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SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes it just takes a few seconds to make someone's day.
Each week, readers share stories of times someone — seemingly unnoticeably — lent a helping hand.
On taking a few seconds to serve:
"I was in Provo walking from my car to my ex-girlfriend's house and I saw an elderly man driving his mobile wheelchair to a mailbox. He couldn't get his wheelchair over the curb to get to the box and my heart went out to him. Next thing I knew, this kid, 13 or 14 years old, on his longboard comes cruising up, jamming to his music, and politely asked the man if he needed help. The kid promptly opened the man's mailbox, handed him his mail, and took off on his longboard before a thank you could be uttered. Rekindled my faith in humanity."
On setting an example of service:
"While out of work for months, my family's struggles were made lighter by a good neighbor who would buy an extra gallon of milk, loaf of bread, some fruit and some goodies for the children when she went shopping for her family, dropping them by our house. While $10-15 a week was not missed by her family, it made a significant difference to ours in basic subsidence, peace of mind and great dividends in friendship and confidence in humanity.
"One opportunity I had to pay it forward came in line at a store waiting for an individual (obviously hard on luck) who was struggling to come up with enough change to pay for his items. The customer behind him began to show signs of impatience and disgust which caused the cashier to also become uncomfortable. I reached forward and dropped a $10 bill on the counter to cover the items. This made one individual very grateful, relieved the stress of the cashier, silenced a belligerent person (who I hope would find reason to change), and inspired an acquaintance, who oversaw this action, to do the same for someone else later. I of course got the best part because the intangible benefits of service come back tenfold."
On looking past appearances:
"A few weeks ago my fiancee and I wanted to go watch a movie at the Gateway, but we had about an hour and a half till the movie started. We couldn't decide on what to do to pass time, so she asked me if we wanted to make someone's day a little better. She went over to a homeless man who was sitting on the stairs and she asked him if he was hungry. We went into a restaurant, where we were met with angry and spiteful looks by the staff and customers.
"I thought we were there just to pay for his food and leave, but my fiancee wanted to stay and chat. The waitress came to our table, gave us our menus and seemed like she didn't want anything to do with us. All he wanted to eat was soup, a cup of tea and fish and chips. We asked him a few questions and he gave us a brief story of himself. He was a brick layer and after years of hard work his knees gave out on him. The LDS Hospital tried its best to do surgery but the surgery failed to work and after that his life went into a downward spiral into living on the streets after losing his job.
"After we left we still got the same looks that we came in with, but that was one of the best meals we ever had."
On taking the chance to serve:
"I went to a convenience store across the street from where I work and had bought about $7 worth of food for lunch. I quickly realized I'd left my wallet at home. When I told the cashier that I'd forgotten my wallet, this construction worker behind me said he'd pay for it. I politely said 'thanks, but no thanks, it's not the end of the world,' when his fellow construction worker said 'If he doesn't pay for it, I will.' I caved and accepted the first gentleman's generous offer. They were scruffy construction workers with hearts of gold. Made me feel really really good."
Have you seen any moments of service or kindness? Do you want to share a story about something that made your day? Email a brief story (100 words or fewer) along with any photos or video to firstname.lastname@example.org.