Random acts of kindness

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Random acts of kindness

Postby gemc » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:35 am

Hi Gap travellers!

As I’m sure you’ve experienced on your travels, people can often really surprise you with random acts of kindness.

I do the PR for Gap Adventures in the UK and we would love to survey you all about your experiences of this when travelling.

If you would like to share your experiences, please could you give us your thoughts on the following questions?

• When travelling, has a stranger ever helped you through an act of kindness?
• If so, what was it, where were you and what nationality was the person that helped you?

• Have you ever helped a stranger while travelling?
• If so, how did you help and where were you?

• Following these encounters, have you noticed a change in your behaviour since returning home?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Gemma
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby jimshu » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:21 pm

Hi Gemma,
Nice thread and there will be many kind souls responding.Take a browse through this thread and see if there's any acts there that help..
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=9239&p=42184&hilit=kindness#p42184
Meantime-

• When travelling, has a stranger ever helped you through an act of kindness?
In lots of little ways in lots of places, yes.But Japan stands out for us.

• If so, what was it, where were you and what nationality was the person that helped you?
Just standing on a railway platform ,scratching your head trying to figure out where you're going gets a quick offer of help.

• Have you ever helped a stranger while travelling?
Yes.Mammallapuram India.4 days after the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami.

• If so, how did you help and where were you?
I didn't need them, as I make my own.But I bought a cheap pair of sandals from a sandal maker.His response was to grab me, bless me, and thank me because he could now feed his family after 3 days.And I asked him to give the change to an 'Untouchable" I'd seen begging from the very few tourists around, knowing that he would be in the same situation.

• Following these encounters, have you noticed a change in your behaviour since returning home?
Witnessing that and other incidents during the aftermath of that tragedy, really was life changing for both my wife and I.We now focus our travel on community experiences, rather than sightseeing.We've visited 1 child we sponsor in India.And will visit another in Addis Ababa in August.These visits bring us in close contact with families and village life in a different way than the usual travel.Additionally we both go off on wildlife volunteer projects.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby beccaroo » Tue May 11, 2010 11:59 am

The time i have been perhaps most grateful for a random act of kindness was when I got myself throughly lost whilst exploring Vientianne in Laos. On my own. Without a map. To be that stupid, I probably didn't deserve rescuing, but rescued I was! I went into a local store where I tried to explain to a little old lady (by way of map-pointing and international hand gestures) that I was utterly lost. Just as I was giving up on trying to make myself understood, she dragged her grandson out from a back room and gestured for me to follow him. He led me out to a complete rustbucket of a van and opened the passenger door for me...All logic and common sense dictated that I shouldn't get in, but my gut instinct told me was that these were good people - plus I didn't have too many other options! I decided I had to trust human nature and I'm so glad I did - the lad took me right to the door of my hostel and even waited to see I got in safely. All he wanted in return was a chance to practice his English and talk about Manchester United (shame I couldn't offer him much insight!). Goes to show that sometimes you have to trust your gut instinct and lower your defences. Also goes to show you shouldn't go wandering around a strange city without a map - consider that another valuable lesson learned!
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby beccaroo » Tue May 11, 2010 12:18 pm

Just thought of another instance where I was helped out by a stranger, this time on Vancouver Island but in pretty much similar circumstances...(I really shouldn't be allowed to travel alone!) This time, I had taken a shuttle bus from my hostel to a beach for the day. I totally lost track of time and managed to miss the last bus back. I was resigned to my fate of a long (10 mile!) walk back in the near darkness, alongside bear-infested woods, when a VW camper van pulled up. It was a local who was quite happy to go completely out of his way to drop me at my hostel. Apparently he has to take that route quite often for other backpackers who have done the same thing...His only request? That everyone he helps, helps out others in turn (the 'pay it forward' rule of hitchhiking). I am looking forward to repaying the favour.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby jimshu » Tue May 11, 2010 6:23 pm

Nice one, or should I say two stories Beccaroo.
And that 'Pay it forward' philosophy should become a Wateringhole Member slogan for us all.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby jimshu » Wed May 19, 2010 4:53 pm

I'm thinking that this thread needs kicking along...
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby golondon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:15 am

I'm sure I've been fortunate enough to experience loads of random acts of kindness but the one that springs to mind is from when I was at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the children run over and try and get you to buy bracelets. I was talking to a group of children and one little girl just wanted to talk when the hard sell didn't work. When her friends decided it was time to move on she gave me a bracelet and told me to wear it so I wouldn't get hassled by other children. And she wouldn't take any money.

This has just made me more aware that whatever people's circumstances they often just want to talk. And that's free.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby JaliscoJudy » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:19 pm

Nice story golondon. I know a lot of us get annoyed with people trying to constantly sell us stuff, but this puts a different slant on it. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby georginal » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:07 pm

To bumb this one up - good topic

Lost in Tokyo. I was trying to find my hostel. I got out of the station and really didn't know which way to go. I was grabbed by a Japanese couple who had a litte English. I showed them them written down address of the hostel I was booked into and generally went heeeeeellllpp. They not only pointed me in the right direction, but walked me there to.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby familyonbikes » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:26 am

We've experienced very, very many random acts of kindness! Hundreds and hundreds of them!

One time we were sitting at a bus stop taking a break and a little brother and sister ran up and handed us a bag of apples. They said their parents had seen us on the news and wanted us to have the apples. So sweet!

We've been rescued from rain more than once - one time was in New Jersey directly across from Manhattan. We had hoped to get to the ferry to cross over to a friend's house, but we missed the last ferry of the day. It was pouring rain, we were sopping wet, we were stuck smack dab in the middle a huge urban sprawl with absolutely no place to set up a tent, the nearest hotel was 10 miles away and was very expensive - and we had our kids with us. It was, shall we say, one of those moments when you stand there in the pouring rain with tears streaming down your cheeks and wonder what in the hell you were thinking when you made the decision to take this bike trip.

