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Random Acts of Kindness...

Kindness comes in all shapes and forms, and sometimes when least expected. I thought I would take a break from the blog this week but I want to share with you a nice story. On Sunday I wrote that I was stranded in Vermont, unable to get on flights because of cancellations or no space. But sometimes things happen for a reason, to teach us lessons or to change the course of our lives for the better.

Recently I've been surrounded by a lot of jerks - miserable people trying to infect me with their pessimism and straight out meanness. It's the reason I went to Vermont. To escape to a very peaceful place and enjoy some solitude. Sunday began very early, leaving my bed&breakfast at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight back to DC. And here's what transpired:

(1) The flight was full so I didn't make it. The next flight wasn't until 2 p.m. and I had already turned in my rental car. I didn't want to sit in the tiny Burlington airport for nine hours, so I ventured back to the bed&breakfast hoping they would let me stay in the common area which would be more comfortable than the airport. The owner not only welcomed me back but also told me I could have my room for the rest of the day, if needed, at no additional cost. The best part? He fed me a wonderful, home-cooked breakfast.

(2) Around noon, I asked the bed&breakfast owner to call a cab to the airport for me. Instead, he said he would drive me there himself. A half hour drive, completely free and filled with wonderful conversations about him and his family.

(3) I didn't get on the 2 p.m. flight either because it also was full. Five hours until the next flight so I asked a young person working at the airport where I could eat. He told me to go to a hotel about five minutes away that had a nice pub. So I took a cab there only to discover the restaurant is closed on Sundays!! The cab driver had already left, but a hotel employee offered to take me to another restaurant in the hotel van at no cost. I wasn't even a guest at the hotel, and she drove me about ten minutes down the road to a nice pub where I sat for a few hours speaking with the locals.

The life lesson here? In the midst of all the raging assholes, there are still plenty of good people on the planet. People who go out of their way to help others for absolutely nothing in return. Not only in Vermont or in America, but in every country throughout the world. Sometimes it's very easy to lose sight of this.

And remember, the simplest things can dramatically impact others - a mere smile to a stranger, a friendly hello, a quick compliment, or even bending down and picking up a dropped item for someone. It sounds simplistic, but I've experienced it many times in life. Random but intense connections with strangers, people who remind you there's hope for humanity. For an optimist like me who occasionally strays off course, it's very easy to get back on track when such kindness falls upon you.

So I encourage each of you to "pay it forward." If you don't know the meaning of this phrase, watch the American movie by the same name. It's a wonderful film focused on the concepts expressed here. And tell me - has anyone done something exceptionally kind for you? Something that had a strong impact on your life? Please share in comments.

Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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moebiuscat
Jun. 20th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
Amen!
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
And how are Canadians? Are they generally friendly people? I don't know any and have never traveled there. But I will visit Toronto soon.
(no subject) - moebiuscat - Jun. 20th, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amandakysses - Jun. 21st, 2013 12:59 am (UTC) - Expand
notabler
Jun. 20th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
As a single mum with disabled child I just simple couldn't survive without kindness of many surrounding people. Countless examples. And what is remarkable - the poorest sometimes helps more and quicker
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
I've seen the same thing, the average or poor man more willing to stand up and help than the rich businessman type. The latter are often so consumed with their own egos that they fail to even recognize others in ordinary situations, much less troubled times. Trust me, I'm surrounded by this personality all day at work.
mybathroom
Jun. 20th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
This is a wonderful story!
My wife fills my life with kindness and happiness.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
It's great that you have found such a person to share your life with! :)
vitsky
Jun. 20th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
I used to travell by hitch-hiking several times. Also quite interesting experience. People give you a lift for free, and talking to them you can discover many interesting things.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
I'm not brave enough to hitchhike! But I'm sure it's a very interesting experience.
whiteeye
Jun. 20th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC)
The latest example is when I had arrived in Frankfurt I needed to buy a ticket for subway. While I was seeking money for a ticket, standing near ticket machine, one Japan woman asked me if I needed smth. First, like all Russians, I had thought she was going to cheat me into doing smth, but then I understood she was just trying to propose her unused ticket with no fee. It was so kind and then I felt ashamed for mistrust:)
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Hello! You're back in Russia now? I hope your vacation got better after the car incident in DC. What did you think of America? Let me know. :) The cities on your route were unusual and honestly not the nicest in the States, so I hope they did not leave a bad impression.
(no subject) - whiteeye - Jun. 21st, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 21st, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
amandakysses
Jun. 20th, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
kindness
As usual, I love this post. I am a huge fan of random acts of kindness. With all the craziness and sadness that surrounds us each day, knowing it only takes a second to make someone's world a better place. The best part is doing good for others is sometimes even more.rewarding for yourself. Step out of yourself. Give love freely. Smile. Pass it on. Kisses! Xoxo
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
Re: kindness
"The best part is doing good for others is sometimes even more rewarding for yourself." Yes, I agree. The free legal services I provide are the most rewarding part of being a lawyer. And you finally registered on LiveJournal. Yippee!! :)
Re: kindness - amandakysses - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: kindness - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: kindness - amandakysses - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
olgor
Jun. 20th, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
Good to know there are nice people around you. )
Btw, recently I asked about what to do in Chechnya - here is very interesting report (in Russian) of one person who spent one month there.
www.colta.ru/docs/2F25452
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
Hmm, the link doesn't work? If there's another way to access the report let me know as I'm interested in reading it. I didn't apply for the Chechen press tour because it was primarily for Russian bloggers and I'm not fluent in the language. I would be the only non-Russian on the tour and the language barrier is a problem. Someday I'll pick up all my study books and focus on the language again.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 20th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - olgor - Jun. 20th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 21st, 2013 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - olgor - Jun. 21st, 2013 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
k_netalie
Jun. 20th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
here in Russia we say - мир не без добрых людей))
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
I like this phrase! :)
tori_latvia
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
very nice story! :)
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.
qi_tronic
Jun. 20th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
Cool.
In the middle of the story I was like hearing Christmas bells :)

