Sometimes it’s the littlest things that can ruin our day – stubbing our toe on a piece of furniture, receiving a photo radar ticket in the mail, or sleeping through our alarm clock. But the littlest things can also make our day through simple, thoughtful gestures.
Near the end of August of last year, I was preparing to start college for the second time. The book list for the fall semester had just been released, so I drove to the college one day and prepared myself to spend a small fortune. I chose to park in the paid parking section that is directly in front of the main doors. There you obtain a parking pass from a yellow ticket-dispensing machine by dropping in a loonie to receive a ticket for 45 minutes of parking time.
I was approaching this machine with loonie in hand when a gentleman in his 40s jogged up to me from the front entrance and told me not to buy a ticket. I was surprised at first until he continued, saying that he just had to pop in quick and barely used 10 minutes of time off his ticket. He said he would just give me his so I could use the 35 minutes that were left. I gratefully accepted his generosity and followed him to his truck. He took his ticket from the dashboard and handed it to me. I held out my dulled loonie in exchange, but he politely declined it. I said thank you, and then he was off. I rarely encounter this kind of generosity from random people, so I was quite surprised when it happened. I went to my car and put his pass on my dash and set off to load my credit card with my textbook purchase.
In the beginning of January of this year, I was off again on my trek to the college bookstore. I approached the ticket-dispensing machine with my loonie at the ready, but this time I was behind someone in line already in the process of getting a pass. Their ticket had just been dispensed when, once again, someone came from their vehicle saying they still had time left on their ticket and wondered if someone wanted it. And once again, I got to be the lucky recipient.
Now, truth be told, I am known to be a lucky person at some of the most opportune times (one of the nicknames my family has for me is “Horseshoes”), but I didn’t think I could go two-for-two with the parking pass thing. I am grateful that these people exist, especially at the college where students invest a lot of money to obtain their education.
I had the opportunity to pass on this gesture this past spring when I was parked in another parking lot at the college and overestimated the amount of time I needed. When I asked the people in line at the ticket dispenser, they were bewildered by the gesture and declined. But as I was making my way back to my vehicle, one of them jogged up to me and said that they would, in fact, take my ticket. I smiled, took it off the dash, and felt a warm feeling inside from doing a good deed.
Have you encountered generosity like this from a random stranger in Lethbridge? Do you make efforts to be generous to people you have never met?