The nicest gestures come from the desire to do something good without the expectation of praise or reward. If you’ve ever been the recipient of someone else’s “Pay It Forward” moment, then you know how a small, simple gesture could change your entire day. Here are secret confessions from real-life, good-hearted Reddit users to remind us that there is still some good in the world.
1. Don’t Trash Where We Splash
Every time I go fishing, which is a few times a week at least, I bring a trash bag with me. When I am done fishing, I walk around the lake and pick up trash until I fill up the bag. I know it is not much, but it makes me feel good and it cleans up the lake. I do this at every lake I go to.
When I’m in the boat, I trawl around the edge of the water and pick up trash. It’s not a quick job, but I enjoy doing it. I wish I didn't have to do it, but people like to drink while they fish and garbage is often thrown on the ground.
I have since started taking a trash bag with me when I go on hikes and walks as well. There is always an opportunity to pick up trash.
2. Freebie Memberships
My friend's family struggles financially. Her mother has MS, and they always struggle to keep up with rent/medical bills/etc. They don't have much, but they're grateful for what they do have.
I work for a convention that this friend and her mother sometimes attend. Here's where my secret act of kindness comes in. They love coming and do so every year, but they would never have the money to buy memberships to it.
So, I told her years ago that I get a certain number of free memberships for working there, which is untrue. Instead, I float her some of mine. I don't get any free memberships, but I gladly pay upwards of $200 every year so that they can enjoy an event they would otherwise not have the money to attend.
My friend has so much pride though, so I don't plan on ever telling her.
3. Orphaned at 18
I sent an anonymous donation to a friend who had just lost his mother. He had already lost his father previously, and this friend was only 18 years old. He had no money himself, and his mother didn’t leave him any money either.
He was struggling in more ways than one. I happened to have some extra cash lying around. I dropped some off, a little more than $1,000, in an envelope for him to help with funeral expenses and/or to use toward taking care of his little brother.
I didn’t sign my name, and have no intention of ever telling him.
4. Dr Bestie
Not long ago, I spent close to a year and about $400+ helping my best friend get over his addiction. He refused to go to rehab regardless of how much I pushed it. I bought books on addiction and spent hours learning how to help him through the withdrawal process.
It hurt my heart seeing his body reject him, but he and I knew it had to happen. We don't talk about it too much anymore. But there's one more thing. At the time, we didn’t tell anyone else what he was going through. He has been substance-free for about two and a half years now. This is something we still keep to ourselves.
5. Flat Tire To Flat Line
I was driving home one night in the rain and I saw an old woman on the side of the road who had a flat tire. She was struggling and clearly needed help. I pulled up and asked her if I could help and she said yes.
As I was changing the tire, she was getting flustered, saying this was her husband’s car and he doesn’t take care of things. She continued on and on as I worked on the tire. Then the worst happened. She ended up getting so flustered that she actually had a heart attack.
I am currently an EMT, but back then I only had my CPR certification. I called emergency services as I was performing CPR. They arrived and shocked her with the AED and got a pulse back.
I left my car and went with her in the ambulance. Thankfully, she ended up being okay. I met her husband that night at the hospital and they invited me over for dinner. I don't really tell people that story, but it was important to me.
6. Dine and Dime
While visiting the West Coast for business, I went to dinner with several friends and co-workers at a prestige ocean-side restaurant. During the dinner, I overheard an elderly couple at another table talking and discovered that it was their anniversary.
They had been together for several decades. I tracked the waiter to another part of the restaurant and made arrangements to pay their bill—no matter what they ordered.
I loved watching their faces when they asked for the bill and were shocked to find out that another restaurant patron had paid it in full to help them celebrate! I didn’t tell anyone from my group.
7. No Regrets
There was a kid who moved to our town during senior year of high school. He had moved 30 times prior, partially because his mom had some issues and would get caught up with very horrible men.
I figured moving that much and coming to a tight-knit school for just the last year would be awful for a kid. One day I was leaving campus to get lunch with my friends and saw him sitting on the library steps, just staring blankly.
I pulled up and told him to hop in my car and join me. He did, and my friends were so great to him and welcomed him immediately. He had no car, no phone, and very little money. So I came up with a secret way to help.
Every day I'd secretly buy his lunch or bring him one too so he could arrive to the table with food and not be embarrassed or hungry. I encouraged him to get a job and said I would drive him when his mom couldn't.
He became one of my best friends, and we even went to prom together. At the end of the year, he wrote me a letter telling me how much I had helped him during the past year and that if he hadn't have found me, he would not have what he does. I have no regrets. That kid deserved everything.
