The world can be a dark and scary place, yes, but there are also so many beautiful, touching moments that make all the bad stuff worth it. Sometimes, all it takes is one small gesture or act of kindness to make this clear, and these stories are proof. From strangers helping strangers to family bonds getting deeper, these stories shared by Redditors are as heartwarming as they are tearjerking. Grab that box of Kleenex, you’re gonna need it.
1. What A Doll
My son was in a pretty serious accident. I was a wreck in the ICU waiting room. A little girl maybe about 9 or 10 years old was with her family saying goodbye to her great grandmother. She waltzed right up to me and said, “sir, why are you crying?” I explained my son was very sick. She handed me a miniature puppy doll.
She told me it was lucky and that my son would get better. She was right. He did, and I still keep that little puppy on my dresser and think of that sweet child.
2. Flower Picking
I heard a knock on the door, and when I opened it, there was a stranger with a gift card to a local garden store for me. It turns out that her kid had been pinching tulips from my garden every day because he wanted to give to his mom. Once she found out what he’d been doing and whose garden the tulips were coming from, she came over to apologize.
But there was no need; I just thought it was squirrels carrying them off. And the fact that her little boy just wanted to give his mom flowers? It was so, so sweet. I spent the gift card on more bulbs and told the little guy that he could take a few flowers whenever he wanted.
3. Right On Time For Dinner
I’d just lost my job, and my dad had his credit card stolen. He was waiting on the bank but completely out of food and living in an old run-down RV. I would have figured something out. I’d do anything before I’d let him starve. Just as he’s almost in tears talking to me about it, someone knocked on the door. A lady was there. That moment changed everything.
She had food for someone in an RV, but they’d vacated the parking lot, and she wanted to know if my dad needed any. She was with some sort of local charity group. There was everything from canned goods to fresh meat, milk, rice, everything. She’d bought it herself and didn’t want to waste. I’ll never forget her perfect timing.
4. Big Baby Problems
I had just had my first baby and did some shopping. My daughter needed feeding and had to have a medicated formula, so I went to the cafe area of the supermarket and juggled the crying baby, powdered milk, boiling water, cooled down water, and I just could not do it. An older lady came over and asked if she could help.
I remember being so incredibly grateful because I really, really needed help. I cried. I said yes please. She held the baby while I made the milk and then help me start to feed her the bottle so I could go grab some cake from the cafe since I hadn’t eaten at all. It’s just something about that moment I’ll never forget.
5. Tale As Old As Time
The summer after my ex-wife planned to literally end my life (she has issues), I was on vacation with my family and my kids. My dad went with me to one of those old-time photo places because I wanted some shots of me and the kids. The photographer was cute, and after the photos were taken, I flirted with her a bit but was interrupted.
My dad jumped in, shut me down, and told me I had no need for another woman after what my ex did to me. He then proceeded to tell her, in detail, what I had survived. I immediately left with the kids and left my card on the counter. I was too humiliated to go back to the photo place, but my mother went to pick them up.
The photographer had framed them without charge, and around a month later, I was hanging them when I noticed something through the back of the frame. It was a sticky note on the back of the picture. I’ll never forget what it said. The photographer lady had written, “We aren’t all bad. Keep your head up.” It’s my favorite picture of me, despite it being Victorian style.
6. Bright Spot
A couple of years ago, I was experiencing deep depression. My life was a mess, my apartment was a mess, and I was a mess. For a moment, I decided to just go to the park and sit for a while as I was really at the end of my rope and had zero idea on what to do. Out of nowhere, a kid who was about three years old came over to me.
She smiled and handed me three yellow dandelions and ran back to her mom. I went home and cleaned my apartment, and tidied up that day. I wouldn’t say that my life miraculously changed, but I will say that the single moment of kindness neither the kid nor the mom probably remembers was one of the most memorable and important moments in my life.
7. No Losers Here
I was in Spain on a trip with my family one year. We were staying in an apartment complex that had crane machines to win soft toys and prizes. One day, my sister and I were downstairs playing on the machines but didn’t manage to win anything and ran out of money. We were so sad, until one kind soul changed everything. There was a man who was sweeping and mopping the floors. He came over and unlocked the machine then handed us both a Winnie the Pooh toy. It was one of the nicest things someone’s ever done for me, and I still remember it 20 years later.
8. Taste The Feeling
The day that I lost my significant other while he was in the ICU, I was sitting alone in the ICU waiting room at about 7:30 after staying up all night out of worry. I’m sure I looked like a complete mess to the hospital staff and other visitors with my eyes puffy from crying and looking a lot younger than 19 years old.
A woman I had never met or seen before passed by the ICU waiting room and glanced in. Then she came back a couple minutes later holding a Coke and gave it to me. I’ll never forget her giving me the Coke while looking like she was going to cry and just telling me that I looked like I needed a little kindness in my life.
9. Down In The Dumps
In high school, I ate at a Mexican restaurant and threw away my car keys on my tray when I was done eating. I asked a worker if he had cleared them off the table, and he said no but that he had just taken the trash out to the dumpster. I remember going outside to call my dad to ask if there was a spare, and he said no.
So, I turned back into the restaurant feeling humiliated and was about to ask if I could look through the dumpster, only to see a heartwarming sight. This man had already gone through the dumpster on my behalf and ended up finding my keys for me. He just went above and beyond expectations, and to this day, I am so grateful for his help.
10. Tearful Holidays
I missed my train to go home for Christmas from university due to a crash near the station. I was completely broke and knew I did not have enough for another ticket. Life just got on top of me knowing I’d have to spend Christmas alone in my awful student house and not see my grandad who was in rapidly declining health.
I was bawling my eyes out on the platform when someone appeared out of a hidden stock room and brought me tissues. He found out why I was upset and said leave it to me. He brought me to the customer service desk and got them to reissue me a ticket for the next train home. I was so thankful that I started bawling again.
He went on his way, and then just before I was about to get my train, he found me on the platform and gave me some snacks and a can of Coke, and it’s just the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.
11. Wheels Of Fortune
A few years back, I was at the grocery store after watching my favorite NCAA basketball team lose their game at the sweet 16. I was obviously upset and looking to drown my sorrows with some more brews at home. As I was leaving the grocery store, I passed by a man who was obviously both physically and mentally impaired.
I noticed that he had a backpack on the back of his auto-wheelchair, and a whole gallon tub of ice cream had fallen out. So, I put down my twelve pack and zipped his ice cream back into his backpack. He muttered something to me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Feeling good about myself, I turned to leave.
Then I heard a “SSSSCREEEE!!” scraping noise on the floor like nails on a chalkboard. I dismissed it, and then again, I heard a “SSSCCCREEE,” so I turned around to talk to him, which again, I could barely understand. When I got to him, I quickly noticed that he’s holding the front wheel in his hand asking me to fix it.
I got it in my own hand and examined it. It was a broken metal piece, and there was no way I could fix it. “Where are you trying to go?” I asked calmly the first time. A completely unintelligible answer followed. “Can I help you?” I said a little louder this time. I finally made out the word, “bus,” and so off we went.
We headed to the bus stop across the street. His wheelchair was not only low on battery, but since he didn’t have a wheel, I had to hold it upright and push it forward at the same time. It was also very, very heavy. It was not fun in any sort of way, but I was there to help, and I was going get this done. We got there.
But it was the wrong bus stop “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “I thought this was almost over, and I’d have my good points for the day.” So, we went across the street and down a block to the next stop. By then, I was starting to pick up on his verbal and physical cues and could tell a little bit more of what he was saying.
He wanted me to wait with him. His name was Carl. He had something around his neck but didn’t want me to take it off, but I saw his name. After about 15 minutes, the bus finally arrived. I helped load him on, pay his fare, and get him strapped into the wheelchair section. I tried to explain the situation to the driver.
He just looked at me with a bewildered face. “What am I gonna do with him?” he asked. That was the point when the whole situation hit me deep. I could hear Carl muttering some words that I couldn’t make out. I could have left feeling great about myself as a person. After all, it’s not like he asked me to take him home.
But in all of his mutterings, I could tell that Carl needed my help. The bus driver couldn’t take him home. Through all his disability, he looked at me, human to human, right in the eye, and I knew he needed help. Even though he didn’t say it, I knew what he wanted me to do. All men in the world were equal that moment.
I turned to the bus driver and said that I would go get my car and follow the bus to his stop. If I could have just fit him into my car, I would have. Of course, it was a long way away and in the opposite direction. As the bus driver waited, I got in my car and turned to follow the bus. I pressed mute and began crying.
How could I have thought something as dumb as a basketball game was actually important in life? How could I actually be so bummed about something so trivial? Here they are, people all around us, 24/7 who need help. I watched basketball and then got mad at a loss. What does Carl have to deal with every day that I don’t?
My emotions were petty. I cried like a baby harder than I ever had. We finally got to his stop, in a bad area, and found Carl’s address off his name badge. It was not close either, and I had to do the balancing act with his super heavy chair again. I got to his street, and it was on top of a huge hill. “Let’s do this.”
