Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you tell us about a time when you had a very brief but funny, interesting,or otherwise emotional encounter with a complete stranger, something you'll never forget?

Asked by Dutchess_III (28315 points ) February 6th, 2011

I was at the grocery store one fall day about two years ago. I was walking down the end aisle, the one that all the other aisle intersect with. Suddenly, some canned food of something came flying out of one of the aisles, almost as though it had been thrown. Right after it was this HUGE black guy, scrambling for all he was worth, trying to get it back. A whole lotta action going on in the grocery store all of a sudden! I stopped in my tracks, with my mouth open in amazement. He recovered the can, straightened up and saw me, then sheepishly and blushing he mumbled “It’s football season…..” and crept back to his aisle. The whole store must have heard me laughing!

I think it’s moments like that that make this world a wonderful place to be.

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84 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

I was driving around downtown blaring Paul Anka’s classic bubblegum doo wop hit Diana when a frail old man and his wife hobbled up to my window at a traffic light.

“Boy oh boy,” he said. “We danced to this song on our wedding day in 1958!”

They then shuffled away as the light turned green… arm in arm.

I cried like a bitch afterward.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I had just moved to San Francisco and had a part-time job at a department store on Union Square. My apartment was situated such that commuting by cable car made the most sense. As I waited for the cable car on the first morning, I noticed a middle-aged woman waiting next to me. We were the only ones at our stop that morning.

She leaned over to me and said, “You know, I could drop dead at any moment.”

When I recovered my composure, she proceeded to tell me all her medical troubles just like I was her closest friend.

In hindsight, it was hysterical.

woodcutter's avatar

Ok, another grocery store story and some may have heard this one already.
A few years back the whole world it seems was shopping for Thanksgiving dinner stuff. So much so there were many things sold out. I was looking for some brown sugar and there was the empty shelf where it was before. A older black lady was standing there too looking. I say to her that it looks like they sold out of it, among other stuff. She says to me no worries she has plenty of brown sugar at home. My devil horns pop out and it forces me to do my best Austin Powers “Oh Behave!”. The lady I guess must have got it and wasn’t impressed at all with that. We both pivot in opposing directions and walk away,red faced.

SuperMouse's avatar

This is technically two interactions, but they are related so I will indulge myself!

My SO and I were downtown one day and ran into a woman with her grown son who was in a wheelchair. My SO struck up conversation with the mom and as she told him about her boy’s spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury my SO rubbed the boy’s leg. While they spoke I really wanted to hug the mom but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

About a week later the SO and I were sitting in his van at a park chatting. While we were talking I saw a woman walking along the path crying. She was sobbing those sobs that shake your whole body. I got out of the van, walked up to her, and asked if she was alright. She said “no, I’m not. I am walking here crying.” I touched her shoulder for a minute then asked “Is it ok if I give you a hug?” She said it was and I did. She must have held that hug for a solid minute. I was so glad that this time I had the nerve! Her name was Charity and I hope wherever she is right now she isn’t crying anymore.

deni's avatar

This is going to make me sound like a super stoner but I’m not….but since I live in Boulder, this past year I went to Colorado U’s annual celebration at the college on 4/20…I knew it would be hilarious. I could sit all day and listen to people make stoney remarks. So at one point, after 4:20 once people started filtering out, I was walking to find my friend and I stopped and was looking around and this kid beside me was on the phone trying to explain to his friend where he was because there was so many people…and he goes “I’m by…..uh…......(long pause)....lamp post….” and after a second of us both looking around and realizing that there were about 100 lamp posts in a 100 yard vicinity and that was the worst indication ever of where he was, we both started cracking up for a good few minutes….okay so this doesn’t sound nearly as funny NOW but it really busted my gut at the time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Stoner!!! : )

FutureMemory's avatar

Deni’s new nickname is officially Lamp post :)~

bkcunningham's avatar

@SuperMouse cyber hug back attcha. She’ll never forget you. mmm hugs to you good person and good person’s SO

Dutchess_III's avatar

One time, when I was younger and always speeding, I was speeding along a highway. There was a guy in front of me, also speeding along. We see lights in our rearview mirror. We both pulled over, certain we were both busted. Cop blew right past us!!!!! I started honking my horn at the guy in front, expressing my joyfulness, and at the same instant he stuck his arm out his window like a high five!!

