People Share The Most Touching Acts Of Kindness They’ve Witnessed

Whether it’s something as simple as paying for someone’s coffee behind you in line at Starbucks, or as major as rearranging your entire life to care for a friend going through a tough time, there’s nothing quite as heartwarming as witnessing or participating in a truly selfless act of kindness. It’s these everyday actions that prove that humanity ain’t doing so bad after all. If you’re in need of a boost, you’re in luck: a number of Redditors have shared their stories about the most moving acts of kindness they’ve ever seen. Read these and prepare to have your heart warmed.


1. Love Drug

My dad recently lost his job, and with it his health insurance. He had a heart attack last year and has to take an expensive medication as a result. A one-month supply is around $250 without the insurance to help. He went to his doctor’s office yesterday to find a coupon to at least shave off some of the cost. A nurse went in the back and ended up coming back with a two-month supply of free samples for him.

Saved my parents from paying $500 out of pocket for a drug he absolutely needed.

PremiereLife

2. First-Class Trip to Awww-ville

My mom was dying, she lived in Australia and I live in Georgia. My husband had been laid off from work and I couldn’t afford to fly to Australia on a last-minute basis. A person that I only know from a message board used her frequent flyer miles and paid for my trip to Australia…not only that but she booked me, first class, both ways.

Velvetrose

Things Witnessed On A Flight FactsShutterstock

3. Three Times the Generosity

I had triplets last year and someone I work with has brought me a hot meal once a week or so for the entire first year of their lives, so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. The thing is, she drops them off ninja-style, not wanting to impose. She’ll text me that she left something on the porch. It has been one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

Jaberkaty

4. Something to Be Thankful About

When I was in first grade, my mom was really struggling financially. She mentioned something about how hard Thanksgiving was going to be to another mom. Well, the week before Thanksgiving, there was a raffle where we could win an entire Thanksgiving dinner. My teacher gave every student two cards from a deck. When she gave me mine, she kind of said “wait” and checked them before she gave them back to me. I won the raffle.

Even if she hadn’t checked the cards, I’d have suspected something. I never win anything.

teddyclopse

5. Good Samaritan

I was hit by a car, and a stranger sat with me until the EMTs arrived. I never got his name. He left before the police got there. I looked for his face in crowds, but never saw him again. He kept me calm. I didn’t feel alone.

designgoddess

6. Deductible From a Benevolent Source

When my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of 1999, he was working for a small family-owned trucking company. Once they were forced to take him off their insurance, they contacted me about paying for Cobra insurance. I was a stay-at-home mom and had no money to pay for that, so I thanked them for the information and hung up.

Two days later, I got a call from the daughter-in-law of the owner. She said that I would be getting a paper in the mail that I was to sign. Paper said that I agreed to pay for our part of the Cobra and that the policy would be instated on such & such a date. I said…but I told you…I can’t pay for that. She said I was not to worry about it, just do it. I did.

Someone in the family called me once a week to keep tabs on how he was doing, up until his death in January of 2000. They, obviously, thought a great deal of him. Forever grateful.

snakehag

7. Small Gestures Can Go a Long Way

When my grandmother died, my friend would FaceTime me when I couldn’t sleep and tell me bedtime stories. Our safe-word was “pineapple.” If she said that and I didn’t answer, she knew I was sleeping and she could hang up. It might have been a little thing for her, but it made a huge difference for me.

lawnmowergoat25

8. No Highway to Heaven for You Today

Last month, I dropped my car off to this mechanic that apparently is good with Volkswagens. I explained to him that I have NO idea what’s wrong with my car and a handful of other mechanics have already looked at it and they never seem to fix it (and I always get billed). So, a month goes by, he calls me and tells me he’s been doing what he can to the car, but nothing seems to work.

Therefore, it cannot pass inspection. Sigh. I go to his garage today, meet with him and talk a bit about what I can do if I want to sell the car. Finally, I ask, “What do I owe you?” He says, “Nothing, don’t worry about it” I told him I can afford what he would charge for an inspection, at least let me pay that. He refused any money from me and offered to tow my car back to my place, since I cannot drive a car that is not inspected.

Nice guy.

PackinSteel

9. Stranger Service

I had just started driving, and maybe had my license for a week. Went to go fill up gas for the first time. Realized I never learned how to fill up a car. A guy saw me struggling for about 10 minutes and he walked over, pulled out his credit card, and showed me what to do. Ended up paying for my gas and teaching me a lesson.

Never got his name or anything.

Nato23

10. Room Is Already Paid for

We were on our honeymoon and didn’t have a lot of money, but we managed to afford to stay at our favorite inn in our favorite coastal town. Someone found out we were newlyweds and anonymously paid for our stay. I plan on paying it forward at that same place one day.

BouncyCastleofDoom

11. Not All Gift Baskets Are Created Equal

I’m a type 1 diabetic who had run out of insulin. I had been using as little as I could to get by, but I was just about out and currently had no health insurance from my work. It’s based on hours and I was a full-time college student. I was using the school clinic since I wasn’t feeling well, and they were so concerned about my health that the dean of students even came to my apartment to make sure I was still alive after not returning the clinic’s calls.

I had been up all night with my husband at the hospital due to him having a heart scare.  I explained to them I couldn’t afford the $300 vial that I needed and left to run some errands. I got a call about half-way through my errands saying that someone had donated some medical supplies to me. Two vials of insulin, blood glucose test strips, and a few packages of syringes.

I was in tears when I got there, and when one of the nurses handed me the gift, I broke down in sobs and cried on her shoulder. It was the most meaningful gift I have ever received, and I owe my life to whoever donated it to me.

ursa_major13

12. Ride and Share

I was walking home one day last winter, super cold out, and some lady I’ve never seen before stopped to pick me up. She was really nice and drove way out of her way to drop me off at my house. She even gave me a winter hat and a piece of chicken—she was on her way home from KFC. I said thank you, and she told me to pay it forward.

butterandtoast101

13. You Make the Best Friends Hitchhiking

When my dad was in college, his car broke down one night on the side of a road that was not very busy. The first person going by stopped and gave my dad a ride to a service station. It turned out that the guy who picked my dad up also attended the same college and they started hanging out. Now, close to 40 years later, they’re still very close friends.

Nostromo26

14. Another Kind of Social Security

When I lived in the city, an older lady of about 90 years of age had recently had her apartment robbed in my building. They went in, stole all of her cash, and took some valuables that she had as well. She did not have a bank account, so the thieves took about $30,000—in other words, the lady’s entire life savings. She was afraid of being evicted for the apartment because she wouldn’t have the rent money, and she did not want to end up in a state-run nursing home.

I called the landlord and paid her rent in full for the rest of the year, five months’ worth. I also told the landlord not to tell her that it was me. I also had groceries delivered to her once a week for the next two months, until she had some money saved up from her social security checks. I never told anyone what I had done for her and I don’t think she even knew my name, because the apartment building had about 50 apartments in it.

The landlord was the only one who knew, and he wanted to tell her what I was doing, but I told him that I would just deny it if he did. I did not want her to feel indebted to me. She posted a letter in the lobby of the building to thank whoever had helped her. I took the letter down and kept it. The landlord still writes to me every few months to tell me how she is doing. She is still living in the apartment seven years later. I never told anyone about this.

johnbc5

15. Little League, Big Heart

When I was little, I did an indoor rec league of soccer with this other little girl, who was very small for her age and incredibly rich. We got along really well and had a lot of fun, but apparently, kids at her private school picked on her a lot. She had so much fun with the “fun only” rec league she wanted to go out for the competitive traveling team, but they told her she wasn’t good enough.

So, her incredibly awesome mom decided to start a “B” team that was a little less competitive for others who wanted to play. She called my mom up and asked if I would try out. I did and I made the team, but the traveling league was waaaaaay more expensive. We just couldn’t afford it, and it was too late to apply for a grant, so my mom told her, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to play.

Later that day, she called my mom back and told her she had been able to secure me a late scholarship from the league, and I would be 100% covered. When I was a little older and her daughter no longer played for us (they moved), my soccer coach admitted to my mom that this woman paid for my year of soccer herself and bought my jacket.

Their entire family were the sweetest people you ever met, and it made me feel incredible (albeit a little guilty) that she cared enough about us getting to play together that she would do that for me especially despite the fact they barely knew us.

corcar86

16. A Christmas Miracle

I’m 19 years old. This happened to me just a few days ago. I went to a diner and, while ordering some food, I couldn’t help but notice that the waitress was starting to cry. I asked her what was wrong and she started explaining to me that about 20 minutes before I came in, a few customers flew the coop without paying the bill. She told me how it was likely going to come out of her paycheck and that she may even get fired if she tells the manager about it.

Not to mention the fact that she had children and Christmas was coming up. This deduction from her paycheck was the very last thing she needed. After I finished my meal, I paid the bill and left her a $50 tip (everything that I had in my wallet) and a note saying “Merry Christmas.” I quickly walked out of the diner before she saw and never told anyone about it.

Yayinternet

17. Unexpected Trip

After a really hard year, my two closest friends and my mom said they were taking me to London for my birthday. Bizarrely, they wanted to fly, and since I only lived in Liverpool, that seemed odd. It wasn’t until the airport when I heard a security guard read the ticket as Liverpool to Barcelona that it clicked. They took me to the opera, the magic fountains, and Las Ramblas.

There’s like a million pictures of me constantly crying in happiness from that trip. It was just so kind to go to so much trouble, just to cheer me up.

