a f*cking line, or you too fat to see it."

    Now, at first I was insulted, and me being me I turned around and told him so. The minute I did that, things escalated. He really started cussing me out. I won't type it here. He called me the c-word a lot. I thought he was going to physically hurt me. So I pretty much ran all the way to the back of the bus. Thankfully, he didn't follow, just sat down and glared menacingly at me.

    I was shaking. I was really shaking. Then, a person came up, sat next to me, and started talking to me. His name was Chris, he told me. He said once he heard what was going on, he asked the bus driver to call the MBTA (Boston public transit) police. And then, he told me he was supposed to get off at the next stop, but that he was going to stay with me either until the cops came to get the guy, or until I got off, to make sure this guy didn't follow me, if that was all OK with me (it was).

    What happened next? Cops came, got the guy off the bus. Chris stayed with me on the bus until my stop. Never saw him or the other guy (good riddance) again.

    Something that's so incredible about the kindness of strangers, I think, is it creates a wish to "pay it forward" . Not an obligation - a wish, a need to continue doing good. MontanaMom posted a link to a YouTube video in the community off-topic subforum that I just LOVE that, despite being a commercial, really emphasizes this. Check it out:

     
    Lily Rose, Ellen, yb44 and 1 other person like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Becca, your story of kindness from a stranger was so good and uplifting.
    That foul-mouth must have been a very angry man inside of him.

    And the video clip from MontanaMom is heartwarming and heartbreaking.
    I hope everyone watches it.

    I didn't know what kind of responses I would get from this post on the
    Kindness of Others but it sure brought two good ones today.
     
    Becca likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    "Pay it Forward" is an excellent film on this subject. Thanks for reminding me about it.
     
  5. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS. EVER.
     
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, back in the day, when I was a young pup working my way through college, I had a job in a food store. I worked the late shift and one of my duties was to search the about to become out of date food and pull it from the shelf. I was horrified to learn that this food was simply thrown away. Why not send it to a homeless charity I asked. But no. In the bin it went, day after day. I could not understand why it was ok at 5.29pm but at 5.31pm it was 'dangerous'.

    In the midst of this I became familar with regular customers. One late Winter night I saw one of these regulars sneak a few bread rolls in her bag, rolls that later in the evening I would consign to the rubbish. I said nothing. It happened a few times and I always let her be. My reasoning was obvious and I felt for her. Many people then and now live on the breadline in England.

    I found your tale heartening. I'd not thought much of my memory until reading your words. Sometimes kindness comes in the not-doing too. Thank you for sharing this.

    Becca, I feel for you. A horrid experience that could so easily have turned but for your saviour. God bless the man, whoever and wherever he may be. It sickens me that women are still routinely exposed to such overspills of anger and inadequacy. Rare as it is, I hope one day it becomes extinct. Warm wishes to you for sharing an experience that gives chills.
     
    Lily Rose, Becca, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  7. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    A couple of months ago I was in the Saturday wiki chatroom. MatthewNJ mentioned a website he liked -http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org
    I have this site bookmarked so whenever I am feeling p----d off at the world, I read some of the stories and my mood changes. I notice that today they are featuring the video embedded above.

    Both of my stories take place at Christmas. When I was about 20 I was at a crossroads in my life and I was slipping into depression, not for the first time. I was aware how important it was to keep busy and especially to put myself out there and help others. So I decided to do some volunteer work, a part time receptionist job at a shelter housing women and children in crisis. This wasn't a safe house so it was listed in the telephone directory. As I don't celebrate Christmas I offered to work the Christmas day shift. That day I took three separate calls from people saying they wanted to drop off some food for the residents. One particular lady really downplayed this gesture. She said she had cooked a bit too much and wanted to give us the leftovers. Later that day she appeared with a fully cooked meal compromising of an entire turkey and a host of side dishes.

    A few years later after 42 hours labour I gave birth to my first child late on Christmas eve. It was a traumatic event for a number of reasons. The next morning baby was up with the larks and so was I. Unbeknownst to me a friend had been calling in through the previous night to check on my progress. Just after 6am this friend appeared at the door of my hospital room. I can't remember how she managed to give security the slip as it definitely wasn't visiting time! My friend brought with her a huge bag of wrapped gifts, all for me. The previous month she had given birth to her own baby and had the support of family and friends. This friend knew I was on my own apart from husband. She had been so worried about me that she couldn't sleep. She wanted to make sure that the baby and I were alright and as it was Christmas she couldn't very well come empty-handed.

    There are some nasty people in the world, like the Neanderthal Becca encountered on her bus trip home. But there are also some wonderful individuals who touch our lives in ways we could never imagine.
     
    Lily Rose, Becca and Ellen like this.
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks YB44 for sharing about the Good News Network. I've bookmarked this site and will look at it regularly as an antidote to the usual negative news.
     
  9. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Plum, I applaud you. There are so many who would have said something, perhaps because they feared losing their job, or just because they saw it as the law - those are the rules, and everyone must follow them. Good for you.

    YB, I'm definitely bookmarking the Good News Network. What a great site, reminding us of the good in the world! Love what you said Ellen - it is absolutely an antidote to the depressing and negative headlines we read every day. Some of these stories are incredible...I especially like this one - "Homeless Man Turns in Lost Backpack Stuffed With $42,000 - And Donations Pour In" . And I love their section "Good News on this day in History" .
     

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