Believe it or not, but not all secrets are bad. The good kind of secrets – the ones that affect the lives of those around us for the better – are sometimes known as “white lies”, but I prefer the much more gentle and honest “wholesome secret.” If nobody’s suffering, a wholesome secret can even be life-changing! Prepare to feel good: These heartwarming stories will inspire you to keep your own wholesome secret.
1. The Toy Fairy
When I was a kid I used to twist the quarter machines on the way into stores just in case. Got lucky a couple of times and got a few free toys. Now that I’m grown, if I’m leaving a store with them I like to drop change into them if I have it and leave them half twisted.
2. The Beer Gods
One time when I was 14, my dad, his friend’s nephew, and his stepson were riding their motorcycles around when we heard a loud crash, and kids yelling. My dad takes off, tipping over his beer in the process. As he runs off, I pick up the beer, brush all the dirt off of, and sit it back up right where he dropped it. After everything’s said and done, scrapes and bruises accounted for, he comes back to find his beer standing upright.
The look on his face was priceless, he thanks the ale gods for saving his beer, and told the story of his magic beer. I decided I’d never ruin it. I’m the beer god. Sometimes I swap the almost empty beers in friends’ cozies out with fresh ones without them ever noticing. Nobody’s sure who does it. Gotta keep the magic alive.
3. Conductor Forever
My dad can’t work anymore due to ill health. He receives a little money from the government, just enough to get by. One of his biggest passions before he had to finish work was building model railways. He has two, both are still unfinished. He had to stop working on them because he no longer had the money to continue. When I took over looking after his finances I started to transfer some extra money from my wages into his bank account so he could start working on it again.
I told him there had been a rise in his benefits as I know he would never accept the money from me. It isn’t much, but at least now he can buy himself one or two bits every month to keep himself busy, and happy.
4. Christmas Giving
I come from a somewhat larger family (four older siblings). For the past few Christmases, we’ve drawn names for who gives gifts to who. A few years ago while I was a freshman in high school, I drew my sister’s name. She was recently married and I overheard that her and her husband were struggling a little bit with money. So for my gift I got her a shirt, but I hid a $100 bill in the small box I wrapped with a note explaining where it was so she didn’t throw it out.
It was a secret because I knew that if mom and dad knew, they would say, “That was very nice of you, but let us handle that, we’re the parents.” I wanted it to be just between me and her. Still makes me happy to remember the silent look she gave me and mouthed “Thank you.”
5. Vacation from Afar
Without revealing too much information, my previous job had a major perk: a lottery system in which the winners got to accompany a group to various locations in the world for a hybrid vacation/work trip. I won the lottery one year and was selected to go to Istanbul. I heard a coworker talking to her spouse on the phone about how bummed she was she did not get it.
She had hoped to visit a long-lost family member. She is a quiet, sweet, helpful person. Very behind the scenes, rather underappreciated. I gave up my spot due to a “prior commitment.” She got to go instead. I had a great time looking at her pictures.
6. Boss Points
I stay after work sometimes for an extra 10-30 minutes just to hang out with my boss. He thinks it’s cause he gives me a beer and I got nothing better to do, but I do it because he’s a sad guy at heart with a lot of pain in him. I try to keep him company because we’ve developed a sort of “father/son” relationship and I don’t want him to feel lonely. I poke fun at him and try to make him laugh so maybe he feels a bit better.
7. The Secret Housekeeper
My mom works really stressful hours, so she thinks my dad is the one cleaning the house and doing all the laundry when really it’s me. He thinks she’s doing it, she thinks he’s doing it. No one ever talks about it but I don’t take credit because it makes them more relaxed and happy with each other.
8. Sneaky Dollar
A friend of mine has problems with paying his bills. His parents don’t support him that much and he can’t get a good student loan because of stupid regulations. He is about to get his bachelor’s degree and has to be in lab almost all day, thus he cannot work more than a few hours a week. I sometimes leave behind 5-20 bucks randomly lying around in his room to support him. He wouldn’t take the money if I gave it to him directly.
9. A Few Simple Words
My niece hasn’t got a very nice mother. Since she was born, I have been anticipating the day she starts realizing what kind of person her mum is and beginning to turn her back on her. She is only five now and since she could walk and talk I have seen many occasions where she will be genuinely sad and crying and needing comforting from her mum who will physically push her away and say, “No, go away.” There are countless other issues.
