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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, May 26

Gapers Block

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anne / August 19, 2004 11:56 AM

Does holding the elevator count? Because I've done that about 4 times so far this morning. Other than that, the most unique thing I can think of in recent memory was holding a woman's infant while she put the baby's carrier thru the x-ray machine at the airport. The security personel aren't allowed to hold babies for single moms apparently, and she wasn't just going to set her son on the floor!

the good deed gal / August 19, 2004 11:57 AM

Hmm..a better question might be, "when was the last time you saw someone do something nice for a stranger?" because it's hard to y'know, toot your own horn.

Not too long ago I carried an old lady's grocery cart to the top of the el steps for her...she was clearly struggling to make it herself.

Roxabunch / August 19, 2004 12:01 PM

About a month ago, I was downtown and a lady was fumbling with here CTA card in her purse and dropped a Visa and a gas card. The street was crowded and I didn't get a good look at her, I just saw the cards drop. So I picked them up, read the name and yelled "Rachel!!" at the top of my lungs.
She looked relieved and kind of freaked out because I yelled so loud when I gave her the cards back.

Michael / August 19, 2004 12:06 PM

A couple of weeks ago, someone in the building where I work left their ATM card in the machine, so I grabbed it before the machine could suck it up and turned it in to the security desk, leaving a note with the person's name on the ATM so they could claim it. Yeah...I'm a helluva guy.

Cinnamon / August 19, 2004 12:54 PM

My crowning "good samaritan" moment was when I flagged a cab, in the rain for young black woman who had a couple of kids and a stroller with her. She was standing at the corner of State St. near the Palmer House cab pick-up so the cabs kept passing her by for the white people near the hotel. I stepped up between her and the Palmer House, got a cab to stop and then held the door as she got in. She thanked me, very relieved (and a bit soggy). I told her to do the same thing for the next white person she sees getting passed over for black passengers. Her laughter made that day even better. The white people standing under the awning gave me glares, but oh well.

do gooder / August 19, 2004 12:55 PM

i carried this poor lady's bike up the stairs to the fullerton el. she had tons of bags, and was never going to make it. i hope she got down alright where ever she ended up.

paul / August 19, 2004 1:04 PM

A month ago I was in Newark airport, waiting for a flight back to O'hare that was overbooked. When they asked for people to volunteer to wait for the next flight, I figured it was worth a free ticket.

I went up to the front of the line and this girl was trying to get to the desk, I let her go first, asking her if she was volunteering to be bumped, like me. But she said no, she was trying desperately to get a seat, and had been trying all morning. I told her maybe she'd get my seat, went to the desk, got my free flight voucher and went to the bar. I watched with a beer (or two) in hand as the plane boarded, pulled out from the gate... and sat there for an hour and a half, and pulled back to the gate and unboarded everyone.

The girl from the line drags herself into the bar looking very depressed. I just had to buy the poor girl a drink.

Steve / August 19, 2004 1:07 PM

A few weeks ago the gal and I got on the Brown Line after work and scored the "private compartment" at the end of the car, where I almost sat on a sleek little cell phone. This started a debate: to try to locate the owner, or to hand it in to CTA lost and found, where it would likely remain unfound?

I decided lost and found should be the backup plan, and used the phone to call my own cell so I could then call back and leave a voicemail with the owner. So I did, explaining that I would hold onto the phone for a few days before handing it in to the CTA if she (the voice on the VM was that of a college-age woman) wanted to pick it up by meeting me at my office building downtown. No reward sought, just trying to do a good deed, ma'am.

So the woman called back and we met up, and she was all agape at the marble art deco stylings of the USG Building lobby, and very grateful to get her phone back, and that was that -- we went out separate ways after all of about 30 seconds. And I hope that if I should ever lose my own phone, whoever finds it will use the same simple technique to get it back to me.

MC High Life / August 19, 2004 1:50 PM

When I was in New York a couple weekends ago, I was walking past Madison Square Park with some friends. There were a couple of middle-aged ladies who looked down on their luck sitting on a bench. As we approached, they hoisted some brown bags in our direction and asked if any of us had a bottle opener. My friends patted their pockets in vain as I proudly whipped out my "World's Greatest Dad" keychain bottle opener and popped the top on a couple brews. The ladies couldn't have been more pleased.

Does doing something nice count even if your helping someone break the law? Me say yes.

