When a Stranger Saves your Butt [READ]
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A Collaboration: Random Acts of Kindness from a Stranger
With everything that’s going on in politics right now, I felt compelled to try to remember the good things in the world. The little things that help you remember what a beautiful place the Earth can be, and how not everyone wants to hurt you. In fact, sometimes a stranger will even go out of their way to help you! Here are thirteen stories of amazing strangers that people have met on the road.
Saved by a 10 year old stranger
If you’ve ever travelled to India before you’ll know that street animals are a relatively common hurdle to leap. If you’ve never travelled to India… well, you’ll see when you visit.
On our maiden voyage to the Indian Subcontinent my partner and I took an overnight train from Delhi to Jodphur. In a daze of exhaustion, hunger and general confusion that can accompany you in the crowded streets of India, we found ourselves off the scent of our hostel of choice, headed down a dead end alley. Suspecting our hostel was indeed situated right at the dead end, we carried on, when suddenly a pair of dogs appeared, clearly annoyed with our presence. I mean, who can blame them? We were stomping through their home.
But with a slight of hand, the gentlest of “shoo dog, leave us be”, the situation turned dire. In a moments notice the dogs shackles rose, their lips curled, teeth glaring they were ready for a fight. Well shit, here we are, we are now backing slowly towards a large stone wall, backpacks in tote, speaking gently to two snarling, snapping dogs. By this time we are completely cornered. The only way out was PAST the dogs, and these dogs clearly had no intention of letting that happen.
I began to shout, when suddenly, a small girl no older than the age of 10 burst through a door in the alley. Dressed in full battle regalia: A suspiciously similar, but certainly NOT Spongebob pyjama suit, and a long metal pole. Barefoot, eyes still red from her sleep, this fucking girl swung, and hit, those two dogs. They whimpered and ran away. We… Well… We were flabbergasted to say the least. We desperately tried to thank her, but the dreaded language barrier was tragically thrown between us. She simply smiled, bowed in Namaste, and went inside, where I suspect she had her morning breakfast.
By Katherine (a friend I met in India)
A beautiful stranger in Scotland
While hitchhiking Scotland, my now-friend Kieron went out of his way to turn around on the motorway to pick me up from the spot at which I was stuck. This alone was wonderful, but what was to come was even better; we proceeded to drive for five hours together – that’s five hours away from his home – because we got on so well. At the end we exchanged info, and it wasn’t long before the next weekend hit and he was down for an adventure. Kieron and I drove a ton around Scotland and Wales together, him feeding me and giving me accommodation (and not the cheap kind I’m used to!) the whole way. He now refers to me as his wee sister, and he’s my Scottish big brother. He’s always willing to help me when I’m in need, even from across the world. A truly beautiful stranger, who is now a close friend.
By Danielle from Like Riding a Bicycle
A sweet old stranger in Japan
In Japan in a town in the south called Beppu, it was time for my sister and I to validate our Rail Passes. We thought we could do it at any bullet train station so we became quite confused when, in fact, we could not find the booth to do it in Beppu. An elderly man (by elderly I’m talking ooolllldddd – he had a walking stick and all!) noticed our confused wandering and proceeded to take it upon himself to find out where the booth was. Turns out we were supposed to validate it one town back the way we’d come so he walked us to the right platform to go there. AND THEN got on the train to chauffeur us 20 mins to the right stop, chatting to us in broken English along the way. Once there, HE THEN sat us down and shuffled around the whole station looking for the correct booth for us. He was a sweet old man.
The stranger that changed my perceptions of travel
I was on my very first 2 month long solo trip along the Trans-Siberian Railway when this happened. I had left the train to buy some dinner at the nearby supermarket as food on the train was really expensive. But as my Russian was really bad, I got the timing for the train stopover wrong and when I got back, the train was moving off! The worst part was that all my bags were on the train and I didn’t have any more spare cash as it was nearing the end of the journey. In my desperation, I ran and hopped onto a random open cabin, only to jostle with an unknown cabin conductor before getting thrown off the slow moving train.
In my mind I thought this was it. Everyone has been telling me about how dangerous it can be in Russia. And here I am, without my bags and any spare cash. When a middle aged Russian lady approached me, I got so paranoid that she was going to send me to some abandoned labour camp! Pardon my naiveness back then.
In the end, I was the guilty one because she helped to partially pay for a new ticket to my final destination at Vladivostok. She was so kind and left so quickly that I couldn’t even get a picture with her. I remember not having money to buy water but thankfully some strangers lent my their cup so I could at least cool water from the hot water dispenser to drink. In the end, I even managed to retrieve my bags as my Couchsurfing host in Vladivostok drove me around to the different train depots to hunt down my baggage.
This incident changed my perceptions of travel. I realised that the world isn’t that nasty after all and people are generally good.
Hendric/Pohtecktoes from The Travel Intern
Everything would be OK in Albania
When my travel buddy and I decided that we would hitchhike across Albania, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. As an American, I had never hitchhiked before and my perception was unfavorable. The idea of getting into the car with random strangers in a foreign country, that I had never visited before and knew nothing about, was a little unsettling. We also had no sense of direction and didn’t speak the language – how would we even know if they were taking us in the right direction? But my companion had done it before a bunch of times and reassured me that everything would be OK. And in hindsight – I’m so happy we did!