I started making my way up the hill. Just then, I was hit with the most magnificent energy from the inside out. I started taking faster steps, and all of a sudden, the weight of the chair had disappeared. Eventually, I was jogging, and Carl and I were both laughing hysterically as I pushed him up the hill to his house.
After some shenanigans with his neighbors, we got the key to his house. I pushed him into his room and helped him onto his bed. “Thank you” he said in his same, now familiar, muttered tone. “Thank you.” I turned to leave but once more turned back around. “You’re welcome Carl, and don’t forget!” I unzipped his backpack.
I took out his gallon of ice cream and put it in his freezer. He smiled, and I left. The next day I called his caregiver and set him up with a new chair. I still smile every time I pass by that same grocery store and see Carl wheeling around in his shiny new ride.
12. Perfect Stay
My partner and I went out to Montana to stay in a fire watch tower for a week. My partner’s fear of heights was worse than we thought. Instead of staying inside the car as an alternative for the whole week, we decided to take a road trip instead and headed to a couple of national parks. The second park was Yellowstone.
It filled up while we were waiting in line. We walked outside the building to see what we’d do next, and an older woman came up to us and offered a spot on her lot. She said her daughter was going to be visiting but not until the next day. We agreed, and she also gave us her daughter’s shower tokens so we could shower.
We had a lovely chat, made her some hobo pies and pizzas, and gave her little dog Carlos pats. She said my partner and I were clearly in it for the long run and it was so nice to see each other so in love. It’s nice to remember this. We both are going through a bout of depression and remembering this gave me some hope.
13. Under Help
I broke my foot and was trying to limp my way across campus with crutches in the pouring rain. Someone ran over to me with their umbrella and walked across campus with me so I wouldn’t get rained on. I had been having a terrible semester and this one act of kindness made all the difference. If you’re reading this, thank you!
14. Looking McMiserable
I was taking my lunch break at a job I absolutely hated. I was sitting eating alone at a McDonald’s, and after about 15 minutes, this man in his 40s or 50s came up to me and said, “Hey man, you look really sad. Things will get better,” then shook my hand. Honestly, it takes a lot for one adult man to offer that to another man.
15. Showings Of Kindness
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon just came out in theaters. I’d been planning to go see it on my next day off. I didn’t have a car and relied on the bus. The day of the movie came, and there was a snowstorm. I went downtown to take the bus, but there was a sign saying all buses had been canceled due to snow. I was super bummed.
I didn’t know what to do with my day off, so I walked over to the local coffee shop, ordered a drink, and started chatting with the owner about how disappointed I was that I couldn’t go to the movies. There was an older woman sitting in the shop who overheard us. She looked at me and said, “I really want to see that movie too. Let’s go. I’ll drive.” I took her up on her offer.
That was the day a perfect stranger and I had lunch and saw a movie together. About a year later, I started seeing this guy in town. His downstairs neighbor was the lady who took me to the movies all those months earlier! We had stopped by her house for her to grab a sweater before the movies. I told the guy, “Did you know me and your neighbor went to see Crouching Tiger together?” He was like, “What? That was you? She went on and on about how cool it was to go to the movies with someone she met at a coffee shop!”
16. Newly Met
On my honeymoon in Greece, we nearly got stranded driving our scooter back from a day trip. We finally found the petrol station in a village, but it was siesta time. We apologized as best we could in the little Greek we knew. The guy obliged but looked annoyed. He casually asked where we were from. We said New Zealand. That’s when his face lit up.
He was amazed because he’d never met someone from there before. He asked what we were doing so far away from home. We told him that it’s our honeymoon. Then he told us to wait there and came back with a bottle that was obviously worth more than the six dollars of petrol we bought. He refused our money. He didn’t let us buy anything either. He just said to us, “Honeymoon is honeymoon, be happy, go.” It was hands down one of the best highlights of our trip.
17. Taking The First Step
After I lost my dad, my depression went from manageable to dangerously bad. I went to the doctor for a prescription for anti-depressants. When I was picking it up, I started crying and apologized to the pharmacist for doing so. His words changed my life. He looked at me and said, “You don’t have to apologize. You recognize you have a problem, and you are trying to fix it. That is a brave thing.”
18. Weeding Out The Good Ones
Last year, my son and I went to Lowe’s to buy his grandpa a weed eater and a certain attachment that goes with it. Grandpa was a little older and slower than before, but he did a lot for us, so we wanted to help make his life a little easier. When we got there, however, there was only one of the attachments left that we wanted.
Even worse, there was an employee getting it down for another customer. My son looked devastated. He knew how much his grandpa had been wanting the items, and we were going to surprise him with it. My son looked at me and quietly said, “that’s the last one. What are we going to do for grandpa now?” The guy overheard and saw my son.
He saw the pained look on my son’s face, and then he casually handed it to me and told us, “I think your grandpa needs this more than I do. I’ll just get an IOU from the store.” It was such a small moment for this guy, but it’s one of those things that you witness that would literally help shape my son and his view of the world.
19. Home Run
I finally decided to get out of my bad home life. I went to my college’s financial aid office to see if I qualified for a dorm. Turns out, I was 50 dollars short. I looked at the ground trying not to cry. I had finally gotten the courage to leave but could not do it. The financial aid lady touched my shoulder and looked at me. Then she simply said, “I believe you” and I nearly burst into tears.
It was the first time anyone had flat out said they believed I was being hurt. She took out her credit card and paid the last fifty dollars. She went with me to sign the lease and to get the key to my dorm. I stood with my key in my hand and realized I was getting out. I was going to be free. I broke down. She hugged me and told me to pay it forward eventually.
I have no idea what her name is, but to the woman at Dixie college who took a chance on me, thank you. I pay it forward by speaking at therapy groups about choosing not to be a victim and sponsoring those who are in similar living situations as I was.
20. Warm And Gray
I was once traveling through an old town when I stopped at a small shop to buy some packaged water. I was in my tweens at the time and jumped out of my car to go in. A very old man sat at the shop. Once I got everything, he took out an ice-cream and handed it to me. I went to take the bottles, but he took them for me.
Then he walked me to the car so that I could have my ice cream. He was very old scaly and thin. And once he saw that I had a younger sister, he rushed back to the shop to bring out another ice cream for her. I insisted that he take money for it. But he didn’t take it. He just smiled at us. I think we reminded him of someone.
21. Almost Like The Musical
I recorded a homemade album with my garage band in high school and handed out a couple CDs. A few weeks later, my English teacher approached me with five pages of notes on what he enjoyed and what I could improve. He got the CD from someone at the high school and listened to it all the way through. It was over an hour long.
He didn’t know I was the singer and guitar player until he asked the person who gave him the CD about who was in the band. He said that if I ever got an opportunity in a studio, I would create something amazing. His kind words broke my heart in the best way possible. Thank you to all the teachers out there who believe in their students. It makes all the difference to us.
22. Keeping Warm
When I was 17, I was going through a really terrible time in my life. One day, I was already exhausted and depressed when I had a really bad shift at work. Then my train home was over an hour late. I just started crying at the train station and was really wondering if it was all worth it. This woman must have seen me, because she came up to me and just held me for bit while I cried.
She was a complete stranger and I’ve never seen her since, but I needed her and I’ll never forget her.
23. Helping Out
I was working at a store that sells electronics. A younger kid came in and said he needed a laptop for his new business. I asked what the business was. He told me it was a clothing line, but the entire staff would be people recovering from addictions. I said that his idea was really admirable. As we spoke, I couldn’t help but get teary eyed.
He asked if addiction had ever touched anyone in my life. I told him that both of my parents were addicts. He looked at me and said, “Mine too.” I asked if he wanted a hug. We hugged for a few seconds and cried a little. I sold him a laptop, wished him well, and felt all warm and fuzzy for the rest of the day. He was a good kid. I just know his business is going to do such good work.
24. Getting Pushy
Back in the days before cell phones were common, I was on my way home from university in a bad part of town. I was driving alone at night when my alternator and engine both failed on the freeway exit. As I was pushing my car, a guy in a truck came and offered to push my car home a good three miles away. He did, and as I was pulling in, he simply gave a wave and drove off into the night.
25. Pizza Delivery
I was in my first year of community college at 19 years old, and I was going through the hardest time in my life. My dad had lost his job, and my mom supported my whole family. We were struggling for a while. I remember being in my night class one day starving. I figured there’d be no dinner, so I told myself I’d go straight to bed when I got home and not think about being hungry.
When I got home, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a giant box of Costco pizza on the kitchen counter. Apparently, one of our neighbors bought it because my dad fixed a part of her fence a few months back. I think it stuck with me because one, I was so hungry and two, the chances of her bringing food that night of all nights was insane to me.
26. Chains Of Old
This happened when I was around only 9 or 10. I was out riding my bike with my mom, and halfway through the trail, my bike broke down. We couldn’t carry the bike back home since it would take hours, so we were just stranded in the field. There were a few people on the trail who saw our inconvenience but didn’t stop to help.
