The kindness of strangers

  • Article by: SCOTT GILLESPIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 22, 2012 - 7:22 PM

It was supposed to be a quick lunchtime trip to Menards. I left the Star Tribune at 12:30 for Golden Valley, fully expecting to be back in downtown Minneapolis in an hour.

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ziggymMay. 23, 1210:37 AM

This is an awesome story. Not only because Jerry was a nice, helpful guy, but because nothing tragic had to happen for a happy ending. (On the news, often, the "happy" stories are someone's kindness after a death in the family, or a natural disaster, or a failing school that turned around.) And thanks, Scott, for taking the time to write it.

crystalbayMay. 23, 1212:06 PM

Cool little story - we need far more like this to remind us that, at core, most people are good. I recently saw a commercial in which the guy next in line at a check-out watched in utter dismay as the guy ahead of him won 1 million dollars for being "customer " number 1 million. Although this was only a commercial with paid actors, the message was clear: "You're the unluckiest guy in the world........go home and feel horrible about letting that guy go ahead of you!" Now, had this message been that the winner won because he let another customer go first, it would've been uplifting and positive. It reminded me of my long-standing habit of always letting someone with fewer items than mine go ahead of me. It's such a small kindness, but it's possible that this one action may very well be the only positive "bump" this person experienced in a whole day. One little action saying, "I notice you and wish to make your day a tiny bit easier". We're given ample opportunities every day to make a difference in strangers' lives, so why not take advantage of one or two?

mongoose32May. 23, 1212:21 PM

Nice story. It's reaffirming to hear that MN Nice still has some of its original meaning. It got me thinking about something I witnessed recently. I went to Sam's Club a few weeks ago. Which I rarely do as a single guy doesn't often need 120 rolls of TP or 5lb cans of baked beans & jalapenos. However, we do need vacuum cleaners & they had a very nice Shark model at a good price. At any rate, I swung by the food court because I'm a sucker for Nathan's hotdogs. While standing in line I noticed a woman off to the side by a giant pallet of something with 4 kids in tow. The oldest couldn't have been more than 8, & she couldn't have been older than mid to late 20's. She was giving them the pre-shopping "you need to behave & stay close to Mommy" speech. I have no idea what their actual situation was, but they appeared to be of limited means. Being it was around lunch time & they were in eye shot of the food court, the kids started asking for pizza. Their mother said in a softer voice "Not today. Mommy has to use her money for groceries." In a moment of sympathy, I thought to myself "Man, it must suck to have to tell your kids you can't afford an $8 pizza." But, I've been thru tough times myself & know that sometimes even the little things just aren't feasable. Before I could even finish the thought one of the customers at the register ahead of me in line walked over & handed her an entire pizza & some drink cups. He said something to the affect of "It sounds like you guys like pizza as much as I do. I hope you like pepperoni." I'm generally not much a softy, but I thought that was pretty cool gesture & it made me feel all gushy inside for a bit. It actually inspired me. So later that day I bought a complete stranger $20 in gas.

crystalbayMay. 23, 1212:58 PM

Mongoose: Thanks for sharing - it makes me wish that we kept a whole thread/board going for nothing but these touching stories! It just goes to show all of us that even witnessed acts of kindness have an impact. We're all better for it!

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