Hey Pandas, What’s The Most Useful You’ve Ever Felt To A Stranger? (Closed)
Share your stories down below!
Years ago I was driving up to see my parents for a weekend, and an older man in a minivan rolled his car right in front of me on some pretty gnarly curves.
I stopped to help, but by the time I had gotten out of my car, and to his (the van was on its top) there was visible smoke and flames dancing around the engine.
Dude was passed out, so I had to crawl in, unbuckle him, and pull him out, and then away from the now (VERY!) on-fire van!
I'm just glad the old fella made it
Pretty drunk woman on a train got off at my stop in the middle of a city at night to meet a friend...not much but asked if she was alright, what her friend's name was and made sure she spotted him and they recognised each other before leaving her. They were some guys staring at her so I just wanted to make sure she had someone with her.
I was at a bowling alley/arcade place and watched a mom catch her young child's vomit, and then sit there contemplating what to do. I grabbed a trash can and ran over to her so she could at least empty her hands. Then I got her wet wipes. No on in the group with her even noticed.
I was in my city and saw a wheelchair using lady having difficulties with her machine. It appeared that the tyre was coming off one of the wheels. I asked if she was ok and would she like me to mend it for her. I fixed it and she was very grateful and we parted ways with a smile.
I like to cross the street with someone using a cane. I don’t say anything, I just walk a little behind the person so that they’re more visible to traffic.
During lockdown, while queueing for the supermarket, I spoke to an elderly lady for 30 mins while we waited to go inside. Just about the weather and food. She told me she hadn’t spoken to anyone for several days and thanked me for having a genuine conversation with her.
During the same time period, I let elderly people jump the queue in front of me to get their shopping first. The people in front of me all did the same too. Watching an elderly person get ushered to the front like a celebrity by a line of people was such a moving moment.
I'm a transgendered man and transitioned at work. I never hid it (nor have I run around screaming, "I"M TRANS!!"). I blogged about my transition and my work success (I'm actually top in my company for my role as a customer-facing trainer).
I was at one of our conferences and another trainer came up to me and wanted to thank me. When I asked why he said that because my blog was open a friend of theirs had read it and decided that they didn't need to be scared to transition (this is usually due to fear of losing family, friends, work, etc.). That, in fact, you can find success even after transitioning and so they took that leap rather than leaping in another direction (which many do who cannot transition).
Working as a voluntary worker in a Maternity Hospital in Lisbon for several years I have my fair share of stories..some sad,some funny,most very happy,but one stands out as quite hilarious.I was in a cubicle helping at a birth when from the cubicle next to mine there were loud screaming,yelling and the sound of things crashing to the floor.I stick my head around the corner and see absolute pandemonium.A young woman from Guine having her first baby was in an absolute panic and didn´t let any-one near her,kicking every-body and everything within reach.A first time in a hospital ever,glaring lights,men (doctors) and nurses she didn´t know and everybody yelling at her and trying to get their hands on her.I left my patient with a collegue and went up to her and WHISPERED in her ear that I was a white spirit sent by her Gods to help her, and that I had a magic song that would put everything right.She calmed down when I whispered to her and I sang a Danish childrens song to her.The minute I started singing she went into a trance....baby was born safely and I went back to my former patient.About 20 minutes later the doctor sent for me again.She needed stitches and was getting worked up again....and for the second time I sang »Oles nye autobil« it is a bit staccato so must have eccoed in her mind....must confess it never had that effect on my own kids way back...
A woman in the locker room at the gym was on her phone and suddenly let out a wail and collapsed to the floor sobbing. She'd just got the news that her beloved nephew had died of an overdose. I brought her a bunch of tissue and a damp paper towel and sat with her to listen and express sympathy as she mourned over the young man and his troubles.
When I worked at the local humane society we had a gorgeous husky/some sight hound mix. Her name was Shasta. Shasta was adopted three times and brought back each time due to her flightiness and quirks (she loved to run and would come when called unless the tone of voice was wrong, then she would flee...I am thinking it was a past situation causing her behavioural issues) I had developed a bond with her but could not adopt her myself. When another family was interested in her and eventually adopted her I gave them my home number so if they had any problems with her they could contact me and I would see what I could do to help. I'm happy to say that that home ended up her forever home, though it did take a few calls and tips to gain her trust to get everything worked out.
This is a twofer. While shopping with my children I had to find a semi quiet place to let my daughter unwind and calm down. A lady was sitting on a bench not far from me. Apparently me calming down my daughter was helping this woman, whom eventually told me that she was having a panic attack.
