What's the kindest thing a stranger has done for you?(382 Posts)
Equally, what is the kindest thing you have done for a stranger?
Years ago. There was a teacher I hadn't got on well with at school, I had probably been a bit of a bitch (low level disruption, arrogance, generally being a bratty 14 year old). Anyway I couldn't find my name on the list for exam room before one of my GCSEs and managed to get myself into a state. She calmed me down and was really nice to me while dispatching another teacher to sort out the missing name situation. I didn't deserve her kindness.
I fell off my bike recently and lots of strangers stopped to help, got me up, righted my bike etc lots of people all very nice to me.
I had too many food shopping bags and a strapped up wrist on the train the other day. I couldn't scoop them all up. A man lent over and gathered them up for me.
I have a large musical instrument. The amount of people who offer to help on the tube is amazing. I don't need any help with it (my choice to play it!) but always thank them and joke that I'm well practiced now.
When I was little I fell and cut my face open, LOADS of blood. We were quite far from the car. Some strangers stopped, helped keep the cut together with some plasters they had in there car and have us a lift back to our car. That was nice.
In terms of paying it forward, I try to be nice and generally a bit helpful, very small things mainly. One bigger thing recently which was quite alt after people helped me when i came off my bike. A lady fell of her bike outside my flat. People outside got her and her bike out the road and stayed with her for a little bit. I was watching out the window. Then people kinda drifted away.
After about 5 mins I decided she really didn't look like she was ok - went out and she kept saying she was fine, no ambulance, she was fine. But she wasn't moving from her sitting position and was very white. I called an ambulance, sat with her quietly letting her know one was on its way.
I took her bike into the flat for her as she didn't have a bike lock with her and the ambulance wouldn't take it too (obviously). She wasn't ok, had hit her head and dislocated her shoulder. Couldn't believe how quickly the ambulance got there to be honest.
Some lovely stories on here.
My parents once did a RAOK which I still think about. About 25 years ago they came back from a holiday in Italy, arrived at Heathrow in foul weather ( it was autumn). Dm just longing to get home for a nice cup of tea. They got approached by an Italian couple in their late 20s/ early 30s with very poor English, wanting directions to Cambridge. DM tried to explain about getting to Kings Cross, getting train to Cambridge, but they didn't seem to grasp it.
So DF says to DM that he thinks they'll get lost, so why don't they drive this couple to Cambridge. My parents don't live anywhere near Cambridge, so what should have been a 2 hour journey home became a 5 hour journey. It was a Sunday evening, DM had to be at work the next morning. She was not impressed.
So, when they get to Cambridge, the Italian woman gives DM the phone number of the B and B they're booked into. Parents find phone box and DM phones B and B to get directions. Woman who answers phone is Italian but with good English, gives directions and explains to DM that couple are relatives of hers, and that
they have come to UK for IVF treatment at Bourn Hall, because they can't get it in Italy. They'd saved for years for the opportunity.
DM still says occasionally that she's so pleased they gave the couple a lift, and wonders if they ever had their longed-for baby. I now coincidentally live very near Bourn Hall and sometimes when I'm passing there wonder the same.
Way before mobile phones I was due to meet a friend at a taxi station. She didn't turn up, I was only about 13. A kind driver gave me 50p for a drink which I have never forgotten. And indeed, I will always offer help to those who seem in trouble
Gorgeous thread which has made me sniffle and also inspired me to do more than the little raok's I do. (Parking tickets, money for the homeless, etc.)
The biggest raok ever done for me was this Easter. Me, DH, Ds1,ds2 and DD were on holiday in the USA and had driven up a woodland road in Vermont in search of the Appalachian trail ( I had read Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods and wanted to just have a little walk on the trail!)
Anyway, the track suddenly got v. muddy and of course the car got stuck. We tried everything we could but there was no getting out. It being Easter most of the (sporadic) houses we had passed were empty due to being summer houses. It also suddenly turned really cold and mist started rolling in.
