Have you done a good deed lately?

Or has someone done one for you?

Today I was at the DMV registering my camper so I can take it on vacation this weekend (hooray!). Our DMV is awful- you wait in one long line for the “information” desk, they give you your forms, you fill them out and get BACK in line, then they give you a number and you wait. It’s like the scene in Beetlejuice, I kid you not.

So I’m in there people watching- I’m number 71 and they’re on 66. A lady comes in and is PISSED at the clerk. Totally frustrated. She waited in line, they gave her the forms and told her to get back in line after, blah, blah, blah.

By the time she takes a seat, she’s red in the face and just looks pissed at the world. Twice she tries to engage the guy next to her in a conversation about how irritated she is, but he won’t bite.

Finally, I look over and say “Boy, it sure is hard to get in and out of here”. The dam breaks. She starts saying stuff about how she just needs to renew and she thought she would only be a few minutes and she’s going to be late going back to work (she was on her lunch hour). She looked genuinely worried underneath all of that irritation.

I agree that it’s a real pain and offer to change numbers with her. She’s number 80, and is absolutely stunned into silence. She asks if I’m sure, and I said yes- I was going into work for a half day and I was not in a hurry. I really didn’t mind waiting a few more minutes.

Well, I’ve never seen a person’s attitude change so fast. All of a sudden it’s all happy stuff and “Isn’t the weather nice? Do you garden? Oh, a camper? What fun!” and such. She thanked me when her number got called and told me I made her day. She was in and out in about 15 minutes total.

Frankly, it made my day that this trip to the DMV turned out to be a positive affirmation of the kindness of strangers for her instead of a mood ruining ordeal. I wonder if it will come up at the dinner table tonight at her house: “Something really nice happened today!” instead of “I hate those idiots at the DMV!”

What nice thing have you done lately or had done for you?

Zette

Well, this wasn’t a huge deal, but it’s something. Two days ago, I hauled the two kids to Kmart to get a GI Joe doll for TD’s dad for a Father’s Day gift. Of course, I had to pick up a few other things since I was there. When I was waiting to put my junk on the counter to pay for them, I noticed a woman behind me, no cart, only about 5 items in her arms. I let her go ahead of me in the line. She thanked me profusely, but hey, I had more items, was going to have to wrangle the two kids and was planning to pay with a check. I know I get frustrated in the lines at Kmart (the clerks aren’t exactly quick at this store.)
I even got to show the clerk why the GI Joe would make a cool Father’s Day present. I got the Vietnam Wall Memorial one. You press a button and the plastic “wall” reveals the image of fallen soldiers, sort of re-creating the “Reflections” print by L. Teter.
Anyway, that’s my latest deed.

I was driving home from the mall last Saturday and there was a woman standing by her car looking at the tires. It was a minivan, with 2 flats. I drove by, thought about it, and did a u-turn to ask her if she needed help-I offered to change the tires if she had 2 spares, but she didn’t.

Turned out she lived on my way home, so I took her there so that her husband could take her back with their other minivan and they could use the two spares from each to get it to the tire dealer.

She tried to give me cash, and I had the hardest time telling her that I didn’t want it. As she got out of the car she set it on the seat. I put it in the basket at church that evening. I stopped because she was in trouble, not because I expected something from it.

My good deed: I am on my second round of feral-kitten fostering in the past month. A momma cat and her three babies moved in underneath my deck. I was able to catch two of the babies but the other one and the momma ran off. The two babies were wild spitting balls of fur but they soon got tame I gave them lots of cuddles, fed them good food, and took them to the vet for check-ups and medication for the sick one. My landlord found great homes for them after I had had them for about 2-1/2 weeks; then, a week later, I went to find the other kitten who had escaped and not only found her, but two more. So, now they’re all in my bathroom waiting to be tame enough and well enough to be adopted.

A good deed done for me: The animal-clinic people - when they heard that these weren’t “my” kittens but that I wanted to get them certified healthy because it’s a lot easier to adopt them out if I can say they are FIV and FeLV negative, have been de-wormed, don’t have ear mites, etc. - didn’t charge me for some of the medicine and also gave me a bunch of free kitten food, and took 15% off the bill anyway.

(I am trying to trap the momma cat, in case anyone is wondering.)

Zette

I’ve done the exact same thing for a mom with a bunch of squirming kids! She was REALLY impressed.

Other than giving blood regularly, that’s about it though, don’t want to lose my bad boy rep.

The only thing I can think of was just tonight, after work. A lady ahead of me in line at the hardware store had two kids, both of whom equal my son in exuberance (to put it kindly). She didn’t have the right change, and rather than let her pay with a $100 bill for a purchase of 10.79, I gave her the .79 - she supplied the $10.