My little secret is every time I see my niece, even if it’s been months between visits or only a day, I always greet her and always say her the same thing: “I missed you. I love you. Tell me about your day.” I hope that when she’s older and if she needs family, she can see me and know that she is cared about and that she can talk to me about anything.
10. Good Guy Grandpa
Nobody knows about this secret except me. My dad walked out on me when I was 14, but he kept in touch with my older brother. He bought my older brother a car, a $3,000 DSLR camera (when they were a new thing), took him on trips, etc. He hasn’t said a word to me since I was 14, though. I don’t know why. All I know is it’s messed up.
Anyway, when I turned 16 my grandfather went out and bought me a car. He’d have me over a couple weekends every month to help him around the house, help work on the boats with him, etc. At the time I thought he just needed help. I thought my problems with my dad were my fault for misbehaving for something, and that nobody in my family knew about them except me and my mom.
The older I get, the more I realize my mom must have gone to him over the way my father was treating me, and he stepped in to help raise me. He was the best man I ever knew.
11. Paying the Bills
My uncle is a truly fantastic guy. He’s the sort of dude that would give you the shirt off his back without a second thought. He’s the only truly kind and generous person I’ve ever met. He took me in twice when me and my parents were having problems. Once for two weeks, once for a full year. He’s always been who I go to for advice, because I genuinely want to be just like him.
Last year he collapsed in the kitchen. I was there when it happened. That was the start to a seemingly unending battle with his health. He’s had to quit his job, and it’s put him into some intense financial distress. He would never accept help from anyone. I asked my aunt if I could help pay their bills, it took a while, but eventually she agreed. He has no idea my husband and I give them several hundred dollars a month.
12. Homeless Lives Matter
When I have spare money, I’ll go to a shop and buy all the basics a person would need, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, baby wipes, dry shampoo, plasters, high energy snacks that will keep for a long time (granola bars, breakfast bars etc.), and a few pre-made sandwiches. I take it all in the bag and walk around, and give it to the first homeless person I see.
I don’t stop to talk to them, because I don’t want to sit and listen to them thank me or feel embarrassed. I just want to make a little bit of a positive difference in people’s lives.
13. Just a Couple Beers
I used to have to regularly travel abroad for work to this one specific town. I would stay near the main square so I started to recognize the homeless people around the area. It was a difficult time in my life so I was drinking a little more than I should have, so most nights I would go out to pick something up. When I went out, some homeless people would ask for money or just a can of beer.
I always felt bad doing the whole “pat my pockets and shrug” routine as I exited the shop, knowing I was just blowing my money away on booze for myself. In that moment, was I so different than these guys? I finally got up the courage to talk to one of them. He asked for some beer and I asked what kind he wanted. In the store I bought stuff for me, and I also bought this guy two cans of beer, but there was a catch. In the bag were a few other things: a few sandwiches, some milk, and some sports drinks.
That became my routine. Whenever I was in this town, I’d go around and get this man a few cans of beer and make sure he had something to eat. I learned that he had a shelter he could sleep in at night, I learned his name, I would shake his hand every time I saw him, chat for a bit, and wish him well. It’s not a big deal, but I always kept it a secret. I think telling someone would ruin it for me – it’s not about me or getting a slap on the back, it’s just about treating this guy like a fellow man, even for a few minutes.
14. The Good Wings
At the beginning of our relationship, I noticed that when we shared chicken wings, my girlfriend preferred the wingettes (or flats). So I always reached for the drumettes whenever we ordered wings. My girlfriend thinks I like the drumettes better, while actually, I too prefer wingettes. This is a secret I will never tell her, because she would feel bad about it.
15. Cupid on Earth
Back in college I liked to do special things for my friends on Valentine’s Day. One year I taped chocolate boxes to their doors, and the next year I taped bags of heart-shaped cookies. My friends would find out that it was me one way or another, but it still felt good to do something nice. The next year, after most of my dorm friends graduated, I still wanted to do something nice.
So I created about 150 little paper envelopes and at around 2 a.m. I set out to taping them on all the doors on my floor. I then filled every tiny envelope with a few heart-shaped Reese’s and Snickers candies. It probably took about 2 hours to completely finish. I know a few chocolates really aren’t that big of a gift, but I wanted everybody to feel some love on Valentine’s Day.
