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Bad Apple and the Kindness of Strangers

"Are you all right?" a man working at Safeway asked yesterday. I was rushing through the steps of self-checkout. Stopped to take a deep breath and center myself.

"Does he think I'm being kidnapped?" I thought. "Is it unusual to take a deep breath here? He doesn't want to hear how I'm mad at myself for screwing up while making muffins and starting over with new ingredients."

"I'm okay, thank you," I replied with a smile. "Just taking a deep breath." This morning, it occurred to me that I must have looked like a nervous wreck.

You see, yesterday I grabbed the last apple from the refrigerator to make apple-carrot muffins. After vigorously finely grating a large carrot, I peeled and cored the apple.

"Does this apple smell funny?" I wondered. Inside, the core looked like it had white mold. As soon as I mixed the grated apple and carrot with moist brown sugar, it stank to high heaven. Whisked it out to the garbage; it smelled that bad. Ran to the store for a fresh apple.

What's a memorable small kindness from a stranger you experienced?

LiterateHiker 9 Jan 5

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A friendly observation:

Don't beat yourself up. It's OK. You can always make more.


Not sure if this qualifies as small kindness or huge kindness, but I woke up one night in 2012 around 2am with a sharp pain in my chest as if someone had punched me hard in the sternum, at the time I was recently divorced and living alone in an apartment in Boston.

My apartment was very close to the Brigham and Women's Hospital Emergency entrance, not more than a 5 minute walk. I debated going or not to emergency because I felt dizzy but the pain had disappeared. I chose to go only because it was so very close. Went out and started walking towards the ER, mind you it was not more than 2:15am, nobody in the streets, so I thought I was almost there but the dizziness forced me to grab a hold of a lamp post. Out of nowhere this dude in a car startled me and asked me if I was ok. I told him I'm a little disoriented but they should take care of me in the ER. The guy said, buddy this is not the ER you're walking the wrong way, here let me help you, he helped me in his car and drove less than a minute to the ER, helped me out and told the receptionist to take care of me and he left. Once there I passed out, when I woke up I was told how lucky I was, I could see they had operated my chest, my ex wife was there, my family was there, I thought all this happened last night, but then they told me what exactly happened, I had aortic dissection surgery, had been in an induced coma for 8 days, an aortic dissection is only survived by 5% of those who had one, I was told people think it's something with your heart but it actually is the aorta starts to split open, once it breaches you die in seconds. They had done open chest surgery, put a silicone stent around my aorta and here I am now enjoying life. Never knew who this guy was, nor his name or anything, when I saw people at 2 am almost falling down I would assume they had one too many and wouldn't have stopped or asked at all, but now I do, all because this stranger who saved my life. Made me see things differently and be kinder to people.


So glad you are alive! Thanks for sharing this amazing story.

You are lucky. Aortic dissection is pretty insidious, ER docs sometimes even miss it. That's what the cardiologists I worked with in the early 1980s told me.

@alliwant part of the luck is the fact that the Brigham and Women's Hospital has a vascular unit where they specialize in vascular dissection surgery.

@LiterateHiker thank you!

I believe the late actor John Ritter died from this very condition.

@Mike1947 yes, I was told that by my surgeon after the surgery, people thought he had a heart attack and treated it thusly, misdiagnosed


One event comes to mind: A while back we got an opportunity both ways for some goodwill. We were visiting my brother's family at the Coconino county fair south of Flagstaff AZ. He was working a sheriff's booth at the fair so they were staying at the campground. On the way in we realized that we were in the wrong lane to get there so I asked the car in the other lane if they'd let us cut in front of them. They good naturedly said sure. When we got to the booth we went ahead and paid their parking fee.
They were so surprised to find their parking paid for that they followed us all the way back to the campground to say thanks.

That's the sort of way that we like to live our lives. People should constantly stay aware of the others around them. Opportunities constantly go by to do others good and there is no reason not to take them.


After having a few pints with my friend, I was on my way home when a guy asked me for directions. I started explaining the best I could and he just grabbed me, saying :"I don't trust you, you're coming with me!" He even threatened to kill me. A guy that was walking his dog helped me and, after the guy kicking his dog twice, he lost it and kicked the living shite out of him. That's the one I remember better.


I went into a local government office, to make a enquiry about some government forms. It turns out that the office I went to, does not deal with that department, and the correct office was closed while next week. The lady behind the desk said. "You can do it on line." I explained that I had tried that three or four times, and failed perhaps because the first time I made a mistake and the website would not let me start again. "Oh yes the same happened to me that site is almost impossible." She said, and the man also agreed. Then she said that the department that had the forms was closed, but the man suggested that they could use their government access to log in to the other department and print me off facsimilies. Which they did then did.

I said. "Great all I have to do is fill it in and post it." But they then printed me off a instruction sheet on how to fill it in, an addressed envelope, provided me with a desk to work on and directed me to the nearest post box.

And it worked I had the information I wanted back a week later.


The only recent one that I can think of was from me to a stranger.
(I didn't spend much time thinking about it, to be honest. 😉 )

Yesterday, in the grocery store, there was an older lady standing next to me in
the produce section.
She was dressed quite smartly, so I told her she looked really nice, and that I
liked her outfit.
We chatted briefly, just small talk (which is not my favorite), and as we parted (okay, I was walking away because I was done), she told me that I'd made her day.

Lots of folks are really quick to tell you when you're fucking up, but not that many take a minute to say something nice.
"See something, say something", applies to other things besides possible terrorist activities.
Sometimes, that's all it takes to turn someone's day around. Or at least make it a little more tolerable.


I’m the type of person that won’t directly engage in conversation with a stranger but if someone talks to me, they are my entire universe at that moment.


Most people do not smile enough.


I think I'll just take a pass on those nice muffins... thanks anyway. 😆


These are making my mouth water. Luckily there are only six so I will not gain to much. Thanks for the effort. How out of the oven with butter.


I made a dozen muffins. Just put six on a small plate for this photo.

@LiterateHiker I know, but if you put more on the pate and take a picture I gain more weight. Thanks for only picturing six, I can handle that.


There's an autistic guy probably around 40 years old who works as a bag boy at the local grocer and my wife is on a first-name basis with him and always greets him with "how ya doing?" and he usually says, "Great!". But a couple of times he has been agitated or upset about something and he'll honestly say he's not doing well at all. And in those times he usually doesn't want to talk about it. But she always tells him, Mark, it's going to be okay. Tomorrow will be better. And I know he appreciates it.

She's also in touch with people from high school via FaceBook and the other day someone she barely remembers told her that her kindness in high school helped her to get through the experience. My wife was drop-dead gorgeous enough that boys used to fight over her, literally ... and this gal was on the opposite end of things, overweight and bearded and so forth. That one of the "beautiful people" took her seriously and treated her kindly, gave her hope. And my wife didn't even know this until just recently.

Needless to say I am super proud to be with someone with that kind of character!

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