faith in humanity

Dear Guy Who Texted Me Out of the Blue,

I was having a bad week.  I think I may have mentioned something about it on social media, probably in passing, but when you texted me asking if I was okay and telling me everything would get better, it meant a lot.  We’re friends–we say hello in passing–but it’s not like we talk very often.  The fact that you cared enough to tell me everything would get better really made my week.  And I haven’t forgotten it.  (Obviously.)

But besides letting me know that people cared, you showed me that people didn’t think it was weird when you worried about them or wanted to make them happy, which is something that I constantly struggle with.  I always have the idea to help someone or to just do something nice, but I always worry that it will come across as creepy.  I still usually opt for not doing it, because I’m paranoid, but not as often as I did before you texted me that one day, however long ago it was.  So thank you for that.  You’re pretty great.

Sincerely,
The Girl Who Worries Way Too Much About What People Think

Dear Random Guy at the Travel Plaza,

We interacted for a total of about twenty seconds, so I’m sorry if this note is short.  I was always taught that I should hold the door for the person(s) walking in after me.  Apparently you were taught the same; your parents raised you well.  A lot of people, however, I’ve found, will hold the door.  One of the perks of going to a Christian school is I can probably count on one hand the number of doors I’ve opened for myself.  (Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  Hyperbole, if you will.  It got a point across.)  Then there’s always the split-second judgment of whether or not someone is close enough to hold the door for him or her, then the awkward walk-jog of gratitude that happens after a misjudgment.  But, I digress.

I don’t remember what state I was in, but when you held the door for me I was grateful.  I was surprised, however, when you told me you liked my shirt.  I was most likely on a road trip–we were at a travel plaza, after all–so I obviously wasn’t dressed my best.  But I appreciated the compliment all the same.  You sounded so sincere.

The thing about our interaction, my dear mystery gentleman, was that you made me think.  I was a complete stranger, we’d probably never see each other again; it would have been easier for you not to say anything.  It made my day that you chose to speak.  You inspired me.  From that moment, you inspired me to give compliments when I see something worthy of complimenting, or even when I just see someone who looks like he’s having a bad day.  Normally, I would never open my mouth, especially to a complete stranger.  This little shy girl is perfectly happy in her own little world.  But you changed my mindset.  So thank you.  Thank you a hundred times over.

I suppose that “pay it forward” thing really does work.  I can only hope that I inspired at least one person the way that you inspired me.  Never stop being awesome.

Sincerely,

A Flattered and Inspired Little Introvert

Dear Coffee Guy at the Mall in the Middle of Nowhere,

I can’t imagine what you must have seen–two girls, looking around with wide eyes and tired shoulders, standing unconsciously almost back-to-back so that nothing could surprise them, and staring at the menu with blank looks on their faces–okay, maybe I can imagine it a little.  But I don’t know what prompted you to help them.  It was the end of your shift, probably, the mall was closing soon, so maybe you helped them to get them out so you could close up shop.  But I’m choosing to believe you helped them because there’s some good left in the world.

See, we were lost.  We told you that, I think, told you that we were tired and nearly broke.  We didn’t tell you we were far from home or that our phones were dead, we’re not dumb enough for that, but I imagine you got that idea when you heard us asking each other what city we were in.  I don’t believe we ever found an answer to that question, but that’s not your fault; this is the sort of thing that happens to us frequently.

When you asked these girls if you could help them, if they knew what they wanted, and their only answer was “I don’t know,” you could have waited for them to make up their minds.  Instead, you chose to walk them through their order, asking them what they liked and didn’t like, and telling them you had it handled.  That was nice of you, but I suppose almost any guy working at an empty coffee shop would do the same.  We pooled our money and ordered a large iced coffee to split–I’ve found that iced coffee sends the caffeine in a more direct route to the bloodstream–and you set about making our order.  We talked amongst ourselves, not paying attention to what you were doing.  I don’t remember what we talked about, but it probably revolved around more wondering where we were and how we were going to get home and if the taller of the two would ever find a prom dress.  She did, by the way.  Because of this, when you set two full cups of coffee on the counter, all we could do was look at you confused.  We may have stammered something about only ordering one, but I honestly don’t remember.  Whether we said anything or not, you told us that you had “accidentally” made too much coffee and had “accidentally” added an extra espresso shot, and you only charged us for the one regular cup.

I don’t remember what you looked like–in my mind now you look like a kindly old hippie, but that could just be wishful thinking–or sounded like or really anything about you.  I don’t know how tired and lost we must have looked, or whether you were just bored and looking for something out of the ordinary to do.  Maybe this sort of thing isn’t out of the ordinary for you.  You probably don’t even remember it.  But I do.  And I wanted to say thanks.  Nothing was really going right that day, and you made it all a little bit better.  So thank you.

Sincerely,

One of the Two Tired-Looking Girls in the Coffee Shop in the Mall in the Middle of Nowhere