The next day, some of the RA’s posted about it on Facebook. They were saying that we had the best residents. It made me feel really warm and fuzzy inside, but I never let any of them know that I was the one that did it.
16. Big Bear
I’m ten years older than my youngest brother but we’ve always been close. When he was five he decided to test out whether or not Santa was real, so he told our parents that he wanted Legos for Christmas when really he wanted a giant teddy bear from a store we go to a lot. The only reason I knew about his test is because I overheard him talking to his friend when I was babysitting the two of them.
The bear was pretty pricey for a 15-year-old without a regular allowance or a job that wasn’t babysitting but I got the money together and on Christmas day that giant teddy bear was sitting next to the tree with a tag that said “from Santa” on it. He was soooo happy. Even though my little brother is 14 now, he still has that giant Teddy bear. I hope he gives it to his own kid one day.
17. The Thrill of the Arches
I’m taking my daughters to McDonalds and the movies after school today. They have no idea. They think we’re going home to do spring cleaning (which I already did). I can hardly contain myself, I’m so excited.
18. A Real Hayley Williams
During the middle of my junior year of high school a girl transferred from another nearby school because she was bullied and harassed both in person and online. After a lot of digging online, I found her Tumblr. After scrolling through her blog, I found out she was actually super into singing and that her idol was Hayley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore.
So one day in class I causally said that she reminds me of “this singer from a band I like” and the look of absolute joy on her face when I said Hayley Williams was absolutely incredible. After that, she was visibly more comfortable and confident, and she even got a few people together to rehearse as a band! They played at our school’s talent show senior year and the first song of their set was by Paramore.
19. Snow Story
When I was 17 years old my BFF and I decided to take the snowmobiles out for a ride in the blizzard. We thought it would be amazing to hit some fresh forming powder and drifts. The visibility was low, so we stuck to the main roads. We ended up on a desolate road with two homes and acres and acres of farmland. As we got close to the homes, we noticed some lights and went over to see what was going on.
It turned out that the old couple living there had ventured out to the store to get food in case they got snowed in. They made the long drive, and everything went fine until they slowed down to turn into the drive. The car was completely stuck. My friend and I dug the car out, shoveled the driveway, and made sure they got the car in the garage.
Lo and behold the next day at church this couple was there. At the end of the service, the old man gets up and tells everyone about their trip the night before. He said two angels appeared, barely spoke, unstuck his car and disappeared. He said that he had been pleading with the Lord for some help but figured it could never arrive because no one ever travels the road. My mom looked at me and knew it was me. She didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything.
20. Best Brother Ever
My 15-year-old little sister has a small book review blog she’s really proud of. I use a VPN to make it look like there are people all over the world that read her blog. I comment in other languages sometimes too. She’s working on her Spanish and French to respond in simple phrases.
21. Old New Phone
A friend of mine was going through some rough times and needed a new phone, so I gave her my iPhone 4. She refused at first, but I said that I won it and it was just going to sit in a drawer anyway when in fact I had paid outright for the phone (600 bucks) and was talking to someone about buying it for $250. She was very grateful.
22. Sticky Little Encouragements
In high school I would put Post-It notes with encouraging messages, inspiring quotes, or just a smiley face around the school.
23. Eating Well
My wife thinks I share my food fairly with her. Joke is on her; she gets the best pieces/the larger slice.
24. An Excuse to Play With Kittens
I bring food to shelter cats/dogs and play with them (win/win situation really, even though my own cats give me the stink eye when I come home with shelter smell on me).
25. Take My Money!
When I can afford to, I tuck extra $20s in my parents’ and boyfriend’s wallets, so they think they forgot they had extra money. They’ve done so much for me, including covering my bills when I wasn’t able to, and none of them will let me pay them back, so it’s my way of secretly thanking them for their help and support.
26. Foreign Matters
I start conversations with random people on the bus if it seems like they’re having a bad day. One of the most notable people was a Russian woman who seemed proud of having a pacemaker and an elderly Japanese woman who I helped navigate the bus system. I actually ended up skipping class to make sure she got to her son’s place safely.
27. Penny Dropper
I secretly drop pennies. For many years, my Uncle used to bend down and pick up every penny he came across, which was maddening to my Aunt who was worried the neighbors would see him and assume they were poor. They used to tease each other about it.