Either they didn’t have any bike knowledge to know how to fix it or they couldn’t be bothered to care. At least an hour passed before this old man, and, I mean like really old looked about 80, approached us and fixed our bike free of charge. He used his elbow grease, and eventually I could peddle again. He was so kind. I’ll never forget him.
27. Cool Treat
If my little league team won a game, everybody would go to the Dairy Barn for an ice cream cone to celebrate. I had a “strict” coach one year who said that if you didn’t play in the game, you didn’t get an ice cream. I didn’t play once when we won, but I went to the Dairy Barn with my friends. Others usually went home.
The lady asked me what I wanted, and I told her that I couldn’t have one because I didn’t play. She looked at me funny and went onto the next customer. Then, while we were outside, I saw the lady came out with this big smile on her face. She gave me a huge ice cream cone and said “You’re still a winner.” I still choke up a little when I think about it.
28. Missing Something
There was a time when a young woman who was talking on her cell phone near me said, “I miss my mom.” She was sad and unfortunately, I knew how she felt. I’d had a family trauma prior to that day. My eldest son and I had become estranged. I missed my son, and at that moment, my youngest son was in the hospital from the related traumatic incident. It was a horrible time in my life.
My daughter and I are best friends and were there for each other the entire time. The woman, who was close in age as my kids, ended her call. We were walking in the same direction several feet apart. I just looked over and said, “I miss my kids, too, hon. I know your mom loves you.” She started weeping. I walked to her and gave her a big mom hug.
She cried so hard. I was crying. We just stood there and cried in the middle of the city. Two total strangers. I was telling her that love never ends even after life does. Love is eternal. We finally composed ourselves, hugged, and went our way. I still think about that day and that woman.
29. Comfort in Line
I was in a bad relationship with a violent man. When I finally ended things, he was furious. I left the house with broken ribs, bruises, and cuts all over me. He was taken away by the authorities, but the process and aftermath were terrible. It was spring, and the weather was warming, but for weeks, I wore long sleeves and high collars to hide the cuts and bruises.
Eventually, everything healed and faded, except for one very dark bruise on my upper arm. I had had enough of hiding them in shame, so, one day, I said whatever and wore short sleeves. I was standing in line in Walmart and noticed this rough biker looking dude staring at me. I thought he was checking me out or whatever. Then he asked about my bruise.
I stumbled trying to answer him, and he outright asked, “Did somebody hurt you?” For some reason, I decided to be honest and not lie in shame, so I said out loud, “yes, somebody hurt me.” He looked at me, and, in the kindest voice, he said, “you did not deserve that. Whoever it was will get what’s due to them one day.” That was a turning point for me.
I knew then that I was going to be ok. I knew that no matter how things turned out, that I was going to be ok. I never saw that man again, but I honestly think he was an angel sent to give me a message.
30. Feeding Into The Fantasy
When I was little, I was waiting for my aunt in a supermarket. Whenever someone exited the supermarket, the doors were automatic. Every time someone left, I stood by the doors and pretended to magically open the doors. I was just being a normal little kid, but the reason I remember this is because one person turned around and said, “Thank you” as if I’d actually magically opened the doors. It was sweet of them.
31. Fairy Grandparents
I was trying to fly internationally for the first time and visit a friend in the United Kingdom in the spring of 2010. But stuff got complicated when a major volcano erupted and there were no flights in or out of Europe. I wasn’t sure what would happen, if my flight would get canceled, so I rode to Chicago on the train and thought I’d figure it out when I arrived at the airport.
It was just all kinds of extra stress on top of the stress of traveling alone and ultimately, I didn’t even get to go. The flight was canceled, and the airline gave me my money back, so I just hopped on the train back home. Before it was canceled, I’d gotten to O’Hare, checked in, and went to sit at the gate. I was quietly crying, and most people were ignoring me, except for two angels who changed everything.
An older couple came and sat right next to me at a time when the waiting area was pretty much empty and simply began a conversation. They were a husband and wife trying to get home to Amsterdam who’d been stranded in the US for days and came to speak to me. They didn’t acknowledge the state my face was in, but they knew.
32. Got Me Going
I had a troubled home life as a young man. I was basically alone the summer before grade 9. I needed school supplies, and the closest Walmart wasn’t for miles. I tried hitchhiking in the Florida sun. It sucked. Yuppies in SUVs with Jesus fish kept passing me. Then there was an old Latino dude in an old busted up sedan. He offered me a lift, and though he didn’t speak much English, he did know “Walmart.”
He got me there and tried to give me a couple of bucks, which I was too proud to take. Good dude.
33. All About Looks
Once, I worked at a bookstore. I saw a big heavyset dude in overalls come in, and I assumed he’d beeline right to a certain magazine section of our store. I didn’t initially pay him any attention. I turned around from checking a person out at the main register area, and he was standing there waiting his turn patiently.
I asked him what he was looking for, and he mentioned he had a book on order held back for him. He said it was the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It caught me by surprise that the man who looked like a country bumpkin was picking this particular book up. In my head, I assumed it was for his wife.
I found the book and rang him up while chatting with him, and I realized the book was in fact for him. I’ll never forget what he said because even though it was such a small moment in life, it changed me a bit. He said, “I think it’s important to read books like this about other cultures than ours because of the news. It always makes the Afghan people seem so bad, but his first book The Kite Runner gave a good glimpse of what life was like over there and made me think twice about how I was judging those people.”
Talk about making me feel like a jerk. Here I was judging him for how he looked, and he pulled this on me. I bought the book, read it, and it set into motion a lot of thoughts I had about how I judge and look at others. To this day, I try my best to see the position others might be in before I judge them unfairly. I often fail at not judging people based on appearances, but when I do, I now try to remind myself of how unfair it is to do it.
It’s not really an act of kindness, but it was life-changing. It was only a 2-minute interaction with this man that I had never seen before and will never see again, but it’d likely made me a better person as a result.
34. Comforting Angel
When I was about 15 years old, I was really struggling with social anxiety. One day, things were really bad and I just started crying on a step downtown. After a while, a girl stopped just to ask me what was the matter. It took a lot, but I just opened up to her as she gently held me on her shoulder and wiped my tears away. I smiled, and we went to go separate ways.
Before we separated, she promised me that things would get better. I was skeptical at first, but I always remembered our words whenever I was feeling sad. I really think she might have saved me from something really bad. Leah, thank you again. I will truly never forget you!
35. Made From Scratch
I told my co-worker I really missed home and most of all, a home cooked meal. I was 19 and moved away from home for the first time to a big city for a job opportunity. I’d never been away from my mom before or even been alone for longer than two weeks. I couldn’t cook anything, and anything I did was missing something.
I mostly lived off takeout and microwave meals, which I was really, really sick of. I just wanted a nice meal made with love and fresh ingredients. I told my co-worker that, and the next day, she came in with a container, and its contents made me bawl. It was five homemade meals in containers for me to eat for the next week. The day before she’d ask me about allergies.
I didn’t even think that was anything more than a usual conversation until that next day. It made me cry, and she didn’t understand why I was so overwhelmed since it was just something that she did everyday for her own kids. I don’t think I’ll forget it. It was truly just so, so sweet, and the meals were so comforting.
36. Handling The Situation
When I was a boy, about 14 or 15, I was rushing home to make curfew. My bike wheel slipped sideways, and I crashed my bike quite badly and messed myself up a bit. My body got the full crossbar treatment, and I gashed my elbow and took a blow to the head. These were the days before helmets. A couple passed by and saw the mess of me.
They ran over, got me and my bike up, and called a taxi from a phone box. They paid for me to go the remaining five miles home. My parents went from “what times do you call this” to “you’re going to hospital” in a heartbeat. It wasn’t too bad, but without the strangers, I’ve no idea how long I’d have been at the side of the road.
37. Lighten Your Load
I was on holiday in Europe and extremely late for the train to the airport. My suitcase was almost my size and just as heavy. I was struggling. My train was coming, and I was by the stairs out of breath and exhausted. I put my stuff down, paused, and took a deep breath trying to gather myself a little for my trip down. A man, maybe late 30s, had walked a few steps down the stairs, stopped, turned around, looked at me and then at my luggage.
Then he kindly nodded his head at me, took a few steps up towards me, picked up my suitcase, and slowly walked ahead of me. I followed him. At the very bottom of the stairs, he put my suitcase on the ground. And it was just as my train was arriving! Then he kindly nodded his head at me once again. I thanked him. What a lovely man, I’ll never forget him!
38. Sticking Together
I was at a very stressful time in my life. My housing situation was precarious, I was seriously underemployed, I was working too much, and the 2016 election was literally a day away, and I was so worried about it. I had done an event for work, and on my way home I stopped to get some gummies from a 7-11 to feel better.
