There are still good people in the world and these stories are proof. These random acts of kindness will warm your heart and may inspire you to pay it forward because as you’ll soon learn, even the smallest gesture can make a big impact.
1. Blanket Statement
Last year, I found a handmade blanket from the late 80s at a thrift store. When I saw that it had a dedication stitched into it, I had an idea. I found the baby it had been made for—now all grown up—and mailed it back to her.
2. A Good Deal
When I was 18 or so, I worked the graveyard shift at a restaurant. Most days it was just me and the cook. Before my shift one night, I gave a friend a ride home who lived near a golf course. After backing out of the driveway I caught a glimpse of something under an evergreen tree. When I realized what it was, my blood ran cold. It was a person. I wanted to stop my car, but I was alone and scared.
Fast forward two hours into my shift. This teen walks in and orders a coffee. He stayed a few hours reading old newspapers, and we got to chatting. He told me his story. I thought about what I’d seen earlier. I said to him, “Hey. It’s pretty cold out there and winter is just starting. How about this, you can come here every night if you want. The cook is usually sleeping the majority of the time, we’re slower in the winter, and I’d appreciate the company.”
I could tell he was giving it some thought. So I did a couple of side duties to give him some time to think. It gave me time to think as well. I came back to his table and said, “It’ll work. I can see it now. It’s not unusual for students to come here, drink coffee, and pull an all-nighter studying. I’ve seen them take a snooze on the floor in shifts with their friends. You’ll blend right in!”
He nodded, “I could do that.” “Yeah! And if you need a ride into town for anything, I get done between 6-7 AM. My place is in the country south of town so I have to drive through town to get home anyway.” Our little deal worked out well. When we’d get hit with a bar rush, he helped bus tables for me. The cook didn’t notice as some regulars would help from time to time.
He never had to pay for a meal because there were “mix-ups” on the food ticket or people making to-go orders who thankfully never drove to pick it up. I stopped seeing him around town about 15 years ago. He was a good guy and I was glad to help him out. It didn’t cost a thing and he was treated the same as any of my regulars. No one was the wiser.
3. Watching A Great Story
I saw a mall security guard buy drinks and popcorn for a dad and his two kids when we went to the movies earlier! We overheard the kids asking if they could have some, and he said he could only afford one drink after purchasing the movie tickets. The guard came up and asked what the kids wanted, and bought them everything they asked for. It was awesome!
4. 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.
5. “God Bless”
We had a homeless man in our city I used to see all the time. He was unwell and I’d give him money when I could. When I couldn’t he’d thank me and say “God bless,” which is an unusual thing to hear in Melbourne, Australia. He’d also wait until you were a reasonable distance away before he begged again, he was very polite. I affectionately started calling him Michael Jackson in my mind, because his voice was like MJs.
I didn’t see him for a while and one day he got on my tram. When I saw him, I was stunned. He was so thin. He started begging on the tram, but not for money—he was pleading for food. I was so shocked to see he’d deteriorated so badly. When he asked me for food, I forgot I had a couple of bags of hot cross buns next to me that hadn’t sold from the bakery I worked at the time.
The worst thing was, I asked him to wait and checked my wallet for money but I didn’t have any cash on me. He would have seen that I had food and he still politely thanked me, said “God bless,” and walked away. I realized after he got off the tram. I never saw him again. It still haunts me and I just pray he found a shelter to help him.
6. On The House
I was agitated one day because I lost lots of money in the casino. That’s when something came over me. I looked at the last $200 in my wallet and figured giving it to the homeless guy sitting nearby was better than losing it to the casino again, because I just had bad luck that day. It was just a completely random thought and action from me.
7. Customer Appreciation
I was at a TJ Maxx/Marshalls type store, and the lines at the cashiers were extremely long. They must’ve had five cashiers, and as I’m standing waiting for one to open up, a younger woman with flushed cheeks and puffy eyes went to one of the unused registers. The girl next to her asked if she was okay. She said yes and proceeded to call me over to her counter.
I asked something like, “Bad day?” And she began telling me about how this customer completely ripped into her for something that wasn’t her fault and made her feel less than human. She was tearing up again as she spoke and I lent her a sympathetic ear. When she was done, I quickly asked if she liked chocolate and, confused, she said yes.
