Calgary at a Crossroads

Over the last few months our series Calgary at a Crossroads has taken an in-depth look at our city. 

Who we are, who we think we are, where we're headed and whether we think we should go there or not. We've covered a lot of ground and we're not done yet. 

Things in our city can seem gloomy what with the downturn and all. It can be a bit much. So, now is a perfect time to celebrate what we love about our city. Let's call them random acts of Calgary kindness.

One of those magic Calgary moments when some stranger did something completely and utterly nice for you.

We want to hear about that right here in the comments section below this article. Tell us the story. So we can all share it  — together as a city.

Good deeds lead to more of the same

Rubber boots

Rubber boots from volunteers and firefighters line the stage at a commemoration ceremony at Calgary's City Hall, a year after the 2013 floods. Hundreds of Calgarians gave a hand to people they'd never met before. (Neil Herland/CBC)

There's more to a random act of kindness than you might think.

There's a psychologist who studies such things, Geoge Fieldman, who says it actually creates a "virtuous circle"  — where one good deed leads to another.

A sort of "paying it forward" that can make a city a nicer place all around.

Yep. Almost everybody has a story about it.

Faith in humanity restored 

Pay it forward

The pay it forward board at Cadence Coffee in Bowness. (Angela Knight/CBC)

A fellow CBC'er Emily Denooij shared hers.

"My favourite random act of kindness was literally my first impression of Calgary," said Denooij.

She had just arrived in the city after driving from Iowa, and didn't know about Calgary's quadrant system. 

"This was before the days of GPS, so I pulled over to a gas station to get directions. The man behind the counter was not very helpful, and I was very obviously confused and flustered," she said.

"This wonderful woman in line behind me asked if I needed help and offered to take me to my destination. So we each hopped in our cars and she led me to the doorstep of where I needed to go. Then she honked, waved and drove off.

"Day saved and faith in humanity restored. I love Calgarians!" said Denooij.

The random kindness thing can happen on a personal level, or even, well, more randomly random.

Caffeine kindness

Tuscany LRT graffiti response 2

The group of young Calgarians brought large hearts and messages of peace and understanding to commuters hours after the Tuscany LRT station was vandalized with hateful graffiti against Muslims, Syrians, and refugees. (Evelyne Asseline/CBC)

A couple of weeks ago my friend Cheri and I stopped to grab a coffee at the Cadance Coffee shop in Bowness and noticed a pay it forward board. 

The idea is simple. You buy a coffee, or beverage of any kind and then donate it by listing it on the board. So if anyone shows up and is short of change, they can just choose a drink from the board  — courtesy of a stranger.

It just reminded me of how we care for each other in small ways each and every day.

Okay ... so now it's your turn.

Write below in the comments, or on Facebook, whatever.

Tell us about the time that someone here in Calgary surprised you with a random act of kindness.

The Bench Project

A trio of anonymous Calgarians builds these benches and then leaves them in spaces where Calgarians can sit, relax and enjoy their surroundings (City of Calgary)

Calgary at a Crossroads is CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn. A look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads.