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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1045043
by boohat
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Inspirational · #1045043
A fairly brief account of people I never met, but they made a big impact on my life.
“The Nicest Strangers I’ve Never Met”


The world is full of strangers; the woman who checks your groceries, the person who cut you off on the highway, the telemarketer trying to sell you new phone features, even your mail carrier or a neighbor might be a stranger. And, it is the strangers that cut you off on the highway, telemarket during your dinner, mow their lawns at 4:30am and do all of the most annoying things.
But, I want to share some stories of some incredible strangers. These strangers have my gratitude, love and appreciation for teaching me about the beauty of every person. The beauty of life.

The Highway Incident
I was 16 and just beginning to gain some tiny bit of confidence driving, when I decided to visit a friend in Dallas. That was only about 30 minutes away from where I lived, so it wasn’t a long trip. My friend and I talked for a while and had a nice lunch. It never occurred to me to glance at the time before I left. (Did I mention I was 16?)
I began to drive back home when I noticed an incredible amount of traffic enveloping me. I looked at my watch: 5:11pm. It was “rush hour” in downtown Dallas, Texas, and I was in the middle of it. “No problem,” I said to myself, “It will just take a little longer.” I got to the entrance ramp of the highway, put on my blinker and inched forward, waiting for one of the cars to let me in front of them. I waited and inched. Wait. Inch. Wait. Wait. At a full stop, the cars behind me also trying to get on the highway began to honk their horns. I inched over to the side of the highway waiting for the others to realize that the highway was full and no one else could fit on it. But, as soon as I was out of the way, the cars behind me began zooming by, pushing their way between the tightly packed cars. I watched and felt humiliated. I tried to jump in, blinker still on, foot on gas pedal ready to peel out. But, as soon as the cars in the first lane paused, the cars from the on-ramp jumped in. I admit it: I laid my head on the steering wheel, put my hands over my ears and cried. I bawled like a baby.
Then, another horn started blaring at me. I couldn’t go forward or to the side. I was stuck. Just as I was about to use some unsavory finger communication, I looked back. Behind me was a big long car blocking the first lane of traffic and the on-ramp. Behind the wheel of the car, a woman was waving a big sheet of yellow paper and mouthing the words, “Come on! Go ahead! Come on!” I got onto the highway. I waved at the woman. I blew kisses and screamed thank you. When the traffic died down. She sped passed me. I waved, blew kisses and screamed thank you, again. She just smiled and waved. I was still crying, but now from gratitude and happiness.

Holding the Door, Small Action, Big Gesture
We all know the three-step rule, (whether consciously or not.) When you walk through a door, if someone is three steps or less behind you, you hold the door open for them. If they are four or more steps away, you let the door drop, knowing that they understand the rule, too. But, one day as I walked out towards a door leading outside the post office, I noticed the young woman in front of me holding open the door. I must have been 9 steps away! I sped up a little bit. I looked in her eyes and said, “Thank you.” She just said, “You’re welcome,” and our emotional transaction was over. It seems like a trivial, paltry incident to remember, but to me, it was something sweet, cheerful and unexpected. And sometimes, the unexpected are the best kind of experiences to have.

The Heavy Paint Buckets
One day, I agreed to help a friend of mine paint the outside of his house. He needed 20 gallons of paint. “You start scraping of the old stuff, and I’ll go get the paint,” I said. (I hate scraping paint.) I went to the store, told the man what shade and how many gallons. He put four 5-gallon buckets of paint into a cart. Then, I went to the parking lot to find my car.
I found my car and popped the trunk. I reached for the first 5-gallon bucket and started to raise it up into the trunk. I had a little, compact car. I couldn’t believe how high the lip of the trunk seemed. I had lifted five mink jugs before. Why did this seem so much heavier? But, all of a sudden, it was lifted out of my hands and put in my trunk. I looked and saw only the back of the man as he lifted another bucket. I kept reaching for them, and he just gently took them one by one away to put in my trunk. I looked at his face to thank him. He looked old. A grandfather or great grandfather, even. I thought he should be sitting by a blazing fire reading a newspaper, not lifting huge buckets of paint. But, he helped me. I would never have asked for help or even admitted to myself that I needed any. So, I just said, “Thank you.”