That reminds me…once my 16 year old and I were driving along, when a van full of guys passed us. Suddenly one of the guys leans the whole top half of his body out of the window, arms spread wide, and you could read his lips saying, “I love you!!!”
Then he disappeared back into the van. However, a second later he stiucks his right arm out the window and made a strong-man flex with it for us! We were cracking up!!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Something like 8–9 years ago I was working two jobs, one of which was at a tobacco and magazine shop at a trucker’s mall. This kid, a little bit younger than me, but close in age, came into my store around midnight. Bleeding, with a black eye. He was all dressed in traditional punk clothes, and had an enormous mohawk. I talked to him for a few minutes, got him some tissues for his bloody nose and figured that was the end of it. He had an accent, so I knew that he wasn’t from the area – but being off of the freeway, attached to a motel, we got a ton of travelers. It wasn’t anything unusual. He had gotten beat up by a truck driver in the bar and they were both thrown out.
On my way to clock out a little bit later, I had to pass through the attached motel. The person working there at the time is a lifelong friend of mine, and when I walked in I saw her talking to someone. The mohawk kid was sitting in the lobby, still bleeding, and his face lit up when he saw me walk in. He started to tell us a bit more about himself, he was 19 years old, he had been hitch-hiking all over the country since he ran away from an abusive home at 14. He made a living by prostituting himself, mostly at truck stops. Ultimately, he asked if he could show me something in his room. (He was staying in the motel that night.)
Figuring that he looked more like a misguided kid than a psychopath, I agreed. We left the door open a bit, which was his suggestion to make me feel more secure, and knew that my friend was nearby if I should feel uncomfortable. I didn’t, though. He showed me this book of poetry and art that he had been toting all over the country and filling up. He was incredibly talented, I remember being moved to tears by some of his poetry. We ended up hanging out in that room until about 6am, when my friend got off of work and it was time for us to go home. On my way out the door he stopped me suddenly, grabbed a napkin from the bedside table, and scribbled out a poem using my name and defining the night that we had talking. I kept that poem for many years – I have no idea where it is now.

Anyhow, it was a really interesting experience, and I always look back on it fondly. I wonder sometimes if he is still out there, if he is okay. If he is still alive, really.

TexasDude's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf, that’s the stuff of good books, right there.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I agree. I loved that job, I met some of the most fascinating people in the world while I was working there. Awww, I just went back and read the other responses, and your story is too cute!

FutureMemory's avatar

I get a big kick out of helping people in need. Every time I see a stranger that appears lost, I make a point of asking them if they require assistance.

Many years ago I was riding the N train into Manhattan, and couldn’t help but notice a young Chinese woman feverishly studying the subway map. She clearly was having trouble reading it, so I offered my assistance. Turns out the poor thing didn’t speak a word of English – I think the only thing she said that I understood was “Chinatown!”. It was obvious she was very out of her element – it seemed like she might have literally just got off the boat, what with how disheveled she looked. I did my best to assure her she was on the right subway and that her stop was coming up soon, within the next 15 minutes. I shook her hand, and in a weird twist of… weirdness, I thought she’d somehow be comforted by a display of gentlemanly behavior, so before I let go of her hand I gave it a quick peck. She gave me the most heartbreaking look of sincere gratitude, as if that little gesture had assured her I was truly well-intentioned and trying to help her. She immediately kissed my hand in return, and I don’t think we stopped holding hands til the train pulled into the Canal St (Chinatown) station.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@FutureMemory aww, that is such a “you” story. :)

crisw's avatar

I used to ride the bus to college every day, through Downtown San Diego with its large number of homeless people, many of whom also rode the bus. One day, I was having a snack and this homeless guy’s eyes lit up and he yelled “Funyuns! I love Funyuns!” So I gave him my Funyuns. I think I made his day.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Dutchess_III I love your question and especially all of the great answers it has inspired. Keep ‘em coming! I’m still thinking of just one to reply with to your great question. I’ve had so many great encounters in my short (almost 50 years) time on earth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks @bkcunningham. I’m lovin’ it too. I was just watching a commercial that showed someone trying to recover a fumble, and then I remembered that part of my original story, in the details, was made so interesting because that’s exactly what the guy was trying to do! But every time he got a finger on it he’d lose it and, in fact, it would pick up speed, which explains the great velocity of the can as it came out of the aisle!! It was exactly like he was trying to recover a fumble!

bkcunningham's avatar

@Dutchess_III I saw the Ameritrade babies’ commercial and nearly choked on my adult beverage laughing!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

O, I LOVE those commercials! Best. Ever. !!!

FutureMemory's avatar

@bkcunningham Val, err @Dutchess_III comes up with awesome fun/heart warming questions :)

Earthgirl's avatar

Future Memory
ANef is Enuf
Wow, those 2 stories are so touching and wonderful. Chance encounters….I love it. Thanks for sharing

bkcunningham's avatar

@FutureMemory yeah, she’s the Art Linkletter of Fluther.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you @FutureMemory! Blushing.
ART LINKLETTER????

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bkcunningham's avatar

@Dutchess_III you know Art Linkletter. He could get the best answers out of kids. He knew exactly how to make kids say the darndest things.

zophu's avatar

This very drunk guy at a Halloween party confided in me his tragic life’s story as a materialistic potentially violent neo-nazi. A Columbian neo-nazi at that, (he’s “got a little green in his eyes”.) And, by amazing serendipity!, this guy turned out to live in the apartment next to mine, where he likes to have friends over to sing ambiguous German songs every third weekend or so till dawn. Hahahahahahaaha! Ha! Fuck this lease. . .

