Life is hard, but people don’t have to be. As these people will testify, society only works because we help each other in the toughest of times. From the neighbors who dug deep in their hearts (and pockets) to those silent protectors who asking for nothing in return, there’s nothing like a random encounter with kindness in a harsh world. Cheer up to these sweet stories about random acts of generosity.
1. Love Drug
My dad recently lost his job, and with it his health insurance. He had a heart attack last year and has to take an expensive medication as a result. A one-month supply is around $250 without the insurance to help. He went to his doctor’s office yesterday to find a coupon to at least shave off some of the cost. A nurse went in the back and ended up coming back with a two-month supply of free samples for him.
Saved my parents from paying $500 out of pocket for a drug he absolutely needed.
2. First-Class Trip to Awww-ville
My mom was dying, she lived in Australia and I live in Georgia. My husband had been laid off from work and I couldn’t afford to fly to Australia on a last-minute basis. A person that I only know from a message board used her frequent flyer miles and paid for my trip to Australia…not only that but she booked me first class both ways.
3. Three Times the Generosity
I had triplets last year and someone I work with has brought me a hot meal once a week or so for the entire first year of their lives, so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. The thing is, she drops them off ninja-style, not wanting to impose. She’ll text me that she left something on the porch. It has been one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
4. Something to Be Thankful About
When I was in first grade, my mom was really struggling financially. She mentioned something about how hard Thanksgiving was going to be to another mom. Well, the week before Thanksgiving, there was a raffle where we could win an entire Thanksgiving dinner. My teacher gave every student two cards from a deck. When she gave me mine, she kind of said “wait” and checked them before she gave them back to me. I won the raffle.
Even if she hadn’t checked the cards, I’d have suspected something. I never win anything.
5. Deductible From a Benevolent Source
When my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of 1999, he was working for a small family-owned trucking company. Once they were forced to take him off their insurance, they contacted me about paying for Cobra insurance. I was a stay-at-home mom and had no money to pay for that, so I thanked them for the information and hung up.
Two days later, I got a call from the daughter-in-law of the owner. She said that I would be getting a paper in the mail that I was to sign. Paper said that I agreed to pay for our part of the Cobra and that the policy would be instated on such & such a date. I said…but I told you…I can’t pay for that. She said I was not to worry about it, just do it. I did.
Someone in the family called me once a week to keep tabs on how he was doing, up until his death in January of 2000. They, obviously, thought a great deal of him. Forever grateful.
6. No Highway to Heaven for You Today
Last month, I dropped my car off to this mechanic that apparently is good with Volkswagens. I explained to him that I have NO idea what’s wrong with my car and a handful of other mechanics have already looked at it and they never seem to fix it (and I always get billed). So, a month goes by, he calls me and tells me he’s been doing what he can to the car, but nothing seems to work.
Therefore, it cannot pass inspection. Sigh. I go to his garage today, meet with him and talk a bit about what I can do if I want to sell the car. Finally, I ask, “What do I owe you?” He says, “Nothing, don’t worry about it” I told him I can afford what he would charge for an inspection, at least let me pay that. He refused any money from me and offered to tow my car back to my place, since I cannot drive a car that is not inspected.
7. Penny for Your Thoughts?
It’s been a sad life. But when I dropped a jar of coins (going to the Coinstar) on the sidewalk, a girl helped me pick them up. That was the most altruistic thing anyone has ever done for me.
8. Not All Gift Baskets Are Created Equal
I’m a type 1 diabetic who had run out of insulin. I had been using as little as I could to get by, but I was just about out and currently had no health insurance from my work. It’s based on hours and I was a full-time college student. I was using the school clinic since I wasn’t feeling well, and they were so concerned about my health that the dean of students even came to my apartment to make sure I was still alive after not returning the clinic’s calls.
I had been up all night with my husband at the hospital due to him having a heart scare. I explained to them I couldn’t afford the $300 vial that I needed and left to run some errands. I got a call about half-way through my errands saying that someone had donated some medical supplies to me. Two vials of insulin, blood glucose test strips, and a few packages of syringes.