I ran down to the displays I’d been previously waiting at and grabbed a bag of fancy assorted chocolates and bought it. It was only after I told her to keep it out of the bag that you could see it dawning on her that I, a perfect stranger, was buying her something to cheer her up. She tried to decline it but I refused. Ultimately she hugged me across the counter and thanked me for being the exact opposite of her previous customer. It was awesome, but it wasn’t the best part.
I had my six-year-old daughter with me. As we left the store, she kept asking, “Is that your friend?”/“Do you know her?” and I was able to use this as a springboard to help reinforce that it’s important to be nice to people whenever you can.
8. A Free Ride
Back when I worked at the mall, I’d make sure I had extra quarters in my pocket to give to the kids that wanted to play on the merry-go-round but didn’t have the means to. Seeing their faces light up when they realized they could actually ride on the rides for real and not just climb on them and pretend was always amazing.
I also kept Band-Aids on me because I’d have a lot of kids walking around with blisters on their feet; I once made a mom carrying her crying son come into my store so I could give her Band-Aids to put on his feet. I’d also have times where kids had no concept of tax and if I had the extra change/money, I’d cover the rest they owed—it was usually only a dollar, at most. I ended up making an area where I’d hide loose change we found on the floor just for this.
I spent a lot of time learning to listen to customers around me and stepping in to help whenever I could, and that kind of carried on outside of work. I learned to stop hesitating when I heard people needing help and started just doing it, and it’s honestly been one of the best things I’ve learned to do.
9. Lunch And Learn
When I was working in downtown Seattle, I would try to take someone on the street asking for food out to lunch at least every few weeks. I met a few people who genuinely disturbed me and pretty frequently got yelled at by employees at the places we’d go, but I also met some fascinating people with some great stories and got an idea of what kind of havoc the cost of living around here can reap on a person.
10. On Second Thought
Just about two or three weeks ago, I was getting home late at night after a double shift at work. I parked my car on the street and was stopped by an older guy in a run-down car. Tired, and thinking he was hitting me up for money, I said I couldn’t help him and continued to walk into my house. But then, something unexpected happened. As I was rinsing my lunch dishes in the sink, I couldn’t stop thinking about the guy needing help.
So, I put on my hoodie and walked back outside where he was. Turned out he needed gas and a jump-start for his car and was stranded. I helped him get the gas from the station down the street, moved my car to jump his, and bid him a good night. I went to bed much later than intended, but with a clean conscience and feeling like I put a little good in the world despite my initially dismissive behavior.
11. Easter Basket
My wife and I were driving through downtown Colorado Springs before Easter, and a homeless man was asking for money to get his daughter an Easter basket. We went to the store and bought about $100 worth of coloring books, throw blankets, a basket with a few treats, and a pack of toothbrushes. We went back and didn’t see the guy, but found his bed and his daughter’s under the bridge where he was begging.
We left it all under an old blanket on the bed. We didn’t get to see the reaction as no one was around, but I hope it made someone’s day.
12. Let’s Do Lunch
Back in high school, we had a really good “Hot Lunch” line that was way better than the normal cafeteria food. They had loaded baked potatoes, pizza, some salads, etc. The problem is it was more expensive, so they didn’t keep enough for everybody so that they wouldn’t have to throw any away. It was a first-come-first-serve type thing, and the classes let out for lunch at different times. So the early classes always got first pick, and it was usually sold out before the late classes got there.
My class let out for lunch right about the time they always sold out, so we were always the ones who bought the last of everything. I would always either casually ask or eavesdrop on the people behind me to see what they were going to get, then I’d get the opposite so that they could still get the food they wanted. If what they wanted was the last item left, I’d just buy a bottle of water and then get in line for the cafeteria food.
I didn’t care that much about what I ate for lunch, it seemed to be a bigger deal to everyone else.
13. The Gift Of Giving
A really good friend of mine was struggling a few years back financially. He had four kids, his wife was out of work, and they were living on one income. My girlfriend and I were doing pretty well and knew Christmas was going to be slim for their kids. So we took my kids out shopping to show them that giving was an important part of Christmas.
