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Day 207: Random Acts of Travel Kindness


lost with mapIt only takes one kind person on our travels to take a crappy experience and turn it around. It’s because of those people, the nice ones that go out of their way, that we find our hostels or are helped to find the right bus when the other ones would otherwise take us to the middle of nowhere.

I remember the time I was helped in Poland by a young man who went all the way to buying a bus ticket, escorting me to the right stop and refusing to take money for the ticket he had to buy because of it.

I remember the time the taxi driver in Bishkek went out of his way to help me find my marshrutka, and then proceeded to negotiate on my behalf the proper going rate.

I remember the time the Ukrainian woman who couldn’t speak English pointed me in the right direction when I had to catch a bus and then a train in order to get to my hostel in the city (pre-Russian days).

These people are rock stars in my book as they all took the time to give a little bit extra for some random foreign girl. They could have easily just continued walking on their way, brushing me off as if I didn’t exist. I wish I could give them all a high five right now.

My question to you is: Have you had some amazing experience with a random act of kindness on your travels? I’d love to hear about it!


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23 Responses to Day 207: Random Acts of Travel Kindness

  1. Lia July 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Ah, yes I agree with you. When I went to different country, I thanked everyone who had helped me, as you said, they could have continued walking on their way. Meeting these kind people is also a happy thing while traveling. 😀

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      It only takes one nice person to make a great memory and travel experience. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Odysseus Drifts July 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Yes! Too many times to count, kind strangers have helped me. That’s what makes me love people.

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:34 am #

      People are pretty cool 🙂

  3. kate | transatlantic sketches July 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    One incident that always comes to mind when I think of mid-travel random acts of kindness took place in Paris, which doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to hospitality towards tourists, especially Americans. Nonetheless, it was the last day of my cousin’s and my trip to Paris, and the only sight we hadn’t been to yet was Saint-Chapelle. And it was pouring rain.

    We were determined, though, and we were carrying our bags through the downpour on our way when lo and behold, a dapper old man came up beside us and offered us room under his umbrella. He walked with us for a couple of blocks, speaking to us pretty merrily in French, although to this day I can still only guess what he was talking to us about, and then bowed and tipped his hat (I kid you not, this happened) when we had to part ways.

    What a gentleman! That was three years ago, and we’re still talking about it. Hurrah for the French!


  4. EER July 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Definitely yes, although I am more often than not the giver instead of the receiver. I seem to give the impression that I always know where I’m going (and I usually do, vaguely). I have helped people find their hostel, trains, metros or sights in Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, Montreal, Oslo, Venice and probably more places that do not come to mind straight away.

    On the other hand I myself have been surprised by the excellent English of a random girl I asked for directions in Budapest, the friendliness of two random girls I met while cycling about lost in Yangshuo (ending up at some party).

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:33 am #

      It’s good that you look like you know you’re way – keeps you inconspicuous! 🙂 Kudos for helping other travelers. Good karma 🙂

  5. laura July 28, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    While a buttery popcorn flavored jelly bean does sound bizarre now that I’ve thought about it, when I first read the words “buttery popcorn” my mouth watered. France doesn’t like buttery popcorn. All they serve around here is kettlecorn. And while I do like kettlecorn, I prefer my popped corn to be covered in butter. Especially at the movies. I had an unhappy surprise the first time I got popcorn in the theaters over here. But like you said, I learned from my mistake!

    I think the best way to learn a new language is to get out there and make lots of embarrassing mistakes! It helps you remember in the future, for sure.

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:21 am #

      Interesting… I do like kettlecorn but it can be a shock when you’re expecting our buttery/salty fave! I agree about getting out there and making mistakes as being the best way to learn!

