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Has a stranger in another city or country ever shown you a kindness? This was the question on NPR today. It didn’t take me long to come up with an instance. I’m sure there are more, but this is a favorite.

My husband, two small granddaughters, daughter-in-law, and I were cutting it close. My niece’s reception dinner somewhere in the wilds of Texas back roads was starting five minutes ago. We spied a country bar and pulled our purple rental car over. A patron staggered out. Jerry rolled down the window and asked where the VFW Hall was. The short, boney man straightened his posture and his Stetson. Strenuous effort to widen his eyes seemed to signal his body to slump. He held onto the car and puffed his chest out, widening his eyes again.

“Yessir, be glad to help you.”

His face rearranged itself into a wide smile, deepening the lines in his ruddy cheeks. He pointed first one way, then the other, finally settling on a direction.

“Go straight on down the road a piece till you see the Lone Star sign, take a right—no left—cross over the railroad tracks, go about five more miles down the dirt road to your left and it’ll be on your right.”

“Much obliged,” my husband said with a smile. He’d learned Texas lingo years ago.

We pulled out of the bar parking lot and Jerry immediately turned right.

“What are you doing?” I said.

Jerry made a quick left into the parking lot across the street from the bar, into the crowded VFW parking lot.

My daughter-in-law loves to tell people that Texans really are friendly and helpful—even when they have no idea what they are talking about.

Have you been shown kindness from a stranger while on vacation or just away from home? I’d love to hear about it.

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