We asked readers on social media and at adn.com to tell us about acts of kindness they'd received from others, or witnessed, in Alaska in 2012. We got a lot of responses.
Here's a sampling:
I count it as an act of kindness when someone lets me in their lane! That means a lot to me and I often do the same for others!!
-- Rose Stasco
I was getting some last minute items at Walmart on Thanksgiving day, $12 worth, when I went to pull out my debit card to pay and the gentleman behind me swiped his card before I could do anything. He had seen my military dependent card and told me, "Thank you for serving our country." I told him my husband was the service member, but he told me my job was just as important and wished me a happy Thanksgiving. Before I could ask his name he was out the door and vanished. I am very grateful for that man. Thank you, whoever you are.
-- Gwen Crankshaw
When Anchorage first got some snow, I think it was during rush hour. A car was spinning out on Benson at the Seward Highway. The light was green for more than a minute. Three men from three different vehicles got out and pushed the car that was stuck. After he got out, they all turned around and got into their vehicles like nothing happened. That was nice!
-- Bobbi Newlin
My husband, two children and I went to El Rodeo to eat lunch. We enjoyed our meal and when we went to pay, a gentlemen seated behind us had already paid for our meal. We didn't get to thank him because he had already left. My little girl kept peeking over the booth smiling at him. So Sir, if you are reading this, our family thanks you for your random act of kindness!
-- Kelly Beatriz
Back in September, we had a total house fire and all five of us escaped with minor injuries. I would like to thank everyone who helped us out that tragic day. We are still trying to recover. Then, in December, our daughter had a terrible car accident. We almost lost her. I would like to thank the kind man who was the first on scene. All I can remember is his name is Gary. Once again thank you to everyone that came to help in our times of need.
-- Teri Forrester
Ken Krasselt! He saved my son's life when he was struck down on Arctic and Tudor by a hit-and-run driver. He was severely injured. The doctors at Providence didn't expect him to live through the night. I flew up from Minnesota and we are still here in Anchorage as my son heals. His leg was amputated, his arm had to basically be rebuilt and he had a severe brain injury. Well, he is talking and healing and Ken Krasselt comes to the hospital and visits him every day! Still, every single day! Zack is at St. Elias and we hope to leave for rehab soon. And reading all these stories makes me realize there are lots of great people in Anchorage but since Ken saved my son's life, I still think he is the best!!
-- Cheryl Young
My husband, Matt Kenney, was the Mt. Marathon runner who was injured on 7/4. The support of this community and beyond, for our family has been very touching. Recently a kind anonymous person saw that our son had been taking lessons at Full Curl Archery and went there and purchased a bow for him for Christmas. When I posted this on the shop's wall and was expressing my gratitude to this anonymous person, another kind soul went in and purchased arrows for him. The silver lining of Matt's accident is that our children are witnessing the humanity among us and we will pay this forward with Matt someday.
-- Gretchen Karr Kenney
I was getting married Aug. 18 and my fiancé was supposed to come home on Aug. 15th from Red Dog Mine. There was a strong rain storm that locked him for days. A woman I never met gave her seat on a helicopter from Red Dog to Kotzebue the morning of our wedding for my fiancé. He made it to Kotzebue around 10 a.m. The wonderful staff at Alaska Airlines got him on the next flight to Anchorage. (There were no seats open until the day AFTER our wedding.) He made it to Anchorage an hour and a half before the ceremony started. She didn't have to give up her seat but she said all she can think about was me when she heard that our wedding might be cancelled. Her act confirmed that there are still kind and helpful strangers out there.
-- Diane Martin
Early in December I flew into Anchorage from Dutch Harbor to run errands, see some doctors, and clear my head a little. One of the errands was to take a watch to the excellent repair guy in the Sears Mall. I dropped off the watch and headed off on my next task, soon discovering I'd lost my wallet. I went back to my hotel and called the credit card companies, canceling them all. Then I went to the Wells Fargo Bank on Minnesota and cashed a check for a hundred bucks. I returned to the Sears Mall to pick up the watch and mentioned I'd lost my wallet. I didn't think I'd lost it at the mall but the watch guy says "check with security, the guy right over there." I walked down to the security desk and the security guys says "You're James Mason!" He handed me my wallet. The $186 in cash and all the credit cards were still in it. So much could have gone wrong here yet nothing did. I know there are honest people out there. I'm just so glad that it was one of them who found the wallet. They knew they'd never meet me so I could thank them. They did the right thing for the right reasons. I really appreciate the act and I will pass it on to somebody else when the opportunity comes.
