Wednesday, March 06, 2019

flu and cold season..back to the couch

Sorry readers, I've been felled by some sort of germ that has driven me to the couch for tonight and most likely tomorrow.

I'd like to blame someone else so I'll start with everyone who gets on the subway with a cold.

In the meantime, I saw a fun thread on Twitter that asked people to relate the nicest thing a stranger had done for them.  I'm not sure if it was hashtagged, but GoodStranger might be it.

The stories were GREAT!

I'd love to hear more of them from all y'all as I sit here soaking my head.


Being Beth said...

I'd just given birth to my daughter, a high risk pregnancy, and my youngest brother had taken his own life a couple weeks earlier. My parents decided to stay home and not come for the birth, and I was so heartbroken and in such deep grief, I couldn't stop crying. I needed my mother. The mother of the woman sharing my room came to me, and held me until I'd cried it all out, and then brushed my hair, and loved on my baby. I never knew her name, but I'll always remember her kindness and compassion--and her loving arms around me.

AJ Blythe said...

I had travelled to Sydney (a 4 hour bus trip) to see a medical specialist. The specialist was running late...hours late. My return bus ticket time was nearing and I had a 3km (1.8 miles) walk to the bus stop and no money for a taxi. A lady in the waiting room heard me on the phone to The Hub and gave me her train pass, telling me there was a train station a block away and it would take me to within a block of the bus stop. Thanks to her kindness I made my bus with minutes to spare.

I sent a thank you card to the medical office asking them to forward it to "the lady with the appointment after me". I've always wondered if she got it.

AJ Blythe said...

Get well soon, Dear Queen. If the feel-good stories here don't cheer you up maybe this will: cat vs rc shark.

In my head that's how your days are with DoY.

Kitty said...

Years ago, my son Erik and his cousin were riding their bikes when the chain on my son's bike came off. They stopped so he could fix it, and in the process the chain nearly sliced off the tip of his finger. It bled like a son-of-a-gun. A stranger drove by on his way to work, stopped and took Erik to the ER.

When I got to the ER, Erik was on a gurney waiting for the doctor. They hadn't given him anything for pain -- I think they were waiting for one of his parents for permission -- and yet Erik seemed calm and relaxed. I saw the blood and nearly passed out. I must have turned white because Erik said, "Oh for crying out loud. Wait in the waiting room. I'll be fine."

The hospital gave me the good samaritan's name so I could thank him, especially since Erik's finger had bled all over his truck. The samaritan said, "'tweren't nuthin'."

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

A kind woman I've never met (named Janet), told me I was brilliant and sent my mom a book.

Sherry Howard said...

Hope you’re better soon! Flu is terrible this year!

I remembered this wonderful story of my life the other day, and I’m happy to share it here. I’d given up my college scholarship when my first child was born with a cleft lip and needed surgeries and care. A few years later, I popped into a college, and accidentally ended up with the head of financial aid. Very naive, I poured my heart out. I left with the promise of a full scholarship for books and tuition. That began my return to eventually stop just short of a doctorate and spend a career working with kids, especially children with special needs. At some point, I sent him a dozen roses, and a letter telling him what he helped me accomplish. The kindness of a stranger indeed!

Megan V said...

Feel better soon Janet.

Gosh. There are so many stories. It's amazing the way the kindness of strangers can impact a life. It's hard to choose, but I think this is the story I'd like to share.

A few months into my first year at college my grandmother passed during an operation. Since I'd went away to school, my mother had arranged for the residence assistant to stop me before I went to class and for there to be people on hand to help me. There was a huge snafu with the arrangements (total mixup by the school etc.) resulting in another girl being stopped and me merrily making my way to my choir practice.

As I was about to enter the building (a church) my phone rang. I saw it was Mom, so I answered, expecting to tell her that I'd call her back.

She broke the news.

I broke down right outside the choir doors. But not before turning around so everyone inside couldn't see me through the glass.

I didn't know what to do or where to go. I had maybe one or two numbers in my phone from people at school, but I didn't really know them. I am a trained-to-socialize introvert and while I'd exchanged pleasantries with many people, my friend-circle was limited to my roommate and a couple people living in the same hall.