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham Yeah, I remember! I knew what you were saying but it was just funny to me! It doesn’t take Art to get people to say the darndest things here, though! But thanks you guys~

chyna's avatar

I was getting on an elevator with a friend and the best looking guy I have ever seen was already on and he says “Hi”. I said “hi” back. Then he says “how ya doing?” I say “I’m doing good.” He then covers his headphone that I didn’t notice and says to me, “um, I’m on the phone.”
As soon as he got off the elevator my friend and I laughed until we cried.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I usually wear my military uniform on the way home from work and one day I stopped at a convenience store to get some coffee before I got home. Coming out of the store, a stranger came over to my car and thanked me for my military service and expounded on how thankful he was that we had such a good military and was so grateful for everything we did. As he was telling me this, he became quite emotional and I even got choked up how heartfelt his gratitude toward me was and it was a pretty special moment. I’ve had dozens of complete strangers thank me for my military service over the years but none were ever as emotional as this and it is a random encounter that I’ll always remember.

aidoom7's avatar

One time when I was a kid I was playing in some bouncy house place and some Japenenese kid who was some 2 years old and he said “wanna pay wif we?”. When we left, I was hysterical!

TexasDude's avatar

When I was 4 or so, I was a huge flirt. nothing’s changed. I would blow kisses to attractive 18–20+ year old girls all the time. Once, I stood on a table at a nice restaurant and sang “I love you, you love me” (the Barney song) to the hot waitress. I’m pretty sure I made her day. My grandparents tell me this story all the damn time.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I was at a technical conference in Nagoya, Japan. During the break I overheard a guy talking to several Japanese in a heavy Long Island accent. I was born there and can turn on the accent like a light switch. I walked up along side him and said “So how’s your Mom doin? Is she bettah?” He looked at me and said “Yeah she is.” “I’m so glad. My mom was talking to yours and she was a little worried about you being ovah hea’. She wants to know when you’re going to get a real job?” He looked at me and asked quietly, “Do I know you?” he asked. “Not at all.” I replied. Well, he picked up the shtick and ran with it. We talked about mythical friends we both knew. “I saw Bea at the wedding and she looked gorgeous since she got rid of the bum.” “Eddie’s dog finally died.” For three days we bumped into each other and just BS’ed. The Japanese asked if we knew each other long. “Forevah! My sistah useta change his diapahs! That’s how long I know him!”
It was wonderful. I saw him 2 years later at another conference and we just ran with it again

bkcunningham's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I’m sure there’s a 37 year old former waitress somewhere out there doing the math and figuring you should be legal about now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@worriedguy Wonderful!!! Nothing like running into a stranger who is totally on your same wavelength!!

KatawaGrey's avatar

Do you guys mind if I tell you a few? I’ve only worked in retail so I got a boatload of them.

I used to work the front register of a drug store and I would sell people their cigarettes. I had quite a few regulars but there was only man who really made an impression on me. Every few days, he would come in and buy one pack of Marlboro Reds. One day, he came in, asked for his cigarettes and I said, “You know, I should know that by now.” In reply, he said, “There are more important things.” he said it so sadly and left so abruptly. Not long after that, he stopped coming in. I still wonder what happened to him. I hope he just quit smoking.

At the same job, I was bagging something for a customer and accidentally dropped one of his items. It didn’t break or get damaged but I apologized for dropping it. As soon as I did, he looked in my eyes and said, “Never be sorry.” I try to follow his advice every day.

Okay, here’s a funny one! My manager and I love to talk about our bodily functions, especially farts. One day, we were talking about farting, as we usually do btw, we’re both girls, and little ones at that a customer suddenly pops up his head from behind some shelves and stares at us. We stare right back at him. Then, he says, “Are you guys talking about farts?” My manager says, “Yes, yes we are.” He says, “Okay. I don’t usually hear people talking about farts in stores.” My manager and I start laughing and laughing. It was quite an interesting interaction with a customer. :)

Supacase's avatar

I used to work the back counter (where prescriptions were dropped off and picked up) at a small local pharmacy. An elderly man with Parkinson’s came in to get his medication, but couldn’t sign for it because his hand was shaking so much. I placed my hand on the back of his with just enough pressure for him to be able to write. He gave me the kindest smile. I cried when the pharmacist told me he died not long after.

I was very shy. I still don’t know where I got the nerve to do that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some of this is bringing tears to my eyes…

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dutchess_III Mine too. GQ! Thanks.

