When was the last time a stranger did something particularly kind, generous, or selfless for you? Tell us what happened!
Usually it’s the other way around – what did I do to a complete stranger that was completely selfless… but to have it this way, hmmm, that’s actually quite tough.
I’ve been trying to think about this for a while and one that springs to mind was a few years ago. I was interstate and went to one of those small Chinese massage places. The one’s that look kinda dodgy. The ones where they don’t actually speak any English, and generally don’t actually understand what you’re saying.
This one day I went in to have my calves and feet massaged after a few hard days of dancing and bouncing around, and I pointed them out to this lady, who smiled and nodded and took me into a room and got me to strip down to my jocks and cover myself with a towel. After trying to explain over and over again that I wanted my feet done, she still didn’t get it. SO I just went with it. Granted I only asked for a 30min massage, but it turned into 45 mins as she massaged my neck, shoulders, back, glutes, and in the last 5 minutes, quickly got to my calves and feet.
I was kind of annoyed, but I also felt a bit guilty about being annoyed. Yes, she didn’t give me what I wanted, and by the time she had finished, somebody who spoke english had returned to the store. I explained to them the situation, and said although the massage was really quite good, it wasn’t what I asked for, despite trying to tell her several times.
The guy apologised profusely, and explained everything to the lady in Chinese. She felt so sorry, and started talking to me in Chinese, I kept telling her that I didn’t understand, and had to use the guy to translate for me. I said that it was okay, and next time I come back, I’ll have a proper foot / calf massage instead. She kept talking to me, and grabbed my hand, motioning me towards a chair. I tried refusing, but she wasn’t having it. She literally dragged me across the room and forced me into the chair. The guy came with us and translated what she was saying, explaining that she felt so bad for not providing the service that I asked for, and instead, would do so now, for free. I kept saying that wasn’t necessary, and that I would come back another time to pay for it myself. She still refused.
As I sat in the chair, she grabbed my foot, and pulled off my shoe and sock, and then the other, and pushed me backwards to recline. Somebody brought her a small bucket of warm water, and she put my feet in there to soak.
Meanwhile, the guy who was translating, began to give me a head massage, whilst she gave me a hand massage. After about ten minutes, the water had gone dark and had cooled considerably. She removed my feet, dried them, and gave me another 30min foot / calf massage. It was absolute heaven!!
By the time she finished, I was on cloud nine and felt incredible. At the same time, I also felt so guilty for even mentioning my frustration earlier – I didn’t want her to do anything out of anger or obligation, but at the same time, I was kind of glad that I did. For the following three days, every evening on the way back to my hotel, I called in there and had a 30min foot / calf massage, and always gave them a big tip. I believe in paying for quality, and this woman was fantastic.
She never needed to do what she did, but I had an instant respect for her for her decision to make me sit down again. It worked out in her favour, as it brought me back another three consecutive days.
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She was determined to give you what you asked for – even above and beyond. That is kind.