“In What Ways are You an Unsung Hero?”

Here are some answers:

1) Lordbobsaget wrote this:

“In elementary school there was this kid who would never have a lunch or money for lunch, and I started splitting my lunches with him, telling him that I wasn’t hungry enough to eat all of it so he didn’t have to feel bad. My dad chaperoned a field trip one time and saw me do it so he told my mom and she started packing an extra lunch for him.

“I didn’t really realize much of what I was doing at the time except for sharing my food, but I feel good knowing that he ended up having a lunch every school day of the year because of my parents and me.” 

2) noicantsee wrote this:

“My grandmother grew up in an awful foster home; she would have to sit on the floor in the kitchen and eat scraps from the ‘normal’ children’s breakfast and often didn’t eat anything before school. Obviously her foster parents didn’t pack her any lunch or give her money, so often she went weeks with only one decent meal a day. 

“Some boy noticed she would always sit alone at lunch and never eat (she wore oversized hand-me-downs, was shy and foreign, and so was naturally rejected by her class). He went home and asked his mom if she could start packing him two sandwiches the next day; after his mom heard the whole story, she obliged even though their family wasn’t well off either. For the next few years the boy and my grandmother ate lunch together every day and to this day are still extremely close friends. Every time she tells that story, she gets very emotional because he started her on the track of removing herself from that awful foster home, practically saving her life. Thank you.”

Source: TheFilipinoFire, “In what ways are you an unsung hero?” Reddit. January 2018





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What is the Nicest Thing a Stranger has Ever Done for You?

Here are some replies:

1) TheBrowGame wrote, “One time when I was a teenager, I was being stalked by a guy in his 20s and he followed me on the train. He stood very close to me and made me uncomfortable, but he wasn’t touching me. I was young and not outspoken. I didn’t know what to do, and I was too embarrassed to make a scene. I moved to another area and he followed. An older guy in his late 30s or early 40s noticed. He was tall and well built. He was going to say something to the guy, but when he looked at me, it’s almost like he understood I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. So, he shielded me with his body and stood between me and the guy the whole way, looking at that guy like he was going to beat him up. The stalker left after a while. I said thanks to the older guy. He nodded and left, too. He walked to the opposite direction to take the train back to the previous stations. I wondered how many stations he rode along with me and the guy.”

2) DancesWithHookers wrote this:

“Used to work at a grocery store in high school and was skeleton staff for Valentine’s Day evening. Lots of people running in and grabbing things for a homemade dinner and lots of last-minute flowers. Then comes in one gentleman about 10 minutes before close, scrambling to grab things for a last-minute meal. He has me choose a bouquet for his wife. All of the red roses were gone by then, but there were still some yellow roses left so I grabbed those for him. He asked me why I chose the color and I just explained that it seemed happy and beautiful. As I was ringing him up, he grabbed a second bouquet, allowed me to bag it up for him and before he walked out, handed me my own ~$50 bouquet. 

“Here is the girl who had big braces, no-name glasses, never had a boyfriend, finally being given flowers. I cried the whole walk home. 

“No one had ever given me anything like that before, and I am sure that I still have that dried-up bouquet in storage somewhere. That was the single kindest thing someone has ever done for me on a whim.”

3) CarsonH666 wrote, “Slid off the road in the middle of nowhere, closest town probably 15-20 miles away. Nice lady stops, I tell her I’ve called my insurance and a tow truck is on the way (10 feet of snow bullsh*t), and she drives off. Anywho, about half an hour later the lady comes back with a bag full of Taco Bell. Tremendous.”

4) badgurlvenus wrote, “Aww, I had a random lady stop for me, too. She was taking her girls and their friends to the movies in my town. I was in the boonies, tire blew at 70mph, and I went right into a cornfield across the other lane. She stayed with me while my dad came to get me, out in the cold, missed her movie. Not a care in the world besides making sure I was safe and not alone after my first crash. Hugged me multiple times and let me cry on her. Forever thankful for that random lady.”