After getting all of the kids enough gifts, we made sure that mom and dad also got a few things. He still is amazed that “the church” bought him Shadow of Mordor. We left it all on his porch and my kids waited down the road watching as I rang the doorbell and ran away.
14. Rocky Mountain High
I was leaving work after a bad day about a year and a half ago. The bartender asked if I would hang with a friend of hers who was drinking alone. He and I had some drinks and bonded over music, and ended up keeping in touch. I made it clear that I wasn’t available in a romantic way, and he genuinely just wanted to text about music and books.
He decided to move to Denver (my hometown) for work, a while later. I introduced him to my two best friends, whom I hadn’t seen in many years. Well, after a month of living there, he gave me the biggest surprise of my life. He randomly mailed me a round-trip ticket to see my friends. He didn’t even want to hang out when I was there. He just wanted to do something nice for all of us. It was the best weekend ever, and all thanks to someone I hardly knew. It was lovely.
15. The Gift Of A Career
I paid for my neighbor’s niece’s hairdressing equipment. The course was free, the equipment wasn’t and her family wasn’t going to help her. I told her I had applied for a grant in her name and had it posted to her. It was $90 and I couldn’t easily afford it. Anyway, she passed two years of that course, as a semi-homeless 16-year-old with no family support. She needed it and she deserved it.
16. Setting An Example
There was this girl in my fifth-grade class who always came to school and got made fun of because of her looks. I feel bad typing that out. Fifth graders are especially mean. One day I mentioned to my mom how some girls had made fun of her. They had written a long and detailed letter telling her how ugly she was, and put it in her locker. What my mom did next left me stunned.
She gave me $100 to slip in the girl’s locker. Now looking back to that, as someone who is about to have their first baby, that’s an example I want to set for my child. My brother is the same way. He is seriously the least confrontational, sweetest human being. One time he saw some kid getting beat up by a group of kids and he ran into the fight to block them from hitting him.
He came home with bite marks out of him and hair missing, and blood all over him. He got sent to an alternative school for the rest of the year. I was so proud of him, despite the stupid punishment.
17. Ticket To Ride
A while ago, I used to work overnight at a gas station. I saw a lot of the same customers, so a huge majority became regulars. There was this one woman who I always assumed was on something because she just looked like it. Anyway, one Sunday night about two years ago, she comes in and asks me a question that left me puzzled.
She asked if there was any way I could print something for her. I’m looking at her kind of skeptical, because this is a gas station, not a library. What she told me next broke my heart. She goes on to say that she is catching a bus to go to rehab in the morning, and the only way she can get on the bus was with a printed ticket. So me being me and it being after midnight on a Sunday, I had the time and the means to help her.
The only problem was she couldn’t remember her email password. So we sat going back and forth trying to reset her password, with me dealing with a few customers in between. About 45 minutes later I printed out her ticket! She thanked me over and over. I just gushed I was so happy I could help her better her life. Fast forward I’d say about eight months later, the door opens. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
She came into the store and she looked so good! She’d put on weight and looked so healthy and happy. I gave her a huge hug and she thanked me again. I had tears in my eyes when she left.
18. Upper Crust Move
I did this at a pizza place I worked at. Anything that was left in the warmer at the end of the night was supposed to be thrown out, but I would take it out back to the homeless people around. Towards the end of my time there, the general manager found out what I had been doing and tore a strip off me. What he said made my blood run cold.
According to him, if you feed them, they’ll always be around harassing you when you’re trying to get into the building and that would be unacceptable. Well, I got my revenge on the jerk. I only worked there for a couple of months after that, but I made sure I frequently “messed up” orders and set them carefully aside to distribute instead of throwing them in the garbage like he ordered me to.
I’m pretty sure the local homeless community was devastated when I finally quit. That boss was a monster though.
19. Warm Your Heart
I live in the deep south where winters are mild, but this one particular day it was cold. Like unnaturally cold. This guy came in at like 5 AM and all he wanted to do was warm the coffee he had in an empty water bottle. I’m pretty friendly, so I started chatting him up asking him why he was up so early in the cold. He told me he had to walk about 10 miles to work.
