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Author Topic: Random Acts of Kindness  (Read 1373 times)
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« on: August 17, 2007, 03:34:46 AM »




Aug 16, 2007 08:50 AM
thestar.com staff

My friends in Suite 1102

I was a single father at the age of 20 and tried to balance work, school, and fatherhood. Often I brought my baby daughter to class, because I couldn't afford childcare. One day, a group of young professional women moved into the apartment beside me. We exchanged greetings, and I told them they could knock on my door anytime, since I figured we all need a helping hand.

But the helping hand came from them. During their down time, the ladies took turns babysitting, without compensation. They also helped clean my apartment and with shopping.

We continued this relationship for a few years, until they moved away. They've maintained contact with my daughter, who considers them as family. Whenever people talk about the coldness of today's world, I only have to think back to the ladies in Suite 1102.

I want to thank Emma, Jessica, and Amanda for their kindness during my hard times.
Jeremy Sithby, Toronto

   
         

I look forward to reading the new additions to this segment of the paper. These stories show me that there's a lot of love and kindness in a world that has been painted in fear and anger. They give me hope. And they remind me to be a better person.
Rachel Parkin, Ottawa

   

In 1946, I returned from serving with the Canadian forces in Europe. I was in full uniform, taking a bus in Toronto and during the ride, a young teenager started yelling at me, accusing me of murdering his brothers.

He assumed I was Japanese, even though I'm a Chinese-Canadian. Two other passengers joined in and ordered me off of the bus. All of a sudden, the bus driver stopped the bus.

He asked the three people to apologize or get off his bus. The three got off. I know that they say courage often means standing alone, and the courage of the driver on that day meant a lot to me.

My children and grandchildren have faced racism during their lifetime. Whenever they question my decision to fight for Canada, I remind them that I fought for the right to choose.

And that day, the bus driver chose to stand up for me. Thank you sir, I will always remember.
Joseph Keung, Toronto

   

I was an avid hockey player in high school and during my final year, our teachers went on a work-to-rule campaign [eliminating extra-curricular sports.]

A group of us continued to practice at the local arena and paid for the costs. One day, as we were practicing, a young man approached and asked about the team. I told him about our situation, he ran over to his friend, came back, and offered to coach us.

Andrew and Ken were [articling] at a big law firm, so they were super busy. However, they committed to 5 am practices and attended every game.

We made the provincial playoffs, and they convinced their firm to sponsor the trip out of town. These were two caring individuals who went out of their way to help a bunch of kids realize a dream. Thanks again. You made a lifelong impression upon some young guys who needed mentors, guidance, and kindness.
Nicholas Westbridge, Toronto

   
       
My girlfriend and I were at Woodbine Beach and parking was at a premium. A family who was leaving the beach gave us their parking spot and their all-day ticket.

As we were leaving, we did the same, giving the ticket and the spot to another couple. I noticed that numerous people were doing this. The $5 that the people at the beginning of the day spent, went a long way to helping others enjoy their day at the beach!
Lionel Logan, Markham

   

In 1963, when I was 18, I left China for a new life in Canada. I didn't know anyone here and spoke little English. However, I was hopeful about the road ahead. I took a taxi to downtown Toronto and asked the cab to leave me in a place with lots of Chinese people, hoping to meet someone who could give me a job and room to rent.

However, the cab made a mistake and dropped me off in Korean town. I was unable to communicate with anyone in the neighbourhood, and felt lost and scared.

I sat on the steps of an apartment, beginning to think I had made a big mistake. Two young brothers walking their dog stopped to ask if I was alright, so I explained my situation. They brought me home and told their parents. I stayed with them for a few days, and eventually found a job with the bakery they owned. I also rented the room above the bakery.

If it wasn't for the kindness of the McClarens, I wouldn't be here today. When I reflect upon my arrival in Canada, I think back to how I was taken in by a kind family. This reflection stretches to all Canadians in my mind. Thank you for giving me a new life.
John Tang, Toronto

   

I was in the Netherlands on business recently and took a bus to a small town. Sure enough, I took the wrong bus and found myself lost in the middle of Katwijk. After waiting for an hour at a bus stop, an elderly lady noticed my Canadian flag on my bag. In very broken English she asked if I was lost.

I showed her the address of the hotel, (my Dutch is non-existent) and she led me to the correct bus stop, rode with me on the bus and walked with me right to the hotel - with her two grandchildren in tow.