I was in tears when I got there, and when one of the nurses handed me the gift, I broke down in sobs and cried on her shoulder. It was the most meaningful gift I have ever received, and I owe my life to whoever donated it to me.
9. You Make the Best Friends Hitchhiking
When my dad was in college, his car broke down one night on the side of a road that was not very busy. The first person going by stopped and gave my dad a ride to a service station. It turned out that the guy who picked my dad up also attended the same college and they started hanging out. Now, close to 40 years later, they’re still very close friends.
10. Little League, Big Heart
When I was little, I did an indoor rec league of soccer with this other little girl, who was very small for her age and incredibly rich. We got along really well and had a lot of fun, but apparently, kids at her private school picked on her a lot. She had so much fun with the “fun only” rec league she wanted to go out for the competitive traveling team, but they told her she wasn’t good enough.
So, her incredibly awesome mom decided to start a “B” team that was a little less competitive for others who wanted to play. She called my mom up and asked if I would try out. I did and I made the team, but the traveling league was waaaaaay more expensive. We just couldn’t afford it, and it was too late to apply for a grant, so my mom told her, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to play.
Later that day, she called my mom back and told her she had been able to secure me a late scholarship from the league, and I would be 100% covered. When I was a little older and her daughter no longer played for us (they moved), my soccer coach admitted to my mom that this woman paid for my year of soccer herself and bought my jacket.
Their entire family were the sweetest people you ever met, and it made me feel incredible (albeit a little guilty) that she cared enough about us getting to play together that she would do that for me especially despite the fact they barely knew us.
11. Putting the “Care” in Childcare
As a struggling single mom, I had trouble paying the daycare bills. This was especially hard if child support didn’t come, which was often. The daycare director allowed my child to attend without me paying on time. She would delete all late fees and allow me to slowly catch up. They would stay after hours if my job ran late and meet me. They became a kind of family for my son and I.
I tried to give back when I was an elementary education student by volunteering and helping out. I ended up going to school with some of the girls working there. We are all teachers now and trade lesson ideas and job opportunities.
12. Picture Perfect
My family and I spent Christmas in Hawaii and on our trip back (we had about a 5-hour drive to get back home from the airport), we stopped at a rest area. I had been looking at photos from our trip on our digital camera, and it must have been in my lap when I got out of the car and dropped into the parking lot. When we got home, I looked high and low for the camera and couldn’t find it anywhere.
A few weeks later, we got a call from a police officer who lived in our state’s capital (not where we lived) saying someone had found the camera. On it was a picture of my folks’ motorhome (from a previous trip), and you could make out the license plate number. This guy was from another state, just passing through, found our camera at the rest area and contacted the police with the plate number.
The police looked up the plate and contacted us! The guy then mailed us back our camera. It was the nicest thing a stranger had ever done for us. We mailed him back a thank you card and a gift certificate to a restaurant in their area. “Today you, tomorrow me.”
13. One Stich at a Time
This is a tiny, tiny thing, but it really made me feel happy. I’m in Amsterdam right now, and on my second day of being here I ripped my Converse apart. Great. They’re my only sneakers and a pair here would cost a lot more than at home. Eventually, I go to a tailor and I feel bad about handing this pair of ratty kind of smelly shoes to him.
I also came in about half an hour before he closed, but it was the only time I could. I don’t know Dutch, and it seems he speaks mostly Dutch/Italian but a little English. He takes my shoes and seems to stop listening to me. Sews them up right there, comes out and gives it to me. I take out my wallet but by the time I saw how much?
He waves me off and goes back to the office in the back. From my experience, people have been so kind, friendly and helpful here.
14. Ringing up Karma
I was in college, living in an apartment, and broke. I had a bag with me containing four loaves of bread that I’d bought for about $1.10, and I didn’t have any idea what I would eat after those were gone. I was at a pay phone in a classroom building, calling my mom collect because I also didn’t have a phone. I knew my mom had already told me she wasn’t going to give me any money anymore, but I hoped she could ask my grandmother for $20.
