The Nicest Thing

This particular message should have gone out months ago: just a very special thanks too, to those who e-mail me those very moving and humbling comments about my blog—so happy so many of you are being touched and finding something relatable here. That’s my aim; I’m truly gratified to receive such nice feedback.

Hope everyone is not getting too crazy during the holiday season. This past Saturday, our postman sang with his quartet at a local Barnes and Noble. Hubby promised to go so I tagged along and got to switch gears and slow down for about an hour (an important concept I can’t–or don’t–seem to take seriously enough). Sometimes I believe the change of pace is more energizing than the rest itself.

Okay, let’s share stories. I’ve been wanting to do this one for a long time but keep getting sidetracked. Anyway, no time like the present (especially during the season of good will) and carpe diem, right? So….

What’s the nicest thing someone you barely know or even a stranger did for you: something so totally unexpected  you could never possibly forget? I could probably come up with a slew more but for now these two events tie for the top in my mind. 

The first was many years ago, when I worked at my first hospital. I had just come off a bridge when my tire went flat on the ramp to the toll. Luckily, I kept control of the car and was able to coast until I could park out of the traffic’s flow. (No easy feat on a two-lane, no-shoulder bridge headed into a NYC burrough on a weekday morning, believe me!)

Anyway, I set about to change my tire–yes, I know how; it’s those air guns that make it impossible to twist off a lug nut–when a brown VW Rabbit pulled up behind my car. A man who was probably a little older than I exited the vehicle. With hands up and palms forward (a.k.a., the ‘guarded’ position) he approached me. I’ll never forget what he said: “I appreciate that you can do this for yourself, but would you like some help?”

Though I considered myself quite independent (and continue to do so), I was smart enough to take the offer, especially on that very busy bridge. What struck me was how differently the interchange might have gone twenty or even ten years before me. That same guy would have pulled up and gallantly offered to change my tire rather than approach me thinking I’d bite his head off for offering to help, lol.

Okay, my second story is much simpler. Many of you know I work in a school setting. Our local YMCA provides care for kids before and after school hours. Well, I was entering a nearby diner to pick up coffee when one of the Y’s workers, a guy who was maybe in his late 20’s or early 30’s and with whom I exchanged basic greetings on a regular basis, opened the door for me from the inside. He said hello and disappeared. While the waitress prepared my coffee I spotted him eating breakfast alone. I waved and he came back and opened the door again for me to step out. Surprised and very pleased with his kindness I assumed he worked there and this was part of his duties as host. I asked if he was an employee because his timing for opening the door had been so perfect. Casual as you please he told me he got up because he saw my car pull into the parking lot. Have you ever? 

Earth-shattering deeds? No. Resonating, like those books or stories we read and think about over and over again? Yes.

Your turn–and please feel free to share a pat on the back for yourself by sharing something you may have done that was special, too!

Until next time,


4 thoughts on “The Nicest Thing

  1. Recently, I had posted on a loop that I wanted to enter a writing contest but being a Social Security recipient, had my funds fall short so I was unable. A few days later, I was informed that someone had posted the entry fee on PayPal for me and I could enter my novel. I didn’t win and I’ve always felt I let my unknown “angel” down though I expressed my gratitude through the loop for being given the chance to participate.


  2. What a beautiful story, Toni–I developed chills reading it. Whether or not you won, I’m sure your ‘angel’ was proud to back you and to provide you such a wonderful opportunity. I judge 1-2 contests a year now; that’s how I pay forward all the goodness my writing angels send my way.

    So happy you stopped by! Thanks for posting!


  3. A stranger’s kindness is always so wonderful, isn’t it?

    I slid on a patch of ice once and slammed over into a median and slid to the other side of the road. An off-duty paramedic was kind enough to stop, ask if I was okay, and wait with me until the police arrived.


    1. Good thing you weren’t hurt, Debra. And yes, a stranger’s kindness usually makes for a touching and very memorable experience.


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