So after walking down this path for about 2 hours and having paranoid thoughts about being eaten by a bear we knock un-optimistically at yet another house only to have it answered - hurrah! In this house lived the loveliest couple you could hope to meet, and amazingly they had a truck with a winch on the front! We all climbed in the truck, drove back up to the stuck car (having a lovely chat with them learning all about their family) and within 5 minutes the lovely man had got our car out, despite being well over 80 years old! It turned out that sat navs often wrongly sent people down this dead end track when they typed Appalachian trail into them and we were about the 50th set of people they'd helped get unstuck in the 30 years they'd lived there.
They would accept no offers of money to cover their petrol or anything else other than a handshake and our immensely heartfelt thanks, they said the fact that they managed to help us was reward enough. Having got back in their car they gave us a wave and drove off.
The final lovely bit was as we drove back past their house (after stopping for 5 minutes to take photos of where we'd been stuck!) the lady was sitting in the window and waved as we drove past, she'd obviously been sitting there waiting for us to drive past to make sure we got back ok.
Such a lovely couple and if we ever go back I'm going to find their house and secretly deliver a massive box of chocs and bunch of flowers as we had to leave Vermont that evening and didn't have a chance to go back to their house with a thank you gift.
I went out for dinner and drinks with my friends this evening for a birthday. We were all feeling very old as most of the people hitting the clubs were teens and early 20's!
My DP offered to collect us about 40 min ago from by a taxi rank. We got there and I saw a young girl, must have been about 20, barefoot and hobbling between taxis appearing to beg them to take her home as her dad would pay when they got her home. She was crying and looked really distressed.
I gave her a hug and she said that she had twisted her ankle and just wanted to go home but only had £12.50 for the £20 cab and her "friends" had abandoned her.
I gave her my last £10 and set her off on a cab.
I can't really tell anyone IRL as I'm self employed, struggling (tonight was a lot of vouchers and saving) and that £10 is a big deal to me. My DP would be really cross on my behalf.
But she needed help and I believe she was sincere.
Hopefully she will be able to help someone else one day.
Last Christmas Eve we were without power and mobile phone signal in our village. A gentleman who had broken down driving through flood water a short walk from our house, knocked and asked to use our landline to phone the AA. I suggested he give the AA our number in case they needed to get a message to him. Sure enough about an hour later they rang and said they wouldn't be with him for several hours.
I relayed the message to him at which point he told me he was a Priest and was supposed to be doing four services that afternoon (including two prison ones) I ended up driving him to the town he needed to get to. Due to the flood water the round trip took 3 hours. To be fair all the Christmas baking I had planned to do during this time wasn't going to happen anyway without the power.
He arrived on Christmas Day with flowers and chocolates to say he had arrived back 15 minutes before the car hire closed, got the last car and made it to all his services I am not particularly religious but hope this puts me in a good light when the time comes
My car broke down on Autoroute in Northern France once, just outside Calais. Mechanic in lorry pulled up, fixed my car and wouldn't take a single Euro payment.
Lovely thread. I've done little random acts of kindness for others, and they have done them for me. There are lots of very decent, kind people in the world, and a small thing can make a complete stranger's day.
Kindest thing I did for a stranger... I tend to stop and help people in accidents.
One time I stayed with an older woman who had got a concussion from hitting a pole at a bus. I was also the first to reach her.
And I stopped on a motorway to help a couple who had crashed their car. The woman was bleeding from her forehead and I stayed with her till the ambulance arrived.
Another time, I stayed with another woman in another bus who had a tachycardia crisis.
That a stranger did for me...
It has to be the two times strangers approached us and called the police when already ex was being violent on the street. And offered their details as witnesses.
The midwife who held my hand the whole way through my emergency c-section. I was 18 and the baby's dad decided he couldn't cope with the idea of coming into theatre.
It doesn't sound like much, but I was really poorly and my daughter had to be taken into special care. That was nearly 18 years ago and. My daughter died aged 5 months (unrelated to the birth) but the kindness of the midwife made the birth a lovely experience I still look back and can have fond memories.
I know its an older thread now, but...
The midwife who stayed on for about 4 hours after her shift ended rather than me have to change yet again, her having been on duty the day before when I came in, had done a shift, gone home and another full shift while i was there, still labouring. Some flowers got sent to the hospital for me a few days later after I had finally had DS1 and left. I asked them to give them to her. She wrote me a lovely letter, no one else had ever given her their flowers before.
