• Lydia Chu

Kindness of a Stranger

When I came home on Thursday last week, my daughter told me she had an amazing story to tell me. She said it was a story you would only see in a movie.

On a rainy day last week, I dropped off my daughter at her high school. She asked me if she could skip her first period to study for her math test and do college apps since the deadline for the college apps was coming up in three days. So, after she got dropped off, she decided to walk over to Peet's to study which was only about 10 minutes away. When she got there, she ordered a hot chocolate before realizing that she didn't have any cash or her debit card to pay for her order. The day before, we had opened her and her sister a new bank accounts, and it was going to take a week before they got their new debit cards. So, she was stuck with no money to pay for her order. Not knowing what to do at the time, she apologized to the cashier and left.

She said she went outside feeling discouraged and was trying to figure out what to do when a man came out of Peet's and said "Excuse me, were you trying to buy something??" She said she explained her situation about not having any cash and her ATM card situtation. He, then, offered to buy her the hot chocolate. Obviously feeling awkard and not knowing how to respond to this stranger's random act of kindness, she tried to politely decline. Still, he insisted on buying her the hot chocolate. He turned around and marched right back into Peet's while my daughter followed him in. He asked her what size she wanted in which my daughter replied "small". He said, "I know you don't get smalls" and ordered her a large hot chocolate. Then, he asked her if she had anything to eat. Even though she was already feeling bad that this kind stranger was paying for her hot chocolate, she hesistantly said "no". He then said "you should eat something" and ordered her a chocolate croissant. He also jokingly told the cashier that my daughter was his granddaughter. My daughter thought that was funny because this man was white and my daughter is 100% Asian. My daughter said she repeatedly said thank you as he was leaving in which he smiled and said, "of course, just pass it on."

Not long after my daughter's encounter, I also received a very special random act of kindness. Few days ago, I was helping a customer at my shop. This elderly woman comes to my shop every so often so I knew who she was but didn't know her that well. She wanted to drop off her husband's pants to have the waist let out and wanted to pick them up sooner than the regular one week turn around that it usually takes. Usually, when a customer wants a rush service, we apply a rush fee since we have to make them a priority. In this case, I decided to waive the extra charge since she had always been a very sweet lady. I didn't tell her anything about the rush fee and said nothing about waiving the fee. After I gave her the receipt, she brought out a bag of mandarin oranges from her bag and said it was for me. She said "they were on sale at Coop", smiled and left.

The hot chocolate and the croissant the total stranger had bought for my daughter probably had costed about $5 and the mandarin organges my customer gave me cost $9 (I know this because I almost bought them when I went to Coop the other day). They were not anything too expensive but what the gestures meant for my daughter and me were more than what money can buy. My daughter told me this story to her friends and family with excitement and gratitude. She said because of what this kind stranger did, it totally made her day and brought happiness. As for me, I was so surprised that I didn't even know what to say. They were just mandarin oranges but her kindness put a smile on my face and changed my mood for the rest of the day.

These random acts of kindness were unconditional and without any expectations. They were the true acts of generosity, and through these two kind people, we were both reminded of the importance of giving. I'm glad my daughter was able to receive her stranger's random act of kindness and through it all, she has learned the importance of unconditional giving as well as receiving. As she had promised to the stranger, my daughter said she hopes to pass on the kindness. I'm not sure if these two kind strangers will ever know the amount of joy they had brought to our lives that day, but they both touched our lives in a very special way.



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