My Uncle got cancer and passed away after a very long struggle. After the funeral we were walking to the car and my Aunt saw a penny, and said, “Oh John is thinking of me. He left this penny for me today.” So, whenever I am around my Aunt, I purposely drop pennies on the ground for her to find. I haven’t been caught yet, and I hope I never am.
28. For the Future
My parents don’t know but the reason why I take so many photos of the dogs is because all photos and videos of our previous cat were destroyed, and they are always sad that we don’t have enough. So, I’m gathering stuff for them when the dogs pass.
29. Long Drive Home
I offer people I know lifts home even if they’re totally the opposite direction to where I’m going. I know firsthand that walking home in the cold and dark is way worse than an extra ten minutes in the car. Plus, it’s nice having a chance to get to know people in that setting.
30. The One Ring
My fiancé lost her engagement ring on one of our dates. It was a lovely and romantic evening, walking around, on the beach, lobster dinner… until she noticed the ring was missing. She was beyond distraught, fearing it was a bad omen, or some sign that she wasn’t good enough. It broke my heart to see her like that. So, after we spent an entire day searching without a trace, I secretly drove to the jeweler, and begged them to size a replacement that night.
They actually pulled it off! They had one last twin of the version I proposed with and were happy to help after hearing my story. I pretended I found her ring in my car just after midnight. I staged a picture of me finding it in the disassembled center console. Had to smudge it with dust and grease to make it look legit. But she bought it, everyone did. She still doesn’t know, and we’ve been married for 4 years. I vowed that would be my only lie in our marriage. So far, so good.
31. Pray for PomPom
Background info: I was raised Catholic, and I’m a Navy brat. When I was really young, we lived overseas in Italy. A nice thing about living in Europe is you can take a weekend trip to another country pretty trivially. One winter weekend, my parents decided to take me and my brother to Paris. One of the places we went to see was the Notre Dame Cathedral.
I was pretty young, no more than four years old. I remember practically nothing about the cathedral itself. What I do remember is that, when we were walking away from it, there was a man with a donkey cart. My parents steered us to approach him. He was very friendly and invited me and my brother to pet the donkey. It was my first time interacting with a big animal like that. He was all black and, as far as I was concerned, the size of an elephant.
I remember my parents taking off my mitten and telling me to pet his nose, and how soft it was. Four-year-old me was very impressed. His name was Pompom. Anyway, for the next half dozen years or so, until I lost interest in religion, every night prayer had a “please make sure Pompom the donkey is okay” thrown in there somewhere. That donkey better have lived to be 30.
32. Full Register
After my grandfather passed away my grandmother had a difficult time keeping their business afloat on her own. I would drive up in the evenings and weekends to help her run the store—and I’d always put money in the register. Sometimes just a twenty, sometimes I’d spread a few hundred when I got my tax returns or bonuses at my office. She never did inventory, so I’d even write up fake receipts so she’d think there’d been a sale.
It wasn’t much, but the store kept her occupied, in contact with people, and happy. Best of all, I got to spend more time with her.
33. Cat Prowler
I love going prowling with my cat out in my street. He loves it too and is so delighted to have me there, but I’m always terrified of being seen loitering outside my neighbor’s gardens at night without a good excuse.
34. Pitbulls & Finding Homes
I adopt Pitbulls about to be put down at the shelter and find them homes myself. My pit saved my life. I want to save theirs. I spend a lot of time trying to change people’s minds in the breed. I’m also a guardian ad lidem volunteer. I’ve helped 17 kids find a better happier home. I randomly check on them from time to time. I spend my life trying to make other happy, smile, laugh, or just listen to them because I have serious depression and don’t want anyone else to feel this way.
35. New Threads
I have a really poor friend who wears the same size of clothing as me. I give him my old clothing but what he doesn’t know is I go out and buy new clothes just for him and I just say they’re stuff I got lucky with at thrifts stores, on super sale, or just stuff I got and didn’t like enough to wear more than once.
36. The Love Rants: A Tape
When I’m in the car with my military-hardened dad, he will occasionally go on long rants about how much he loves, respects, and appreciates my mom for everything she does. He’ll start saying these things completely unprompted and out of the blue, and my mom has no idea. I’ve started recording these with my phone without him knowing, and plan to throw them all together into one big file and play it for them on one of their anniversaries.
