Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

Another Cup'a Jo by cole scott images

This is a photograph of a man in our town who runs a wonderful little coffee shop. When we first moved here, our entire life savings were on hold for two weeks til the bank "cleared" it for transfer. We had, as I recall, about $110 in cash and we ran through that right away. In those first two weeks, we found office space and set up shop working in the main village. It was lunch time, we were hungry and I took a stroll down the main drag to find a restaurant and order a meal to go. All I had was my credit card.

The first restaurant didn't take credit cards. Only cash. Same with the second restaurant, same with the third. I kept thinking I was in small town hell and I wandered into this fella's place. It smelled like a good old fashioned lunch counter, thick hot cheeseburgers with grilled onions, homemade berry pies, strong coffee. He asked for my order but I told him my story first. No sense wasting his time if his policy was the same as everyone else. He looked me up and down and said,

"I don't take credit cards. What do you want to eat?"

I said "I can't pay you."

He said, "I know you're good for it."

Seriously. He took my order, made our lunch, gave it to me in a paper sack and told me to pay him when the bank transferred the money. I think it was about $11.00.

When the money came in, I was in his place like a shot. We've been friends ever since.

My husband took this photo of him recently in his new place. He is much beloved.

In all the years we've moved around, I've had wonderful encounters with people, particularly in smaller towns. This is one of my favorites.


Megan Munroe said...


While this isn't a comment about your great post, kindness from strangers is a beautiful part of life, I did want to ask if you would be interesting in reviewing a book that we publish, I am from Turner Publishing Company in Nashville and the book is called The Empty Nest Cookbook.

With graduation season is right around the corner, it can be a time of celebration for the students moving in the direction of their dreams, but for the parents can sometimes be a time of loss. Joy Smith, the author of The Empty Nest Cookbook, show parents how to wine, dine and enjoy their newly found free time, after the kids are gone.

If you would be interested in getting a review copy of this title, I would be more than happy to send that to you.

Have a great day,
Megan Munroe
Turner Publishing
Nashville, TN

Megan Munroe said...

My email:

Brian Miller said...

great pic and wonderful story. the small investments we choose to make in the lives of others go along way, and sometimes lead to new friends.

Baino said...

Aww how sweet. It's true, country people still have that wonderful generosity that we city folk tend to have forgotten thanks to our fast paced lives and suspicion of strangers. Very sad.

JGH said...

I love good karma stories like this -- its the little acts of kindness that make a big difference.

Rick Rosenshein said...

Acts of kindness like this remind me that there are still plenty of good people around. Thanks for sharing this great story.

Tanna said...

Good follows good... Your friend is awesome!

ArtSparker said...

The man has a beautiful face, and his cafe looks lovely also. Congratulations on the vacation.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

just got around to the story now (okay I'm a bit behind) what a great story and what a wonderful man - the portrait is perfect - he has a glowing spirit and your hubby captured it!

California Girl said...

Brian: thank you for the nice comment on the photo and my story. I have treasured that story for 12 years but never put it in print.

Baino: Yes, country people. People in small towns. I could never picture someone in LA doing that but I know there are people there who would.

JGH: It is the little acts of kindness, yes.

Rick: You are welcome and we all need to remember there are lots of nice people out there. The media tends to forget that.

Tanna: Thank you. He is awesome.

ArtSpark: I hope my husband passes your comment onto Phil, the man with the beautiful face.

Mouse: Hi Mousie! I have been behind since the beginning of the month. I'm just catching up myself! Thank you.