What's the most selfless, suprising thing someone has ever done for you?

Or someone else.

Mine all fall into the realm of my (ETBE-) husband’s tour of duty since I first had my nervous breakdown. Oh, there’s been a bit of a bump here or there, however, I don’t think he’s even had so much as a real outburst more than twice, no matter how bad it was.

As far as to others, I’ve seen another person offer their raise to a colleague who was getting shafted, as well as one intentionally taking a lay-off so that the older person could retain benefits.

Howzabout you guys?

My grandmother left her job (a big deal when she’s nearing retirement), her condo, and most of her family and friends to move from MA to FL to be there for me while I was going through some rough times. She would have continued living there until I finished college, had I not decided to go to college in MA.
She took me in from birth to about 3 and has done more to raise me and make me the person I am today than both my parents combined. She let me live with her for 6 years rent-free while I worked and went to school. She paid off my car loan during the refinancing of her condo, and is in no rush to collect payment from me.
Having someone like her in my life is pretty surprising, and I cherish every second.

With my father dead a couple of years.

With My brothers’ recently diagnosed with a horrible disease that we didn’t fully comprehend just how sucky it would be but we knew nothing good would ever come of it or just how long it would take to decimate full grown men into bedridden individuals.

With My grandparents (in their 90’s)were in their decline and needing more attention.

With The economy was in the crapper and my mom went back to work for the first time in 35 years and prone to what I called spasms then, now diagnosed as Panic Attacks. It also doesn’t help that she is very ADHD and went on ritalyn at 77ish (THank you drugs!)

To say that I was a newly teenaged girl lost at sea without a port in storm because my port in storm was very depressing would be an understandment. ( I f I could go back in time I would throw my family into counseling for depression. God, the years lost because of that darkness.) There was zero emotional energy left for Young Shirley.

One day, out of the blue came a knock on the door. I thought it was the paperboy collecting. I groused as it was always me that ended up having to pay the kid ( who was about my age, but still, why me?)

I go to the door and it my mom’s brother who lives in Florida. He says something like, " I’m no paperboy asking for money. How would you like to go back with me for the summer?"

Would. I.Ever.

My uncle knew that my mom’s plate was fully loaded and flew up special to talk to her about me going down to Florida because on the phone she would have just poo poohed her older brother. Someone spent money on a guess to rescue me that summer. My mind still boggles over that generosity.

Thinking back on that moment and the fantastic time I had with my 6 cousins down there either at the beach or at their horse farm ( I did more work than the 4 kids that were at home still was the best revenge my uncle had on his own children.) was the best thing that could have happened to me at that age. Riding horses. Mucking out stalls. Shooting guns. Interacting with my cousins with sarcasm and pranks and being kids. Not a bunch of old-before-their-time-Mr. Know-It-All’s-Star-Trek-Dorks.

I got to be around normal people who were not depressed and had social lives and personalities. To see life outside the dark cave that I lived in.

And I got to do it again the next summer.

It changed my life irrevocably.
I’m crying now.


Several friends of mine, did something wonderful for someone they didn’t even know.

About a year and a half ago a very dear friend of mine, and in fact, my youngest sister’s best friend, who had been her very best friend since they were 12, died suddenly, literally overnight, of meningitis. On her 27th birthday.

A week after laying her dearest friend to rest, the bank she manages was held up. She was very distraught and upset, and some of her fellow employees were held at gunpoint.

A week later it was held up again, by the same people, and this time they held my sister at gunpoint.

She’s overall a strong person, but I could just sense, even from the other side of the country, that she was really losing it.

I decided to send her a care package of silly little things to try and cheer her up. All kinds of things, funny items, comforting items, just stuff. Then I decided to post to my Livejournal requesting my friends do the same if they were so inclined.

Honestly, I didn’t expect such an overwhelming response. So many people, most, if not all, are or once were members of this message board. They sent her gift certificates, cards, wonderful letters, trinkets, books, items that were very dear and personal to them, you name it.
My sister did not know that I had asked this of my friends, and in the first few days would call me up and tell me about these neat packages she was receiving from literally all over the world. She caught on, made some new friends herself, told me I was crazy (in a good way) and was so incredibly touched and lifted at a time when she really needed it. And I was too.