AgentDagonet

18. Putting the “Care” in Childcare

As a struggling single mom, I had trouble paying the daycare bills. This was especially hard if child support didn’t come, which was often. The daycare director allowed my child to attend without me paying on time. She would delete all late fees and allow me to slowly catch up. They would stay after hours if my job ran late and meet me. They became a kind of family for my son and I.

I tried to give back when I was an elementary education student by volunteering and helping out. I ended up going to school with some of the girls working there. We are all teachers now and trade lesson ideas and job opportunities.

Arthropody

19. Making up for Lost Time

Growing up, my birthdays were kind of trash. We weren’t poor, but my parents would say things like, “we’re going to Hawaii for your birthday…” I was so excited, until: “Oh sorry, not you, just your stepfather and I.” Cue 12-year-old disappointment. Since my beautiful wife found this out, she has gone out of her way to make my birthdays amazing.

From a surprise trip to San Diego—from Northern Canada—to eat sushi at Nobu, to a surprise party with my friends, even though we all live and work in different cities, she’s totally gone the extra mile. Because of her, my last seven birthdays have been more than enough to make up for any disappointment that I might have felt as a kid.

amplesamurai

20. Picture Perfect

My family and I spent Christmas in Hawaii and on our trip back (we had about a 5-hour drive to get back home from the airport), we stopped at a rest area. I had been looking at photos from our trip on our digital camera, and it must have been in my lap when I got out of the car and dropped into the parking lot. When we got home, I looked high and low for the camera and couldn’t find it anywhere.

A few weeks later, we got a call from a police officer who lived in our state’s capital (not where we lived) saying someone had found the camera. On it was a picture of my folks’ motorhome (from a previous trip), and you could make out the license plate number. This guy was from another state, just passing through, found our camera at the rest area and contacted the police with the plate number.

The police looked up the plate and contacted us! The guy then mailed us back our camera. It was the nicest thing a stranger had ever done for us. We mailed him back a thank you card and a gift certificate to a restaurant in their area. “Today you, tomorrow me.”

jbev25

21. Christmas Miracle

When I was about five, my mom was single and in nursing school. She had very little money, and we lived in this tiny one bedroom apartment. This elderly Greek man who lived in our apartment complex dressed up as Santa on Christmas Eve and brought me presents. I can still remember him saying, “Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!” in that wonderful Greek accent.

That was one of the sweetest memories of my childhood.

shadypines33

22. One Stich at a Time

This is a tiny, tiny thing, but it really made me feel happy. I’m in Amsterdam right now, and on my second day of being here I ripped my Converse apart. Great. They’re my only sneakers and a pair here would cost a lot more than at home. Eventually, I go to a tailor and I feel bad about handing this pair of ratty kind of smelly shoes to him.

I also came in about half an hour before he closed, but it was the only time I could. I don’t know Dutch, and it seems he speaks mostly Dutch/Italian but a little English. He takes my shoes and seems to stop listening to me. Sews them up right there, comes out and gives it to me. I take out my wallet but by the time I saw how much?

He waves me off and goes back to the office in the back. From my experience, people have been so kind, friendly and helpful here.

dreamqueen9103

23. Living a Double Life

My great uncle was a quiet guy. He wasn’t around much, as he lived pretty far away in a small town. But when he passed away, a LOT of people showed up for the funeral. Way more than we had expected. It turns out he had spent a lot of his time volunteering, visiting with old folks, talking with people in hospice, visiting the food pantry, etc.

He never told anyone he knew about any of it. When he died, all of the people from these different volunteer organizations showed up to pay their respects, along with the people who he had helped through his work. The entry line for the funeral was all the way out the door and around the block at one point. Rest in peace, uncle. You’ve done well.

irishcocacola

24. A Child’s Love

I got ready to go to work one day and wasn’t feeling super stoked about things. On my way out the door, my 5-year-old daughter handed me a simple note that she had written on the front of an envelope. It said, “You are the hero of my life dad.” Nobody will ever top that compliment, and I hope I live up to it.

kevlarbuns

25. Ringing up Karma

I was in college, living in an apartment, and broke. I had a bag with me containing four loaves of bread that I’d bought for about $1.10, and I didn’t have any idea what I would eat after those were gone. I was at a pay phone in a classroom building, calling my mom collect because I also didn’t have a phone. I knew my mom had already told me she wasn’t going to give me any money anymore, but I hoped she could ask my grandmother for $20.

Before I could get that out, she yelled at me and hung up. As I was dialing my dad at work, someone came up and was waiting for the phone. I explained the situation to my dad, he needed me to call him back in a few minutes (he had a customer in his shop or something). Before I hung up, the person waiting, who’d seen me make two calls now, says, “Other people have to use the phone, too, you know.”

After I hung up, I unloaded on this guy, both barrels. Screaming at him about how I was out of money and out of food, and how he’s probably forced to use a pay phone because his cell phone was broken (this was when cell phones were expensive, so it was a total jab). I stepped away from the phone and wept in a corner while he made his call. After he was done, I sucked it up and apologized.

I was under a lot of stress, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on him, I said, looking at my shoes. Guy puts a $5 bill in my hand, and says, “Give this to someone when they need it.” I have paid that forward manifold.

Nougat

26. Going to Bat for Someone

My mother’s boyfriend at the time gave me a referral to the company he works for. I get a “Thanks, but we don’t have any blah blah blah” letter from the company. Oh well. No big. My resume was hilariously lacking in things they want in an employee. He then pulls some strings and gets them to give the resume a second look. Another “no thank you” letter.

He talks to them again, and convinces them to give me an interview. He’s confident that if they interview me, and give me the aptitude test they give everyone in the tech side of the company, they’ll hire me. So, they interview me and give me the test. They call me in for a second interview. I’m hired less than a week later. I’ve been there for just over 12 years.

If it wasn’t for everything that guy did to just help me get my foot in the door, I’d probably still be managing retail and not happy about it, and not at an awesome company doing something I generally enjoy.

DashCat9

27. Driven to Give

You have heard this from many people over these last few years with the economy, but I lost my job, then lost my house, then lost my car. Pretty bad situation for anyone that has had this happen. My friend was moving from MI to SC and she asked me to help her move into her apt. My other friend drove me to SC so we could both help out. I am in GA, so not too far away.

When I left from that weekend, she handed me a set of keys and said that she realized that since her and her husband work for the same company, they do not need a car. The car was paid off and they gave me their other car!!!! OMG! Who does that? Gives someone a car?

PuffBear

28. Proud Bookworm

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of the ones I wanted to get, and then decided after I’d gone through them all. One day, an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read.

I told her I did, and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, “Promise me that you’ll keep reading.” I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away, and I went back to my piles, able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.

It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me, having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was probably about 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.

-eDgAR-

29. Home Away From Home

At one point I lost my job and my girlfriend of two years left me so I couldn’t pay for my apartment anymore. Since my name was on the lease, I was forced to figure something out. I had a chat with my landlord and told him the truth. His response? “Don’t worry about it, stay until you can figure something out.” I looked for a job for 2 1/2 months until I felt so bad about staying there rent free, so I packed all of my stuff and moved back into my parents’ basement.

He never asked for a dime of back rent. I have since joined the military, got married, and have a house of my own, but I will never forget that man’s act of kindness.

shadowsinseptember

30. The First Supper

While walking through South Station in Boston, waiting three hours for a connecting train to Worcester, I met a beggar by the name of “Fast Eddy.” Fast Eddy was a rather hideous man, dirty as the ace of spades, teeth rotting out of his head from meth use, and without even a pot to pee in to his name. I have this habit of connecting with the dregs of society, since I myself have been not only homeless, but a criminal in the past.

So, he started by coming up to me and saying “I bet you that I can tell you three things if you’ll give me a dollar!” It was a three-part riddle, something about the state you were born in, where you got your shoes, and one other thing that I can’t seem to remember. I told him after he told me his riddle that unfortunately, I didn’t have a dollar, but that I did have a debit card and three hours to burn before I had to catch my train to Worcester.

So, I invited Fast Eddy out to lunch with me. I walked over three blocks with him to a restaurant called Shabu Zen. It’s a delicious Chinese food restaurant that serves “hot pot” style cuisine. He ended up eating a LOT! Three platters of beef and three bowls of Udon later, he started to loosen up a little bit. It turns out that Fast Eddy has a Master’s degree in economics.

He lost his wife in a car accident three years earlier and turned to drugs to kill the pain. What started out as weed and hard liquor turned into more serious substances. He was living in a homeless shelter and had nothing but the clothes on his back. He spent all of his money panhandling on women, booze, substances, and hotels, constantly perpetuating his bad habits.

We sat for a while. After we finished eating but before we walked back to South Station, I asked him what he would do now, if he had the chance to turn things around. Eddy looked right at me and said that he couldn’t turn things around, as he could never get over his losses. I asked him about his family. His mom lives in South Carolina from what he confessed, and his dad passed away six months before his wife did.

I asked him when the last time he had talked to his mom was, and he told me it had been about three and a half years before. I thought to myself about the amount of money that I had in my bank account. $650 was approximately what I had in my checking, and my savings was pretty low too. I asked him if he had any interest in going home to see his mom and to get out of the harsh New England winter.

He told me time and time again that he couldn’t go back to living with his mom, as he was 34 years old and his pride just couldn’t take the hit. I pointed out to him that he was strung out and that I wanted to put him on a bus back home so that he could get better. He teared up as soon as I said it and kept saying, “thank you” as he hugged me.

It was a long, somewhat awkward hug for me—not because I didn’t feel like I was doing what was right, but because I was doing what I felt that any decent human being would. Before I put him on the bus, I cashed out all but $40 of the money in my checking account and went to a few stores to get him some respectable clothing.

