Yes, Do Not Underestimate the Kindness of Strangers, But Also…

Don’t underestimate the kindness of your longtime friends. 

Obviously, I’m in the middle of a whirlwind of moving currently, but I’ve wanted to tell you about this random beautiful encounter that Stevie and I had in Detroit when we visited last month. 

And there were quite a few fabulous experiences during that trip so that this one stood out is a pretty big deal. 

Okay, so y’all know I hate driving right?

One of our goals when Stevie and I made the trip up here (I’m here now, in Michigan, in case you didn’t know that already) was to use public transportation. 

I happily said more than once, “I wanna become a public transpo bitch!”

And I meant it. 

So, Stevie and I started our trip in Detroit with a bus ride from the airport to the art museum. 

Yes, of course a museum was our very first stop. We didn’t even drop off our backpacks before consuming art. It’s who we are. (I’m shrugging my shoulders and doing “what’re ya gonna do?” arms as I say this.)

So we trot off the plane and head over to the bus area. 

Where we see some busses, but no info on which one we need to get on to get to the art. 

So we just kinda stand there and look around. 

Then, another human appears – a bus driver!

We stand there awkwardly for a bit, but not for too long because Stevie is much better at people than I am. 

“Hey, are you the driver?”

The distinguished gentleman answered, “Yes!”

Stevie then proceeds to ask him how we should go about navigating ourselves to MOCAD and he gives her very detailed instructions and then told us it was $2 each to ride!

Both Stevie and I panicked, because, while we did have cash, we did not have change. And the bus didn’t make change, so we were at a stuck spot again. 

The kindly bus driver saw us making worried faces at each other and asked what was wrong so we explained our situation to him.

He popped up into his bus and hopped off with two slips of paper for us.

“Here!” he said, “These will get you where you want to go! No charge! It’s on me!”

We thanked him effusively and asked his name, to which Stevie replied (this is an approximation, I cannot remember the exact quote):

“OMG, what the heck, my name is Stevie too! What a small world!”

And thus a flurry of conversation happened, where we discussed why we were visiting Michigan and what sort of things we planned to do when we were here. 

Watching Stevie and Stevie converse was like a masterclass in conversation. It just flowed so naturally. 

And there I was in my Jacki circle, trying to get my brain to unswirl enough to participate. 

Somehow it came to light that we planned to visit the Heidelberg project while we were in town to which Bus Driver Stevie, replied:

“Oh! I grew up in that neighborhood! Let me know when y’all plan to head over that way and I’ll show you around.”

So we exchanged numbers and made a vague promise about meeting up at the Heidelberg Project. 

And you know how these things normally go, right? That’s the end of them. 

Except this wasn’t! We DID meet Stevie the bus driver and he DID show us around the Heidelberg Project, which is a shell of its former glory. 

Then Stevie carted us away to our next destination so we didn’t even have to figure out how to get there on our own!

And since we’ve been “home” and now “temporary Michigan home” Bus Driver Stevie has kept in touch! 

In fact, he has already told me the best two routes to take the bus from our new house to Tiger’s stadium – both of which include his route!!! How serendipitous is that?!

Mickey and I are planning to catch dinner with him in the next week or so. Life is so amazing and awesome sometimes. 

So, my plan was to write about this experience with a total stranger when Florida Stevie and I made it back to Orlando. 

Then I had an outpouring of kindness from people I consider lifelong friends that just gobsmacked me right in the face.

The day we packed up our entire lives into two piles (dumpster and podlife), our friend Eddie stopped by to drop off our house key. See? He was our trusted house protector when we were out of town or in case of Jacki emergency when Mickey is out of town. 

We were excited to see Eddie before we left. He showed up in the middle of the day, we were covered in sweat and, before arriving, Eddie texted and said he had a surprise for us. 

Immediately I started panicking thinking it would be something extra to pack or  clean up. 

I was, obviously, an idiot. 

Eddied showed up with surprise Krispy Krunchy chicken. 

His first time ever trying it. 

I legit teared up for a few reasons. 

  1. I had not included Krispy Krunchy on my list of goodbye foods, but the minute I smelled it I knew how much I would miss it. 
  2. Introducing people I love to things I love is legitimately my favorite thing on earth.
  3. My packing planning had not included a midday eating break and I had no food planned.
  4. We were so hungry and neither of us realized it until we started eating.
  5. We needed a damn break and wouldn’t have taken one otherwise.

I mean, that’s a friend y’all. He gave us what we didn’t even know we needed. 

And that wasn’t the only kindness of our megapacking day. 

Remember when I was looking for someone to take away all our unconventional holiday trees and give them a new life? 

Well, one of my old coworkers answered the call… and then offered to help up move if we needed it. 

We didn’t need much, but we did have a decent bed to get rid of and I have noodle arms and I knew I’d be very little help, so we offered her the bed (and anything else we were ridding ourselves of that she might need to make her life awesome) to help us move a few of the heavier things. 

I hadn’t talked to this human aside from passing comments on Facebook for over 3 years and it was like we hadn’t missed beat. 

And then in our final week, we had to get out of the house on a whim a couple times for house showings and we felt even more kindness then. 

And I’m not even talking about our amazing neighbor letting my post up on her front porch for days on end. 

First off we went to Linda’s La Cantina with Ross and Nat – for their very first time. 

As always, it was like stepping back in time. The martinis are dirty and ice cold. The bloomin’ onion was the stuff of 1990s Chili’s fever dreams. The french onion soup was piping hot and melty. The steak was perfection. 

And the mozzarella sticks (my first time trying them at Linda’s) were the best I’d ever had in my entire life. 

Like, I don’t even know how these were so special or so perfect, but, y’all… if you love cheese these are a NOT miss. 

And when it was time to pay the check, Ross reached for it but then our waiter interrupted him.

“There’s not much you can do with that. Someone else paid for your entire meal.”

Now, my first thought was that it was Mickey being sneaky and I was gonna high five him later, but he had no idea what had happened either. 

We ate like ballers that night, too (It was a goodbye dinner, after all), so it was not a cheap check. 

Whoever paid for our meal was NOT a cheapy peepy, Dan. (sorry this is a Harmontown reference that my brain told me I *HAD* to make.)

So thanks, kind stranger! It was delicious. 

Our final dinner out in Orlando was at Lazy Moon Pizza with our adopted son, Fritz. 

Fritz was one of the last folks we saw in person before the pandemic hit so it was kind of neat to see how much we had all changed. 

Again, it was like no time had passed at all. 

And we’re all three in much better places than we were before the pandemic. And that was super cool to see/share/enjoy, too. 

I love seeing good people doing good. 

I know there were one million other tiny kindnesses we experienced in our last day/week/month/year/lifetime in Florida, but I also have nachos to make. 

We are in Michigan now, for good. We drove by the Professor House and it’s still dreamy as all hell. 

I don’t think I’ll miss Florida, the state. 

But I will miss Florida, the people. 

(and Florida, the food.)

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