Joker94's avatar

This is one my Mom had, but it still means a lot. Anyway, my sister was recently diagnosed with cancer (she’s doing great right now) and she was very saddened to lose her hair during chemotherapy. Well, she’d been wearing hats (beanies) a lot when she first started to lose her hair, and my mom was always keeping her eye out for a nice one. My Mom had been at a grocery store, and she saw a lady wearing a really nice beanie-type hat. My mom asked her where she got it, and explained why she was looking for a hat like it. The woman apologized, telling her that she didn’t remember where she bought it but wished us her best. As my mom was leaving, the woman’s daughter came up to her and said that her mother wanted us to have it. My mom said she couldn’t, but that little girl insisted. She took the hat, and my sister still wears it :]

chyna's avatar

@Joker94 What a great story. My heart goes out to you and your sister.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Joker94 awww, that was very touching. :’)

Joker94's avatar

@chyna Thank you :]
@ANef_is_Enuf Thank you :] I think of it often when I start to think the badly if people

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes! wow….

SavoirFaire's avatar

My story is not particularly exciting or touching, but it sticks with me. As a bit of a preface: I use buses for local transportation quite a bit, and I am mildly obsessed with how strangers interact with one another (e.g., how they pick seats as the bus fills up). I am almost always one of the last people to have an open seat next to me—perhaps because I look a little bit like this.

Anyway, I was on one of the city buses about six months ago when a woman about my age got on and sat down next to me. This was odd enough, since there were other open seats. Odder still, though, she did not do the “try to make yourself as small as possible” behaviors that bus riders typically do. She sat comfortably, even though this meant touching a total stranger. Then to top it all off, she kept leaning into me a little when we went around curves. It was like we were old friends, though we didn’t speak a word to each other.

I’ve never quite known what to make of it. Sure was fascinating, though.

DancingMind's avatar

I was at a bookstore, checking out a book. I thought I had enough cash on me, but I was a dollar or two short, pouring out my change to try and make it. I don’t even remember the book anymore.
All of a sudden the woman who was next in line comes forward. At first I thought she was wanting to check out herself while I was fishing for coins in my bag. But she wasn’t opening up her wallet for herself. She pulled out a giftcard for the store with a couple of dollars left on it and gave it to me, telling me she ‘loved to see kids reading and wanted to help it continue.’
I was pretty little and so surprised that she’d do that. It wasn’t much at all in anything but sentiment.

But there was one really sweet one—I was in NY with my studio’s dance group a bit back. One of the girls was sick with a sore throat, and couldn’t talk. She was trying to tell the rest of us something while we were in a store getting breakfast for the next day. And this older man came up. He was deaf, I think (not remembering how he knew she had a sore throat… maybe mute? Didn’t speak English but could hear the raspy voice? Or just good at reading situations) Anyway he started going through this elaborate gesturing, from sore throat to warm drink to tea with (sweet-bee-stuff) honey and (sour) lemon juice while we pieced together was he was miming. He was so sweet, spending so much time, wanting to make sure she’d treat her sore throat and feel better. We were all so touched.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m sorry for double dipping by sharing twice, but I have to tell what happened to me today.

My daughters and I were looking forward to watching the Superbowl, and I got the idea of calling a friend to see if she had anywhere to go to watch it. She said she’d love to come, but she asked if she could bring her foster son along with her. This was something new, but I didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

They came just in time for kick off, and the teenager looked to be about 15 or 16 years old. He sat quietly on a stool for awhile until I got him a folding chair, but he ended up taking the comfortable chair. He didn’t eat anything and drank only water. He said no to all the snacks and soft drinks.

He was quiet but did say he wanted the Steelers to win, and I noticed that he had a frail beaded bracelet of black and gold which he took off and held tightly in his hand.

The game had its exciting moments, and we all had a good time. In case you live in a cave, the Steelers lost. The boy didn’t seem all that upset. There was a lively, loud halftime show, which he watched raptly.

As we shook hands to say goodbye, he told me he’d had a very good time. Then he said something that really made me stop, “That was the first time I’ve ever seen the Superbowl.”

I waited until he and my friend, his foster-mom, had pulled out of the driveway to lose it and cry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@hawaii_jake You can share a thousand times!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Holy smokes…..we never know, do we @hawaii_jake….wow

OpryLeigh's avatar

Years ago, I was on a train with my dad and brother and I had to sit slightly seperately from them because the train was busy. Anyway, I was about 14 years old at the time and sat opposite a lady wearing very dark clothing. I can’t remember how we started talking but I remember feeling very drawn to her energy. She was calm and seemed wise. She talked to me about what I wanted to do with my life and she told me to always follow my dreams and instincts. I’m sure other people had given me similar advice over the years but there was something about her that made me listen.

geeky_mama's avatar

Is it too late to add to this? I’m not sure how I missed this thread till now.

I have the sort of face that must, for whatever reason, make me look very approachable. Wherever I go people (complete strangers) come up to me and talk to me and frequently tell me all too personal things. My co-workers now sort of tease me about it..if they’ve traveled with me then they’ve seen it happen, literally around the world.

The two that stick out the most are both airport encounters.
About 9 years ago I was working for a medical device company. I was in an airport bathroom and a lady who looked about my grandmother’s age (mid-60s or older) came up and just started talking about all her urinary incontinence issues to me. Totally out of the blue.
I listened patiently for a long while and then told her about a device the company I worked for was developing for urinary incontinence and at her request wrote down the name so she could take it to her doctor. She hugged me and was off on her way.