But that's when Road Angels stepped up to the plate and rescued us - and took us to their home for the night.

We are so incredibly grateful to all the wonderful people we've met on the road - and we try to give back as much as we can.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby mopotofu » Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:18 pm

This just happened 2 days ago in Sibiu, Romania.

I am traveling around in Romania, and took a day trip to Sighisoara
where the annual medieval festival was taking place (basically people dress up as
knights and have jousts, that sort of thing).

Came back to Sibiu (lovely city, btw) and while climbing up the stairs of the train
station, stumbled a bit but broke my fall. No harm done. However, a few minutes
later as I was walking towards my hostel I realized my big left toe was bleeding -
skin was torn off. Bleeding was non-stop, so I bought some water, got napkins,
and sat on a park bench trying to clean the wound and stop the blood.

So, sitting there like an idiot, holding my foot, people passed
by looking at me strangely. Finally, a couple pushing their baby's stroller stopped
and the guy asked if I was alone and what had happened, and suggested going to
the hospital 1km away. I said the wound wasn't bad, just superficial, and that I
was trying to stop the bleeding.

He said that he understood, and went and got a spare tiny pink shirt from the baby's
stroller, and put it around my foot as a tourniquet, ignoring my protests and
embarrassment at the lengths he went to help me out. I thanked him profusely, and
the tourniquet actually worked and I was able to hobble to my nearby hostel.

Their trains might be slow, the cities hit-or-miss, the food not really to my liking, but I will always remember this act of kindness in Romania.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby sableasy » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:30 pm

Ah, yes, Football Commentary, the universal language of boys.

Two Danish (I think) girls gave me some of their food on Cam Fell once. I was very glad of it.

My rented bike ran out of fuel just after clearing the crest at the top of a long downhill to a fuel station in Utah. Amazingly, it stopped. 1:6 or so downhill, and clutched out in neutral it stopped. Utah's a pretty hot place for a walk in full leathers, especially uphill with a can of fuel, but I hadn't gone 100m before the first vehicle to see me gave me a lift to the station, waited while I bought and filled a can, gave me and the can a ride back up to my bike and waited to make sure it'd start.

I've given a couple of hitchhikers rides. One turned weird and got told to get out, which he did. The other I took about 20 miles, way past where I'd been going, and left with another 14 miles to cover.

Clarification: I'm using a friend's email because I couldn't get in with mine. I'm not her. That's important for the next one:

When we had ice everywhere in winter, a little girl on a bike slid on it and fell sideways. I saw her on the ground and her friend hovering over her and stopped to check them out. Turned out she'd hurt her shoulder, but was probably going to be fine eventually. However, me being there had changed the scene from two small girls in distress to two small girls in distress AND A MAN, so suddenly there were concerned women everywhere, rushing to save them ... from me. :roll:

That's the only one that sticks in my mind. If I've done some other act of kindness, I've forgotten.
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Re: Random acts of kindness

Postby rivenriver » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:00 am

I was in Japan with a dance eisteddfod group, and on the morning of the performance we were chatting to a Japanese lady on the train. As any group of excited Australian teenagers would do, we invited her to come to the show that night, of course not actually expecting anything to come of it. That night, just before the show started, a package arrived at the venue for us, filled with a huge number of biscuits, lollies and other things, enough for our whole team of 50+, and a note from her saying she couldn't come, but she hoped we would have a great time.

In Montreal, my sister and I were booked into a hostel, and we made the mistake of thinking it was close enough to walk from the bus station. Having just taken the overnight bus from Toronto, we were exhausted, and it was so hot, and our bags were so heavy. We finally made it to the right street, but walked up and down it several times without finding the hostel. Finally, we found a cafe with wifi, double checked the address, which we'd had right and was meant to be right across the road. Finally we noticed the tiny sign in French saying "Youth Hostel" (we didn't speak French - and thought a hostel from an English language website would be bilingual!), and an even tinier note in English saying to ring the bell to be buzzed up. So we did. No answer. There was a phone number, but we didn't have a phone. So we both sat on the step, nearly in tears from exhaustion and frustration, when a woman and a man walked up to the building and the woman exclaimed "Oh! It's a youth hostel now!" I said yes, and we're trying to stay here, but there's no answer, and we don't know what to do! She said, "Would you like to use my phone?" So we did. Turned out the place was operated by one guy, and he was cleaning at the time, hence he didn't hear the bell. That lady grew up in the place, she told us it had been many things over the years and she liked to check it's current state whenever she was nearby. And it turned out to be a really nice hostel - just not well signposted!

In New York, my sister and I went to see Hair the afternoon of our flight leaving. Not our smartest move, since the show didn't finished til 5 and our plane left at 8, and once more we made the mistake of thinking distances were short enough to walk when we should have got the subway. We'd been in an absolute panic trying to get to the train station in time, but we'd finally made it. There was another couple on the train with a baby and a little boy in a pram, and he was sick with something. I don't know what, he was having trouble seeing, and he was scared and upset, crying "I don't want to be in a tunnel!" and his parents were very worried, and were trying without much success to shush him and tell him we would be out of the tunnel soon. At Hair, one of the hippies had given my sister and I flowers, which we were wearing in our hair, but knew we wouldn't be able to take home to Australia. So I asked the little boy, "Do you like flowers?" And he sniffed, "Yes." So he got the flowers, and it was enough to distract him and make him feel better enough to stop crying while were in the tunnel. His parents were very appreciative. He was such a cutie. I hope he was ok in the end.
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