I was walking to church at 11 a.m. on Dec. 8 in very poor weather conditions. It was snowing to beat the band in Brentwood, and Brownsville Road was a disaster.
I was halfway there while carrying packages when I slipped and fell on the ice. The shock of the fall really stunned me as I went down and landed on my right hand. I could not get up.
A lady came instantly to my rescue. She obviously saw me fall, and no sooner did I turn my head but she picked me up off the ground, drove me to church and let me off at the main door.
This was a beautiful lady in such terrible weather conditions. Her name was Joanne from Carrick. I am truly grateful to her. She was the only one who stopped. She assisted me and went three blocks out of her way in such bad conditions.
What a beautiful angel and Good Samaritan you are.
Christmas for her two children was saved by anonymous donors
My car broke down on my way to work the morning of Dec. 20. The shocks on the back of my truck completely broke off the body and I had to get it towed to the garage.
The mechanic called and told me my repairs would cost $300. I had no choice but to get the repairs done, because I needed the truck to get to work.
The $300 that I paid was the rest of my money I had set aside for my two young kids' Christmas gifts, which I had put on layaway at Kmart in Pleasant Hills. I tried every single payday loan and loan company that I could to make sure my children had a Christmas, and on Christmas Eve, I was approved for a small loan from a church on the North Side. Everything was going to be OK, until about 2 o'clock!
I checked my bank account for the funds, and they were there except they were on hold. I called my bank, and they told me that because I was still in my 30 days of being a new customer I would not have all the funds available to me for another four days!
I did not know what to do, and I cried and cried trying to figure out how my babies were going to wake up with a Christmas in the morning. So Kmart then calls and tells me that a secret Santa had come in and put $100 down on my layaway. I was so grateful for this, and I was able to borrow enough money to get at least some of my layaway out.
I arrived at Kmart around 5 p.m. I was on my cell phone next to the layaway line, talking before going to the cashier. When I handed my ID and my receipt to the cashier, she pulled up my name and said, "Oh my God, do you realize what just happened?"
I was thinking another terrible thing had happened when she says, "The guy who was just standing here while you were standing over there on the phone just paid off your entire layaway!"
I was in such shock that I just stared at the cashier for a moment and then I completely lost it. I could not stand I was crying so hard. I want the person who gave my children their Christmas to know that I am thinking about him every day, and that I am so grateful -- words cannot express what I feel or how thankful I am.
Man from the car behind took care of ATM mishap
One week before Christmas, I went to a bank drive-through to deposit two checks. I fed them into the machine and thought I pushed all the right buttons.
But a receipt popped out saying that my transaction hadn't been completed and that I would have to see someone inside the bank. I went inside and started explaining the situation to a teller.
That's when it got interesting. I heard someone call "Lois?" I turned and saw a man I didn't recognize. I thought maybe it was a colleague of my husband's.
Then I realized that we didn't actually know each other. He was holding the two checks I had tried to deposit. He said he had been behind me in the drive-through and when he got to the window, my checks were in the ATM.
We're all busy, and chances are that he was in the drive-through line to make a quick transaction himself. But this stranger took the time and trouble to find me. When he handed me my checks he remarked that I probably would have had a hard time getting them reissued. How true!
After giving me the checks, my guardian angel left without another word, his mission accomplished. If he is reading this, I want him to know how grateful I am to him for taking the time to help out a stranger.
Four young men gave big assist to a woman in need and her tire
Marian and I have been friends for over 70 years, and we were going to the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill to see a movie.
We parked in front, and since I use a walker, we asked four young men in their 20s to help me get out of the car. They were happy to help.
They mentioned that we had a flat tire on our car. Well, we were really anxious. One young man offered to help if we had a spare tire. After much discussion, he knew the drill and put the spare on our car.
We wanted to give them a reward. They said "No way!" Marian gave them $20 anyway and thanked them profusely. We went on our way, and they left.
When we got home, we found the $20 bill on the seat of the car. We both love Pittsburgh and the people in it. Thank you, fellows -- your parents should be proud!
Two interesting men surprise family by picking up meal check
One had long braids and big arm muscles. The other had a black and gold hat.
I admired the hat because it had a pom-pom on top, stripes across the middle and earflaps. You've got to love a hat like that, and the guy who will wear it. It had personality.
Mostly I noticed that the two of them didn't really talk to each other the entire time they ate their breakfast at Eat'n Park. I thought, yeah, sometimes words between good friends aren't really necessary. They got up to leave and walked to the front, but then "hat" guy turned around and looked right at us and said, "Merry Christmas!"
We returned the greeting. I told him I liked his hat. I thought the "Merry Christmas" was a little odd, thought maybe at least my husband Rick knew the guy from growing up in Braddock, but no. Rick said, "Hey, some people are just excited about Christmas."
It was a little while later that the waitress came over and told us the guys had bought all three of our meals. We were shocked. Humbled. Blessed. Why us? Why then? Who were they? What made them do it?
I realize now the knowing look in hat guy's eyes when he wished us merry Christmas. He knew what they had done, but had the joy of not divulging. Just their secret. It must have felt wonderful.
He didn't know about my day prior, how there was too much to do -- the wrapping, the cooking, the cleaning. He didn't know about the grousing on my part, the wondering if there isn't some better way to "do" Christmas, one without so much stuff. It is not, I am certain, the most wonderful time of the year for many.
It's funny how these things happen, to whom and from whom. If I had met these guys as a woman alone at night walking down the street, maybe I would have been a little worried. Maybe I would have even crossed the street, just to be safe, because one never knows these days.
All day long I lived off the fumes of that moment. Parking lot jammed and full at Whole Foods? No big deal. Miss Blue Toyota Corolla woman stole my parking spot at Bakery Square? Eh. Farm Fresh Juice van parked behind me and I couldn't back up at The Coffee Tree? I waited. Patiently.
So I wished for a merry Christmas for the guy with braids and the hat guy. You will always be a part of my Christmases. Thanks for being what we all should be at this time of year -- gracious.
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.