An elderly lady collapsed in a street. I positioned my car to prevent any other cars from accidently hitting her. I got out and made sure she was alright, upright and stable. That's always stuck in my mind.
I picked up a hitchiker in California. It had taken him a month to get 400 miles from Mexico, but I dropped him off only 100 miles from his job in Washington.
So I was just in a situation where I ran across a stranger who seemed to struggle with psychiatric illness, who was lost and going through a stress attack. I didn't want to abandon him, but getting a clear idea of what was happening and the best step to take was difficult. I managed to help him get on the correct bus to get him home. As worried as I still am for him, it also felt really good to be able to help. I am so glad I didn't abandon the poor guy. It got me wondering, who else has that kind of memory they can look back on and know they were able to make a difference?
I've pulled over several times to give people a ride to where they needed to be. I have been without a car in my life before for various reasons and if I'm heading in the same direction why shouldn't I help. Yes I have to be safe about it and I won't do it with my kids in the car. The first time I saw a young woman walking in the rain with a very young child, this was on a industrial park. There wasn't even a sidewalk. I pulled over and asked if she would accept a ride. We got her young companion strapped into my spare car seat and I dropped her off. I just cant stand to see people struggle. I've not always had the privileges' I have now and I remember how hard it is to be without.
The medical building has a really tight parking lot, and many people who go there have really large autos/SUVs. I was about to back my small car out when I noticed a woman in a large car unable to maneuver her big honkin' car out of her space. She tried several times and was looking panicky. I asked if I could help, she accepted, and I got in the driver's seat and got her car out pretty easily. Sometimes life is just frustrating, and it feels good to be able to help.
I worked at a store that sold Christmas tree ornaments among other things. A high-school guy came in looking for a gift for his girlfriend, and picked out a volleyball ornament. He asked if we had any special boxes for gift giving, which we didn't have for that style of ornament. However, we had just gotten a shipment of more expensive ornaments that came in their own box, and one of those ornaments had broken in transit. I was able to grab the empty box and give it to him for free. The guy was so happy he gave me the change from his purchase as a tip.
In my first year of college, I lived in a pretty rural area and commuted about 45 minutes to classes and my job. Late one night, we had just closed the restaurant and I was driving home in a very isolated national park. A young family had become stranded with a flat tire. I stopped but didn’t have the right tire iron for their rim. I drove all the way back to the restaurant where luckily a coworker was still there and had the right one in their trunk. I drove back and we were able to get the tire off and I gave them my spare.
Another time, my apartment manager was finally ready to leave her abusive husband. She was afraid he might hurt her or not let her take the kids. I’m a pretty small woman, and this was a big dude, but righteous indignation can make you feel pretty invincible. Another woman and I stood in between them while she packed her kids into the car and went to live with her dad. It’s been close to 20 years but I still think about her and hope she’s doing well.
I'm old and live in senior housing. How it all started I'll never know. But it started out with one person asking me to help them fill out papers for various things, especially papers concerning living in sectioin 8, food stamps and medicaid, etc. Word got around and now I help several people that come to me to help them. The apartment manager even calls on me to help him with computer problems. And how that happened I have no idea but it's fun to be needed again.
When a pizza place messed up our order multiple times by putting real cheese on my moms pizza even though shes lactose intolerant, we had a few extra pizzas and we drive around and found safe looking homeless people to give them to. It was winter and the pizzas were still warm so I’m sure they appreciated it even more for that reason :)
Not sure if this counts as "useful" but here's mine. I was walking around with a couple of my friends we were in a sort of like shopping district and we passed this group of people around my age. All of them seemed pretty high energy and bubbly. (exactly my type of people) I noticed one of the people in the group tho that seemed overwhelmed?? I'm not really sure what word I'd use to describe it but they were definitely not handling the high energy conversation very well. The people in their group were so sweet trying to involve this person in the conversation as much as possible. I think they just didn't realize that the person was uncomfortable. I sorta watched for a moment and decided they needed an extrovert shield. So I went over and introduced myself, making sure to stand next to this person. Since they all seemed pretty accepting they struck up conversation right away. I stayed for a minute and basically any time it got really high energy I would take any efforts of these people to try and hype up their friend and sort of redirect it. That way this person could still be with their friends but not look so panicked. After a little bit I went back to my friends. As I was leaving the person (I never got their name) basically stopped me and said, "hey thanks for coming to talk to us, you made it super fun." I just said yeah it was fun and left. To this day I'm not really sure if they needed help or if I made a difference at all but it felt right so i did it.