The lady whose car I accidentally reversed into when I was 18 and did several hundred pounds of damage, but she didn't ask for a penny towards it, just said she hoped I'd be similarly kind in future if a new driver ran into my car.
The lady with the broken arm in a plaster who was the only person to help me with my suitcase on and off three trains when we found ourselves on the same route on a train strike day when I was 38 weeks pregnant, with SPD and finishing work that day for mat leave.
I was shopping in a busy shopping centre once alone, suddenly I went all clammy and dizzy, was still far from a bench and knew I wouldn't make it so just sort of collapsed on the floor near the steps leaning against this glass window, bags all sprawed out. Most people just stared but after about 2 minutes a woman came over and asked if I was ok and I said no, I felt like I was going to pass out. She ran into Boots opposite, got me a drink and obviously spoke to a member of staff as she sat with me and 5 minutes later, security brought a wheelchair down. I don't drive so security wanted to call someone for me, but the lady insisted she looked after me. She wheeled me up to the food court, bought me a jacket potato and made sure I was OK. I felt better after about an hour, she wouldn't take any money, nothing, just said she was glad to help and off she went! I was so thankful.
Also thankful to the people that called an ambulance when I had a seizure at a bus stop. I didn't know I had epilepsy at the time. They weren't about when I came around but glad someone helped me.
When I was at the bus stop in the dark and pouring rain at about 6am, a man I didn't know came up to me and got right up in my face and asked what day it was, I told him it was Friday, and if he wouldn't mind just stepping back a bit. Well this just set him off, he kicked right off, starting screaming at me, I walked away about 20 feet, terrified, but needing to be near the bus stop and not wanting to walk off in case he might follow me, when a white van drove past, the two chaps in it saw this man kicking off at me, promptly got out, told him to do one and waited with me until my bus came. I was so completely grateful.
The lovely lady who let us use her pub's loo, even though they were just about to close. This was about 1.30am and my uni society had been on a trip when our bus broke down. After three hours waiting, a few of us needed the loo. Walked around to find this very empty, dodgy-looking pub with pretty grim, but usable toilets. Thank you, lovely lady, we also managed to warm up a bit after having been outside on the pavement for all that time.
The man who gave me £5 for fundraising, even though he only spent £1 at my stall.
This is going to sound melodramatic but I don't recall anyone doing any RAOK for me
I love doing ROAK though. When I was working as a Junior Dr we had an insanely busy night shift, lots of sick people. I was asked to take a look at a chap who was unfortunately clearly dying. After doing all what was medically necessary I asked the staff to call his family. He didn't have any. I could tell the end was near so I stayed with him and held his hand as he died.
I had an operation this week and felt awful after it. The lady next to me went down to theatre after I did and had a panic attack when she came back. Even though I could barely move I got up and sat next to her bed and held her hand whilst she calmed down.
I love helping people, even when it's the smaller things, coz they are often the things that make the biggest difference.
Such a lovely thread!
When I was 19, I suffered my first bout of depression & the medication prescribed didn't work - I was one of the unfortunate ones for who they caused suicidal thoughts. I was at uni & on nights out I would drink too much to escape my own head and would end up breaking down almost every time. On a work night out, a colleague did aomethjng for me that hardly anyone else had done - she listened. Didn't try to advise, to 'fix' me or ignore me, she just listened to me and afterwards made a point of checking to see how I was. It meant such a lot to me at such a bad time, we became very close & 12 years later she is still my best friend.
In terms of paying it back, I try to do the littlest things for anyone I can - giving a kid an extra 20p so he can buy the extra sweetie, seeing a child have a tantrum in the street because he dropped his sweets and handing over the chocolate my DD wasn't fussed about (that was today) but my face wasn't for a stranger. DH's eldest nephew (through marriage, BIL isn't his biological father) had been thrown out of home at 16 & we were worried sick about him. We'd talked about this for ages because of his home life but once he was chucked out, I asked him if he wanted to come & live with us, study at the local college and we'd see him through it (we live at opposite ends of the country). He didn't take us up on the offer, but his reply made me cry: 'you've made me believe that some of my family do care about me'
When my daughter threw up all over herself on the way to our camping holidays last summer and we pulled up on the side of the road in some village which was the first place we could stop coming off the fast road, a very kind man spotted us and invited us into his house so we could clean her and her seat properly. He even offered a cup of tea, which we declined, as we still had a long way to go, but were really impressed and grateful.
