What is the world without kindness? It’s the seemingly insignificant acts of kindness—planned or spur of the moment—which make society a better place to live in. These internet users were asked to describe their most recent or memorable experiences with spontaneous generosity. Whether it’s sparing a dime, or simply the time, love comes in all shapes and sizes. Life our spirits to these stories about random acts of goodwill.
There was a student at my middle school who, for whatever reason, never had clean clothes and was thus the stinky kid of our school. He smelled like he never showered and there was an apparent lack of parental care. My mother is a teacher, so I always got to school very early. This kid rode the bus and also got to school early.
One day, after witnessing him get harassed about being the smelly kid, I asked my mom if we could do something to help. She gave me the ok to offer, and from then on, I would get his uniform he wore the day before, take it home, and wash it for him (I think he only had two outfits). At the beginning of each week, we would give him bath stuff to clean with. This went on for the entire seventh and eight-grade. I would always deliver his clothes to him early in the morning to save him any embarrassment.
I hope this little act of kindness improved his life in the long run.
I had known that a girl in my school had been battling with anorexia and other eating disorders for years. Apart from maybe one party, I'd hardly ever talked to her, but I really liked what I'd seen/heard of her. This year she went to do a charity run for a group that helps people with eating disorders and she posted it on her Facebook page asking for sponsors...
55 days into the 60 days she had to get sponsors, and still, no one had supported her. I donated 100% of her target anonymously. To this day, she still doesn't know it was me, and I've told no one.
This happened today on the way home from work. Suddenly, construction took four lanes of traffic down to two. Didn’t have a chance to get over before I saw it, and traffic was packed. I crawled in my lane as it dwindled down. One guy thought I was intentionally trying to pass everyone, so he leaned out and waved his middle finger at me.
I managed to get in ahead a bit ahead. Looked over to see someone else crawling up in the same manner, but they were pretty much out of lane at that point. I stopped and made a hole while waving them in. 90 degrees in bumper to bumper traffic and they had all windows down with kids in the back. Wasn’t about to make 'em sit any longer than necessary.
This is what my uncle did for someone that we didn't know about until the person he did it for told us at his wake. There was a single mom who did not have a lot of money, and her son loved baseball. My uncle was at a game, and so he managed to catch one of the balls that went into the stands and get it signed by one of the players.
He then gave it to the mom to give to her son and she told him, "Oh, he's going to love you for doing this!" To which my uncle responded, "No, tell him you did it. He'll think you're the best mom ever." He never told anyone that story and it wasn't until that mom was at his wake that we found out. A real selfless guy, my uncle. It's a shame he died at 50.
RIP Uncle Peter.
Living in Canada, this winter I drove around my neighborhood and looked for people who needed help shoveling their driveway. I'd just drive up, hop out with a shovel and start shoveling. Though it wasn't completely selfless, I just figured instead of going to the gym I might as well put my workout to good use and help some people out.
I'm in AA, and none of my "normal" friends really know. About a month ago, a gentleman called the meeting place looking for a ride to the meeting. I volunteered to pick him up and to give him a ride home. When I pulled up to the address that he gave me, I realized it was an assisted living facility. He must have been at least 90 years old.
He began to tell me that his wife had just passed and that he really needs a meeting. Now, every week I give him rides to meetings, even if it doesn't fit into my schedule. When I went to pick him up last week, his face was completely black and blue. Someone in his care facility had assaulted him. Eventually, I convinced him to report the situation to the authorities and the employee has since been fired.
I've learned that when he has something to say, to just listen. Sometimes that's all a person needs.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I was driving to take my brother to night school. There was an elderly man walking in the middle of the road. I pulled over and asked him where he was heading? The place where he was going to was not of walking distance and dangerous since no one respects pedestrians in Riyadh... I asked him what his story was, and he explained he is a Syrian refugee that used to farm cucumbers in his village and only been in Saudi for one day.
He was on his way to stay with a Syrian family who'd offered him shelter, so we told him to hop in and drove him there. He was very thankful when we reached the place. There, he grabbed my brothers' hand and kissed it in thanks. He wanted to do the same to mine, but I pulled them. Still, when I saw him do that, my brother and I started crying nonstop from how humble this man made us feel. We realized then how much pain Syrians are really facing.
We kissed his head goodbye and wished him safe stay in Riyadh until he returns to his village...
My neighbor lady is a single mom who works two jobs. I shovel her sidewalk and driveway every time it snows. I even leave work early to do hers first, so neither she nor my wife can catch me in the act.