The Phone Bill from Hell
I got my phone bill one day to find I had been charged (again!) for the Internet service that I had canceled four months before! Every month, I called and showed them their mistake. Every month, they said how sorry they were and that it would not happen again. So, I was ready to take charge and gain control and nothing was going to stop me. I dialed the number. I was punching the buttons so hard I had to dial it again and again before I got the number correct. (This was, of course, the phone company’s direct fault in my mind.)
“Thank you for calling. How may I be of excellent service?” the unsuspecting woman asked.
“Well. First: you can take this charge OFF my bill. I haven’t had the service in months. I don’t want the service. I don’t need the service.” And on and on, I trailed off running out of steam.
I waited for the cookie-cutter response that every operator pulls out when faced with an angry customer. And, I waited. I could hear her pushing a few buttons on her keyboard, but now I was becoming angry that she hadn’t flown back at me with some sort of response.
“Okay. Ms. Bohatyritz, I see the problem you have been having. There just isn’t an excuse for that. Okay, I’ve got that taken care of. The charge is off, and I have credited your account with $25 which will show up on your next bill.”
And, then she paused again, but this time I couldn’t hear keyboard, “Ms. Bohatyritz, I am sorry for this inconvenience, “okay, now the cookie-cutter, I was still prepared for it, “This same kind of thing happened to me when I tried to get rid of my calling plan. And, I work for this place, I am really sorry. I know how frustrating this kind of thing can be.”
But, this was the strange thing, I believed her. She wasn’t trying to placate or defend or rationalize, she just understood and acknowledged. I didn’t see her face or even pause in my anger to hear her name, but, without any niceties and false politeness, she was nice.

The weird thing is, all of these little stories are true. And, I think about the woman with the big yellow sheet of paper letting me on the highway and cry. She was just so wonderful and yet, she spent no money, donated to no causes, didn’t even speak, was just was nice.
The older gentle man who lifted the paint cans, I too, think of him and cry. Just so much beauty that could be ignored or forgotten or not even noticed. But, all of these people acted with love or understanding or something that made me want to thank them and continue to think of them for all of my life.
I wish that I could affect people the same way that these people have affected me. I just try to think and remember everyone and all of their actions and wish to duplicate their good will. They probably don’t realize how important they are. These people probably don’t remember what they have done. And, they probably didn’t even think that they could have changed the life of anyone. But, I remember, and wish that I could thank all of those people just one more time.
To each of the people I’ve written about and to each of the people that have changed my life and made my life better, I just have to say my last, THANK YOU!!!



“The Nicest Strangers I’ve Never Met”


The world is full of strangers; the woman who checks your groceries, the person who cut you off on the highway, the telemarketer trying to sell you new phone features, even your mail carrier or a neighbor might be a stranger. And, it is the strangers that cut you off on the highway, telemarket during your dinner, mow their lawns at 4:30am and do all of the most annoying things.
But, I want to share some stories of some incredible strangers. These strangers have my gratitude, love and appreciation for teaching me about the beauty of every person. The beauty of life.

The Highway Incident
I was 16 and just beginning to gain some tiny bit of confidence driving, when I decided to visit a friend in Dallas. That was only about 30 minutes away from where I lived, so it wasn’t a long trip. My friend and I talked for a while and had a nice lunch. It never occurred to me to glance at the time before I left. (Did I mention I was 16?)
I began to drive back home when I noticed an incredible amount of traffic enveloping me. I looked at my watch: 5:11pm. It was “rush hour” in downtown Dallas, Texas, and I was in the middle of it. “No problem,” I said to myself, “It will just take a little longer.” I got to the entrance ramp of the highway, put on my blinker and inched forward, waiting for one of the cars to let me in front of them. I waited and inched. Wait. Inch. Wait. Wait. At a full stop, the cars behind me also trying to get on the highway began to honk their horns. I inched over to the side of the highway waiting for the others to realize that the highway was full and no one else could fit on it. But, as soon as I was out of the way, the cars behind me began zooming by, pushing their way between the tightly packed cars. I watched and felt humiliated. I tried to jump in, blinker still on, foot on gas pedal ready to peel out. But, as soon as the cars in the first lane paused, the cars from the on-ramp jumped in. I admit it: I laid my head on the steering wheel, put my hands over my ears and cried. I balled like a baby.
Then, another horn started blaring at me. I couldn’t go forward or to the side. I was stuck. Just as I was about to use some unsavory finger communication, I looked back. Behind me was a big long car blocking the first lane of traffic and the on-ramp. Behind the wheel of the car, a woman was waving a big sheet of yellow paper and mouthing the words, “Come on! Go ahead! Come on!” I got onto the highway. I waved at the woman. I blew kisses and screamed thank you. When the traffic died down. She sped passed me. I waved, blew kisses and screamed thank you, again. She just smiled and waved. I was still crying, but now from gratitude and happiness.