Before I could get that out, she yelled at me and hung up. As I was dialing my dad at work, someone came up and was waiting for the phone. I explained the situation to my dad, he needed me to call him back in a few minutes (he had a customer in his shop or something). Before I hung up, the person waiting, who’d seen me make two calls now, says, “Other people have to use the phone, too, you know.”
After I hung up, I unloaded on this guy, both barrels. Screaming at him about how I was out of money and out of food, and how he’s probably forced to use a pay phone because his cell phone was broken (this was when cell phones were expensive, so it was a total jab). I stepped away from the phone and wept in a corner while he made his call. After he was done, I sucked it up and apologized.
I was under a lot of stress, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on him, I said, looking at my shoes. Guy puts a $5 bill in my hand, and says, “Give this to someone when they need it.” I have paid that forward manifold.
15. Driven to Give
You have heard this from many people over these last few years with the economy, but I lost my job, then lost my house, then lost my car. Pretty bad situation for anyone that has had this happen. My friend was moving from MI to SC and she asked me to help her move into her apt. My other friend drove me to SC so we could both help out. I am in GA, so not too far away.
When I left from that weekend, she handed me a set of keys and said that she realized that since her and her husband work for the same company, they do not need a car. The car was paid off and they gave me their other car!!!! OMG! Who does that? Gives someone a car?
16. Home Away From Home
At one point I lost my job and my girlfriend of two years left me so I couldn’t pay for my apartment anymore. Since my name was on the lease, I was forced to figure something out. I had a chat with my landlord and told him the truth. His response? “Don’t worry about it, stay until you can figure something out.” I looked for a job for 2 1/2 months until I felt so bad about staying there rent free, so I packed all of my stuff and moved back into my parents’ basement.
He never asked for a dime of back rent. I have since joined the military, got married, and have a house of my own, but I will never forget that man’s act of kindness.
17. Boss Lady
My roommates and I were planning to move into a new apartment in our apartment complex. Literally, a week before our move-in date, the landlord apartment manager approaches me and basically says, “Oops, I signed your lease over to someone else.” My roommates and I had already signed the lease contract to that apartment, but for some reason, the apartment manager said the “current” residents had priority.
I was flustered and just told the manager that I would talk to my roommates. Apparently, the only available rooms left in that complex was in terrible, terrible condition that had maggots and mold growing in it (that the manager said he wouldn’t deal with), and a townhouse (which my roommates and I really did not like). My roommates and I were really distressed, because we only had a couple of days to figure out what we were doing.
I was so distraught with the situation that I wasn’t really thinking clearly. I was complaining to my boss who works in real estate. She was furious and said that what my manager did was illegal, especially since I had already signed the lease contract. So, she called up the appropriate authorities and sorted everything out. Shady landlord apartment manager got fired.
The dirty apartment was completely renovated, and we got a month of free rent. In retrospect, I should’ve been thinking logically and contact the appropriate authorities myself and complained, but I felt immensely grateful when my boss worked with me to help settle things, especially since she didn’t really have to do anything.
18. Grass Is Always Shorter on the Other Side
When my wife and I moved into our house we didn’t have a lawnmower. Before that we had lived in apartments or rental properties where a lawnmower was provided to us. We also didn’t have the money to buy one at that point. So, for a month our grass sat and grew until we finally got one. I got it put together and started mowing, but it was getting fairly late in the day at that point.
As I started mowing our across-the-street neighbor was sitting in a lawn chair on his driveway with his dog, as he does every evening. He watched me mow for a while as I pushed the mower across our backyard. Finally, without a word, he put his dog back inside his fence, started up his riding mower, and did the front yard for me. When I went to thank him, he just said, “Well, I wasn’t doing anything, and that’s what neighbors do.”
19. Catch These Leaks
I once failed a test in college and was really upset. As I was taking the bus home, I was trying really hard to hold it together long enough to not cry in public, by trying to hide my tears with my sleeve. A girl walked over, handed me a tissue without saying a word, and went back to her seat. It was so nice to have a stranger help me keep it together without trying to pry into my business.
