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A stranger made a woman feel like she could continue living the life she wanted

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

And now to "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain sharing the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. Today's story comes from Lynn Fainsilber Katz. One day in 2022, she went to the beach. She was carrying a lot of things and was feeling weighed down.

LYNN FAINSILBER KATZ: I had a chair and a beach umbrella and a cooler. It was just really hard to climb over all the rocks, and I was struggling. I got to one part that - I just paused because it was a big step down. And I was a little bit off center 'cause of all the things I was carrying. And as I stood there, a young, kind of 30-something-year-old man came over to me and said, can I help you? And I said, sure. And he took some of the things I was carrying and gave me his hand and helped me come down that stair.

And I was just so grateful. And I think that's because, you know, as I age, I'm feeling a little bit more vulnerable and not as strong and able to do the things that I want to do. And so, you know, at that moment, I thought, maybe this is not something I can do anymore - be on my own doing it. And, you know, having that kind of help and support at just that right moment sort of felt like I can continue in the life that I want to have, that I've had and want to continue to have and, you know, even if it's hard, that there will be people there.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KATZ: If you feel like there'll be somebody there who will help, then you can push the limits a little more, and you can maintain the joy that you want to maintain in your life. So that's why I'm grateful to him - because he helped me maintain that joy.

CHANG: Lynn Fainsilber Katz lives in Seattle, Wash. She's also the mom of Hidden Brain producer Ryan Katz, who recorded this interview with her. You can find more stories like this on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. And to share the story of your unsung hero, visit myunsunghero.org for instructions on how to send a voice memo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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