In college, I saw an extremely obese guy who was very socially awkward and pretty much afraid of everything, slip and fall on a patch of ice outside of our dorm hall, right onto his back, completely destroying the lunch that was in his backpack. I normally would have just chuckled at the sight, but something told me to go help the guy.
While the rest of the onlookers just gawked at him, pointed, and mumbled, I went over hooked his arm and helped him to his feet. The poor guy had tears in his eyes from embarrassment (or a destroyed lunch), so I gave him a card for a free sandwich at Chick-fil-a and told him what my Dad used to tell me growing up: "Shake it off, bud, you'll be fine."
After that day, I started seeing him around campus (small school) opening up and making friends. We never got close, but we'd always exchange a hello in passing. When we graduated, we were able to put a quote in our program about our college experience and he wrote something along the lines of, "To the guy who helped me up and told me to 'Shake it off...' Thank you."
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Last weekend I was downtown and found a guy’s driver’s license on the ground. I found him on Facebook and sent him a bunch of messages not to worry and that I'd return his license. We ended up running into him on the street. The look on his face when I asked, "Are you John Doe?" was priceless. His eyes went wide and asked, "How did you know that?"
I pulled the license out of my shirt pocket, he said "Dude!" gave me a big hug and thanked me. We are currently Facebook friends.
A dear friend of mine's father passed away, and he left her his two guitars. When she was a little girl, she used to go to some of his gigs and watch him play. Her father was a giant of a man, but a real gentleman in every sense of the word (I met him once before he passed on—when I shook his hand, my hand disappeared into one of the biggest fists I've ever seen).
She was an only child and loved to listen to her dad play his guitar. Soon after he passed, my friend got behind on her bills a little and was hurting for money. Knowing that I played guitar, she asked if I'd like to buy it from her. The guitar was a gold-top Gretsch, probably from the 1960s. It had been re-finished and customized some, really hurting its value in the vintage market.
I knew what it was worth, and I made her a fair offer (honestly, probably even a little bit more than it was worth) and she accepted. She said she hated parting with that guitar because it reminded her of happy times with her dad but was glad that she was selling it to me because at least she knew I'd properly take care of it.
About a year later at Christmas time, I called her and said I'd be back in town and would love to hang out with her for a bit because we live in different states and don't see each other very often. We made plans, and I went over to her place. When she opened the door, I was standing there with a guitar case with a red bow on it.
She looked at me and said, "What's that?" I said, "It's my Christmas gift to you." She knew EXACTLY what was in that case. I don't think I've ever seen anyone break down and cry HARD like that, nearly uncontrollably. When she finally composed herself, I told her I wasn't giving it to her as much as I was assigning her exclusive permanent guardianship of it, and I still reserved the right to play it whenever I wanted (wink, wink). She laughed, brought it inside, and we went out to lunch.
I've never told anyone that story before. Not sure why.
When my ex and I were taking showers in separate bathrooms, I noticed that the hot water was running out. I literally turned mine to the coldest of cold so that she could have a warm shower.
I had just cashed my check at the bank. On the way home, I saw a homeless man with a sign that said, "Go in the direction of your dreams, live the life you imagined. I didn't and look at how I turned out." I pulled over and talked with him for over an hour. He was a normal guy who was just dealt the wrong hand. It was a very stressful time in my life, and he was so nice and caring…
I gave him my entire paycheck. It wasn't a lot, and I was young, so it was only about a week’s pay from a low paying job. But what did some kid with no bills yet need the money for anyway?
My grandfather was a professor at the University of Florida in the agriculture department. He was also a veteran of the Navy. One day, a student who was returning to school from being away on military duty came to my grandfather’s office. The student told my grandfather he had to drop out of school to work full-time so he could take care of his wife and kids.
Well, my grandfather knew how important education was and wouldn't allow it. My grandfather paid for this young man’s tuition, not knowing whether or not he would be paid back, without telling anyone. My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and when his obituary was posted in the Gainesville newspaper, my uncle got a call from this student.
Apparently, the student finished his undergrad and ended up becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The best part is, my grandfather never told anyone about this story and none of us had learned of it until his passing. But this is just the kind of man my grandfather was. You don't have to believe me, as I know this is a pretty crazy story, but I know it to be true.
The student DID pay him back. There is still faith in humanity.
In high school, I got a job in the summertime so I could buy nice school clothes and have fun with my friends. My mom was a single mom and worked a full-time job while raising my brother and I at this time. I used to hide money in her purse, sometimes $20, sometimes $100, depending on what I had. I never told anyone.