20. My Heroine
I dated a jerk in high school and into my first two years of university. He didn’t start the physical and mental abuse until three years into the relationship. He was once screaming at me in the university’s common area (where all the cafeterias are, etc.) and basically spat on me. I was such a complete shell of a person at that time, all I could do was cry, because resistance would mean more of the same.
I was 21 at the time. Some girl came storming up to him, got in between us, and started freaking out on him. She took me by the hand into the girls’ washroom and waited with me until I calmed down and walked me out (he scuttled off once we came out and saw she wasn’t going away). She helped me regain an ounce of strength—made me see how darn weak he really was, and it snowballed.
I got my master’s degree in social work and spent the next chunk of time helping abused women and kids. Now I’m a therapist. She really rocked my world, and she didn’t have to!
21. Need a Lift?
Someone gave me a car once after my dad died. I lived across the country from my mum and was really struggling to get to and from her. So, when they were done with their car, they just rang me up and gave it to me. No relation, not even close friends. No words spoken for about seven years prior to this, they didn’t bother much afterwards either. Far and away the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me.
22. Everybody Loves a Tourist
I was a tourist in Ireland (Galway, specifically). My friend and I had just done a bit of shopping and were strolling about looking for a pub with some live music. Lo and behold two gents came up and said we appeared lost. We told them what we were looking for and they insisted they knew just the place and would be happy to show us the way.
We were initially a bit nervous, but it was a very public street with people about, so we agreed. They then offered to carry our bags, even! I ignored my instinct which was “Oh no. they want to steal your bag!” and instead thought—even if they do it’s all about the experience of traveling right? so I went with it. WELL! These two were just the NICEST guys ever.
They delivered us to the pub, put our things on the hooks near our spot, introduced us to both the bartender and the fiddler that was playing, told them to take good care of us, bought us our first drink, then said “Welcome to Galway, hope you have a great evening!” Didn’t even let us buy them a pint to thank them—they declined politely, saying they had somewhere else to be. Didn’t even ask for a number or anything. It was a really cool human experience.
23. That’s What I Call Baggage Service
I was driving home from college (12-hr drive) and I was almost home, I had a few duffel bags on my roof and at a stop sign one of them slide of the top of my car and got caught underneath the car behind me. It was at a busy intersection with tons of different roads and I couldn’t pull over. I lost where the car went; I had given up and accepted the loss.
10 miles later, 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 trying to devise a plan for how I was going to run in the middle of the highway and retrieve it. Just as I am about to go a big black truck comes to an abrupt halt off to the side, a man gets out and sprints, and I mean SPRINTS to this bag and grabs it. He wasn’t in close danger, but cars were definitely closing in quick, he ran back to me and said “Here ya go, my man” and then peaced out.
24. Early Delivery
When my son was in the hospital after being born six weeks early, someone 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 day. It just said “In your time of need” on it. My wife and I was pretty much living at the hospital at the time he was in the NICU. After being scared and tired for a few days It just made a huge difference for some reason.
25. When a Cut and Run Is An Act of Kindness
This probably isn’t the nicest, but it still sticks with me. Someone gave me their number at the DMV because they had to go. Cut my wait time down from three hours to only 45 minutes.
36. I Pays to Nap
I fell asleep reading in a local park, woke up, and someone had left a 5-dollar bill on my chest.
27. No One Does It Alone
I went to work really sick and my coworker called off, so I was alone at the registers and trying not to die. This one customer saw me by myself with a long line sick as a dog with no backup, while waiting in line she made tons of loud praises about me being up there all by myself and still being really fast. Then she bought me a cup of coffee with a medicine shot so I could feel better.
The cherry on top was she also bought me a book I mentioned that I was planning to buy in a week or so. This was about a year ago. She comes in at least once a week and we know each other on a first name basis.
28. Pick On Someone Your Own Size
I was getting bullied in the locker room years ago. Middle school I believe. I was smaller, had a speech impediment and a birthmark on my face. Out of nowhere, this abnormally taller kid comes over and kicked the kid (bully) in the chest so hard he flew back in the locker. Didn’t know him, he was just a good person. Still talk to him now more than a decade later. Awesome guy.
