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The perpetual optimist

March 26th, 2005

Yesterday, I was waiting two cars behind a lady at the drive-up ATM. She was taking freaking forever. I realized that she was older, and maybe was having some trouble with the transaction, so I bit my tongue and thought kind thoughts.

As she drove away, SUV in front of me pulled up to the ATM. The woman inside got out, grabbed the cash that the previous lady had left there, and chased down the car before it got too far away. Yeah, I laughed, and so did SUV lady as she took off running, but when the lady came back to the SUV, I shouted out of my window, “YOU’RE A VERY GOOD PERSON!” and she smiled and waved back.

We were getting the money to go to the Original Pancake House. It’s Spring Break, and I’ve decided that my autistic daughter could benefit from some real life experiences that really, she should have had more of by now. I figured that 10am on a Friday would be good, since the place wouldn’t be too crowded and we could probably get away with a little more “acting up” as I reinforced restaurant rules.

Fine idea in theory, except that it was Good Friday, and everybody was taking the day off and going to the OPH, apparently. We had to wait in the foyer. It was a big crowd, and we were stuffed in pretty tightly. My daughter was not happy. She also had a runny nose, and I felt very much like “that bad mom who is dragging her sick kid out to eat and now we’re all going to get sick too and what is she doing to that kid and BAD MOM!”

There was an older gentleman standing nearby who was also waiting. He gave us a clean tissue and a couple of peppermint candies, “for after she eats.”

It was a very kind gesture, and she did in fact calm down some, maybe because then I could go out of Terror Alert Red mode and calm down myself once I was able to wipe her nose and distract her.

SUV lady could have taken the cash back into the bank, and the older lady might not have realized she was missing it until she needed it.

The older man could have kept his hankie and candy to himself, and a six year old and her mom would have continued to have a bad morning.

I really enjoy moments of “we’re all in this together” which connect strangers. Life can be just that much better if we make the smallest effort. It’s a truth we need to remind ourselves of sometimes, but it’s well-worth remembering.

(Pollyanna mode off, all my cynical friends.)

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  1. March 27th, 2005 at 00:32 | #1

    I felt that way yesterday. My general feeling is that Bostonians aren’t the friendliest of people (understatement). Yesterday, though . . . my trip to the airport (which required two buses and a train) was made much less tedious by the 3 men who volunteered carry my 62 lb suitcase (!) for me at various points . . . Yay for people who think about the small things 🙂

  2. March 27th, 2005 at 00:32 | #2

    I felt that way yesterday. My general feeling is that Bostonians aren’t the friendliest of people (understatement). Yesterday, though . . . my trip to the airport (which required two buses and a train) was made much less tedious by the 3 men who volunteered carry my 62 lb suitcase (!) for me at various points . . . Yay for people who think about the small things 🙂

  3. March 27th, 2005 at 01:39 | #3

    Sometimes it’s so nice

    when people think with their hearts instead of their heads. We’ve gotten so afraid to do things because of the news we hear about the freaks that react really badly to such outreaching…so many times we think “maybe I should…” and then change our minds because we consider all of the things that could go wrong.

    And sometimes we do it anyway and it comes out so nicely. Hooray for SUV ladies and old gentlemen with extra tissues.

  4. March 27th, 2005 at 01:39 | #4

    Sometimes it’s so nice

    when people think with their hearts instead of their heads. We’ve gotten so afraid to do things because of the news we hear about the freaks that react really badly to such outreaching…so many times we think “maybe I should…” and then change our minds because we consider all of the things that could go wrong.

    And sometimes we do it anyway and it comes out so nicely. Hooray for SUV ladies and old gentlemen with extra tissues.

  5. March 27th, 2005 at 11:11 | #5

    Yay for Humanity!

    Being silly humans like we are who like to focus on all the bad stuff in life, it’s good to remember that life isn’t all bad. 🙂

    Everytime I see a kind gesture offered by a total stranger to another stranger, I feel happy just knowing that it happened. The world doesn’t seem as gloomy as it did a few seconds ago…

  6. March 27th, 2005 at 11:11 | #6

    Yay for Humanity!

    Being silly humans like we are who like to focus on all the bad stuff in life, it’s good to remember that life isn’t all bad. 🙂

    Everytime I see a kind gesture offered by a total stranger to another stranger, I feel happy just knowing that it happened. The world doesn’t seem as gloomy as it did a few seconds ago…

  7. March 27th, 2005 at 16:05 | #7

    I was always more moved than most when I worked in the front of the theme parks and watched other customers quickly run off after people to return credit cards, cameras, and wallets to people who absent-mindedly left them behind. People who are reflexively good are awesome.

  8. March 27th, 2005 at 16:05 | #8

    I was always more moved than most when I worked in the front of the theme parks and watched other customers quickly run off after people to return credit cards, cameras, and wallets to people who absent-mindedly left them behind. People who are reflexively good are awesome.

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