Thank You, Stranger

Author: Samantha Thuesen

A stranger’s kindness has always been a sure-fire way to make my day 100 times better. Being nice to a complete stranger shows selflessness and sincerity. After all, strangers don’t owe us anything; going out of your way for someone you don’t know proves how honestly good-hearted you are. If I saw a woman struggling to put groceries in her car, I could just walk past her. She wouldn’t judge me. However, it’s the instinct we all possess to be good that would compel me to help her. We’re all good, but we must take the initiative to openly explore that goodness. I’ve experienced this compassion before, so I want to take the time to thank strangers who have gone out of their way to show me kindness.

Dear Stranger,

You’re an employee at the pharmacy. I was wandering around the store waiting for my mom to finish her shopping. To pass the time, I stopped to smell some candles. You walked out of the backroom, smiled at me, and asked about my day. It was a quick, polite encounter. You walked off, but then stopped and came back to whisper something to me. “There’s some free scents in the front of the store. If you hurry, you can grab one.” You could’ve walked right by me, and I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. You knew that free scents would make me happy, so thank you.

Dear Stranger,

You’re a shopper in line at the grocery store. You had a cart full of items, and I came onto line with just one. I didn’t mind waiting, but you insisted I go before you. Neither of us was in a rush, and you still prioritized my time over your own. Thank you.

Dear Stranger,

You’re a doctor at the hospital. My mom and I were waiting in the emergency room for my dad. You started a conversation with us to lighten the mood, and I mentioned how much I hate parallel parking. Pausing what you were doing, you grabbed a napkin and a pen and came to sit next to me. You drew a diagram showing the easiest way to parallel park, and ensured me it would work every time. Not only did you give me a valuable life skill, but you also took some pain away from the situation. Thank you.

Dear Stranger,

You’re a shopper in line at the store. It was Christmas time, and my brother and I were shopping for our parents. Being such a hectic time of year, I didn’t expect any positivity from anyone, but you turned and offered us your extra coupon. You didn’t owe us anything, so thank you.

Dear Stranger,

You’re a waitress. My family and I were having lunch on Mother’s Day with some relatives. At the end of the meal, you came out to hand roses to all the mothers. I joked to my dad how I wanted a rose. (I am a mother to my dogs, technically.) You overheard and gave me one anyway. It was silly, but it meant something. Thank you.

Dear Stranger,

You’re a shopper in the parking lot. My mom and I pulled in, looking for a spot. You saw us and directed us to an empty spot near the front of the store that was out of our view. Your kindness amazed me. It wouldn’t have been a big deal to park farther away, but you still went out of your way to make life a little easier for us. Thank you.

Dear Stranger,

You’re a security guard. I was getting some M&M’s from the vending machine, but they got stuck (of course). I was doing my best to gently shake the machine without causing a scene. You were doing rounds around the building when you came over to see what was going on. I just laughed, expecting a shrug. However, you looked around (for security cameras I’m assuming) and started shaking the machine until my M&M’s were freed. You’re fantastic. Thank you.

Not only did these strangers make those days better, but they also inspired me to perform my own acts of kindness. Compassion is free. Imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all took one moment to brighten someone’s day.

“Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” –Anne Herbert

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