After being awake for 30 or so hours, the can of maple syrup I gave her could not even begin to express my thanks.
John Baker, Oshawa

   
   

My family and I were at the Scarborough Golf Club for dinner waiting for my grandparents to arrive.
We were quite worried because they were both well into their 80s, it was the middle of winter, and it was very dark and cold. We had no idea they were in trouble.

The Golf Club entrance is beside a railway line and as it turned out they had mistaken the train tracks for the driveway. Their little car got stuck and the wheels sunk in. There wasn't anyone in sight and this was long before cell phones.

As they sat talking about what they should do, they were oblivious to the danger that a train could come along at any moment.

A car full of "strapping lads" as my Grandmother later described them, pulled up and offered to help. They picked up their little car and carried it back to the road.

These men wouldn't allow my Grandparents to give them any compensation or take their names. They accepted a polite thank you and drove off.

To this day I remember how lucky we were. I don't want to think about what might have happened and am eternally thankful for their help. Andrea Purdon, Pickering

   
     
As a young mother with a toddler and a baby, taking them out is often an adventure. The other day on the way to work, I had my baby in a carriage, and my toddler walking with me in Union station. We were at a flight of stairs, so I asked my toddler to walk ahead of me while I tried to carry the carriage down. As I was about to lift, a young man offered to help. We carried the carriage together. I thanked him for noticing my situation, and then we parted ways.

A few hours later, I was doing interviews for my company, as we were recruiting new employees. The young man who helped me at Union station was one of the candidates. As I looked at the criteria, I circled the good character part. I am now his mentor and colleague.
Jay-Lee Sung, Toronto

   
     
A few years ago, my car broke down behind a friend's apartment. I had no way of getting home as I live in Northwestern Ontario, where buses run few and far between.

An old man was in his garage behind the apartment and I sought his help. He shuffled back and forth from his garage to my truck several times to select the proper wrenches and other tools. It was not long before I realized he had Parkinson's disease.

It probably took him half an hour longer than it would most people, but I was in no hurry.

I was so grateful that he was able to help me and offered some money. He would not accept any money and I sense that he was just very happy to be able to help me.

Regardless of our age or state of health, we can find pleasure in being able to help others. I was a damsel in distress and he was my hero that day!
Connie Mellon, Kenora

   

It one of those days where nothing was working out for me. I was taking the GO train, dragging two suitcases, trying to catch a VIA train from Toronto to Montreal. Having never been to Union station, I was unfamiliar with the lay out. I tried to carry my suitcases down the stairs and people started to get impatient and brushed by.

Out of the blue, a young man in a suit offered to help me. I accepted and he asked where I was going. Too embarrassed to admit I didn't know where I was going, I followed him and said the train to Montreal. He told me that it was another part of the building, and led me through the maze of people to the VIA train kiosk.

If you're reading this, thank you again, your kindness came to me at the right place and time. No matter what any survey or study says, Toronto is still the best city to live in, because we have the best citizens.
Jerry Corley, Oakville

   
   

Ten years ago I broke my hip and was on crutches for six weeks. I remember being in a bookstore and as I was leaving, it started to rain. Crutches are not conducive to carrying an umbrella, so I stood under the awning, waiting for it to stop.

A man walking south stopped and said: ďWhere are you going?Ē When I told him north to the subway station, he turned around and escorted me four blocks out of his way, holding his umbrella over me, while he got wet.

He changed from a man to a gentleman in that 15 minute walk in the rain.
Sue Edworthy, Toronto

   

When I was living in Ottawa as a young adult, I was cycling along Bank Street when the light on my bike slipped down and got caught between my spokes, sending me flying over my handlebars. I was dazed.

A man driving the opposite way, stopped his car in traffic, leaving his passenger to move his car while he tended to me. He took me into the nearby rental car agency and wiped the blood from my face.

Once I was able to give him my mother's phone number, he called her to explain what had happened and where I was and then left me in the care of the rental car employees. I wasn't 'with it' enough to get his name or give him a proper thank you.
Seliina Coe, Etobicoke

   
       

Last year my fiance and I were traveling in Indonesia. We rented a motorcycle for the day and ventured out on one of the two roads on the island. Unfortunately the one we picked wasn't so much a road as a dried up river bed and soon we were out in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire.

We walked the bike for over an hour, hoping to find someone to help us, when we came across a small group of men having coffee. One of them was a mechanic. He brought us to his house which was only four walls, and some bed rolls just as a torrential rainfall started. He fixed our tire, while his wife showed us their wedding album and gave us coffee.

