A Stranger's Gift....

It wa just last week when I finally decided to act on my plans. While I've always been someone that just loves doing something nice for another because it feels so good, this one night I decided to do something that a little different. I pulled up at the petrol station, filled up my car and went inside to withdraw $20. I wasn't real sure how I was going to explain my intentions but I went ahead, nerves and all and told the girlat the checkout that the $20 I was holding was not for me, but for the very next person who walked in the door. She was really puzzled and asked "so, you want to pay for a complete stranger's petrol?". "Yeah..." I replied. "Maybe you should wait and explain this to the next person..." she told me. "No... I don't want them to know who it is.... I just want to make someone else happy and do something nice for a stranger".

I walked away feeling a mixture of emotions. I was pleased that I had done something nice just for the sake of it, but motivated to keep up the challenge. I want to aim to do something kind once a week.... something a little "out there". My hope is to inspire others to start thinking of others. We live in such a selfish generation- myself included. The happiness of another is again quite selfishly, the most satisfying gift one can give and one that I hope to give with every opportunity I am given :)

Gelyssa Gelyssa
26-30, F
27 Responses Sep 26, 2009


Loved. up

All my life I have given; mostly to strangers, and when I had full-time work it was not a problem until I didn't know where the boundaries were anymore to stop. I had no reason to give to anyone, especially given that my childhood years destroyed by unnecessary, yet prolific abuse of every kind. It turned me into a martyr as an adult - I never felt I should come first ever, and why I gave so much of my self and often to my own detriment. I needed and wanted approval; acceptance from all others and why I gave so much to others - I now want something back, though have no one to ask for anything, not even family who abandoned me at 15. I am now 40 and live in rented accommodation; out of work as well as destitute (even) though I live in the a wealthy part of the UK where wealth is never distributed evenly! - I have an Amazon wish-list, yet if I could wish for anything now as an adult survivor of abuse; an opportunity to publish my books and get on the career ladder via my writing - hopefully have a nice place of my own one day and care for sick and injured animals.

I know this is an old experience (2013). I was just discussing boundaries with a friend reading a book about setting boundaries. She is pro-boundaries and I tend away from boundaries. My natural response is to help others even if it is inconvenient. Your experience helped balance my view.

In 2004 someone paid $26,000. of my medical bill because I didn't have insurance nor did I have any money. Only a note was left under my hospital room door. What an amazing gift...and one that I will never forget. I was 24 years old at the time. Now I'm 42.

How truly delightful.

While I understand your need for anonymity, I think you could make more of an impact if you do it in person sometimes. <br />
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What I mean is, I think we should all set good examples every day in a direct way.<br />
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On the other hand, that you acted as an unknown Good Samaritan is a good example of another important caveat (caution) about 'giving': we should WANT NOTHING from those we help only something FOR them. <br />
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I recently saw a commentary on TV that described a graduate student who had gone to a poor region of S. America to do her masters thesis on poverty among a certain tribal group. She had helped the local women design jewelry that they could then sell online. <br />
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Most certainly this young woman will be heralded when she returns as a hero and given a high profile job as a reward. I cannot think of a worse example for young people in the US. This was not an altruistic act of kindness; this was a successful ploy to get attention and curry favor. I am ashamed of such obvious arrogance.<br />
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So, I think we have to check our real motives before doing this kind of thing; someone once said, 'the most dangerous thing in the world is someone with good intentions'. <br />
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The above example of using poor people for self-aggrandizement should be identified for what it is, as opposed to what you showed by helping someone pay for petrol that might have gotten them to work that day, or helped their family in some indirect way. <br />
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I live in a poor area in the Middle East, and buy from those selling food on the street, for instance, every chance I get. <br />
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You did a great thing.

You've given me hope and ideas. I've thought about taking some homeless to a nice restaurant. But I like that idea too. Im gunna have to try this out. I'm thinking just standing by a door and wait till someone smiles at me and hand them $20. Thank you for the story.


I read a story when I was a kid called "they passed it on". It was a story about some kids who have something kind happen and it follows the people who do pass it on. It was a lovely story and it's beautiful things like that which make us all smile and feel the world is not has scary or mean as it seems.<br />
I hope more people get inspired by that. Sadly I have to admit I've never done anything quite like that but I did drop money in the street on purpose once. I am inspired by your kindness!<br />
I know a quote: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel".<br />
It's true. Once I was at a cafe which had 3 big tables. A group came in and my Mum and I moved to one end to make room for them. After about 10 minutes a woman left and came back with a bag of black jelly beans from the local sweet store as a thank you. I've never forgotten it and neither has my Mum.

Awesome. it's little things like this that each person in the world needs to do. be it monetarily or voluntarily. these are the things that change ourselves for the betterment of others.<br />
until we change, things outside of us will not.<br />
live by example! and in the words of a man with insight and a huge heart, "be the change you want to see in the world" -gandhi <br />
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I like your attitude.<br />
Last Valentine's Day I knew there wouldn't be a gift from my hubby, so I decided to treat me with a few smiles. I bought a package of chocolate lady bugs and gave them away to eveyone I met on that day. The people acted surprised and delighted and I got so much nice smiles.

That's what I love about drive-thru! Like Starbucks for instance, if there is another vehicle in line behind me often I will pay for their coffee! Its a great feeling even though you know you will never see that person. <br />
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Its pretty cool if you are still ahead of them when they pull up to the window though and you get to see the look on their face!

