Being nice to people

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I don't mean on the internet. Not long ago, I walked out of a Rite Aid store, and as I was getting into my truck, I saw a guy who obviously had some disabilities - couldn't walk quite right, and had some spasticity in his arms and hands - walking to his car with his items and a little cup of ice cream that they sell there. As he tried to open his trunk, he was turning the cup of ice cream. I dashed over and said, hey man, you're going to spill that, and I put it on top of his car for him while he loaded his trunk. When he finally realized that he wasn't being robbed, he said thanks and went on his way. I was at a McDonalds, and a homeless guy with a dog asked me for money. I told him no, but I was going to get a $1 McDouble and he could have one too if he wanted it. He did. So when I went in and ordered my food, the (female) manager asked me if the guy had accosted me, and if so, she was going to call the police. I told her not to worry about it, I would tell him to leave. So I gave the guy his McDouble (about half of which he gave to the dog), and said, hey, the manager wants you to go. He seemed hurt by that, but I told him, look, there's other restaurants here and other folks you can ask for money. Off he went. One day when I was at church, I went out to use the rest room, and I saw a guy passed out on the lawn. So I walked over and sat down beside him, and asked him if he was OK and so on. Well, he was obviously pretty drunk. So I got him a donut and some iced tea, and said look if you stay here, the cops are going to spot you and take you downtown. It would be better to sleep at home or at least some place less public. I think I did him a favor. The sexton (caretaker) wanted to call the cops. I was at a shopping center recently and a guy was trying to start his van. He obviously had a bad starter, but he was a Vietnam vet and probably in his 70's, so I offered to get under the van and bang on the starter while he tried to start it. Didn't work, but at least we tried. I'm not blowing my own horn here, I enjoyed doing all these things, and various strangers have done me favors from time to time. In fact, once many years ago when my wife and I ran out of gas, and walked quite a ways to a gas station, the station attendant let us use his motorcycle to take the can of gas back to the car! That was awesome. I heard a guy from Switzerland interviewed once who is a bank president here, and he said that this idea of people doing nice things for strangers seems uniquely American to him. In Switzerland, he said, you don't see that. I remember my Dad stopping more than once to help someone change a tire. My Mom once stopped at a farm where a barn was on fire and asked if there was any way she could help. The people there couldn't figure out how to drive a truck that was parked close to the barn, so my Mom, the only one there who could drive a manual, went and moved it for them. Sometimes it's as simple as when I saw a woman trying to knock down a wasp's nest with a shovel. I just said, hey don't do that. And believe me, I said it from a distance. I think I saved her from some unnecessary pain. Do you have stories of doing things for people, or strangers doing things for you just out of the blue?
 

JHZR2

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Uniquely American? Interesting. This to me is just the natural way to operate, and while some angles of being nice to others (like forced variants or entitlements) I am against, exactly what you mention IMO is just the natural and normal way to act. Of course it is fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, and there are lots of charlatans and liars out there. But when the situation seems genuine, it seems only sensible to act this way. It is a shame to me that more dont when the opportunity arises. Ive done the ask about food thing more times than I can count. Id say it is about a 50% success rate. Ive stopped to help people with tires and car issues. When someone asks me something in a store (usually an old lady), I try to go out of my way to explain and show them what to get. Ive helped people stuck in the snow lots of times. Given money to folks that I believe to be in need to the tune of thousands. Volunteering time on many different causes. The good deed returned was that one day my fuel pump on my saab failed out of nowhere. We were 100+ miles from home, car was perfect until it stopped and died. In the time diagnosing and then waiting for a tow, I was amazed that multiple people pulled over and stopped and asked if they could help.
 
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I had just bought a truck from my cousin who owned a service station. He said he bought it with a bad fuel pump and they had put it in wrong where the sender was against the side of the tank. He told me to put about 300 miles on it since it was full and bring it back so they didn't have to drop it with a full tank. At 200 miles it ran out of gas on me. I stopped at a cabinet making shop and asked if I could borrow a can to go down the road and get some fuel. The owner came out with a 5 gallon can they used for the forklift and gave me enough to get down the road. I offered to pay or take the can and fill it up for him. He just said buddy I have been there before don't worry about it.
 
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A local new channel[32 Chicago - Walter Jacobsen] did an undercover study on street people/beggars in the city. About 1/3 of them made about $300.00 a day in 'donations', and lived in nice homes in the suburbs from it. Their garb was basically a costume, and after a while their begging skills became quite proficient.
 
