The Kindness of Strangers Jen and John Speak

The Kindness of Strangers

My daughter cried when I left for the airport this time.

It was understandable. This was my longest trip yet. A full week away from my family. I haven’t been on a plane since July. And lately I’ve been making a special effort to spend more time with her, as she’s been dealing with the challenges of girls and being social, which tends to rear its ugly head at about her age (boys are so much easier when it comes to the social stuff.)

Now I try to keep it all in perspective, in order to keep the mommy guilt from spiraling out of control. I know she’ll be fine. My husband is home full time (just like I am when I’m not traveling) so I know she’ll have a lot of attention. Travel is a necessary part of the job that I actually enjoy. And it’s what we have to do to take care of our family.

But I also wanted to cheer her up. So I promised to Skype. And send postcards.

So Monday morning I woke up on the opposite coast to discover the internet wasn’t working in the hotel. I battled it for hours but couldn’t get the Skype to work before she left for school. So we talked on the phone. It was OK.

I didn’t get to call her again before she went to sleep, because of the time difference.  By the time I was able to call she was already asleep. So I went in search of a postcard. Part 2 of my promise.

But then I found out that the Orange County airport doesn’t have a mailbox.

I asked a few different shop owners in the airport, just to be sure.

And then I asked the sweet old Asian man in the Hudson News (he reminded me a bit of my Father in law), explaining that I was on a long business trip and wanted to send a card to my daughter (in terminal B…shop there if you’re in the John Wayne Airport.) He told me that if I wanted, he would mail my postcard to my daughter on his way home from work. That there was a mailbox by his home. I thanked him profusely as I started looking for the stamps I knew I packed somewhere. He quietly fished in his pocket and brought me over a stamp for my card.

I finished my message to my daughter, and brought the postcard over with some money for the stamp, and some extra for his kindness. He took the postcard and refused the money. He told me in his broken English that many people had been kind to him over the years, and I should pay it forward. With tears in my eyes I thanked him.

There is kindness in the most unexpected of places.

  • MeLissa Rocco

    You’re such a great Mom, Jennifer – I can certainly tell (not that you need any validation, but it’s nice to hear sometimes, from my experience).  Thanks so much for sharing this story.  After another blog post I read about yet another black friday horror story, it’s so nice to read about the people out there that still get what matters in life.  And, just for the record, I also LOVE the picture of you and your daughter – beatiful!!

  • Tanya Johnson

    It’s so nice to hear that there are still people like this in the world. We hear so much of the opposite type of person, it’s so refreshing to hear of a truly random act of kindness! Thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Jen, for sharing this beautiful story. These are the things that matter in life. Our love for children (and animals and everything living) and our connection to those we don’t even know. I am sure your daughter will be so much richer for this experience when you tell it to her. She may not even cry next time you have to leave for longer than a day or two. 

  • Kelly

    What a wonderful story!

  • Charlenephillips

    It’s funny how those angels come out of no where just when you need them the most!

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  • Sherry Aikens

    Ok you post caused tears in my eyes.  Loved it.

    • Jennifer Fong

      Thanks Sherry. I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

  • Carol Covin

    You never know when you are going to find kindness. What a sweet story.