There was a problem with their card reader. It literally broke while I waited in line, so when I got to the front, they couldn’t take my debit card. I had no cash, so no gummies for me. I left them on the counter and sadly walked away. I lived around the corner from this 7-11 and was walking home when I heard somebody.
They were yelling, so I turn around, and there’s this big guy chasing me. I stopped, and he came up to me and handed me a bag of gummies. He was smiling as he said, “Can’t go without the gummies.” I thanked him profusely. I regretted not hugging him. I went home and cried because I was so happy about these gummies. I didn’t have much.
These gummies were probably going to be the last thing I bought before my next paycheck. It was such a small thing, but it meant so much to me. I’m crying now thinking about it. I’m so grateful to that man.
39. Got You Something
I had just ended a three-year relationship in a city where I knew nobody, started a new job, and worked on my birthday. When the HR manager stopped to wish me a happy birthday, she seemed surprised I’d never mentioned it. I explained to her that I was in a bad place mentally and told her I didn’t feel like celebrating.
On her lunch break, she went and got me a single fancy cupcake from the grocery store up the street. She barely knew me. I just clutched that cupcake in the breakroom and sobbed. The best part was that her son ended up working with us a couple months later. We dated, got pregnant, and I, in return, gave her a grandson.
40. Cause For Celebration
Paying for groceries at a Trader Joe’s, the cashier, an old lady in her 60s, asked me what I was doing that weekend. I told her I was actually graduating with my Master’s degree on Saturday. Her eyes lit up, and she had a beaming smile. She congratulated me and told me to wait for a moment. She came back a minute or two later. When I saw what she brought with her, I nearly cried.
She had a small bouquet of roses and told me to celebrate my accomplishment. It was particularly meaningful to me since my parents could not make the ceremony. I thanked her, gave her a smile and a hug, and never saw her again.
41. At The Ready
My brother and I spent our summers at day camp. My brother was about five-years-old and had a tendency to hold his pee all day until we got home. One day, our mom was running late picking us up, and then he wet himself. I was really embarrassed and unsure what to do. Luckily, one of the camp monitors was quick to help.
He helped clean him up and then lent him his shorts so he could change. The monitor was a big dude, and he took a shoelace out of his own shoe to tie his large basketball shorts around my brother’s tiny 5-year-old waist. I still remember how nice and reassuring even to me, the embarrassed older sister, he was that day.
42. Up In Arms
More than 20 years ago while I was still a teenager, I was on vacation with my parents. There were a lot of problems and fights I couldn’t handle, and it came to the point that I made an attempt to take my life. I sneaked out of the hotel room crying rivers and tried to jump off a railing in the courtyard of the hotel.
A cleaning lady must have seen me at that moment. I was on the other side of the railing, the lady pulled me back to her side, took me in her arms very firmly and lovingly, stroked my head while crying, and told me that everything would be okay and every pain passes. I could never say thanks, but she’d changed my life.
I never had such terrible intentions again. She gave me something no one else could do at that moment. Thank you, stranger woman.
43. Lending A Hand
I burnt my hand badly at work, and I was dropped off at an urgent care by a co-worker. I was sobbing and barely able to talk because of the pain. The receptionist was extremely rude to me, so an older man who was waiting on his wife came to help me with things like taking out my wallet of my purse for me. Then, I had to wait.
He sat next to me and told me little funny stories about his grandkids. He even had me hold his hand to squeeze it tight to try to take my mind away from the pain. When I was finally called back, he wished me well. I think about him sometimes. He didn’t have to do that, but he saw that I was in pain and wanted to help.
44. Simple Transaction
Someone gave me a car once after I’d lost my dad. I lived across the country from my mom and was really struggling to get to and from her. When they were done with their car, instead of selling the parts, they just rang me up and gave it to me. No relation, no words spoken for about seven years prior to it, and none after.
45. Out Of Cards
I was having an awful day. My kid was really riled up, I was getting groceries, and our financial situation was not the best. Then came the kicker: As I get up to pay for our food, I realize that the ATM ate my bank card. I didn’t notice it when it happened because my kid was distracting me and I had a lot on my mind that day.
So I’m standing at the cash and panicking when a guy I used to serve in a cafe walked up. He paid for my groceries and I cried so hard. I was so thankful.
46. Rules Of The Road
I was driving the 12-hour trip home from college and was almost there. I had a few duffle bags on my roof, and at a stop sign, one bag slid off the top of my car and got caught underneath the car behind me. It happened at a busy intersection with tons of different roads, and I couldn’t pull over and lost the other car.
I gave up and accepted the loss. Ten miles later, everything changed. I saw my bag in the middle of the busy and large three lane highway as cars were avoiding it. I pulled over quickly and was devising a plan to run in the middle of the highway and retrieve it. I was about to run, and a big black truck came to an abrupt halt to the side.
The man got out and sprinted, and I mean sprinted, to the bag and grabbed it. He wasn’t in close danger, but cars were definitely closing in quickly. He ran back to me and said, “Here ya go, my man,” and then peaced out.
47. Brand New
My wife and I were pretty much living at the hospital after my son was born six weeks early and needed to stay in the NICU. Someone had left a gift basket with some snacks and a few gift cards for gas and baby clothes. It just showed up in his room one random day. It said “In your time of need” on it. It cheered us up.
48. Quick Exit Strategy
One time, I was very unprepared for a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation. I wasn’t prepared because I lost my grandfather the week before, so I had not been at school, and the presentation was the day I came back. My teacher was mean and told me I had to do the presentation anyways. I was so nervous that I almost cried.
Then a girl in my class pulled the fire alarm and got a hefty suspension just for me.
49. Feeling Light
When I was 16, I’d taken my mom’s old Pontiac Bonneville to the movies. I was in such a rush that I forgot to turn off the lights. I came out, and of course the super old battery had already drained. But someone left a set of jumper cables on the hood with a note that said, “I hope you make it home safely.” I have never ever forgotten about their act of kindness.
50. In Salt To Injury
I used to go to school with truly horrible people. I had a stroke when I was a child, so I look different and have an unusual way of walking. Every time I’d go out for lunch at my favorite food places and see them, they’d hurl insults. Once, I was standing in a long line, and they were behind me with an old lady (she was maybe 70 or 80 years old) behind them.
They were making fun of my walk. While they were insulting and teasing me, the old lady behind them called them a “bunch of cruel jerks.” It was really kind of her to stand up to them. I always will remember that.
51. This Way, Please
I was in London and supposed to be flying home that day. I was walking down the street with my two suitcases towards the tube station nice and early on the way to Heathrow with plenty of time. There was just one problem: Silly me didn’t realize that when the signs said there was going to be a tube strike that meant the tube was completely closed.
I’d thought it just meant delays. I left to walk to the bus station a few blocks away desperately trying to think of my Plan B. A young man came up to me and offered to help carry my suitcases. He asked where I was going. I told him Heathrow, which was an hour away at that point. The time until my flight left was running short. And then things got worse.
It started raining. The man told me I’d never make it on time if I took the buses, so he called me a cab instead. After finding a little awning to stay under to avoid the rain, we sat down. He passed his phone to me so I could transfer him money for the cab. We sat and chatted for thirty minutes waiting, and he made me feel so much calmer.
I just couldn’t believe the kindness he showed to some random person on the street, and I’ve never been able to find him again online to thank him.
52. All Out
My motorbike ran out of gas not long after I started riding. I didn’t realize I’d go through my reserve that fast. I managed to get more miles by laying my bike on its side to get a few more drops in the carb, but, eventually, it didn’t work anymore. I was about to start pushing when a guy pulled up to me and asked me, “No fuel?”
I said yes, and he told me to wait. About ten minutes later, he came back holding a can of gas and poured it in, but before I could offer him anything, he said, “No worries man, it happens to the best of us,” and drove away. I assumed he was a biker too and had the same happen to him once. His kindness absolutely made my day.
53. Cover Up
I was nine years old waiting for the school bus in Wisconsin winter. I had a thin coat and no hat or gloves. A woman driving past saw me and stopped. Then she gave me a blanket from the back of her car. It was a long skinny one, so she wrapped it around my head and shoulders like a big scarf. I remember thanking her, but I also remembered being confused.
I told her I didn’t know how I would give the blanket back when I was done borrowing it. She hugged me and said not to worry about it. I still have that blanket.
54. In Good Mountain Standard Time
Once, I’d taken the scenic route home through a windy mountain road. It was a beautiful 30-minute detour around traffic with a great view and my windows down smelling the earth and leaves. The place was so out of the way that there wasn’t any cell reception. Just a big beautiful mountain road. I was enjoying the view as I drove when I got a branch stuck under my car.
Because my car was small and the branch was big, I pulled over to deal with it. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to pull over in a deep ditch and feel as my car slowly rolled right to the bottom. It was so deep that my car’s nose was at the bottom while the the back wheels were three feet off the ground on the other side. I easily got the branch out, but I was in big trouble: How the heck was I going to get out of this hole?