I am a police officer. Got a call about a kid at a train show at a museum in town. Found him, he was autistic and the jerk friends who took him to the show had left him there. He couldn't get ahold of anyone to come to get him. I drove him around with me for about an hour while we kept trying to call his parents. My bank account was negative at the time, the day before payday.
I had $10 for dinner. Took him to Subway and fed him cause he said he had not eaten all day. I went hungry till 6 AM the next morning.
A baby jumped into a pool once cause his mom was off having a cigarette. He jumped into the deep end and started sinking fast. I jumped in and pulled him out as quickly as possible. She told me not to touch her kid cause I'm a pervert. About 25 people saw this. No one said a thing, and I just went home. Acts of kindness don't always make you feel good...
Sometimes, my housemate or I end up walking past this homeless dude who sleeps in the park near my house. I leave him cans of beans, spaghetti, or even stew (they're already cooked so you can eat them cold; I have done it multiple times) while he sleeps. Also, my friend and I found an old tarp that had a couple of holes in it, we patched it up and left it next to where he sleeps one day.
He uses the tarp all the time now.
A co-worker of mine was going through a really rough spot in life. Lost both of his parents in the space of a few months, and they left him with a lot of unfinished business and debt. His wife fell through a rusted storm gate and shredded her knee, and his lawyer screwed him over in the aftermath. Was out of work for almost a month and was very depressed, had his electrical and phone turned off, and had to borrow money to even be able to get back to work.
I couldn't do much, but I bought him a $50 gift card to Publix, put it in a brown paper bag with a small note of encouragement, but no name or anything, and put it under his windshield wiper at work. He'll never know who did it, and I'm 100% ok with that.
Back when my great uncle was alive, I used to go and buy these books about the Old West; cowboys and the like. Being an elderly man, he never really got much of a chance to go out and buy these sorts of things, although he loved reading and Westerns greatly. One day, I noticed that he'd began to re-read some of his old books, as he didn't have any new ones.
I thought about it for a bit and came up with a plan. Every time I'd go to the Newsagents from then on, I'd buy two books. After getting a few, I'd bundle them up, go to his house, drop them on the doorstep, ring the bell and run. When I'd visit him later in the week, he'd always relay his theory on who was doing it, and how he was going to catch them.
I only got to do it a few times before he passed away, but I'll never forget the smile on his face as he talked about "The Book Bandit."
Probably no one will read this, but part of my job is to approve bank overdraft fees. Sometimes, regardless of bank policy, If I see something that suggests you're in college or a single mother, I will refund the fees. I never tell anyone because I'll lose my job.
Found a cat with a roll of thick duct tape around her neck and mouth, she couldn't eat and was barely breathing. Took 20 minutes to unroll it because she wouldn't stop scratching my hands.
I'm a mail carrier. I pay postage dues. I also put extra stamps on letters when I know they need more postage. I don't tell anyone. I just pay the clerk.
An elderly lady misdialed and left a voicemail extending an invitation to some event she was holding. She sounded so hopeful that it was heartbreaking to think she might feel rebuffed or neglected while not realizing they'd never received her message. I called her back to let her know she needed to recheck the number she'd tried calling so no one missed her event.
It turned out that she was trying to arrange for her 90th birthday later this year.
My workmate is deaf in one ear, partially deaf in the other. His hearing aid broke recently, and he couldn't afford a new one. I started up a collection at work and surprised him with about $250 for a new one.
If I ever had 20 minutes to spare waiting for a train, I would go and buy some flowers from a stall near the station and just give them to anyone I saw. It really got my heart pumping and it was great to see how it made someone's day (it also beat waiting for 20 minutes whilst doing nothing). One day I spotted a woman who looked incredibly sad with tears running down her face and a gaze which stared out at nothing, devoid of all hope.
I set out to brighten up her day. However, before I could bestow my gift to her, she passed through the ticket guard/barrier and onto the actual platform, which I could not get to. I felt certain that she needed these flowers and so I grabbed the attention of a man who worked at the station, pointed the woman out to him and instructed him to do pass them on. The gentleman was good enough to agree, and I watched through the crowd as he handed them to her.
She literally broke down. She looked so grateful and rushed forth to hug the man. Tears of happiness rolled down her cheeks as a beautiful smile grew from her face. I just watched from the crowd and have never felt better. The man tried to point me out to her, but she couldn't see through the mass of people. I took this as my cue to leave and as I left, I truly felt like I had done some good. I still pass through that station wondering if I'll run into her someday.
