I complain to her that I need to have $1.00 to get over the bridge (Mid-Hudson Bridge as my friends are in Poughkeepsie) and I don't have it. I'm 20 minutes away from home so it would be a 40 minute round trip to return and get a buck (and cost more than that in gas!) and I'm already worried I'll be late. I tell her I'll go in the car and see if I can scare up some change in the glove box, under the seat, whatever.
As I'm in the car looking for change (managed to find only about 60 cents or so), the guy who was at the other ATM comes over to my car window. At first I get a little nervous since it's dark out and all but I roll down the window and he says "I overheard you talking on the phone and I wanted to give you a dollar so you can pay the bridge toll." At first I didn't want to take it, I'd never ask a stranger for money, but he insisted so I thanked him and we parted ways.
I'm usually a very cynical person, typically believing the worst in people (first thought when someone approaches my car window at night - they want to rob me or beg for money) and I'm not often disappointed. This genuinely surpised me. There are kind and thoughtful people in the world (and I'm ashamed to say I'm not usually one of them). Now I know it's a small thing, it's not like I was hungry or stranded somewhere or beset with poverty, just inconvenienced and annoyed, but it was still a nice gesture from one stranger to another.
Since I don't know who the person was, I'll pay him back by trying to do something nice for a stranger myself (now don't send me email asking for money, it was only a dollar! By the way, have you heard what the difference is between a community college professor and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four).
That button above - "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty" refers to a quote from author Anne Herbert that has inspired many people. See, for example, the website for the Random Acts of Kindness organization. Random acts of kindness week is February 14-20. I resolve to try to do at least one nice thing a week for someone, even if it's just an encouraging word. Can't be too hard to do, can it?