You are awesome. What you did takes a lot of selflessness. I hope someday the world will be filled with people doing things like that everyday.

I did that once back in college, by accident. <br />
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I pulled up at the pump, paid $20 dollars at the cashier, then got in my car and drove away. It wasn't until I was half way home when I realized what happened, had a little laugh at myself and remember thinking "I hope I made someone's day." =]

This is a fantastic story! I'm on board too. While mine isn't as "anonymous" it is, I feel, a selfless act of kindness and love.<br />
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My ex was thrown from a horse before Christmas. I stayed all night at the hospital with her most of the time she was there, sleeping on the floor or in a chair, making sure to wet her lips regularly as she couldn't reach for water or have anything to drink for several days as they thought she might require emergency surgery for internal bleeding. One night I slept on the floor of the chapel since she then had a roommate and they won't let a male stay with a female overnight, and I went to her room every hour to make sure she was comfortable. <br />
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I took her home the day before Christmas and stayed with her there 24 hours a day only to leave to get her groceries and pick up her prescriptions. She's in a hard two-piece brace and needs constant care. Finally, her family put their selfishness aside and has taken over caring for her. <br />
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As expected, once she started feeling better she and I starting drifting back into our usual "friction-filled" relationship, but I was happy to see her feeling back to her old self. <br />
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I feel great about being there for her without expecting anything in return and the fact that I knew at some point she would turn from grateful to ungrateful made it even harder to stay commited, but more rewarding in the end.<br />
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Now we're finally agreed that we won't call on each other anymore and can move on with our lives, so her misfortune turned out to be the catalyst that made that happen.<br />
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Now, to find my next victim for a totally unselfish and loving gesture.

I love it! I have decided to something similar. With every "nice" act that I (or anyone else that wants to be involved) do, I will give them a card that leads them to a website that explains the reason they have been given or aided in some way- to help them believe in ppl once more. My husband is a pastor and I'm hoping 2010 will be the yr that our lil church gets behind something like this and "surprises" much of the community in different ways. I'll keep you all posted re the website, so you can all check it out! <br />
Again, I love your idea!!!

It was a WONDERFUL thing you did & look at what YOU started !!!! Congrats to you Gelyssa . I actually have been thinking of doing the very same thing,notice I said thinking. Now after reading your post I have decided to quit thinking about it & Like the Nike commercials says. JUST DO IT !!!! I am going to the local Dollar store & buy some flower vases,go to the local florist & buy some carnations & baby breath & some other little flowers ,touch up the vases with some decorations. Once a week I will present someone in our town a vase of flowers along with this card I am going to have printed. Live every day as if it was your last chance to make someone happy. I am thinking hopefully it will make someone just smile. That's what I've decided to do. What do all of you think about my idea ??

It's like I told my Kids,<br />
You don't repay kindness you pass it along! Stop and help that person change the tire, etc<br />
Have a Great Day & Remember<br />
"Everyday Above Ground! Is a Good Day" rvc

Thanks for your encouragement guys. I just love hugging the world! Uniquephilosophy, your too late matie;) That moment of kindness has been swept from me now... however the same enthusiasm may just pop up elsewhere so here's to hoping you're around at the time lol!<br />
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Munday, you should be so proud of yourself... aint it selfish to be nice to others? lol<br />
And Bealboy, yeah, I guess to a degree it is an experiment. If I can light the little "nice" fires in a stranger's heart, the hope is that it'll continue and they will start their own also.... crossing my fingers and my toes in hope ;)

I said that this story had enspired me, well since reading it I have cleaned my sister-in-law's home while she was at work. Painted shelves for my Step-Mom, fed my neighbors chickens , took my other brother's dog for a ride - her name is Morning and she loves car rides, gave my Dad's horse a bath...I'm on a roll - just try and stop me...Hecgh, hecgh, hecgh...It does make one feel good.

Most interesting-almost sounds like an experiment.<br />
Glad you saw the petrol station staff had not kept the money.<br />
Will the recipient pass it on?

Hey, y'know what, I think this is A GREAT IDEA...I'm sure its not a new idea but, it sure is nice to be reminded to do things like this. YOU HAVE INSPIRED ME...I am going to start doing things like this and add to group. Lets see how many people we can challange to do "nice out of the blue kind things from strangers".

Contact me personally and I will give you the gas station I go to. J/K. That is awsome, keep up the good work.

While mine wasn't nearly as alturistic, just this morning I was waiting in line in the drive thru of a Star Bucks. Its an odd parking lot so when a lady drove up she really didn't notice that I was there and when I pulled into my rightful slot she thought I'd cut in line. I didn't want her to think that and knew how frustrated I'd be at the entire human race if I were in her shoes with her mis-preception. So when I got to the window I also paid for her order. I've felt good about it all day, knowing that I probably restored someone faith in the human race and put a smile on their face if only for a few minutes.

Lol... nah. As I was driving off the lady that I had paid for was standing at the counter waving over enthusiastically, mouthing "thank you...". So at least I know she actually had passed it on :)

wow! that's really nice of u, but i do think that the guy u gave the twenty to kept it for himself...

Awwww that was such a wonderful gesture ! :D I wish you all the luck and hopefully one day someone will do something spontaniously (sp?) wonderful to you too !