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A Nice Short Story on Gratitude

January 14, 2011

As I mentioned in a tweet I’m having a busy week, so not too much free time to blog, but I just happen to have a sweet short story to tell you.

My father and my brother were talking on the way back from a volleyball game (we played in the same team once). Their conversation naturally drifted towards hitchhiking, and my father said:

When I was studying in Besançon I sometimes came back home hitchhiking. (FYI we live in the French Alps, which is about a 220 km ride). One day, someone left me relatively close to the Swiss border, and nobody wanted to take me before crossing the border. I stood there for quite some time when a nun drove by. She didn’t stop but I saw she had the same licence plates from where we’re from so I just waved to say hi when she drove past me.

Then she stopped about 50 meters later. When I got to her car she said: “I saw in my mirror that you were not mad at me for not stopping, so I regretted what I did. Where are you going?”. I told her I was going back home and she took me in, drove all the way across Switzerland, and dropped me in France on the other side. That’s quite something.”

Photo by louids

Back to the context of this blog, there are a few things that this made me think about.

The first is the power of doing nice things. I know this sounds a bit cliché but it did get my dad a 200km ride.

The second is the lasting effects of gratitude. When my dad told the story, you could tell he was grateful that the nun stopped. Years later, he still feels good about this random act of kindness from a stranger, and the nun probably felt good about helping a young man get home. At least, she is still remembered 35 years later for what she did.

And the third thing is that gratitude is a two-way street. The nurse was grateful to meet a nice stranger (although some of you might say her actions were more the result of remorse than gratefulness) and showed it by doing something nice to him. And he is now grateful for that. He maybe even thought about writing her a letter 😉

Now before this gets any more philosophical I’m going to leave you with that story. Feel free to comment to tell us if you relate to it or if you have similar examples of random encounters like this one to share.



From → Blog

  1. Great story. Sometimes the person doing the act of kindness is the one that learn the most, too. Or passing it forward.

    • Thank you Lisa. I really agree with your comment too, thanks for making me see that.

  2. Sometimes a small smile can also make a stranger’s day!
    thanks for the story =)

  3. One evening, my dad and I are on our way home when we saw two guys and wanted a ride home; my dad was always helpful so we gave them a ride. When we reached their place which is totally out of the way on our way home that needs 40 minutes drive, our car broke. It was too late and it was difficult to get a mechanic at that time.

    A family saw us and even if they don’t exactly know who we are, offered their humble home, and let us stayed at their best room. It was really a very sweet and extremely kind gesture.

    Random kindness truly touches heart. That incident happened 15 years ago but I could still feel the sincerity and care of the family who let us sleep in their home.

    • wow that’s really a touching story. The fact that you went so much out of your way for strangers, and then that a family welcomed you are both examples of how awesome and helpful people can be.

      Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Hi,
    Yes acts of kindness seems to be getting rare these days unfortunately, but saying that there are a lot of people out there that don’t think twice about helping someone in need, these people are always remembered.

  5. postadaychallenge2011 permalink

    Yes, random acts of kindness is a “two way street.” I love your story. Thanks for sharing this.

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