Well, I cannot recall random acts of kindness right now...
Sometimes I'm not very friendly to strangers ...being a Moscow native in 7th generation, you know ... :)

BUT. Check out this wonderful story how one YouTube clip has completely changed one's life.

www. nytimes. com/2009/09/12/world/europe/12tajik.html
(remove spaces)

PS. And the original Indian movie is great too.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 21st, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)
"In the middle of the story I was like hearing Christmas bells." :))) That NY Times article is touching and I learned something new. In Soviet times, you could watch Bollywood films!
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 21st, 2013 09:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
fesma94
Jun. 20th, 2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
So good story ! I think in little places it's more easy to find kindness
peacetraveler22
Jun. 21st, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
Thank you! In Vermont, every town is small. :) I think it's one of the friendliest States in America.
descolorio
Jun. 21st, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
I was impressed myself by kindness and friendliness of people when traveled in the US. Especially in central part - Colorado to Texas, not so friendly in Florida, and NYC seemed the opposite, I'd say because of big city stress. Just personal impressions of course, not generalising.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 21st, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
I don't like NYC and find the people there rude and pushy. But I'm a country girl. :) Americans are generally very open and friendly people. I haven't been to Colorado but it looks beautiful. I'm certain I'd like it because of the mountain landscapes.
(no subject) - amandakysses - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - descolorio - Jun. 21st, 2013 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 21st, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - descolorio - Jun. 22nd, 2013 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
orion_5
Jun. 22nd, 2013 10:50 am (UTC)
"Мир не без добрых людей" (i.e. The world is not without kind people ).It is said in Russia
And "Pay it forward" is great film. Kevin Spacey played very well.

And I wanted to say that it's a very interesting blog. Thank you for that.
I feel it like a cultural exchange.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 22nd, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC)
Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors. He's exceptional at portraying flawed characters, and we are all flawed in some way. "American Beauty" - it's one of my favorite films. Thanks for nice compliments about the blog. I also view it as a sort of cultural exchange because almost all of my readers are Russians. They are either very interested in America, or have great love (or hate) for my country.
(no subject) - orion_5 - Jun. 22nd, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
nar_row
Jun. 24th, 2013 08:12 am (UTC)
"And tell me - has anyone done something exceptionally kind for you? Something that had a strong impact on your life?"

Exceptionally? I don't remember something like that. I guess, I never was in a situation, in which I needed it. But some people helped me in a various situations.

Edited at 2013-06-24 08:15 am (UTC)
mujlan01
Jul. 1st, 2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
I've heard «pass it on» story is it common in US?
peacetraveler22
Jul. 1st, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
I like to think it's common, but there are selfish people in every country. I really believe in charity if you have the resources to help.
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