kindness of strangers

The Simple Kindness of a Stranger

I bought a ticket to Ireland when I was 24 (I’m from California) for my boyfriend and I.

We didn’t have much money, and planned on couch surfing but everything was a bust because nobody wanted to put up a couple, even though we were willing to work.

Our departing flight was in three months (I really wanted the whole experience), so I decided that Ireland wasn’t working out and bought two tickets on a ferry to France.

As we are disembarking in Cherbourg, we meet a lovely young man from Berlin and a sweet guy from Poland. We all decided that we needed to find the nearest train to Paris, and surprisingly, I was the only one who knew a little French (and we all agreed it was rude not to ask in French). I asked for directions, the German guy helped us figure out the ticketing and the Polish guy knew of a great cheap hostel in Paris.

kindness of strangersWe all stuck together and got to know one another for the long train ride and walks through town. We stayed in the same hostel for a few days, stayed up late sharing drinks and rolled cigarettes, laughing and joking. Eventually the Polish man had to go home, so it was just us and the Berliner.

He asked what our plans were, and we said we had no plans whatsoever. He invited us to Berlin with him to stay in his flat. We took an overnight bus through Belgium (sadly that was all I saw of it) and we were there!

He helped us until it was time for us to return home. He housed us (or helped us to find affordable sleeping arrangements), he coached us in German, he took us to parties, we even ate Christmas dinner with his best friends mom and dad (it was amazing!) At the end, he got his grandfather to drive us to the airport for our connecting flight back to Dublin.

He was truly a selfless, amazing human being.

I feel so bad, even to this day, that I couldn’t do more for him. My boyfriend at the time was a taker, not a giver, kind of your classic couch guy. The Berliner had been in Ireland in the first place because he was “woofing”, or volunteering on a farm, so that he could better his English. He was just the truest example of a good, decent human being.

I’ll find him again one day, when I have a bit more money, and invite him out to California and put him up and show him around for three months, all expenses paid by me :’)

~ by blueeyedconcrete

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9 thoughts on “The Simple Kindness of a Stranger

  1. Lovely story. Our society needs to learn to accept the gifts of kindness without expecting to repay. Sometimes we just need to learn to accept unconditionally. Until then, we can never give unconditionally because we will always expect repayment. Give from the heart, not from obligation.


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