There are days when everything seems to go wrong.  Inanimate objects seem to take on a life of their own: Zippers get caught, buttons fall off, shoestrings break, spots appear on selected garb, hosiery develops runs or holes, once organized papers fall to the floor in disarray, pens disappear, keys hide, etc. 

To add to an already bad day, one misses a bus or train that would get one to a destination on time or one has a depressing or aggravating conversation with someone. 

Whew!  Thank goodness there are people who can salvage a bad day by their small acts of kindness. 

One evening I received a call from a man named Al who had read my article “Benchmarked,” in which I said I would limit my shopping at a Jewel store because this Jewel moved an outdoor bench from a protected area to an unprotected area. 

Al suggested that I shop at Aldi stores and even gave me travel directions to a couple of them.  Then, when Al learned that my apartment complex did not usually get store ads, he offered to drop them off for me, which he has done.  Thanks, Al, for your kindness. You made (and make) my day.

A few weeks ago, as I entered the Main Evanston Library behind a teenager, the teenager reached back and held the door open so that I could enter before it closed. 

I thanked him. 

I was impressed with his courteous behavior, since many people do not bother to hold the door for those behind them. But I was even more impressed when this young man opened and held the door for me to enter ahead of him when we reached the next door. 

I thanked him again and afterwards asked for his name, since I wanted to make a reference to him in one of my stories.  His name is Nico (pronounced Nee-koh).  Not only did Nico make my day, but when I tell others about his courteous regard for others, it makes their day, too. 

Thank you, Nico, for confirming that many young people are polite and considerate of others.

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...