A friend of mine was a senior at a state university. He had gone a couple times before and quit, so his financial aid was pretty much all used up. With one semester left, he was in a panic because he couldn't get a cosigner for a student loan. He was defeated and was preparing to put graduation off and to stop going because he couldn't afford it.
I had recently received a very nice tax refund, so I went to the student accounts office. I talked with the manager and explained I understand she can't tell me what his bill is, but if $X is enough to cover the whole thing, to do so. It was. He ended up graduating with honors. At his graduation party, he openly wept and said he couldn't have done it without a miraculous stranger's help. He vowed he would someday find out who it was and pay in full.
A couple of years later, he is super successful and starts a scholarship fund to help nontraditional students who have run out of financial aid; which is much better than getting paid back. It’s been five years, and I haven't told a soul until now.
A few years ago, on Thanksgiving, I had to go to the grocery store to buy some ingredients for my Thanksgiving feast that I'd be cooking. I was only buying about $25 worth of groceries, but it looked as though the lady in front of me was buying her whole family meal. I noticed she was looking through the bags as the cashier waited, and the lady handed her back a few items...a pork shoulder (Spanish Pernil) and some other meats.
I asked her if I could help. I told the cashier to give her back the items she had picked out (obviously because she didn’t have enough money to pay for it all). I told her to include my things in the total bill and I would pay for the whole tab. So, my $25 worth, plus everything she had wanted to buy. Both the cashier and the old lady looked at me like, "Really? Why?"
I said, “Yes, Really. I just want to help." She gave me an enormous hug; I gave her a smile and I went on my merry way to make dinner for my family. I didn't even tell my wife when I got home. I guess I figured that this poor woman deserved to make her family a nice meal that day. Even if she couldn't afford it.
My neighbor’s dog fell off a cliff, and they could not afford the surgery to save his life. We put $500 in an envelope on their back step, with a note that said it was to help their dog. It was not enough for the whole cost, but we heard the vet took it as a down payment. The dog lived for quite a while after.
I was walking around in a supermarket when I saw a small old lady struggling to put a 24-pack of water bottles into her driving cart thing. I walked over to her asked if she needed help (I was going to help her either way), and I put three cases of water bottles into her cart. She gave me a hug and told me to have a blessed day and it felt amazing.
It's Canada day here today (Happy Canada Day everyone), and there were big celebrations in my small town all day. There was a stage with music and some blowup kids slides and other things, face painting, rock painting, water gun painting, street hockey tourney, street food, more fun games at the beach park, and of course fireworks. It was loud.
So, in the early afternoon, we (my mom and I) bought 30 pinwheels and 30 balloons and we just went around and gave them to kids who didn't already have one. Felt nice seeing their smiles :)
Me and this other guy (don't know him) both hit something on the interstate at 2 AM. My car was fine, but he had a flat. I was about to leave, but he looked like he was on the verge of tears so I decided to stay and help him. Turns out he was driving from Virginia to Nashville, TN (this happened about 100 miles away from Nashville, so he was relatively close) and he'd just bought the car and never changed a tire before.
I changed it for him. He offered to pay me, but I told him no. He'd need the money more than me anyway to replace the tire.
Several weeks ago, I found a peacock in the road on my drive home. Someone had hit him and obviously kept going. I checked to see that he was alive, and with the help of a passerby, we got him carefully to the side while waiting on the local bird sanctuary. Originally, I thought he must be dead, and I wanted to move him out of respect.
When I saw he wasn't, just barely, I thought he must be close. I meant to stay until he passed, so he wouldn't be alone, at least. I stayed for nearly an hour, calling over half a dozen places, who each referred me to the others by automated messages, before finally reaching someone who could help. In that whole time, only three people stopped to ask anything: the man who helped move the bird, and two passing cars after about 40 minutes. I find that very sad. Every other car passed right by.
The saddest part is that I could hear the other peacocks calling the entire time. I don't remember if they pair-bonded, but I can't believe they don't miss their friend.
A homeless lady at McDonald's asked me if I could spare her $1 to buy an apple pie because when she begged for loose change, people dropped random foreign currency coins into her box. She showed me her coin collection—mostly Malaysian ringgit, unusable in this country. If she changed it, she would have literally 40 cents (in local currency).
So, I offered her my chocolate pie because it tastes better than an apple pie and I had already bought it anyway. She was genuinely happy and ate it really slowly to make it last. Later, she came back to ask if I had any leftovers she could eat and actually started digging in my burger wrapper. I was horrified and told her to stop, and that I was more than happy to treat her to any meal she wanted.
But my sentence was cut short by a staff member who came up to her with a bag of food. He told her it was from the manager, on the house. She abandoned my leftovers and took the food while thanking them profusely.