When I walked to the station one night after overtime. My office building was above a mall, and it was after closing time. There was this eatery with outdoor seatings, and a blind man was yelling for help as he was entangled between those chairs unsure where he was going. His walking stick was stuck between the chair's legs as well.
Once I was walking across a crosswalk, and someone dropped all their things (into the crosswalk) I walked over to them, and handed them a placid bag, and help pick up their things. We shook hands and parted ways. I felt like I was useful!
I once pulled a man back when he attempted to cross the road when a high speed bus was coming. He would of died if I hadn't done so. I was scared as hell after the incident.
I was in an Italian restaurant for my birthday get together. I looked over and saw a woman doing the Heimlich Manuever on a lady that was obviously just about unconscious. Everyone at the table were just sitting there watching. No screaming for help!! No serving staff even noticed. My friend (a nurse also) and I ran over and yes, she was almost unconscious. I pointed at a waiter, and as we're taught in CPR class "You! Call 911!!" Which he ran and did. We got her on the floor and I did the Manuever for someone unconscious. It took a lot of thrusts because she was choking on linguini! She came around. She refused to go to the hospital. Ok. We went back to our table. The lady and family never thanked me for saving her life. Well, ok. You would think, but I myself was just so happy to have saved her. Management didn't come over and acknowledge that I had saved them from one helluva lawsuit if she had died. Well, ok. I was just happy that she's alive. However, some anonymous customer sent over 2 huge peices of chocolate cake. Thank you so much for my birthday cake! But all in all, it was about the best birthday I ever had. I got to save a life.
There was a homeless man that was outside of a store when i was nine. My uncle had just passed away and the man reminded me of my uncle. So, I asked my mom if we could give him some money. After asking over and over again my mom finally gave in. I gave him the money and gave me a hug. As he was hugging me he whispered in my ear "Never change, God bless." I felt so good of myself. I will never forget the moment i helped the homeless man.
When I went to NYC (from Ohio) for the first time, I wasn’t surprised by the homeless, But I was surprised by all the street food vendors that opened early in the morning. I would wake up early in the morning before my family and go for walks until they woke up. I was so excited to get a gyro & smoothie at like 7-8am (I’m not a fan of breakfast food lol). I only ate/drank about half of each, I saw a homeless lady watching me. So when I was done, I wrapped it back up really well & placed both on top of a trash can. If she wanted it, I didn’t want her to have to take it out of the trash. I barely got out of view before she snatched it up and ate it like she hasn’t ate for days. It made me feel good to know that I was helpful & she had a nice start to her day. I was bummed It was our last day there, otherwise I would have done it every morning. I think about her often and hope she is doing well.
Giving the good grocery cart I used to the next person. I smack it, tell I filled it up with gas and say "you can fit so many groceries in here!"
I was on public transit, and this woman asked me how she needed to get to a certain train station. This station was just a few stops down the line. I told her that she needed but take the southbound train and get off. As it turned out, she was apparently a couple ramps shy of a cloverleaf, and I had to explain this to her several times. I did so calmly and without being condescending - as if I was explaining something really complex.
A few years ago, about 6:30AM, I was traveling, in the pouring down rain, to a meeting about 3 hours from where I live when I came across a car that had hydroplaned into a rushing creek. The driver, was in the car scared to death. I called 911 (emergency in the US) and shouted to him from the roadside instructions to stay were he was. I could see the car wedged against some trees so it wasn't going to move down the creek. I was able to flagged down another car with 2 others and the 3 of us stayed with the man until the rescue vehicles arrived. I let him use my phone to call his employer and parents while the EMS checked him out. He was okay and I arrived at my destination looking like what had happened - I'd stood on the side of the roadway in the pouring down rain for about 45 minutes. Still, I gave my presentation with ease.
having to hold in my arms a woman fainting in the middle of a crowded train.
I started helping out a homeless man and his friend by bringing by clothes, food and blankets. Occasionally I would give them cash. He's a great guy in that he takes care of other homeless people. Whenever he gets something, he shares it with the group.
I gave him a cooler that keeps ice for 36 house and a short but larger area Barbeque. He told me one day that he appreciated the BBQ a lot because it would sometimes get cold at night and they'd all huddle around it to stay warm.
Then the weather started getting colder and I was really getting worried about them. I went to a sports store and got two sleeping bags rated to -10 degrees. The next time I saw him, I parked my car and he walked over expecting some food or money. When I pulled out the two sleeping bags, I heard him gasp. He started crying. I said "I wanted to make sure you were warm tonight." He said "You have no idea how you helped me out!"