I am very grateful for the friends I’ve made, for even more reasons than just this one, but I do think of this often and it makes me cry and puts a smile on my face every time. Good people.

When I was in grade 4 I went to a sleepover with several other girls. The next day, the birthday girl’s mom offered to take us all to the mall which was a big deal. I didn’t have any money, and I didn’t expect anyone else would, but when we went to the mall everyone had a little money but me and I guess I was feeling sad and maybe it showed. I noticed that the girls were whispering about me and that made me even sadder. I really wanted to go home. We went to a bookstore and one of the girls took me aside to “show” me something and I knew that it was some kind of trick to get me away so the other girls could laugh at me. Girls that age just aren’t very good actors. I wanted to cry. You know how it feels when everyone gangs up on you. On top of that, books were my favourite and so when one girl was buying something, I felt pretty jealous.

We left the store and sat down on a bench to wait for the girl who was buying something. Nobody was talking to me and I wanted to cry. When the girl came out she looked at the other girls and then they all looked at me, and they all started to grin. They gave me a bookmark with a unicorn and a tassel on it and they said, “it’s for you!” They were all looking at me and smiling at me like they were waiting to see me happy. I really was! I loved it! They all put in for it for me. Nobody got a book, they came up with an idea to give me a present for no reason at all except they thought I seemed sad and they knew I had no money. They told me they had the idea together. Nobody would say who had the idea first and so it was really just a kind thing, no showing off or trying to take credit. That was the biggest thing to me, that they truly did it for me and not for their own glory. That is a really big thing in grade 4. I didn’t even know if they liked me, and then suddenly I realized that they truly cared, that they’d noticed my feelings without me saying anything, and that they not only understood how I felt, but that they wanted me to be happy.

I still feel exactly the same as I did then whenever I remember it. It’s like the surprise and happiness never wore off. I don’t remember it very often and sometimes I get scared I will forget it someday. It’s also really hard to explain it to anyone because it doesn’t sound like a very big deal, and I can’t make it seem like a very big deal. It’s just remembering how it felt to be that age, how hard it was, how you never could count on acceptance or caring from day to day. Grade 4 is a jungle, baby. So it made a big impression and it makes my chest feel weird like my heart’s getting bigger when I think back on it. Like at the end of the Grinch when his heart gets bigger. Tears come into my eyes and everything. They really achieved their aim of making me happy!

I have two, both when I was pregnant…

My husband presented me with a gift when I was seven months pregnant. It was a black lab puppy. I had wanted a dog for so long I was thrilled. I would get up in the middle of teh night to take the dog outside and walk (or rather waddle) it often.

When I went into labor I was so torn on what to do, my hubby was just NOT a dog person. I did not know what to do with this dog. My neighbor, who I was was just getting to know fostered my dog for over a month when my daughter was born via C-section. I was just so amazed.

On the other side, my best friend when to pre-natal classes with me and attended my daughter’s birth (my husband just didn’t deal with that whole time very well). When it was deemed necessary for a C-section, she came into the OR with me, and when I got freaked out b/c I couldn’t see what was happening and I didn’t hear the baby cry she looked over the curtain. The next day she waited in the bathroom while I showered and even helped me dry my incision b/c I couldn’t see over my still swollen belly.

I don’t know what I have done in life to earn such amazing friends. I only try to return the favor whenever possible.

I posted a drunken rant about being out of marijuana and not having the cash to buy any… and an awesome godlike Doper mailed me some.

A few years ago, I was working and going to school, barely making ends meet, and my storage was about to be auctioned off. This guy that I barely knew, except online, gave me $2,500.

Just gave it to me.

Blew my mind.

Two things, totally unrelated.

