The first was Eddie. I found Eddie on Craigslist, selling a washing machine and dryer. I asked him if he'd sell me just the washing machine (a wonderful family had given us their old dryer), and we made arrangements to pick it up. When we picked it up, Eddie said that he had hooked it up a couple days earlier and it ran fine, and that if for some reason it didn't work for us, he'd give us our money back. That's a rare type of promise from a Craigslist dealer, so we were sure the washing machine would be just fine.
Well, of course when we got the machine home and hooked it up, it ran water all over our floor. And of course we didn't know what box most of our towels/rags were in, and we hadn't bought a mop yet, so we used 3 rolls of paper towels to clean it up.
I texted Eddie and told him what had happened. And, amazingly enough, he held true to his word. He told us he'd give our money back.
The next day I went to a store that specialized in appliance repair but also sold used washers. That's where I met Mike.
Mike was a sweet, friendly man about my dad's age. He told me about his granddaughter, who's a toddler, and he just loved Cimorene. I explained the problem we'd had, and he was eager to help. He said it was probably a really easy fix, and that Ryan might be able to fix it himself. He told me some things to have Ryan look at, and then sold me a new cord I needed for the dryer--at a 25% discount, because my husband's in the military (I think it was partly that and partly that Cim was being super cute and giving him high-fives).
Ryan looked at the washer that night, and I called Mike the next day to tell him what we thought the problem was. He told me to have Ryan call him later and he'd walk Ryan through some more diagnostic things. He even gave me his cell-phone number, which he said would self-destruct after one use, because he doesn't normally give out that number--keep in mind, he's doing all of this without expecting to make any kind of profit.
Well, the washing machine ended up being pretty rusted out, so we decided it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to repair it, but we were able to go get a really nice used one from a store that Mike recommended. They delivered and installed it for free because my husband's in the military, and then they hauled away the old one to dump for us (they didn't even want it for parts). Oh, and Eddie gave us our money back as promised, so everything turned out really well for us.
I'm still planning to make Mike and his staff cookies. I don't know if they have any idea what their kindness and helpfulness meant to this pregnant lady who had just finished a month-long hotel stay with a teething one year old. I don't know if this situation would have seemed like a big deal for most people, but by day 3 of the scenario I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and the fact that EVERYONE involved was so kind to me made it seem much more manageable.
I'm grateful for the bright spots in trials, the things that make you say, "yeah this situation stinks, but the world is a good place." I'm grateful for good men like Eddie and Mike, who have a sense of integrity and charity, and who help me keep my faith in humanity. There are awful people in this world, but there are also some who are wonderful, and who do little things to make people's lives easier. This is my thank-you to them.