The Kindness of Strangers

Potbelly Sandwich Shop I’m at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop, where I’ve ordered a salad for myself, a sandwich for my wife and a few accessories. I get up to the cash register, they ring up my order and I reach into my back for my wallet…which isn’t there.

I apologize, make my excuses and head out to the car to see if I’ve left it there.

Nope. I head back in and tell the cashier to just set my order to the side. I’ll run home and get my wallet.

A tall man with salt and pepper hair is standing near the cash register, waiting for part of his own order to be completed. He says, “You forgot your wallet?”

“Yeah.” I’m shaking my head, because I’m still annoyed with myself. “I’m just gonna go home and get it.”

“Ah, don’t do that. How big’s your order?”

“Just lunch for me and my wife,” I say.

He grimaces and then gives a shrug. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll just pick it up for you. I’ve been in this situation before, myself.”

“Thanks. Uh, if you give me your name and number, I can pay you back…”

He waves me off. “Don’t worry about it. Just pay it forward.”

He calls out to the cashier. “I’ll pay for this guy’s order.”

The cashier looks over at us. “The order’s already paid for.” He points past us at a slim, red-haired lady who’d been behind me in line. Without saying anything to us, she’s walking out of the shop. “She’s already paid for it.”

I ended up getting my lunch for free because of the kindness of strangers.

Sometimes it’s easy to be down on humanity, thinking that people are stupid, ignorant, callous, easily fooled, etc. Pick your particular gripe at any given moment. But really, most folks are just regular, decent people. And sometimes it’s really nice to be reminded of that.

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Unbearable Cuteness

This little bundle of cuteness is Bentley, at the age of about six weeks. In this photo, he’s about ten pounds, although he eventually ended being about 130 pounds. Gotta love Lab Rottweilers.

Bentley in the Kitchen

OK, I know this has nothing to do with science fiction, but…well…who doesn’t like the unbearable cuteness of a puppy?

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Inspiration: Dandelion Dreams

Dandelion Dreams

I just love this picture. Hope you do, too.

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Inspiration: Prague, the Charles Bridge, Fog

Prague, the Charles Bridge in the Fog

This is a real photo of the Charles Bridge in Prague, in the fog. I think it’s a beautiful photo and potentially a great fantasy book cover for someone.

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Inspiration: You Are Here

From Mars, You Are Here

If you’ve ever wondered what Earth looks like to someone standing on the surface of Mars, well, now you know. In this NASA-supplied picture from the surface Mars, Earth is visible as just a bright object in the sky. In other words…you are here.

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Inspiration: Galloping Crocodiles

Galloping Crocodile

Oh, yeah. I gotta use this in a story. Modern crocodiles and alligators are edge feeders. They wait in the water and strike from ambush when prey comes to the water’s edge. They’re dangerous but relatively localized. These crocs, though, they can chase you down.

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Inspiration: Traveling in Snow in Your High-Tech Skimobile

High Tech Skimobile
It’s winter. It’s cold. Damn cold.

All I can say is…I want want one of these.

I mean, if you have to travel in the snow, you might as well do it in style. Plus, my writer’s mind is thinking about skimobile chases through the trees, etc.

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Inspiration: Solar System Necklace

Solar System Necklace

Our inspiration this week is the “Solar System Necklace,” a real piece of jewelry from ThinkGeek that can bought for around 40 bucks. The Sun is on the left, followed by all of the planets. Even the Asteroid Belt is represented. I understand, although it’s not pictured, that there’s also an optional dangling comet that can be added to the necklace.

Now THIS is what I call fashion.

(Yes, yes, I know, Pluto isn’t officially a planet anymore…but the jewelry folks haven’t caught on yet, so let’s not burst their bubble).

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Inspiration: A Ruin in the Forest

Forest Fantasy This is a great picture from PublicDomainPictures.net. As a writer, I look at a picture like this and I wonder…

What heinous crime happened in this crumbling ruin in the forest?

Or, perhaps, taking advantage of the shelter of this convenient ruin:

What danger lurks in the forest just out of view?

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Inspiration: Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars, 2005

This is sunset on Mars in 2005, compliments of a very cool photo from Nasa. It doesn’t get better than this, as long as you have a spacesuit on.

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