In 7th or 8th grade, I was at a school dance. As usual, I had gone with my best friend, who as usual was really there with her boyfriend du jour. As usual, nobody danced with me, and if I asked them to they laughed or were rude as boys that age will be, and as usual I wound up crying. This particular time I wound up in the bathroom. And somebody found me. She went out and found…the president of the class. He came and asked me to come out, and took me out on the floor and danced with me. That was without question the most singularly kind thing anybody did for me in all my years at school. He recognised I was a person with feelings, and he acknowledged me. Not because he was “important” or “popular” (things I assuredly was not) but because I was a person.

He’s a priest now. I emailed him after our 20 year reunion and reminded him of this story, and he probably didn’t remember because his reply was vague, except that he said: "I remember the dance, but its funny how the same story has two perspectives. I could have, and perhaps no one could have known what you were feeling on the inside. Though if you remember, I should be thanking you for the dance, because I was (and am) a horrible dancer. I worry a lot about kids today, not because I have any, but because a rough world seems to get all the rougher. I would do anything to protect someone of the feelings that you felt. But kids can be so cruel, sometimes by choice, but so often out of ignorance. Amazing how
25 years later something can seem to be so vivid. "


Now the other was during my last pregnancy. I was hospitalized for 2 months, my husband was sick and trying to take care of 3 little kids, and my parents would not help, and his parents were tapped out, his mom was already helping 40+ hours a week. A nurse at the hospital, a woman I’d never seen before, offered to go to my house and make breakfast, and bathe the kids, and let my husband have a nap. And she did. I still cry when I think about it. I don’t even know her name.

pokey, that is such a sweet story. If you’re in danger of forgetting, I suggest you write it out somewhere and keep it.

We went to Busch Gardens in Tampa for Christmas. The kidlets were old enough to run around on their own, so they took my husband’s cell phone and rode all the rollercoasters while Ivylad and I checked out the shops and the animals (we fed the birds, that was a hoot!)

The kids talked me into riding one rollercoaster and after we got off, Ivygirl realized she had lost $80. She started crying (hell, if I lost $80 I’d be crying too) because she and her brother had divvied up buying souveniers for us (this was their idea, not ours) and now she didn’t have enough money to get her father’s gift.

Her brother suggested they go back to the kiosk where they bought drinks and ask if anyone had turned in $80 cash. Ah, the naivete of teenagers. So they go tearing off, and Ivylad and I wander off to another part of the park.

Ivyboy calls me, saying that no, they didn’t find the money, and we sympathized and suggested that they meet us in Timbuktu (one of the “lands.”)

Then I hear my son gasp in shock. Apparently, seeing my daughter crying, a little girl had rushed up to her and handed her a $50 bill. Ivygirl tried to give it back, but then the girl’s father came up, said they had overheard what happened, and wanted to make sure her vacation wasn’t ruined. I was amazed at the incredible sweetness of the gesture. Ivygirl thanked them both profusely and Ivylad got his souvenier.

I am of the firm opinion that there are angels everywhere, and one day, it may be your turn to be an angel.

Not me, but a friend of mine suffered a horrible tragedy when her three year old was the victim of a murder/suicide by his insane father. To make matters worse, she had no money and no insurance.

She explained this to the funeral directior, who had grown up in the same neighborhood as “Mr. Famous Person,” and still kept in touch with him. He got in touch with MFP and explained the situation. MFP told him to give the woman the best funeral there was, and send him the bill. The funeral director did so, then took the price of the coffin out of the money and give the woman the balance of the money.

I had been invited to a slumber party that happened to fall on my 12th birthday weekend.

I knew not to say anything and my mother reinforced this in me ad nauseum.

Frankly, I hadn’t expected anything and didn’t care if it my birthday had been forgotten, I was so excited like a 12 year old girl can be over going to a slumber party.
Well, the mom must have gotten wind of it somehow and, even before I had kids, but long after this I knew what a whirlwind this woman must have been in to whip up a cake and a little present for me.

The book I received that day Never Miss a Sunset has remained one of my all time favorite books of prepubescent years and not because of the gesture.

Okay, this didn’t happen to me, but I was there.