Then, this big pick-up drove up the road and saw me. There was a couple who had wanted to help me but had nothing to tow me. Then, at this random moment in time, a person was walking their dog where there are no sidewalks and said, “Hey, I live right here; I’ll get chains.” He went to his house, came back in ten minutes with his large pick-up and chains, hooked my car up to both trucks, and they pulled me out. I’d been there just 15 minutes.
I was in a sparsely populated area with little to no traffic with my car nose down in a ditch and no cell service. We inspected the damage, nothing major, but the couple escorted me off the mountain to ensure I could make it home. I got off that mountain between sheer luck and unbelievable kindness I will never forget.
55. Gut Feeling
Leaving a park with my son, I put a hard candy in my mouth and said something. The candy slipped down my throat. I immediately knew I was in trouble and couldn’t breathe any air. I threw the car into park and left my son confused. I started flagging down people on street. A guy and his girl stopped. It was getting worse and I was panicking.
I made the universal choking sign. The guy understood. I could tell he wasn’t sure what to do, so I guided his hands to the correct position. After four heaves, the candy was out. I gave him a big hug, and we went our separate ways. It was the scariest moment I have ever experienced, especially having it happen in front of my son, and this complete stranger literally saved my life.
56. Always Comforting
I was living in a one-horse town and working as a cashier in a gas station in my early 20s. I was upset and crying about not being paid on time and freaking out about whether I’d be able to pay my bills. This sweet older lady came in for her weekly newspaper and saw me crying. She asked what was wrong and offered a hug, which I, of course, accepted.
Later on, something even more amazing happened. I started dating my future husband and soon found out that sweet lady was his mom. It’s 13 years later, and I still feel like I won the mother-in-law lottery!
57. Not As Bad As You Think
I was traveling to the national parks in Utah. In the hotel parking lot, I noticed a flat tire. I was very flustered because I was worried about the cost of replacing the tire on top of the rental company charging me extra. As I was struggling with my tire, a group of Hispanic men came over to help me replace it. They offered me a Corona, and we all shared one together.
After they guided me through the repair process, I tried to give them some money as thanks, but they refused it. This was a formative moment for someone who’d grown up in the wealthy white judgmental south.
58. Visibly Off-Track
I was traveling from the South of England to the North of Scotland to start a new job the next morning. I had taken a train up to London and was supposed to get on an early morning flight from Heathrow. The bus to the airport had been cancelled, and I had to make my own way using a series of night buses around 2:30 AM. I was already overwhelmed.
My phone didn’t have battery, and I had never used London’s night buses before. I was young and scared standing there figuring out the faded bus schedule when a woman came over and gently asked me, “Are you alright, love?” I don’t know why but her kindness made me feel like I couldn’t keep it together. I explained through tears that I thought I was going to miss my flight and didn’t even have an Oyster card.
Her actions absolutely shocked me. She looked up my route on her phone and wrote down all the possible variations of buses and trains that I would need to take including the times. She waited with me for the entire twenty minutes before my bus arrived, the whole time chatting with me and calming me down. Then when the bus came, she paid for my fare since there’s no cash on London buses.
I got out and looked back to her. She just shrugged at me and said, “oh, I’m not getting the bus. You just looked like you needed someone.” I think about her every once in a while, and I’m incredibly grateful for her.
59. Getting All The Subway There
I was in the hospital knowing I would be there for at least a week and possibly more. I was sick of the hospital food, so I went downstairs to go across the street to the Subway. I was pretty far back in the hospital on the sixth floor with a labyrinth of staircases and hallways to navigate before I could even get out the front door.
The walk from my room to Subway took almost fifteen minutes even though the restaurant was just across the street. So after I made the trip, I waited in line, got up to the counter to order, and realized I’d left my wallet in my room. I usually kept my wallet in my back pocket, but there was no need to in the hospital since I was in my room most of the time.
I was exhausted mentally by that point, told them I’d forgotten the wallet, and turned to make the trek all the way there and back again. All of a sudden, a nurse behind me bought my food for me, saving me the trip and the money. I thanked him profusely. That was years ago, but I will never forget that act of kindness.
60. Aisle Say
While grocery shopping, I saw a man about my age, mid-20’s, who was clearly putting a lot of effort into his appearance, and it was working. He had two-toned dyed hair, one half blonde and the other black. He was wearing some well-done makeup that I could never have done myself and bright purple jeans and good tattoos. The look worked.
He had clearly put effort into it. I excused myself and mentioned that I thought he looked very happy, confident, and good. The guy began crying in the middle of the supermarket. I felt so guilty for reducing a stranger to tears like that, but he said it was because I’d made his day and he very rarely got complimented.
61. Using Rights Right
When I was 19, I lost my wallet, and somebody used my license to rack up tickets. It was pretty obvious once the courts looked at the location, the vehicle, and the signature that it wasn’t me. But that didn’t matter to the system. I still had to go to around three courts clearing it up. The third judge was the only one with a problem. He said I ignored the tickets.
I explained what was happening and how I’d been dealing with this and I came in as soon as I was made aware of my issue. He wanted to put me away because he didn’t trust I’d be back. He wouldn’t look at my paperwork because it was an arraignment. He would only look at it during the trial date. I didn’t know what to do.
I had the name of the public defender memorized. I asked if I could speak to her first. He called her in and said, “This young man seems to know you.” I quickly explained what was happening and showed her my evidence. She told the judge that if he didn’t release me to come back, she’d pay my bail out of her own pocket.
62. That Was Wheelie Nice
My neighbors asked to borrow my truck. I told them I couldn’t trust the truck because the tires were bad. The next day, Mr. Neighbor called and said he was getting new tires for his suburban and I could have his old ones. He told me to just show up at this certain tire shop where they would switch the tires out for me. So I go to the shop, and they had installed brand new tires on my truck.
I asked what happened to the old tires I was supposed to receive. That’s when the shop owner revealed the true story. He said the “old tires” was just a story to get me in the shop. Mr. Neighbor bought me a full set of new tires instead of the old tires he said I could have. I was going through a tough time financially, and his action was incredibly kind.
63. Extra Steps
I was out of a job at a time when I had to support my mother. I finally landed one, but I had to walk back and forth, and I didn’t have any shoes that would hold up on the walk or the work. I went to Facebook, and mom asked around for some hand me downs that we could buy from someone. A day later, a kind man showed up.
He had a brand new pair of really nice shoes that he had just gone out and bought for me. He left before I could even get any money for him. I cried.
64. Good Country Folk
I moved from a city to the country. I bought a large metal rack without thinking of how I would get it home. As I stood outside my car measuring, an older man came up to me. He asked if I needed help getting it home and offered to follow me in his truck. I thought, okay, I’d only lose $40 if he had some bad intentions.
Plus, I couldn’t get it home anyways. The older man followed me home and helped me bring it into the house. We talked for five minutes, and when he was about to leave, I asked him, “I just have to ask. What made you do this today?” The man extended his hand to shake mine and said, “Just doing my good deed for the day.”
65. Avocadont Have To Do That
Once in high school, I was ordering a burrito at Chipotle. The woman assembling my burrito asked if I wanted guacamole. I asked how much it cost. She said $1. I hesitated for a while trying to decide if guacamole was worth $1 to me and then said no. When she thought I wasn’t looking, I saw her add a scoop of guacamole.
66. Driving Side-By-Side
Driving on the highway, the car in front suddenly swerved to take an exit and then tried to swerve back almost sideswiping me in the process. Luckily, there was no one to my left, so I veered into the left lane and avoided a huge accident. A few moments later, I was passing her, and she very sheepishly looked up at me.
It looked like she was anticipating and expecting someone to rip her a new one. Well, I’d just learned a new car trip trick. Flipping people off is stupid but giving them a thumbs down really stays with somebody. It is the “I’m not mad. I’m disappointed” of the road. I had an angry thumbs down queued up for the driver.
But when I saw her face, I immediately knew she didn’t mean to. She was embarrassed and already felt bad enough. So, instead I flashed her a huge smile, dramatically and jokingly wiped sweat from my brow, and gave her a giant thumbs up. She smiled and laughed, and, honestly, it is one of my favorite moments in my life.
67. Mixed iPod
I had a co-worker about ten years ago. We became work friends, but he was moving to another state. On his last day, he brought and gave me an iPod nano completely filled with different music that we had talked about or listened to together. No one had ever done something that thoughtful for me before. I could’ve cried.
68. Good Health Care
When I was 26, broke, and living alone, I’d developed a reaction to latex and non-latex condoms. I decided to get the implant birth control and went to the family planning clinic. I was filling out the forms where you input your salary and insurance info. I didn’t have insurance, and the medical assistant took my form. That’s when I saw a change come over her face.
She realized my income was just $200 over the limit where would they provide full coverage assistance, meaning that I wasn’t eligible for their financial assistance and was going to have to pay about $1,e000 out of pocket just for the birth control and not including an exam I needed. She very quietly explained this to me. Then, in her normal voice, she said, “Oh, let me get you a new one,” wink, wink.