A few days ago, I noticed a new homeless man and asked him about it. He said "Yeah..he'd been staying in a shelter for a while. Good guy. Seems some new guys came in his area and started a fight. Since the people that ran the place didn't know who started, they kicked all of him out. I told him to prepare for it, but he came by yesterday looking for a spot in our tent and I had to tell him there was no more room. We gave him a bunch of blankets last night, but he was still a little cold and shivering."
Back to the sports store and I got his new buddy a sleeping bag and 3 person tent. When I approached him I said "I'm Miss Carol!" "Oh! Your the one Ryan always talks about!!" I gave him the bag and tent (and an elbow bump.) Ryan sent me a picture later of the tent all put up and the new guy crashing on his sleeping bag.
I had a co-worker ask why I keep doing this. I said because, if I were in that situation, I'd want someone to help me. I can't help it...it's just who I am.
I had been DJ ing a wedding at a country house a couple of mile out of the town centre. When the party had finished and during my numerous trips loading the van up , I noticed a guy sitting on the wall with his head in his hands.
Asking if he was okay he told me the story that he’d had a big argument with his girlfriend, found out she’d cheated on him and he just walked away in a daze and ended up here totally lost.
Turned out he lived only a mile away from where i live so I gave him a lift home which was about an hours drive away.
By the time I had dropped him off at home he was a much happier person.
I see him now and again in the town centre shops and we always exchange pleasantries on passing
I was at an AKC dog show, at the standard poodle ring, and noticed an elderly couple standing ringside watching the competition. I began talking to them and they said they were trying to decide whether to buy a silver standard poodle or a kerry blue terrier. I proceeded to explain the difference in temperament of a standard poodle and a large terrier to them, and I'm pretty sure they went for the poodle. I've always felt that I probably saved their lives, or at least saved them from great bodily harm.
I babysat 2 kids for a stranger at Epcot.
My husband & I met a woman who had brought her small children all the way from Australia just to experience the wonders of Disney. Unfortunately, the first ride she’d taken them on was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The kids were so traumatized that they’d refused to get on another ride of any kind. They’d spent the whole week wandering around the parks riding nothing. They were leaving in the morning & she was trying to convince them to PLEASE give another ride a chance. It was the communications ride at the dome, so about as tame as you can get. We tried to help by telling the kids that. They weren’t having it. So, offered to sit with them if she wanted to go on the ride by herself. Guess we didn’t look like serial killers (or she was too frustrated to care) ‘cause, much to our surprise, she left ‘em with us. She was very grateful (and much calmer) on her (thank God) return.
25 years ago, my four kids and I were driving in my minivan. Terrible thunderstorm. See a nicely dressed guy walking on the side of the road in ankle deep water with no umbrella. We did not live in a walkable town. Pulled over, offered him an umbrella or a ride to where ever he was headed. He was headed to his new job at a fancy men's clothing store. It wasn't far from where we were headed so I asked him to hop in. Dropped him off and never thought about it again until... a week ago was talking to one of my (grown) babies and they remembered that we picked up that guy. Said that they always remember me helping people out and that it taught them to do the same. I realized that kids pay way more attention to the things you do than the things you say. I spent a lot of those years wanting the kids would grow up a bit so I could catch a bit of a break (single mom). Now that most of them are adults... all I do is wish I had more time with them growing up. We had so much fun.
I was new at work at a dental surgeon's office. Dentist had a consult with a small child who needed surgery. As they were leaving, the worried mom suddenly vomited and slid onto the floor at the door, nearly passing out. I ran over, asked her if she was ok, pregnant or diabetic or needed an ambulance, then cleaned her up and got her a glass of water. She was so embarrassed she ran out of there. I cleaned everything up and the day continued.
Another workplace years later, I was medical assistant for a wonderful midwife. A newly pregnant woman came in, very distraught, unsure about her partner and relationship and undecided about the pregnancy. We spoke at length about her situation, I explained my personal experience with abortion and provided her information. We even did breathing exercises so she could feel calmer. We really bonded and after much thought and time on her part, she decided to keep the baby. He was born after I left the practice and turned 19 in August. Mom named him after me. I was so touched, the memory of it now as I write it is making me cry.
I was playing online battleship with a stranger from I think Sweden and she was struggling through a toxic friendship with this guy (much older) who um wanted to do something without her consent and I gave her advice and idk she seemed grateful. Never heard an update though...
I was at a restaurant with my dad and this employee had a ton of stuff to stock in the coolers, all alone. I helped him with it and he thanked me. We got 10 bucks of the meal :)
A small boy, maybe 4yo was standing at the curb of the street, crying and holding himself. He saw me walking up and yelled, “please help me to cross, I’m not allowed to cross alone and i have to pee!!”. We crossed holding hands and on the other side he took off runnning home and yelled, “thank you”. So sweet.
