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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

what’s the most recent (or most memorable) unexpected kindness that someone has done for you?


This weekend’s Question comes from reader Bluejay, who wants to know:

What’s the most recent (or most memorable) unexpected kindness that someone has done for you?

Go ahead: restore my faith in humanity.

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • beccity98

    My husband and I have been struggling financially, and someone has been randomly sending us grocery store gift cards, I think 3 or 4 in the last year. I suspect it’s someone in our bible study group.

  • beccity98

    We adopted a cat from a rescue over the summer, and he (unknown to everyone) had kidney disease, and we had to put him down less than a month after getting him. The volunteers at the shelter were nearly as devastated as us, but they all donated and gifted us with some money to help us out with vet fees.

    Speaking of cats, here’s an act of kindness we recently did ourselves: I came home one evening, and had to drive my car around a cat who was just sitting in the middle of the street. The car didn’t scare her, she didn’t respond when we approached, so we picked her up and carried her inside. Figured out she was blind and deaf, had obviously been outside for a while (fur full of dirt and foxtails), and was super-duper skinny. I knew she didn’t have long to live, but we took care of her until she passed in her sleep 2 weeks later. My husband cried when we buried her (and he is NOT a crier), but I was just happy to know that her last few days were spent in safety and as much comfort as we could give her, instead of scared, alone and hungry out on the street, where she would most likely have been run over.

  • Anne-Kari

    My very first on-the-books job was at Burger King when I was 14. I cashed my first paycheck and then promptly lost my wallet. That money was a big deal for me, it would pay for 2 text books that our family budget didn’t stretch to, and it represented 2 weeks of work. I was crushed and furious with myself.

    The next day, I got a call from a homeless man who found my wallet, found my student ID inside, and looked up our home phone number in the phone book (this was back before the internet, he had to actually find a pay phone that had a physical phone book). My father and I went down to meet him, and he gave me back my wallet. With every penny in it. And he flatly refused to take a reward of any kind.

  • Captain_Swing666

    I was just leaving my house, all suited and booted, to go for a job interview when a letter arrived from the prime minister informing me that I was being made an MBE. My boss had nominated me secretly 6 months before (apparently). I’d never hyperventilated before. It took me half an hour to calm down just to let my wife know. And I got the job as well!

  • I was gonna say, “Only four comments? My faith in humanity has not been restored.” But these four comments are faith-restoring gold. *sniff*

  • Beowulf

    I’m hoping to find out how long the layaway program is at Walmart and then pay off a poor family’s balance before it ends. Poor kids deserve a Christmas more than anyone.

    I’m sharing this idea: hope someone picks up on it.

  • Bluejay

    Wow, thanks for using my old suggestion, MaryAnn.

    I’m a little fuzzy-brained right now to think of my own examples (although I have been the recipient of many kindnesses in my life) but I want to offer two recent news items: the Dairy Queen manager who righted a wrong done to a blind customer and the homeless man who returned a backpack containing $42,000, and the outpouring of public praise and generosity that both men subsequently experienced.

    It’s probably easy to nitpick these examples: one could argue that the public is overpraising the DQ manager’s action, which should merely be seen as the bare minimum of decency; one could argue that the homeless man being repaid for his act doesn’t begin to address the plague of homelessness that a decent society shouldn’t tolerate; etc etc. Maybe that’s true. But what’s also plainly true are the acts of kindness at the center of these stories, and the fact that so many others feel compelled to recognize and celebrate those acts (and, what’s more, repay them: kindness begetting kindness). That points to some goodness in us, I think. And with all the depressing and horrible things in the news, I think it’s important to notice the good that we’re capable of, which is no less true than the bad.

  • Bluejay

    You’re good people.

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