Xan / August 19, 2004 3:25 PM

Walking down Washington at Franklin during lunch one day, I saw a Cadillac with keys hanging out of the trunk lock. I almost just left it but then took the keys into the nearest lobby and left them at the security desk. I put a note on the car. Hope it worked out.

lynn / August 19, 2004 4:52 PM

A week ago, some guy handing out flyers on stopping Israel from building the wall in Palestine. He was being berated or ignored, so I went up to him, smiled, took a flyer, and shook his hand.

Last night, some guy sat in front of me in a movie theater. He was tall enough that I couldn't see the screen well, so I just moved over a seat. THen he actually turned around and apologized for making me move! And asked if I could see! And offered to move down the row in case I couldn't see! Now that's a quality of nice that you don't often see.

bran / August 19, 2004 5:25 PM

I was at my parents' house a few weeks ago. They live at the base of a steep hill, which their street runs up. Their MS-strickened neighbor, Idabell, goes on daily constitutionals in her electric wheelchair along that street - up and down the hill, even. Well, her chair lost power right in front of our house, and she lives on the other side of the hill. So, she begged me to push her up the hill and home. Her caretaker wasn't available to help. What could I do? So, I did it. I pushed over 400 lbs of woman and wheelchair up a 20% grade for a good twenty minutes. It took five for us to get down the other side of the hill. And then I walked her home. Her caretaker was waiting for us at the bottom of the hill. "Idabell, have we had a bad adventure?" the caretaker asked as if talking to a small child. I wanted to slap her. Instead, I said good-bye to Idabell, smiled a little, and walked home.

Chris / August 19, 2004 7:42 PM

I NEVER do anything nice for ANYBODY!

eliina / August 19, 2004 11:46 PM

who comes up with these questions? seriously, i'm not criticizing this particular question, but is there a gapers block fuel committee or do you all take turns or is there a fuel dictator-type who gets to do all of the asking?
my day-to-day nice activities involve wheelchairs, elevators, and the people who use them simply because there are a lot of them around my workplace.
my friend resa is nicer than i am. the other day she was leaving a starbucks in wilmette, and an old lady asked her to give her a ride to old orchard (a mall in skokie). the lady wanted to catch a cab from there, but there weren't any cabs around, so she asked if resa would drive her home. she praised her for being such a nice jewish girl, and said it was a mitzvah

Lyle from Lisle / August 20, 2004 1:28 AM

Do "favors of omission" count? Like all those people every day that I could just fucking KILL - but mercifully don't . . .

Jake / August 20, 2004 9:41 AM

XAN - Dude, free Caddie! What were you thinking?

Lisa / August 20, 2004 10:18 AM

On one of the two hot days this summer, my friend Laura and I were buying Slurpees. A tiny old woman entered the 711 and, seeing us filling our oversized cups with glee, asked Laura how much the Slurpees cost. We didn't know, but after we had them rung up, we told her. The little woman started to walk out of the store because it was too expensive. Laura chased after her, and I bought her a Slurpee. The huge smile on her face--like a little kid--was awesome. Later, Laura and I both felt sick from our Slurpees, so it might not have been a good deed after all...

Ian / August 20, 2004 10:40 AM

I've got a bad habit of eating my carry out on the walk home. Once I encountered a couple of intoxicat(ing)ed girlies grabby with hunger. I shared my chips and salsa with them right there on the corner. They didn't even thank me and I had to stop off for more food. Imagine that, unappreciative drunk passerby.

LP Trixie / August 20, 2004 2:34 PM

I don't care about others, I am too busy sipping my latte from Starbucks and looking for a husband.

Bliss / August 20, 2004 4:13 PM

My story is the flip side - a stranger doing a random nice thing for me.

I was going to the post office and parallel parked on Clark. As I got out of the car with my armful of parcels, the driver of the car that had been waiting for me to finish my parking before heading along his merry way started honking his horn.

I thought he was pissed I took so long parking, and determinedly refused to look in his direction.

He kept honking, I finally looked and he pointed toward my car and mimed that I should look down.

My very expensive perscription sunglasses had fallen on the roadway when I exited the car, right into the path of traffic. The nice do-gooder not only had gotten my attention to find them, but held up traffic so that they wouldn't be smushed.

I waved thanks, he went on his way, and I went into the post office being very grateful that not everybody in this world is an uncaring, self-centered ass. Oh, and they were really nice and not snarky in the post office that day, too.

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