Acts of Kindness

I somehow found myself on the Toronto Stars' "Acts of Kindness" page tonight, probably by surfing following some news story about something terrible happening to someone, though I don't remember exactly what.

As I read the page, I felt my chest tighten and eyes water a bit, as I'm kind of sentimental that way. The section of the site is little stories about acts of kindness from strangers that readers have contributed. It made me think of some of the acts of kindness from strangers in my own life.

There was the man who picked me up while I was walking from Coaldale to Lethbridge as a very young teenager. I wasn't hitchhiking, I was just tired and needed to get to town because I didn't have a car and my friend was hysterical and needed me.

There was the man who, as I was walking downtown in Toronto suddenly shot out his arm in front of me blocking me from taking a step off the curb into the street. As I stopped, confused, a city bus roared from behind me and turned right into my path. He saved my life. I don't even remember what he looked like.

There was the couple in Taiwan who overheard Jason and myself trying to figure out a map in Chinese while sitting in a food court. They came over, helped us with the map, then walked us over to where we needed to go. Thank you.

There was the staff at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, who, when I woke up one morning blind, called the house doctor, sent over the manager and even loaned me a staff member to escort me around the hotel so I could attend the SES Conference and make my speech. I was not billed for any of it, including the doctor or ambulance. Just the standard room rate like everyone else. That's above and beyond.

I can't count the number of times people have helped me in many other ways in my life. I can never repay them back directly, but I can pay it forward to the strangers who need help that I meet, and I promise to do so. How could I do anything else?

Have you ever had a stranger be kind to you? Have you tried to repay it forward by helping others?


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