He ended up looking a lot more human once he shaved, washed up, and got into some clean clothing. I pulled out my cell phone and told him to call his mom and to tell her that he’s coming home. The phone call lasted a little over 20 minutes, which made me end up missing my train. I didn’t really care about that at this point.

I knew that, even if this man went back to drugs in the end, at least for this brief moment he was happy. I put him on that bus on February 23, 2005. A letter arrived in my mailbox along with a picture about five years later. It was from Fast Eddy, and the picture included him, his mom, his new fiancée, and their newborn child.

In with the photo was a note that read: “Once, you told me that if I ever needed help, you were just a call or a letter away. Now, I’m writing to you to let you know that it was your help that has saved me from myself. God bless you.” It went on into more personal details about his old habits, his new girlfriend, his relationship with his mom, his new job, and his new life.

I’ve never told anyone about any of this because I don’t see it as doing anything spectacular. I bought someone lunch, a bus ticket to go home, some new clothes, and a phone call home to his mom. I don’t see why we as people can’t all be more civil to those in need. Sometimes, there is infinite potential right behind a broken smile. Always pay it forward.

VitriolicMasquerade

31. Brother From Another Mother

Fresh out of a relationship that left me with almost nothing, my college roommate offered me a place to stay. When I showed up without any furniture, he immediately went and found a bed, sheets, etc., and set me up basically with a makeshift bedroom. I swallowed my young man pride and hugged him. I remember telling him I’d never ask for help again.

He simply said “Anything for a brother.” He probably doesn’t remember that night, but I’ll never forget it. I’ve helped four people with places to stay to get back on their feet over the years, and it honestly humbles me anytime I help a friend in need because of him.

Kyle-Is-My-Name

32. Boss Lady

My roommates and I were planning to move into a new apartment in our apartment complex. Literally, a week before our move-in date, the landlord apartment manager approaches me and basically says, “Oops, I signed your lease over to someone else.” My roommates and I had already signed the lease contract to that apartment, but for some reason, the apartment manager said the “current” residents had priority.

I was flustered and just told the manager that I would talk to my roommates. Apparently, the only available rooms left in that complex was in terrible, terrible condition that had maggots and mold growing in it (that the manager said he wouldn’t deal with), and a townhouse (which my roommates and I really did not like). My roommates and I were really distressed, because we only had a couple of days to figure out what we were doing.

I was so distraught with the situation that I wasn’t really thinking clearly. I was complaining to my boss who works in real estate. She was furious and said that what my manager did was illegal, especially since I had already signed the lease contract. So, she called up the appropriate authorities and sorted everything out. Shady landlord apartment manager got fired.

The dirty apartment was completely renovated, and we got a month of free rent. In retrospect, I should’ve been thinking logically and contact the appropriate authorities myself and complained, but I felt immensely grateful when my boss worked with me to help settle things, especially since she didn’t really have to do anything.

oreosprinkles

33. In a Difficult Spot

I was in a hurry one time and stopped at a gas station to fill up. While I was outside my car, a man came up to me and asked if I could spare a buck or two for gas since he, his wife, and his daughter were traveling, but were broke and had barely made it to the station. They had a broken down old Volvo and it was clear that they were vagabonds of some sort who lived in their car.

The kid was at most only two years old. I was pretty low on cash myself, but I thought hey what the hell—I could use some affirmation that people can be kind in case I was ever in their situation. So, I swiped my card at their pump and said, “Fill it up. Good luck to you and your family, I hope this can get you where you’re going,” and walked away.

He started crying as I left, and I would have lost it too if I wasn’t too proud to do so in public. To see a grown man cry like that, both for having received an unexpected gift and for having to be put in the position of begging to keep his family safe, was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I have never told a single person about it until now.

madmax_br5

34. More Where That Came From

I talked to this dude whom I barely knew after class one day during my first year in college. I told him that I live alone and have been eating cereal for the last two days, in a joking manner, because I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping due to the exams. He brought me two plates of delicious butter chicken with rice the next morning.

He said his parents run an Indian restaurant, so he brought some for me. He told me I can ask for more whenever. That was the first time anyone outside of my family has gone out of their way to do a nice thing for me. It really touched my heart. Unfortunately, he dropped out a few weeks later, but I will remember him forever.

Felr2

35. Grass Is Always Shorter on the Other Side

When my wife and I moved into our house we didn’t have a lawnmower. Before that we had lived in apartments or rental properties where a lawnmower was provided to us. We also didn’t have the money to buy one at that point. So, for a month our grass sat and grew until we finally got one. I got it put together and started mowing, but it was getting fairly late in the day at that point.

As I started mowing our across-the-street neighbor was sitting in a lawn chair on his driveway with his dog, as he does every evening. He watched me mow for a while as I pushed the mower across our backyard. Finally, without a word, he put his dog back inside his fence, started up his riding mower, and did the front yard for me. When I went to thank him, he just said, “Well, I wasn’t doing anything, and that’s what neighbors do.”

sumojoe

36. Day Tripper

I was day tripping to Vancouver from Seattle and stopped in for lunch at a little cafe. From my window, I saw a young teenage girl out in the cold, squatted down in a closed up business’s doorway, holding a small bundle in her arms. She was panhandling, and people were mostly walking by ignoring her. She looked just utterly broken.

I finished up my meal and went outside. I then went through my wallet and thought I’d give her $5 for some food. When I got up to her, I saw that she was sobbing. She looked like she was only about 14 or 15 years old—and that bundle in her arms was a baby wrapped up. I felt like I just got punched in the chest seeing that.

She looked up at me, putting on a game face, and asked if I could spare any change. I asked her if she would like some lunch. Right next door was a small quick-trip type grocery store, so I got a can of formula for the baby (who was very young, maybe only 2 or 3 months old) and took her back to the cafe where I had just eaten. She was very thankful.

She ordered a burger and just inhaled it. Then I got her some pie and ice cream. She began to open up and we talked. She was 15 and had gotten pregnant by mistake. Her parents were angry and she was fighting with them all the time, so she eventually ran away from home. She had been gone almost one full year at this point.

I asked her if she would like to go home and she got silent. I coaxed her, and she finally said that her parents wouldn’t want her back. I coaxed further, and she admitted that she had stolen over $5,000 in cash from her dad when she was running away. As it turned out, $5,000 doesn’t last very long at all and the streets are tough on a 15-year-old. Very tough.

She clearly did want to go back, but she was afraid that no one would want her back after what she did. We talked a bit more. I wanted her to use my phone to call home but she wouldn’t. I told her that I’d call and see if her folks wanted to talk to her. She hesitated and gave a bunch of bad excuses, but eventually agreed. She dialed the number and I took the phone.

Her mom picked up and I said hello. I awkwardly introduced myself and said that her daughter would like to speak to her. I heard silence on the other end, and then I suddenly heard crying. I gave the phone to the girl and she began just quietly listening to her mom cry on the other end, before finally saying hello. Then she began to cry.

They talked, she gave the phone back to me, and then I talked to her mom some more. I drove her down to the bus station and bought her a bus ticket home. I gave her $100 cash for incidentals, as well as some formula, diapers, wipes, and snacks for the road. I got to the bus, and she just cried saying thank you over and over again.

I gave her a kiss on the forehead and a goodbye hug, kissed her baby, and she got on the bus. I now get a Christmas card every year from her. She’s 21 today and in college. Her name is Makayla and her baby’s name was Joe. I’ve never really told anyone about this. I just feel good knowing that I did something good in this world. Maybe it’ll make up for the things I’ve messed up over the years.

Permalink

37. Lovely Distraction

She consoled me in an airport bathroom when I was crying my eyes out at having to leave my husband behind in another country for who knew how long. She was a cleaner who just saw that I was crying, and without a word grabbed a giant wad of paper towels and handed them to me. She then guided me to a little seating nook and just sat with me until I got myself under control.

She talked about the latest movies and how she hated all the new pop songs, and just kept talking until I stopped crying. She saved me that day.

Valiantlycaustic

38. Catch These Leaks

I once failed a test in college and was really upset. As I was taking the bus home, I was trying really hard to hold it together long enough to not cry in public, by trying to hide my tears with my sleeve. A girl walked over, handed me a tissue without saying a word, and went back to her seat. It was so nice to have a stranger help me keep it together without trying to pry into my business.

Jellylamp

39. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

This is a story about my father. I was awakened by my mom one time around 1:30 am. “Get up, there’s a fire, we have to go outside!” she said. I’m freaking out, but I don’t smell smoke. I assemble outside with my mother and my younger brother and sister. Down the street, a townhouse in the same row as ours is visibly engulfed in flames.

I don’t see my father around, so I ask my mom. “He went over to see if he could help” she says. I can hear the nervousness in her voice, my father is known to be rather bold. The story as it was told to me as an adult goes like this: My father arrived after the fire department and learned that a man was alive inside, possibly lost.

The fire department wouldn’t go in after the man because they did not feel that it was safe to do so yet. My dad was like, “Well, screw that!” and (clad in only his long-johns), he broke a window and entered the home. He found the man at the top of the stairs, badly burned and unable to walk. He carried the man down the stairs and out the front door.

The firemen treated my dad briefly for smoke inhalation and the cops took a statement. The man he carried from the house died after about a week in the hospital, but his family was grateful that he had gotten the chance to say goodbye. The county awarded my dad a plaque and Comcast gave us free cable for a year.