I had a MC last year but it was a MMC and needed to shave surgery. I had a meltdown (full blown sobbing) in school playground the morning of the surgery as my friend who was meant to drive me there and stay with me for the day called to cancel last minute. DH couldn't come as he had university final exams :-(
A mum of a girl (who I never really spoke to) in DS class saw me sobbing (along with rest of school), asked what was wrong, and when I told her phoned her boss then and there and said she wouldn't be in that day due to an emergency and to deduct it from her holiday and took me to hospital and waited with me all day till DH could get me.
We're now very good friends. Amazing how kind a stranger can be x
What a wonderful thread to revisit on New Year's Eve!!
A few years ago I realised I had left my mobile phone on a park bench. I got a doubly sinking feeling when I remembered that a group of "yoofs" had been hanging around nearby, who had no doubt spotted it and were already hawking it for quick cash. When I got home I was just about to phone the mobile company to register the loss when I noticed I had a new answerphone message. The message was from a young lad who stated that he had picked up my phone, and handed it in to the police station (at least a mile away from where I had lost it). He must have dialled 'home' to let me know. He didn't leave his name and the staff at the police station said he declined to leave his name or address. That certainly changed my opinion on youngsters today...
...another time, my car got stuck on an icy hill in a country lane. A man stopped by and tried to help but couldn't do it on his own. He drove off 'to get help' but after about 30 minutes I assumed he just buggered off. Then, when I'd given up hope, he appeared at the top of the hill with two other men. One of them, by pure coincidence happened to be my best friend's DH!! They managed to get me moving and I couldn't stop to thank them for risk of getting stuck again! A couple of weeks later, my initial rescuer turned up at my front door, randomly, as a package courier. I tried to invite him in for a cuppa to thank him but he was on the clock for deliveries.
My RAOK wasn't a solo effort, but mushroomed into a great gesture by many good folk. I learned that a local, impoverished dressmaker in the community where I lived had been burgled and, due to her poverty, had not been able to pay her home insurance that year.
I rallied the good people nearby to help me raise some money to help her, and in less than a week I was able to present to her, on all our behalfs,£400. Her tears of joy will remain with me forever.
When I was at A & E at Southend hospital and my mum collapsed in the waiting area with a (second) major bleed and the other would be patients were there to help me catch her and call for help faster than any of the wonderful drs and nurses..was one of the longest few minutes of my life whilst they were saving her and I have rarely felt more surrounded by compassion and support than in that coldly lit room of strangers.
A family took me into their home after aged 17 I crashed my car into a lamp post after sliding on ice on a country lane heading home from my horses. They took a shaking me in to make calls to recovery and my mum then looked after me until the recovery driver arrived. The recovery driver took pity on me when I was worrying about seeing to my horses while my car was fixed and how I would get myself sorted for an important competition the next day (I was riding professionally at that point). Hire car was part of the recovery plan I had but normally at 17 I wouldn't be able to get a hire car. The lovely recovery driver phoned around until he found one for me and then after driving my crashed car home took me on to an airport 40 odd miles away in another city to pick up hire car. I had never driven on a motorway before so he escorted me all the way home as I drove the hire car. So much more then his on discription!
When I very badly broke my leg in a riding accident 2 years ago my whole village came out to help me, there was a cooking rota going on, people looked after my children, lent equipment to help as was wheelchair bound and couldn't get upstairs to the bathroom once I was out of hospital. I did know lots of the people involved as we are a close community but still, they did so, so much and there where some I had never had any contact with before. I have no idea how we would have got through without the help.
There have been so many raoc towards me over the years, some from people I know, some from strangers, little or large they are all amazing.
I pay forward when ever I can, lots of little things. I have no cash to give but I try to give as much thought and time as possible.
I don't think of this as a raoc really but reading the thread made me think of it.
A few years ago a man who lived in the cottages next to the community shop I work at had a fall at his forint door, somebody called to me in the shop to say he had fallen and I dashed out leaving the shop with a customer (benefit of village run shop, almost everybody knows the behind the counter basics) and along with another villager helped him up and into his house. He was adamant that he was okay so I left him with everything he might need including the phone in reach of his chair. He called me in the shop not a half hour later so I ran round and he looked very ill, ambulance was called.
