Recently, my very loving mother suffered a stroke under the most terrible circumstances. After the stroke, she was life-flighted to Allegheny General Hospital and had a very successful procedure that saved her life.
The stroke left her with the inability to verbally express what her brain wants to say. After she spent three weeks at Harmarville, I moved into her home to care for her.
Each and every day since we arrived home, she tried to express one concern which had, obviously, been on her mind -- her nails. She always had the most beautiful long nails and had worn the now very popular black nail polish since as long as I can remember.
I called the nail salon where I have been a steady customer since it opened -- they knew what had happened to my mom. I asked if it would be possible to make a visit to her home and give her a much needed manicure and pedicure.
Lynn and Ann more than graciously agreed and even made the "house call" for that evening after the nail shop closed. As I was attempting to give Lynn directions to my mother's home, it became obvious that because of the language barrier she was having trouble understanding me. She immediately put a customer on the phone to get the directions who, in turn, explained them to her.
Lynn and Ann arrived that evening and gave my mom her much-needed and desired manicure and pedicure, which had her elated. As I thanked and went to pay them, they told me that the customer who I spoke to on the phone regarding the directions had paid for my mother's manicure and pedicure (and had given them a very generous tip).
They told me she was a relatively new customer and all they knew was that her name was Shelly and she was from McDonald. Not only was my heart touched that Lynn and Ann so quickly obliged while going well out of their way, as if was no trouble (meanwhile it was right before the holiday and a very busy time at the salon), but this very kind woman had provided the true definition of a "random act of kindness" and touched both my mother's and my heart at a time when my heart has been broken.
Thank you, "Shelly from McDonald" and to Lynn and Ann -- you are all very special people and I thank you from the bottom of my touched heart.
I have had six heart bypasses, have two leaking heart valves and diabetes. Last week I began reluctantly dressing to run my snowblower on my 84-foot driveway.
As I was dressing, including nitroglycerin patches, I observed my neighbor, who lives a half-mile away, clearing the snow out of my driveway with his large tractor-driven commercial snowblower. In fact, he cleared everyone's driveway on our country road.
I will not mention his name, because he would not want me to, but everyone on our road knows his name and his unselfish acts of kindness.
We recently had an emergency at the Pittsburgh International Airport.
Coming back from visiting our daughter in California for Christmas, my husband went into cardiac arrest on the escalators going down to baggage claim. It was the most horrifying experience of my life, as he slid down the moving escalator on his back and then got caught at the bottom.
He wasn't breathing while turning blue, and people were stepping over him and going on their way without helping him or me at all. It was unbelievable!
Finally, two wonderful Good Samaritans stopped and administered CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the ambulance and the medics arrived.
The medics shocked his heart into beating again and quickly rushed him to the hospital. He was put on a ventilator and is still hospitalized, but doing better. The doctors told me that these two Good Samaritans saved his life and without them he would not be here anymore.
I've found out the name of one of the gentlemen, who is a county fireman, but have yet to find the other man. It is so nice to know that there are kind people like these in this city and the world, and we will forever be grateful.
The Monday after Christmas was a cold and snowy morning. As I waited outside of the Comcast headquarters in Sheraden, I noticed there were two cars also waiting for Comcast to open at 8:30 a.m.
After taking care of my business and starting to bundle up for my walk back to the West Busway, one of the men who had been waiting earlier asked me where I was going. I told him that I was going to the busway to go Downtown.
He responded by saying, "Come on, get in, I'll take you to town."
His name was Skip, an elderly gentleman, and he took me all the way to Mercy Hospital, where I was going. I am a fairly young man who was obviously not in any distress, yet this man's gesture has once again proven to me why I have always come back to Pittsburgh.
Skip, if you read this, thank you for the educational conversation, advice and, of course, the ride. If everyone would just make a small effort to perform one random act of kindness a day, our lives would all be so much better.
In September, I loaded my two small children in the van to visit the supermarket on Camp Horne Road. I was intending to make this a short trip, as all I needed was a bag of dog food.
We went into the store and purchased a 40-pound bag of dog food and wheeled it in the cart to the van. As I was attempting to lift the heavy load, my diamond ring got caught on the cart. I knew the diamond was gone before I even looked at the ring.
I immediately got down on all fours and was frantically searching for my stone. Much to my amazement, several strangers and employees of the store were also doing the same.
After about 15 minutes, I was convinced it was gone forever. Then a lady who was searching for it found it several parking spaces away from my van. The man who was with her gave me a small plastic bag that sealed.
I did not get her name due to the rush of the moment, and I want to thank her again. I got into my van and cried the entire drive back home. I then had to explain to my children why I was crying. I told them both that the nice lady found my diamond when I thought I would never see it again.
I am happy to report that I recently had my ring fixed and it looks brand new. Thanks again to the lady who found it and to all the helpers I had. It is good to show my children a lesson in helping others.
I am a 75-year-old woman, and I consider myself very healthy and fit for my age. Three days before Christmas, as I was putting groceries in my car in a Robinson parking lot, I fell face down on my chin and incurred a very bloody lip.
In a matter of seconds, I had three wonderful angels at my side asking how I was and if they could help. A woman going into the store with her two young children checked my lip.
An elderly couple who parked next to us immediately took towels out of their car for my bleeding lip. Using her gloveless hand, the wife then put a handful of snow in a plastic bag taken from a loaf of bread she had just purchased and made a cold compress for my lip. They stayed with me for a while to make sure all was well. Before we parted, they put my groceries in the car -- such kindness!
I want these thoughtful and kind people to know how much their concern and acts of kindness meant to me. Had I not had the "snow bag," I would have had a very swollen lip. This act of kindness was truly a Christmas gift.
Has someone done you right? Send your Random Act of Kindness to firstname.lastname@example.org , or write to Portfolio, Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Columnist Brian O'Neill is off today. First Published January 21, 2010 5:00 AM