He never talks about it and it was so long ago that no one he knows is aware that it ever happened. About a week ago, my 5-year-old child asked me if superheroes are real. I told him the story of the day his grandfather was a superhero and I almost couldn’t finish. I hope that one day my son will feel that kind of pride in me.

Sykotik

40. Roadside Assistance

My significant other and I were traveling through the countryside in Vietnam. I had just twisted my ankle and we were heading back to our hotel when our motorcycle got a flat tire. We had no cell reception and didn’t know what to do, as there weren’t many people around and anyone who we saw only really spoke Vietnamese.

A wonderful elderly couple selling water on the side of the road pulled us to the side, gave us chairs to sit on, and gestured that we wait there. They gave us water, and about 10 minutes later someone appears with the tools to fix the motorcycle. When we tried to give them money, they didn’t want to accept it! We gave them big hugs and left some money on the chair, as we felt uncomfortable just leaving.

After this experience, Vietnam became one of my favorite places.

pizzaalldayerrday

41. My Heroine

I dated a jerk in high school and into my first two years of university. He didn’t start the physical and mental abuse until three years into the relationship. He was once screaming at me in the university’s common area (where all the cafeterias are, etc.) and basically spat on me. I was such a complete shell of a person at that time, all I could do was cry, because resistance would mean more of the same.

I was 21 at the time. Some girl came storming up to him, got in between us, and started freaking out on him. She took me by the hand into the girls’ washroom and waited with me until I calmed down and walked me out (he scuttled off once we came out and saw she wasn’t going away). She helped me regain an ounce of strength—made me see how darn weak he really was, and it snowballed.

I got my master’s degree in social work and spent the next chunk of time helping abused women and kids. Now I’m a therapist. She really rocked my world, and she didn’t have to!

throwitallaway2020

42. Anonymous Donation

When I was a senior in high school, my band was going on a trip out of state to go skiing. I had moved a lot as a kid, and aside from going to that high school at two different periods of time, it held the longest amount of my education. I hadn’t been able to go on any of the band trips, though, and I had to work to pay my own way.

I had problems with my mom and stepdad, and hadn’t yet fully forgiven my dad. I had my own bills that I was responsible for. In short, I could never afford to go on one of the band trips. All of a sudden, about a week and a half away from the trip, my band director pulls me aside. He asks me if I want to go on the ski trip.

I responded something to the effect of not being able to afford it. He cut me off, saying that’s not what he asked. Obviously, I told him I wanted to go. Turns out, some benefactor saw some of what was going on behind the curtains in my life. They were—and still are to this day—anonymous to me, but they footed the bill for my charter ticket, food money, and ski gear money.

I cried. I just started crying right there in the band director’s office. It was great for me, but my best friend ended up getting altitude sickness.

shikuto

43. Wanted

I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do many different things in my life that have allowed me to meet people that I could support, with no questions asked. But there is one small thing that always sticks out to me above all the other things that would seem like much bigger deals to most on paper.

I ran a summer-long day camp for kids in a neighborhood that has always been labeled as “troubled,” “violence-ridden,” and other similar adjectives. You know the type. The media loves it. There was this one 8-year-old boy there who drove me up the wall. Not a day would go by when he wouldn’t steal, or kick, or punch, or bite, or be verbally abusive towards myself, my team and/or the other kids.

Not a day went by where I didn’t have to send him home early. But every morning, he was the first kid to arrive—sometimes even showing up an hour early. So, every morning, I would give him a hug, look him in the eyes, and say “I’m so glad that you’re here today!” Let me tell you, most days, my emotions did not line up with what I was saying.

I mean, this kid caused me so much grief. But every day, I still did it. Every day, I sent him home early because of his behavior, and every morning I welcomed him back warmly without question. That was one of the hardest nice things I’ve ever done, and I still think about that kid every day. There was no way he knew the true extent of what I was trying to do for him and how hard it was for me, but I gladly did it anyway. I later learned more about his family life, and it was hell. Absolute hell. So, I hope that for a couple of hours a day, he was able to feel like someone wanted him around.

girlpriest

44. Need a Lift?

Someone gave me a car once after my dad died. I lived across the country from my mum and was really struggling to get to and from her. So, when they were done with their car, they just rang me up and gave it to me. No relation, not even close friends. No words spoken for about seven years prior to this, they didn’t bother much afterwards either. Far and away the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me.

FranticSausage

45. Not Her First Rodeo

I was six months pregnant with my first child, and was flying across the country alone. The woman sitting next to me was also pregnant, but with her fourth baby. We made small talk for a few minutes at the beginning of the flight, but that was it. About two-thirds into the flight, we hit turbulence and no one was allowed to get up.

Between the motion and pregnancy, I was feeling it, so I ended up puking into the air-sickness bag. The whole time I was sick, the woman next to me held my hair, rubbed my back, even patted water on the back of my neck. She was an angel. I wish I’d gotten her name.

angitude

46. This Is No Game

When I was 14 years old or so, I went with my dad to Target one time. He was doing some general Christmas shopping, but also had a list from an impoverished inner-city family. It was hand-written with notes from each of the four children in the family. They were instructed by the charity running the program to keep their requests reasonable, but my dad read every single one and went way overboard.

One kid asked for a video game for a previous gen system. My dad instead bought him a PS2 (which was new at the time) and a bunch of games. One of the daughters asked for a modest desk to do her schoolwork on. He bought her a really cool one and threw in every kind of school supplies she could ever possibly need. It was no different for the other two kids.

He ended up spending a lot of money on this family that he didn’t even know. When he saw how jealous I was of the PS2 (since I had really been wanting one badly for a while), he looked at me and said, “I want you to stop and really think about who this is going to and what their life is probably like and what it will feel like for them to open this on Christmas. If you do that and still want it, then I’ll give it to you instead.” And so that’s the story of how I got my rad new PS2. Just kidding! It’s how I learned about the joy of giving, and that my dad was secretly a pretty cool guy!

IDriveAVan

47. Everybody Loves a Tourist

I was a tourist in Ireland (Galway, specifically). My friend and I had just done a bit of shopping and were strolling about looking for a pub with some live music. Lo and behold two gents came up and said we appeared lost. We told them what we were looking for and they insisted they knew just the place and would be happy to show us the way.

We were initially a bit nervous, but it was a very public street with people about, so we agreed. They then offered to carry our bags, even! I ignored my instinct which was “Oh no. they want to steal your bag!” and instead thought—even if they do it’s all about the experience of traveling right? so I went with it. WELL! These two were just the NICEST guys ever.

They delivered us to the pub, put our things on the hooks near our spot, introduced us to both the bartender and the fiddler that was playing, told them to take good care of us, bought us our first drink, then said “Welcome to Galway, hope you have a great evening!” Didn’t even let us buy them a pint to thank them—they declined politely, saying they had somewhere else to be. Didn’t even ask for a number or anything. It was a really cool human experience.

RachelSid

48. A Footlong Favor

About 10 years ago, I stopped at Subway to grab dinner after a very long 14-hour shift. When the employee swiped my debit card, it declined. I was already tired and I knew I had at least $2,000 in the bank—I lived with a roomie for cheap and had a decent telecom job. I felt the tears immediately start to fall down my face as I timidly asked to try it again.

Declined. I just slumped over and eked out, “thank you for trying” and started to walk away, shaking because I didn’t know what happened to my money. I was very tired and all I wanted was a crappy Italian sub. Then the lady behind me says, “wait! I’ll get it for you!” I thanked her and asked for her info so I could pay her back, but she said not to worry about it, and as cliché as it sounds, to “pass it on.”

Got home, checked my account, and was relieved to see all my money was there. Called the bank, and they told me my old card was expired and they had sent a new one out several weeks ago. My bank still had my parents’ address, so I was able to get it. Since then, I have made it a point to help when I see someone’s card declined.

I’ve picked up the tab for about a dozen people since then, from a cup of coffee for an elderly man at a gas station to a couple of cans of baby formula for a very frazzled-looking mom at the grocery store. We’re all just out here trying to make it.

CeeDiddy82

49. The Money Keeps Rolling In

There’s this really poor girl that I work with and she’s got a few kids at home. She works really hard and does her best, but just doesn’t have enough money to do anything for herself. So, once a week or so, I secretly slip some cash into her purse or jacket pocket or locker. She’d never ask for it or accept it if I gave it to her openly, so I always just make it seem like she found it by accident.

Magadoodle1q

50. That’s What I Call Baggage Service

I was driving home from college (12-hr drive) and I was almost home, I had a few duffel bags on my roof and at a stop sign one of them slide of the top of my car and got caught underneath the car behind me. It was at a busy intersection with tons of different roads and I couldn’t pull over. I lost where the car went; I had given up and accepted the loss.

10 miles later, I saw my bag in the middle of the busy and large three-lane highway as cars were avoiding it. I pulled over quickly and was trying to devise a plan for how I was going to run in the middle of the highway and retrieve it. Just as I am about to go a big black truck comes to an abrupt halt off to the side, a man gets out and sprints, and I mean SPRINTS to this bag and grabs it. He wasn’t in close danger, but cars were definitely closing in quick, he ran back to me and said “Here ya go, my man” and then peaced out.

OJCheezit

51. After Hours

Some friends and I were road-tripping through Nevada when my car broke down in Barstow on a Sunday evening. The mechanic shop we took it to eventually narrowed it down to a bad alternator, but by then it was closing time. By all accounts, Barstow was not a place you want to be stranded, especially at night, and we weren’t happy.

