Tell me some stories of strangers you still remember to this day

There’s this YouTuber called Thoraya who asks strangers deep questions, and one of them was what is one stranger you still remember, or something along those lines.

I thought I’d ask you guys :grin: But I had a feeling we would want to tell many stories. So, you don’t have to pick just one stranger you still remember. You can do as many as you’d like, but try to keep them short :stuck_out_tongue:

My stories of strangers I still remember:

Helpful older guy and the phone charger

I was in college, and I was in a McDonalds and I didn’t know how to use their charger and was struggling. This older guy next to me, about late sixties, does this weird twisting motion with his hand. And he continues to do it. I soon figured out he was silently showing me how to use the charger.

Helpful older guy with my suitcase

Another story is, in college again, I was really struggling to carry my suitcase up the stairs. No escalator or elevator option. It was really heavy. Then this older guy, fifties or sixties, comes up next to me. He clicks his tongue and gives an exasperated, annoyed kind of sigh, then silently offers to carry it for me.

He carries it all the way. I’m just so shocked, but I thank him heavily and he gives a quick nod and just leaves.

Little old lady on the train, gave me a keychain

Have an even older story. This happened when I was 10 or 11. A little old lady on a train gets chatting with my mom and I and leaves after giving me a little keychain of an owl which I still have to this day. I don’t know her name or where she was going. All I know is that she had a granddaughter she was going to go meet.

The old lady who lived at the station

I also can’t forget the homeless little old lady who lived outside at my local station that my mom befriended and started giving her food when I was in junior high. My mom would give a bento box to her in the morning, then I would receive the containers after school.

I would always stay with the old lady, sometimes talk, but I wasn’t a chatter, so we didn’t really talk. She wasn’t much of a talker, either. We were silent most of the time. I couldn’t always understand her and I didn’t know what to talk about with a stranger old lady who lived outside and seemed homeless.

The system my mom and I had with her didn’t continue because the station started remodeling and her place was gone.

By the time I reached high school, she disappeared. Then one day, she was found again and she continued to try to keep her normal spot outside, but then one day, my mom found her in really bad shape apparently, not responding well.

My mom went to the nearby police station and they called an ambulance. We heard that her son or daughter or daughter-in-law was going to pick her up at the hospital, and something about she had family to live with, but just didn’t before. Then we never heard anything more about her after that.

At the time, I decided to believe that she would live with her family again, but honestly, I don’t know what happened. I hope she was able to live out the rest of her life in a safe place with clean clothes, warm food, and a roof over her head.

Those are the ones I remember the most because they’re the feel-good type or at least not like something bad or negative happened. Even the old lady at the station story. I never knew what happened, but I have to believe it was good.

What are your stories?

My dad was in the mall with my brothers and this guy passed by in a wheelchair and dad goes, “Hey, Stan.”

Dude goes, Hey! How are ya?"

They chit-chated for a bit and went their seperate ways.

Brothers asked dad who he was.

Dad goes, “I don’t know him at all.”

Brothers: “Well, then how did you know his name?”

Dad: “Because he didnt have a leg to stand on.”


To this day, I dont know if this guy is real, and he was telling a joke on MY BROTHERS, with the dude in “universal dad joke” engaged.

Or if he was setting ME up.


As far as strangers I remember, its the ones I or someone close to me wind up helping that make an impression because I otherwise don’t see them.

I fed a young mother with her girl in a Chick-fil-a. (Only place on that side of town that had a clean play place.) She managed to get an aqaintence to pick them up. Sticks with me because of 3 things: she was different, I was using my father’s account and needed to clear it with him, and I forgot to ask for her name and a way to contact her to follow up with her and had a long talk with my dad about how mom handled these things 10x better than me. So I was wholly jarred out of complacency, using someone else’s money for charity, and lamenting what I was lacking. Maybe she needed more. Maybe this was all she needed.