She gave me a blank one, so I could fill it out to list my income at what was considered to be the limit for assistance. Because of this, I was able to get the physical exam including medication and a three-year birth control implant for free. I was living paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by working full time and over time, wearing worn out clothes and shoes with holes. That woman was a freaking life saver for me!
69. Facing Reality
I’ve always struggled with my appearance, but it peaked when I saw myself up close on video for the first time in about a year. I thought I looked awful and lost all self-confidence. I stopped putting any effort into my appearance and went out only in sweatpants and t-shirts. Then my best friend had her birthday party.
I thought it’d be rude to her to show up looking like a slob, so I curled my hair, put on a dress, and did my make-up. As I was going home, I passed a couple and their daughters, one was probably four years old and the other must have been six or seven. As we passed each other, I saw the younger girl staring at me, and then she exclaimed, “Wow, look! Wasn’t she beautiful?”
I walked around a corner and actually cried a little. Children are so brutally honest, and knowing that somebody’s first reaction to me was that I was “beautiful” was a type of encouragement I had have never felt before. That comment still sticks with me to this day, and I think about it when I start doubting my appearance again.
70. Secure Flight
My last job was working for the TSA. It was a miserable job, and most people didn’t like you. I was having a horrible day filled with personal and work issues, and this nice older lady asked me if I was ok. I gave the standard “yeah, I’m doing fine.” And she asked if I could use a hug. I had a blank stare for a second. Then I just hugged her. That was probably the nicest thing anyone ever did for me when I worked for there. The world needs more people like her.
71. Show You The Way
I was in Walmart, and a man was blocking the aisle where the item I needed was located. I then heard him ask a Walmart employee where the cabinet liners were. She told him that she was not sure and pointed him in the wrong direction. I nosily piped up, “I know where they are. You can follow me. I had just gotten some.”
The man went, “oh, ok. Thank you.” He followed me to the opposite side of the store, and I showed him where they were. He thanked me again, and I hurried back to the other side of the store to get what I needed. Five minutes later at the self-checkouts, the man showed up, and I saw him just hanging around with his bag.
When I got to payment, he came over and insisted on paying for my items. I thanked him profusely. I only had $35 in my bank account at the time and was trying to purchase food for the week. This man helped me so much. I still tear up when I think of his kindness. This was my miracle as a single mother.
72. Really Meaning It
It was almost the end of my shift one night when I was still serving. I had been there around 12 hours by then drained and exhausted. I had a super rude table that spoke to my manager before leaving to just absolutely berate my appearance. It was just a tangent about how my green hair, piercings, and tattoos were completely hideous.
They said I was ugly and even said that I was fat. They were so, so cruel. I went into the freezer and had a big cry. I decided to take one more table for the night half an hour later. The second I greeted the patrons, one of them just immediately started gushing, “Oh my god I love your hair so much!” It was exactly what I needed.
73. Peanut Butter To My Jam
I took my sister, who needs a wheelchair, to the movies for the first time alone. At the end, I realized I couldn’t undo the brakes and was blocking everyone. I felt like crying because I thought everyone else was getting impatient. Just as I was started to panic, a nice lady came up to me, smiled, figured out the mechanism, and took us out. She said she also had a son who used a wheelchair. I’ll never forget her.
74. We All Scream
I transferred in the middle of first grade to a school that did ice cream Fridays where you’d pay like 75¢, get an ice cream, and then watch an educational video in the classroom. I was unaware of it on the first Friday, so I didn’t have any change and neither did the kid next to me. Usually, there’d be a few who couldn’t get ice cream.
But we were the only two that day. So, the teacher called the both of us aside and gave us each the change required to have our ice cream. I think the biggest thing was that she didn’t do it in front of the other kids, so it looked like we’d brought the money all along. It was incredibly kind of her. She was the most wonderful teacher I ever had.
75. How Now Brown Cow
I’d been complaining about heartburn at my work at a restaurant. I was still pretty new to the job and didn’t really have any work friends. I felt like an outsider, and my life outside of work was pretty unbearable as well. The bartender on shift overheard me and ran to a nearby coffee shop to get me a chocolate milk. I felt much better.
It was such a needlessly kind act that I’ll never forget it. Two years later, we’re still friends, and she is definitely one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.
76. Long Lost Family
I had been in the medical field, and over the course of a few days, I met and worked with an entire amazing family. First, I met the dad when he came in for his appointment. He was just an awesome human. Then, the next day, he came in with his son. Later that afternoon, he came back in with his son again for his daughter’s appointment. I genuinely fell in love with this family more and more.
The father, son, and daughter went to the mother’s appointment with her the next day. At that point, I was considering proposing to the son as I wanted to be a part of this awesome, hilarious, loving family. I informed them I wouldn’t be there when they came back in two weeks as I had just gotten my dream job and decided to move to a new city for a fresh start.
They came back an hour later with a bundt cake with the sweetest card. They’d also written a little inside joke written on the cake box. It made me cry. My family life has always sucked and meeting them was just so beautiful and healing.
77. Continue The Cycle
I was riding my bike on a long trip through Canada. With about 50 miles to go, I had a major mechanical failure. I was stuck on the side of the road in a foreign country. Within just five minutes, ten cars had stopped to check on me. One guy loaded my bike in the back of his truck and brought me 30 miles to the border.
I caught a ferry back to the US. It was an amazing kindness and generosity toward a stranger. He just asked that I pay it forward and to date, I’ve helped five cyclists who were broken down in honor of that promise.
78. Car Fables
I was helping my brother move from a teaching job after college in the 1990s. This was in the middle of nowhere in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was driving his little pickup truck pulling a trailer, and I was driving my beat-up little Ford station wagon packed to the gills with all of his stuff. It was a Sunday.
I was driving along, and my car just stopped. No warning, nothing. I coasted to a stop on the side of a rural highway and waited for my brother to realize I wasn’t behind him anymore and turn around. After waiting about 20 minutes, he found me with my hood up with neither one of us knowing not all that much about cars.
Soon, a man from the house in front of where we had broken down came, took one look at the engine, and stated, “timing belt.” We inquired about getting the car towed the 30 miles to the closest large town, and then we realized that it was going to be quite an expensive repair even if the engine was okay and not ruined. And then it all started to change in the best way possible.
This man took one look at the situation, two broke kids in their early 20s just trying to get by in life, and he said, “well, it’s Sunday. Nothing’s gonna be open. I tell ya what. My next-door neighbor is a mechanic. Let’s push the car down to my driveway and we’ll see what we can do.” So, that was exactly what we did.
His neighbor called his buddy at the auto parts store, which was closed on a Sunday, who did a favor and got the parts needed, drove them 30 miles out, and sat around telling stories while he was fixing the car. This man’s son, a kid around nine or ten years old, was hanging around. He was extremely bored with no one his age around.
He seemed like he was craving for any kind of interaction even if it was with two guys in their 20s. He asked, “want to see my treehouse?” and pointed to the woods out back. My brother and I looked at each other, shrugged, and we said, “sure.” We ended up spending two hours with the kid helping him build his treehouse.
We were done and went back. the car was fixed. My brother and I had maybe $60 on us combined and tried to pay the man who did the work, but he refused. He said, “No, you boys were in need of help and I wanted to help. You don’t need to pay me. Plus, you kept my son occupied for several hours, which I truly appreciate.”
He then said, “I want you to do something for me, though. The next time you see someone in need of help and you have the means, I want you to repay this favor.” And that is one of the rules of life I live by that a kind and generous man once taught me in the middle of nowhere and helped me when I was in a time of need.
79. Just What I Needed
During the single most difficult time of my life, a stranger on Reddit gifted me $500. To me, it was a fortune. I received it while at work and immediately broke down. It kickstarted a change in my life, and a few months later, I was able to move, met my now-fiancé, had our son, and found my job. I still occasionally message that user.
80. Mother of Mercy
When my wife gave birth to our firstborn, the woman she had shared a ward with while in the early stages of labor had a stillbirth. After giving birth, rather than spending time bonding with her newborn, my exhausted wife handed me our son and spent the next three hours comforting and consoling the poor woman. Something about the bond of mothers seemed to connect them.
The woman and her husband have since become close family friends and had two beautiful children after that—they still credit the support my wife gave them in the period of time after the stillbirth, especially in those three hours, with helping them get through their grief. It was the kindest act I’ve ever seen, done by the kindest person I’ve ever met.
81. Compassion in the Cake Aisle
Years ago, I was going to a family get together and I was told I needed to bring dessert. So, I went to the store and was looking at the cake mixes for an awkwardly long time, not knowing what to get. A lady walked up beside me and began scanning the options as well. After several minutes, I said jokingly, “Are you having a tough time deciding too?”
She replied yes, and explained that for the past fifteen months, she had been watching her diet and exercise and that she lost 100 pounds. I replied, “Wow that’s incredible—you should really be proud of yourself!” She replied with a shrug. I stopped her and said it again, because I really meant it. She started to cry. I asked why she was crying, and she said that her family and friends weren’t very supportive of her efforts.
