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Viral Kindness
During this COVID-19 crisis, people are stepping up and spreading goodwill. We want to hear about the ways in which Kansans are responding to this emergency with compassion, and shine a light on the humans that exemplify humanity.Every other Friday, we'll share your stories on KMUW's new commentary, Viral Kindness.Share your experience. Use the 'Talk to Us' feature on the KMUW app, or leave a voicemail at (316) 978-6789.

Viral Kindness: Two Tasty Surprises

courtesy photo

This week on Viral Kindness, Rachel Rutledge talks about two tasty surprises.


It was December, close to Christmas, and I was at the Riverside Café on 13th Street for lunch. It was a bright and sunny day, and I was by myself. I decided to really treat myself, so I ordered a pretty expensive salad, soda, pie, and coffee. My bill came to over twenty dollars. When I eventually asked for the check, the waitress told me it had already been paid by another guest. I couldn’t believe it! I looked around but it was not obvious who had paid for me. So I thought, ‘Chalk that one up to the Christmas spirit.’ That was such a nice surprise, I mean, nothing like that ever happens to me.

Or does it?

Three weeks later, I am in line in the drive-through at the Taco Shop at 21st and Woodlawn. There are a lot of cars in line. It is cold and windy and pitch black. I ordered about twelve bucks worth of food from there, which is quite a bit, but I really felt like Taco Shop that evening. As I get to the window, the staff member hands me my bag and says, ‘The car ahead of you paid for your dinner.’ I was floored! So twice in three weeks did I have random strangers pay for my meals. All right here in the great city of Wichita.

People give to shelters. They give to their places of worship. There’s a lot of formal giving. But there’s people who are out there spreading a little hope and a little happiness with some informal giving. And they don’t get anything out of it other than knowing that they put a smile on somebody’s face.

Sarah Jane Crespo is the Director of Community Engagement at KMUW. She is the creator and host of Engage ICT and the weekly Engage ICT Mini series.