I felt bad. I asked about the bus, and he said he had no money. I was broke too, but I couldn’t bear to see this man walk in the cold. So I went in my register and gave him two bucks for the bus. And told him he could wait in here out from the cold until it was close time for it to come. I miss working at that store and meeting all the different people.
20. Tips For A Better Life
I worked as a waiter. I had a nice table of four tourists with a bill of several hundred dollars. They paid in cash with crisp, new $100 bills and they left me a tip of exactly 20%—but there was something else. An additional $100 bill. Seeing how the new bills easily stuck together and knowing they were tourists who may have just taken money out for their trip or exchanged currency, I knew it had to be a mistake.
I ran out to the street, found them, asked how much they meant to tip me, and gave them $100 back. Could I have used that extra money? Yes! I was in my 20s, living away from home, had a tiny studio, beater car, and slanging fish and singing happy birthday multiple times a shift. But I just couldn’t live with myself knowing I chose that option.
I knew it would only enable me to make excuses for other immoral decisions down the line. I never regretted it and have had an amazing life since.
21. Beautiful Burrito
I purchased a Chipotle burrito for an old homeless man who wasn’t even asking for money. He was just sitting in a corner and looked sad. I went to talk to him and asked if he wanted chicken or beef, and came out of the restaurant with a beef burrito, he thanked me and started eating right away. I have no trouble accepting I’m a jerk sometimes but for some reason, that man just looked sad and lost which got to me so I bought him food.
22. Generous Barista
When I worked at Starbucks and the food was supposed to “go bad” that night, I’d put it all in a bag after we closed, and hand out to the homeless people around where I worked. They seemed to appreciate it, and I always had enough to leave them with the bag of food to disperse amongst themselves and their friends.
23. Pet Care
I contacted a local therapy dog network, and my dog and I now visit a bunch of schools during finals, when students are really freaking out. Dogs are wonderful beasts who don’t know or care about finals, they just want to be petted and fed treats.
24. Drive-thru Kindness
I was dropping my friend off at her car we had left in a parking lot by a Taco Bell. This homeless couple comes up to us and asks if we can go through the drive-thru for them as the dining room was closed and they couldn’t order by walking through the drive-thru. They gave us some money, maybe like four or five dollars, and just asked us to buy what we could with it.
We went through the drive-thru and paid with our own money. We bought a good amount of food and a couple of drinks for them. We came back to them and gave them the food and their money back. Their reaction broke my heart. They thanked us profusely and as they started to walk off the woman starts crying and the man gives her a big hug.
It wasn’t a lot, but the fact it had that impact on them warmed my heart.
25. A Little Help
When I was waitressing to put myself through school, I was struggling. There were some lean months. I got an amazingly large tip one December and the person had just written “Happy Holidays” on it. In the blink of an eye, I was suddenly able to afford presents for my family that year. That’s when I made myself a promise. I vowed to do the same when I could afford to.
I now leave huge tips throughout December. At least 50% (or more if they are amazing). I never even get to see their reaction, but I am hoping it brings a smile.
26. From Santa
About a week ago, I mailed off a box of Christmas presents to an old friend. He and his wife have six kids between them and have fallen on hard times. I offered to buy presents for all the kids and asked him that he tell them it’s all from Santa because, as someone who grew up in poverty, I feel it’s important that those kids experience the magic for at least one more Christmas.
I included a present for him and one for his wife, which he doesn’t know about. He’s waiting until Christmas Eve to open the box and put everything under the tree. I hope they like their gifts.
27. Secret Wardrobe
I have a 16-year-old pregnant student who is far too poor to afford pregnancy clothes. I managed to get some pants and a few shirts to her without anyone else finding out so that she had appropriate clothes to wear to school.
28. Compliments On Little Things
A customer came in. She had this gorgeous wavy blonde hair. I told her I loved her hair and asked if it was her natural color, or if she dyed it. Her reaction was incredible. She was shocked and told me that it’s actually a wig. She had got it a couple of days before since she had recently lost her hair. I assured her multiple times it looked real and looked nice on her.
