I was born in Maine.
In about 1991 I needed a copy of my birth certificate to renew my passport, and I needed it fast.
I called the Sagadahoc County courthouse, and after 3 calls and dozens of rings, someone finally answered.
I started explaining my situation to the courteous man that answered the phone, and he interrupted me with:
"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but the State of Maine is closed."
I didn't understand what that meant, so I asked him, "What do you mean, 'the State of Maine is closed'?"
"Well, we ran out of money, so the State is closed.”
“ I'm the janitor. I was just up here sweeping and answered the phone because it rang so long."
Hmmm... "Well when is the State going to reopen? I need a copy of my birth certificate."
"We don't know. Could be a week, could be a month, or could be a year. But I know the lady who is in charge of the birth certificates. I can call her at home and have her call you."
Wow... What kind of state is this that I was born in?...But more importantly, what are the odds that 1) the janitor would be in the area when I called, 2) he would answer the phone and 3) he would just happen to know the very person I had to talk to, and knew her well enough to call her at home???
Within an hour the Maine Birth Certificate lady called me. I explained what I needed, and told her I would pay lots of money for my birth certificate, because I needed a passport fast.
She said, "No problem. I'll go up to my office this afternoon, make you a certified copy of your birth certificate and overnight it to you. You should have it by tomorrow."
"Great! You just don't know what this means to me. I will overnight a check to you. How much?"
"Oh it's free. I have no way to deposit a check because Maine is closed. I will just do this for you."
"Well I can send you a personal check for your time and effort and the cost of the postage."
"No thanks. I wasn't doing anything today except drinking tea and watching TV. It's a good excuse to get out of the house."
The next day my certified birth certificate arrived in the mail. I never knew anything but this lady's first name, but whenever I think about "random acts of kindness" I always think about her and pray a little prayer for her.
And I did get my passport.