Coming home on a snowy night, I got stopped behind a neighbor in a low-to-the-ground hatchback who was stuck, spinning their tires in the slippery, packed snow on our apartment complex's steep driveway. Driving a big SUV, I knew I could unstick my truck easy, so I threw it in park, tapped the hazards, jumped out into the snow, and helped push them to the top. I made sure they were in a "spot" (for all the good lines do in snow!) before heading back to my truck. (I did get it unstuck :) )
I was in NYC at Christmas a few years ago and saw two women standing in front of a random office building in midtown. When I stopped to see what they were looking at, I heard them talking about the 10-ft. Christmas tree outside the building. In their British accents, they were saying
"It seemed so much bigger on the telly."
"And I thought there was ice skating in front of it..."
"What a disappointment to come all this way, and this is it..."
I asked if there was something wrong, and they said it was so disappointing that the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was so ordinary. I told them the building was technically part of Rockefeller Center, but if they walked three blocks further and turned right, they'd see something more like what they expected...
When I let someone open the door for me. I use a walker, but I have little trouble opening doors for myself. Yet sometimes when someone offers to hold a door, I can tell it'll make their day if I accept, and so I do. No big deal, except perhaps for their self-esteem.
I felt useful to strangers because there was a giant limb in the middle of the road and I felt that the right thing to do was move it so no one would run over it. I stopped my car and moved the limb by myself. It was really heavy.
Someone supposedly ‘broke’ their ankle. I went and helped the person up, and his friends ran to the shops for sweets. Awkward when his mom came...
Usually every day at work I'm useful to a number strangers and almost every day get verbally abuses and occasionally physically assaulted by a stranger but then that's just the joys of working in mental health.
Sunday morning. An old woman, in a small supermarket, just before me, was buying 2 or 3 bread buns, and a thin crosswords magazin. I'm a foreigner and didn't understand the language yet. But it was obvious that she couldn't afford all.
She was about to ditch the magazine.
I spotted the price on the small screen and gave a banknote to the cashier covering the bill, and told the old woman to keep the change.
It was not much for me, but I knew the situation of retired people in the country, and imagined what this magazine would represent for her.
While I was studying in Venice and had just finished another moving with a lot of boxes on my simple wheel cart over a countless numer of bridges that weekend, I was near the train station and it was really late, no more frequent vaporettos (pubblic boats), I met a couple with two huge luggages without wheels. Even though I was dead tired and it was past midnight, I gave them the wheel cart and walked with them to their hotel which was on the other side of Venice but I was happy and satisfied that I could help them save time and hand wounds and probably a lot of cursing
On my way to church one Sunday morning I saw a car pulled over on the shoulder with an older woman looking at a flat tire. She was heading to her church. I dropped my wife and daughter off and went back. I changed her tire for her and we went off to our respective places of worship.
During an insane snow storm (1993) people were forced to stay at hotels off an interstate exit near our home. Restaurants weren't open, and not every hotel had food, so they were out walking to find the nearest grocery. We had a vehicle that could get through the snow, and drove around picking up people we found walking, taking them to store and then back to hotel. If we found a car off the road with someone in it, we would take them home or to where they needed to go if it wasn't that far.
I live in a town that’s really close to woods and known for tourism in the summer and there where these people that I knew weren’t from around here because I didn’t recognise them and you might not known someone but you would always have a vague recognition of them also they were holding a map. So I was waiting for a friend near a river we call the cuddy and these people walk past looking at the map of the woods then trying to find a post with a blue ring. Me being local I knew where it was and they had kids with them and knew how fast it was gonna get boring to them so I tapped the mum on the shoulder and tell her you go up and turn left then keep going up and that you couldn’t miss it I literally stood there for 5 more minutes shaking and trying to get myself together.. I am not good with social situations but it felt good to help someone
My then-husband and I were attending the state fair, and I stopped in the ladies room. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a teen-age girl just kind of hanging around by the door, seeming very upset. She was trying to disguise the fact that she was crying, but obviously needed help. I coaxed her to tell me what was wrong and she finally let me know that her boyfriend was being abusive and she didn't feel safe. I asked if she needed a ride home, but she said she'd called her mom to pick her up. I told her my husband and I would protect her until her mom got there. We chatted while we waited the 30 minutes or so for her ride. She kept thanking us and apologizing for taking up our time, but I assured her that we were right where we wanted to be--keeping her safe. Mom came and they drove off. I really hope she ditched the boyfriend.