8. Midnight Snow Fairies
When I was 14 years old, my friend and I went out in the middle of the night during a snowstorm and shoveled 12 random driveways, so that everyone would wake up to a clean neighborhood. We got extremely cold, and very wet.
We stayed out there for almost three hours before going inside to finally sneak into bed. My family had no idea we had snuck out. All the neighbors were talking about it for the next few days. We didn’t tell anyone what we did.
9. Next Generation Humanity
I was around the age of 13. I had been playing with a friend. The sun had recently set, and it got dark and cold out, since it was the beginning of December. We walked through a patch of trees at the edge of our small town, wandered a bit, played with sticks, and did kid stuff.
I heard a moan of sorts here and there for about 20 minutes and told my friend we should check it out. He didn’t seem to hear it, or maybe he ignored it. I remember it being a scary moan.
I chose to investigate it anyway while my friend followed behind with some distance. After I walked about 100 yards towards another patch of trees, I couldn't believe what we found. I saw a figure lying on the ground. It was a woman, half undressed, lying on her coat with her shoes off, one leg propped in the air.
She didn't respond to anything I said to her. So, I immediately ran to a pay phone about half a mile away and called an ambulance. I returned to her to make sure she was ok while she waited.
Once the ambulance arrived, I walked off. I found out the disturbing truth later. Apparently, she had been reported missing a for days prior, after a party. Apparently, she had been walking home, tripped, broke her ankle and had thought it would be good to lie down for a while.
She sat there for days. No one helped her. Apparently, she had hypothermia, shock, and frostbite. She might have died if I didn't face my fears as a kid. Now, about 12 years later, I wonder what she thought of it. Some random runt of a child shows up at night, calls 9-1-1, holds her hand for a while, then vanishes into the night.
Maybe she thought I was just a hallucination. Either way, at the very least, I know I helped someone without the desire for even a thank you.
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10. The Chosen Ones
I was working as a cashier for a secondhand store when a manager came up with one of our store coupons that someone had dropped. It was for either $10 off a $30+ purchase or $30 off a $50+ purchase.
The manager told me to give it to the next qualifying customer, but I saved it so I could choose who to give it to. About an hour later, a family came through with a full cart of clothing for their three young children.
Their bill came to about $100, and while they didn't complain, the parents looked stressed as they watched their total rise Their shocked reaction when I told them I could give them $30 off their sale let me know I had been right to hold onto that coupon for a few minutes longer.
It was a small gesture, but it certainly seemed to make their day.
11. Anonymous Angel
I once happened upon a blog written by a friend of mine. She shared about all the trials she had when she was younger. Some things were horrific and sad. I had known her my whole life but had no idea what she had gone through.
I felt so terrible that I hadn't been able to help her. So, through some quick investigating, I found a gift she'd always wanted and anonymously sent it to her house with a message that said how proud I was of her and how much I respected her.
She later blogged about how touched she was by the gift and asked the sender to come forward, but I never told her it was me. I was happy I could make her day. I hope when she looked at my gift, she remembered she was loved.
12. An Undercover Sacrifice
Once in college, I ditched hooking up with a girl who was a sure thing, fought two guys at once, and made myself look like a drink spiker...all to get one of the sweetest girls I've ever met out of a bad situation.
Her friends had left her blacked out at a party where she was 100% going to get taken advantage of. I knew she was abstinent, so I intercepted a dude taking her back to his room and told him she was coming home with me instead.
The guy saw this as blocking, and everyone thought I was taking her back to my place for my own pleasure, so I got "jumped" as I took her outside. That was the fun part. These guys learned the hard way that lifting weights doesn't make you tough.
Shortly after, I took her back to her dorm and put her to bed. She had no recollection of any of this, and we didn't know anyone at the party, so it's remained in my head until now.
13. Paying It Forward
When I was around ten years old, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. At Christmas, my family barely had any money to pay for presents because of all the expensive chemotherapy and medical bills from my dad being in and out of the hospital so much.
The people at my mom's work noticed, and they all made a collection for us and raised over $200 for Christmas presents for my brother and me. That was one of the most selfless things anyone has ever done for my family and me.
So now, every year at Christmas, my mother and I put together $200 and give it to a family that needs it. I like to think my dad would be proud of us.
14. Secret Santa Gig
When I was 17, my neighbors came over for Christmas with their two children, Bob and Julie, who were around 11 and eight years old. That was a usual tradition with us as they immigrated to America without any other family. I was so excited, showing off my awesome new presents and having a fantastic time.