Then I'd remembered that there was this girl (a senior) who I barely knew. She was in the same club as me and she had given me her phone number with an 'if you need anything, just call'. In that moment, I took her statement very literally.

I called.

She left her class, drove to where I was, picked me up and then carted me back to her sorority house. Once there I was settled into her room and had 50 or so young women (many whom I had never met) checking in on me at various intervals, offering support and comfort. They figured out my classes and contacted my professors. The cook who made the house dinner even made a cake. I was plied with food and water, given many shoulders to cry on, and so much more.

I can never thank them enough for what they did.

But I joined that sorority.

Jennifer Delozier said...

I grew up poor, rural, in a single parent household. But I was smart and could hustle, so I cobbled together enough in scholarships - barely - to attend medical school with nothing left to live on. My mother worked a low paying, night-shift job at the local hospital and chatted often with the ER staff about my progress. One of the doctors offered to buy my textbooks - every single semester. This was before the days of computers, and even one tome (think Harrison’s Essentials of Medicine) was super expensive. I still tear up when I think of the kindness he offered a total stranger. It takes a village, indeed.
Get well soon, Janet . I was felled by the flu last week. It’s not pretty.

leah reynolds said...

I'd been a speaker at national safe boating conference in Hollywood, Florida. At these boating conferences, you need to pack practically everything you own. You name it, and I'd stuffed it in my luggage: formal wear to swimwear – high heels to flip-flops. When the conference was over, I loaded the rental car with my luggage and headed to the beach. I had three hours before my flight took off to Ohio, and if you've ever been to Ohio in March (24-degrees as I write), you'd know why I wasn't about to waste one second of sunshine.
I parked in a public lot adjacent to the beach and stuffed twenty-bucks in my pocket. Ahead of me: the ocean; sand; blue skies, and a beach bar. When I locked the car door, I will say I paused for a moment, thinking maybe I should bring my backpack. And then thought better...what if I want to get in the water?
So, along with my luggage, I left my backpack, the pockets filled with a spiffy camera, my wallet (ID included), plane ticket, and cash.
I drank a beer. I walked along the beach. I dipped my feet in the ocean.
Anyone who has read this far may know what this innocent did not suspect... When I returned to my car, it had been broken into. The robbers took it all: formal wear to swimwear – high heels to flip-flops. They took the luggage, the backpack, the spiffy camera, the wallet, and the cash.
They took everything BUTmy ID and my plane ticket.
This goes to show, even shitty people can be kind.
Feel better!

Theresa said...

Yikes, I hope you're feeling better than this polar bear! Rest up and be better soonest.

Richelle Elberg said...

One perfect summer day, my boyfriend and I took our (shitty, smallish) boat from our home in northern New Hampshire, where shitty small boat was accustomed to small lakes, to Barnstable, MA. We reserved a room in Barnstable, which is on the inside of the Cape Cod arm, then headed to the launch. We boated across glass for hours, making our way some 15+ miles to Provincetown, where we had lunch and a beer. But when we set out on our trip back across the bay, we had engine trouble. As in, it just stopped working. First, a kind young man in a small kayak like thing with a motor towed us to a public dock in Truro. It was about 5 or 6 now on a Saturday in July and there was hardly anyone around. But there was one man still loading his truck from his day of fishing. He took us to town, to a boat mechanic he knew, and arranged for the man to come help us first thing Sunday morning. Then, as we were heading back to the dock, pondering how we would get to our truck and hotel and stuff in Barnstable (miles and miles away by land), or if we should just sleep on the boat--but the dock in Truro was nowhere near anything to eat, etc. The kind man gave us his truck for the night right there. He offered us a room at his house too. We used his truck to go back into P-Town for the evening. We had a fabulous meal and drinks and bought a couple of blankets, then went back to our boat and had more drinks under the moon. It was a heavenly night. We slept on the boat and the next morning, after buying coffee and filling the tank, the mechanic came and fixed our engine problem. We left the man's truck there in the parking lot as arranged with a 20 under the visor. His trust and generosity not only saved us from a miserable night but set the stage for one of my fondest memories.

Karen McCoy said...