Holding the Door, Small Action, Big Gesture
We all know the three-step rule, (whether consciously or not.) When you walk through a door, if someone is three steps or less behind you, you hold the door open for them. If they are four or more steps away, you let the door drop, knowing that they understand the rule, too. But, one day as I walked out towards a door leading outside the post office, I noticed the young woman in front of me holding open the door. I must have been 9 steps away! I sped up a little bit. I looked in her eyes and said, “Thank you.” She just said, “You’re welcome,” and our emotional transaction was over. It seems like a trivial, paltry incident to remember, but to me, it was something sweet, cheerful and unexpected. And sometimes, the unexpected are the best kind of experiences to have.

The Heavy Paint Buckets
One day, I agreed to help a friend of mine paint the outside of his house. He needed 20 gallons of paint. “You start scraping of the old stuff, and I’ll go get the paint,” I said. (I hate scraping paint.) I went to the store, told the man what shade and how many gallons. He put four 5-gallon buckets of paint into a cart. Then, I went to the parking lot to find my car.
I found my car and popped the trunk. I reached for the first 5-gallon bucket and started to raise it up into the trunk. I had a little, compact car. I couldn’t believe how high the lip of the trunk seemed. I had lifted five mink jugs before. Why did this seem so much heavier? But, all of a sudden, it was lifted out of my hands and put in my trunk. I looked and saw only the back of the man as he lifted another bucket. I kept reaching for them, and he just gently took them one by one away to put in my trunk. I looked at his face to thank him. He looked old. A grandfather or great grandfather, even. I thought he should be sitting by a blazing fire reading a newspaper, not lifting huge buckets of paint. But, he helped me. I would never have asked for help or even admitted to myself that I needed any. So, I just said, “Thank you.”

The Phone Bill from Hell
I got my phone bill one day to find I had been charged (again!) for the Internet service that I had canceled four months before! Every month, I called and showed them their mistake. Every month, they said how sorry they were and that it would not happen again. So, I was ready to take charge and gain control and nothing was going to stop me. I dialed the number. I was punching the buttons so hard I had to dial it again and again before I got the number correct. (This was, of course, the phone company’s direct fault in my mind.)
“Thank you for calling. How may I be of excellent service?” the unsuspecting woman asked.
“Well. First: you can take this charge OFF my bill. I haven’t had the service in months. I don’t want the service. I don’t need the service.” And on and on, I trailed off running out of steam.
I waited for the cookie-cutter response that every operator pulls out when faced with an angry customer. And, I waited. I could hear her pushing a few buttons on her keyboard, but now I was becoming angry that she hadn’t flown back at me with some sort of response.
“Okay. Ms. Bohatyritz, I see the problem you have been having. There just isn’t an excuse for that. Okay, I’ve got that taken care of. The charge is off, and I have credited your account with $25 which will show up on your next bill.”
And, then she paused again, but this time I couldn’t hear keyboard, “Ms. Bohatyritz, I am sorry for this inconvenience, “okay, now the cookie-cutter, I was still prepared for it, “This same kind of thing happened to me when I tried to get rid of my calling plan. And, I work for this place, I am really sorry. I know how frustrating this kind of thing can be.”
But, this was the strange thing, I believed her. She wasn’t trying to placate or defend or rationalize, she just understood and acknowledged. I didn’t see her face or even pause in my anger to hear her name, but, without any niceties and false politeness, she was nice.

The weird thing is, all of these little stories are true. And, I think about the woman with the big yellow sheet of paper letting me on the highway and cry. She was just so wonderful and yet, she spent no money, donated to no causes, didn’t even speak, was just was nice.
The older gentle man who lifted the paint cans, I too, think of him and cry. Just so much beauty that could be ignored or forgotten or not even noticed. But, all of these people acted with love or understanding or something that made me want to thank them and continue to think of them for all of my life.
I wish that I could affect people the same way that these people have affected me. I just try to think and remember everyone and all of their actions and wish to duplicate their good will. They probably don’t realize how important they are. These people probably don’t remember what they have done. And, they probably didn’t even think that they could have changed the life of anyone. But, I remember, and wish that I could thank all of those people just one more time.
To each of the people I’ve written about and to each of the people that have changed my life and made my life better, I just have to say my last, THANK YOU!!!


Thank you,

Wendy Bohatyritz
© Copyright 2005 boohat (boohat at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1045043