As the night ended, Julie went up to my aunt. She asked a heartbreaking question. She said, "Do you think sometimes Santa misses a house by accident?" signifying that she received no presents for Christmas that year.
That night, my siblings and I returned most of our presents and used all our Christmas money to buy the Bob and Julie tons of great gifts. We put them in a bag and left them outside their door with a note from Santa explaining that he was in a rush and accidentally skipped their house.
Every year since then, my entire family saved money and collected as many donations as we could during the holidays. We used the money to buy them all their Christmas gifts and left them outside their door on Christmas Eve.
We did this even if it often meant cutting back on our own gifts. This tradition has been going on for five years, and they still have no clue it is us. They even moved to another part of town, but we still drive out in the middle of the night each year and leave gifts.
15. Gas For Granny
I bought gas for a woman who was down and out. She was an elderly woman who seemed suddenly overwhelmed as she pulled into the gas station. I ended up chatting with her and learned that she wanted to see her grandson play at his baseball tournament but now realized she couldn't afford to buy enough gas to get there.
At first, I was only going to give her five dollars, but then I realized an extra twenty dollars wouldn't break the bank. The smile on her face was worth it alone.
16. Baby Bonus
My cousin gave birth to a very premature baby. He weighed just a little over a pound. The medical bills were sky-high, not to mention the cost of gas driving back and forth to the hospital every day.
I'm not rich by any means, but I wanted to help. So, I decided I would stop my automatic savings deposits each month and give her the money instead, until the baby was able to come home from the hospital.
Six months and around $3,000 later, he came home! He is a happy and healthy 10-year-old today. My cousin and I kept this secret between the two of us.
17. A Generous Donation
I donated my Game Boy to a little boy whose family had lost all their belongings to a flood. I gave him the case, the Light Boy, and every game I owned. I put it in the donation box at my school when no one was around.
I don't know if the little boy even got it, but I like to imagine he did and got years of enjoyment out of it. It was one of my favorite possessions, but I couldn’t fathom the idea of losing everything I owned in the blink of an eye. I had no trouble making the decision, and didn’t even tell my parents about it.
18. The Sixth Sense
About a year ago, I was eating in a pizzeria by myself (which I frequently enjoy doing). Across from me sat an older woman by herself. She ordered a coke and a meal. I started to get a sad sixth sense. She just seemed so very alone in life.
When I went to pay for my meal at the register, I asked that her meal be added to mine. That was all I did. I didn’t speak to her. I simply paid, and I left. It’s not a big deal, but something I've always been quietly proud to have been able to do.
19. An Unplanned Act Of Kindness
When I was in elementary school, the teacher would set aside some class time during holidays so we could make cards for our families. During one particular Mother's Day, I made two for no reason.
On my way home, I gave the extra one to one of my neighbors because she was sitting outside on the lawn with her husband. I don't remember what happened, but I remember running back home because I felt embarrassed and ashamed since she wasn't my mother.
However, the woman was actually very touched by my gesture. My mom made me go outside again so the woman could hug me. Because I was very young and my neighbors were very old, I assumed they had a big family and many grandchildren.
Later, I learned that the woman was sterile and couldn't have children. My mom told me that when I gave her the Mother's Day card, she was so touched that she started crying. The last time I went to their house, I noticed their display of cute, little antique things, and my Mother's Day card was right in the middle of it.
20. A Sister’s Savior
When I was eight years old, my five-year-old sister and I were playing a game of Mousetrap in the basement. Somehow, she managed to swallow one of those marbles that come with the game. It turned terrifying quickly. When I saw that she couldn't breathe, I attempted the Heimlich maneuver.
The marble popped out, and that was that. My parents, however, didn't believe me when I told them because I was quite the little liar as a child. Also, my sister couldn't corroborate my story because she struggled with developmental disabilities.
I didn’t think to tell anyone else about it because it was something I would have done for anyone. So, I suppose I secretly saved my sister’s life.
21. Extended Parking
While walking around the city with a couple of friends, I noticed a few parking meters that had expired. I saw the ticket police walking around the other side with their notepad out, as if they were writing up tickets.
I was in a particularly good mood that day, so I put a few quarters in the ones I saw were running low, and then went about my day. Since then, I keep all of my spare change for this exact reason.
I love giving random acts of kindness. You never know how your actions can affect others' lives.
22. Kids Deserve Experiences Too
I work in a movie theatre, and one day a mom came in with two children who seemed absolutely thrilled to be there. I was working the concession stand and they were next in line.