I live in Sacramento and I was scheduled to drive an author to her book event in the Bay Area. I planned to meet her at 2 p.m. so we'd have plenty of time and hopefully beat traffic.

Fast-forward to 2 p.m.--and my car wouldn't start. It flickered, and buzzed...and just...wouldn't. Trying my best not to panic, I alerted my author friend, who was very understanding, and proceeded to contact both my husband and my mechanic. Some very kind gentlemen paving the sidewalk across the street offered to back my car into the street so it would be easier for the tow truck to affix it. I gave them many thanks.

Fast-forward to almost 3 p.m. Tow truck still AWOL. One particular kind sidewalk gentleman then offered to see if he could jump my car--it turns out he knew everything about motors. He'd find out what his car needed from the dealer and then did it himself.

He removed the corrosion, and gave me a jump from a motorized forklift, and I had a (temporarily) running car.

It is because of this man that I was able to get to the mechanic when I did, and ultimately get my author friend to her event with time to spare.

He mentioned he liked music, and aspired to be a DJ, so the next day I gave him an iTunes card. Wherever he is, I hope he is happy. And maybe jamming to some music.

CynthiaMc said...

When I was in college I had a blowout in a strange city. In our family everyone is taught how to change a tire, but I never had to use that skill because the guy whose house I stopped in front of came out right away to make sure I was okay and he and his son changed it for me.

Barbara Etlin said...

This happened a few days before Christmas 2017.

After ordering pizza at a restaurant in the mall, we started talking to a man at the table opposite us. We commiserated about the freezing weather. He offered us the use of a portable heater which the restaurant had provided.

At the far end of the mall, a choir was singing. "That's Charlie Brown's Christmas Theme," I said to M. It was one of the few Christmas songs I like. (We actually avoid the mall as much as possible at this time of year because of the repetitive holiday music.)

Our neighbour finished his coffee and packed up his laptop.

"Time to go home to my family," he said. "Keep warm and have a very happy holiday!"

We wished him the same.

After we finished dinner we asked the waitress for the bill. She said that we were only being charged for M's dessert. The rest of our meal had been paid for by the nice gentleman with the laptop!

Santa isn't that guy in the red suit at the other end of the mall, where the kids line up to ask for presents and to be photographed.

He's a middle-aged guy with a laptop and a family, who showed kindness and generosity to strangers who don't even celebrate Christmas.

Amy Johnson said...

I'm loving these stories! Thank you so much for sharing them. They're inspiring me to go be nice.

Hope you're all better very soon,Janet.

Elissa M said...

It wasn't a true stranger, but it was a neighbor I didn't really know.

We hadn't been in our new home in Clarksville, Tennessee very long before my husband had to deploy to Iraq with the 101st Airborne. So I was left to do all the home maintenance, yard work, etc. on my own. Not a really big deal, though I have pretty severe allergies and wasn't really used to things like mowing and trimming. Plus, I'd spent much of my life in the desert where mowing once or twice during the summer is pretty much all you need to do. I wasn't prepared for growth that needed cutting on a weekly basis just to keep it manageable.

Our house had a really big lot, but there was a riding mower that came with it, so that part went well. It was the trimming that gave me fits, especially since a long, rock-lined drainage ditch separated our property from the road. I had a weed whacker, but it kept breaking. I bought a new one, and it also wouldn't function properly. (Okay, it could be the problem was me and small, gas-powered motors, I don't know.) I ended up resorting to using hand clippers to try to tame the jungle around the edges, but I was losing the battle.

Then one day I came home to an amazing, and shocking, sight. The entire property looked like House Beautiful. The yard was as smooth as a putting green. Every edge, every shrub, was trimmed and groomed neater than a pooch at Westminster. I was so overwhelmed, I burst into tears. In fact, my eyes are watering as I type this even now.

It turned out my neighbor had retired from the yard care business due to health issues. He'd seen my struggles and decided this was something he could do. When I tried to pay him, he refused, saying, "This is my part in supporting our Soldiers." He wouldn't even take the plate of cookies I'd baked (but his kids did). The entire time my husband was deployed, my neighbor and his elder son kept our yard and landscaping looking better than the White House.

