Random acts of kindness, or being a good samaritan

Have you helped someone out recently that you didn’t know? Little things, big things, or just being more considerate than might be expected?

I ask, because I had an opportunity to help someone tonight, and I almost didn’t. I did, and it felt really good.

I was driving home from the gas station, and I saw a car parked by a few closed businesses with it’s hood up. There was a person standing next to it on a cell phone. To me it looked like an older gentleman that probably just needed a jump. I thought about just leaving the guy to deal with it himself, after all he had a phone and there were several gas stations nearby. Besides, I wouldn’t want to offend the guy by offering help if he were that type of guy.

I thought that it couldn’t hurt to at least ask, and if he didn’t need a jump, I might at least be able to give him some informed opinions on what might be wrong (my Dad knows more about cars than most mechanics). So, I drove back there.

Turns out it was a middle aged blond woman wearing a hat. I might need glasses. So, I asked her if she needed a jump and she said she did, but did not have cables. Of course I had them, otherwise i would have looked like an ass. “Need a jump?” Yes. “Got cables” No. “Me neither, good luck!”

She stayed on her phone with her husband, who was trying to call AAA. Why didn’t he just come out and rescue her? I hope he had a good reason.

After the jump was complete, I made sure her car sounded like it was running right. I left the cables on for a couple minutes, revved my engine slightly, and told her to get to an auto parts store ASAP to get her battery checked out. I told her that if the battery was fine, more than likely it was the alternator. She said she hadn’t left the lights on, so I told her that it could happen again without warning, and she should get it looked at very soon.

She was thankful of course. I had already anticipated the possibility that she might try to give me a few bucks for my time, but I would have refused it, I didn’t stop to help in the hopes of getting reimbursement. She did, however, say that she owned the business we were right outside of. It’s called Touch of Gourmet. One of those places where trained cooks help you prepare a meal for final cooking later. She gave me a business card and said I could have a free meal there anytime. They seem to come in servings of 4 persons at the least, so I may never take her up on it.

I just felt really good to have helped this poor lady out. If there can be any selfishness in what I did, it’s me wanting better Karma, but that can’t be a really bad thing can it? The problem was fixed for the time being, both of us left with a slightly better outlook on the way people tend to be, and hopefully her husband was relieved as well.

Sorry for rambling, I just thought I should share how good it feels to help someone out when you don’t have to. Everybody wins.
So, anyone else have a similar story?

When I was at Lollapalooza this year I found a cell phone on the ground. I figured that lost and found wouldn’t help to the owner so I called his most recent dialed number and got a friend of his who was at a stage near me. I hung out for about 10 min. while we described our locations and attire.

Turns out the guy lost his phone a few hours before I picked it up. He came to get it and was most pleased about it and we chatted for a few minutes.

Felt good to do something like that. It did feel weird calling people I don’t know telling them that I have this guys phone. Glad I got the right person on the 1st try.

Almost more than I can count. I have:
Changed tires for people
given jumps
Brought gas back to a cars that was out.
pulled people out that were stuck in mud.
Got cars that were stalled in puddles started and out of the puddle
called for a tow truck for people
Stopped to render assistance after an accident (I am pretty sure my actions saved one guy’s life)
Put out car fires
fixed people’s cars by the side of the road
Did a swimming rescue on two sailors that had been in the water long enough to become hypothermic.
After the '94 earthquake, I shut off the gas to two houses that had serious leaks, dug one neighbor out of the rubble, served snake bite medicine (bourbon) to all the adults in the neighborhood, and cooked everybody in the neighborhood breakfast when the sun came up.
I have also donated over 6 gallons of blood (NO not all at one time)
Returned several wallets to their owners.

And you are correct it does give you a warm fuzzy feeling.

Gee, Rick, that seems to be your regular lifestyle!

I recently had some small reproductions of five woodblock prints framed. The artist is deceased, but is daughter is one of my friends.

A young woman at the frame store was admiring one of the prints of a local college chapel and mentioned that her parents had been married there. I said that I thought that I could get her a copy of the print if she would like to have one. She was very pleased because her parents’ anniversary was coming up in another month.

When I talked with the artist’s daughter, she was willing to donate the small print, and asked if I would like to buy one of the larger, finer prints for a small amount. I was so pleased to be able to pass along the nicer version. It’s terrific to see his work appreciated, to have my friend (who is almost 89 know that her father’s work is valued), and to put just the right artwork in the hands of the young. She, in turn, has framed it and presented it to her parents on their anniversary.

The young woman was industrious enough to find out my address and my friend’s address and to send us both thank you notes. Everyone was happy with this one!

Not only do I always have good feelings come back to me, but there always seems to be enough money to cover what I give – and then some. I give that away too.

dnooman, I honestly think that you have discovered the secret of great contentment. It filled up an emptiness in me that I used to think only owning things could fill.

I carried an old lady’s shopping home on a viciously windy day. It was gusting so strongly she was having real trouble staying on her feet.