He never got home again. He spent his last weeks in hospital and I visited when I could as his family where a distance away and to be honest not very nice. Even though he was in his 90's I was very upset when he died and went to his funeral. It's been 4 years and I still miss our conversations in the shop.
This thread is wonderful and really restores my faith in humanity. One thing that springs to mind is the support I got on here when I was pregnant. It was my first baby and was absolutely depressed, terrified and on bad days suicidal ( after baby was born ). It seemed everyone around me was telling me horror stories, and on ex friend told me it was 'hell' and didn't know how I'd cope with a 'fussy' baby.
I came on here in a mess, saying I was going to run away once baby was here. Hand him over to OH and jump on a National Express so we here random Eastenders style! ( I laugh at this now ). Anyway, I was so scared of getting flamed, but I was greeted with kindness, and sympathy. It made the rest of the pregnancy that bit easier as I could read the comments again.
Now my son is 9 months old, and it has been absolutely wonderful. I am still angry about all the horrible negative stuff I was told, which hugely outweighed the positive . It affected my pregnancy and I spent the precious newborn stage worrying about all these supposed things that would happen to me.
If someone I know is pregnant, I make sure to tell them to take 'advice' with a pinch of salt, and that it can actually be fun being a parent. Which is my experience.
So thank you MN, you helped me more than you know!
I was eating in a brasserie last week, alone, with my 1 year old twins. It wasn't going well and I was probably making it look harder than I usually do! One twin was constantly climbing out of the highchair, the other was throwing his food around. We eat out a lot and it normally goes quite well - this occasion was exceptionally bad!
Anyway just out of nowhere, as I was wiping up the mess at the end, a lady came up to me and said she had been watching me and she thought I was an amazing mum and told me to accept a gift of a box of macaroons she had just bought at the counter.
I was so choked up I couldn't say anything except thank you and then she walked off.
I wish I could find her and let her know how much it meant to me to hear that. I was having a really bad day and she completely turned it around for me. Plus, as a mum of twins, you ALWAYS feel like you are the world's shittest mum for a whole heap of reasons, so it really means SO much to be told you're doing a good job.
How lovely these are! <sniffles>
The community midwife who helped us after DD1 was stillborn. Came round heaps of times to look after us, changed our GP to a sympathetic one, got DH an appt with her for anti-depressants, told us stories about how she felt when her dad died and how she coped. She then did house visits all through my next (v stressful) pregnancy and was so so incredibly kind. I'm newly pregnant again and when I went to see her she was so pleased for me. I luffs her.
Ones I've done: a couple of years ago a car broke down outside our house on about 29 Dec. Horrible night, pitch dark and sleety, and we live on a very rural road with no other houses nearby. The old lady came to the door to ask where they were so they could give the address to the recovery people. She refused to come in and went back to the car. After about 10 minutes I went out to offer them a cup of tea and discovered that the reason they wouldn't come in was because her husband was wheelchair-bound and we had a big scaffolding up blocking a lot of the drive, and their car was now blocking ours in so there was no room to get him past. I went back inside and badgered DH (who was being weirdly shy) into going out and changing their tyre - he really didn't want to, said that the recovery people would turn up soon, but I made him. It took him absolutely ages due to the position of car to kerb - he couldn't get any purchase with the jack for a long time. We were out there for at least an hour messing about with it in the wind and sleet. I was heavily pg and just holding the torch, DH was doing all the hard work. Eventually DH got the tyre changed and the couple went on their way with many thanks - the recovery people never did show up!
A couple of days later we came home and discovered a carrier bag in the porch - the old couple had left us a thank you card and presents of perfume and aftershave. It was so sweet of them.
We also helped a girl who keeps horses in the farmer's field near us. Lying in bed one evening and saw 2 horses sans riders thundering past the window. Leaped out of bed, got dressed in a hurry and ran out, by which time they were long gone. Girl went past on another horse, bareback, 2 mins later, so we got the car and offered to help. Spent a fair amount of time looking for the horses, eventually found them and helped the girl herd them into a disused stableyard. Drove back and picked her friend up to take headcollars so she could lead them home.
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