The mom was looking at the menu with a sort of disappointed look, then she ordered a small Icee and a small popcorn which came out to around ten dollars. She was digging around her bag pulling out an occasional dollar bill.
She seemed extremely upset and told me to just take off the Icee. The look in the two little boy's faces were so sad but they didn't say anything or complain about it.
Instead of charging her for the small popcorn, I got them a large popcorn and three large Icees so they could refill them, all free of charge. When I handed all of it to them, she looked so shocked and grateful and repeatedly thanked me and began explaining that she had been away from her children for a while l and wanted to take her kids out to a movie after not seeing them for so long.
She told me that I'm in her prayers and began walking off with her kids to their movie and I never saw them again. The reason why I was so sympathetic is because I had been in a similar situation in my childhood.
My parents were never wealthy. We had potatoes and ground beef almost every night for dinner. So, I knew how those kids felt getting their own large Icee, and how their mom struggles just to go out for a night with her kids. They deserve fun experience too.
23. Paid Parking Only
As I was sitting on my porch steps, tired from a long bike ride, a German lad approached me with his young boy. They were on their way to their first trip to Boston. In a heavy accent, he said he thought he was smart to park outside of Boston and ride the train in to save money on parking, but parking required a permit here too. I knew just what to do.
I ran back to my car and gave him my visitor permit that I have for where I live. He was able to park for free, and take the train into the city like he had planned. He smiled ear to ear, and his son caught on and smiled the same. I don’t think I've told anyone that.
24. A Self-less Ex
Last year, my boyfriend of three years and I went through a pretty messy breakup. We hadn't talked in about five months when I heard an ad on the radio stating that the Tragically Hip band was coming to a nearby town the next month.
I remembered that during our relationship, my ex had mentioned that it was his dream to see them live because they were his late father's favorite band. He cried every time he listened to certain songs as he felt a strong emotional attachment to this band.
So, I immediately knew I had to get him to that concert. We hadn't spoken in a long time, so I bought two tickets. The tickets were $120 each, which isn't exactly pocket change for me, being a teenager with a part-time job.
Coincidentally, he worked at the same place as a few of my best friends, so they told me the next time he was working. I left the tickets in an unmarked envelope inside his mailbox at work.
Our mutual friends talked about it for months. They said how shocked and touched he was. He cried when he got the tickets. He asked everyone he knew if they had any idea who had given them to him. I never told a single person, and to this day, no one knows who gave them to him.
25. Food Truck Fluster
I took a homeless man out to dinner. It was after I got my life together and had been off the streets myself. I just happened to be leaving the bank when I saw the food truck from the church leaving. There was one man who seemed agitated that he missed the food truck.
So, I went up to him and said: "Hey man, I haven't eaten yet. I was just about to get a sub sandwich. Do you want to come with me"? He looked at me confused, like it was a joke, but I said I was serious.
We went to Jimmy Johns, and I bought him the largest sandwich they had with two drinks. He ate half and saved the other half of his meal and the two drinks for later.
I saw him three days later outside of the library when he was with his friends. He came up to me and thanked me for what I did, and told his friends that I was the coolest guy he had ever met. He told me that the food fed him for a few days and that the day I took him out for lunch he had not eaten that entire day.
26. A Fresh, Cold Perspective
It was snowing really hard one night, and my mom forced me to shovel the driveway. I was a bit angry about it, but I went out and did it anyway.
While clearing the snow, I noticed my neighbor coming out of his apartment to shovel the snow too. The guy was old, maybe 55, and he had to take care of his disabled wife. The man was probably clearing the front pavement so they could go to their doctor appointment, as usual.
He started doing it, and appeared quickly overwhelmed with the amount of snow and the cold. He was maybe 2/10 done and had to take a break, so he went back inside. I don't know what came over me. I wasn't even done with my driveway, which was about four times bigger, but I sprinted over and shoveled his driveway like my life depended on it.
After about five or ten minutes, I ran back to my driveway exhausted, just as the guy came back fully equipped with more clothes than before. He stopped and stared at the shoveled driveway. He was confused.
He had a look on his face as if he wasn't sure if he did it or not, like his mind was playing tricks on him. I pretended like nothing had happened. The guy just smiled and told his wife they won’t be late and pushed her wheelchair out to his car.
I always complain like a brat when my mom tells me to do a chore, but then here was someone who wouldn’t complain and was willing to do it, but his body couldn’t. It just makes all the world’s perspective fall into place, doesn't it?
27. Currency Confusion
An elderly woman was visiting Montreal, probably for the first time. She was in front of me in line at the grocery store checking out. She only had a handful of items. She reached into her purse and realized she only had Euros, which the grocer would not accept.