She left so happy and told me she couldn’t wait to tell her husband. Whenever I’m at work I like to give people compliments now because I never know if some people need a pick-me-up, plus it’s always nice to receive compliments on little things.
29. A Helpful Tip
I went out to dinner last week with my husband. I could just tell that something was weighing heavily on our waitress. About halfway through our meal, I said, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, because I’ve never met you before, but are you okay?” What she told me broke my heart. She opened up and told me that she is four and a half months pregnant and just got into a fight with her mom and sister.
We are certainly not rich, but I figured my family could do with one less Christmas present this year. I gave her a $100 tip. My husband went to the restroom while I was signing the slip. I left it on the table and then stood outside waiting for him. He wanted to go back and see her reaction to what we did. I, on the other hand, feel like that cheapens it for me.
I didn’t do it so she would thank me. I did it because I wanted to help her.
30. Filling In
Just recently, a coworker needed a shift covered—all for a truly heartbreaking reason. It was so he could say goodbye to his elderly grandparents. It meant missing my only Christmas dinner this year with friends, because I’m working away from my hometown and family, but I was happy to do it.
31. Thanking A Vet
I paid for a WWII veteran’s meal at a bar after I had noticed his hat. After he found out but before I could slip out, we chatted a bit. I told him my first name and that I worked up the street. A week later I was called into HR—and for once, it was a nice surprise. I found out that he tracked down where I worked and dropped off a very sweet letter to my company.
I contacted him again to see if he wanted to meet and get to know each other a little more because he went above and beyond by improving my employee file even though I did it just to pay my respects. We agreed and it turned into a few pizzas and beers, talking about everything from waffles to women. It turns out his son is a very well-known celebrity. It’s a small world.
32. Sweet Gesture
A friend was feeling really down in the dumps, so I sent a basket of candy to him and a nice card saying how he’s a good person—but there’s a twist. I never signed it and never told anyone. To this day he doesn’t know who sent it, but it makes me smile when he tells the story.
33. Fill ‘Er Up
I moved a friend’s car for them the other day, and when I did, I saw that their tire pressure was low in the back tires, and they were low on gas. I filled the tires and the gas tanks and parked the car. They knew I moved the car, but I didn’t mention the gas and air.
34. Clearing The Way
I shoveled snow around the neighborhood mailbox to make it easier for people to mail their Christmas cards and for our mail carrier to get to the box during collection times.
35. No-Name Giver
I sent a friend some money anonymously because I knew they wouldn’t accept it otherwise.
36. Wonderful Withdrawal
Being a college kid, my bank account tends to fluctuate between negative amounts and about $100. However, when I get intoxicated and start talking to homeless people and listening to their stories, I normally go to an ATM, take out all my cash, and give it to them. This has happened many times and although I do get a hangover, I tend not to regret that part too much.
37. Making Highways Safer
I just drove my dad to the airport, so I spent a lot of time on the highway. It made me remember something I used to do all the time. I got a chance to do it tonight. I love making room for semis. I don’t know why, but creating space so a semi can change lanes safely, and flashing my headlights to let him know when to change to your lane and do that little courtesy light flash to say “thanks,” I just love it.
I used to drive for hours a day for work, cross-country highway driving, so I have had the opportunity a lot.
38. We All Scream For Ice Cream
I was walking down the street one day near my apartment complex and an ice cream truck decided to come through. My parents never let me buy ice cream when I was little—but I’m not little anymore. There was a hoard of little children struggling to find enough nickels and change to pay, so I went and bought everything the kids wanted. It felt so good.
39. A Man And His Dog
I was driving back from a road trip and saw a homeless guy and his dog on the side of the road. It had been extremely hot that day. I had just gotten paid, and the sight of him and his dog pulled my heartstrings. So, I dropped into a store and bought more than $300 worth of supplies for them. I’ll never forget his reaction.
He burst into tears immediately. The look on his face was priceless. I never told anyone why it took me so long to get home or why $300 was gone from my bank account. I hope that guy’s doing well.
40. Changing Lives
I once saw a mom and three kids pushing their car to the pump next to me. Then, she was scraping together change to get gas—so I filled her tank. She was incredibly grateful and said the gas she could afford probably wouldn’t have even gotten her to work the next day.
