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"What's the nicest thing a stranger has done for you while traveling?"

"What's the nicest thing a stranger has done for you while traveling?"

Aug 21st, 2019, 09:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 10
"What's the nicest thing a stranger has done for you while traveling?"

"What's the nicest thing a stranger has done for you while traveling?"

EugenesTeam is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,246
A few things come to mind.

1--While in San Francisco by myself with the kids when they were very young. We got on the cable car and had only gone a couple blocks when a taxi minivan ran a red light and slammed into us. We were ok, but many were not. It was a very distressing scene. A lady suddenly was sitting next to me and grabbed one of my kids and sat him on her lap, facing away from the carnage. I grabbed the other child and did the same thing, sitting on my lap facing away. We were not allowed to leave for a long time as we were witnesses. I did not see that lady before the accident occurred, but she was a lifesaver for me at that moment. That was over 20 years ago and I still think of it.

2--I took a train from Nice to Anitbes to wander the market. I had no idea where I was going and asked an elderly lady for directions. She took me there, which I do not think was on her way. She did not have to do that at all.

3--When the kids were young we were in Florence and taking the train to Venice. The hotel made up little bags for each of the kids with blood oranges, soda and a few other things for the train ride. Totally unexpected, but very much appreciated!
mms is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1,357
  • On the train from Grenada to Sevilla, we were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner the following night by a group that included one other expat. It was the first Thanksgiving for a lot of those Spaniards, and they loved it! But as Americans abroad during a big national holiday, we were so happy to be welcomed into someone else's home -- even if the food was very much not turkey and stuffing!
  • In the subway in Tokyo, maybe the least comprehensible city in the world for non-natives; there's the language barrier, but also the fact that Tokyo exists on multiple physical levels -- you're never sure when you're at street level, above or below it! Got GPS? Great -- your pin may be a level above you or 3 levels under your feet. Anyway, in the subway, I asked a shopkeeper how to get to a certain line, and she (sole proprietor of her shop) immediately left her store to walk us on the circuitous 5-minute path to where we needed to be. A bonus: when I bowed to thank her, both she and an elderly lady passing by giggled at me adorably
ibobi is offline  
Aug 21st, 2019, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,587
There have been a number of nice things done for us but the one that stands out the most happened in 2006 on a Tahitian cruise. I made a colossal mistake of booking a forward facing cabin on the smallish (600 feet, 32k tons) Tahitian Princess. The waves picked up and my wife became terribly sea sic as the ship bobbed up and down like a cork. There were no other cabins available for us to shift to either. A crew member who knew how sick she was (she had seen the ships MD) saw her sleeping amidships on the 2nd or 3rd day near the pursers desk as she could not use our cabin. It seemed as if we would have to get off at the next port. Later we heard our names paged and I thought this can't be good. As it turned out this crew member was aware of an amidships mini suite that became available due to one of the passengers becoming ill and he had to be evacuated in port. We snatched that up in no time. An officer met us in our cabin with crew members and they whisked us to the new cabin in 15 minutes. This saved our cruise. I gave him a nice monetary tip and sent a letter to Princess upon our return mentioning him prominently.
jacketwatch is online now  
Aug 21st, 2019, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,553
Several --lots of people who I've asked directions and them actually walking m to the location -- some 3/4 a mile or more.

Or strangers paying for a cocktail or a meal. And lovely woman in Moscow who escorted me probably 20 minutes out of her way on the Metro to make sure I got out at the right station.

But two memorable - both in the UK -- My two friends and I were on the first Virgin Atlantic flight from SFO to LHR after everyone was repatriated back and forth across the Atlantic in Sept 2001. So we were about the first tourists arriving after 9/11. We stayed the first 4 nights in London and then rented a car and drove out to the Cotswolds for a few days before taking the Eurostar from Waterloo to Paris. Absolutely EVERYWHERE we went -- once anyone heard our accents - we couldn't pay for a drink or a meal. We were wined and dined in just about every pub. And when we went to check out of our B&B before driving back to London -- our host's at the B&B would not take our money. They thanks US for coming to the UK and blessed us for our losses.

Less 'moving' but memorable - a couple of years ago I was dining solo at Gordon Ramsey Hospital Road (one of the few Michelin three star restaurants I've visited). During my meal I was exchanging chit chat between courses with the young Swiss couple at the next table. I mentioned it was sort of a Bucket list item for me and I was treating myself for my birthday. They finished their meal and left when I was about 15 or 20 minutes from finishing. When they cleared my main course, the he Maître d'hôtel brought me a glass of Champagne 'on the house' followed by most of the wait staff arriving at the table with a small birthday cake - decorated with roses and my name in icing - the Swiss couple had told the Maître d'hôtel and paid for the glass of champagne and the restaurant had taken an obviously pre made cake and had added my name to the decoration.
janisj is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2019, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,573
Too many to list! But perhaps the most memorable was from a small town outside Pingyao (China), when a growing group of locals became convinced -- incorrectly -- that I was lost. From my trip report:

