The Charms and Kindnesses of Strangers


One day in late August of 2007, I decided that it was the perfect temperature to wear this quirky little vintage 1960’s mossy acid-green taffeta shift dress I own. It’s an amusing little dress, but I didn’t want to have to layer it with too many cardigans or jackets, and I wanted to be able to wear it without sweating too much, the dress being taffeta and all. I wore it with a little red belt and my little red flats, and a vintage 1950’s little feathered headpiece. I looked, I thought, pretty darned smashing. I was waiting on the subway platform for my second train, the F, when I decided to pull out my old little clam shell cellphone and check the time (because of *course* the trains were running slow, and I was on my way to work). I did this sort of thing all of the time. Oh, but this time was different; because, you see, somehow my little phone managed to slip out of my hands and jump(!) onto the subway tracks.

I was flabbergasted and I’m pretty sure I stood there in slack-jawed shock along with some fellow future passengers for a good minute or two. And then I peered over the edge and pondered jumping down to grab it (being my only phone and the container of most all of my phone numbers, I couldn’t particularly fathom just leaving it). I didn’t think it’d be a big deal, as I was the kind of kid that liked to climb on stuff and can still be found perching on whatever counter tops I won’t be yelled at for sitting on. I was just kind of peeved that this sort of thing had to happen when I was wearing a particularly sensitive sort of get-up.

“Oh, no. Don’t you think of going down there.”, one observer announced, and I gulped as others nodded their heads and chirped in agreement. An older woman told me to go on up to one of help desks or find an MTA employee and make them fetch it for me. So, up and down the stairs I went, up and down halls and corridors, stressing out about being late for work and being all sweaty in my dress (I’m not usually such a priss, I just didn’t want stains on my taffeta dress) and I couldn’t find anyone. Not a single MTA employee. Except for maybe the one on the train that passed over my phone as I watched in horror, though fortunately it came out unscathed. A good 20 or so minutes into the ordeal, I started to feel a little panic-y. I just wanted my phone and to get to work. I pondered calling one of my parents from the pay phone so that they could call my work and tell them I was running late (theirs are among the few I have memorized as they haven’t changed), and I pondered just going down there and getting it myself.

Surely, it couldn’t be that big of a deal and it didn’t look like a train was coming soon. I thought that I might need a bit of a hand getting back up, but there were people around. No problem, I tried to convince myself: “You’re a totally awesome and capable independent woman,” I lectured, “You can do this yourself.” Feeling all plucky in my feathered hat I stared down plotting my approach.

Out of the blue a voice asked, “Is that your phone down there?” and I nodded forlornly to a tall man in a yellow shirt. And before I knew it, he’d lept down onto the tracks and was grabbing my phone! He manged to get back up with a bit of a hand (this was the point that I realized that had I gone down there myself, all 5’1 1/2″ of me I’d have been kind of screwed), as I kept checking to make sure that no trains were coming. And he handed me my phone! All nice and safe! I was so very touched that a stranger would jump onto the subway tracks for me, and since I didn’t know what else to do I attempted to offer money, because, hey, I was really really thankful. I wish, instead, that I had one of these little pocket-sized cards to give:

It’s just one of the cards in a business card sized little book/project called Thank you, too by Hugo and Joachim

It comes with 30 little cards, 5 postcards and a stamp. Give one to an applicable stranger,  a friend, or leave one somewhere to be discovered:

you are beautiful. thank you.
i like your smile. thank you.
you inspired me. thank you.
you challenge me. thank you.
you are modest. thank you.
we are all in this together. thank you.
you stopped the time. thank you.
you brought the sun. thank you.
you rock. thank you.
you make me smile. thank you.
you’re different. thank you.
you made me think again. thank you.
you saved my life. thank you.
you changed my mind. thank you.
you idiot. thank you.
you were in my life. thank you.
i feel like a kid. thank you.
i felt love today. thank you.
it’s beautiful here. thank you.
you doubt. thank you.
you wonder. thank you.
i love the way you turn the page. thank you.
you found me. thank you.
you made me laugh in the rain. thank you.
you dream. thank you.
you keep surprising me. thank you.
it’s nice that you are here. thank you.

It’s a charming idea, I think, to being able to spread a little kindness, respect, humor, and appreciation. Never a bad idea to encourage random acts of kindness. :)

Go to their site to purchase the cards, and submit your own thank you’s.

Thanks to Yatzer’s older incarnation Kostasvoyatzis for the images and extra details. Otherwise, I’d be stuck using a little picture taking from my phone, as the site was hard to use pictures from.

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