But the mechanic shop was closing, and it’s actually illegal there to get work done on your car anywhere but at a mechanic shop. We were stuck. One of the guys at the shop pulled me aside and told me to meet him at the auto parts store up the road. We got a jump and limped the half mile or so to the store, which just so happened to have our alternator in stock!

The friendly mechanic got to work tearing out the guts of my poor broken car. As if that weren’t enough, the folks in the store were sympathetic and let us “test”—read: use—whatever tools we needed, in addition to bringing out some chairs and free sodas for us! The manager hung out with us, telling stories of her life in Barstow until she had to lock up and leave.

She asked us to just put the tools and flashlights in an unlocked car in the lot when we were done. In the end, it took the guy about three hours to fix the car. He refused payment, in cash or in the nice bottle of whiskey we had. I finally convinced him to let me buy him a tool he picked out, to the tune of maybe $15.

I don’t remember their names, but the mechanic and the lady running the store really teamed up to show us how it’s done. It was a real “today you, tomorrow me” event that I still think about a lot.

PM-me-ur-pride-n-joy

52. One Last Request

When I was working a summer job in our local hospital, I got paged to a room by a patient. Usually, what they wanted me to do when they called was to shift their position or get them some water or something similar. This time, the old lady asked me to come to her and take her hand. She told me “I don’t want to die alone.” I assured her that she would not die alone. After a few silent moments of her just staring at me and smiling, she finally said “Thank you so much, goodbye!” and then she died on the spot.

Thagirion

53. Early Delivery

When my son was in the hospital after being born six weeks early, someone left a gift basket with some snacks and a few gift cards for gas and baby clothes. It just showed up in his room one day. It just said “In your time of need” on it. My wife and I was pretty much living at the hospital at the time he was in the NICU. After being scared and tired for a few days It just made a huge difference for some reason.

devildunkard

54. What Friends Are For

Last year for my 24th birthday, four of my best friends and I rented a cabin up in the mountains to celebrate for the whole weekend. Just having them set aside time and money for my birthday trip meant so much to me, but they went beyond that. Two of them managed to get me out of the cabin for a few hours while the other two stayed behind, just to cook our dinner, I thought.

I came back to a fully decorated cabin with balloons and confetti everywhere, my favorite cake, champagne, and Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” playing as I walked in. I felt so, so loved.

LoisLane_

55. When a Cut and Run Is An Act of Kindness

This probably isn’t the nicest, but it still sticks with me. Someone gave me their number at the DMV because they had to go. Cut my wait time down from three hours to only 45 minutes.

POTUSKNOPE

56. A Five Star Stay

When I got my massive settlement check for getting my finger cut off at work, I kept $2,000 dollars for myself and put the rest in the bank. That night, after dinner and drinks, I was coming home and saw a homeless man in his mid-20s who I had seen several times before. He was posted up against a wall near the intersection and was shivering from the cold.

Since there were three hotels at that intersection, I stopped, rented a room for a week on my debit card, then put the key in an envelope, replaced it with $1,700, and walked over to the gentleman to hand him the key and cash. No lie, I saw him a month or so later working at a gas station nearby. He was now clean, shaved, and had a nice haircut.

I’m not sure if he recognized me, but I’m glad that I recognized him. He appeared to be very happy and doing well, which was enough to make me happy with the decision I had made. I haven’t seen him in several years, but I like to think he’s back on his feet now—maybe with a family, a house, and whatever else he needs, hopefully just doing well.

atinasutherland

57. Above and Beyond

I’m lucky enough that a lot of people have done a lot of nice things for me in my life, but a recent thing that happened this last winter touched me very deeply. My wife and I had celebrated 20 years together by dumping the kids on their grandparents and getting a hotel room for a night for a change of scenery and a night on the town.

It was very snowy outside—this is relevant—and the day after when we were leaving and I was scraping all the snow from the car in the hotel parking lot, my wedding ring slipped off my finger into the snow. I didn’t even notice it was missing until later. After going back and searching the parking lot by myself and not finding the ring, I had an idea.

One of my friends has a metal detector, as he likes to go and search for old coins and such. I called him up and asked him if he would be willing to come down and help me look for my lost wedding ring. “Sure, no problem man,” he replied. So, he came 20 minutes later with his metal detector, and we scoured the parking lot for like an hour and a half before finally giving up, as it was freezing cold.

I was obviously super bummed about losing my wedding ring, but thanked him profusely for taking the time to come and help me. Ah, but that’s not the whole story. About a week later, I’m heading to work in the morning when he calls me up saying, “hey dude, are you driving to work?” I replied “yeah,” and he goes, “could you possibly come and pick me up and drive me home. I just finished my night shift”—he works shifts at a hospital and doesn’t drive.

I reply “yeah, sure man, no problem, where are you?” And he goes, “the hotel parking lot. I just found your ring by the way.” Turns out, without saying anything about it to me, he had been going every morning after his 12-hour night shift with his metal detector to the hotel parking lot in the freezing cold and snow to continue searching for my ring until he eventually found it.

Who does that?? I was so absurdly touched that I actually teared up when I was thanking him, and he looked at me like I was crazy. “You would have done the same for me, dude.” No, I wouldn’t have, I know myself well enough and am honest enough to admit that. I’m a nice enough guy, and I would have certainly helped him in the initial search and then felt really good about myself and stopped there.

Taking the extra time and spending the extra effort is the difference between sort-of “regular” decent people and the really golden ones.

DamnedThrice

58. I Pays to Nap

I fell asleep reading in a local park, woke up, and someone had left a 5-dollar bill on my chest.

Mordredbas

59. No One Does It Alone

I went to work really sick and my coworker called off, so I was alone at the registers and trying not to die. This one customer saw me by myself with a long line sick as a dog with no backup, while waiting in line she made tons of loud praises about me being up there all by myself and still being really fast. Then she bought me a cup of coffee with a medicine shot so I could feel better.

The cherry on top was she also bought me a book I mentioned that I was planning to buy in a week or so. This was about a year ago. She comes in at least once a week and we know each other on a first name basis.

As_A_Californian

60. Through Thick and Thin

In June of last year, I started dating my current girlfriend. Less than a month later, I found out I lost my job. The job that, less than a year earlier, I moved across the country to take. My field is rather small and specialized, so finding a new position would be an uphill battle. I was facing having to return home to Miami, a place I had worked so hard to leave, and to not have any job prospects in Miami, either.

My girlfriend, she believed in me when she had no reason to. After only a month of dating me, she believed in me enough to stick with me, and helped me—beyond measure—through nine difficult months of unemployment. She kept me going, kept giving me a reason to keep moving forward with my efforts, and to keep applying to jobs.

She drove with me up and down the California coast, interviewing again and again, only to hear that they had selected another candidate. She kept my spirits up, my crippling anxiety at bay, and—many times—my belly full. We are still together—I did find a job, eventually—and if I had a thousand years, and all the words in all the languages, I couldn’t begin to express how grateful I am for everything she’s done for me.

All because she believed in me when no one else did, including my parents. To say she is a tremendous person isn’t nearly enough. She is the sole reason I managed to stay on the West Coast, and for that, I am forever grateful. Life, as always, isn’t perfect, but the fact that she’s in my life at all makes me feel like I can take on anything.

miamijuggler

61. Pick On Someone Your Own Size

I was getting bullied in the locker room years ago. Middle school I believe. I was smaller, had a speech impediment and a birthmark on my face. Out of nowhere, this abnormally taller kid comes over and kicked the kid (bully) in the chest so hard he flew back in the locker. Didn’t know him, he was just a good person. Still talk to him now more than a decade later. Awesome guy.

Privacy_Advocate_

62. Favorite Customers

I used to work in a coffee shop, and during my time there I got to know an elderly couple really well who came in daily. I became pretty ill due to ulcerative colitis, and over several months I got worse and worse. During this time, they were always very sympathetic with me and tried to make me feel better any way that they could.

Sadly, I had to go for emergency surgery, which meant I was to be off sick for about four months whilst I recovered. Only a couple of days after I came home, they had spoken to my partner to find out where I lived, and came to visit me, unbeknownst to me, just to cheer me up. Over the next few months, they came to the house, and eventually took me out when I felt up to it.

I only knew this couple from serving them coffee. I left a few years ago, but I still make the effort to pop my head in if I’m passing at their usual time.

McNabFish

63. You’re as Cool as Ice, Dude

I was walking to the bus stop when it was really icy, and I fell on my back. A guy got out of his car at the red light, ran across the street, helped me up, and helped pick up my papers. He then ran back to his car while flipping off the people honking at him. Awesome dude.

spacialHistorian

64. Thanks for Noticing

I asked a colleague to be a reference for me for a new job. She wrote me a letter of recommendation that, 11 years later, remains one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. All of the little efforts that I’d been putting in and getting no real attention for, she noticed, and mentioned in a way that made me feel so seen.

Bless you, Nat. I don’t think anyone has made me feel so good about myself, ever.

outtamywayigottapee

65. Secret Samaritan

This is an on-going scenario: My mom is going through treatment for breast cancer, and I have siblings much younger than me still at home (I’m 25, brother is 13, sister is 8). Every 3 or 4 days, something shows up on their porch: bags of clothes for my sister, book series for my brother, gift cards so my parents don’t have to cook, and supplies for my dad’s hobby.

We don’t know who is coordinating this or where anything comes from. On top of the wonderful people who bring meals, we get these deliveries out of nowhere. It’s awesome watching a community really take care of my family, and one day I’d love to learn who has been helping us.