I said, “Well I’m very proud of you!” and asked if I could give her a hug. She said yes, so we hugged right there in the middle of the aisle. Then, she said thank you and we parted.
82. Medicine Miracle
About 8 years ago, I had lost my job and was on social assistance. One day I went into my pharmacist to have my prescription filled. I miscalculated the total and I was about ten dollars short, but it was all the money I had to my name at that moment. Embarrassed, I was fiddling in my purse looking for coins when the pharmacist stopped me and said it was okay.
They just gave me the medication, no charge. A few weeks later I got a job, and upon receiving my first paycheck, I paid them a visit with a big box of chocolates and a thank you card. I tried to give them what I owed for my medication, and they refused it. What they did for me meant so much at such a dark time and I’ll never forget it.
83. The Shoes Off His Feet
My dad was working in construction in New York City in the early 90s. It was December and it was raining, so there was nasty slush everywhere. He saw a homeless guy outside the train station on his way home. The poor man was wearing no jacket, and had shoes with holes in the bottom so large that you could see his wet socks through them.
Dad gave him the boots off his feet, the jacket off his back, two extra pairs of socks he had packed with him, and a $20 gift card to a local chain restaurant that he had received for his birthday but hadn’t used yet. We picked my dad up at the train station, shoeless, socks soaking, with no jacket, shivering uncontrollably.
Despite all that, he was smiling and waving at us as we pulled up. We were poor growing up, so he had a lot of compassion for people who were struggling. He knew, as you will if you’ve ever had to buy them, that good work boots and a good winter jacket aren’t cheap buys. He saw someone who needed what he had more than him and gave it, just because he could.
84. Scam Safety
An older gentleman tried to ship an envelope to his “grandson” from a shipping company I worked at. The way he acted and the things he said threw up too many red flags in my head, so against company policy, I opened the envelope after he left and found 5 figures in cash inside. I called the authorities and told them to get in touch with the man to try to figure out what was going on.
As it turns out, someone had called the older man and said his grandson was in the hospital and if they didn’t send the money, he wouldn’t get a surgery that was badly needed. The older man couldn’t get in touch with the grandson by phone, so he panicked and sent the money to the address the fraudsters provided. We were able to stop it from happening and get the money back to him. He was so grateful; he said that the money was basically his life savings.
The news ran a story on the situation, and apparently, it’s a scam that happens to a lot of older people. We started a club to reach out to nursing homes to try to educate people about the scam. A lot of people were not aware of anything like that happening, so hopefully, we prevented some people from getting scammed. A lot of good came from me just being nosey!
85. Secret Tipster
I had been working as a server for a while, and one day I was working with a co-worker who was pretty new. They’d sent most staff home because it was late. Then disaster struck. As it always seems to happen at those times, we got super busy. My co-worker was struggling and got a terribly rude table. They didn’t seem to understand that they weren’t the only customers in the restaurant or that we were understaffed, and it took a turn for the worse.
They made her cry and have a meltdown. We’ve all been there, so I took over the table and, after they left, put $15 on the table so that she would see she had received a “tip” from the table. I never told her that I was the one who put money on the table for her. Seeing her confidence grow from that was what I was hoping for. I got my wish.
When she picked up the tip, a grin broke across her face and she said, “Wow! I must not be as terrible of a server as I thought I was! Maybe I’m getting the hang of it after all.”
86. Midwinter Miracle
At one point in my life, I was struggling so much financially that it was difficult to even gather up a couple of dollars to put gas in my gas-guzzler car. Consequently, I rarely had more than 1/4 tank, even in the winter. One day, I miscalculated, and I ran out of gas in the middle of town. I remember carefully walking on snow and ice to a nearby phone booth carrying my nine-month-old baby in his snowsuit.
I only had a handful of phone numbers memorized, and nobody I called answered the phone. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even have enough money for a bus. Out of desperation and feeling completely humiliated, I approached a stranger and asked for a couple of dollars so I could walk to a nearby gas station and buy some gas.
He told me a couple of dollars wouldn’t be enough, because they’d want deposit money for the gas can. I’m sure my face fell as I fought back tears and muttered, “Thanks anyway.” He looked at me a moment, and then said, “I’ll be right back. You stay here.” He left for a few minutes and came back with a full gas can. As he poured the gas into my tank for me, he told me the location of the gas station where he got it.
He then said, “I’m counting on you to return this gas can.” He drove away once I assured him that I would. When I got to the station about a half-mile away, the attendant told me that my “friend” had given him $40 and told him that it was so I could fill my gas tank and that he was to give me the change. It was like a miracle to me, and I started crying all over again.
87. Let Me Get That for You
I was walking down the beach in Morocco on holiday in December when I saw this couple walking the opposite way to me. It was a chilly day, so the woman had her hands in her pockets and she was all snuggled up in a big scarf. She started scrunching up her face and tilting her head, and was clearly about to let out a big sneeze. Her partner noticed that she was about to sneeze and before I knew it, he had whipped out a tissue and covered her nose before she even had to take her hands out of her pockets. It was the most wholesome, purest and kindest thing I’ve ever seen.
88. Saving for a Rainy Day
An acquaintance of mine with two kids had his car repossessed. I only found out after a mutual friend of ours was gossiping about it. I decided to give the guy my second car, since it was just sitting in the garage gathering dust. He used it for two years until he got his dad’s old car. I let him sell the car and keep the $600 bucks he got for it. For years before, I had people ask me why I was keeping that second car and I just kept saying, “just in case.”
89. Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
I was at a store and there was a woman with two very small kids checking out. She had a bunch of groceries and a couple of toys for the kids. She went to pay and discovered that she didn’t have her wallet, so she told the cashier that she would put everything back. Her little girl, who was only about 2, started to cry uncontrollably.
The rough-looking man in front of me, who looked like he could have been homeless, went up to the cashier and told her that he was going to pay for everything. When the lady protested he said, “I don’t want your little girl to cry. This is my good deed for the day.” I almost cried too, as did the lady who was trying to buy her groceries.
90. Coffee Karma
I worked at Starbucks. One morning around 6:30, a customer came in and I asked how she was doing. “Oh its already crazy and I haven’t even started,” she replied. To make her day a little easier, I gave her her coffee order for free. A few days later, I was having a terrible morning. It was only 6:30, and everything was already chaos—but it quickly turned into the best day ever.
She came in as usual and saw that I was having a bad day. A couple hours later, she came back with a gift bag for me. Inside was a nice bottle of red. It’s amazing how someone’s small gesture can make the day just a little bit nicer!
91. Heart of Gold
I was selling my bike online when I was a teenager for $30. A buyer contacted me, so we set up a location. The buyer ended up being two kids on a single bike; one was balancing on the pegs when they rode into the parking lot. The kid with the bike bought my bike for his friend so that they could ride together. It was the most wholesome thing I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t keep the grin off of my face as I watched them ride away together.
92. A Different Kind of Donation
I donated stem cells to a complete stranger. It’s a very impersonal experience because of the anonymity of it, so I didn’t know anything about the patient I was donating to, and she knew nothing about me. But then I received a heartbreaking message. I received a letter from her that really hammered home to me how much of an impact I had had on her life.
For me, it was a cheek swab I did in college four years ago, and then a random email saying that I had matched with someone. It was eye-opening to read her letter. Of course, it was a profound experience donating lifesaving stem cells to someone, but not knowing where those cells were going after the procedure had left me feeling a little empty, so I was grateful for her letter.
93. Up in Flames
My parents once bumped into a lady while they were traveling and got talking to her. She told them her horrific story. Her house had just burned down, her husband was gone, and she had no family or friends locally. She was outside my parents’ hotel bawling, standing around her car with her kids and not knowing what to do.
They had made it out of the burning house with nothing except the clothes they had on. The kids had no shoes, she was in a nightgown and wasn’t sure what she was going to do for several days until she could contact distant people and get help. My parents had a car full of stuff from their travels, including clothing they had bought for my nieces and nephews.
They let her kids pick through it for shoes and shirts, gave them all the food in the cooler they traveled with, handed her all the travelers’ checks they had on them, and then dad went inside to pay for a hotel room for a week for them.
94. What Goes Around Comes Around
I was 16 and driving over to my girlfriend’s house on a rainy Saturday afternoon. There was a man biking in front of me and when he went to get onto the sidewalk, he completely wiped out. I pulled in to the closest driveway and saw that his bike was mangled and his arm was bleeding. I threw his bike in my trunk, gave him my old sweatshirt for his bloody arm, and drove him home.
When I dropped him off, he gave me his card. It turned out he was a dentist at a local research hospital. Well, fast-forward to when I was 19, and the same man took out my wisdom teeth for free as part of a “research experiment.” Not sure if there was actually an experiment that they needed wisdom teeth for, but just goes to show that good things happen to good people.
