The various encounters Alvin Straight has along the way with slightly off-beat but very normal and considerate small-town folks.
There's practically no mean people: everyone's nice to everyone else.
Alvin camping at night with a female hitchhiker whom he realizes is a young (and pregnant) runaway. He chats up the importance of family, using the "bundle of sticks" symbolism to drive home the point. He wakes up the next morning to find her gone, but with a bundle of sticks tied together, suggesting the young girl took his advice.
Alvin taking a moment to sit and chat with a fellow war vet, revealing a painful story that he had accidentally shot one of his fellow soldiers.