On Memorial Day, I found out that my eldest sister and her family were evicted from their house of 8 years due to the questionable loan company they’d been deling with for three years (LONG story). Mark, my brother-in-law, is now living with his parents while my sister, Dottie, and her two boys are with my mom and grandma (they couldn’t all fit in one spot, I guess).

Anyway, my boss was nice enough to allow me the day off using a sick day (citing “family emergency”) on payday, so after I set aside $$$ for rent and other bills I drove down and hit some discount and thrift stores for clothes for the family (their household items are locked up in storage somewhere and they can’t get to it). Mostly my nephews needed underware and socks as they’ve been wearing school uniforms much of the time. I also picked up some hagis for the youngest nephew because he’s into his Scotish roots, so HE was thrilled about that. I gave them thier birthday presents a month early - enough tickets to an Indians/White Socks game for the whole family. I also bought three dozen pierogies for dinner and then took the boys to see “Shreck,” which they loved.

The coolest part of the day - not only did I manage to make a bad situation a bit more tolerable (wish I could’ve done more, but I’m not a rich woman), but when my youngest nephew said grace over his pierogies, he thanked God that “Aunt Patty had lots of money to buy us cool stuff.” I don’t believe I’ve been personally mentioned in a prayer before.

Aunt Patty

This totally cracked me up- my neices always thank God that Aunt Zette has money to buy them cool stuff :slight_smile:

Anyway, I hope more people add to this thread or get inspired enough to do something, then post it here. Don’t be afraid to offer a stranger help if they need it- give it a shot!

Good deed of this week: My best friend now lives in NC and her mother is in a nursing home nearby. I am also friends with her sister, who I spend a lot of time with. This week, in an effort to get her mom out a little and provide some fun, I suggested that we take her to see Shrek, which is sure to brighten her week. On my way there, I am going to cut a half a dozen carnations from my garden and bring them to her. I know if my friend in NC were here she would be doing the same, and I feel like maybe I can offer some comfort to her mom in her absence. (I also visit at least once a week and play bingo, etc with her.)

Who’s next?
Zette

A couple of weeks ago I went to the local Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. As I got to the front door I noticed an elderly lady being let out of her car right at the door and she was limping a little and walking very slow, like she was in pain. I was in my usual hurry to get in and out of the store but when I saw her I slowed down so that I could hold the door open for her. After she got inside she started walking towards the baskets, I assumed to hold onto so she could do her shopping comfortably. I made sure to hurry ahead of her and grabbed one for her and brought it back to her. She was very grateful and sweet and couldn’t thank me enough. It was a small thing for me to do but it felt good to help her out even in a small way. :slight_smile:

I gave a carless friend a ride to the university bookstore on Sunday. She was going to take the shuttle bus-we live far from campus-but it was the weekend, when the buses are on a reduced schedule. I offered her a ride so she wouldn’t have to wait forever in the heat.
Does that count as a good deed? It’s not exactly heroic, but I would have appreciated it if I were in a similiar situation.

I don’t know if this is really a “good deed” but I try to remember to pass it on if I notice something nice about a stranger’s (usually a woman’s) appearance. You know, like, “What a fabulous color that is on you–I couldn’t help noticing!” or “That’s a stunning coat.” They seem so taken aback to have a stranger pay a compliment–yet it’s credible and sincere since I have nothing to gain by saying it. I’ve done that only about twice in the past month but I try to remember to do it more often in general.

I could list other things, but they were for (or from) people I know, and I like that this thread seems to be leaning towards things we do for strangers.

It was awhile ago but I think it fits. Last winter, late afternoon and there is a blizzard going on and this is New Jersey so no one knows how to drive in the snow. Basically it’s mayhem on the roads (and the eletricity has gone out - adding to the fun). We (me and the man) look out our window at the road and see a woman standing by her car. Her car has obviously stalled and she is standing in the storm holding onto her jumper cables and looking plaintively at the cars driving past her. She is not dressed properly for the weather - no gloves, no hat, sneakers (in a blizzard!) and old blue jeans. Me and the man look at each other and then he goes out and invites her in - we let her use the phone, I give her a pair of wool socks to wear and we give her some tea to warm her up. The traffic and the weather are so bad that she’s in our house for three hours. I had made beef stew for dinner so we gave her some of that. Her husband finally makes it through the mess and she thanks us several times and off they go.

It all began at 6:30 on Saturday morning, when I got up to get ready for a pre-activity breakfast. I picked up my Little Sister (with Big Brothers/Big Sisters) at 7:30 and we went out to breakfast (Embers. <shudder>). Then we went waaaaayy to the south side of St. Paul and took part in a tree planting. It was really, really, fun and really, really hard work. There were about 150 people there, and we were divided into a bunch of work units (I thought that was a refreshing change from the overly cheery “team”). My work unit planted about 20 trees and double that in shrubs, all around a storm water collection pond. We were in a very industrial area that borders a wildlife preserve. Interesting setting. The land we planted is owned by, among others, a police impound lot, a scrapyard, a railroad, and some Mysterious Warehouses.