When I was a little girl there was an elderly woman who lived alone down the road. One day I saw her digging through the garbage behind a diner and saw she was collecting food. I felt so sad for her that every day after that I would leave my lunch sack and my milk money on her porch. On days I didn’t have school I would get up before anyone and make a sandwich or something for her and drop it off. I did that for four years, the last time not knowing she had died in her sleep the night before.
38. Tumblr Shame
I would occasionally buy things for people who had wish lists on Tumblr who I followed anonymously. They didn’t know me, I didn’t know them, they just seemed like nice people. I’d never tell anybody IRL as I don’t want them to know.
39. Cinderella Story
There is a girl at my church (I’ll call her M) who is really good friends with my sister. She and her brother recently moved in with an older couple at church because their parents aren’t providing a good home environment for them. Anyways, this couple spent a lot of money making sure M and her brother had good clothes and adequate school supplies, only for M’s parents to call and make her feel bad for being a “charity case.” M felt like people were being nice and giving her things only because of her situation.
Well my mom was talking to the woman that M was living with and found out that M has a military ball coming up (she’s in ROTC) and didn’t want a formal or semi-formal dress because 1) she didn’t want money spent on her and 2) she didn’t think she was pretty enough to wear one. She wanted to wear a plain maxi skirt and the long sleeve t-shirt that she wears to church.
My mom decided that M needed something nice so she and I found a red dress (M’s favorite color) that was made of a soft, stretchy material (she has skin sensitivity issues and since this was going to be a surprise so we wanted to be sure it would fit her). It was casual enough that she’d feel comfortable but nice enough that she wouldn’t feel totally out of place.
My mom and I told M that mom ordered the dress for herself but it came in the wrong size. We thought it might fit her and wanted to see if she’d like to try it on. M looked a little surprised but said sure so a few days later we gave her the dress and she went into the bathroom to try it on. She stepped out and it was perfect. She looked so happy.
40. Prom Prince Charming
My best friend in high school was homely. In our senior year, she kept saying that she didn’t care about prom… Even though all of our friends were going, and I happen to know she loves dancing. She’s super cool and down to earth, so it wasn’t too weird that she wouldn’t care about prom but I had a hunch that it was because she didn’t think anyone would ask her.
There was a boy in our grade who I had a few classes with. He was a very laid back, nice guy. I asked him if he had a date for the prom or anyone in mind. He said no, so I suggested he ask my friend. He was totally game! I asked him to please keep it between us that I brought it up, because ‘it’s way more fun to remember being asked to prom as a complete surprise.’ I also nudged him in the direction of asking her in a cute way, and he devised a plan on his own.
She came to school a few days later beaming, saying she would be going to the prom, because she ‘couldn’t let the guy down.’ It was wonderful. We all had a great time. We’ve been friends for 24 years, and she still has no idea I had anything to do with it. She never will.
41. The Legend of the Breakfast Man
Whenever I can, I anonymously buy a meal for a senior citizen eating breakfast alone. I used to get breakfast with my Dad. He passed away suddenly and a few months after, I saw a man eating breakfast alone who looked like my Dad. Right down to the awful gaudy suspenders. It broke my heart. So, I started buying breakfast for a senior dining alone as my random act of kindness that also fulfilled my wish that I could still take my Dad to breakfast.
Unbeknownst to me I became a bit of an urban legend. There was a tiny greasy spoon coffee shop around the corner I’d grab breakfast at often. One time I went to pay and quietly told the woman ringing me up “I also want to pay for the gentleman dining alone in the third both on the right.” She jumped back from the counter, pointed at me and proclaimed, “YOU’RE THE GIRL!” Apparently, the story had been passed around the diner.
42. Santa’s Golden Promise
In December, my best friend’s five-year-old wrote a letter to Santa as part of her kindergarten class. The kindergarten teacher then had the Grade eight students write the replies from Santa. Unfortunately, the grade eight student answering five-year-old’s letter promised her everything she asked for. Five-year-old’s parents found this out two days before Christmas, and they couldn’t find a source for some of the items in time.
So, I’ve been tracking the missing items down on the internet and arranging to have them mailed to the five-year-old with a note from Santa apologizing for the delay. So instead of living in a world where Santa breaks his promises, she gets occasional surprise parcels in the mail from Santa.