29. You’re as Cool as Ice, Dude
I was walking to the bus stop when it was really icy, and I fell on my back. A guy got out of his car at the red light, ran across the street, helped me up, and helped pick up my papers. He then ran back to his car while flipping off the people honking at him. Awesome dude.
30. Secret Samaritan
This is an on-going scenario: My mom is going through treatment for breast cancer, and I have siblings much younger than me still at home (I’m 25, brother is 13, sister is 8). Every 3 or 4 days, something shows up on their porch: bags of clothes for my sister, book series for my brother, gift cards so my parents don’t have to cook, and supplies for my dad’s hobby.
We don’t know who is coordinating this or where anything comes from. On top of the wonderful people who bring meals, we get these deliveries out of nowhere. It’s awesome watching a community really take care of my family, and one day I’d love to learn who has been helping us.
I was taking a nap in the library at my school, and, when I woke up, I found that someone had left in my backpack a king-sized 3 Musketeers chocolate bar and a note saying something along the lines of “You’ve been reverse pickpocketed and hope it makes your day better.” College can obviously get very stressful, so it was just a small gesture to really appreciate. Definitely made my day.
32. The Bank of Good Intention
Through no fault of our own, several years ago my husband and I found ourselves in dire financial straits. We ended up stranded in a place we didn’t really know anybody, and we couldn’t afford our rent that was due in a week. There was no help forthcoming from either of our families. That Sunday, I was downstairs in the church hall having coffee after the service, and someone I barely knew asked me how my summer was going.
I burst into tears. She took me aside and asked for my story, and I told her everything. She prayed for me…and then asked me how much my rent was. I told her. Then she said, “You’ll need groceries too.” When I looked up, she had her cheque book out and was writing a cheque for $1,500. Because of what she did, we had the safety net we needed to find gainful employment in time to make next month’s rent, and slowly get back on our feet.
33. No Stranger in a Foreign Land
I was in a new city and was trying to get home from my cousin’s place. It was pretty late, and I got a bit lost on my way to the bus stop. A family was standing near me waiting for their ride. They saw me looking confused (and a bit scared too, I think) and the dad got the daughter to ask me if I was okay. They waited with me and when they saw that there were no buses going my way were coming. The dad hailed a taxi for me and told the cabbie to be sure to drop me at my doorstep.
It was so heartwarming, especially as I was in a foreign country, and they were so concerned about me
34. Keep Calm and Don’t Just Carry on
I used to get panic attacks often. When I did, I’d usually try to go find a floor/nice spot of ground to lie down on until the physical symptoms were gone. Having this happen made me realize how nice passing strangers can be. Once when I was lying on the sidewalk in front of a bus stop, a janitor or groundskeeper who saw me gave me a water because he thought I had heatstroke.
35. Totally Floored by the Generosity
Not me, but my parents. They were chumming it up at the bar with some guy on the stool next to them. I wasn’t there, but they somehow got on the subject of them wanting new wood floors in their kitchen. Long story short: one of the guys said I can tell you guys are good people, how much would it be to pay for your new wood floor? They left the bar that night with a $5,000 cheque from a stranger.
Safe to say they were skeptical going into the bank on Monday, but the cheque cleared. They got their new wood floor they were saving up for!
36. Lockers and Lifted Spirts
When I was in high school, I came in one morning to find that someone had left a balloon on my locker with a note telling me to have a great day and that my presence was really appreciated at the school. To this day I have no idea who did it.
37. You Can’t Strum If You’re Shivering
When I was in college, I gave guitar lessons for some spending money. Where I went to school, it got very cold in the wintertime. One of my students noticed that I did not have a warm jacket or shoes, so she bought me a coat and a pair of boots at Goodwill. She was a very nice woman.