95. Kinder Kindness
I worked at a museum that ran a summer camp, and I was in charge of the little kids. I had a kid in my group that came from a wealthy family. He brought a massive Megazord Power Rangers toy one day to play with. Then that kid did something so beautiful it made me cry. Another kid in my group tripped, scratched his knee, and started crying.
The first kid stepped in while I was taking care of the blood, and after noticing that the crying kid had a wolf on his T-shirt, asked, “Do you like wolves?” The crying kid answered while sobbing, “Yeah…a lot.” Then the rich kid proceeded to snap the right leg of his Megazord off. As we watched, he transformed it into a purple wolf.
He gave it to the other kid and let him keep it just because he liked it. The kid stopped crying and cracked a smile. They became best friends from that point on.
96. One Day Stand
I was talking to some random guy in the bar one night, and he mentioned that he was having surgery the next day and didn’t have someone to pick him up afterward. He was just grabbing a bite to eat at the bar before his cut off time when I arrived. His girlfriend had just broken up with him and moved, and his backup driver fell through.
The poor guy just needed a hand. I ended up driving him there, sitting with him before he went in, calling his parents when he got out, sitting with him in recovery, picking up his post-op medication, driving him home, and making sure he was okay before I left. Seemed like no big deal at the time.
97. Monkey Business
My family and I were homeless when I was about to turn 13. My youngest brother is also severely autistic. We were standing in line for lunch at the local soup kitchen, which opened at 11 am. We had arrived at 6 in the morning, and were decently close to the door—there were only about 20 other people in front of us at the time.
My father had just returned from taking my youngest brother for yet another walk around the block, as he had begun fighting and biting himself in frustration. After another few minutes in line, it was clear that he had more than reached his tiny 9-year-old limit and had begun to lose it. People were staring at the fuss he was making.
There were a couple of guys who were dressed in ratty t-shirts, jean vests covered in patches, and plenty of veteran memorabilia, mostly from Vietnam. Each of them had either an old, dirty backpack or a trash bag, which held all of their personal belongings in the world. One of the men, in a wheelchair and missing a leg, saw my little brother’s frustration.
After hearing my mother apologetically explain yet again that he had severe autism, the man rolled up to the five of us—two parents and three young kids, all sunburnt from the Florida sun with no place to call home—and unhooked his one treasured possession. He had a little stuffed monkey that was hooked onto his steering portion of the wheelchair. It was the only clean thing about the man.
He gave it to my little brother, and my little brother immediately hugged it and cuddled with it, calming down. I’ll never forget the man’s words: “He looks like he could use it more than me.” It was his one and only real, treasured possession and he gave it to a little boy that was crying. Now, I’m in a position to give back, and I do whenever I can, but I don’t think I could ever repay that single gesture.
98. A Friend In Need
My dad ran into an old high school friend that he hadn’t seen in years. He learned that the man had cancer, that he had no family except a son in college in another state, and that he was basically dealing with his condition all by himself. So my dad started taking him to his appointments and out to lunch, just to keep him company and help him through.
He even organized how to take his crazy number of prescriptions, since it was confusing to figure out when to take them when they all had different times and requirements; apparently there were about 18 of them in all. Then, when his friend succumbed, my dad helped his son do all of the end-of-life arrangements. My dad is my hero. He is such a giving person and I strive to be like him.
99. Paxton at Peace
My husband and I adopted a Great Dane and named him Paxton. He quickly became the equivalent of our first child. Pax went everywhere with us, including family holidays like Christmas and vacations. Pax was more human than a lot of humans I’ve met. He would actually hug me when I was down, loved everyone, even cats, and slept with his stuffed frog for years.
Paxton passed suddenly last year of a heart attack. We came home to find him on the floor of the living room. My husband and I were devastated. We can’t have kids, and Pax was our baby. In the 18 months before Pax passed, I had also lost my mom, my grandmother, and uncle. I think something in me broke. I couldn’t function. I took a week off work.
When I returned, I had an envelope waiting for me on my desk. Its contents made me burst into tears. It was a thank you card from the local animal shelter. My co-worker had donated $150 to them in Paxton’s name. I was floored. I knew he was a dog, and didn’t expect anyone else to get that he had been like a child to me. That one gesture was so kind and needed. She will never know how much that meant to us.
100. Mommy Will Do It
I was in a very bad relationship at 19 but wasn’t fully aware of it at the time and living with the guy. I was at work and realized I didn’t have any money for food, and management had just asked me to stay late, so I called my boyfriend and told him I had an unopened check at home and asked if he would bring it to me.
He was unemployed, and it didn’t seem like a big deal, but he said he was out with friends and wouldn’t leave, so I’d have to figure it out. I was so frustrated and complaining to a co-worker about what a jerk he was, and a woman overheard my story and offered to buy my lunch. I pleaded with her not to give me any money. I was afraid that she’d think I was scamming her. But she just had a good heart and she insisted on helping me out.
I was already emotional, but that wasn’t even the most heartbreaking part. You see, this all happened on Mother’s Day, and she insisted that as a mother she wouldn’t want her kids to go hungry so she couldn’t bear to see another kid in that position with no one to help. It was only $10, but I hid in the bathroom and cried. I don’t have a mom, so it was pretty overwhelming.
101. Round and Round
I’m a wheelchair user. At a baseball game, a little girl came running up to me and climbed on my lap. Her mom was apologetic, but it was fine with me. Looking at the girl’s face, I could tell she had some kind of developmental disability. Her mom explained to me that the little girl’s grandfather had used a wheelchair. She said that she missed him because he’d passed just last year.
So I rolled around a little to give her a ride. She giggled and had a good time. Then she climbed off and went back to her mom. Whenever I’m sad, I think about that day and feel better.
102. Into the Mouths of Babes
Right after I had my first son, I had a ton of formula that a friend gave me and I couldn’t use it because my son had stomach issues. So, I went on a website where you could give away/ask for things you needed for free. A young woman that lived in the same small town that I did at the time, messaged me and said she could desperately use the formula because her boyfriend had just left her.
She gave me her number and I called. She said she’d have to wait to pick it up from me until she could find a way to get closer to town. I could hear her holding back tears when I asked if we could bring it to her. We got her address and realized she lived in a very desolate, poor part of the town. It was in a trailer in the middle of the desert, with no public transportation ran anywhere around.
So, I decided we could do more. We went through the pantry, fridge, and freezer, trying to find anything we could give her that we couldn’t use/ didn’t need. We ended up with three big bags and a laundry hamper full. When we got to her house, she invited us in. She had almost nothing in her home. No TV, one couch, and the kitchen was empty.
We had to run out to the car a few times to get it all. She was shocked that we brought her food too. She hugged me and started to cry. She said, “Thank you. I didn’t know how we were going to eat for the next few weeks.” Then she made her son a bottle right away. It broke my heart cause I could tell they were both very hungry.
103. Can’t Put a Price on Education
On September 14, 1986, my dad dropped me off at boarding school and gave me a five-dollar bill. I never heard from him again. He never paid my tuition bill. So, from the age of 14, I took every job I could get and worked my way through. At $4 an hour, I didn’t even come close to paying off my entire bill, but the school let me stick around because I was a model student in and out of the classroom.
We get to graduation. I opened my little diploma thing expecting to see a bill in five figures. Instead there was a note. Its contents changed my life forever. “Congratulations on your graduation. A group of us who believe in you and love you have taken care of your bill. We are proud to present you with your diploma.”
104. A Little Something Extra
My dad is a retired junior/senior high school art teacher. Every single morning for well over a decade, he packed an extra lunch and put it in a place in his classroom where a student whose family was struggling could take it without making a big deal of it. Eventually, when the older student graduated, one of his younger siblings started taking his class.
The kid would already know he could take the extra lunch bag without having to face talking to my dad about it, or being embarrassed in front of the class. I used to ask why Dad packed two lunches while I was growing up, and he would just say, “I sometimes get extra hungry.” My mom later told me the truth. He is such a quiet, humble, and extremely generous man.
105. Family is What It’s All About
Back in the late 70s and early 80s, my dad was dying of cancer. My mom was having to spend time at the hospitals or waiting for his treatments, so she got some projects to keep her occupied while waiting and worrying. She began working on a flannel patchwork quilt. Whenever I could, I would bring her a small bit of fabric to work into the quilt. Sometimes, I would get off the bus early so I could walk by a fabric store and bring her a new color.
Years went by after my dad passed on. Mom had put the quilt away. I thought it might remind her of all the scary, sad, and heartbreaking times she had hand sewed it through, waiting for the next awful thing to happen on my dad’s way out. I did not ever bring it up. But, a decade later when I was having my first Christmas away from my birth family, she sent me a package to open.
It was my first Christmas together with my husband. My family lived several hundred miles away and I felt sort of sad, but also very much in love. Inside the package was the quilt, completed. She had written me a note saying that she had continued to work on it after Dad died, knowing one day that it would be mine. I will keep that quilt all my life and hopefully pass it on to my grandkids someday.