41. A Homeless Skeptic
A homeless guy was hanging outside of the McDonald’s near me and I was sitting in the drive-thru debating with myself if I should get him anything. Eventually, I decided that I should. I bought him a couple of burgers and gave them to him, but tried to play it off like they got my order wrong and gave me extra food. But it didn’t go as I planned.
He acted pretty skeptical about the whole thing and acted like he thought I messed with the food. He took it, but it was a little weird exchange that didn’t go the way I thought it would in my head.
42. “She Burst Into Tears”
I used to be a dialysis nurse. When people find out their kidneys are gone, it’s the worst day of their lives. I had a patient who was very irritable and snippy, critical and complaining. She snapped at me about something. This time, instead of fixing whatever it was, I took a different approach. I just paused for a minute. I didn’t move. Just waited for a beat.
She said “I’m sorry. I’m not usually like this. I never complain.” I held both of her hands and I said “It’s okay. You don’t have to be strong right now.” Her reaction was devastating. She burst into tears and said, “Thank you. Thank you,” over and over again.
43. Pay It Forward
I was at the dollar store during the summertime getting some odds and ends. There was a dad who desperately wanted to buy this little plastic dinosaur for his kid. He was like two cents short and came for diapers. He ran to his car to search for the two cents. I paid for his diapers and the toy so when he came back it would be taken care of. As I paid for my things and left, a cashier ran outside to let him know it was paid for.
44. No Contest
A friend was in the running for an online contest for a gift certificate to a particular store. He would have won, but something happened with the voting and other people were allowed to make extra votes. He was very gracious about losing. I bought a gift certificate for the amount he would have won and sent it to him.
A homeless man asked me for change. All I had was $20, so I gave it to him. He hugged me and said I was the mother he never had. He looked older than I was, but that was okay.
46. Women Helping Women
I gave a woman a spare pad. As a female, I always carry everything and the kitchen sink in my bag. On Sundays, the shops were closed and this woman was trying to find an open pharmacy or chemist to buy some stuff for her daughter. I talked to her for a moment asking if it was a “medical issue” and then gave her a couple of pads.
47. Pasta Pleaser
My university makes it very easy for students to donate to a food pantry when we move out of the dorm in the summer. They had huge containers in the main offices of each dorm. I donated some instant mac and cheese.
48. Pennies For Your Thoughts
My dad and I leave a pile of pennies under the Meijer pony whenever we go to Meijer. A penny a ride, y’all!
49. A Little Goes A Long Way
I found out my co-worker was struggling badly financially, so yesterday I slipped $40 in an envelope and wrote a note saying “I know this isn’t much, you deserve the world. You’re a beautiful person inside and out. Love, Santa.” She posted it on her Facebook thanking “whoever” did it. I’m still so smiley thinking about it.
50. Blowing His Own Horn
I help people move their broken vehicles off the road to safety. I did it at least six or seven times last year. I send my mom an expensive protein shake powder she likes each month and some other stuff that tends to randomly fall out of my memory, but the residual “did good” high lingers. I also bought random gifts for friends and family throughout the year.
51. Parking Your Ego
I always leave my leftover parking ticket—I have to pay for more than 12 hours but I only use eight—in the slot in the machine in hopes the next person will see it before paying. The other day, I started work late and noticed someone else had left their old ticket in the machine. There were only two minutes left, but still! This gave me hope that someone was using my leftovers and with any luck, I inspired at least one other person to do it!
52. Pass It On
My mom likes to start those “buy someone else’s drinks for them at Starbucks” chains. As a family, if we have extra passes at a theme park (usually Disney) we give them away to someone else. One time our flight had to be changed, so we only got to be in the park a few hours before leaving. Our passes were for the entire day, so we walked up to a family in line to buy passes and gave our passes to them.
53. Improving The Cycle
I used to stop at this convenience store daily on my way to work. There was a regular homeless guy who sat outside and did nothing but say nice things to people. “Have a great day,” “Happy Holidays,” etc. I never heard him ask for anything or pester anyone. One day I pull up and he’s sitting on the ground—but this time was different. He was looking pretty banged up. I look over and see that his bike is pretty much mangled. I concluded that he got hit by a car.
