Hello there! Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! My little sister recently ran the Chicago marathon, and I was able to go see her run with another one of my sisters. Over and over that day, we ran into wonderful people who just wanted to help us. Do you need a few feel good stories today? Click through to read about the good people in this world we live in who go out of their way to help others.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links which just means if you purchase from the links provided, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you! At Flawed yet Functional, I only reference products that have real value that I actually use.
Let me set the stage for these inspirational stories. Sister B and I traveled to Chicago to cheer on our sister, E, who was running in the Chicago marathon. B and I were hoping to experience a bit of the city on Saturday then cheer our lungs out for our sister on Sunday. We encountered a flat tire, delayed trains, and millions of people. And yet, it was the best weekend, let me share with you why.
Owner of Couscous
The evening before the race, my sister and I were exploring the city and looking for a restaurant for dinner. We walked up and down the streets of Little Italy checking out the restaurant menus posted to the store windows. If you know anything about me, my diet is anything but straightforward. Little Italy was probably not the best place to be looking for dinner, but that’s where we were so we were on a mission to find a restaurant that could accommodate gluten, dairy, and egg sensitivities.
We stumble upon a Mediterranean restaurant called Couscous. The owner was host, waiter, busboy, and chef. He was so kind and gracious while explaining all of the ingredients in every single dish. The great thing was almost the entire menu was dairy, egg, and gluten-free as written!
Since coming home, I’ve researched the restaurant more, and the cuisine is Mediterranean from the area of Maghreb. If you are Paleo minus eggs plus legumes, look up this type of restaurant next time you are traveling! I could eat all but 3 dishes from the entire menu!
At the end of the meal, we chatted with him about the style of cooking and how we wished we knew how to cook it. He not only said he would answer our questions over the phone anytime we called. He also went into the back to grab a to-go cup to fill with sumac so that I could try it out on vegetables at home. What a sweetheart! He did not need to go to such great lengths to be helpful, but he did.
Kindhearted and generous people are lovely.
Before we ventured downtown, Sister B and I got a cup of coffee. As soon as our car pulled out of the parking space we heard a familiar whoomp whoomp whoomp, and we knew we had a flat tire. We pulled over into a school parking lot and changed that puppy in 15 minutes flat. Girl power!
We proceeded on to the coffee shop to get our coffee before the start of the race. Priorities!
As my sister tried to pay, she was using her knuckles so as not to get the payment equipment dirty in the coffee shop. The barista noticed her awkward use of her knuckles on the iPad and asked what was wrong. My sister explained we just changed a tire and our hands were dirty. The barista apologized for not having a public restroom so we could wash your hands, and she immediately went to the back, wet some paper towels, and gave each of us a wet and a dry paper towel so we could clean our dirty hands.
She chose to be kind and helpful to us during her busy morning. She didn’t have to get us paper towels to clean our hands, but she chose to without us even asking. What a kind heart!
Others-focused people are lovely.
A little later that morning…
It’s still fairly early Sunday morning, the marathon has begun, and Sister B and I are waiting for my Sister E to arrive at the 13 mile mark. We have a bit of time to wait. So we did what the other 2000 people at that corner did: we went to Starbucks for some more tea and coffee.
Of course, with all the hustle and bustle and drinking so much coffee and tea, we needed a bathroom. Public bathrooms are not aplenty in downtown Chicago.
I asked the Starbucks barista where the nearest public restroom was, and he kindly explained which restaurants and hotels I could go to in order to find a public restroom. In a time when many would have been overwhelmed and stressed, he was calm and collected and helpful to point out multiple options to solve this problem.
Kind people are lovely.
As Sister B and I were darting around the city trying to catch Sister E at yet another point in the race, we got confused and couldn’t find the entrance to the subway. We ended up on an Amtrak platform, clearly not the right place. As we followed signs to the subway, we got to an end in the signs but no visible entrance to the subway. In desperation of not wanting to lose another moment and possibly run down the street in the wrong direction, I went to the nearest city bus and knocked on the door frantically.
I quickly asked how to get on the subway, expecting just a point in the right direction.
Not this bus driver.
He hopped quickly out of the bus grabbed my arm and said, “Let me show you, baby. I will get you in the right spot.” He guided us to the corner and used landmarks to point out the entrance to the subway. I exclaimed my thanks and gratitude for how thoughtful he was. To which he replied, “It’s my job to help people.”
He went over-the-top to help two non-city dwellers find the subway. We weren’t riding the bus, and there may have even been people on his bus! Not sure, but I am so grateful that he took an extra couple of minutes to get us going in the right direction.
Helpful people are lovely.
At a marathon, there are TONS of spectators in addition to TONS of runners. It is hard to find your runner in the masses passing you. So when my sister and I arrived at our next cheering spot, mile 17, it is easy to neglect all the runners passing you by while you search for your special runner.
We realize this and tried to cheer for as many people as we could since there were many weary souls by mile 17. When we finally found Sister E, we started jumping up and down and yelling like crazy people. Do you know what the people behind us started doing? They started cheering for my sister too! They picked up her name and shouted and cheered right along with us.
Doesn’t that just warm your heart? Strangers cheering for strangers just because they are special to someone.
People loving other people are lovely.
People Who Love Sister E
My family had a group text that we were using to communicate with each other and with Sister E as she ran. Her Garmin watch allowed her to see all the updates and texts as she ran. Modern technology is amazing in how it allowed us to communicate with her during the whole race!
However, there were times where none of us could or did communicate probably because we were trying to get to our next cheering spot.
For Sister B and I, we had to take our car to Costco to get a new tire during one point in the race. Drat you, flat tire! So we were distracted for a good hour and not able to send an encouraging text. Both Sister B and I were discouraged that we hadn’t communicated with her for so long.
Little did we know we had nothing to worry about. At the end of the race when we were in our car heading home. Sister E pulled out her phone to tell us how many groups of people were communicating with her during the race. Every one of these was group texts, and she had 10 groups of people texting her encouragement throughout the race.
Friends and family near and far were taking time out of their Sunday morning to send text messages to my sister to encourage her as she conquered 26.2 miles!
Thoughtful, encouraging people are lovely.
Two Angel Runners
At about mile 24, Sister E was ready to give up. She didn’t think she could finish. Her whole body hurt, and her motivation was gone. Right when she was about to make that decision, a girl ran up beside her and asked her what her name was. This girl was running for the same charity that Sister E was, and she struck up a conversation saying how Sister E had been pacing her the whole race. They ran the next mile and a half together! Sister E was SO encouraged.
First angel runner pulled ahead, and Sister E noticed a girl running close by that had the same brand of shorts. Sister E struck up a conversation beginning with the shorts they both were wearing. The two of them ran the last mile and a half to the finish line together.
People who come alongside are lovely.
Isn’t it amazing the people that God puts in our path and how they can encourage us and lift us up without even realizing? These people were just being themselves, I have no doubt. Being in an over-crowded city doesn’t usually bring out the best in us, but it sure did in these folks.
The whole weekend was magical. It was elating to cheer on my sister as she accomplished such a tremendous feat. The amazingness of the race was augmented by the amazing people we encountered in and around Chicago. While I do believe we are steeped in sin, I believe God shows us glimpses of Himself in the good we do to each other. People are so willing to help one another if you just give them the chance. I hope you’ve enjoyed these feel good stories today. My weekend was blessed, and I hope it is a blessing to you. Be the good to someone else in the world.