I offered an arm and carried her bags. She tried to give me money when she got home but I told her not to be daft.

All about the little things, innit.

I was using my laptop computer in the local library when I was approached by a gentleman who wanted to use a Windows machine to test his two CDs filled with pictures. He could use a library computer, but that would require waiting 2 hours–busy afternoon. I put each CD in my computer’s drive and proved that they had the pictures in question. Took me all of 3 minutes, if that.

I was flying back from Dayton via Detroit. When we got to Detroit, there was a tiny little elderly nun who was on her way home from a young relative’s wedding. I helped her navigate the airport to find the other nun who was picking her up – not entirely straightforward, since her understanding of the meeting place was nothing more specific than “outside the security checkpoint.” (I also helped her with the motion-controlled paper-towel dispenser in the ladies room – it really was kind of like walking around with an alien, esp. going through the “light-show-moving-walkway” tunnel.)

She was a Carmelite, so not exactly a frequent traveler, and completely freaked out by the whole experience. Since I had a three-hour layover (which turned out to be five, but that’s another story), I was happy to spend half an hour helping her out. She offered me money, which I of course refused, but ended up giving me a spontaneous hug and her profuse thanks when we finally found her friend.

I was smiling for two days after that.

A relatively minor assistance, but has the distinction of earning some “maybe not all Americans are ugly” points:
As useful as the Metro (subway) system in Paris is, it is sadly lacking in escalators to get from level to level (or back to the street). I was hiking up this long staircase and came across this woman dragging a bag (luggage) up the stairs. People were whizzing by not even noticing her, or her struggle. So I just grabbed the other side and helped her carry it. At first she was a little concerned, but then quickly realized I was helping (not trying to steal her bag).
I don’t speak french, but did recognize “merci”. And I could tell she was really grateful.

Last Thanksgiving, I was on my way back to my parents’ place from the in-laws (they live maybe fifteen miles apart) on the interstate. On my way back, I noticed a group of people pushing their car down the breakdown lane, a good five miles away from the next exit. I couldn’t get over in time to help them without having to back down the shoulder for almost 3/4 of a mile, which seemed dangerous with my eyesight and driving skills. I went down to the next exit, looped around to the last exit, and came up to them again. By this time, they had abandoned pushing the car and were just walking to the next exit. I picked them up, took them down there to get some water and gas for their car, then looped back to take them to their car again. All in all, me and the three of them were probably together for twenty minutes. They were nice folks, but when the dad found out I was taking an abnormal psychology class at the time, he felt compelled to tell me that he had been diagnosed with manic depression (do they still use that term?) and had recently decided to quit his meds cold turkey. His wife and daughter were in the backseat whispering over towards me, begging me to not throw them out of the car, he’s really not that crazy, please please please. The whole thing was really more hilarious than unsettling.

Turns out the family was trying to get to their oldest daughter’s place for Thanksgiving. Once their car got going, I gave them my number and told them that if they had any trouble to call me and I’d be happy to either help them find a tow truck, a place to stay, or both. They were really very thankful for the whole thing, and I felt pretty good. Plus, it gave me a pretty nice story to share.

Downs syndrome person tripped and fell, something about his oxygen tank not working on its side. Righted his tank and sat with him until he felt better. Didn’t have a cell phone and since he didn’t seem hurt (no, I’m not a doctor, but I couldn’t see leaving him there scared while I looked for a phone) I helped him get up, which was apparently difficult, made sure his tank wasn’t leaking as best I could, and saw him to the door of the building.

Sometimes in the middle of a hectic week, pulling my hair out over the bills and work and the kids, a cashier will give me the wrong change. You can tell that they’re having the same kind of day, so giving the extra $10 back and gently explaining “I only gave a $10 but thanks anyway” seems to make a huge difference in both of our days (at least until the next idiot in line gets to them)

I try to “do a good turn daily”, but my cynical nature tends to make it monthly. Old ladies and little kids get special consideration and can even, occasionally, make me feel good about myself. Who’s doing a favor for whom here, anyway?

I was sitting in my car in a hospital parking lot, reading a book and waiting for someone, when I noticed two men getting in their car just opposite me. They were in the car for just a few minutes when the driver got out, raised the hood and started looking around. It was pouring down rain, so I got out and offered him my umbrella. After a few minutes, he returned the umbrella, and told me that he would have to call a repairman, since his battery was dead. Well, my car was nose to nose with his and I had jumper cables in the trunk, so the next step was pretty obvious - I opened my hood and gave him the cables so he could get it started up.

I really wasn’t a big deal on my part, but to him and his father I guess it was pretty significant. They had just finished up a procedure on his father’s eyes at the hospital, it was about 5pm on a horrible rainy night, and they had a 2 hour drive ahead of them. I felt pretty good about my little part in helping them out.

I was at my parents’ house one summer evening (a month ago), and the ice cream man cometh.