It was a kindness I will never forget.

Beth Carpenter said...

Well I shed a few happy tears this morning. Lovely stories. There are too many strangers to thank, the ones who pulled me out of snowdrifts, who helped change a tire, and who gave me directions and advice. There was the lady in Athens when we were waiting for the trolley to arrive who explained that the sign meant they were on strike and it wasn't coming. The traveler who helped me get my luggage and my baby to the check-in desk when there weren't any porters handy. The neighbor I hardly knew, because we'd just moved in a little while before, who helped me untangle the rope from a hidden child's sled from my snowblower. People are awesome.

Janet, hope you're feeling better very soon.

Lennon Faris said...

When I was an older teenager, I took my 25-lb, 3-legged mutt Watch for a jog. We were on some back road when I heard a roar and clicks of nails on the pavement. I spun around and saw two big dogs rushing at us.

Watch, God bless his soul, braced himself and let out a scream. The two dogs converged on him. I started yelling, kicking and slugging them with all my might but they didn't even notice. Poor Watch was spinning on his three legs. I remember thinking, my dog is going to die.

A car drove up and a strange man stuck his head out the window. "HEY GET OFF! GET OUTTA HERE!" he bellowed, and those two big dogs jumped and actually took off running. The man asked if I was ok, and I noticed Watch was still standing, and so I said yes. I hope I said thank you but honestly I don't know. Then the man drove off.

Lennon Faris said...

Hope you feel better soon, Janet. There are lots of bugs going around here, too.

These stories are very uplifting. Good to know there are people out there like this!

Heidi Kenyon said...

I always tell this story whenever anyone says how rude Parisians are...

In 2005, my then-husband had been leading a culinary tour in France. We had a ton of luggage filled with everything from food processors to cheese graters—maybe five lead-weight bags. Returning to Paris from Provence, we'd miscalculated our timing and were extremely late. When the bullet train arrived in Paris, we dashed across the station and found the airport train, the RER. We loaded our luggage and sat down in relief, waiting for the train to leave. An old lady asked in French if we were going to Charles de Gaulle, and we replied, in our terrible French, "yes, we're going home."

She started shaking her head and speaking in rapid French, jabbing her finger at the train route map. Finally, my husband understood: we were on the wrong train. He began shoveling our luggage back onto the platform. A few steps behind him—literally, and in terms of grasping the situation—I grabbed a suitcase, but it toppled over in the aisle in front of me, and I struggled to get past it. I dragged it toward the door as the buzzer began to sound.

The doors closed before I could get through, and there we were: my husband and four large bags on the platform; me and another suitcase on an unknown train. I pointed to him, then to the ground. "YOU: STAY HERE," I mouthed, and the train pulled away.

I didn't even know how to react. The old lady tried to speak to me, but I couldn't understand. Then she started yelling around the train car, and a man in a suit came up the aisle and addressed me. I realized she'd been asking for someone who spoke English.

He confirmed my situation: "Your husband is at the station and you have a plane to catch, yes?" I elaborated that we had a plane to catch *very soon*. I had zero money on me: no cash, no credit card. I had no cell phone, no means of contacting my husband. The man must have seen all this on my face. He assured me it would be all right. I would simply get off at the next station and get back on a train going in the other direction. He asked to see my ticket. When the train finally stopped, he got off with me, handling my suitcase. He walked me up the stairs, across the tracks, and back down, using his own pass to get me through the turnstile. He reminded me that when I got back to the Gare de Nord, I would need to cross to the other side of the platform again, as we just had, to find my husband.

And I did.

The correct train pulled into the RER platform at Charles de Gaulle 25 minutes before our flight, and we still needed to get to the terminal. It seemed impossible, but we had to try; we couldn't afford to stay overnight or to even pay a change fee. My husband had a little cash left, and flung himself toward the taxi queue, waving a 20-euro note and yelling "Terminal B! Terminal B!" One taxi driver waved us away, pointing to the bus. But another saw our panic and put our bags in the trunk. He pulled away from the curb, asking how much time we had. I tried to remember my French. "Vingt-cinq minutes!" I cried. The driver gave me a wide-eyed "you crazy, lady" look in the rear-view mirror and then he poured on the speed. We literally screeched around corners.

