Three Kind Strangers

In a 24 hour period, we had three people step in with simple acts of kindness that were deeply touching and helped keep our heads above the water.

Sometimes your kind act will be lost on the person who is affected by it. But, sometimes your kindness can change the trajectory of a day. Sometimes it can help lighten the load just enough that someone who is struggling is not crushed. And you may never know the impact.

Take the risk to do the nice thing for the stranger. Take an extra few minute out of your day to do the kind thing. Be THAT person.

#1: The Security Guard at the Bank

I’ve written about our bill paying adventures. We took it to a new level this month. First, we only got one paper this month. We kept waiting for the other papers to show up and they never did. So, 10 days late, I went to the bank to pay.

The first bank I went to told me I was at the wrong bank.

After I was at the second bank for about 15 minutes (during which time the person being served went from #205 to #206, I was #221) someone said something in Mongolian that I didn’t understand and then 1/3 of the people promptly stood up and got in line and another 1/3 stood up and left. I’m still not exactly sure what happened but I’ve never seen a line in a bank before, and didn’t know which line to get into or why there were suddenly lines so I left to find another branch of the same bank.

Finally, at the third bank I got my number. I was #349, #333 was being served but there weren’t 25 other people sitting waiting so I thought I’d take my chances though expected I’d be at the bank for at least an hour. After I’d been at the bank about five minutes, the security guard walked up to the guy next to me and asked what number he was. Then the guard slipped him the paper for #334 and took his number (#335) which he then gave to me. So I was now 2nd in line instead of 26th.

When it was my turn, the teller took my piece of paper, looked up my account, pulled an English speaker over who told me their system was down and they could call me when it went back up. So I was unable to pay the bills. And I wonder why there wasn’t a sign saying the system was down (not that I would have understood). BUT I only had to wait 15 minutes before I found that out, instead of an hour. I cannot tell you how grateful I was to have been spared that particular fate (I had already walked over 6 miles, stopped at three toy stores, and two grocery stores in addition to the multiple bank visits).

Thank you, kind security guard. You have no idea what a blessing #335 was to me on Christmas Eve.

#2: The Customer Service Agent

We sometimes order things from Amazon, have them sent to a business in Los Angeles who then has them flown to Mongolia and delivered to our home. It takes longer and costs about $4 per pound, but it’s totally worth it to buy things we can’t otherwise buy in Mongolia.

We had ordered some Christmas gifts from Amazon and hadn’t received them yet. So, as I was walking around Christmas Eve running errands, I was also messaging with customer service. I learned that our order had arrived at customs, that if it was cleared before 7 p.m. we would get a message and could go pick them up but it was impossible for them to be delivered that night (they usually deliver at night but there wasn’t a big enough processing and turnaround time to get them to us that night).

I got this disappointing information in between bank #2 and bank #3 (see above). We got an email at 7:45 saying our package had cleared customs but, by then, it was too late to pick it up. Then, at 9:18 p.m., I got a message saying they were going to deliver the package tonight because it was a Christmas gift and they wanted to do something special for us.

I almost cried. There was no reason for them to be that kind and I’m so glad they were. Mindy got her Christmas presents, and so did LeYanna. They were delivered around 10:40 p.m. on Christmas Eve. (Late evening deliveries are not uncommon here).

#3: The Bi-lingual Advocate

Our toilet flushing mechanism broke Christmas morning. Happy Birthday, Jesus. We could still manually flush it with a shoe string (literally, a shoe string) and did that for most of the day. In late afternoon Cory decided to walk to the hardware district to get the rubber ring we needed to fix it.

The hardware district is several multi-floor buildings crammed with little shops. Most of the shops are smaller than the average walk-in closet and serve you over a counter. You stay in the aisle which is crammed with all the other customers.

Cory had found the part he needed at two shops already but the first two wouldn’t sell just the rubber ring, they wanted him to buy either the whole toilet, or at least the entire internal flushing mechanism. He just wanted the rubber ring. Stubbornly, he began asking for what he wanted at a third shop. The shop keeper also refused to sell the part that he needed by itself.

(side note: refusing to sell parts or modify items is not uncommon. We have tried to order cheese-stuffed-crust pepperoni pizza multiples times at Pizza Hut and they absolutely will not do it. Stuffed crust is only for supreme pizza. We’ve tried ordering supreme pizza with no veggies, ham, or sausage–so pepperoni pizza–and they will not do it).

So, Cory’s at the third shop, a lady stopped behind him, “You speak English?”

“Yes,” replied Cory.

“But not Mongolian?”

“Not enough,” replied Cory. He explained what he needed and she began talking to the shop keeper. It was clear he didn’t want to sell the single part but, after a few minutes, she turned to Cory and said, “1,000 Tugriks,” which is about 45 cents.

Thank you, kind lady, for jumping in to translate. The impact of your gesture was more significant than simply helping us purchase an item for plumbing repair.

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