RaeKay14

66. Taking Care of Business

My mom was always very healthy and took care of herself, ate right, and exercised her entire life. But then she got cancer and was told she likely only had a couple weeks to live. This was over Christmas, so every place was at least slightly understaffed, and anyone working was not fully focused on work, but we suddenly had to find an experienced, reputable lawyer to update her will.

They also had to get a trust set up for her recently disabled daughter, make sure a scheming relative was definitively excluded from inheriting or even interfering, have an accountant review everything, etc. We’re dealing with the shock of everything and having doctors and medical staff constantly coming in and wanting to discuss things and have decisions made, and we were just incredibly overwhelmed.

We had all this stuff that needed to be done, yet all we wanted was more time together. In desperation, I called my friend Ellen. I’ve always admired Ellen’s ability to efficiently handle bureaucracy, and we really needed help. I asked if she could come over for a couple of days to help with some of the more stressful stuff we were dealing with.

She dropped her entire life and was up the next day, stayed in a nearby hotel for a couple of weeks, just doing whatever we needed. We’d meet up, tell her briefly what we needed done, and she just handled it. We’d spend 15 minutes explaining what we’d like to accomplish, then she’d spend hours wrangling with the lawyers or accountants to make it happen the way we wanted it to.

Then the lawyers would come in and talk with my mom alone for half an hour to verify her wishes and go over provisions. Instead of exhausting ourselves wrestling for hours with lots of different bureaucracies and intricacies, we were able to hand that off, secure in the knowledge that it was being handled correctly and efficiently by Ellen.

It allowed us to focus more on my mom’s medical treatment, and to just have time together in each other’s company, doing other, smaller things that were really nice to be able to do. I still desperately miss my mom, but that time would’ve been so much harsher without all the support that Ellen and our other friends gave us.

My mom was able to leave peacefully, on her own terms, without stress or distress, and was able to spend time with all of her friends, talking over the good times they had. And by focusing on the good things, good times, good people, it helped keep my mom’s spirits up, and it made the entire atmosphere much less maudlin than it could’ve been otherwise.

Because we had the time and space that Ellen gave us, the separation was a lot less painful than it would have been otherwise, for everyone involved. Thank you, Ellen.

FlannanLight

67. Sleep-O-Gram

I was taking a nap in the library at my school, and, when I woke up, I found that someone had left in my backpack a king-sized 3 Musketeers chocolate bar and a note saying something along the lines of “You’ve been reverse pickpocketed and hope it makes your day better.” College can obviously get very stressful, so it was just a small gesture to really appreciate. Definitely made my day.

chicknburrito

68. Saving the World One Hug at a Time

A while back in high school, in my freshman year, I had gotten into a fight with my ex of two years, and we had broken up. Since she was my first love, I actually started tearing up during lunch after we broke it off. So I’m standing there tearing up outside next to a pole, headphones in, and this random guy comes up to me and taps my shoulder.

Looks at me dead in the eye and asks me, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yeah man, I’m alright.” I just remember the way I said it, voice quivering, and he didn’t buy it for a second. Just gave me a look and just said to me, “You need a hug.” The dude legit just looked at me and gave me a big hug. At the moment, I didn’t really care how I looked, or how we looked just hugging it out right there, but it really helped me throughout the day.

This guy, never spoken to him, never seen him in my life, just was such a nice guy and such a bro that he didn’t even care himself that he just gave me a big bear hug. I never saw that dude again. I like to think he’s out there giving the world a giant hug to this very day. Hug Bro, if you’re out there, thanks, man.

Zarrona13

69. The Bank of Good Intention

Through no fault of our own, several years ago my husband and I found ourselves in dire financial straits. We ended up stranded in a place we didn’t really know anybody, and we couldn’t afford our rent that was due in a week. There was no help forthcoming from either of our families. That Sunday, I was downstairs in the church hall having coffee after the service, and someone I barely knew asked me how my summer was going.

I burst into tears. She took me aside and asked for my story, and I told her everything. She prayed for me…and then asked me how much my rent was. I told her. Then she said, “You’ll need groceries too.” When I looked up, she had her cheque book out and was writing a cheque for $1,500. Because of what she did, we had the safety net we needed to find gainful employment in time to make next month’s rent, and slowly get back on our feet.

TheLostSkellyton

70. Did We Just Become Best Friends?

I lost my mom to lung cancer in June 2006, one month after graduating from high school. I am an only child. That August, I moved an hour from home to attend university. Without fail, in every class, we were asked what memorable thing we did over the summer. I spent my time telling people I had planned my mother’s funeral.

One girl I happened to share several classes with ended up being my across-the-hall neighbor. That following January, she showed up at my door with a cupcake and a candle on my mom’s birthday. Not a single person I was close to remembered, but she did. She held me while I cried, and we stuffed our faces with cake.

She stood up at my wedding as a bridesmaid several years later.

llamamama03

71. No Stranger in a Foreign Land

I was in a new city and was trying to get home from my cousin’s place. It was pretty late, and I got a bit lost on my way to the bus stop. A family was standing near me waiting for their ride. They saw me looking confused (and a bit scared too, I think) and the dad got the daughter to ask me if I was okay. They waited with me and when they saw that there were no buses going my way were coming. The dad hailed a taxi for me and told the cabbie to be sure to drop me at my doorstep.

It was so heartwarming, especially as I was in a foreign country, and they were so concerned about me

pixierambling

72. Earned a Spot in the Dedications

I finished writing and editing a book about four years ago. It sat as a manuscript for a long time. My GF stole the script and had six copies printed in high-quality hardback, which she surprised me with for Christmas. I couldn’t speak for about a minute, then cried like a baby.

its_a_metaphor_morty

73. Keep Calm and Don’t Just Carry on

I used to get panic attacks often. When I did, I’d usually try to go find a floor/nice spot of ground to lie down on until the physical symptoms were gone. Having this happen made me realize how nice passing strangers can be. Once when I was lying on the sidewalk in front of a bus stop, a janitor or groundskeeper who saw me gave me a water because he thought I had heatstroke.

Panndademic

74. Family Is More Than Blood

My stepmom continues to do nice things for me. I grew up with a very neglectful mother, emotionally, physically, and financially. My parents divorced when I was 12 and I was forced into a motherly position to my two younger sisters. My dad and stepmom married three months after the divorce was finalized, and because of my mom’s anger and dislike of her, I never took the time to get to know or be nice to my stepmom.

To put it bluntly, I was a jerk to her. I’m sure she thought about leaving my dad a billion times during those years. Then my father is eventually re-stationed and moves away for work, and my anger stops me from keeping a relationship with them. After years of not talking, I message them out of the blue. I’m fed up with being homeless—my mom threw me out at 18—depressed, lonely, and uneducated.

Three years of no communication, and after only three weeks texting back and forth, I ask her if I could relocate to the West Coast to better my life. She not only purchases my plane ticket, but a plane ticket for my dog as well. I’ve been living with them for two years now, I’m 22 and I have my associates and am working towards a bachelor in biochemistry.

My parents, especially my stepmom, have shown me what true unconditional love looks like and how parents are SUPPOSED to take care of their children. Kris, you’ll never understand just how much my life changed because you decided to love me despite my jerk-headedness. I’m a better person because of your support.

Asucks01

75. Totally Floored by the Generosity

Not me, but my parents. They were chumming it up at the bar with some guy on the stool next to them. I wasn’t there, but they somehow got on the subject of them wanting new wood floors in their kitchen. Long story short: one of the guys said I can tell you guys are good people, how much would it be to pay for your new wood floor? They left the bar that night with a $5,000 cheque from a stranger.

Safe to say they were skeptical going into the bank on Monday, but the cheque cleared. They got their new wood floor they were saving up for!

tedirt22

76. Don’t Have to Dine and Dash

A random lady paid for my group of eight or so college students’ sushi order once. It was somewhere around $250-$300 before the tip. Never really saw her, but I think of it randomly sometimes when I’m pissed off in traffic, and it makes me happy.

hooklinensinkr

77. Lockers and Lifted Spirts

When I was in high school, I came in one morning to find that someone had left a balloon on my locker with a note telling me to have a great day and that my presence was really appreciated at the school. To this day I have no idea who did it.

Born2dodishes

78. Going the Extra Mile

When I was hospitalized with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, the first two days I was in the ICU on a ventilator. I was HEAVILY medicated, but somehow I was still awake a lot of the time. There were two really kind nurses. The first one came in and said, “Hi, I’m Lil Rachel. They call me that because I’m short. Your grandparents are coming tonight, so let’s get your hair done so you look pretty for them.”

She used rinse-free shampoo to clean my hair—I hadn’t been able to shower for like three days before getting to the hospital due to balance/mobility issues—then brushed it and braided it and put it up in a bun. No one else cared about that, they were focused on keeping me alive, so that was really kind and thoughtful of her to do.

The second nurse, I don’t even know what she looked like. I had like a four or five-hour head-to-toe MRI while still on the ventilator. I was crying and scared and didn’t know what was going on, so every time I came out of the tube I started panicking. This lady was there to hold my hand, literally, and rub the back of it and tell me that I was okay, I was doing a great job, and we were almost done.

Every time I came back out, I immediately reached a hand out and she was right there to grab my hand and comfort me when I was scared and confused. Really, every nurse, doctor, physical therapist, and psychologist I saw when I was in the hospital was so incredibly kind to me. I’m crying just thinking back on how amazing every staff member was in the darkest and hardest part of my life.

Totikoritsi

79. You Can’t Strum If You’re Shivering

When I was in college, I gave guitar lessons for some spending money. Where I went to school, it got very cold in the wintertime. One of my students noticed that I did not have a warm jacket or shoes, so she bought me a coat and a pair of boots at Goodwill. She was a very nice woman.

