Thank you, stranger

by Lindsay on July 30, 2010

in Attitude, Kindness

A few months ago I was having what I’d consider to be a grouchy day. It was in the middle of winter and in Toronto, that means short, frigid days. Oh and usually, lots of snow. I was standing in line for my afternoon coffee when I accidentally brushed up against the stranger in front of me. She simply smiled and turned back around after I apologized. After I ordered my coffee, the kind stranger in front of me turned around and told me my coffee was on her today – she wanted to spread some joy. This simple act of smiling and then treating me to a coffee turned my grouchy day into nice one. This girl went on to become a casual friend of mine – we still talk to this day. We work in the same building. She’s no longer a stranger, but she was at the time.

A couple of months later, the weather turned nicer (albeit slightly). I saw a man holding a sign that said “I’m hungry, can you help?” Most people turned a blind eye to him – we all know the preconceived notions we carry in regards to people on the streets. I do it most of the time, too. I offered this man my lunch (it was one of those rare days I actually packed my lunch). He was so incredibly grateful. He thanked me and although I didn’t need his gratitude, it felt good. That same day, my friend offered to treat me to a nice lunch.

The lesson here is layered. One: the kindness of a stranger should never be underestimated – you can make someone’s day with a simple smile. Many-a-day my day has been brightened by a smile from someone I don’t know passing me on the street. Two: the feeling of making a stranger’s day – without expecting anything in return – is a feeling that can fill your heart with joy. It is when we do for others and expect nothing in return that we often feel our best. Three: sometimes, a stranger can turn into a friend.

I’m going to make it a point today to make a stranger’s day a little bit brighter – all it takes is a smile. Even in this sometimes icy city of Toronto, people appreciate a smile from time to time.

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” ~ Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Patti July 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Love you, lovely daughter. 🙂

Lightworker July 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I also enjoy spreading joy 🙂 thanks for sharing

36x37 July 30, 2010 at 11:24 pm

What a lovely post. It’s so easy to forget we’re all connected. Small kindnesses like the ones you’ve described are really what it’s all about–helping each other out, paying it forward, remembering we’re all in this together. It makes me think of the stories you hear on the news now and then, where one person buys the stranger behind him a starbucks, and it sets off a chain reaction of strangers buying each other drinks.

So then you’ve inspired me. Maybe I’ll start my own Starbucks domino effect tomorrow. If it works, I’ll be sure to report it back to you!

Thanks for stopping by 36×37 yesterday. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

Nicholas Tangaroa October 11, 2011 at 7:00 am


I absolutely love..and enjoyed this post! I love giving to people, without any expectation:-D It feels soo good.

After giving a little, I started giving by donating.. And things generally rolled from there. I don’t earn a lot, but I realised after a while.. If I have money to go to the movies, or buy clothes.. I have sure got money to donate a small amount each week.

Thank you for re-affirming this!


Lindsay October 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

Nicholas you are so sweet! I am finding that when I am more generous (even if I’m just giving a small amount or doing something that doesn’t cost me any money), then more goodness comes my way, too. Win – win! Keep it up and come back sometimes and let me know how you’re doing!

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