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Letter to a Stranger

Washington DC Metro Station by pfrench99 on Flickr Dear Man at the Metro Station,

Thank you! I know that all you did was walk out of the Metro station and find the first person who looked like she was going inside to give your Weekly Fast Pass to. Good for a whole week’s worth of Metro rides, you probably bought it to save money on a few days of Metro trips that would have added up to more than the $39 cost of the pass. But done with whatever it was that brought you onto the Metro, and with three days left on the card, you decided to give the pass to whomever you could find that could use it.

That startled-looking blonde girl with the backpack was me. I managed to eek out a “Thank you!” as you handed off the pass and walked away, but it wasn’t until the pass worked in the Metro turnstile that the full force of my gratitude hit me. Of course, you were long gone by that point.

You saved me $16 this weekend, which may not seem like a lot of money to most people, but it is to me! Money is tight in my life right now, but I hardly expected a stranger who knew nothing about me to walk up and hand me the equivalent of $16, right on the street! I truly am at a (hopefully short) period in my life where $16 is a huge difference in my budget.

Maybe this story will reach you, but most likely, it won’t. So this is really a letter to everyone. And it’s not just about Metro farecards. It’s about paying it forward. It’s about finding ways to just help people. And knowing that it may mean more to the people you help than they can express at the time.

Again, thank you!
- Stephanie

14 responses to “Letter to a Stranger”

  1. Linda

    About a year ago I had a short stay in the hospital. My Mother takes care of things for me when this happens so I purchased a week long parking pass to the hospital parking deck so that she wouldn’t have pay for it. I was released after 3 days. We gave the pass to a man going into the hospital (it still had 4 days on it). When I went back for my checkup a week later the receptionist said that that man couldn’t use it but gave it to someone else who desperately needed it. It’s little things like this that make the world a better place. You’re right, pay it forward! How many people just throw these things away! Does it pay to get a pass for parking and/or bus/train services – yes! Even only using the parking pass 3 days cost only the price of the pass. As for the people who benefited from the parking pass – it was the difference between getting through the week or putting a bill on hold. We waste a lot in this country. We’re so used to having so much. I believe that if we start thinking in the direction of “there’s more left here – someone else could use it” and give it away we’ll actually start our thinking in the right direction to be concious of our spending. That’s where everything begins “with a thought”.

  2. Sue

    Over our many “inacarnations” of abundance and lack thereof, I have been the recipient and gifter many times. It is those experiences which have always kept me in the mind to not waste anything if I can help it. Just the other day my father-in-law gave me a Home Depot gift card with $13.81 on it for a return he made without a receipt. (Actually, he felt silly returning the fixture because he thought the amount of money was not worth the effort! I said “Dad, that’s the price of lunch!”) I did not intend for him to “gift” the card to me, but it was nice all the same. I was able to replace broken toppers to my gutters and I have a few dollars left on it!

  3. Miss M

    I love these kinds of stories. Someone found and returned a building pass I had dropped on the streets of LA, it was going to cost me $20 to replace it. Little acts of kindness restore my faith in humanity. I hope your helpful stranger reads your message.

  4. Douglas

    That is a really awesome story. Thank you for sharing it. I think doing small, but meaningful acts of kindness is the best thing you can do for strangers.

  5. Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com

    Steph, don’t forget to pay it forward. These are the small ripples which bring about waves of change in the world. You’re lucky to be part of the greatness!

  6. jj

    I really liked this story. I’ve been the recipient of strangers’ generosity a few memorable times in my life. I can never thank those kind strangers enough. I don’t think I have ever really paid it forward but after reading your post, I think I really must do so in the future.

  7. Sallie's Niece

    Gotta love the kindness of strangers. Every now and then my faith in humanity is restored. Glad it helped you.

  8. Whitey @ diy solar power

    Its these kind of stories that restore your faith in humanity, I hope this person happens to read this post. I have had a number of people give me part used parking tickets and tube passes and it just gives you a warm smile and feeling and i am sure it does for the person giving as well! thanks for making me smile today!

  9. Abigail Johnson

    You will be rewarded sooner or later with your kindness to strangers.
    I love your story. I mean it.
    I also have these thoughts sometimes whenever I am alone in the crowd, watching people as they pass by, observed each ordinary citizen and etc….

  10. Chris

    That was great to share. I tried to leave a Big Tip at the Starbucks drivethough. It ended up blowing away, but I figured, somebody must have needed it more and it was directed where it needed to go.

    cd O)

  11. MK

    I’m not sure if Metro still does one day passes (they used to be $5 for all the rides you could squeeze in a day) but I used to get those all the time if I had a lot of stops downtown, and if it was still early enough in the day when I was done with it I’d pass off my one day pass to someone coming into the Metro many times. It felt nice to bring a little bit of happiness into someone’s day, and I’m glad to know there are still people in the DC area that do this sort of thing. Congratulations on your good fortune!

  12. Charley Zero

    I really like your story. It inspired me to do the same, too. I agree with you about paying it forward and finding ways to help other people. Even small acts of kindness mean a lot to others. Keep it up and continue inspiring other people.

  13. Niccole @ star wars babble

    I really enjoyed reading this short story Stephanie and I agree small acts of kindness do mean a lot to people, just as 16 dollars means a lot to you.