  6. Audrey July 28, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    When my friend and I got lost driving in France, a man went out of his way to help us out. We followed behind his car as he drove into the city for 2 complete strangers. 🙂

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:20 am #

      Gotta love experiences like those 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  7. Joshywashington July 28, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I walked for hours and didn’t know where I was. The sun was dipping into the sea soon and the light is golden and beyond the next tree line dinner was being prepare in dozens of homes. The village had no restaurant and only 2 citizens that spoke English…

    some how they found me, wandering, hungry, ill prepared and called me up to their 3rd floor patio. Sparrows flit and wine is poured. The 2 of them are in their 70’s, teachers from America, spending the twilight of their life on the Amalfi coast in a home held by their family since 1785.

    They fed me well, a stranger, and kept my cup full.

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:30 am #

      Wow, quite the story! Thanks for sharing! That’s amazing when you find people (or when people find you) like that!!!

  8. Christine July 28, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Don’t know if it really counts, but I remember having an awful day in Munich, Germany–why, I can’t remember–and then I passed a group of people in the main square holding up “free hug” signs. I didn’t get one, but that totally made me smile and completely brightened my day!

    • Brooke July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am #

      Haha awe the free hugs people! Now that is all about giving to strangers. How cool is it that it made you happy without any hug whatsoever 🙂

  9. Chris July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    When I was in Fukuoka to do a visa run for Korea, I was hopelessly lost and trying to figure out where I needed to catch a bus to reach the international ferry terminal. Having been lucky enough to bump into a lot of English speakers in my time there, I approached a friendly looking busnessman and asked him where a certain bank was. I knew that the stop was in front of it.

    Not speaking English but knowing I wanted a bank, the kindly gent frantically tried to use hand gestures to show me. His bus was arriving, but he saw that I didn’t understand, so waved it away and lead me two blocks to a bank.

    It was the wrong bank, sadly, but I thanked him all the same and gave him an Aussie souvenir I happened to have on me. He ran off and I eventually managed to stumble to the right place and get the bus.

    • Brooke July 29, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      That guys rocks! I’m so glad that you at least had something to give him in return. There are so many people I feel like I owe something to but would not take money in return.

  10. Kaitlin Fisher July 28, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    I recently wrote a post about a random act of travel kindness. You can read it here if you are interested:
    We met a man in Ravello, Italy who spent most of his day showing us around and giving us an inside view into this life. I love reading about everyone’s experiences!

  11. Lou July 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    I found Japanese people so nice & helpful. In Tokyo especially. Randomly people would say to us “Welcome to my country” on the street. A very nice man escorted us all the way across Shinjuku station in rush hour when we looked lost one morning. All the time wearing a facemask – surreal!

    But my favourite memory is our first encounter in Tokyo. We arrived into Shinjuku, totally disoriented & were standing at a massive “you are here” map. A man came up beside us and asked what hotel we wanted. Turned out we were staying in the same place, so we all walked together. He confided that he was in Tokyo for a few days on business from his farm in rural Japan, had never left his village before & was actually more nervous about the big city than we were! I think we actually ended up making him feel more relaxed than the other way round!

  12. Mack Reynolds July 29, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    me and my best friend were in dire need of a brewsky in the cayman islands on the beach. we met this nice local man who brought us to a beer stand (that we wouldn’t have otherwise found) and he made sure the proprietor sold us the brews at a fair cost. nice guy.

    • Brooke July 29, 2011 at 11:54 am #

      Haha, interesting example 🙂 Glad you guys got your brews!

  13. Matt July 29, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    I was in Montanita, Ecuador and had my backpack stolen. It had everything, passport, ipod, cash, clothes, etc… I had nothing but my sandals, a pair of board shorts and $15! I ran into a local girl I had met on the beach the day before and she offered me a ride back to the city of Guyaquil. Her family ended up inviting me to stay with them while I got things figured out. They gave me clothes, food, and showed me the city, I stayed with them for 2 wks! They didn’t have a lot, but they shared what they did have with a total stranger and treated me as family.

    • Brooke July 29, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      That’s awesome! The truly giving spirit in your example is just awesome.

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