We didn't speak Indonesian, and they didn't speak English, but we spent the next hour or so communicating with hand gestures and a few phrases in a small phrase book we had.

Once the rain stopped, we went on our way with a repaired tire and memories that we'll be telling for decades.
Michael Henry, Toronto
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007, 04:38:55 AM »




A few years back, we were living in an apartment and taking cabs back and forth from our building to places we go - groceries, the movies, etc.

After one shopping trip, I inadvertently dropped my wallet out of a bag, and it was left in the back of the cab on the floor. Not even realizing it was gone, I received a call from the woman who found it - the next passenger in the cab. She had opened it only to get my ID and look up my phone number. There wasn't much in it, but when she returned it, everything was still there. She actually sent it back to me through FedEx when she returned to work the next day.

Although she did refuse payment or a reward, I did get her address at work and sent her a thank-you card. I hope she got it and realized how great she was. Because of that, I've realized there are some nice people in Toronto, and I've actually been able to pass on the favour!
Vicky Ainsworth, Scarborough
 
   

My feisty and independent 86-year-old aunt has cancer and is currently on chemotherapy. On July 16, she was waiting for a bus to return from Markville Mall, where she had purchased a small mat. When she took the mat from her bag to cushion her wait on the hard metal bench, she did not notice her apartment keys had fallen out until she returned home. Her address was on the keys. A young man in his 20s found the keys. The address was unfamiliar so he waited until he was home in Ajax to look it up. He then drove all the way back to Markham to return them directly to her. She offered a reward or at least gas compensation but he resolutely refused either.
Joan Wood, Markham
       
   

About 10 years ago, I was working at Wonderland, and commuting from Oshawa to do so. I was at the intersection pulling into the parking lot, and my car gave out.

Even though it wasn't nearly as populated as it is now, it was still a very busy intersection. As I got out to push the car out of the intersection, a dump truck driver got out and helped me get the car out of the intersection (as the cross traffic was anxious to get moving).

Although I was still late for work, he helped re-establish my faith in others. I have helped push many people out of intersections since this happened, and am a firm believer of "what goes around comes around," and am working to instill this in my family.
Josh Hoskin, Brampton
       
   

My husband and I are in our late 70s and on the way home from Florida this past March, had a battery that just refused to go again. When we called AAA they wanted to tow our van even though we said all we needed was a battery. In the outskirts of Walterboro, S.C. we decided a tow to an unknown destination, at an unknown price was out of the question.

A fellow Canadian from the Niagara Falls area, who had checked into the same motel then offered us his car keys to go to the nearest Wal-Mart to buy a battery. He insisted and said he would go for us but had a couple of drinks, so didn't feel he should drive. When we came back he helped us install the battery and didn't want any compensation.

We tried to find his address from his license plate, but no luck, so perhaps he will read this and know that we really appreciate his compassion and generosity when we needed it.
Joyce DuBroy, Cobourg
       
   

I want to thank the passengers seated around me on my Air Canada flight from Los Angeles to Toronto. I was traveling with my three-month-old son and was quite stressed and nervous about this first flight. Upon taking my seat, the young man seated beside me smiled and chatted with me about my son.

Later in the flight, when I needed to use the restroom, two ladies held him for me and sang him songs in Vietnamese.

What could have been an unwelcoming and uncomfortable flight was made enjoyable by my understanding and kind co-passengers.

Travelling with a baby can be difficult - just a smile goes a long way.
Angela Hudson, Los Angeles
       
   

While in university, I spent the summer backpacking Europe with two of my friends. While eating at a restaurant in Venice the waiter told us that our cheque had been taken care of by the couple at the next table.

We thanked the couple and told them it was not necessary. They said that they had a daughter and   hoped that one day when she was traveling that someone would be so kind to do the same for her.
Lauren Epton, Toronto
     
   

I'm a 19-year-old Toronto-born Indian working in Shanghai.

The other day I was at the Shanghai Railway Station waiting in line to purchase a ticket to the nearby city of Hangzhou, when I tuned into a fierce argument just ahead of me. A student, slightly older than me, was short 3 yuan (less than 50 cents) for his ticket. He fought his heart out [with the cashier], but to no avail. I tapped him on the shoulder and handed him 10 yuan ($1.40 CDN). He refused many times before he finally accepted.