At Terminal B, the driver practically threw our luggage out of the car. My husband pressed the money into his hand, but he shook his head and pushed it back. How he knew that it was our last cash is completely beyond me.

We raced along the concourse toward the giant crowd at the United counter. My husband played the grotesque American and plowed to the front of the line, turning back almost immediately, shaking his head as he approached me. But he was shaking his head in wonderment instead of disappointment. "Our flight has been cancelled," he said. "They're going to rebook us."

We had time for lunch—with the 20 euros—before boarding the new flight, on which, to our amazement we had been rebooked into first class.

Janet: hope you feel better soon!

Cynthia Paige Aaron said...

It was a difficult time financially, and the day before payday, I was scraping by. My car's gas tank was on empty, and I had to drive across town to work. I was literally counting change at the cash register. "Seven dollars on pump five," I said. I was so concentrated on what I was doing, deeply worried that the seven bucks would get me home and back, I hadn't noticed a man near me.

I was at the pump, and he was standing at the back of his truck at another pump. He said, "Not to be a jerk, but you need more gas in your car than seven dollars. I'm gong to tell the attendant to put $15 dollars more in your tank." He whipped out the cash and before I could object, he had paid inside.

I was so moved by his kindness. I fought back tears, and said, "thank you. You're an angel."

He said, "we've all been there. Have a great day!"

I cried all the way to work. Then I thought, maybe he really WAS an angel.

Get well quick Janet!

BrendaLynn said...

In the late 70’s in northern Canada it was not uncommon for teenagers like me to hitch-hike. My parents allowed me to play sports as long as I found my own way home (12 miles of highway at about -20F) so thumb it was.

Long-story-even-longer, when I arrived at the last streetlight in town there was a native kid also hoping for a ride. He was about six years old and had been there since school let out—long enough to beat a circle in the snow in an effort to stay warm. It was harder for them to get rides in those days because people were afraid of lice. That was the excuse given anyway.

I gave him my mitts and put him behind me where he was obscured by my parka. A crew truck pulled up with three men in it.

A young guy in the backseat popped the door open and said, “C’mon in, darling.”

I pushed the kid in ahead of me and kept my mouth shut on the ride home. From the roasting that the backseat Romeo got I figured out what was going on, so I climbed out at the reserve with the boy and walked the rest of the way home.

And I thought I was the Good Samaritan.

Claire Bobrow said...

I love these inspiring stories. Thanks for sharing, everyone. Feel better, Janet!

Betsy said...

So many having to do with me having kids:
1. A lady unloading my cart for me when I was trying to calm a cranky child. Then she bagged them on the other end b/c it was one of those DIY stores.
2. Teenage boy in parking lot seeing me pregnant and with a little one took my cart to cart return for me.
3. Older gentleman in grocery store line behind seeing me (again preggo and with a little one) having forgotten my wallet!! Paid for my abundant groceries when he was only buying about four things for himself. I hugged him and started crying a little. (Pregnant after all.)
Humanity is wonderful. :)

K OCD said...

Just showed Fiancé the pic. He wants to know if that is Lenny Henry in a costume!

Alina Sergachov said...

Feel better soon, Janet!

I wanted to interview a Production Stage Manager of a certain Broadway musical for my student project about theatre. For some reason, it didn't occur to me to look up his name on the Playbill website. Instead, I used the "chat" option on the website of that musical and asked if they could please forward my email to the stage manager of the show. Yep, I didn't even know his name. Whoever replied to me agreed to do that.

Five days later I received an email from PSM of that Broadway musical. He agreed to meet with me. And dedicated ninety minutes for an interview with me. Ninety! During an interview, he mentioned "calling the show". I asked him what that means. He explained. A couple of hours after our conversation, he emailed me and asked if I would like to witness the process of "calling the show".

I shadowed him on stage left during the show. And it was the best night of my life.

Craig F said...

Hope it is one of those bugs that goes away quickly. Those slow bugs are a drag.

Back when I was still a power boater we took two skiffs out into the Gulf of Mexico on a fishing trip. My friend had a brand new Yamaha motor on his. After our third stop his motor wouldn't start.