I could tell that she was instantly uncomfortable and confused as to what to do next, so I offered to pay for her stuff. I had no idea what she said, as there was a language barrier, but her body language, her smile and her handshake certainly meant "thank you" to me.
28. Coffee Chaos
I was driving down a fairly busy street when I saw a severely disabled man in an electric wheel chair rolling across the sidewalk. I was close to home as I was on the way to work, and I had seen him before on the sidewalks, so I patiently waited for him to cross the street.
Rolling along, he had two Tim Horton's coffees resting on his own makeshift plastic table top for his wheelchair. It was obvious he was born without much use of his limbs.
As he went up the lip of the sidewalk, the coffees fell over and were rolling around on his tray. As he went to reach for them, they rolled off onto the sidewalk but miraculously didn't spill open.
He just looked at them lying there, and I could only imagine how desperate he must have felt in that moment. With many cars waiting behind me and already being late for work, I put my car in neutral, still running, and ran across the busy street and retrieved the coffee.
I placed it firmly on the tray and looked softly at him. I'm not sure he could speak very well because he couldn't even say thank you. He just looked at me with a look of half surprise and an overwhelmingly positive smile. I smiled back and then ran back to my car and sped off to work.
29. A Forgotten Mother
Back when I was living alone, I would often help my neighbor next door with little things around the house. She always seemed happy enough. On Mother’s Day though, I saw her and asked if she was a mother and she said yes.
When I asked if she would be spending any time with her children that day, she got somewhat sad and said no. I immediately went and got her a card, found a religious passage that I thought sounded encouraging because I knew she was Christian, and wrote it inside.
When I knocked on her door to give it to her, she hugged me for a long time. I ended up sitting across from her on the couch as she told me all about her divorce and how her children held her responsible. In the end, I gave her a hug and left. By the time I moved out, her daughters were visiting her again.
30. Dinner For The Down And Out
My boyfriend and I usually buy homeless people food instead of giving cash. One day when we were grocery shopping, we saw a man sitting in the blazing hot sun. He wasn't asking for any money. He did have a sign though, so we knew he was homeless.
We asked what he would like, and he told us that he was just really, really, really, really thirsty. We bought him three big bottles of water and one 2L bottle of coca-cola, bread, fruit, deli meats and some condiments.
I've never, ever seen a homeless man so truly appreciate receiving food. We didn't spend much, but it just made us happy to see somebody who truly appreciated the good we were trying to do.
31. I Got Your Back, Bro
I was at a friend's house when I asked if I could use his computer to check my email. As I sat down, his girlfriend asked if she could use the computer after me.
When I opened the browser and typed in the web address, I noticed a couple of recently visited...you know...adult...websites pop up as a suggestion. I immediately cleared his internet history so that this would not happen when his girlfriend logged on next.
I'm pretty sure this saved him some trouble. I didn’t mention it, of course.
32. Next Level Predator Prevention
I prevented some girl from getting seriously hurt. I saw her fumbling around in the bushes one night as I was walking back to my apartment, somewhat inebriated myself, in my college town.
I realized she was barely moving and so I started to approach. The closer I got the more I realized she might be in trouble. She was almost completely unresponsive. She had been trying to pee and ended up just sort of falling down right there.
I didn't know what to do but I felt I couldn't just leave her. I saw her phone and got it to try to call someone she knew but it was out of batteries, so I made a judgment call. Looked left, looked right, and pulled up her pants for her, shook her awake and asked about a million times to point in the direction of where she lived.
She was able to point and show me. Luckily it was just down the block, so I carried her there, looked in her things for a key to the apartment building, and luckily saw her room number on the key.
When I reached her apartment, before I opened the door, I realized the seriousness of what I was doing. I had no idea who might be home at this apartment, or who might have seen me pick up this nearly unconscious woman.
I realized I looked like the very potential predator I was trying to prevent her from meeting. But there was no going back so I opened her place up. No one was home. I laid her in one of the beds and put her on her side in case she puked.
Before I left, I figured she might be terribly confused about what had happened last night, since I didn't know any details, and didn't know what she might remember.
So, I wrote down my name and number on a scrap on the kitchen counter and it just said "Call me if you have any questions about what happened last night". I never got a call, not that I really expected to. I hope she was alright.
In later years looking back on that moment I am relatively sure that if I had left her there would have been a very good chance she would have been taken and hurt. No one really knows I did this though, which is fine. I could have easily gotten my own self into trouble over it. It was huge risk.
