What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?

I asked this question in Omegle.com… interesting replies!

Stranger 1: Died for three seconds.

Stranger 2: Discovered meditation. I know have the ability to feel happy.

Stranger 3: Got hit by a car and skipping school.

Stranger 4: Finished chemo therapy.

Stranger 5: This conversation.

Stranger 6: This website.

Stranger 7: I crashed through a window in high school. Got some cool scars. And it didn’t hurt that much.

Stranger 8: Erm. Nothing realllyyyy.

Stranger 9: Getting laid.

Stranger 10: Hasn’t happened yet. But I know what it’ll be. The day I DIE. (then disconnects)

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Overheard: Reality TV? That’s nothing.

Combine Home and Away (If you’re Aussie, you will understand this) and Keeping up with the Kardashians, not that I’ve ever watched a single episode. I’m simply basing this on annoying promos during commercial breaks. But I am almost completely certain that my real-life characters (without them knowing) are way more interesting and the storyline is much more entertaining. Read on and find out why!

People in their forties were talking loudly on the train, as though no one was there:

It started like this…

How often do you see your daughter?

None of your bloody business!

Well, my father gave me pearls and opals. They’re beautiful.

Ah, probably ‘cause he said to himself: Here’s jewellery, go away. Yes, finally! She’s gone!

Then the woman started to open up…

A Soliloquy

Look at me. I look like shit. I cried and cried. And he treated me like a thief. He broke my heart. All the lies. And shit.

I don’t know what I do. I should just be happy with my own little life. There was Perry who comes and we’re all in love then he leaves for five days. Doesn’t call, just a couple of texts saying don’t call me, I’m with my partner. Ah, it’s just shit. Then there was Matthew, oh don’t get me started on him.

I just need to get my confidence back but Robin took all my confidence.

The things I do to make myself happy.

If I was a bitch from hell, why didn’t he just tell me? Nobody reads minds.

(This one is worthy to be quoted, I think)

You listen to four or five stories of the same event. It’s amazing how people have such different perceptions and versions of what happened.

[Silence.]

How are those relatives of yours?

They have this mentality that it’s what you do – steal and lie. That life is all about you. And the whole world owes you.

 They touch on a particular Auntie…

I thought she was getting good money from the house.

Everyday is a different story. One day there’s a renter, one day she’s given up on it.

She’s in another world. She must have a carer or someone to look after her.

She needs to but she doesn’t want to.

The next topic is one of their nieces…

She said she wants to jump off the balcony then I say: Hang on, hang on.

She’s definitely bipolar. Has she got medication?

Yes, she does but she probably doesn’t take them. I said one time, “Are you popping pills?” She said, “Do you want speed?”

(laughs)

 And ended the lively conversation with a random thought…

(Pointing to the building)

There’s a hole in the middle of the building.

That’s most unusual.

That’s certainly unusual but I’m not quite sure if I like it.

Juicy gossip, insightful musings and dramatic monologues  straight from the mouth of lovely strangers who just happen to be comfortable sharing their life stories to everyone on the train. People are people. We love them anyway.

I was listening, accidentally on purpose. I know you would too if you were me.

Care to share any stories you “overheard”? (I know you want to. Come on, don’t be a pussy.)

Gumtree and Shirley

“You are soo beautiful.”

Those were the first words she uttered. Not hi or hello.  She looked at me for a brief moment with a genuine smile on her face. It was a sincere compliment, no doubt. It was quite strange but in a good way, of course.

“Hi, I’m Shirley. How do you do?”

We shook hands and I couldn’t help but smile because I was at awe. I was still trying to process what she had said. It was very unexpected and random, to be honest. My brother and I picked up a  gorgeous solid, hardwood table from her house after seeing an advertisement on Gumtree.

The table did not fit in the car. Well, it took a long time before we figured out how to make it fit in the car. Judging from her accent, Shirley is probably British and from her wedding ring, it’s safe to assume that she’s either married or widowed.

“Your mum is so lucky to have both of you.”

“Oh, we’re lucky to have her!”

I wanted to know more about her and her life but I think I’ve covered the basics. Shirley has a calm, gentle nature – a sincere, polite woman probably in her late fifties. She is a beautiful soul. That’s all I needed to know.

What’s the best random compliment you received from a stranger?

Strangers on the Plane

“Welcome aboard, princess!”

This middle-aged flight steward with a receding hairline greeted me with such enthusiasm and warmth that I must admit, remembering this moment still makes me smile to this day. I was only ten years old at the time, a chubby-cheeked girl who loves wearing colourful headbands and everything pink but I guess this lovely man made an impression. It was a twenty-hour flight but to the astonishment of my parents, I was never cranky. Every time the steward passed by, he would stop and check on me for I told him it was my first time on a plane. He was bursting with energy much like a busy bee that can talk a lot and laugh like no one else was there, generating buzz wherever he happened to be hovering.

About an hour before our arrival, he kneeled at the aisle to give me a memento – a map that traced our flight from Philippines to Canada. He even suggested that I use it for show and tell so my classmates would get jealous of how far I travelled. I tried to thank him but I knew, even at a young age, I’d never be able to repay his sincere kindness and perhaps, it is best to simply pay it forward. I wish I had known his name but wherever you are kind stranger, I hope with all my heart that your life is filled with happiness and whatever you wish it to be. Although I’ve moved houses a couple of times, I believe the crumpled piece of paper comfortably resides in one of my drawers and it holds more value than any other souvenir.

“Hi, can you pay for my food?”

He had a startled look on his face.

“What I meant to say was if you could use your card to pay for it and then I’ll pay you with cash. My brother and I, we don’t have a credit card.”

“Oh yes, of course.”

He handed it to the flight steward. I can vividly remember the sumptuous gourmet pizza that I ordered because it was just that good. Being a fifteen year old, I had no idea airlines no longer accepts cash when purchasing goods during the flight. That was a good thing though. I realised I did learn a lot from a year of studying overseas without my parents and I had the privilege of meeting Tom, my seatmate on the plane.

The flight to Vancouver gave me time to reflect on the year I spent as a Year 9 student in a Canadian public school. Tom and I had a lively discussion about the Western and Eastern culture, the youth and life in general. Soon I discovered that Tom was in Montreal for a brief business meeting and he has two daughters, one is a veterinarian and the other one is a university student. He and his family hosted exchange students throughout their life and he thought it was brave of me to be so willing to travel to the other side of the world.

“It was nice meeting you. See you, Julia.”

“Same here. See you, Tom.”

Brief encounters with lovely strangers never fail to amuse me. I went to Canadaland two times, one as a visitor and one as a student. Oddly enough, two of the most fascinating, unforgettable experiences happened during the flight.

Have you met a kind stranger on a plane?

Published on http://socialjournalism.com.au/strangers-on-the-plane/