We soon found out that the electronics had fried. Using the anchor rope we started to pull them in, until the transmission in our motor screamed and died.

We were about a mile into the Gulf and eight to ten from the ramp we used. Cell phones weren't even a glimmer in anyone's eye yet. We drifted for a while and then a boat we had drifted by came to help. They were on vacation from Canada and pulled my friend's boat to a beach, then they towed us to the ramp we had used.

They refused any money and said to pass it on. I have.

Miles O'Neal said...

So many cool stories!
The one that leaps to mid was when a teenager in a brand new turbocharged Mustang pulled out in front of me on my motorcycle, panicked, and floored his accelerator, which just made the tires spin. Apparently I wrecked good and hard.
When I work up, there were two women talking to me. One had pulled my visor up so I could hear. When a car would come they'd flag it and ask for someone to call the police. They made sure I didn't go into shock and just laid there (well, they tried to, but after the pain of trying to sit up with a broken collar bone, I listened better).
The teenager was a wreck. Once a cop showed up, one of the two angels started calming him down. The other one stayed with me, holding my hand until the ambulance doors closed.

Now, how about the weirdest kindness I've been shown? It was back in my hippie days. I had ether on my breath, which was a lot of fun at the time, but tastes nasty to anyone kissing you who hasn't been doing ether. A young woman from a group called the Children of God (who had some bizarre teachings, as it turns out), stopped me on my way home to tell me how much God loved me, and that she loved me because God loved me. We talked a bit, but I said I needed to be going. She proceeded to give me about a twenty-second-long, very intense, "holy kiss" before saying farewell. I wandered home feeling even fuzzier and better than I had been before the encounter.

And no, ether isn't even close to the weirdest thing I did back then.

AJ Blythe said...

I posted early this time, but made sure I took the time to come back because I knew there would be fabulous tales to read. What awesome, inspiring, positive stories you guys have to tell. With all the bad stuff you read in the media it's so wonderful to find joy.

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories.

John Davis Frain said...

A small gesture made a huge impact. For the rest of my life, I will never forget a woman who I never knew.

My wife and I adopted two little boys. We were in a foreign country speaking a language we barely knew. After a whirlwind 24 hours of travel, a day in court, and a round-trip to the orphanage, I was more exhausted than I had ever been in life.

That first night with our two new boys, barely an hour of sleep between the my wife and I, the hotel lost power. We were trying to learn how to parent two boys under one year old, each of them hungry, and no way to feed them.

The knock at our door came about nine p.m. She was a housekeeper. Reflecting back as I so often do, I can only guess that she'd seen diapers in our trash bin. However it happened, somehow she knew we had two little babies and couldn't feed them. She came to our door and spoke in her native tongue. I understood nothing she said, but her voice was so kind, that alone gave us hope. So it was surprise when she reappeared fifteen minutes later with a hot plate that allowed us to make formula for the babies.

She saved a life that night, maybe multiple lives, and I've never been able to properly thank her. But I'll never forget her.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

So sorry, Janet, that you're under the weather (and I could probably add "over the weather" too!) Prayers for a speedy recovery.

Dena Pawling said...

My contribution isn't personal, nor is it as good as most of these stories already posted.

The commuter trains running thru LA and Orange counties is called MetroLink. My house is about a mile from the mainline track running thru north Orange County. This track is owned by Santa Fe [freight trains], which allows MetroLink to run on its tracks. There are two parallel tracks in this area, so one train can be running east while another goes west. In Los Angeles there are usually 3-4 parallel tracks.

Back in 2002, the very first fatal crash of a MetroLink train happened on the stretch of track closest to my house. We couldn't leave the neighborhood in that direction for more than a day, because of the road closures and passenger cars strewn about. News helicopters flew overhead all day. The Santa Fe engineer, who missed the fact he was on the wrong track, also missed the red signal telling him so. The freight train crashed head-on into a MetroLink train. The MetroLink engineer did what he could, which was to stop his train and presumably radio to the Santa Fe. The conductor saw what was coming and, instead of jumping from the train to save himself, ran through all the passenger cars, screaming at people to brace themselves. Most of the passengers attribute this conductor's actions to the fact that, altho about 100 people were injured, only 2 people died. Fortunately, the conductor also survived.