Ifailedinlife

80. Monopoly Card

I was 16 and got pulled over outside of the curfew on my limited license, while mildly speeding. Forgot to pay the ticket, missed the court date, had to go to the District Attorney, and a clerk there looked at me and said, “Well, you don’t have a warrant for your arrest, so that’s good.” Then she said she was going to reduce my speed and throw out the curfew, and I was just going to owe a large fine.

She didn’t say it, but I knew that was the only “get out of jail free” card I was ever going to get in my life.

Stunt-Driver

81. No Fare, Yes Fair!

In the middle of a major snowstorm in Boston I was trying to walk home and had to cross a bridge over the Charles River. The snow plows had pushed snow entirely over the sidewalks, so that it was mounded up to shoulder height. I was trying to walk down the edge of the right-hand lane, hoping I didn’t get hit and trying to get across before a plow came.

A cab slows down and asks out his window if I need a ride. I told him I didn’t have any money on me. He said don’t worry about it, hop in, and gave me a ride home with the meter off. It was more than 10 years ago, and I still think about it whenever it snows.

errydayson

82. Family Matters

Recently my husband, son, and I made the trip from Australia to Canada to visit my family and friends. My father bought our plane tickets, and my mother bought my son enough clothes for this summer and the following autumn. My mother-in-law picked us up from the airport, helped us get our four suitcases and a very grumpy toddler into her truck, drove us home, and then helped us unpack a little, ordered us pizza, and then bathed and put our son to bed.

I adore my family.

unequivocallyvegan

83. Advice From the Stars

When I was in college, I was a physics major aiming to be an astrophysicist, but it was just killing me. I was having a whole identity crisis and feeling worthless and why couldn’t I wrap my head around some of these things? In a move of desperation, I left a message on Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s site asking for advice.

To my GREAT surprise, he actually took time out to CALL ME and give me really honest and understanding advice about what I should do and being realistic about the world of physics. I only graduated with a minor in physics but I felt much better and will have a respect for both him and science forever. May not be a sob story, but at that fragile time in my life it really made a huge difference.

omniumamore

84. Not on Their Watch

A group of colleagues in another department heard I was leaving my job, having been refused a promotion and a raise to reach parity with my immediate coworkers. I had accepted a position doing less and earning more with another organization. In response, this group of colleagues actually petitioned and successfully caused their boss to intervene by creating a position for me in their department.

They even convinced his superiors to offer me beyond the top-end of the salary range for that position—beyond most of their salaries. It was very hard to go back to the people whose job I had already accepted and tell them I had to withdraw my acceptance of their offer, but the outlandish nature of the circumstances helped.

The whole thing changed my life dramatically, and I have never had a better job than I have with the people who went to such lengths to make me a part of their team. Pretty amazing.

TargetDroid

85. Everyone Gets One Oopsie

I was 16, borrowing my mom’s car. Didn’t look at the car in front of me when it stopped for a left turn, and I bumped into it. It was a brand-new car and has clear marks on the bumper from where I hit it. No damage to my mom’s car. Dude clearly sees how distraught I am and says, “Aw, don’t worry about it, that’ll buff out. No harm done.” And drives off.

Thimble

86. Bedside Buddy

This past summer, I was in South Dakota working for the summer and I got in a really bad ATV accident, which left me in a coma. One of my friends who I was with dropped everything and drove three hours to Nebraska to the hospital I was in, stayed by my side, and kept everyone I’m close with updated with what was going on with me.

He stayed by my side until my parents drove all the way from Jersey. Thank you Shacore, I love you buddy!

Sexychubb

87. There’s a New Sheriff in Town

In 1990, I was 19 years old. I was driving across the country by myself and all I had was $63 and a Texaco card. One night, I notice that my gas tank is close to empty somewhere in the middle of Iowa, so I pull up to a Texaco station—about five minutes after they had closed. I was trying to only use my Texaco card and to conserve what little cash I had.

The person working at the station wouldn’t open to give me gas, so I decide that I’ll just put ALL my clothes on and sleep in my car until they opened again in the AM. It was the middle of December and only about 11 degrees. At about 2 in the morning, I hear a tap on the window and a voice saying “I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car!”

It was the sheriff. Uh oh! I explained what was going on to him. He ran my ID to make sure I didn’t have warrants or anything and then ominously stated, “That’s not how we do things around here.” Oh no, I was terrified! How do you do things around here? What’s going to happen to me?!? Turns out, he was PISSED that the guy at the gas station had left me there and refused to help.

So, he called the owner of the gas station up and made him come down in the middle of the night to fill up my gas tank—for free. Then the sheriff calls his wife and lets her know what’s going on. She tells him to offer to bring me over to their place for the night. Mrs. Sheriff proceeds to feed me, let me take a shower, and give me a place to sleep until the next morning.

Then she feeds me again, packs me a lunch for the road, gives me $20 in cash, and sends me on my way. It was seriously one of the most wholesome things that has ever happened to me.

RhinestoneHousewife

88. 24/7 Service

One time, I stayed up until 2 am finishing an essay that was due in the morning, but just when I thought I was home safe and could finally get to bed, of course, the printer refused to print out my essay unless I refilled the magenta ink. I even did the “print only in black and white” thing, but my stupid printer still didn’t want to cooperate.

I was stressed, sleep deprived, and starting to panic. My dad awoke and came out to see what all the noise was, as the printer was obnoxiously loud and was now making a racket trying to do a 15-minute system scan. After sheepishly explaining what I was doing, he said, “Why did you only start your essay now?” and of course I didn’t have a good answer for him, but he could see how stressed I was.

Without another word, he grabbed his keys and drove off at 2:30 am to find a 24-hour convenience store that sold printer ink, despite me telling him not to worry about it, I’d find another way. He came back 20 minutes later with the ink, and I was able to print out my essay and go to bed. I’m completely hopeless, but my dad never gives up on me.

I have no words for how grateful I am. I hope he’ll be able to see me make something of myself one day.

a_scared_bokoblin

89. I’ll Be Back

I got one of those mall chair massages, and realized I left my card at home after the massage. The guy was super nice, took the bit of cash I had, and said I can come back later to pay the rest. See you tomorrow, Tom!

Texas_OT

90. Great Words to Live by

A high school teacher told me once, “You’re one of the good ones. Don’t waste your potential, and keep working hard.” It was said to me at a point in my life where I just got rejected from my dream university, I was lonely and didn’t have any friends, and I was feeling awful having just immigrated and being slapped with a heavy handed culture-shock-machine.

I cannot count how many times I’ve gone back to that moment of affirmation. In my college years, trying to get admission to my dream school. Those long days waiting for an acceptance letter only to get rejected yet again. Those nights I was studying for a midterm or final and I knew I was going to fail. Those moments finding out I did fail and ending up on academic probation.

I’ve held on to that moment in between those teeth-gritting smiles during a rough shift at my fast food job. Those moments I’ve been rejected from job interview after job interview. More than a decade—or so—later, I’m a professional now, working a very fulfilling job where I’m happy. I got a small push through an off-handed comment from a teacher who doesn’t remember saying it, but it changed my life.

To all the teachers out there, I know it can get tough. I know you rarely see where your seeds land and how they grow. I know there’s a lot of faith and energy that goes into your students that is often under-appreciated. But know that you are making a difference.

poqwmnzxlkas

91. More Than a Just Generous Tip

When I was super pregnant and working at DQ—actually paid amazingly well—I was only 18, so I got a lot of anxiety from rude customers. One lady at one point had told her daughter not to end up like me. She was the only really rude person, but it had totally put a damper on my spirits and made me feel permanently more on edge about being the stereotypical “teen mom.”

This guy comes in, late-30s to early 40s and average looking. As he’s waiting for his food, he makes small talk with me, asking things like “a boy or girl?” “What will her name be?” “Are you excited?” We made really great small talk until the food was done. As I handed him his food, he grabbed my hand and slapped $30 in it.

He told me, “Get yourself something nice for your baby girl.” I didn’t compute what was happening and stared at him, barely yelling out “thank you” as he walked out the door because I was so shocked. I went in the back. Everybody thought he offended me, because my cheeks were red and I was slack-jawed, until I explained.

He was the first stranger to make me happy cry. I wish I could remember exactly what he looked like. I’d try and find him so I could let him know how much it meant to me and that I did not mean to stand there like an idiot with my mouth open.

Fertile_Squirtle

92. Fake Out

It must’ve been my junior year of high school, and I was on a huge class trip—something like 60 students—to attend a conference four hours away from home. It was the week after Thanksgiving, and this trip coincidentally landed on my birthday. I remember being really bummed out because I was barely starting to make friends outside of my classmates, and I wasn’t going to be able to celebrate it with them.

I’ll admit I was really mopey in the way teenagers get about dumb stuff. Toward the end of the night, I was just sitting on my bed, and my good friend from class came up to me and just said “happy birthday” like it was nothing. The first and only person to wish me a happy birthday, I thought to myself. We chatted for a bit and he said, “Hey, let’s go get you some food at the Denny’s next door.”

I agreed and we left. On the way there, he did a pocket check and realized he didn’t have his wallet and panicked. We went back to the room and found nothing. He was freaking out, so we went to the lobby and asked the concierge if they had a lost and found, then we called our teachers and had them ask everyone if they had seen it.

He was tripping at this point. A few minutes later, we get a call from the program director saying someone found it and turned it into him. Relieved, we head up to the teacher’s room, and as he opens the door, my friend just says “come on, get inside.” At the time, my mind was not on his wallet. My mind was back home.

