But for the Kindness of Strangers

Monday, June 29, 2009 at 1:00 am 33 comments


There are all sorts of lists proclaiming the “best cities in America” based on salary levels, educational standards, cost of living, and the overall quality of  life.  However, the best barometer of city habitability, in my opinion, is the friendliness factor.

As you probably know, we’ve been doing a little travelling this summer. You’ve been invited to come along in my posts I’m Back Did You Miss Me? ,   From the Road…Getting There is Half the Fun,  and Hotlanta.  Our visit to Hubby’s  Atlanta office stood out as did our trip to CNN.  However, our trip to Austin has stood out in a different way… not so much for the places we’ve been to,  but for a couple of chance encounters with strangers.

We’d been on the road a lot.  Eating schedules get messed up and motion sickness can get the best of you.  While touring an open house, my son suddenly announces that he thinks he’s gonna be sick.   Uh oh!  Time for a mad dash outside.  Luckily we make it to an obscure corner of the lawn just in time.  Thank God we got out of that poor lady’s immaculate house.  She was very kind and even gave him some soda to settle his stomach.

After the soda everything seemed fine so we continued exploring other neighborhoods and viewing houses.  Then a small voice in the back of the car says “I feel sick again”.   Uh… not in the car junior!!!  So we pull over immediately and once again make use of some  unsuspecting home owners lawn.  Now, standing on the side of the road with a puking kid is a strange predicament, and a pretty uncomfortable one from a social standpoint. 

While holding “rumble tummy’s” head as he relieved his stomach of  its contents, a car coming in the opposite direction , crosses over to our side of the road and pulls to a screeching halt in front of us.  Gee, I hope it’s not the angry home owner demanding we get away from her house!  No, it’s a lady with a hand full of paper napkins!  She says “Poor thing, I know how it can be, we’ve experienced this because of  the heat lately.  I live a couple streets over if you need anything…”  I gratefully accept the paper napkins and assure her that we’ll be fine while thanking her for this kind gesture. 

I still can’t believe it.  She stopped her car to help the strangers with the sick boy.  How nice is that?!  If the people of Austin are half as nice as these ladies, it must be a really nice place.

(image from here)


Entry filed under: Children, Family, Inspirational, Miscellaneous Stuff, Our World, Travel. Tags: , , , .

Really??? Independence Day!!!

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. emmap  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 3:32 am

    i LOVE that!!! are we as a society too far past this? can we/will we ever get back? poor guy… but great hospitality!

    • 2. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:46 am

      This trip through portions of the south has really shown me some great southern hospitality.

  • 3. maidinmalaysia  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 3:34 am

    “Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim. –William Feather”

    this is a quote my friend once sent me…
    i have seen this happen over and over in my life here in KL…

    • 4. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:51 am

      That quote certainly sums it up nicely. However I would be gravely remiss if I did not mention how wonderful and hospitable our cousins in Texas have been with us.

  • 5. richajn  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 3:43 am

    one is grateful for such small mercies.random acts of kindness by strangers that bring a smile to your face inspite of all the odds and madness in life…

    sumarised well. how friendly the locals are is a good indicator of how good/bad a place is to live.

    • 6. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:55 am

      I do believe that people in general are courteous and will hold the door open for you if you are following closely into a building etc. But I was really touched by the how she went out of her way to help total strangers.

  • 7. richajn  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 3:44 am

    oh btw, nice cartoon!
    how do you always manage to find such appropriate toons? 😉

    • 8. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:57 am

      Thank you 🙂 . I do wish I could give some answer that makes me look smart, but the reality is that I mostly stumnle upon them.

  • 9. Tony  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 5:05 am

    What a friendly lady. The way so many are these days it’s refreshing to hear a experience like that. Was he seriously sick or just car sickness???

    • 10. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:58 am

      Thanks for asking Tony, he was just car sick. Usually the kids travel without such incident so we were really surprised by this sudden turn of stomach events.

  • 11. cindy  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

    that is so nice! i always remember kind gestures like that, no matter how small 🙂

    • 12. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

      I know. I met her for all of 90 seconds yet I’ll always remember her. Drat, I don’t even know her name!

  • 13. Dennis the Vizsla  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

    That was very nice of those folks in Austin! I have seen bumper stickers that say “Keep Austin Weird” and if this is weird, it’s a good thing.

