The Nice List

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The Nice List

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A tribute to warm Yooper culture

To a kind stranger,

I’ve always been the kind of person who would choose not to do something instead of asking someone for help doing it. Sometime back, I was driving to Houghton, and I had stopped at a McDonald’s near the Mackinac Bridge to get some breakfast. I had been traveling all night, I could feel a headache coming on, and I really needed a coffee. So, I was trying to pour myself a cup, but I just couldn’t figure out how the coffee machine worked.

It was probably the sleep deprivation, but I just couldn’t find a button or a knob to press, and I’d just given up on getting a coffee. I didn’t want to ask the nearby table of large men how to operate the damn thing because I was too embarrassed and intimidated. So, I turned around and headed towards my table. I had to walk past them to get to my table and, just as I was passing by, one of the men stood up, smiled and said, “Come on let me show you what to do.”

I was a little embarrassed because he must have been watching me struggle, but strangely I didn’t feel embarrassed that I needed someone to show me how to get the coffee. Maybe it was because he was smiling or maybe because he didn’t ask me if I needed help or make me feel stupid.

He took me to the machine and showed me what to do, gave me a smile and wished me a wonderful day. It has been some time, but I’ve never forgotten it, and I’ve gotten over just a little bit of that fear of embarrassment.

So, thank you, sincerely,