I have a couple, and they're both a little long. They are stories of luck and kindness that remind me of the good in humanity...even when it's awfully hard to see, some days. Both of them take place in Germany, when I was very young, in a little town called Kleinotweiller. (Kudos if you can pronounce it, bonus points if you've ever been.) For the record: we were the only Americans who lived in the town.
1.) It's mid-February, and a massive snowstorm is blowing. We have a half-hour bus ride to school ahead, and since there are no announcements on the English-speaking radio (gogo school on base!) regarding school closure, my mother dutifully bundled us up and sent us off. We made it to the stop, but after about forty-five minutes, my older sister decides that it's worth the trouble for skipping school if we don't get frostbite while waiting. (In our favor: there was NO traffic on the roads. AT ALL.) We turn the corner at the intersection nearest our house when the whiteout hits. Absolutely no vision beyond the middle of my nose. We're stuck in the middle of the road until it lets up, and as it does, we see an elderly couple walking down the street with grocery bags. They see us, ask if we're lost...and my younger sister (four or five, at the time--she was just starting school, at that rate) breaks down bawling. With no further thought, I'm over the old man's shoulder and we're being gently herded into the pub on the corner; they're the owners. They give us a change of clothes, honey toast for breakfast, and lots of toys to play with. They even let my older sister raid their ice-cream fridge. They treated us like we were their own children. When the worst of the storm passed, my mother came into the pub, asking in her broken German (it was practically our first language, so we had no difficulties. Mom...wasn't so lucky.) if they had seen three little girls. We were produced, and over hot chocolate and a little something stronger for Mom, we got things hammered out.
2.) Older and younger sister decide they want to visit our babysitter to see some of her kittens. Not wanting to risk a rat, they haul me along. Being unable to find my shoes, I do this trip barefoot, across town, during morning rush hour. (Kleinotweiller is a small town, but downtown's still absolutely insane at rush hour.) We get to the right neighborhood, but they can't remember the right house. My toes are bleeding, we're sore, and we're exhausted, so we stop to rest on someone's front stairs. One of the residents pops out, asks if we're all right...and the next thing we know, we're at the table eating breakfast. After a while, the Politzei show up, Dad in tow, and we get picked up to go home. While we'd been waiting, though, an elderly woman (a grandmother to one of the residents, I believe) had given us hand-knitted dolls to play with. We tried to return them, figuring they were for her grandkids or other family children, and she refused--they were gifts to us.
I still have that doll.