We ended up on the same train, talked the whole way and exchanged phone numbers, him promising several times to repay the 10 yuan. I told him not to worry about it. We happened to be returning to Shanghai on the same day, so we planned to meet at the station. Out of nowhere, he appeared with a grocery bag full of teas he had hand-picked from his family farm, fresh chestnuts, local snacks, as well as some fruit he had scavenged from the nearby mountains over one entire day.

It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me - and all that over less than the cost of a TTC token!
Amit Ajwani Shanghai, China
     
   

Thank you for these stories and thank you to the contributors for putting a smile on my face and warming my heart. The one thing Iíve done as a result of this was to setup a joke of the week club for my friends and family.

The goal is to make people laugh and put a smile on their faces at least once a week. Iíve kept it up for about a year now. The list of people on it keeps growing, the people love it, and Iím happy to know I can do at least that much.
Shane Nixon, Bolton
     
   

When we were kids we lived in Saskatchewan. My dad was transferred to Toronto we packed up everything [except] our bird, Budgie.

Dad told us Budgie was going to make the flight alone and would catch up with us in a few weeks. Well, wouldn't you know, after settling into the new house, Dad came home with Budgie in a brand new cage.

We were sure proud of him having made the long flight all by himself! We didnít even question why he had turned blue, when originally he was green!
Cathy Reed, Mississauga
 
   

After attending a funeral mass I stopped at the Esso station at the corner of Danforth and Victoria Park.
After paying for my gas I stood in line at the Tim Hortons. Almost embarrassed to do so, I asked for three Timbits. The lady chuckled at my request but I told her I didn't want to spoil my lunch. I got in my car, opened the bag and to my surprise there were seven Timbits.

It brought such a smile to my face, not because I had more doughnuts but because it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture from a stranger.

To the woman behind the counter:"Thank you. You made my day!"
Lisa Cohen, Bolton
   
   

We were living in Montego Bay, Jamaica and serving as overseas personnel with the United Church of Canada. We decided to take our family out to dinner, a rare treat as we lived on a subsistence salary with four children plus one adopted Jamaican child, seven of us in total.

As we examined the menu, we carefully considered the choices and what we could spend. It was decided that the ice cream sundaes would have to be sacrificed. When we asked for the bill the waitress instead brought ice cream sundaes for all the children and informed us that the bill had been paid for by the American tourists sitting at the table next to us.

I didn't think we were that loud, but obviously they overheard our conversation and wanted to give a treat to our children. They had already left when we discovered this act of kindness. Our children (who are now young adults) still mention this incident.

If this tourist couple only knew what a lasting impression they left on a young missionary family in Jamaica in 1989.
Lola Pridham, Brantford, Ontario

   

I would just like to sincerely thank the wonderful firefighters of the Kingston Rd. and Eglinton Ave.-area in Scarborough.

On June 30th, my sister and I were driving west along Kingston Rd. at about 7:45 a.m. when we approached Eglinton Ave. Traffic was halted in the eastbound lanes and lo and behold here was a firefighter standing on the back of a fire truck attempting to free a pigeon, or a bird of that kind, as it had become entangled in mid-air with what appeared to be something like a fishing line. You couldn't see (the line) but the bird was flapping its wings and going nowhere. It was quite a unique sight.

Being an animal lover, it made my day to see them caring for a wild bird. As much as some people don't want to give animals the decency they deserve, they are living, feeling creatures and can get hurt, just like we do. We need more caring people where animals are concerned. I just had to thank them through your media.
K. Weiss, New Lowell
 
   

In June, my wife Joan and I were having breakfast at the Rideau Restaurant near Kemptville, Ont. We finished our breakfast, asked for the bill and the waitress said that our bill had been paid for by the young couple at a nearby table, who had just left. Wonderful act of random kindness!
William Devine, Ottawa
 
   

This Canada Day Long weekend, my family and I went and saw a fabulous fireworks display in Hastings Ont., which is not too far from our cottage on Rice Lake. I suppose with carrying chairs and looking after his new puppy, my father accidentally dropped his wallet somewhere near the river. He didn't realize this until the next day when we wanted to go fishing and he needed his boating and fishing licenses, and credit card.

We must have looked in every possible place in the cottage (which is very small) and two hours later, we gave up. He finally took my advice and went into Hastings to take a look around for himself.

About an hour later he returned, beaming. Apparently someone had found the wallet and had taken to the nearest convenience store. So, as my dad drove by the store on the way to the river he spotted a note in the window, which stated, "Lost your wallet? Come and see if it's yours!" Sure enough, it was his wallet, and everything was still in it.

The experience made our day!
Amanda Peters, Guelph

   
           

In the early 1970s, when I was about seven or eight, my family was visiting friends in Ottawa. The older kids started playing hide and seek. I wanted to play, but they wouldn't let me. I decided to play and proceeded to get lost in a neighbourhood of apartment buildings. I was trying to find my brothers and friends when an older couple driving by stopped and offered to help.

I don't remember the Dairy Queen in the neighbourhood but I do know we stopped there for ice cream and we found my brothers and parents who were looking for me.

I don't think anyone thought to get the names of the kind couple who helped the little lost boy.
Tim Radcliffe, Scarborough
           
   

When I was younger we visited my grandparentsí cottage on Kennisis Lake in Haliburton. We used my grandfatherís boat to go to parts of the lake where nobody lived and there was no road access.
One day the engine died. We tried to fix it but it wouldn't start. We had floated for three hours when a smaller boat came by to make sure everything was okay. They volunteered to tow us. Being a smaller boat this was no easy task and took three hours. They wouldn't accept an invitation for food or money for gas. They told us to make sure to help someone else in need and that would be payment enough.

I often recall their kindness, and I'm reminded of it whenever I feel like I've done a good deed for someone. Cottagers are a great bunch of friendly people, this is just another example of it.
Robert Leeson, Brampton
           
   

Many years ago, I had a tooth infection. Unfortunately, my father had recently lost his job, thus losing his dental benefits. My parents took me to several dentists, but could not afford (to pay what they were charging). One dentist referred us to a young dentist.

The young dentist had recently set up shop and was looking for new patients. My parents worried about the bill, but he said that was not an issue and treated the infection.

He then wrote out a prescription to a local pharmacy. My parents asked if they could make small payments and the dentist said that could be discussed later.

That dentist did not charge for the treatment or medication. He paid out of his own pocket. Later on, my mom would make him cookies and muffins to thank him. My children now use the same dentist.

Thanks again Dr.Chan!
Jennifer Caldwell, Brampton

   
           
I grew up in a poor family and lived in a rough area of Toronto. One evening, our apartment was ransacked. The burglars really only messed up our rooms, as we had nothing of value for them to steal.
The police came to take a report and one constable, on his first shift , asked my brother and I if we lost any toys.

We told him we were too poor to have any toys. A few days later, the same constable returned, with a box of toys, and books. He had taken the time to fund raise with his division, and then went out and bought us some stuff.

My parents tried to turn him down, but he insisted. In our neighbourhood, the police were generally not well lliked and the relationship was strained. But that one incident changed how my family saw things. Twenty years later, that same constable was promoted to lead the division in our community.
Jermaine Washington, Toronto

   
             
My husband and I bought a new, king-sized bed and mattress this weekend. We brought our compact SUV to IKEA, thinking that we would be able to load the bed frame in the truck and strap the mattress to the roof for the 15-minute drive home.

Upon wheeling the mattress and frame outside to our car parked in the loading area, it became quite apparent that the mattress was much too large for our truck.

Meanwhile, the family parked next to us, while loading their purchases into their Dodge Ram truck, saw that we had underestimated the size of our mattress. Next thing we know, they have our mattress loaded into the back of their truck and are following us home!

Both my husband and I were stunned at the generosity, kindness, good nature of this family.

And so thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being such good samaritans and lending a helping hand (truck!).
Kate McMaster, Woodbridge
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2007, 04:57:17 AM »

Is it possible to perform a purely selfless act?
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2007, 07:38:20 AM »

Is it possible to perform a purely selfless act?

Yes...it's something you do without thinking about what harm or reward you will receive. I have the scars, keys to the City of Tacoma with a cheesy plauqe to prove it exist.
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2007, 09:57:08 PM »

  yes truely selfless acts happen everyday, anyone who has ever been in the military can tell you about it.  also most anyone involved in a church and alot of small towns have seen these things happen.  its pretty damn sad how so many people have the mentality that if something doesnt help themselves then there is no reason to do it. 
  I have always tried to be a gentleman, and tried to set examples. you get some of the wierdest looks from helping people and not asking for anything more then a thank you for your effort.
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2007, 10:31:39 PM »

Is it possible to perform a purely selfless act?

Is saving someone's life while risking your own considered a selfless act or a R.A.O.K.?
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