"Although I had been told to be at that corner by 12:30, I wasn’t sure what time the bus was really supposed to be there. I figured I would wait until 12:45 or 1:00 and then, if the bus hadn’t come, I would return a different way (by taking a minibus to the town of Jiexiu and then a bus to Pingyao). More and more people gathered in the area as I waited and then they began to express concern that I must be lost. I tried to assure them that I was not, that I was waiting for a bus. More and more people came to see what was going on. Eventually, a teenage boy who spoke a little English was brought to me and everyone gathered closely around to hear what we said. By the time I explained, there must have been two dozen people pressed around me. I was ready to find the minibus, and so the young boy and another English-speaker who joined us around that time led me to the place where the minibuses stop, with the entire crowd of people walking behind us and others joining in to find out what was happening. I felt like a Pied Piper, with all these people trailing behind me! Then they wouldn’t let me on a minibus until they were sure there were others who were also going to Pingyao, and they ensured that those people (a group of three young ladies) would make sure I got to Pingyao safely. Then the dozens of people who had become involved in this effort to help me stood and waved as the minibus pulled out. That so many people came to my aid (no matter how unnecessarily) with such kindness and concern and helpful intent is one of my most treasured memories from this incredibly memorable trip. Wow!"

I see that I failed to mention in that TR that the 3 young ladies didn't actually know how to get to Pinqyao - but I did, and we made it safely. And even though I was never lost, I hope these people never know that -- they went to such heartwarming lengths to help a stranger with whom they could not converse! IMO: An awesome example of the kindness of strangers.
kja is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,672
What a great tale, kja, and so well told. Thank you for posting it from your TR - made my day.
MarnieWDC is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,573
@ MamieWDC: It was a tale worth remembering! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
kja is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,718
Turned in my overnight case that I left on the bus from Palermo airport to our hotel.
TDudette is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 132
I travelled around South America for 2 years as a young 20 something in the early 1970s. I splurged on my last night and stayed in a fancy hotel In Bogota, Colombia. I fully enjoyed hot showers and room service. I spent every last peso (I think that was the currency, can’t remember), forgetting that I had to get to the airport the next morning!

I stuck my thumb out in front of the hotel and a taxi stopped. I explained that I had no money and had to get to the airport. The driver told me to get in! He said he travelled around Europe as a kid and wanted to pay it forward, as many folks were very generous to him back then! As I got out at the airport he gave me a handful of coins as a souvenir! I’ll never forget his kindness.
martharap is offline  
Sep 1st, 2019, 05:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 812
In Chengdu in 2006 I was very much in need of a remedy for TD. I don’t remember how I connected with the young man who helped us, but he spent the better part of a morning taking us from place to place trying to find what we were looking for. At a hospital he found an English speaking doctor and from there we were directed to a pharmacy which had a list in English of remedies and their Chinese medicine counterparts. We were able to purchase tiny pills that were a substance I was familiar with as a preservative for lumber! I tipped the helpful gentleman and he stared at the bill I gave him as though he had never seen money before. I doubt it was more than $10. I never used the pills but they became a quirky souvenir, sitting in our medicine cabinet back home for years.

A little off topic but an interesting memory from the same trip, which kja's post brought to mind: We were dining by the window in a restaurant in Pingyao and were amused by some local men staring at us and taking photos through the glass. When leaving we left a tip on the table. The waiter came rushing out onto the street after us trying to return our money, thinking we had simply forgotten it. I suspect now the locals are more accustomed to Westerners and their ways.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2019, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 845
After arriving in the Netherlands we rented a car and drove to Delft. After checking into our hotel we went out to dinner. We chatted with fellow travelers and a very friendly waitress. It was raining that day and we wondered aloud if it was going to rain tomorrow also. The waitress checked her personal phone and told us it was going to be nice. At some point we just happened to mention we were staying just around the corner at ??hotel. Following dinner we wandered around a bit before retiring to our room. In our p.j.'s and readying for bed there was a soft knock on the door. Here was the hotel clerk. Apparently, in a jet lagged fog, my husband had left his credit card in the restaurant and the waitress had brought it to the hotel. We were so happy. It could have been a mess to start the vacation on the very first day by losing the credit card. The next morning we went back to the restaurant to find the waitress, but it was closed. We were only staying the one night, so when we returned home some 3 weeks later I mailed her some euros care of the restaurant. I hope she got it, but I never heard.
Ifnotnow_when is offline  
Sep 8th, 2019, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,921
Three times in a few days, locals in Lisbon took us to the head of a line, not necessary but very kind. First time was at the main post office, second at the take out window for Bom Jardin where we were given the man’s original order, finally waiting to board a tram by a very elderly woman. When I asked why this was happening, I was told they knew we were guests in their country and that is how you treat a guest!
HappyTrvlr is online now  
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