The other one was more recent – this past fall. I was standing around waiting to board a plane with the rest of the frequent fliers and our plane had been delayed. I was getting text alerts on the inbound plane delay from the airline, so another woman on the flight kept coming up to ask me for the latest news. Then she started talking about her boyfriend, her son’s reading problems, her plan to grow out her hair, her Christmas shopping..yada yada yada.
When she finally walked away to make one last trip to the ladies room another man on the flight looked at me and said: “Wow, that was random.” And I shook my head and explained it happens to me all the time.
He looked really shocked and said: “You need to work on looking less approachable then! You need to look more menacing.” I laughed, but agreed.
Several more times before we boarded, about every 5 minutes or so, he’d walk over..look at me and say: “Still looking too approachable!” Each time he came back over to “coach” me it made me laugh..which I’m sure wasn’t helping me look any less approachable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Never too late @geeky_mama! That is really funny, and very interesting! You need to post a real picture of yourself so we can see!

BTW, my back hurts and I have to pee. And also, I haven’t had a period in over 10 years! Don’t you think that’s interesting? But when I DID have them it was OMG. My back hurt, by tummy hurt, I had cramps and constipation and diarrhea and blood poisoning and it was SUCH a mess! Now, see…......

peridot's avatar

A bunch of years ago, I was riding my bike down a busy street. A driver didn’t see me and turned into a driveway right in front of me. Luckily for me she wasn’t going very fast; I got knocked off my bike, but that was it—no bruises, cuts, nothing. She was stopped half-in and half-out of traffic, staring at me in horror. I dusted the tire track off my leg, picked up her side-view mirror that had just gotten torn off, and handed it to her through her open passenger-side window. I smiled at her and said “I think this is yours.” Then I got back on my bike and rode off. Don’t know if she thought it was funny, but I found it hilarious.

Another one was when I was stopped in traffic. It was a lovely spring day and I had the windows down. Some allergen must’ve blown in, because out of nowhere I let out a huge sneeze—didn’t have time to cover my face or grab a Kleenex. My hands stayed on the wheel, and it took me a second to realize that they’d spasmed when I sneezed, making the horn blow loud and hard. I frantically waved apologies to the driver in front of me, who seemed to find it amusing. The driver to my left was laughing out loud. Thank ghod for people with a sense of humor!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@peridot Um, I’m betting she didn’t find it funny at all. I’m betting she feels like throwing up to this day when she thinks of it.

My son was hit by a car while riding his bike….totally his fault. He rode out into the street without looking. He saw the car at the last screaming second and threw himself sideways off the bike. The car ran over the bike. Bent it all to crap…but he was OK. Cops called me. I rushed over to where he was. I was shaking, he was shaking. I wanted to hold him but he was 15….I didn’t want to embarrass him. So we just sat there in silence. At one point I said, ’“ell, I guess this means we go to Braums.”
Chris just nodded his head.
I finally realized that there was a lady sitting on the other side of him. I leaned over and said, “Did you you see it?”
She starts choking and crying and goes, “I…I….I…”
I said, “Oh my God! You hit him?”
She just nodded her head. She was in total shock and misery.
I jumped over there and gave her a huge, huge hug and said, “Oh my God! I am sooooo sorry! I’m so sorry!” Then I said, to my son, “Chris! You owe this lady a huge apology!!!!!”
He mumbled that he was sorry. I spent about five minutes calming the poor women down.
Then I took Chris to Braums. That was the only time he got Braums, was when he had some sort of accident….hm. I wonder why that was why he was forever coming home bleeding!!

geeky_mama's avatar

Okay @Dutchess_III and anyone following this thread – here’s a link to my flickr where there is a picture of me..so you can judge for yourself if I look “approachable”.
Honestly, I’m a natural born introvert so I find it a funny sort of curse that strangers feel so comfortable approaching me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you for sharing that! Yes, indeed! You look very, very safe, friendly, caring and approachable! Quit smiling!!! Put baby oil in your hair!

SuperMouse's avatar

@geeky_mama‘s story and her description of being approachable reminded me of this story. It did not happen to me but to a dear friend of mine. This is a single man at the time in his mid-30’s and traveling by himself. He was sitting in an airport waiting to board a plan when a complete stranger run up to him. She stopped breathlessly in front of him, handed him her infant and said “Can you hold my baby for 20 minutes I have an emergency to take care of?!” He took that baby and held it the entire time the mother was gone. She came back, grabbed her baby and walked away without a word.

deni's avatar

This thread is such an upper.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow @SuperMouse,....just wow!

peridot's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m sure it is an awful memory for her. I know it would be for me, in her place.