It reminds me that I need to be more aware of people. I shouldn’t have to be shaken out or isolationist tendencies (goes with the face blindness and ADHD stuff). I dhould get to know them as people. Basically be more than myself.

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A few interesting folk I encountered during my all too distant (and too underfunded) trip to Israel, in 2008.

Canyon HaNegev interactions

HaNegev is a large modern shopping centre, across the road from the Be’er Sheva central bus station.

Once, while going through the security checkpoints at the front doors, I was searched by an average female soldier (aka walking advertisement for Leica cameras). She did the typical bag search, detector-wand sweep, and waved me through to automatic glass doors. As I passed she gave my backside an audible slap with her wand, much to the amusement of her army friends watching from within the entrance. The chutzpah was strong with this one.

About half-way through my Israel trip my Aussie watch broke. Looking for a cheap, temporary, replacement I rummaged through the Be’er Sheva shops. On the top floor of HaNegev I discovered a Russian trinkets / souvenirs kiosk, and acquired a mostly rubber & plastic 70-Shekel digital watch…that lasted for three years without fail…

One afternoon, while window shopping in HaNegev, a polite thick-set gentleman called me aside and tried to enroll me into some English language (ESL) classes. His Russian accent was so dense I almost couldn’t understand his English. Unfortunately, I had to interrupt his sales pitch and inform him that 1. I only know English, and 2. I was also a qualified English (ESL) teacher. What were the odds?

Oh, after a brief eatery comparison in the HaNegev’s basement level, I discovered the Israeli equivalent of Hungry Jacks is far superior to the American original…Nicer staff too…I cannot remember the hamburger restaurant’s name, but I think its logo was a red bull.

Some kibbutz encounters

The second kibbutz I stayed / volunteered at was Ein HaShlosha (awesome place, peculiar characters, fearless kids). On the first night of my arrival I noticed the volunteers’ manager, a very kind and friendly local lass dressed in a tie-dyed shirt, long loose skirt and sandals, roaming among the clusters of volunteers. At first I thought the black strap over her shoulder was for a canvas pack or satchel on her back, to complete the hippie look. Nope. When she turned around I discovered her long-barreled M-16 marksman rifle. She took the volunteers’ safety and happiness quite seriously. We didn’t speak much during my stay, I was one of the more quiet and placid volunteers.* Although when I commented I would soon return to Australia she became visibly upset and mumbled, ‘the good ones always leave.’

*My Finnish roommate once stated I would be perfect for Finland, no one would identify me as a foreigner…And, yes, Finland is on my Places to Visit lotto travel list…

On each Friday night, after Shabbat dinner at the kibbutz dining hall, the volunteers gathered at the kibbutz pub (a converted bomb-shelter called The Mafia). One night several stocky lads rocked up to the volunteers assembled outside the Mafia / bomb-shelter, and deposited three large plastic boxes on the pavement before us. One chap** proclaimed at drill-sergeant volume, the pub is closed until these crates are empty. I peered inside a crate and noticed it was crammed to the rim with bottles of Red Star beer…I don’t recall much else of that night…
We’ll bless them all until we get fahsnickered! ~ Rabbi Tuckman (Mel Brooks).

On another night, the volunteers had a spontaneous BBQ outside the accommodation. Several locals appeared and dragged us off to the kibbutz residence area for another BBQ…At the time I didn’t know what was happening, I just followed the crowd…The chap** in charge of the food shoved a plate into my hands and asked what I wanted to eat. I tried to explain I had arrived by accident, and I wasn’t formally invited to their gathering. He ignored me and repeated his question. Apparently ‘some’ chicken translates into Hebrew as a ‘wrist-snapping plate load’ of chicken. Never sit at a party in Israel with an empty plate. That’s viewed as a challenge.

Oh, and thanks to the HaShlosha nightlife I soon learnt to identify a F-16 and a F-15 just by their engine pitch.
^Usual kibbutz neighbourhood watch. When the gunships visited at night they would hover so low overhead I couldn’t hear someone shouting in my ear.