38. No Fare, Yes Fair!
In the middle of a major snowstorm in Boston I was trying to walk home and had to cross a bridge over the Charles River. The snow plows had pushed snow entirely over the sidewalks, so that it was mounded up to shoulder height. I was trying to walk down the edge of the right-hand lane, hoping I didn’t get hit and trying to get across before a plow came.
A cab slows down and asks out his window if I need a ride. I told him I didn’t have any money on me. He said don’t worry about it, hop in, and gave me a ride home with the meter off. It was more than 10 years ago, and I still think about it whenever it snows.
39. Advice From the Stars
When I was in college, I was a physics major aiming to be an astrophysicist, but it was just killing me. I was having a whole identity crisis and feeling worthless and why couldn’t I wrap my head around some of these things? In a move of desperation, I left a message on Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s site asking for advice.
To my GREAT surprise, he actually took time out to CALL ME and give me really honest and understanding advice about what I should do and being realistic about the world of physics. I only graduated with a minor in physics but I felt much better and will have a respect for both him and science forever. May not be a sob story, but at that fragile time in my life it really made a huge difference.
40. Everyone Gets One Oopsie
I was 16, borrowing my mom’s car. Didn’t look at the car in front of me when it stopped for a left turn, and I bumped into it. It was a brand-new car and has clear marks on the bumper from where I hit it. No damage to my mom’s car. Dude clearly sees how distraught I am and says, “Aw, don’t worry about it, that’ll buff out. No harm done.” And drives off.
41. Blood Isn’t Everything
My story isn’t that uncommon. I have young parents, they were 18 & 19 when I was born. They got married because they got pregnant and got divorced because they got pregnant and married. They just weren’t ready and way too young. It sucked. Eventually, my dad left the picture altogether, and my mom remarried. She dated this guy since I was 5 or 6, really young.
They got married when I was 9. He raised me. He’s my “true” dad. This seems to be rather common among people my age (23, almost 24). Then my mom and stepdad got divorced when I was 18. It was awful. Much worse on me than my biological parents’ divorce. I was so young when they got divorced (2 years old) and then I gained another “dad” pretty soon afterwards—my stepdad.
When my mom told me that they were getting divorced, I was terrified. I’m an only child, I live in a relatively small town, and this all happened at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I didn’t know who would move out and where I would end up. They would fight all the time. For some reason, they’d wait until I went to bed and then start screaming at each other. I remember one night I heard something like this:
Stepdad: “Get your stuff and leave.”
Mom: “But where am I supposed to go? What about my daughter?”
Stepdad: “I don’t give a DARN where you go, but OUR daughter is staying right here at home. With me.”
At first, I was a little pissed that he thought he could make that decision for me, but after I thought about it for a bit, I realized the gravity of that sentence. It was the first time I had heard him refer to me as his daughter. I still call him by his first name. Old habits die hard, I guess. And really…the main cause of tension between them was money related.
He knew that and knew he’d be able to provide for me better than her. My mom is the most irresponsible person I’ve ever met when it comes to money. She got my first car repossessed (I was “paying” for it. As in, I’d give her the money and assume she was making the payments. Nope. Pocketing that stuff. She also wrote thousands of dollars’ worth of hot checks to my place of employment, using my employee discount and my checks!
I was a minor, so she legally had to be on my bank account. I barely got away with keeping my job. There’s more, but that’s a different story for a different time. Long story short: my mom and I didn’t have the best relationship anyway. Months later, my mom was making plans to move in with my grandma in the neighboring “city” and was going to uproot me and transfer me to a new bigger school.
During Christmas break of my senior year…ugh. I told her that I wanted to stay with my now ex-stepdad. She didn’t know I had heard what he said that one night. She couldn’t believe I was choosing him over her. Also, when I was 19, I still didn’t have a car and my boyfriend at the time was driving me around everywhere…and his grandma had an old 1991 Cadillac DeVille she wanted to sell.
So, my ex-step-dad gave me $2,000 cash and told me to go pick it up. He just gave it to me. No questions asked, no expectation of payback. I still live with him rent-free, as long as I keep a job and stay in school and pay my own bills: new car payment (the Cadillac was awesome but just not cut out for driving all over the place in super-hot summers and a few pretty brutal winters.)
