The other night I was on my way home from a hectic day and failed to notice that I was low on gas.
As I was driving up Forsythe Road in Scott, the car just quit. Since it was 5 p.m,, you can imagine the traffic backed up behind me.
Within minutes, a young couple in the car right behind got out to help me. She was wearing a hijab and he had a beard, and they both had a very calm and comforting demeanor. He instructed me to put my window down, and then he pushed the car while also turning the steering wheel, which I wasn't able to turn.
They managed to push me into a church parking lot and then pulled their car in after mine. I didn't have a phone with me, so they gave me theirs and showed me how to use it, politely stepping away to give me privacy as I called my son.
I'm 87, and every day I'm thankful to have my children's support when I need them. But on this day, I was also grateful to meet two such kind young people who are part of a new generation of Pittsburgh residents. You can be sure I will be forever thankful and I will pay it forward.
A lost driver's license gets back to its owner
I was parking on Smallman Street in the Strip on Nov. 16 when my wallet fell out of my purse and several cards spilled into the street.
I gathered them together and returned what I thought was all of them into my wallet. Several days later I received an envelope in the mail from the Marriott City Center at Washington Place with my driver's license in it. A note with it said, "This was found at our hotel, and we just wanted to return it to you," signed "Kathy."
To the person who found my license and in some inexplicable way left it at the Marriott, I am more than grateful. As for Kathy, thank you so much for returning it to me. I had no idea I had lost it.
Your kindness made my day and reinforced that there are wonderful, kind people in this city who care. That is what makes Pittsburgh so great.
IRIS AMPER WALKER
Stanley in checkout line made a customer's day
I was in the checkout line at the Giant Eagle on Rodi Road in Penn Hills on Nov. 18, and the gentleman in front of me started speaking to me.
He had to be one of the most thoughtful, kind people I have had the pleasure to talk with. He spoke about his grown children and how well they have done. He said he has been abundantly blessed and that he likes to share with others, which he did that day by insisting on paying for my items. I was so surprised -- I really experienced a random act of kindness that day!
His name is Stanley, and I just want him to know how grateful and blessed I felt. Hopefully, he will see this and know that he is truly one of a kind.
Motorist ignored her own troubles to offer an assist to others in need
I own a hospice in Imperial, and one morning I had a patient in my truck when my brake line broke while driving through Robinson.
After a frightening moment, I got the vehicle stopped. It had to be towed to a garage nearby, and I was left there holding up my elderly patient standing on the street while waiting for a family member who had not yet arrived.
The loveliest woman then stopped to see if she could help. I told her my brother was right around the corner and on his way. He did not arrive for 15 minutes, but that lovely woman sat in her SUV across the street and waited anyway until he arrived. Just knowing she was there was comforting.
Thank you, Elaine. I still smile now weeks later that in the hurried world in which we live there are people like you. Stop crying -- you are precious.
Exciting football game put on hold for welcome return of wallet, phone
I was at the Pitt-North Carolina football game at Heinz Field on Nov. 16, and Pitt had rallied from 27-3 down to make it 27-20 when my cell phone started vibrating. It was my daughter.
"Dad, a woman named Vicky called and said she found Mom's wal--" Roar! Pitt had recovered a fumble. "I can't hear you," I told her. "Let me call you back."
I hustled to the indoor concourse and heard another roar as Pitt tied the game with about eight minutes left. I called my daughter, who said, "A woman named Vicky called and said she found Mom's wallet and phone on the side of the road near the bike trail in Millvale. What should I do?"
I had her text me Vicky's number. Martha's wallet and phone had probably fallen out of her bike bag or jacket while riding when I was at the game. It was possible she was still on the trail, oblivious to the fact she was missing her phone and wallet, or maybe she knew and was frantically looking for them. After 25 years of marriage, I knew what I had to do.
I called Vicky, who luckily was still near the trailhead. I told her where I was and where my wife might be and said, "Why don't you come toward Downtown, and I'll start walking from Heinz Field, and we can meet, and maybe even run into Martha."
About 20 to 30 minutes later, near the former Heinz warehouse, there was Vicky. I felt a little guilty -- I'd assumed she was biking, but she was walking, too.
Neither of us saw Martha, but Vicky had Martha's bike bag with her phone, wallet, spare tube and other items still in it. I told Vicky I'd like to give her something for her troubles. She refused with a smile.
I thanked Vicky and said, "Maybe this will make 'Random Acts of Kindness.' " She chuckled. As we both turned to go our separate ways, I asked, "Vicky from where?" "Shaler," she said.
So here's your Random Act of Kindness, Vicky from Shaler. You made my wife's day -- she just had a feeling someone would find and return it. (Pittsburghers are that way, you know.) You made mine, too. I got to leave the game on a high note and not suffer through a long punt return that resulted in a 34-27 loss.
Mother of child with disability receives a surprise in restaurant
I have traveled to the Pittsburgh area once a year for several years to accompany my severely mentally challenged daughter to medical appointments. I fell in love with your city the first time I was there and manage to find something new to enjoy every time we visit.
The city itself is beautiful, but so are the people -- they're kind, caring, compassionate. But something on our last visit humbled me beyond words.
We had dinner at Bahama Breeze in Robinson on Halloween. When the couple sitting next to us got up to leave, I noticed the woman went out the front door, but the gentleman made his way to the back of the restaurant where I saw him talking with my waiter.
I knew my waiter had not been his waiter and was afraid he might be complaining about my daughter. For the most part, Kali has learned to behave in restaurants, but, on occasion, she can be distracting. I was afraid this gentleman was not pleased about having to sit next to us.
When their conversation ended, my waiter approached our table and said, "I have some awesome news. The gentleman who was sitting in the booth next to you just paid your dinner bill."
I was dumbfounded! It seems the gentleman told the waiter he wanted to "perform a random act of kindness" and thought I looked like I had my hands full.
I only had the opportunity to knock on a window next to my booth and wave to the gentleman as he and the woman faded into the night. I so wish I been able to tell him how very special he made me feel that evening. And, if he does read this letter, I want him to know that I have made it a point to pay forward his most gracious act of kindness, many times over.
Has someone done you right? Send your Random Act of Kindness to email@example.com, or write to Portfolio, Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.