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When I broke my ankle last year the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak. laugh I borrowed an automatic car from my brother in law for whom I usually hook up with mechanical work or whole beater cars. This got me around to work, shopping, and out of the house. I'd go to walmart and use the mart-cart. There are many improvements that could be made! One, dump the "fat chick backing up alarm". Luckily, one could turn the handlebars more than 90 degrees left or right, so it was like driving a carnival bumper car. So I could get out of nearly any situation with a sharp turn. Secondly, people would avert their gazes like I was a pariah. Don't worry, you can't catch clutziness. Third, there was nowhere for me to put my crutches. A nice loop and cupholder set up would have held them. Instead I had them laying across the basket with the bumpers sticking way out like the bow of a ship. Ahoy, maties! I didn't want to go through the hassle of driving the mart cart out to my car, so I grabbed half my bags in my hands that were also holding crutches. A woman chased after me... "sir, sir, you forgot these bags" like I was senile or something. "Oh thank you kind stranger" I literally blushed. Maybe it was because I knew I'd be better in six weeks I wasn't radiating despair. Maybe I'm just naturally happy go lucky. Some down-and-out types take pride in doing what they can by themselves and refuse help, some don't, and some take one nugget of very useful help but would everything else themselves. I also had a cashier working solo in the middle of the night at a self serve station offer to come pump my gas. People are pretty good, mostly.
 
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I would say that the Swiss bank president had a view influenced by the fact that he is a bank president and in his circle he will rarely see anyone helping anyone else for no reason other to be helpful.
 
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I love being nice to people. I look at it as paying it forward, because people always seem to extend the same to me. I was in Pizza Hut yesterday for lunch. A young guy and girl came in with two kids (about 3 and 5 years old, est.). I had some pizza hut coupons my Dad gave me, and I had planned on using 1 of them for lunch yesterday. I watched them count their cash to see how much they could afford. The kids seemed oblivious and were happy about eating out, I gathered the opportunity probably doesnt happen very often for them. I got up and gave them my sheet of coupons which included free stuff, the girl was VERY happy and thanked me. Its the least I could do!
 
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I commit random acts of kindness in the hope that one of them will start a chain reaction of kindness and light that will engulf us all.
 
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Yes, I have helped others and try to be nice to other folks. I think it comes back to you. I work at a convenience store part time. This past July, a guy came over from the motel across the street to get some shaving cream, razors and such. He said that he had an interview for a teaching position at the reservation school. He had lots of questions about the area, native Americans and such. He was from L.A., I thought "the rez is gonna eat this guy up". A couple of weeks later, I saw him downtown and we had a few beers. I introduced him around to some fellow educators. My family and I took him on a drive around the area and I was able to assist him when his car was down after he hit a deer as well. He came over to our house with a group of other friends and hung out for New Years eve. Just before Christmas, his grandmother passed away. As a result, he received a very large trust fund. My wife has a home based cake business. She stays very busy at it and it provides a decent part-time income. Over a couple of beers about two weeks back, my new friend says "So, what would it take to get your wife into business full time?". I gave him a figure and he says "I can handle that". Basically, all I did was treat him like I would any other person and welcome him to the community. He wants to loan my wife and I $40k interest free to get the cake business started full time. I was awed at his generosity. How you treat others is a reflection of who you are as a person. You do it just because that's who you are, but occasionally, it pays off in a big way. Wow!
 
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More often than not people that have a disability don't want the help and get mad when you offer it. ASk me how I know. Son, I've been living with a disability of right side paralysis my whole life.. Yes, I've have "turned that cup of ice cream". I would rather dump it than take help from you.. nothing personal. and I "don't walk quite right" either. I walk with a limpand have my whole life.. I get stares from people often... If they stare long enough, I ask them if they are mesmorized by my uniquely awesome body...HHHAAAHHAA rookies. GOOD LORD, TRY DOING 90% OF YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES WITH ONLY ONE HAND. Go on, try it. I won't laugh, cause I deal with it EVERY FRIGGEN day. oh and "sir are you looking at me [censored] that people say...I just reply, no I'm checking out your smoken hot wife.. you idiot....again.. ROOKIES The where are you looking comments from people bug me the most..
 
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I was listening today to an interview with the guy who translates for the Dalai Lama when he gives speeches. He said something interesting: The Dalai Lama once told someone in an audience that the reason news (TV, papers, etc.) is so filled with sensationalist violence instead of good news about people being nice to one another is that being nice to one another is something we take for granted, as it is our nature. When people's behaviour deviates from that expectation, we find it shocking (read: newsworthy). Believing that compassion is human nature may be the well from which their strength to feel compassion even toward those who commit atrocities comes.
 