33. Confessions Of A Lunch Lady
I'm a lunch lady. I used to sneak money into some of the younger kids' accounts so they could buy the snacks we sometimes put out for sale when they're nearing expiration. I did it because there were a few really sweet kids who never had any money in their accounts.
The way it's set up, they put the item on their tray and when they enter their pin, if it shows they have a zero or negative balance, I have to take it off their tray and tell them I'm sorry they can't have it. And I really was and still am sorry.
It started with a couple of kids who lost both of their parents within the same year. Everybody was just too sad and broke from funerals to keep up on the payments.
I figured they could stand to have one thing go their way every once in a while, for a change. It's a non-issue now because payments are now mostly made online, and the ones that aren't are closely scrutinized.
I miss being able to make a kid's day so easily just by making it so they got to count themselves among the "haves" for a minute. I still remember what it's like to be six years old and be the kid who knew not to even ask because "We can't afford that right now, Baby. Mommy's sorry. Maybe next paycheck".
34. A Life-Changing Meal
A friend of mine goes out every Thursday night and feeds the homeless community with soup, tea, coffee, jacket potatoes, and pastries. No one outside of our church knows he does it.
He's been doing it for 25 years and knows most of the community by name. He feeds and talks to them and sometimes prays with them if they wish. I went with him a couple of times, and each night when I got back to my warm house, I'd cry because I realized how lucky I was.
Even though I'm insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I can still make a difference. I've since moved to another city, and now my little brother often goes and helps the guy.
I'm very proud of my little brother and still amazed at the other guy. He does it every single week, rain or shine, even on Christmas and holidays. He also looks after his own three young children. He is a Christian and a brilliant man.
This experience changed my life, and I do not tell many people about it.
35. An Appreciation For The Uniform
Last year, I was at an airport awaiting a flight and realized that I had a good two hours to wait. I wandered into one of the many bars/restaurants in the airport and sat down next to a group of six guys in uniform.
They were all US Army reservists on their way to their deployment in Afghanistan. Suffice it to say, I picked up the entire tab for all six of them. They tried to hand me money and thanked me profusely, but all I could say was that it was I who owed thanks to them for their service.
I've always made it a personal policy to pick up the food/bar tab for anybody in a military uniform. It's the least I could do for their sacrifices.
36. Apples And Empathy
When I was about a month into being unemployed, money was running low. I pulled into the supermarket to pick up a few things when a homeless guy approached me, told me his story, and asked me to buy him some food.
I said sure. I went in with him and let him do his own thing. We reconnected at the checkout. He got his sandwich and thanked me profusely on our way out. That's when I stopped and handed him a bag of apples that I wanted to gift him as a surprise. He was nearly in tears as we parted ways.
I have never told anyone I know about it. This comment is the first I've ever related it. I was able to sympathize with the man, knowing how easily things could go from bad to worse, so I was glad to help even if my bank account told me I shouldn't.
37. It’s On The House
When I was in college, I worked for a pizza place. I had a buddy who had a newborn child with severe medical problems. They were the kind that were going to make him hit his maximum deductible every year for the rest of his life paying for his child's necessary care.
One day he asked me if I got any good deals on pizza. I said, "Yeah, I get free pizza all the time". But then a happy accident occurred. I meant I got to take home any pizza made accidentally or from no-show deliveries, but he understood it to mean I could have any kind I wanted anytime.
So, he asked if I could maybe deliver a pizza to his place once in a while. I delivered a pizza to his family every week for about a year. They got it free, and always believed it to be that way. I secretly paid my slightly discounted rate for whatever they ordered.
38. Roadside Rescue
I live in Wisconsin, and a few years ago, there was a blizzard that completely shut down the city of Madison. I worked at a hotel and couldn't take a day off, so I had no choice but to walk to work.
As I was walking, I came across an elderly lady lying on the ground where the sidewalk met the road. It was icy, and she couldn't get up. She was cold, and her clothes were getting wet.
I helped her up and walked her to her church—her destination. It was the complete opposite way that I needed to go, and I ended up being late to work.
I didn’t tell my boss why I was late. I blamed it on the weather, like everyone else. At the time, I didn't think much of it, but it later occurred to me that I possibly saved her life.
39. A Daily Dose of Decency
I work in a large building that only has a couple of elevators. It’s always business in the morning and everyone always seems in a rush. So, every day when I get to work, I make sure I'm the last one out of the elevator on my floor, so I can push the 1st floor button and send it back down right away, just in case someone else is running late.
