Help Wanted

When was the last time someone did something inexplicably beautiful for you?

It really amazes me that civility is lost on most of the human population. My mother not only taught me manners but how to be a good person, like standing when someone enters the room, shaking hands, saying “how are you?” and holding doors open. I don’t even think about it anymore, these niceties are just engrained in my mind.

This week I parked in the disability spot because I was not feeling well and I had to carry multiple bags into work. I placed them on the ground one at a time and watched in horror as one toppled over, spilling the contents all over the ground. I struggled to bend down and return the items to their proper place and realized there were quite a few people around. No one offered to help me.

This wasn’t surprising but astounded me nonetheless. If I saw someone drop something I would rush over to help (no matter who they were).

I got myself together and made my way to the front door. A mother and her child walked through while I waited patiently (four very full bags on my shoulders). Neither person held the door. I didn’t need them to hold the door for me, just pass it on so I didn’t have to struggle to grab it before the door slammed shut.

I was dumbfounded… this was the state of humanity right now.

But wait, can I tell you a really amazing story? When it happened I was totally floored.

A couple of weekends ago I had to buy cat litter. I was feeling particularly stiff that day so I used my handicap placard to make the walk a little less tedious. I struggled to put the litter in the trunk and as I turned to return the cart a man (couldn’t be more than 10 years older than me) rushed up and said “Let me take care of that for you”. He smiled with genuine kindness and not a lick of judgment in his expression. I almost couldn’t speak I was so stunned. “Thank you, I really appreciate your help.” As I was getting into my car I re-thanked him and he replied with “I hope you have a great day!”

Wait, what?? This rarely happens. I am 28 years old but I look like I’m still in university. No one questions my disability placard but no one helps either.

I wanted to hug this man or buy him a cup of coffee. It wasn’t just that he offered to help, he just did it. He took the cart from me before I knew what was going on.

Only my closest friends do this because they know I won’t ask for help. Who was this rare specimen of a human? Did he wonder if I was injured or maybe chronic illness affects him in some way? Does it matter?

The fact that he was so genuinely kind restored my faith in humanity, at least for a little while.

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Comments

View Comments (9)
  • rockcandi
    9 months ago

    I must live in a rare town bc many people are kind and considerate. There are those who aren’t but most days for every one who’s not, there’s usually two who are. Still, I was surprised by a kind act just two days ago. I was shopping with my toddler son, just a few things as my husband wasn’t with us. One of the items I specifically went to the store for was a huge box of baby wipes. There was only one box of my sons brand and it was on the top shelf. On a good day I would’ve stepped on the first shelf and tried to reach with my finger tips just enough to pull it and let it fall to the ground. I haven’t had many good days lately. Anyway, I was pushing my son in his stroller, leaving the cart in the aisle to look for an associate. I explained to my son what I was doing and a man and his wife heard me and he said Do you need some help? But didn’t wait until I responded before he walked into the aisle I’d just walked out of. He asked me which box I needed as his wife smiled at me and my son. He got the box down but didn’t hand it to me, instead he put it into my cart, after checking with me to be sure it was mine. In my case the couple was either my age (36) or a few years younger. They may have thought I simply needed the assistance bc I’m so short (exactly 5 feet). I thanked him “so much” for his help, but he’ll never know how much of an impact he made on me or my son. Pax (my son) even recounted the event by pointing in the direction the man had walked then at the shelf that had held the wipes box then at our cart. So not only was he a huge help to me and made me feel joy at a strangers kindness, but he was a great example to Pax at how we should treat one another, stranger or not.

  • Jo J
    9 months ago

    Yes! I’ve had those experiences and been the helper too. I think it’s quite common!
    Jo

  • mcadwell
    9 months ago

    I was struggling getting my bags from my grocery cart into my car and juggling my cane all the while. An older couple came up to me. The man asked if he could help and proceeded to put my bag onto the car seat while the wife put the cart into the cart corral. They both wished me a wonderful day as I thanked them, my eyes welling with tears. I felt so thankful. It is rare that people do that nowadays. It was beautiful and made me feel worthwhile.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    9 months ago

    This is a beautiful story, mcadwell! I smiled just reading it. Some people are genuinely kind and I just wish there were more like them. Thank you so much for sharing on my article!! ~Monica

  • koepkey
    10 months ago

    Your title is perfect!! I’ve had a similar experience. Usuallyy, just when I lose all hope, someone steps up and restores it. This winter I was leaving Walmart in sub-zero temps. With no warning my little guy vomited all over himself, or bags, and myself. We had just gotten out of the store, so we were on the sidewalk. I didn’t know what to do. Many people walked past us giving us rude looks, and one lady brought me a few paper towels from the bathroom. But the vomit wouldn’t stop, and it w clear that my kid was freezing. One lady walked past me and gave me the most disgusted look, and I even apologized because it was gross. In my 16 years of parenting, this was a first. One man said we should go back inside, but it really wasn’t an option. I was brainstorming while rude people walked by and stared, when the rude lady who I had apologized to came out caring a huge tub of Lysol wipes and a roll of thick paper towels. Never in my life would I have thought she would be the helpful one. I almost cried. She offered to help me move the groceries into new bags, while I got my kid undressed and into the car. I still think about this random act of kindness – – kinda the sunflower in the middle of a field of weeds–and wonder what I would have done without her.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    10 months ago

    Oh wow! I am so sorry that people are so rude but I am glad the woman stepped up and helped you out.

    I always wonder why people are so disgusted…Do they think this was all done on purpose??

    Thank you so much for sharing on my article, koepkey!! I really appreciate it 🙂 ~Monica

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    10 months ago

    I held the door open for a lady a few days ago and she asked if I had single brothers. No I said, but I have two sons and they also open doors.

    I find that civility is mostly dead, but that is what makes being nice so appreciated. Heck it used to be that others expected you would hold the door for them, so when you did no one noticed. These days they it is unexpected and you can get a date.

    I mean if you are not married of course.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hah! That’s great!!
    I mean, I agree with you. At one point it was done so often that nobody noticed. What does it say that we notice the little things??

    Did you know? When I go to pick up my coffee…People just grab their drink and leave. They don’t thank the people who made it. People don’t thank their waiters. (Granted, that’s just bad sense. Who knows what they can do to your food!)

    Gosh, I wish I got a date just from holding a door. Though sometimes I get flirted with a bit! Heh

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    10 months ago

    Don’t say that Monica. My cousin Reggie holds doors for ladies. Nobody wants a date with Reggie, no one.

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