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I had a small roto-tilling gig and a local nursery guy let me put up a shingle at his counter. Every person that called me and I did work for came back to buy more flowers and stuff. The guy offered me anything I might need to add more machinery. He was willing to go five grand if that's what I thought I needed. I was military and due to PCS within the year so couldn't pull the trigger on an upgrade. But I was very grateful and told him so. I try to keep on the lookout for everything all the time, and often see circumstances where I can be of assistance. Paying for the groceries of the old person or obviously scraping by young mother or even someone caught in the lurch. I snowblow several driveways in the circle, and share canning and produce from the garden. I still hold doors and let people go ahead of me in lines when they don't have much to purchse. Karma Patrol is always on duty.
 
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I try to help folks, even random strangers. I had to honk, flash lights, and try to get somebody to pull over once because she had pulled out of a parking lot and left her purse on the roof of her car. First she got out and was upset at me for what she thought was road rage, but when I pointed to her purse she was very thankful she didn't lose it. I managed to get my car stuck in the snow on the side of the road last year, although lots of people were having trouble on this icy road that hadn't been salted. A good Samaritan with a truck was helping to pull people off the icy, unplowed road and onto the main road ahead. He saw me and helped pull me back onto the road, but he wouldn't accept anything for it when I offered. Almost forgot, driving out west while helping my parents move recently, a young guy came up with a gas can while I was filling our van at the gas station. Looked a little down on his luck, and was asking if we could spare some gas so he could get to where he was going. So, once our van was full I filled his 4 gallon can, probably more than enough to get him there. I do like the "kindness, pass it on" commercials. Even little things like holding doors can mean a lot to people.
 
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Stelth

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Saw a guy in a bank parking lot trying to bump start his truck. Two of us went to help push, and I saw the security guard coming toward us. I wasn't sure what he wanted, but he helped push, too, and we got it started. OTOH, there was a guy missing both legs from the knees down that used to panhandle on a corner near me. One day, as I was driving by, one of his crutches broke, and he tumbled into the street. I stopped to see if I could help, but he was so drunk he couldn't talk. I continued on my way. I saw a woman lying in the ivy in front of an apartment building. I stopped to see if she was OK, and she began swearing at me. Also drunk. Cool, no help required, see you later. So you can't help folks that don't want help. I don't lose too much sleep over it. As mechtech2 pointed out, there are plenty of scammers out there looking to take advantage of people's kindness. I keep my eyes open. It doesn't stop me from trying to be nice to people. If I offered Dr. Dusty some help, and he told me to get hosed, well, I'd move on. That's not the reaction I usually get.
 
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Originally Posted By: andyd
I commit random acts of kindness in the hope that one of them will start a chain reaction of kindness and light that will engulf us all.
I get a latte or mocha once or twice a month. If there is a car behind me in the drive thru,I'll pay for their order.
 

Stelth

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Originally Posted By: Stewart Fan
Originally Posted By: andyd
I commit random acts of kindness in the hope that one of them will start a chain reaction of kindness and light that will engulf us all.
I get a latte or mocha once or twice a month. If there is a car behind me in the drive thru,I'll pay for their order.
Now that's cool! I bet it shocks the heck out of those people.
 
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Originally Posted By: Stewart Fan
Originally Posted By: andyd
I commit random acts of kindness in the hope that one of them will start a chain reaction of kindness and light that will engulf us all.
I get a latte or mocha once or twice a month. If there is a car behind me in the drive thru,I'll pay for their order.
My wife told me that it happens to her almost every time she stops at Starbucks, so she ends up paying for the person behind her. I'd love to ask the barista at what point is the chain broken, and how big of a jerk is that person?
 