I think I found it hilarious mainly because potentially it could’ve been much, much worse, and I somehow rode away without a scratch. Ever have a situation where you dodged a bullet and the fact you were still standing was so incredible that all you could do was laugh out loud? That was me at that moment.

And wow… what a story about your son. You were Amazing Mom for both him and that woman!

Dutchess_III's avatar

You know…I’d probably be more shook up if I was the one that almost hit someone, rather than the one that almost got hit….seriously! Because you don’t only have the shock, that you both share, but you also have the guilt! Even if it wasn’t your fault.

I don’t know about amazing. Cops thought we were nuts, I’m sure. All I said was, “Guess we better go to Braums,” and Chris just nodded. For someone who didn’t know the story, that would appear to be a very strange reaction to your son almost getting killed, don’t you think??!!

I did get his bike handles, which had been torn off the bike and twisted into a pretzel, and hung them in in the hallway to the basement…I called it art.

deni's avatar

@peridot I know what you mean. I would have laughed too.

etignotasanimum's avatar

There’s this guy who is part of my school’s work study program, and he delivers the mail every week around campus. I first saw him when I was walking from my bus’ transfer station to class, which fairly close to campus. Anyway, I had just crossed the street and he was carrying a bunch of mail to this nearby building. I wasn’t really paying that much attention; I wasn’t looking forward to class and had been having a bad week. We made eye contact as I started to pass him; he smiled at me and says, “Good morning! Nice weather, right?” I was a little surprised but smiled back. Then he said, “Don’t worry, things will get better soon.” as I was walking away.

I still see him sometimes, and he always says good morning to me. I don’t know anything about him, but I’m glad that he was there because his random act of friendliness really brightened my day.

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Earthgirl's avatar

I was going to the ATM on 46th St and Park Ave. in NYC. There was a man hanging out there in the alcove which usually would have made me nervous as there weren’t too many people around, but I needed cash so I went up to the machine. The man looked as if he might be a homeless person, certainly he looked down on his luck. In his hands he had a stack of letter size papers with some printing on them. He asked me if I would pay him a quarter for a copy. I figured why not, not even knowing what it said. He thanked me, I got my money and left. As I was walking away I started to read the paper. It was something that he had written himself and gotten printed copies of. It was called “Blame Died”. If onlys, What ifs, and I could haves..that was the gist of it. That he had left those excuses behind him. That was what he meant by blame dying. I wish I still had it, because I think it was pretty profound. Certainly it was heartfelt and it really touched me. I resolved to let blame die in my life too. It’s not always easy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow @Earthgirl

I had a co-worker once who told me this story. She had a friend who had a 16 year old daughter. You know how 16 year olds are…totally embarrassed by their parent’s very existence., and to be SEEN with their parents is just….they want to sink through the floor and die.

This woman and her daughter were shopping (daughter distancing herself from Mom as much as possible.) They left the store, and mom was piled high with boxes and bags. There was a short flight of steps down to the sidewalk. Mom mis-stepped and fell down the steps. Boxes and bags and clothes went flying everywhere! So, there’s Mom, lying on the side walk, flat on her back, shoes lying nearby, in the middle of this mess. There was a stunned silence….then her daughter came running down the steps and said, ”LADY!! Are you OK????!!

That story isn’t cheating! It involves the assumption of a stranger!

Earthgirl's avatar

Dutchess ll Great story, lol. I love it. That is disowning your mom to an extreme. I am so enjoying this whole thread. I just hope everyone keeps the good stories coming. I myself know I must have more great stories and I’m frustrated that I can’t bring more of them to mind yet. There’s a favorite feature of mine in the New York Times called Metropolitan Diary. It’s just filled with great stories like these. Touching and humorous ones. Maybe there’s a compilation of that column to buy. I should look into it. Possibly they post it in the online archives.

Dutchess_III's avatar

: ) The thing that struck me was how torn the kid was between embarrassment and real concern for her Mom (who she loves whether she’ll admit it or not!!) Quick thinking, I’d say!

augustlan's avatar

How did I miss this? What a great thread! This happened back in November, and was my answer on one of the ongoing “something great” threads.

I’ve had a really rough time of it over the last day and a half (nothing too serious), and was about at my wit’s end today when I encountered humiliation in a self-checkout lane at the grocery store. I came up $8 short of the total bill, because my husband’s paycheck hadn’t cleared yet. I had a one dollar bill in my wallet, and that was it. As I was trying to decide what to put back, a clerk came over to me and held out a ten dollar bill, telling me that the person behind me in line had offered to pay for me. (She had tried to do so anonymously, but the clerk busted her out.) I swallowed my pride and graciously accepted her offer. I tried to get her name so I could repay her, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She even tried to get me to keep the change! (I insisted that she take it, and assured her that this was just a temporary glitch.) In lieu of repayment, I will be paying it forward.

