Random Acts of Kindness

Discussion in 'Travel' started by sfcalifornia, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. sfcalifornia
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    sfcalifornia Silver Member

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    When you travel to a foreign country in which you don't speak the language, you're unfamiliar with the customs and you have no clue as to what to do in certain situations, along comes someone completely out of the blue and rescues you from your predicament. You try to show your appreciation somehow but your words of gratitude just don't measure up to how appreciative you are of their complete act of philanthropy. Your rescuer then disappears into the crowd, never to be seen again.

    I was trying to get on a certain bus in Thailand to head north to Nong Khai. I don't speak a word of Thai and no one at the busy bus station spoke English. I kept repeating Nong Khai and I was pointed to a bus. I stashed my gear in the luggage compartment, got on the packed bus and took one of the few remaining seats. The bus pulled out and we went on our way. About a half an hour in, the bus suddenly pulled over on the highway and pulled my luggage out onto the side of the road. The driver motioned for me to get out of the bus. My reaction of course was: wtf?? Freaking out a little, I got off the bus. The driver then risked his life and waved down another bus speeding down the highway. The drivers chatted for a couple of minutes and the other driver threw my luggage onto his bus and motioned me me to get on his bus. Dazed, I did as I was told. On this second bus, one of the passengers spoke some English and struck up a conversation. I asked him what had just happened and he explained to me that no buses went to Nong Khai from the station I left from but the driver found the bus going to Nong Khai on the highway, overtook the correct bus, flagged him down and got me squared away. Well I was just stunned.

    It's those random acts of kindness by complete strangers which make traveling most memorable. Anyone else have a story to tell?
     
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  2. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    I got nothin'.
     
  3. Saigon
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    Saigon Gold Member

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    Nice story!!

    I have a few, but one that springs to mind is in Georgia. I arrived in Gori and got a bit lost. This isn't normally such a problem but this time I was carryring my full backpack. Eventually I stopped an old man and asked him where a particular hotel was.

    Seeing I was a bit disoriented, the man literally took me by the hand and led me to the hotel. He didn't speak any English, but we communicated with sign language and a few words of Russian and he got me there. It took about 20 minutes out of his day, but he did it all for a smile.

    Oh, one other story from Syria. I went into a bakery and ordered a few pieces of the beautiful spicy bread they make there. The shop was small and rundown, and the owner looked like he hadn't had too many customers that...decade. Nevertheless, he handed me my bag and waved away my attempts to pay him. He just kept saying the Arabic words "guest" and "welcome". Little things, but they warm your heart.
     
  4. Dante
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    Dante On leave Supporting Member

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    do them all the time
     
  5. ABikerSailor
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    ABikerSailor Platinum Member

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    Actually................yes.

    One of the things that I always remembered to do while traveling around foreign lands with the U.S. Navy was to keep a phrase book of the native language in my pocket. Did you know that about 80 percent of the people in Europe speak English as a second language? If you're willing to spend some time mangling the local language and thumbing through a phrase book, most people will let you struggle for a couple of minutes and then tell you that they speak English.

    In Thessaloniki Greece, I was rollerblading with my friend Dave and we came across a sports shop that had the Roces off road blades I'd been looking for. I knocked on the door and the shop owner came out and asked what we wanted. After about 30 seconds to 1 minute of stumbling through the language, she said she spoke English and asked what I wanted. I pointed to the off road rollerblades and said I'd like those, but they were the wrong size, but if she could get them in a couple of days (the time we were in port), I'd buy them.

    She then asked if I had the money, and I said yes and showed her. She then called another store and asked if we could wait 30 minutes, and served us coffee while we waited. We also talked and asked if she knew of a good rock and roll club we could go to. She looked at us for a couple of seconds, grabbed her business card, wrote something on the back of it and told us to look for a club called "Eros", and talk to the bartender.

    We found the place, found the dude, gave him the card, and he then smiled at us and told us we were his guests for as long as we were in port.

    We never paid a cover charge to get in (it was 10 bucks American per head) and got free drinks for the next 4 nights that we were there, and so did my friends.

    But...................to get the good stuff while traveling, you've gotta realize that you're the foreigner and they're the natives.

    Matter of fact, when you make friends with the locals, they can tell you places off the beaten path that are much better than anything the other tourists have been able to find.

    And......................then there was the time in Catania Sicily that Dave and I spent a few hours rollerblading with some of the locals from 11:00 pm until 3:00 am..................talk about fun.......................
     
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  6. Saigon
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    Saigon Gold Member

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    This is so true!!

    I always like it when tourists either begin with the Finnish "Moi!" (Hi!) or ask "Do you speak English?" before launching into their question. In which case I always help, and go to some effort to make sure they are ok.

    But sometimes tourists just launch into English, Russian or German without even an 'Excuse me" or asking if I speak their language....I do find that rude, and once or twice have pretended not to understand them as a response.

    Very nice story, by the way, AKB!
     
  7. MeBelle
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    MeBelle Mebellien Mothership © Supporting Member

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    sf-I forgot to come back here! Sorry!

    My story isn't as awesome as your story but for me, at the time, it was a blessing!

    I was 8 months pregnant when I flew in to COS airport on a crisp January day. I was on bed rest for two months, prior, due to complications.

    I had moved from VA Beach to Colorado, taking a side trip to hang with my outlaws in Knox for a few days before continuing my journey.

    When I arrived @ COS, waddling through the terminal all by my lonesome, I literally breathed the fresh air and felt instantly rejuvenized. Little did I know how darn big COS was at the time, or so it seemed.

    One of the best parts of waddling through COS was venturing upon a soldier. While I was observing him, he caught me...and winked at this very pregnant waddling woman! Lordy was he handsome!

    I reach the baggage carousel with my dogs and back hurting.
    Much to my surprise I find a chauffeur holding a sign with my name on it!
    Who planned this? Nobody has ever fessed up. It could have been the company, my outlaws, my Husband, friends who lived in Denver, the airlines or the hotel where I had booked my stay. I was pampered in the limo during the long haul to a GOG hotel.

    Sometimes it's the 'little' things that makes people appreciate humanity.e

    Now, the GOG hotel stay is another story which I'll save for a future time :)
     
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  8. ABikerSailor
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    ABikerSailor Platinum Member

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    I also remember riding my bicycle in Italy (where bicycle riders are respected), and I was going up a hill. A truck slowed down, and the driver motioned for me to grab onto the handle and he'd pull me up the hill.

    Sometimes, people would slow down and hand you a bottle of water as well.
     
  9. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    Well, I don't travel overseas. But here at home I make a point to hang out at the local gas station once each month and buy a tank of gas for a total stranger.
     
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  10. hjmick
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    hjmick Gold Member

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    My traveling is currently on hold, but for quite some time now I have been quietly and anonymously been paying for the meals of service men and women when I see them in whatever restaurant I may be frequenting...
     
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