Illustration for article titled The Most Generous Thing a Stranger Has Done for You
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Given the current state of the world, it’s easy to feel like there isn’t much to celebrate. But there isn’t nothing: in times of hardship, good people tend to show up for one another. After a few Jezebel commenters requested a positive Pissing Contest to close out a week that was somehow more challenging than the last, I couldn’t help but agree. And then I started to notice instances of kindness between strangers. A bartender friend who lost his job was treated to a few free pieces of produce at the grocery store. The New York Times published a piece discussing how writers Roxane Gay and Shea Serrano decided to utilize their popular Twitter accounts to help others. There are countless other tiny moments of humanity worth championing, and it’s important we hold onto them.

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But this is Pissing Contest, and we only want your biggest, best, and most formative stories. What’s the most generous thing a stranger has done for you? Did they realize the kind of impact they were having? Was it so momentous that they are no longer a stranger? Feel free to get as detailed as you want—it’s time to cry for a reason other than total anxiety over the impending apocalypse.

But before all that, it’s time to check out last week’s winners. Here are the best stories about the worst houseguest you’ve had:

kinbari, this is absolutely WILD:

My husband, K, and I used to live in Japan - not a super-fun part of Japan, (our city had a disease named after it!) but we did have a few people come to visit.

One visitor was just dreadful - friend of K’s, one of those guys who starts lecturing you about local culture as soon as his plane touches down - you know the type. We had lived in Japan for two years at that point, so his smug lectures were neither informative nor welcome.

He stayed TWO WEEKS, in our small apartment, which felt so much smaller with his smug self shoving Pico Iyer books at us, because Iyer knew “the real Japan”. (Iyer had spend a princely six months in Kyoto before writing his book)

But finally, he left. He left on a Thursday, we spent the next day in blessedly un-smug peace, and then K and I went our separate ways on Saturday - I, to view cherry blossoms with friends, and K went to a martial-arts competition with a friend.

I came home in the afternoon, cold and grumpy, (too early for cherry blossoms!) and unlocked the door, only to hear the television. It was early for K to be home, but I was happy he was back. I walked into the living room, to be greeted by a rude, “What are YOU doing here?!”

It was smug friend, cozily settled in.

“How did you get in? The door was locked.”

“I climbed in through the kitchen window”

“Why are you here? You left on Thursday!”

“You weren’t supposed to know I was here - I thought you and K were going to Tokyo today.”

Yeah - he thought that he could just hunker down in our apartment, without our knowledge, for the weekend. He was quite vexed that I had ruined his plans; I was quite adamant that he was not allowed to stay. He did end up leaving, but I pretty much had to start his protesting self through the door.

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Justthisonce, this borders on cinematic:

We no longer allow houseguests because all of them have stayed far longer than is tolerable. But for the kicker it had to be the girl who with her kid moved in till she found a place. So among other things I kept finding the same saucepan in the sink every single day which I thought was weird . Turns out she was umm toilet training her kid with it. Also she stole 750 dollars out of my husbands wallet and when I broke my ankle she stole all my percocet and she also stole all the money out of my giant piggy bank. Even in a wheelchair I managed to wing that saucepan pretty near her head on her way out the door.

c_b_r, this is... frightening, somehow?

A friend was getting married in our city and asked if one of her guests could stay with us during the weekend of the wedding. Apparently, she thought she would just crash with the bride and groom. Should have been a weirdo red flag.

The woman brought her own shower head to install over ours to filter the water. It did not fit and we had a bit of a showdown all standing in the bathroom about it. I am not sure if she actually showered while visiting because of this.

The next day, as we were getting ready to leave for the wedding, she mysteriously starts cooking In our kitchen. I tell her we need to leave for the wedding. She continues cooking, only to have us leave her because I am a very prompt person and could not. She even showed up to the wedding with a thermos of the curried apples she cooked.

She wrote us a thank you note with drawings and discussion of our spiritual connection. She eventually moved to our city and our mutual friend convinced her I was too busy with work to ever get together.

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LifeisHappierInPajamas, this is horrible and I’m so sorry:

Worst houseguest. My BIL who was visiting myself (37)and husband. Hubs had been diagnosed with ALS at age 43, seven months earlier and by now could barely talk, in a wheelchair and bed ridden in the main floor. BIL was upset that he couldn’t have a good conversation with his brother(who lost his voice because of ALS) and little patience. He also stayed over even after I told him it would be the couch. And I also have to put in that I was sleeping downstairs as well because we had turn the dining room into a bedroom for my husband. At this time I was kind of a broken person because of being an at home caregiver, mom of three teenagers and watching my husband die very slowly.

He left and I cried for hours after because at that time I had no fucking help from any of husbands family. None of them.

Husband died, this shitty BIL didn’t attend the funeral because of a business trip. I fucking hate him. I am just as angry today as I was 10 years ago when this happened.

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And rumplevonstiltskin, topical:

Coronavirus.

Share some positivity in the comments below. Don’t worry if it feels too Hallmark-y. That just means you might win!

Senior Writer, Jezebel. It's facetious. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out July 21.

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