    When I was a kid I would routinely get carsick and throw up along the roadside at least once per trip. The places I’ve thrown up read like a catalog of American destinations — including the parking lot at Disneyland!

    • 14. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

      Lol! That catalog sounds like a very interesting read.

  • 15. Mom Gone Mad  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 10:07 am

    I love hearing this stuff. Its just completely life-affirming. Thanks for sharing, Era.

    So does this mean it’ll be Austin?:-)

    • 16. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:06 am

      Austin certainly has a lot going for it. Nothing concrete yet.

  • 17. Just a Mom  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I love hearing about the kindness of people. When it is one of my fellow Texans, it makes it even better! 🙂

    • 18. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:07 am

      She’s certainly a great ambassador for Texas.

  • 19. Doraz  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:58 am

    When it comes down to it, people are just trying to do what they can to get by in life. It is always refreshing to see random acts of kindness around the world. I believe if a person sees you acting in such a away that you need assistance…they will help out. 🙂

    • 20. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm

      Willingness to help others makes this world even more beautiful 🙂

  • 21. starlaschat  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    That is a really nice story not of course the puking part. Poor baby , puking is really the worst and puking in public, Aww. I was afraid you were going to say the owner of the house pulled over, to chat. Glad it was a friendly and kind strange. So heartwarming the kindness of strange especially when your far from home.

    • 22. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm

      Kindness like that made us feel right at home.

  • 23. sraikh  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Sometimes people help put your faith back in mankind.

    One incident stands out in my kind. We were in a bad car accident 2 years ago. My 3 kids and I. After I had stopped and I was hysterically crying and grabbbing my kids out of the van, a kind lady pulled up in her SUV.
    She gave my kids drinks, switched on her dvd system(she had nemo playing or something),placed all of my kids in her car and turned around and gave me a tight hug. I started crying even harder.
    She stayed with me till my dh came. She also went to the police and gave her name and no in case they needed evidence or something.(Not my fault at all)

    PS:Whew what a looong FIRST comment.

    • 24. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Sraikh, nice to see you here! Accidents are so upsetting. I’m glad all of you were fine… I’m hoping you were all fine. Many times accidents are seen as an inconvenience by other motorists, another reason they will be late to their destination. Yet this lady stopped and waited with you. That is true kindness.
      Ps: this is a great first comment, hope to hear from you again :).

  • 25. Jax  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I told you the people in Austin were nice.

    • 26. Era  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 10:04 pm

      You told me so.

  • 27. Vasan  |  Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Sometime Karma, does not take long to give back… Remember just on Saturday when i went for groceries, i helped this 80 years old gentleman, who had locked his Car Keys and was looking for a ride. To my surprise after i saw him ask a couple of people for ride (and assuming they refused), i volunteered to take him home and get back. He was so appreciative and wanted to pay me for the ride. I told the gentleman to pay it forward…. And now the good Karma came to our rescue :)…

  • 28. dipali  |  Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    What wonderful kind souls, Era, restoring one’s faith in humanity.
    Pass on whatever good you can- the world will all cheer up and some:)

    • 29. Era  |  Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 7:32 am

      I’ll do my best 🙂

  • 30. Meluhhan  |  Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Aw. I’m glad there are nice people out there and they’re the rule, more often than not.

    Although it’s rare, I have nothing but the choicest epithets (unspoken, of course) for people who ungraciously decline your help- like this one woman who was carrying heavy bags, and looked at me with deep suspicion when I offered to help. If it helps, I’m tiny and not in the least bit threatening. Why the hostility? The incident happened over a year ago, and I still get upset by it!

    • 31. Era  |  Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 7:33 am

      True, the little things can impact us both ways. Like you said, I’m glad the good outweighs the bad.

  • 32. PURPLE HATTER  |  Friday, July 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    ERA, AS I PROMISED I HAVE CREATED A VIDEO FOR ON MY SITE HERE IS A LINK: http://purplehatter.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/a-creation-of-erasundars-passion/

    • 33. Era  |  Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you so much! You summed it up just right although I must confess, in recent years there’s been a whole lot more chocolate than scuba diving 🙂 . The fact that you included Hale Berry is so funny, I’m gonna be laughing for a few days straight on this one. Thanks again, I’ll be linking this in a futrue post.


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