About a month to a month and a half ago, this cat started hanging out in our backyard. She’s really pretty and my kids liked playing with her, so I let her hang out back there. She also helped get rid of the gophers in our yard. Then, late last week, she disappeared for a day, which is the longest she’s been gone since I’ve seen her.
Today, she brought her newborn kittens into our yard, to the little makeshift home we made up for her. They are about 4-5 days old. I got in contact with the humane society here and we are going to be fostering them until they’re old enough to be adopted out. They will all be vaccinated by then, and spayed or neutered, then go to good homes.
I’m allergic to cats.
The wind was blowing about 45 MPH (not an exaggeration) and it was so cold. I saw two homeless people huddled by a dumpster trying to stay out of the wind. I wanted to give them enough money to go to a fast food place and eat and get out of the wind for a while…but when I opened my wallet, I only had $100s on me.
I gave them $200 and told them to go get a room for the night. I really hope someone rented one to them.
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 ass 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.
A deaf lady with a kid asked me for help because she had snapped her key off inside her car lock. I rang a locksmith for her, and it was going to cost like $150. She told me not to get him to come out because she didn't have the money. She was just going to leave her car and walk home. But it was getting late, so I just gave her the money instead (She could lip-read).
I know this really great musician and artist. His name is David. He gives lessons for free to kids who can't afford them. He plays for free at hospitals and retirement centers and other places where people need a reason to smile. David doesn't have much money and he doesn't seem to want much. He's all about having fun and doing nice things for people.
I took guitar lessons from David for around two years. I never got very good. While I was taking lessons from him, relying on his advice, I bought a nice Martin acoustic guitar. It makes a beautiful sound and has modern electronics built in so you can play it through an acoustic guitar amp, and it sounds crisp and resonant.
I eventually gave up on the lessons because I couldn't play as well as I had hoped, and it was frustrating to keep on trying so darn hard with making much progress. Not long after, I heard that David's acoustic guitar got crushed; he had left it on the edge of a stage where he was on a break from a gig and some drunk guy fell on it.
I took my Martin and put it on his front porch and put a note on it saying it was a gift from "a friend." I knew he would have trouble affording a new one. I went to see him play at a coffeehouse recently and there he was with the Martin on his lap, riffing away. It sounded so much better than it ever did when I was playing it.
I was coming out of a bar one night and saw an older man (70s?) staggering while trying to unlock his car in the parking lot. He was clearly drunk, and I knew he wouldn't make it far driving. I walked up to him and asked if he needed help. He said, "I don't think I can make it," so I offered to drive him home in his own car.
I tossed my car keys to my girlfriend and asked her to follow me. On the way home the man said several times to me, "I lost my wife a few months ago, ya know, and just don't know how to live anymore.” I had no words of wisdom to help the situation but offered my condolences. He was coherent enough to provide directions, and I helped him out of the car and to the door of his house, making sure he could get in before I left.
He asked me "You want to come in for a drink?" as a thank-you for bringing him home safely, but I declined as I had to drive my girlfriend home. I don't even remember the man's name or where he lived, and I thought about him for several years, wondering whatever happened to that sad man. At the very least, I hope that my act of kindness saved him from a car accident.
Around 2008, I helped a guy go through TSA at Laguardia airport in New York City. He had never flown before, and had no idea what he was allowed to take on the plane or what the whole security process entailed. Security told him he couldn't use the plastic bags he had all his stuff in. What rattled me was the fact that he was shoving pairs of very new Nike shoes into a trash bin.
I couldn't fathom why, so I went over to ask him. He explained his situation. I told him that if he held tight, I'd go through security, buy him a carry-on, pass it over to him, and let him use it to get his stuff through. He handed me a hundred dollar bill and I gave him my crochet project bag to hold as insurance. I got him a suitcase, went back, gave him it along with the change, and showed him everything he needed to do to get through.
He thanked me and we hugged, each going our separate ways. My flight turned out to be delayed by three hours at the last minute, and I was already exhausted. I used my purse as a pillow, covered myself up with my coat, and fell asleep against a wall. When I woke up, there was a fuzzy travel blanket, a convertible neck pillow, an eye mask, a bag of cookies, and a little plush stuffed dog with a note tucked in his collar.
The man I had helped stuck this gift between me and the wall and never woke me up. I ended up traveling for 11 more hours and that thoughtful little package saved my sanity. Random airport dude, I'm glad you got to keep your kicks, and I still have the puppy! I named him LG.
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: “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.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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