I follow him inside, and it’s completely dark except for this huge birthday cake with a bunch of candles and 60-plus people yelling “SURPRISE!!!” I was so shocked that I just started bawling, hard. Everyone came up and group-hugged me. It was a feeling unlike any other. Up until that point, I’d never had a surprise party before in my life.

I guess while we were running around “looking for my friend’s wallet,” everyone was making their way to my teacher’s room. That’s one of my favorite memories from high school.

tealfeels

93. Part of the Family

My grandmother and I were very close. She helped raise me. I have had fertility issues for years, which she had helped me through. After a very difficult year of going through IVF, I was finally expecting my first child. My grandmother had been keeping very close track of the pregnancy because of all we had gone through to make this miracle happen.

She was so excited to meet her newest great-grandson. I ended up getting married at city hall when I was four months pregnant. She would have been thrilled about our marriage, but before I could even tell her the happy news, I received a phone call that she had passed away the very next day. It was one of the worst days of my life, right after one of the happiest days of my life.

I miss her every day. Unbeknownst to my new husband and I, my cousin’s daughter went over to my grandparents’ home and retrieved a few of grandma’s old shirts. She then proceeded to have them made into a teddy bear for our unborn son so that he could always have a bit of grandma close to him, even though they were never able to meet.

I broke down and bawled my eyes out when that little bear arrived in the mail. It means the world to me. Our son is due to arrive one week from today. I never knew a teddy bear could hold such a special place in my heart. That is the most thoughtful gesture I’ve ever witnessed. I will be forever grateful to her for this sweet and wonderful gift.

Ulluxyll

94. Fun Police

When I was in high school, I got into my dream university through hard work, luck, and an ounce of talent. I lost out on that opportunity when the financials came back and my family realized there was no way we could swing it. What I’d been working at for the past three years was over, just like that. I had gotten into a couple of other schools, but knowing THE school accepted me and I had to say no just killed me.

I was 17 at the time, and it felt like my world collapsed. I got depressed, badly. I did nothing for the next two weeks of that hot summer but sit on my front porch and feel sorry for myself. Some of my friends would come over, hang out, try to cheer me up, but I was just morose and difficult to deal with. My friends would eventually get tired of my boring life and leave.

Not Joe. Joe hung out with me on that porch all day, every day after it became apparent I wasn’t just snapping out of it. He would sit with me for hours on hours, just sitting in silence. We’d watch the cars go by and smoke cigarettes. When night came, he’d get up to leave, and every single day he’d say, “See you tomorrow.”

And he’d show up again, and we’d sit in the same silence, me stewing and feeling sorry for myself. After about ten days of this, Joe came over and walked up onto the porch, me in the same spot. He said, “Get up, we’re going somewhere.” I told him I didn’t want to go anywhere. Joe was a big dude, a lot bigger than me, and he just walked over, picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, and carried me to his car.

He threw me in the back of his two-door, got in, and drove. I protested the whole time. He turned the music up. We stopped by a friend’s house and picked up three more people, who all crammed into his tiny car. He took us to the county fair, carried me in on his shoulder, and paid for my admission. He kept picking me up and carrying me from ride to ride, carnival game to game, and made me ride the tilt-a-whirl, throw balls, pick ducks, etc.

Everyone had a great time, while I was seething. At the end of the night, everyone was laughing and singing in the car as Joe dropped each of our friends off, me last. He let me out in my driveway and said: “See you tomorrow.” I woke up feeling much better the next day. Joe, thank you. Actually, Joe, I’m gonna call you right now.

tokyoflex

95. License to Give Thanks

On a Monday afternoon, I came home from work to find a letter in the mail. It was addressed by hand and the return address wasn’t familiar. I thought to myself “this can’t be good!” I opened the envelope to find my driver’s license and a note. I was unaware that I had even been missing my driver’s license. Apparently, on the prior Saturday, I had managed to drop it from my wallet somehow.

This nice person found it on the sidewalk, went home, wrote her note, addressed an envelope to me, and put a stamp on it, then deposited it into a mailbox in time for the Saturday pickup. By Monday, it was already back safely in my hands before I had even realized that it was missing.

conditerite

96. A Tale of Two Roommates

I was having a girl over and it was my first time dating in many years. My female roommate who I am super close with was there as well and knew all about my situation. When I left the room for a brief moment, I accidentally overheard my roommate say “I know he’s shy and a little awkward at first, but give it a shot! He’s super sweet and really funny once he’s comfortable, and he’s definitely worth the effort!” Hearing that gave me a huge and much-needed boost, especially since I struggle with confidence and usually don’t like myself. Thanks, roomie. I owe you one!

theImplication69

97. Family is What It’s All About

Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, my dad was dying of cancer. My mom was having to spend time at the hospitals or waiting for his treatments, so she got some projects to keep her occupied while waiting and worrying. She began working on a flannel patchwork quilt. Whenever I could, I would bring her a small bit of fabric to work into the quilt. Sometimes, I would get off the bus early so I could walk by a fabric store and bring her a new color.

Years passed after my dad died. Mom had put the quilt away. I thought it might remind her of all the scary, sad, and heartbreaking times she had hand sewed it through, waiting for the next awful thing to happen on my dad’s way out. I did not ever bring it up.

But, a decade later when I was having my first Christmas away from my birth family, she sent me a package to open. It was my first Christmas together with my husband. My family lived several hundred miles away and I felt sort of sad, but also very much in love. Inside the package was the quilt, completed. She had written me a note saying that she had continued to work on it after Dad died, knowing one day that it would be mine. I will keep that quilt all my life and hopefully pass it on to my grandkids someday.

lordperiwinkle

98. Souvenirs

I married my wife in Bermuda on a beautiful pink sand beach. My brother was my best man and was great all throughout the day. But the cherry on the cake was at the end of the evening when all the proceedings were done and everyone was pretty drunk and having a nice time. He comes over and hands me two glass bottles full of pink sand. My face was one of confusion. He tells me it’s the exact same sand my wife and I stood on when we got married.

Total cost? Probably $2. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t bawl like a damn baby. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received and thanks to him, my wife and I now have the exact spot we married sitting with us in our front room as a decoration.

bloodyhellalex

99. 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.

theghostofborat

100. Blood Isn’t Everything

My story isn’t that uncommon. I have young parents, they were 18 & 19 when I was born. They got married because they got pregnant and got divorced because they got pregnant and married. They just weren’t ready and way too young. It sucked. Eventually, my dad left the picture altogether, and my mom remarried. She dated this guy since I was 5 or 6, really young.

They got married when I was 9. He raised me. He’s my “true” dad. This seems to be rather common among people my age (23, almost 24). Then my mom and stepdad got divorced when I was 18. It was awful. Much worse on me than my biological parents’ divorce. I was so young when they got divorced (2 years old) and then I gained another “dad” pretty soon afterward—my stepdad.

When my mom told me that they were getting divorced, I was terrified. I’m an only child, I live in a relatively small town, and this all happened at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I didn’t know who would move out and where I would end up. They would fight all the time. For some reason, they’d wait until I went to bed and then start screaming at each other. I remember one night I heard something like this:

Stepdad: “Get your stuff and leave.”

Mom: “But where am I supposed to go? What about my daughter?”

Stepdad: “I don’t give a DARN where you go, but OUR daughter is staying right here at home. With me.”

At first, I was a little pissed that he thought he could make that decision for me, but after I thought about it for a bit, I realized the gravity of that sentence. It was the first time I had heard him refer to me as his daughter. I still call him by his first name. Old habits die hard, I guess. And really…the main cause of tension between them was money related.

He knew that and knew he’d be able to provide for me better than her. My mom is the most irresponsible person I’ve ever met when it comes to money. She got my first car repossessed (I was “paying” for it. As in, I’d give her the money and assume she was making the payments. Nope. Pocketing that stuff. She also wrote thousands of dollars’ worth of hot checks to my place of employment, using my employee discount and my checks!

I was a minor, so she legally had to be on my bank account. I barely got away with keeping my job. There’s more, but that’s a different story for a different time. Long story short: my mom and I didn’t have the best relationship anyway. Months later, my mom was making plans to move in with my grandma in the neighboring “city” and was going to uproot me and transfer me to a new bigger school.

During Christmas break of my senior year…ugh. I told her that I wanted to stay with my now ex-stepdad. She didn’t know I had heard what he said that one night. She couldn’t believe I was choosing him over her. Also, when I was 19, I still didn’t have a car and my boyfriend at the time was driving me around everywhere…and his grandma had an old 1991 Cadillac DeVille she wanted to sell.

So, my ex-step-dad gave me $2,000 cash and told me to go pick it up. He just gave it to me. No questions asked, no expectation of payback. I still live with him rent-free, as long as I keep a job and stay in school and pay my own bills: new car payment (the Cadillac was awesome but just not cut out for driving all over the place in super-hot summers and a few pretty brutal winters.)

Car insurance, cell phone, etc. I think this has helped me be more responsible with money (definitely something I wouldn’t have learned with my mom) Anything I want I have to pay for myself, but I don’t have to pay for a roof over my head or a bed to sleep in or a shower to use. All because a man who had no legal or genetic responsibility to me took me in anyway, and fought to keep me when my mom left.

I get to experience his generosity every day, and I’m grateful for having him in my life every day. My ex-stepdad is the greatest man alive. Be jealous.

marko23

101. 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.

stupidlyugly

Sources: 1, 2, 34, 5, 67, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15n

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