It was truly an unforgettable experience. We ended up getting 12 separate rides over a four-hour timeframe (the direct route would have taken 2 hours), in everything from a cement truck to a minivan to a sports car, lasting anywhere from five minutes to an hour. And the people could not have been any nicer. We didn’t have to wait for more than 20 minutes, even in the remote parts of the country. In addition to the simple, random kind act of allowing strangers to enter your personal space and giving them a ride, some went even further out of the way to show us compassion. Like the guys who stopped at their house along the way and brought us out soda and snacks, before driving an hour (they were only going 20 minutes away) farther to drop us off at our next destination. Then we stopped to get a drink with a friendly gentleman, and he refused to let us pay, instead buying us a round (after he had given us a ride!).
I will never forget how amiable and welcoming the people in Albania were, and how much fun I had hitchhiking. You should definitely give it a try sometime – it will really open up your eyes to the inherent good in mankind.
By Ian from Escaping Expectation
A bus and a stranger in Myanmar
We are waiting with our backpacks in the modest reception room of our Guesthouse at Nyaungshwe, in Inle Lake. We’ve been wandering around Myanmar for about three weeks and we are quite happy going back to France. Our flight back is tomorrow afternoon from Yangon International Airport. We should be in Yangon tomorrow morning at 7. The pickup is due between 7-7:30 pm, as the bus leaves at 8 pm. It’s already 7:20, but no one came for us. We ask the lady at the reception when are they coming and she explains us that they are picking up people from all the guesthouses, so a pickup will be here shortly for us too. At 7:30 I ask her if she can verify when they will come. She booked us this bus three days earlier when we arrived to Inle Lake. She calls them, we don’t understand anything, but we can see that she’s concerned. She hangs up, calls again, speaks a little, then hangs up again. What is happening?! We don’t know, she doesn’t tell us a thing.
It’s 7:45, we won’t get the bus. Even worse, we’ll miss our flight! I go outside and start crying with anger how is this possible and why it’s happening to us. I calm down and get in. I look resigned at the clock, 5 minutes ’til 8. Why? The lady’s still on the phone… the 7th phone call. She looks in my cried eyes and tells me determined; “Get your bags, I will take you to the bus!” On the way to the bus station she explains that the bus company we’d booked has sold our tickets, so she’s been trying to call all the other bus companies and get us in a bus. She saved us! In 2 minutes we are able to gain our seats. We are thanking the lady while she kept saying “Sorry, sorry for your bus!”
By Ana from Travels of Plushy
The following are extracted from a Reddit thread titled: The nicest thing a stranger has ever done
I rolled the dice on refilling my gas tank, because I had to get to a store before closing. Sure enough, it wouldn’t go after I was done shopping. A sweet woman who was with her three kids went out and got me a gallon of gas, and brought it back to the parking lot for me. When I tried to pay her for the gas, she refused. I’ll never forget what she said in her thick Jamaican accent, “Girl don’t worry about it! It happens to me all the time.” I love her.
It was pouring rain and close to freezing outside. I didn’t have an umbrella because I was new to the city and had no idea how quickly the weather could change; it had been sunny albeit cold when I headed out for the day. A boy who was probably about fifteen stopped me and gave me his umbrella. He told me he would be home soon and didn’t need it. I thanked him, doing my best not to start crying like an idiot in front of him. I have never seen him in the city again but if I ever do, I hope to hell I can find a better way to say thank you.
READ MORE: 10 of the Dumbest Tourists EVER!
Eight months ago a total stranger hit his head at work and slowly slipped into a coma. He was 25 and a local sports hero. He passed away five days after his accident and gave me his heart. I’m recovering at home and looking forward to a full life! Be an organ donor!
I got drunk one night and lost my wallet. I noticed it was gone but assumed it was in my friend’s car and was far too wasted to worry about it. About 30 minutes later I hear a knock at my door, two teenagers had found my wallet in a lot about 6 miles from my home. They drove to my house at nearly 1 in the morning and returned it, all content included.
Few years ago I was on business trip in Bucharest. I had to use the public transport but I didn’t know which bus to take and where exactly I must leave the bus. So I decided to ask a small group of young people (one boy and two girls at the age of 15-16) who were waiting for their transport as well. I thought that there was a bigger possibility that they knew English, however they didn’t. With mimics and gestures I succeeded to explain the place I had to visit. Meanwhile a bus came and then the boy took my hand went inside the bus with me. I thought I was lucky that he is heading at the same direction as I did. Along the way we didn’t really talk to each other. At some point he explained me that I’ve reached my destination and I need to leave the bus. Then I asked him “How about you?”. I am not sure what exactly he told me but I understood that his friends are waiting for him and that he came in the bus with me just to help me. He needed to travel 30 min on the way back to go to his friends.
Drove into Canada. Not 10 mins go by, a Canadian waves me down and asks if I’m going to Montreal. When I said yes he told me to turn around and follow him. He got me there 10 mins faster. He wasn’t even going to Montreal.
I was on my way to a job interview, I was running a little late…nothing too crazy, but I didn’t want to fuck up any first impressions. Well, I get into the elevator to take me up to the floor where the interview was at. I’m making small talk with this older gentlemen who happened to work in the same office. He asked if I was ready for the interview…it was then I realized I forgot my copy of my resume in my car!
This guy without hesitation pushed the ground floor button and, I hustled my ass to my car, grabbed what I needed and, found the same guy waiting for me in the elevator. It’s by this time that I’m late. We both get to the floor we need to be at and, as we walk in I let the girl at the front desk know I was there for the interview. The woman is giving me this look of “you’re late you aren’t getting the job”. Well, the older guy goes and tells the woman that he was taking too long to get to the elevator and, I was late due to his being slow. That dudes lie solidified my position at the company for a good year.
READ MORE: A Disturbing Train in Tokyo
What is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you? Where were you at the time?