Random acts of kindness: Strangers always make certain wheelchair user enjoys outings

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My husband and I experience random acts of kindness offered by caring Pittsburgh folks almost every day. We are senior citizens, and I am in a wheelchair.

In an effort to prevent myself from becoming a "house plant," we try to get out of the house and go somewhere every day. That means my husband must get the wheelchair out of the trunk, help me into it and then navigate entrances to stores, restaurants, theaters, etc.

Everywhere we go, people go out of their way to help us with those difficult, heavy entrance doors. These kind, generous people (young and old, men and women, black and white) treat me like a "rock star." When I thanked one young man for helping, he told me I deserved it and gave me a high five.

These good people offer their help with smiles and kind words. Thank you to all you wonderful Pittsburghers.



Customer short of good sleep was jolted awake by generosity

Today I found myself having to get up at 3:30 a.m. to be on time for work.

My wife worked until midnight, which presented two sleeping problems. First, I have a difficult time sleeping without her by my side. Second, picking her up at midnight breaks my sleep into two parts.

So I got up (reluctantly) after very little sleep, dressed for work and stopped at Sheetz for my usual chicken strips and nacho cheese and two bottles of pop to get me through the day. Today I added a 6-inch sub for a more wholesome lunch later, a Mountain Dew Kickstart and a candy bar -- and for the love of all things holy I needed a couple of 5-hour Energy drinks.

My total was $22 (and change). When I swiped my debit card (I'm not big on cash), the lady behind the counter told me the card readers were non-functional today, and she asked if I had cash. I'm only about half-alive at that point and start stuttering and figuring I'd go to an ATM and pay some outrageous fee to get money out.

Before I could speak, a man stepped from behind me at the counter and said, "I'll pay for his stuff." I go, "Wait, what? No, that's all right," and he looked at the lady and added, "Put a pack of Marlboro Menthol Lights on that, too."

He laid down $22 in cash and said, "I only have this," so the lady looked at me again. I was still in utter shock, honestly, but I snapped to and said, "Uh, oh, just take the drinks off." So after losing the bottles of pop, the total was $23 and something, and the lady behind the counter said, "I'll put in $1.24" by using change from the give/take-a-penny tray.

The man doing the paying told me I looked like a machine gunner and said that's what he was in the military. I told him, "I thought about it but never enlisted." I really had a hard time conversing because I was still in shock. We shook hands, and I thanked him, and he smiled and left. I retrieved my food and went on my way as well.

Because of expenses from an insurance bill, grocery shopping, gas and a birthday present for my wife, I was already running on "emergency funds" and shouldn't be spending money at Sheetz right now, but being a truck driver I can't afford to be half asleep at the wheel either.

This person (and the lady behind the counter, too) made a huge impact in my life today. I don't think they realize how much what transpired means to me. Today I was shown (if not reminded) that there are kind, honest, loyal, fun and generous people in the world, which is a magical thing.



Help from others avoided any new incident with tire

I thank a young man who stopped me Jan. 31 outside of REI in the SouthSide Works. He informed me that my tire was a little low.

I had another flat tire two weeks ago that needed to be replaced, and this kind young man saved me from having to buy a new tire. My wonderful neighbors brought over a compressor and refilled the tire so it wouldn't be damaged, and my wonderful garage resealed it in under at hour without charge.

I find myself fortunate to be surrounded by so many kind people.


Squirrel Hill

Has someone done you right? Send your Random Act of Kindness to page2@post-gazette.com, or write to Portfolio, Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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