Inspiration Report

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” – Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire

When was the last time someone did something unexpectedly nice for you? Not someone you knew, but a total stranger? All this talk about compassion and the golden rule got me thinking about the kindness of strangers. It’s happened to me a few times, but two instances really stand out.

A few years ago, I was dining out with a person who kept going on and on about himself, completely oblivious to the fact that I was sitting there in misery. It wasn’t his company that bummed me out. I was recovering from a broken heart, and just sitting down to dinner reminded me of my last relationship. I could have collapsed in tears right there at the table.

When we picked up the check, the waitress said, “Your meal was already paid for.” My friend and I didn’t have a clue how it happened. Then I remembered a man coming in out of the corner of my eye. He was dressed in mostly white, sat down at the bar, had a shot of gin, stayed for maybe ten minutes, then left. The waitress said, “Yes, the gentleman who was in here a while ago paid for you.” True story. It felt like a little nudge from God saying, “I see you, honey. It’s gonna be okay.”

Just last year, I was running a half-marathon. With just .1 miles to go, I was out of gas. Runners call it “hitting the wall”; I thought I couldn’t move another muscle. Out of nowhere, a teenager jogs up next to me and says, “What’s your name, sweetie? Jennifer? Okay, Jennifer, let’s go! Come on! It’s just around the corner! You can do it!” And he ran with me until I picked up my pace. I found him at the finish line to thank him for the encouragement only to learn he wasn’t even supposed to be in the race that day. He was running in place of someone else.

I still shake my head when I think of these momentary angels that came to me at my point of need. Do you have any experiences like this? A random act of kindness by a stranger? Share your story.

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