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Originally Posted By: Stelth
I don't mean on the internet. Not long ago, I walked out of a Rite Aid store, and as I was getting into my truck, I saw a guy who obviously had some disabilities - couldn't walk quite right, and had some spasticity in his arms and hands///" Good for you!!! I believe it may have been Mark Twain who wrote "If it is the truth it ain't bragging." I was at a McDonalds, and a homeless guy with a dog asked me for money. I told him no, but I was going to get a $1 McDouble and he could have one too if he wanted it. He did...." A couple months ago the non-bum asked for a buck. He was not under the influence and had his faculties and did not come across as a drunkard. The McDonalds was a half-block away and told him to meet me there. I ordered my usual "value menu" stuff but told him to order anything he wanted. He ordered from the value menu-- one burger. I doubled the order and added a soda and a large fry. We shot the breeze for almost an hour. It was cold outside. Going to the truck I handed him a spare coat. I think he was for real, a down-on-his-luck guy in his mid-50s. I am not religious but decades ago I read an essay that stated that, at times, angels walk among us in the form of humans; inspecting humans in action. I neither believe nor disbelieve but I think of that essay from time-to-time. "One day when I was at church, I went out to use the rest room, and I saw a guy passed out on the lawn..." And on the other extreme some folks toss flammable liquids and set folks afire. "I was at a shopping center recently and a guy was trying to start his van. He obviously had a bad starter, but he was a Vietnam vet and probably in his 70's, so I offered to get under the van and bang on the starter while he tried to start it. Didn't work, but at least we tried." Good for thee. "...the station attendant let us use his motorcycle to take the can of gas back to the car! That was awesome." I do not believe in karma, either, but it is a convenient way to label affairs that way. "... a bank president here, and he said that this idea of people doing nice things for strangers seems uniquely American to him. In Switzerland, he said, you don't see that." I have, over the decades, read various articles, essays, etc. about the helpfulness to strangers that Americans tend to exhibit and do so more frequently and to a greater extent than folks in other countries. "I remember my Dad stopping more than once to help someone change a tire. My Mom once stopped at a farm where a barn was on fire and asked if there was any way she could help. The people there couldn't figure out how to drive a truck that was parked close to the barn, so my Mom, the only one there who could drive a manual, went and moved it for them." Your interactions with others are likely, at the least, influenced by the behaviors you saw in your folks. On a semi-related note I have seen a couple studies regarding charitable giving. GENERALLY (exceptions always exist) folks from the lower levels of the socio-economic hierarchy do give to charitable causes and tend to give to charities that assist PEOPLE. Meanwhile, those higher up the hierarchy TEND to give to institutions such as operas, art galleries, schools that name a building after them, etc. Sometimes it's as simple as when I saw a woman trying to knock down a wasp's nest with a shovel. I just said, hey don't do that. And believe me, I said it from a distance. I think I saved her from some unnecessary pain. Do you have stories of doing things for people, or strangers doing things for you just out of the blue?
The gal screaming at 2 AM... LOUD screams of fear and pain. Wandered over to the window and the guy was dragging her by her hair as she slid upon the concrete walk leading from the apartment to the car alongside the sidewalk. Oh heck... why me? Pulled on the pants, walked outside and in my finest bellowing Alpha Male voice that once quieted riotous bars full of drunk sailors in the most dangerous ports of the Orient roared, "What the [censored] is going on here?" I kept walking towards the couple as my voice echoed off the buildings. The dude quit dragging her and stared at me as I approached. Thinking quickly I used instinct and experience. I shouted again but in a different tone; a friendly tone, a voice of concern. I pointed at an apartment building to my left and shouted that they had already called the cops and that they would be here at any moment and that he had to leave NOW!!!!!! HURRY!!!!!! To [censored] with her... GET OUT OF HERE!!!!!!! He looked down at her, looked at me again then let go of her hair and he ran to his car and sped off. As he left a dozen or so males appeared out of the shadows and ran to her where she laid sobbing on the concrete. One bent down and hugged her saying soothing things. The others stood next to them, staring at the girl. I stayed in the middle of the street looking upon those wimps in disgust. A couple minutes later the cops arrived and I gave them the car's license number and a description of the guy. I then went back to my humble abode and those "brave fearless" dozen or so remained close to the gal. Once I had the threat on his way and all was okay I actually enjoyed the experience. There was the time I saved the California Highway Patrolman fighting the drug-crazed idiot who was trying to get the cops gun and the cop was doing all he could to prevent it... solely on the defensive until I jumped on the guy's back and wrapped two arms around his neck and throat. Fight over!!!!! I choked the idiot while lecturing him. When he started turning purple I slightly relaxed the death grip allowing a few breath intakes then back to no air. The cop composed himself then watched and listened for around 5 minutes as I choked, eased up, and lectured the fellow about the error of his ways. That was fun, also!!!! We dragged the dummy up the embankment and tossed him into the cop car. This happened at one of Modesto, California's busiest intersections where Highway 99 ran through town. It was near the mall during the Xmas shopping rush. The guy had wrecked his car hitting a pick-up in the intersection as he exited the freeway. LOTS of traffic and there had to be 300 cars stopped with many folks outside watching the events down the embankment... and NONE of them ran down to assist. When the you-know-what hits the fan a minority of folks will jump in but those 2 and other incidents have led me to not hold the average USA resident in the highest esteem. Okay.... This "Cool Story Bro" moment has been brought to you by the Disgruntled Old Coot... working-poor class for a lifetime and shanty dweller extraordinaire Of course, I AM getting older and semi-decrepit so the "glory" of those younger years would likely require a different response...........
 
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