Then in 2005, a suicidal person parked his SUV on the tracks in Glendale, CA, which is just north of downtown Los Angeles. The MetroLink train hit the SUV, jackknifed, and swiped two trains on either side, one a parked freight and the other a MetroLink in motion. The chain reaction killed 11 people and injured almost 200. This happened at about 6am right behind a CostCo warehouse store, where the morning crew was busy stocking shelves and preparing to open for the day. [In case you're not familiar with CostCo, it's a big-box store that sells literally everything.] The employees jumped the fence and started pulling passengers from the wreckage. They brought fire extinguishers from the store's shelves and fought the flames. The manager closed the store to customers for the day but asked his employees to come in as scheduled. He opened the food court and employees made pizzas and hot dogs and coffee, which they delivered to the victims and firefighters and paramedics. Employees brought blankets and clothes from the shelves and distributed them to the victims. They erected canopies and wheeled the injured on flat carts. The store employees assisted the victims and rescuers all day, and gave away about $10,000 worth of merchandise without a second thought.

The LA Times staff who wrote the story about the 2005 crash are excellent writers, so if you want to read the story written far better than I'm doing here, then read this. Fair warning: every time I read it, including just now, it makes me cry. These are good writers who can wring emotion from readers, and they show that there are some really good people in this world.

Feel better, Janet.

John Davis Frain said...

A gold-star day on the blog.

A few weeks ago, my adult daughter spent the night in the ER. Through a bit of a fluke, I spent the night with her. The day after she was released, she sent me a text thanking me blah blah blah.

I told her I was hesitant to say it was fun, because she was stuck in the hospital, but despite the circumstances, I enjoyed spending a night with her and chatting like we hadn't done in a long time.

Similarly, I hasten to say I'm glad Janet was sick today. But at the risk of a direct flight to Carkoon, I'm ... um ... kinda glad Janet was sick today. This was like a double-album Greatest Hits collection of posts. I'm holding up my phone light for any encores. Please, please!

It's a pretty cool world out there if you leave yourself open to it.

Also, I can't believe I go on vacation to escape snow and ice, and I miss a Steve Forti flash contest. Grrrrrr. Where's my time-travel machine when I need it?!

Panda in Chief said...

I have several stories where I was rescued by the kindness of strangers, but my favorite story is not so much about strangers, since many of the people who helped me that day were acquaintances even if not close ones. It is still a story of people going above and beyond to help someone in need.

In September of 1995, I had a chimney fire in the house that I was renting, which spread to the roof. I was dog-sitting my landlord's dog, (much to the disgust of my cat). ( My landlords were off on their yearly boat trip, so I had no way to get in touch with them) I had started a fire in the wood stove, and it smelled a little smoky, but not terrible. My cat asked to go out, but Bella the dog, even though she was acting nervous, would not leave the house.

By the time I finally went out to look for the cat, who had not returned, the flames had spread to the roof. I ran back inside to call 911 (cell phones not having entered my life yet) and then ran back out with Bella close on my heels.

It was about 10 PM by then, but I ran to the house next door and they came over to turn the hose on the roof as we waited for the fire trucks to arrive.

There were so many miracles that night. The volunteer firemen threw a tarp over my flat file that contained thousands of dollars worth of my art on paper that I would have lost. Bella's unwillingness to go out without me probably saved me. My neighbors got on the phone and called people who came at 1 in the morning and once the firemen let us go back in, they brought all my artwork out and stacked it in my neighbor's studio.

The next day, about 30 people showed up to bring the rest of my belongings out of my house and put it in my landlord's garage. My landlord's brother came out to the island from about an hour away to deal with the insurance agent. Another friend gave me a place to stay while the landlord figured out what to do with me. The people who lived on the other side of my house owned the local pizza restaurant and midway through the day showed up with pizzas for everyone clearing out my house. Another friend took all my smoke filled clothes home and washed and ironed them.

24 years later I still remember everyone's help and kindness. Thank you for all these stories that were shared here today. I will never be done paying it forward. These stories give me hope.