The best part of all this (to me) is that this was a young woman, with bleached blond hair and a bi-racial toddler in her cart. In this part of the country (West Virginia), quite a few folks would dismiss her off-hand as a welfare queen. And she saved my ass. :D

Mariah's avatar

I hope it’s not too late to respond! I can’t believe I missed this thread – I’m just now seeing it because it was linked in the “favorite fluther moment” thread – but I’m loving all the responses!

Mine is a story from when I was 16 and in the hospital. Saw a whole lot of kindness there, and of course a lot of sad things too. This one stuck with me, for whatever reason. An observation you’d have to be blind not to make is that the hospital staff is extremely racially divided. Almost every doctor there was white or Asian, almost every nurse was white, and almost every member of the cleaning and food services staff was black. You’ll never convince me that we’ve reached complete racial equality of opportunity yet in this country.
Anyway, this quiet black woman came in and started mopping my floor. Not thinking anything of it, I thanked her as she finished up. But I guess she doesn’t hear thank you too often, because she stopped, turned around to look at me, and said, “How you doin’, girl?” I was kind of caught off guard but I smiled and said I was doing well, and she left but I couldn’t stop thinking about what life is like when so much as a thank you is a rare thing.

wundayatta's avatar

I had just arrived in NYC and was going to spend a few nights in the 34th St. Y. I had no money to speak of. I checked in and was given a room maybe ten floors up that looked out on the air shaft. The room was very small. There was almost enough room to walk between the single bed and the writing desk to get to the window.

I checked out the room. It didn’t exactly look as if the previous resident had fully moved out. The item that intrigued me the most was the check book in the drawer of the desk. I took it out, turned it over in my hands, speculating about why it had been left behind.

Bored of the room, I decided to look around and I went downstairs to the common room. There was a TV hanging from the ceiling in the corner playing a soap. The walls were painted a shiny, scary-looking white and there probably wasn’t a fully functioning chair in it. No one else was in the room. I turned to leave, and nearly ran into this very soft looking black man, who probably weighed 100 lbs more than I do.

Our conversation was quite brief.

“Can I suck your cock?” he asked.

“No thanks,” I said.

Welcome to New York, Wundy!

I left the Y the next day, casting my lot with another stranger, but that encounter wasn’t brief enough for this question.

MilkyWay's avatar

this isn’t as funny or touching or as beautiful as some of the accounts here but anyway…
i was walking home from the local shop with the milk mum needed,and decided to take the short cut through an alleyway right next to the local park.
as i entered the alley there was an african guy walking in front of me. Quite suddenly, in the middle of the alley he goes inside an alcove,just like that.
I almost wet my pants there and then. I stopped in case he decided to come from behind and jump me or something.
I must have stood there for about 2 minutes, my heart racing. Then he decided to come out.
He whooshed past me and looked behind his shoulder as did I.
we kept onlooking at each other as we walked away till I reached the end of the alley and then started running.
it was just so random and weird and at that time, scary. I dont think I’ll ever forget that encounter.

DancingMind's avatar

@queenie‘s reminds me of something that just happened not too long ago.—Not nearly as scary, though.

It was while I was walking on a wide sidewalk between a building and chainlinked fence on campus on my way to my car. (I go through there pretty much every day). There’s always people walking, but it’s never very busy.
I wasn’t really paying attention in an alert sense, but I was vaguely aware of a gal walking behind me and a guy walking towards us. I started to notice him more when he veered toward me maybe eight feet away. He had his hood on and was small and folded down, looking at his phone, so I was thinking that he wasn’t seeing me.
Like two or three feet away he unfolds, arms up and wide, legs snapped apart, head up looking slightly down at me, and shouts “Aahhhh! You scared me!!”.
I admit it, I jumped.
It was just a few seconds and then he keeps on going without looking back—but I think he was laughing a bit. And now the gal behind me, I guess she decides we’re connected now because of this experience. It’s like I’m her best friend she’s confiding in and comforting, that it was just a joke, it scared her too, etc… and then we part to go our ways and that’s it.

I don’t know if I explained it well, but it left an impression on me.
It was so surreal.

MilkyWay's avatar

@DancingMind woah,,,CREEPY… : /

augustlan's avatar

When I was a teenager, I used to roam the streets in the middle of the night, by myself. No fear whatsoever. One night, I was walking to a local 24 hour drugstore and I took a shortcut through the dark area out in back of the store. A couple of homeless old men were sitting there, chatting and drinking. Seeing that I was smoking a cigarette, one of them called out to ask if he could get a cigarette from me. As I approached, he searched his pockets and counted his change. He said “I’ll gib (give) you eleben (eleven) cents. I got eleben cents, is that enough?” I was kind of heartbroken by that… it was all he had, and he was willing to spend it for the luxury of a smoke. I told him to put his money away, and gave him the rest of my pack of cigs. I mean, I was going to a store where I could easily buy more for myself. He was so damn grateful, almost as if he couldn’t believe his good fortune.

I can still hear his “eleben cents” with great clarity, and it’s kind of a reminder to me to appreciate what I’ve got.