One afternoon, while cooling off in the kibbutz pool, a group of young girls gathered around me and began talking at me in rapid disgruntled Hebrew (maybe being solitary is not kosher). I tried to explain that I only understood English. The girls paused for a moment, then resumed their belt-fed dialogues in fluent Spanish. I sank beneath the water and paddled away, defeated.

During my stay I worked in the Kibbutz kitchen / dining hall. My mother insisted I worked somewhere safe, and the dining hall had four-meter thick concrete & steel ceiling (safe enough, I thought). The kitchen manager was an cheerful eccentric silvered chap, who always referred to me as ‘Mister Matthew, sir!’ As the summer months approached the dishes cleaning area became a grease-laden-humidity filled sauna at the best of times. The kitchen manager often rotated the volunteers on ten minute breaks, to rest in the shade on the outside lawns, as a reprieve from the afternoon (kitchen) heat. For some reason, my breaks seemed precisely timed to observe clusters of depressingly fit and attractive soldiers or sparsely clad young women wandering passed the hall. A much missed cheeky old sod.

Other Be'er Sheva events

During the first week of my trip I decided to visit the Hazterim air force museum, outside Be’er Sheva. A fascinating place but you need to time your conversations. The museum is about a kilometer or so from the Hatzerim airbase (Israel’s largest). When a combat jet spools up for take-off, which they did with a curious frequency, you cannot hear anything else. Anyway, the most memorable encounter was on the trip home. My friend and I discovered, en-route, the bus-line also serviced the airbase. We drove up to the perimeter fence checkpoint, a thin young soldier (carrying his bodyweight in firepower) stepped aboard, checked my passport and my friend’s ID, and proceeded down the isle. I then noticed my friend and I were the only civilians on the crowded bus. The soldier left, and the bus continued into the airbase, driving up to the main admin building. My butt remained welded to my seat as the military folk departed, and we eventually returned to Be’er Sheva without issue. My decision to take my passport on the museum trip was random, I didn’t know it would be required. Even with a passport I was surprised the soldier let me stay on the bus. The IAF are renowned for their secrecy.

One afternoon, while shopping for my second kibbutz venture, I attempted to buy some roll-on deodorant from a local chemists. At the checkout the pleasant girl tried to tell me something in Hebrew. I soon discovered she didn’t understand English. However, a wonderful elderly lady beside me translated for us. Apparently my chosen roll-on was on special, if I bought two bottles. Done deal. I darted into the isles, and returned with a second bottle. The cashier girl smiled and proclaimed in struggling English “A gift! A gift!” as she shoved a large plastic jug into my bag. I thanked them both and departed. That evening I learnt the cashier’s gift was a two-liter jug of sun screen.

…More to follow…


There was a stranger I saw once, lugging around a giant teddy bear on valentine’s day. He probably had a massive breakup earlier that month.

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Could be both?

Even one meal can change someone’s day. Maybe it was what she needed that day :blush:

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I pictured it XD He could have also been a YouTuber or fan of one, because there was a time when those humongous teddies were popular among YouTubers for some reason all over the world.

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The Brazilian guy who was drunk, and talking to me and my Dad outside a store opposite the concert venue. :joy: He was so random, and wild. And telling us everything.


lol, he must’ve awkwardly walked off after that.

No comment, just, wanted to highlight this bit.

lol, were you able to finish it all? Or reduce it to a reasonable amount? I’m guessing you had to leave some food in order to tell them you’re full?

I read your other stories. Those are some interesting stories! What an experience you had! :open_mouth: I’d read a whole book of your encounters.

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Would be a traditionally Dad thing to do.

The fact that she was getting a hold of someone else mwant she didnt need ME past that one thing, at least.

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Maybe not, but you were there, and it was a help :blush:

Oh, no denying that. More so for the mother’s heart over her child. Her kid didnt go hungry that meal, leaving lom to wirry privately, a while longer.

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