-- James Mason
My husband sustained some injuries while deployed. Over the last year I've lost maternity leave time and time off to address his multiple medical issues, which caused me to take leave without pay. With his impending discharge in January and lack of my paid leave, our budget was quite tight; however, the Anchorage OIF/OEF Aid Group came together with local businesses and without these wonderful people in Anchorage, the gifts would have been slim pickings for our kids, if any. The family that started this group was in the same situation we were a couple years ago; however, (from what I understood) started this group to assist other military families in similar situations. This year, they were able to adopt every family in the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Fort Richardson. They surprised all of the families two weeks ago at the unit and it was a tearful, joyful moment. Thank you OIF/OEF Aid Group and all who contributed in Anchorage. It meant so much to us.
-- Lisa Bella Lynn Agnew
While my husband was deployed, he sold his motorcycle to pay to move my disabled father from California to Alaska. My father had just lost his sister, mother, father and wife. I am truly grateful to have an amazing husband.
-- Ronica Howard
I've lost my wallet twice this past year at large chain stores (thanks to my grabby-hands toddler tossing it) and both times it was turned in with everything still in place. So, so thankful that there are good people out there who do the right thing.
-- Karli Michelle
I see at least one a day: it's the little things that make our world great! Just saying thank you can change someone's day!
-- Vannessa Indivine
I work the front desk in the warehouse at the Food Bank of Alaska. Every day people bring food in. There are times when someone says apologetically, "I'm sorry, this is all I could afford this year." I get the pleasure of giving that person a tour of the warehouse and showing the individual donations that come in. I see the pleasure and pride in their eyes as they realize what they have done and how individuals make a difference.
-- Lecon Chuitt Jr
My dad died of cancer on Aug. 1. On Aug. 8, the Mug Shot Saloon held a fund-raiser called the Big M Memorial Benefit and raised almost $30,000 for my mom to pay off medical bills. It was truly a blessing.
-- Amber Gardner
I ran out of gas on Northern Lights about a mile from the gas station. As I was pushing my car, by myself, into a bus pullout, a young man pulled up behind me. He pulled around and pushed me into the gas station. When he made sure I was in front of the pump, he just waved and headed off. I was able to make it on time to pick up my son and make it to my important meeting. I tried to thank him and get a contact, but he was just helping and did not worry about it. Thank you random young man.
-- Blake Smith
I just recently picked up a book at Barnes and Noble and under it was money with a taped note that said "random act of kindness. Merry Christmas and remember to spread some kindness."
-- Misty Howell
I was an Iditarider from North Carolina this year in Jan Steves' sled. I was out exploring in my rental car one day and while driving out of a parking lot my front tire went through the ice and into a small ditch. I couldn't go forward or backward. As I was preparing to call for a tow truck, two young gentleman came up to my car and said they would help. Through their strong and manly efforts they were able to push my car out of the ditch and save the day! I will be forever grateful for their kindness. I have visited Alaska four times and it is my favorite place to be. Everyone is so kind and thoughtful. I've never had a bad experience while in your beautiful state. I'll be back as soon as I can.
-- Teresa Cooper, Brevard, N.C.
You know, acts of kindness aren't big deals. They are the things we do each and every day that prove how HUMAN we are. Holding the door, calling our server by name, thanking them for the refill of water. These are the things that really make a difference today.
-- Jim Henry
Occasionally a stranger's actions really make your day. Two recent incidents have warmed up my whole Christmas.
Two weeks ago my car got stuck on a side street. I walked to the corner to call AAA. While I was on the phone, a little green pickup with three young men stopped. They had noticed the problem at a glance, drove out of their way and pushed me back into the street.
My kitchen sink had a leak that was fixed last April but it reappeared and kept getting worse. The plumber wouldn't return, claiming that other pipes were leaking (as if I couldn't tell!). We finally called a different company. At first they said they were busy until after Christmas. But then their plumber came that very day; he repaired the leak -- and said, "No charge, enjoy your holiday!"
Thank you to all these gentlemen, and may your holiday be the best!
-- Vivian Mendenhall