Archive for Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letter: Happy gesture

October 21, 2012


To the editor:

An amazing experience happened to me Wednesday! After a problem-filled day, I went to Dillons on 23rd Street. I saw a couple picking out pumpkins for Halloween. We discussed the holiday and how beautiful the pumpkins were this year. When I came out of Dillons, to my surprise there was a pumpkin by my car. The note said “Happy Halloween!  Have a pumpkin on us!”

You made my day. You put a smile on my face and in my heart. It is a  wonderful world, when complete strangers reach out to make someone’s day special. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I hope this note reaches you. 


buffalo63 5 years, 6 months ago

Great letter and it made me smile. Repay it forward!

Clara Westphal 5 years, 6 months ago

That is a great happening. One Christmas I was waiting in line to pay for my groceries. The clerk said I didn't owe anything because someone had already paid for them. I asked the clerk who and he said the man had already left the store. I didn't have a chance to thank him but I was grateful for what he had done.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 6 months ago

In memory of my younger brother (1957-2000) that I had a dream about just last night, I'll repeat a story I know he'd toss into this thread if he were with us today!

True story, or my younger brother said it was anyway, and it happened in Denver, where a lot of people don't know their neighbors:

A man went to his car one morning and attempted to start it to go to work. The engine wouldn't even turn over, as though the battery was completely dead. So, he looked under the hood to see if he could see anything wrong. There was no battery at all. It had been stolen, right there in his own driveway!

He had a new battery put in, and there was nothing out of the ordinary for a few weeks. And then one morning, he went to his car and noticed that there was an envelope tucked under the windshield wiper of his car. He opened it, and inside was a very polite apology for stealing his battery, and the writer explained why he had done it.

The note explained how he hadn't had a job for a while, and finally got one, but the battery in his car was bad so he couldn't get to his new job, and there was no money for another one, so he stole the battery. And he felt really bad about it, and now he did have some money, and here's two tickets to the Denver Broncos football game in a couple weeks, I hope this makes up for it.

Well, the man was very happy about that, sure, tickets to the Denver Broncos, that was great! And he didn't even know who had given the tickets to him.

So, he and his wife attended the Denver Broncos game, to make up for the stolen battery.

After the game, they went home, and the very second they opened the front door, something was very wrong. They had been moved out! Absolutely everything had been removed from their house!

So they called the police, and an investigation was done. But, the only results of the investigation was that a few of the neighbors had noticed a moving truck in the driveway, and workers hauling everything out and loading the truck. No one thought a thing of it, they thought they were moving away.

The case was never solved, and nothing was ever recovered, is the way it was described to me.

Katara 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow. Way to crap all over this lady's nice letter about a positive experience she had.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 6 months ago

Like I pointed out, that is exactly what my little brother would have thought of! I do have another story that's a much more positive one. Maybe I should post it, I'll think about it.

But, it might be helpful for some people to be made aware that sometimes there's something not so pleasant behind what appear to be well intentioned actions. That posting should be viewed as a cautionary tale. That's the way my little brother presented it, and it appears that I didn't make that perfectly clear.

There's something in the news a whole lot in some places, but I haven't seen it in Lawrence though. It's really bad, and that's when people get home from a family member's funeral and find out their home was burglarized while they were there. In some places, it's a very good idea to have a house sitter during a funeral, because it's made public exactly when a home is likely to be unoccupied.

But from reading the site lately, it appears that the burglars don't even care if you're home or not.

happyrearviewmirror 5 years, 6 months ago

Kindly just don't reach out to complete strangers by singling them out for discriminatory reasons! This behavior often masks itself as friendliness and concern, but it often puts others in the uncomfortable position of pretending they welcome your uninvited, often offensive and patronizing "kindness" or subjecting themselves to the foul name-calling and unpleasant language when it's suggested that busybodies are unwanted and perhaps should learn to mind their own business. Don't know sort of Orwellian non-souls cannot recognize the difference between harming others in the name of self-serving "kindness" and brightening their day with a smile

For instance, I was threatened with being beat up by the girlfriend of a homeless man downtown simply because I declined his unwanted attentions. Most people these days don't need or want to be walked across the street. This is not the 1800's anymore My unfortunately quite numerous interactions with strangers in Lawrence usually terrified and infuriated me. I don't know what kind of yahoos are such poor people readers that they fail to recognize the obvious signs of fear and nervousness in others. It's possible but unlikely that we will click with strangers. Personally, I like to choose friends with common interests, which makes most Kansans unlikely candidates. Once decent social boundaries are rudely violated the chances of civil and friendly conversion are virtually nil. Courtesy, and a bright cheerful attitude are all that is wanted from strangers. Aggressive intervention is offensive and frightening. People who grab strangers or their belongings in the name of being helpful are guilty of assault. Call the cops on these people and give generously to Stop Street Harassment in the hope that someday Southerners and Lower-Midwesterners will learn to show better respect for the equality and dignity of everyone. Stop blaming the victims of stranger assault. That equals vindictive, crazy southern-justice. The lying, retaliatory HR people and the lawyers and cops they have in their pockets at KU do this all the time.

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

Thank you, Ms Oldham, for reminding us that a small act of kindness can have such a positive result. Just a smile and hello from a stranger can make me smile and I try to do the same to people I meet.

You have spread goodwill by sharing your story.

begin60 5 years, 6 months ago

Everyone deserves to feel safe on the streets. Those who regard it as socially acceptable to approach and aggress on unarmed strangers make this unlikely, especially since the issue often involves youngsters, women, the elderly and those perceived to have physical limitations-- in a word, it's often nothing but offensive bigotry. It's wrong for Kansas, MO and Southern-like ignorant parents to raise their kids to approach strangers on the street with a mindless, scripted, insulting question like, "Need help?" People like this might as well be robots. They must have a fricking, one-size-fits all chip in their heads that causes them to react the same way in every situation. Sure does obviously make them feel entitled and self-important to get up in people's business and terrorize strangers though.

It takes brains and understanding to contribute to the world. Anyone who lacks the intellectual capacity to question the political and safety implications of singling out strangers on the street for unwanted attention belongs in the Kansas hall of prejudice. Based on casual observation of this culture of busybodies it does seem like a pretty long and roomy hall though likely still not as crowded as US prisons. Please help stop street harassment!

begin60 5 years, 6 months ago

Everyone does not have the same story. Publishing these types of accounts might seem heartwarming, but it also encourages copycats, and the truth is that many if not the majority of stranger-on-stranger encounters are far from pleasant. Not everyone interprets being approached by strangers as an expression of good will. In this day and age it's often a threat.

No one but the devil deserves to be the object of prejudice in the guise of good manners that is so widely accepted in KS. It's nice for those behaving like this to believe they are "helping," but good intentions without good judgment and a measure of competence often lead straight to heck. How many times is Lawrence, KS noted on the national street harassment map? It may not be a badge of honor.

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