TexasDude's avatar

@augustlan, damn. Good story.

Earthgirl's avatar

This past summer I was sitting in the pizzeeria alone having lunch. I notice a young 20ish guy walking towards my table. The thing that struck me was that he was unusually well dressed for the neighborhood we were in. I say well dressed, but in this case, I really mean neatly dressed with a white dress shirt, narrow red tie and the shiniest dress pants I’ve seen in a long time, lol. So as I am sort of looking his way, thinking, “man, those are some damn shiny pants you have on there!” he comes up to my table and asks if I mind if he sits down. I say, “why not, it’s a free country” For some reason I have kept my sunglasses on. He sits down and starts to eat his pizza but it’s clear he really wants to have a conversation with me.
“Did you have a late night last night, is that why you have your glasses on?”
I laugh and say, “No, not particularly.”
” What color are your eyes?” he asks me.
“Are you trying to get me to take my sunglasses off?” I ask.
“Yes, why don’t you?”
“I agree with Sophia Loren that, after a certain age, sunglasses are the best cosmetic” I quip
“Come on”, he says
Now I see that he is seriously flirting with me and I can’t believe it.
“You are not going to get me to take my glasses off!” I say. “You’re just going to have to imagine what color my eyes are…”
At this point I can’t believe I am having this conversation,lol. The pizzeria is a big local hangout for the high school kids and it gets quite crowded at lunchtime. He nods to some kids at the table next to us and shouts something out to one of them that he seems to know.
Then he comes back to our conversation. “What is that scar on your neck from?” he asks.
I can’t believe he’s asking me such a personal question. But there is something about him that is very warm and endearing. He is so matter of fact about it, too.
“It’s from a biopsy that I had when I was about 22” I say. “It didn’t heal right and that’s why it made such a big scar”
“Oh” he says, totally unfazed at my revelation. “It doesn’t look bad, I was just wondering. I like it”
He likes it, I think? That’s a little weird
“So,” I say to him, “do you always approach strangers and sit down and have these type conversations.?”
“yeah, why not?” he asks.
“Well,” I say “I am too shy to do that.”
“Why, what could happen, what could go wrong?”
“I would feel afraid of being rejected” I confess.
“nah, who cares about that” he says.“Are you sure you won’t take your glasses off?”
At this point we are almost done eating. We have a bit more small talk and he wants to know yeah, you saw it coming, right? if we can meet again and have lunch. Next time maybe I’ll take off my glasses.
“I don’t think so,” I say. “I’m married”
“So? We’re just going to lunch. would your husband really mind?”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“What if I said I was gay?”
“Oh no,” I say, laughing and shaking my head, ”you are most certainly not gay!”I can actually feel the non gay aura wafting off of him, lol
“I could call you”
“No, but it was really nice talking to you.”
As I am leaving he wants to know my name. I tell him and ask his name.
“Dante”
wow, really? I never knew a Dante before, I think
I go my way and he goes his and we have never seen each other since. I walked away shaking my head, but realizing how powerful it can be, when out of the blue, someone just chooses to connect with you.okay, I realize he was trying to pick me up, maybe. But still. It was in a nce way, not overbearing.
I think maybe this guy just has a thing for older women. Or maybe he just loves people and wants to meet up. Still not sure. But he was such a sweet guy. He really touched me and made me smile that day. And, oh yes, it was oh so flattering to my ego!

Prosb's avatar

I can’t believe I missed this question till now, it’s such a good one! The stranger for me had a very small part in the story, but it really made me feel good.

I was around 12 when I rode my bike to the barber, and my Mom met up with me while I was getting my haircut. After we left, I jumped on my bike, and looked both ways, then crossed the street (not at a crosswalk). As it turned out, the large truck to my left was concealing an oncoming car. It hit me on my left side, and sent me spinning off, where I landed on my head, and (Of course I wasn’t wearing a helmet). A very small bone in my right leg broke, but I was fine otherwise. (Which I’m not sure makes sense, since I was hit on the left side, and landed on my head)

When I went back for another haircut a few weeks after I healed, one of the owners of a store adjacent to the barber brought out what looked like modern art. It was actually of course my bike, completely mangled, and bent at 90 degrees in the center of it’s frame. I thanked him for holding onto it for months, as it reminded me how lucky I was to get off with such a minor injury.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought it’d be. Sorry for the long boring read. : /

Earthgirl's avatar

Prosb Not boring at all! That is such a good story. You’re lucky you weren’t more seriously injured! Especially considering what your bike ended up looking like! What did you do with the bike after that?

Prosb's avatar

I don’t remember well what we did with it, we probably threw it out soon after. I should have kept a piece of the bike, even a small one.

Also Earthgirl, the only reason I found this question was because one of your greatest answers was on it. So, thanks for that, I appreciate it. =D

Earthgirl's avatar

Prosb Your welcome :) but I guess we should thank Dutchess_III for asking such a great question that brought out so many wonderful stories!

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