5) stateofyou wrote, “A homeless dude in New York saw me sitting on a bench in a small park in Manhattan. I had my bags with me, but I looked terrible as I had a missed flight two days before and was only 19 but in that summer heat I was messed up and trying to figure out how to get to JFK. He assumed that I was homeless, too, and said to me, ‘I got a bag of cans, I’ll split the couple of dollars with you and we can both get bread, and if we hurry I know where we can get soup.’ Bless his heart, I had plenty of money, but it was such an act of selflessness. I explained that I was on my way to the airport but just taking a break, I gave him twenty bucks and told him to get a good meal.”

Source: GolfXray89, “What is the Nicest Thing a Stranger has Ever Done for You?” Reddit. 2 February 2018





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Have You Ever Picked Up a Hitch-Hiker?


MD786 wrote this:

“My friend and I were pulling onto the highway [in 2011] when suddenly a Mexican-looking kid waved us down and ran up to our window. He was carrying a suitcase, the big ones like we take on international vacations and it seemed as if he had been walking for some time. Judging from his appearance, I figured he was probably 20-21 years old. He asked us if he could get a ride to ‘Grayhun.’ We both looked at each other and understood that he was saying Greyhound, and the only Greyhound bus stop in town was at this gas station a few miles down the road. It was cold and windy out and we had some spare time, so we told him to jump in. 

“Initially thoughts run through your head and you wonder … Is he going to put a knife to my neck from behind the seat? … I wonder what’s in that suitcase? … Kilos of coke from Mexico because this is South Texas? … A chopped-up body? … But as we began to drive, I saw the sigh of relief through the rearview mirror and realized this kid is just happy for a ride. When we got to the gas station, my friend walked in and double-checked everything to make sure it was the right spot, but to our surprise the final bus for Houston left for the day. The next bus at 6:00 p.m. was in a town 25 miles over. We tried explaining this to him. I should have paid more attention in the Spanish I and II courses they forced us to take in high school; the only words I can really say are si and comprende. My friend and I said, ‘F**k it, let’s drop him off,’ and turned to him and said, ‘Listen, we are going to eat,’ — first making hand gestures showing spoons entering mouth — ‘and we will drop you off after,’ but homeboy was still clueless and kept nodding. 

“We already ordered Chinese food and began driving in that direction and when we got there, he got out of the car and went to the trunk as if the Chinese restaurant was the bus stop. We tell him to come in and eat something first, and leave the suitcase in the car. He is still clueless. When we go in, our food was already ready. We decided to eat there so he could eat as well. When the hostess came over, she looked Spanish, so I asked her for help. I was like, ‘Hey, listen, we picked this guy up from the street. He missed his bus and the next one is 25 miles over. Can you tell him that after we are done eating we will drop him off? It’s ok, no problems…’ and she was kinda taken by it and laughed, translated it to the guy, and for the next 10 minutes, all he kept saying was ‘Thank you.’ After we jumped into the car, I turned to him in the back and was like, ‘Listen, it’s 25 miles. I’m rolling a spliff. Do you smoke? He still had no clue, but when we sparked it up, and passed it his way he smoked it like a champ. He had very broken English, but said he was from Ecuador and he was in USAmerica looking for a job to make money for his family back home. Like I said he was probably 20-21 years old. Shortly after, we arrived at our destination, and said farewell. Dropped him off at some store where he would have to sit on a bench outside for the next hour … but I did my best. I hope he made it to wherever he had to go.

“My man got picked up, fed sweet and sour chicken, smoked a spliff, and got a ride to a location 30 minutes away. I hope he will do the same for someone else one day.”

Source: MD786, “Have you ever picked up a hitch-hiker?” Reddit. 2011





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David Bruce: Animals Anecdotes


Feodor Chaliapine as Mephisto 

Russian bass Feodor Chaliapine once attended a tea party at which several young ladies were present. While sitting at the table, he felt a pressure on his foot and he wondered which of the young ladies was flirting with him. Upon rising from the dinner table, however, he noticed that one of his shoes shone with blacking while the other shoe was wet and had no blacking. Just then, a Saint Bernard dog came from under the dinner table, licking its chops, which were covered with blacking.