It’s not the greatest of human feats—just a simple one I do daily, and I hope it makes a difference in someone’s day.
40. No One Goes Alone
Last summer I volunteered in the emergency department of my local hospital. A woman came in and was in bad shape. She had called the ambulance herself and knew the end was near.
They admitted her and she immediately signed a DNR, which means “do not resuscitate”. She just wanted a place to pass so that her family wouldn't find her body at home.
I sat talking with her after she came in. She had terminal cancer that had spread from her liver to her heart, brain, and lungs. She told me stories from her life and I sat there holding her hand and watching her eyes light up as she told me about her past.
She was there for about two hours. Then things took a turn for the worst. Her family lived out of state and the closest member was still three hours away. The doctors/nurses in the ER asked her if she wished to change her mind on the DNR immediately when things started to turn.
She refused and they left her. I stayed with her while she struggled to breathe and her heart rate slowed. This continued for about 20 minutes before a doctor came in. I looked at him when he came in and he said that he was not allowed to touch the patient but was there to establish the time of passing.
I knew he wasn't going to do anything and at this point the woman was gasping for air, the light was leaving her eyes, and she was starting to slip away. I held on to her hand until the very end and let her know she was not alone.
I waited to go home until her family showed up to let them know she was not alone when she passed and to tell them that she wished she was able to say goodbye. Afterward, I walked out of the ER and sat in the parking lot to cry for over half an hour before I could make the short drive home.
41. Scratch Ticket Winner
A few years ago, my husband and I were basically living in poverty. We were humbled into getting food stamps. We only got $21/month for two people and we were so hungry most nights. I had a job but it only paid enough to cover rent and I was desperately looking for something better.
It was a bad time for us. Well, one night we were in the grocery store buying bread, peanut butter and jelly. The front of the grocery store had a kiosk where you could buy scratch tickets and scratch them off.
I had a habit of double-checking the ones people threw out but never buying any of my own. One was left on the counter top and I happened to notice that the bottom section was scratched off, not revealing a "B", "P" or "D" - all codes for losers. It was a winner for $100!
I got super excited and started to walk back towards the cash register when I noticed a family in the checkout next to us. It was one woman and two small kids. She looked very tired and worn out and so did the kids.
We lived in a really poor neighborhood so I assumed she was poor as well. She only had a few handfuls of groceries in her cart. When the cashier asked for payment, she got out some crumbled-up dollar bills and a whole bunch of change. I felt so horrible for her.
One of her daughters had walked up to me at that point and asked, out of curiosity, what I had in my hand. I handed it to her and said, "Give this to your mommy". She said "Ok," took it from me and went back to her mother.
"Mommy, mommy! Look what I found!" The lady seemed tired and aggravated but decided to look. She had the cashier scan it over at customer service and she had won $100. She was so happy. She turned her cart back around to get more groceries.
The lady never saw her daughter talking to me. When my husband saw what I did, he said, "Well, I guess they needed it more than we did. Maybe next time". $100 isn't much, but it's something, you know? Now the best I can do is leave high-value coupons next to products I won't use in the grocery store.
42. Where’s All The Winter Wear?
I saw a homeless man sitting at an intersection on a cold Michigan winter day. He didn't have a hat or gloves. I quickly looked around my car for anything I could spare. I ultimately decided to give what I had.
I rolled down my windows and gave him my brand-new tweed hat and new gloves that I just got from Macy's. He looked a little startled but said thanks. I drove off. I have since done this a few more times. My wife doesn't know why I always seem to lose winter wear.
43. The Gift of Childhood
A local family's son had his bike stolen at school. My husband and I knew they weren't home one afternoon, so we put our plan into motion. We put a $100 bill in an envelope with a note that said it was for his new bike and a good lock to keep it safe.
We popped it in their mailbox, unsigned. We later saw the nice post they made on Facebook about how grateful they were and how excited he was. It was a nice feeling made even better by the fact that it was anonymous.
There was no pressure for them to thank us, no praise from others, just a happy kid and relieved parents. No kid should be without a bike, especially when someone just takes it from them.
44. Nightly Butt Blitz
Back when I used to smoke, I noticed that a small playground near my house often had butts littered all over the children's play area. Even as a smoker, it bothered me so much. So, I would go back at night a few times a week and spend an hour or two with a trash bag picking up the butts and other garbage I found.
I would often be asked what took me so long when I went out there by myself, but I never revealed my secret.
45. The Gift Of Groceries
I live in a college town and was standing in line at the local grocery store trying to pick up a few items after a 12-hour shift at work. I was exhausted and just wanted to go home, but it was a pretty busy night.
