Random Acts of Kindness While Travelling

Unexpected Gifts Received While TravellingOne of the best things about travelling is the people you meet along the way. The world is full of generous, humble souls.

This week, our members are discussing surprising and unexpected gifts they have received while travelling. There are stories of incredible generosity and random acts of kindness… as well as a few stories that are downright bizarre. Australian frequent flyers have been gifted everything from champagne to goats. Yes, you read that correctly – goats!

Seat 0B tells of visiting Amman with her son who happens to speak fluent Arabic. Their driver was astonished and rewarded them handsomely, as Seat 0B writes:

We had a wonderful talk about family life in Jordan and how he went about the process of arranging marriages for his 4 daughters. He then proceeded to take us, unasked, to all his favourite local market stalls for flat breads, dips, fruit, pastries, and involved our son in all the transactions. Many cups of mint tea with the merchants ensued, and for me a look behind the curtains for a drink and pastry with the womenfolk. At the end of the day, he gave us all the day’s purchases and would not take money. So we booked him for our airport transfer and left a big tip. This was an amazing gift – to see and hear about the real life of local people, as well as eat some delicious local produce.

Similarly in the medina markets in Amman – buying fresh figs from a stall keeper who was so astonished at our son’s language skills that he took our money for the 6 figs we asked for, and then gave us 2kg for free. Amazing generosity in a very poor part of the world.

Some members have written of generous individuals that have stopped to help them when lost in a foreign country. Others have been offered transport, and even free use of a stranger’s car.

John in Melbourne tells of backpacking through Spain in the 1970s on a very tight budget. They decided one day to splurge on a restaurant meal which they weren’t sure they could afford. Unbeknownst to them, a British couple paid for it.

1977, backpacking through Spain, doing the “travel cheaply” thing, money and travellers cheques running low. We were sick of eating canned sardines and salad in our pensione room, so we thought we’d treat ourselves at a local restaurant. As we stood outside, discussing the enticing English-language menu on the window and wondering whether we could afford it, a British voice said, “We’ve eaten here a few times now and it’s always good.” Behind us, an English couple smiled encouragingly. They went in to their reserved table and we took the only one left, by the kitchen door (oh, the scents of food cooking, we were drooling). We took their advice and lashed out on a 3-course meal, which was fantastic. When it was time to go, we signalled the waiter, who told us that the English couple had already paid…and left a tip. We walked up and down the street outside looking for them but they were gone.
While hitchhiking though the Sahara Desert in Algeria, many years ago, StevoQFtraveller was unfortunately caught in a major sandstorm. Once the storm had passed, StevoQFtraveller became lost in the desert until a local tribe came to assist…

Didn’t really know what to do, as I had no idea on which direction I should be going. Remembering the “desert rules” from outback WA, I decided best to sit and wait. But what for I wasn’t sure. Anyway, several hours later a Bedouin tribe came by with their camels and goats and allowed me to stay with and travel with them. We walked heaps through the desert and spent the night under the skies surrounded by their livestock. The next day we got back to (some sort of) civilization. The bedouins were so excited for me and wanted to wish me well in my future travels.

And what did they give me as a gift? A GOAT! Lovely though it was, I politely declined the offer….

As a way of saying “thank you” to people they meet on their travels, some AFF members now carry small gifts themselves. When overseas (during non-covid times), some Aussies find that small Australian-themed gifts such as koalas are appreciated.

Have you received a welcome but unexpected present while travelling? Or perhaps you came across a random act of kindness that you still appreciate to this day? Share your story on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: What’s the best unexpected gift you have received while travelling?


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]