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He forgot his shirt for a job interview. A hotel employee had a novel solution

A gesture of generosity has stuck with Oliver Muensterer.
Oliver Muensterer
A gesture of generosity has stuck with Oliver Muensterer.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series, from the Hidden Brain team. It features stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.

About 15 years ago, Oliver Muensterer packed his suitcase and traveled from his home in Leipzig, Germany to a town a few hours away. He had a job interview, so he arrived the evening beforehand.

When he woke up the next morning, he took a shower and started to get dressed. Just then, he noticed that he'd forgotten to pack a white dress shirt.

"I thought I had prepared perfectly for everything. I had a tie, I had my suit, but somehow I had forgotten the shirt," Muensterer said.

This discovery sent Muensterer into a panic. He only had about an hour until he needed to be at the interview. He rushed down to the lobby and went to the front desk to ask the man behind the counter if he could suggest a nearby store where he could buy a new shirt.

"[I] went to the guy and said, 'I'm really in a lot of trouble. I have this really important job interview in an hour. And somehow I forgot my dress shirt at home,'" Muensterer remembered. "He listened to my story. And I hardly had ended it [when] he said, 'I have a solution.'"

But rather than directing Muensterer to a nearby shop, the desk attendant did something surprising. Without saying a word, he took off his own white dress shirt and handed it to Muensterer.

"So I put it on and I went to the interview. It was not my dream job, so it didn't work out in the end, but after the interview I came back and I gave him back his shirt. And he just smiled at me."

That single gesture of generosity has stuck with Muensterer over the years.

"It really instilled this idea that I'm part of this brotherhood of kindness ... And so ever since, when I see someone who needs anything, I'm very willing to share. And I always think about this one day where a total stranger bailed me out of a lot of trouble."

Listen to All Things Considered each day here or on your local member station for more stories like this.

My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Autumn Barnes