I was standing behind this college-aged girl who had just rung through $60 worth of groceries, but there was an issue with her card. To make matters worse, the checker was deaf so she could not communicate what exactly was wrong with the card.
She tried scribbling on a piece of paper and using hand signs but the flustered girl wasn't understanding. The line behind me was growing and the girl was starting to panic. I stepped up and swiped my credit card and paid for her groceries.
The look of relief washed over her face and she just kind of looked at me and mumbled a thank you and walked off. I told her to pay it forward and truly hope she did!
46. Sharing Is Caring
I usually don't help homeless people who are holding signs on the side of the road. I'm pretty broke, and although I feel bad for them, I usually just pass them by. That is, until one day when I went to Chick-Fil-A and got fries with my meal.
I don't like fries much and was about to throw them away when I remembered that I saw a man holding a "hungry" sign when I was on my way there.
So, I took the fries with me and gave them to him when I passed by again. The guy seriously looked so happy, and as I drove away, I looked in my rearview mirror to see he was scarfing them down like he hadn't eaten in days. It felt pretty good.
Now I make more of an effort to help people. I've never told anyone about it until now. It was the middle of July and hotter than an oven so the next day I went back with water for him, but he wasn't there. I was pretty upset, but thankful that I could still help him before he was gone.
47. A Doozy Of Donations
I have a friend whose wife was diagnosed with MS. He doesn't have a lot of other friends, but he wanted to participate in the MS walk to raise some money. So, he posted a plea for funds on Facebook.
I donated right away. After a few days, I made a gut-wrenching realization. I was still the only one to kick in. So, after that, once or twice a day, I would anonymously donate random amounts.
I think I was the only one to contribute by the end of it all. But he raised a few hundred dollars from what appeared to be 40 or so people, so he was pretty happy and his wife was, too. No one ever found out what I did.
48. The Ultimate Tip
About a year ago, I was out with my wife at a sushi restaurant. There was a young and pretty waitress getting ridden very hard by a couple at the table next to us. I don't remember much about the couple. I think they were older and middle-class.
I assume the wife didn't like the waitress because she was pretty. The wife may have caught the husband looking or something. That was the kind of vibe I was getting, anyway. So, they were just completely rude.
They were complaining about the service and hustling the waitress back and forth. It was late and they were demanding almost all of the waitress's time, to the point that she wasn't really able to attend to us much, so our drinks were not getting refilled, etc.
As our meal was coming to a close and the waitress came by to drop off our bill, the mean couple stood up to leave and left their signed ticket on the table. My wife could see over to their table, and when the waitress came back and picked up the tab, she leaned over to me and said, "They didn't tip her. She's crying".
The waitress shuffled back by us with tears in her eyes and went back behind the curtain. I could see a couple of the other servers comforting her, and I could tell she had had a hard night, whether because of this mean couple or whatever else might be going on in her life.
So, I looked at my wife and said, "that's not fair". I immediately doubled the price of our meal in the tip line and wrote her the following note: "Thank you for being good at your job. We had a wonderful time". My wife and I signed our first names and I left the ticket on the table as we walked out. We did not look back.
49. Kidnapping Intercepted
I was shopping and saw a young girl by herself in the store. I watched as some creepy guy came up and start talking to her. He took her hand and headed toward the bathroom. I immediately approached him and said, "Get your hands off my daughter"!
He broke into a run and got out of the store. They had him on camera, but I don't think he was ever caught.
50. Justice League Level
I used to work in an office that would contact customers regarding hospital bills. Basically, we would fill in the blanks on hospital forms and use their insurance information to process payments.
My day consisted of making and receiving phone calls regarding the visits while making sure the insurance records were complete. I had to make a call once to a woman who broke down in tears as soon as I mentioned why I was calling.
I was curious of the reason for this, so I used her name from the file and patched together what I could from her hospital record. Her story broke my heart. It turned out that her son had just graduated college and sadly passed on his way home.
His medical bills were hundreds of thousands of dollars, a common sight. But what was uncommon was that her insurance had been refusing payments across the board, which was unacceptable to me.
Apparently, she was nearing the deadline for submittal, and if that happened, the company would fight for payments until the sun stopped shining.
So, against HIPAA and my better judgement, I had a friend in another department get me her and her son’s information, and I contacted her insurance carrier. I posed as a doctor making an authorized submittal and was able to make things right.
A few hours later, after it was processed, I contacted her and told her the good news. All she could do was thank me while she broke down crying again. I double-checked the file a month later, and thankfully, all of the bills were paid.