STORIES: Lights in a Dark Place / The Turkey Sandwich (POY 45)

To celebrate The Plural of You’s third anniversary, Josh invites two people to share stories of the nicest things strangers have done for them.

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About this episode

This month marks the third anniversary of The Plural of You, and I wanted to try something a little different this episode to celebrate. The holiday season is coming up here in the US, which for a lot of us means opportunities to reflect on what we’re grateful for and what’s important to us. That process always involves thinking about the people who have touched our lives.

This has been an … overwhelming year for a lot of us, so I’m using this episode to remind us that, although life can be tough, we all cross paths with those who try to make our circumstances better in their own ways, especially when we least expect it. Each of us has a story like that related to the kindness of strangers, and today I have two examples to share with you.

About Smooch and his story

The first story comes from a guy named Smooch, a theatrical designer and technician from Chicago. His birth name is John but everyone knows him as Smooch. He’s helped put together live events for theaters around the country, but he mostly works at a cultural center in Elgin, a city to the north of Chicago. His story involves a health scare, and it features lights in a dark place.

Click here to read Smooch’s write-up of the story on Reddit.

About Ben and his story

The second story about the kindness of strangers comes from Ben, who’s based in Oklahoma. He works in the oil and gas industry, mostly as a tanker truck driver, with routes in Texas and Oklahoma and as far north as North Dakota. His story involves a turkey sandwich on a lonely holiday. He wrote it back a few years ago. I came across it and really liked it, so I asked him if he’d be willing to share it. I think I surprised him, but in a good way.

Click here to read Ben’s write-up of the story.

Now what?

Homework assignment

Now that you have a couple of examples of the kindness of strangers, I’ll ask you the question again: What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you? If you’d like to share it, you can email me (see below) or message me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at pluralofyou. Also, if you liked these stories and want to tell Smooch or Ben, be sure to share this episode on social media or leave comments for them. I know they’d appreciate it.

Even if you come up with a story and decide you would rather not share it—which is fine—I hope you’ll use this exercise to keep the feeling from that memory fresh in your mind. The Plural of You isn’t meant to spread some phony vision of humanity. People harm one another every day, but we help one another, too. I hope you’ll remember stories like these—and yours, too—to keep these perspectives in balance.

I also want to point out: there’s a good chance someone has made your day a little easier today because they chose to. You probably didn’t even notice, and that’s what an efficient society is built on. You can have the same impact on the strangers you encounter, like the medical team did for Smooch or the truck driver from Texas did for Ben. Just be open to the possibility that even the smallest things you do can mean a lot to someone else. Someone has already looked out for you today, so thanks for doing what you can to keep that chain going.

Further Reading

What Do You Think?

I’d love to talk about your thoughts on this episode or anything you’d like to share. Please email me below, leave a comment or message on Facebook, or tweet me @pluralofyou.