I decided to partake, so I grabbed my wallet and went out to meet the truck. The young boy from across the street (who had just moved in) had also come out but didn’t realize one needed money in exchange for dairy goodness.

So, I asked the kid what he wanted and bought it for him.

His mom was right behind him with cash as soon as he got his Spider Man pop, apologizing profusely and telling the little dude about how you need money to get ice cream.

I said “No problem. People used to buy me ice cream all the time when I was growing up in this neighborhood.” Of course, I didn’t accept re-payment. I was truly “paying it forward.”

Now, with the cultural climate being what it is these days in America, I probably made some sort of social gaffe by trying to be nice to this kid but whatever. I enjoyed it :slight_smile:

Recently, I’ve returned about $80 found in various ATM machines to their attached banks on the assumption/odds that it was left by the last person to use the machine. If the bank checks the machine records they should be able to ID the customer. It’s a long shot, but I couldn’t keep the money as it wasn’t mine to keep, and the idea of just leaving the money didn’t seem right. I couldn’t see it lasting very long just sitting there.

This is all reminding me of a time when I made someone’s day, but really didn’t help them. I did brighten their day ever so slightly though. I had a friend that worked promotions for a local paper, and she got us free tickets and a meet and greet with Queensryche. I had always liked them somewhat, but I wasn’t really starstruck, nor would I have even paid $5 for the experience. I’ve met enough rock stars just by waiting outside the venue we were at after the show.

They gave us each posters to have the band sign, which we all did in kind of an obligatory manner. All the guys were nice, but Geoff Tate, the singer was a little standoffish. Anyways, after they had to go inside to prepare for the show, we were told that we still needed to go through the front door for security purposes. No problem.

We were walking in the front door and going through the security checkpoint, when I saw a group of three guys at the little ticket booth gesturing wildly. “What do you mean it’s sold out? Shows don’t actually sell out! We drove almost three hours to get here!” The guys were all wearing Queensryche T shirts, some of which looked like they had gotten quite a bit of usage. If there was a type of person likely to have a Queensryche tattoo, I imagine these guys would fit the bill.

They were leaving, dejected, just as I was getting past the security area. I stopped them and gave them my signed poster. I would have given up my ticket, but there were three of them and the show was about to start, so they probably wouldn’t have gotten in anyways. They looked at the poster almost in awe. They thanked me profusely, and the one guy wouldn’t stop staring at the poster. They didn’t get to see the show, but they did at least get a souvenir.

That poster would have definitely just gathered dust in some corner of my closet had I taken it home. But I’d be willing to bet that one of those guys put it right on their wall. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That left me feeling good for a while as well.

Yeah that Boy Scout do a good turn daily stuff seems to have stuck. :smiley:

I’ve given up window seats on the plane to little kids or to let a couple sit together. I’ve donated blood (not enough). I’ve given a couple of stranded guys lifts (and had they been ax murderers, boy, would I have been embarrassed), and I gave a guy $20 once when he was stranded and had to get to work.

I semi-volunteered with the Red Cross for a week when a town near us was evacuated down to the school I worked at during the Pines Fire in east San Diego county. The superintendent of the district told us that while school was canceled, we were helping the Red Cross. We were only expected to pull an eight hour shift a day. I got sent home after doing about fifty hours in three days. I spent my time taking messages from relatives frantic to find their loved ones, chasing down evacuees, taking a census of evacuees at the state park, and a lot more. It was a busy week, but totally worth it.

I’ve donated a couple of times to causes that came up here on the Board.

I’m feeling the need to do more…

My husband mows the neighbor’s yard, and turns down her offer of money. She’s had a bad couple of years – her husband fell out of a tree and died, and his kid(s) from his first marriage are contesting his will, so the estate is in probate, and then she had a heart attack and then her granddaughter had a premature baby, and her life’s just a mess now. (I couldn’t make this up if I tried.) She’s rather old, so my husband just mows hers whenever he does ours. He trims and weeds, too.

This was a small thing, but years ago, I was waitressing in a restaurant that was near a train station. It was also near a penny candy store. A man and his son, who was about five or six years old, came in. They had a bag of candy and a train schedule with them, and forgot them on the table when they left.

I ran out the door with it and caught up with them before they reached the station (we were very close to it). If you wanna know, my concern was actually more for the dad than for the kid. It was good candy at that, but what I saw happening was neither of them remembering until they were on the train, or at least until it was too late to go back. And dad would have had to hear about it and hear about it and hear about it all the way back home. So I wanted to spare him that.

I donate blood on a regular basis. I’m working on my second gallon, but the last time I went, they said my iron was too low. :frowning:

My SILs and MILs were coming back from our day after Thanksgiving Christmas shopping (no, we’re not crazy, we like to people watch, do some shopping as part of the crowds and then have a nice lunch) and stopped by the side of the road to help a stranded couple. It was raining, and we let them borrow our cell phone to call the tow truck and their daughter, who was expecting them.

My SIL said there are angels all around us, and sometimes it’s your turn to be an angel. I like that.