My cousin was working at a coffee shop on a snowy day in Minneapolis. There are all sorts of weird rules about where you can park when it snows, and, lo, she got a $40 ticket in the middle of her shift. She was really upset, considering that $40 was about as much as she would get paid for working that day, and she was loudly distressed. A bit later we noticed that there were 2 twenties in her tip jar.

That was the nicest thing I’ve ever known a stranger to do.


Last year I was very very sick. After months of this mouse house became nearly unlivable. When my stomach perferated and I was rushed to emergency surgery, the director of my department came over to clean my house top-to-bottom so that when I came home from the hospital the house would be fit for me to live in.

When I was expecting my last baby, we had no idea what to do with my 3-year-old when I went into labor. All of our relatives live out of state, and everyone we know here in town works. When my husband’s ex-wife heard about this, she immediately said, “Bring him on up. We’d love to have him until the baby is born.”

She kept my son for 2 ½ weeks, and called me every day so I could talk to him. She even took him to visit Santa and gave me the framed picture for Christmas.

In 1991, when my first husband was terminally ill (which we didn’t know at the time), there was an ice storm in central Iowa. The morning after, friends from where he had worked – from out of town even --were in our yard with chain saws, clearing up all the fallen tree limbs. He only knew these people for a few months.

Another morning, several bags of trash and yard waste that I’d cleared up (and then wondered what to do with) mysteriously disappeared – a neighbor I didn’t even know had hauled it all to the landfill for me.

My cousin and her husband came over every day to spell me so I could shower, get a haircut, or go to the grocery store. They didn’t forget me after he died – if they were going for ice cream or to an event or just riding around, they’d come and get me.

Good people.

MissGypsy, your husband’s ex is a class act. You guys are warming the cockles of my heart.

About 10 years ago I put together an historic tour for the society I belong to. It consisted of about 100 people, buses, restaurants, guest speakers and a day of touring around my state. One of the stops was a pet project of mine, which the local city had picked up as a future park. I had arranged for a representative of the city to meet us at the site.

Although the tour went smoothly it involved a lot of last minute work (nothing ever goes as planned for these types of events). As luck would have it, some loser dumped a large amount of junk at the site the night before. Before we arrived,a friend of mine had stopped by the site to check on it knowing how much it meant to me. He was able to contact the city to get it hauled away before the bus arrived. This was on a Saturday so it took some wrangling to get it done. I didn’t find out about it until after it happened. Really made my day. Sometimes it’s the simple things you remember.

I am lucky to have three events that stand out for me:

The first is when I took a job as a slave (okay, busgirl) at Grand Canyon National Park. I was just out of high school and got mixed up in some nasty stuff with nasty grown-up fellow employees (drugs, abusive relationship, etc). After the company who ran the concessions got through ripping their employees off for room and board, wages came to almost nothing. Anyway, I was stuck there in this big mess and without money to get out. I met a kind tourist from Hawaii with whom I chatted and must have communicated my desperation. The morning after I met her she came to my dorm, helped me load up my pitiful belongings, and drove me 400 miles to the safety of my grandma’s house. Wherever you are, Annette . . . a million thank yous for saving a young, stupid kid.

The other is when I made the big move from “home” to new place that was very far away. A kind woman at work spent zillions of hours making me a beautiful album full of inspirational quotes and pictures. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled the album out when I’m feeling down. Thanks, Sheila.

My last happened after I moved to new place and was ass-broke. Broke as in selling blood for money and stealing avocadoes from farms. My former boss from home put together two huge boxes of non-perishable food and shipped the food and $100 to me. Diana . . . wherever you are, I’ll never forget your lovely and lifesaving actions.

My husband barely batted an eye and was certainly NOT the rightful asshole he could/should have been when I lost about $3k worth of diamond jewelry. My wedding ring and a 3-stone diamond ring. Lost. I now look at our honeymoon portraits and cry over my lost wedding ring. It’s the only picture I have of it and I’ve just about forgotten what it looked like.

The way he handled that was amazing. He knew I was devastated and he’s never harped on it. He will tease me about it once in awhile, but it was 3 years ago.

I’m a lucky woman.