I asked what happened, and he confirmed that a lady ran him over and didn’t stop. She just drove away. He said that his bike is his livelihood. He rounds up recycling and scraps for money. I sympathized with him and went about my business. As I was pulling away, I saw that there were two pawn shops less than a block over. I knew exactly what to do.
I had the time so I pulled in to see how much a bike was—but that wasn’t even the best part. I told the pawnshop clerk what I was doing and he wanted to help. We agreed on a price for one of two bikes. I got a little written contract from the manager and then took the receipt to the homeless dude. I let him know that he would have his choice of two bikes, and that I’d follow up tomorrow to make sure they didn’t try to work him over.
He gave me a huge hug and cried a good deal. I saw him the next day on the new bike. I’ve never told anyone about this.
54. Rescuing The Lifeguard
I’d just finished one of my evening swims. I’m getting changed and I hear a lifeguard getting shouted at because the floor was wet. This guy was laying into her about how he nearly slipped and did the whole “I’m going to speak to a manager” thing, then stormed off. I’m getting changed at this point and I hear her start speaking to one of her co-workers. What she said made me so sad.
She was talking about how she just wants some food and for her horrible day be done. I’ve been going to this pool for ages. I know that the pool closes at 10 and the staff leave at 10:30. I arranged for a pizza and pre-paid taxi to be waiting for her when she left, with a note saying “Not every customer is a jerk. Hopefully, this will cheer you up.”
The next time I went swimming, I overheard her talk about this “amazingly random pizza and taxi,” and how she “really needed it.” I just smiled and carried on. Not bad for a guy with social anxiety and depression! Plus, I learned a valuable lesson. This was when I found out that my best coping mechanism for when I was feeling down was to be a kind stranger.
55. 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.
56. Selfless Sharer
One of my coworkers works about 70 hours a week between a full-time job and at least two part-time side gigs. She is just trying to keep a roof over her and her son’s head and make sure he has everything he needs for school and sports. In addition to all that, she’s still the sweetest and makes time to help out others with work, and always comes to work with a great attitude.
I know she never does anything for herself, she even cuts her own hair. So everyone from work chipped in to give her a big spa day: massages, mani/pedi, facial, and a real haircut and color. Now we had to be sneaky about it, because she’s not one that accepts gifts or she’d want to pay us back or something foolish like that. That’s when we came up with an ingenious plan.
We made an official-looking letter and mailed it to her, basically a “You’ve won!” thing with all the gift cards to this particular spa. Her reaction was incredible. The first thing she did? She called our work and tried to share the gift cards with everyone. See? She’s the sweetest! I quickly told her the gift cards probably weren’t transferable, since she’s won them.
Thankfully she fell for that and went and had a great spa day for herself. That was two years ago, and after Christmas, we’re going to start saving up to do it all again for her birthday!
57. Fallen On Hard Times
About six years ago while I was working at a sandwich shop, I had this teen come in and ask for some food. He looked familiar to me and by the time I finished making his sandwich, I made a disturbing realization. He was my little brother’s childhood best friend. Here’s this guy that I pretty much grew up with. He lived with his grandpa across the street. He was best friends with my brother since probably the age of four, all through elementary school—until tragedy struck.
His grandpa passed, his mom took control of the house, and they moved away. Then, years later, there he is, sitting in front of me and eating a sandwich. I asked him what he’s been doing. He said he was living at a nearby park and had been kicked out of his place by his mom. He would swing by every day that week during my shift for food. I had told my family that I saw him, and we took him in.
It was obvious he had some issues. He would talk to himself when in front of a mirror, or randomly get uncontrollably angry. My brother also said he would wake up to him just standing at his door staring at him angrily in the middle of the night. He was with us for about a month. We didn’t have what he needed for help. We got a hold of his mom and explained what we saw. She agreed to take him back and get him help. That’s when everything turned around.
Today, he is no longer homeless. He does live in a special home that makes sure he is staying clean and taking his meds. His family is more involved and we see him once a year on his birthday. It’s hard on my brother to see his friend like that. It’s hard on my family as he was essentially part of it as a kid. But, at least he has a roof now and some help.