Anyway, you can imagine what the ground was like. I spent a good portion of the day pounding the crap out of 3’ circles with an auger, breaking up the soil enough to use a shovel. We usually had to dig about three feet deep, too, and in the process unearthed chunks of chain, metal hooks, asphalt, soda cans, enormous rocks, wire, and what I can only assume was a ninja throwing star.

Learned a lot about how to plant a tree (there are a bunch of steps I never would have guessed) and I also talked with some park rangers about nearby prairies and other parks. It was neat. Mañana had a good time too, and fell asleep in the car on the way home. She also fell into a tree-hole within minutes of arriving, and I kinda have to respect that.

No good deed goes unpunished, though, as now I am completely sunburned and my muscles are pathetically sore. My right hand’s grippin’ muscles are shot (damn auger), rendering my handwriting hilarious. If only I could post it. Imagine a a left-handed third grader writing with her right hand, and you’ve got me, baby!

but I would be remiss if I didn’t cite Spider Woman’s June 10th post at 8:12 am in THIS thread.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=73667

The reason why she posted that link may or many not have been “much ado about nothing” (I’m not sure), but in any event, it was a kind, thoughtful, compassionate effort on her part. Of course, I’ve come to expect no less from one of the SDMB’s truly classiest posters! :slight_smile:

It is so pleasant to compliment someone who so justly deserves said praise!

Zowie… I’d PAY to have you as a neighbor!

In the “no good deed goes unpunished” category…
I mow my neighbor’s lawn once in a while. They’re elderly and sometimes their son doean’t show up to mow it for them. So, while I’ve got my mower out, I’ll spend an extra hour or so mowing theirs. And last year, I removed a very large dead tree from their back yard.

And for the “punishment”… Mrs elderly-next-door-neighbor tosses scraps from their meals into their backyard to “feed the birds”. I’ve asked her please please please not do that because it attracts rodents, raccoons, etc.
Sure enough, one of my Old English Sheepdogs got sprayed by a skunk after he persuaded it to drop the greasy corncob it had in it’s mouth.

Do you know how RIDICULOUS a shaved sheepdog looks?

Good deeds?

Just the usual little ones. Lent my Super Soaker to a kid in a water fight. Spent some time walking dogs at the local Humane Society. Set up my kid sister’s Birthday Party.

Only minor acts of goodness.

I have a saint for a friend though. If you ever want some examples of pure right and sweetness, e-mail mrblue92. The man is amazing!

And a quickie for my dear friend Mike. (not a doper) He’s always there when I need a shoulder or an ear and gives great backrubs as well. Heaven knows he’s put my crazy self back together more times than anyone should have to.

Um… what? :confused:

Thanks, dear one, that’s very nice of you. But I don’t really have any examples to give anyone. Nope, can’t think of anything. Nothing to see here, folks.

Ballybay - Not heroic?!?! As someone who used to rely heavily on public transportation, I can assure you your actions did indeed make you “hero for a day.”*

Cranky - I SO agree with you about giving sincere compliments. I’ve told strangers if the pants they were wearing or if the earrings they had on or the if baby they were holding were cute, because I know how much I’d appreciate hearing that.

And I think “Saint Zette” sounds pretty darn good!

Patty
*Reference to a Metallica song.

Just today I was going to the grocery store. As I pulled into the parking lot, a lady was standing there looking hopefully at all the traffic speeding by. She obviously needed something but since I wasn’t comfortable giving her a ride somewhere (liability and all that) I didn’t know if I should stop. But something about her made me change my mind. (It was over 90 degrees outside and I thought maybe she needed money for food or a drink.) Anyway, I was prepared to give her bus fare or money for food. I stopped and asked her if I could help and it turns out she just needed directions to a nearby store, she had gotten disoriented. It wasn’t anything at all but she was very grateful.

Nice to see this thread still going! More! More!
and…

I was born on All Saints Day. Coincidence??

FWIW, I did not post this thread for allocades, but I wanted people to see that good things happen every day and doing nice stuff makes you feel good (as well as makes the receiver feel good)

Let’s see- One more. A few months ago a poster was complaining in the BBQ Pit that his backpack was stolen at school and he lost his (expensive) graphing calculator. He seemed pretty down on people in general, and I dug out my TI85 calc and mailed it to him. He was very appreciative, and I like to think that maybe I reversed his feelings about the nature of people that day.

Zette