Car insurance, cell phone, etc. I think this has helped me be more responsible with money (definitely something I wouldn’t have learned with my mom) Anything I want I have to pay for myself, but I don’t have to pay for a roof over my head or a bed to sleep in or a shower to use. All because a man who had no legal or genetic responsibility to me took me in anyway, and fought to keep me when my mom left.
I get to experience his generosity every day, and I’m grateful for having him in my life every day. My ex-stepdad is the greatest man alive. Be jealous.
42. Can’t Put a Price on Education
On September 14th, 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: “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.” I later found out that one of my friend’s dad, a fairly well-off dentist, went fundraising among his golf buddies because he didn’t want to see me enter life at 18 under crushing debt.
43. There’s a New Sheriff in Town
In 1990, I was 19 years old. I was driving across the country by myself and all I had was $63 and a Texaco card. One night, I notice that my gas tank is close to empty somewhere in the middle of Iowa, so I pull up to a Texaco station—about five minutes after they had closed. I was trying to only use my Texaco card and to conserve what little cash I had.
The person working at the station wouldn’t open to give me gas, so I decide that I’ll just put ALL my clothes on and sleep in my car until they opened again in the AM. It was the middle of December and only about 11 degrees. At about 2 in the morning, I hear a tap on the window and a voice saying “I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car!”
It was the sheriff. Uh oh! I explained what was going on to him. He ran my ID to make sure I didn’t have warrants or anything and then ominously stated, “That’s not how we do things around here.” Oh no, I was terrified! How do you do things around here? What’s going to happen to me?!? Turns out, he was PISSED that the guy at the gas station had left me there and refused to help.
So, he called the owner of the gas station up and made him come down in the middle of the night to fill up my gas tank—for free. Then the sheriff calls his wife and lets her know what’s going on. She tells him to offer to bring me over to their place for the night. Mrs. Sheriff proceeds to feed me, let me take a shower, and give me a place to sleep until the next morning.
Then she feeds me again, packs me a lunch for the road, gives me $20 in cash, and sends me on my way. It was seriously one of the most wholesome things that has ever happened to me.
44. Angels in the Heavens
When I was really ill in October 2017, my father also became even more ill than I was in another country. There was nobody else around for him who actually gave a darn, so I had to fly over there to see and support him. I planned to bring him home with me after he had recovered from his surgery. I had just been through a lot of trauma, and I was in no physical or emotional state to be getting on a plane—but there was literally no other option.
The flight was only around two hours long, but even that was way too much for someone as weak and frail as I was at that time. When I was waiting in line to board the plane, I could immediately feel myself getting dizzy and panicky—but that got a lot worse when I got onto the plane and when it started to take off. I started having a full blown panic attack, hyperventilating and crying in my seat.
I was sitting at the window, and there was a rather large man sitting in the middle with his daughter on the outer seat. The man noticed me crying, and he and his daughter switched seats. She took my hand and said something along the lines of “You’re okay, we’re here. There’s no need to hold this anxiety back, we’re not going to judge you, just let it happen and everything will be alright.”
She just hugged me and told me she’s so sorry while I hysterically cried. Once we landed, she and her father drove me in their car directly to the door of the hospital my dad was admitted to (over an hour away). They even offered to book me a hotel for a night or two, but thankfully I already had my accommodations sorted out. I do not know what I would have done without those people that day. We have each other on Facebook now, and she still occasionally checks in with me to this day.
45. License to Give Thanks
On a Monday afternoon, I came home from work to find a letter in the mail. It was addressed by hand and the return address wasn’t familiar. I thought to myself “this can’t be good!” I opened the envelope to find my driver’s license and a note. I was unaware that I had even been missing my driver’s license. Apparently, on the prior Saturday, I had managed to drop it from my wallet somehow.
This nice person found it on the sidewalk, went home, wrote her note, addressed an envelope to me, and put a stamp on it, then deposited it into a mailbox in time for the Saturday pickup. By Monday, it was already back safely in my hands before I had even realized that it was missing.