Ivan Jadan, the premier lyric tenor of the Bolshoi Opera from 1928-1941, lived in the Virgin Islands for the last part of his life. He swam nearly every day, and in 1957 he made a friend of a black anglefish with five gold bands. Often, he crushed a sea egg and fed it to the anglefish. One day, he discovered the anglefish in an old, abandoned fish trap. Mr. Jadan knew that the angelfish would die if it stayed there, so he crushed a sea egg in his hand, then put his hand into the trap’s intricate opening. The anglefish swam to the food, Mr. Jadan moved his hand away, and the anglefish followed the hand and food to freedom. Mr. Jadan didn’t name the anglefish until 1993, when he told his great-niece Anna about the pretty little anglefish and announced that its name was Anna Anglefish.

Mid-1950s Metropolitan Opera basso Gerhard Pechner enjoyed taking care of animals. If he found a hurt animal, he did his best to care for it. One day, on his way to the Met for a rehearsal of Parsifal, he found a pigeon with a hurt wing in the snow. Putting it in his breast pocket, he continued to the Met. During rehearsal, he always kept at least one hand on the pigeon to keep it from being frightened. However, at this rehearsal, he was expected to act, and the conductor, Fritz Stiedry, kept asking him to take both hands out of his pocket. Finally, Mr. Stiedry asked, “Can’t you raise both hands at once?” Then Mr. Pechner was forced to reveal the hurt pigeon to the other artists. He says, “You should have the shouts from that Parsifal cast.”

When Paula Klein-Bruno was a kid, she knew that she wanted to be a jockey. She even bought a jockey cap and wore it all the time—the only way that her mother could get it away from her long enough to clean it was to take it to a one-hour dry cleaners. In 1995, Ms. Klein-Bruno achieved her dream, riding as a jockey in the New York racing circuit. (As a toddler, whenever she saw horse vans on the roads, she would yell, “Horses! Horses!” And as a kid, she often prayed, “God, please don’t let me grow too tall.” He didn’t—she is 4’11”.)

Texas actor Marco Perella once performed in a children’s show featuring a dog named Wishbone. Since the dog is the star, the show is named after it. Mr. Perella once made a mistake on the scene: He started to pet the dog. Quickly, he learned that the major rule on the set was DON’T TOUCH THE DOG. Of course, there is a reason for the rule. So many people are around Wishbone all day that if everyone petted him he would soon have bald spots all over his body.

Ezra Jack Keats once created a children’s picture book titled Pet Show! about a child who took a germ to enter in a pet show. Tori Bond of Shaker Heights, Ohio, read the book, and she decided to enter a pet show in which no cats or dogs were allowed. (Her “real” pet was a cat.) Therefore, she coughed in a jar and named her pet germ Ralph. In a letter to Mr. Keats, she wrote, “I won first prize for most unusual pet. A doctor told me that Ralph eats cells.”

American author Flannery O’Connor loved birds all her life. When she was five years old, New York newsreel company Pathé News filmed one of her chickens because it was able to walk backwards. Later, in a home economics class, Flannery created what she described as “a piqué coat with a lace collar and two buttons in the back” for another of her chickens. As an adult, Ms. O’Connor raised herds of peacocks.

Jane, a daughter of children’s book author Sid Fleischman, grew up loving all living things. As a young woman, she wanted to make a garden where a family of snails lived. Rather than kill the snails, she gathered them up and put them in coffee cans, then she took them to a park and let them loose.

Some creative people have unusual pets. The poet Gérard de Nerval kept a lobster as a pet and took it out for walks. According to Mr. de Nerval, the lobster was a good pet because “it does not bark and it knows the secrets of the deep.”

A second grader came to school with very bad news: His dog had been hit and killed by a car. Another second grader had a taxidermist for a mother, so she said, “Bring your dog to my mom and she’ll stuff him for you.”

A boy was showing off his new puppy. Asked whether it was a male or a female, he showed its belly side to his mother, who told him, “It’s a boy.” Her son told his friends, “She can tell just by looking at the bottoms of their feet.”

Children’s book illustrator Maira Kalman is allergic to dogs, so when her children decided that they wanted a dog as a pet, they had to settle for getting a talking bird and teaching it how to bark.

As Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, marched an army to Mecca, he saw a dog that had just given birth. So that the dog and her puppies would not be disturbed, he posted a guard over them.

When her father, Theodore Roosevelt, was President of the United States, his young daughter, Alice, ran around the White House with her pet snake, Emily Spinach, wrapped around her neck.