Every Little Bit Helps: These Small Acts Of Kindness Had Huge Payoffs
No matter how large or small, a simple act of kindness always ends with both parties feeling a warm, fuzzy glow inside. From giving a simple cup of coffee, a toy, or a kind word to someone having a bad day to saving lives, saving Christmases or saving sanity, these Redditors shared the most heart-warming acts of kindness that they have had the opportunity to give or receive.
#1 Helping Hoops
I saw a neighbor boy practicing his jump shot into some tree branches in his front yard. I had a portable basketball hoop in the back from when I moved in that was just taking up space. So, I walked over and offered him the hoop for free. I saw him, his sister, parents, aunts, uncles, even a grandparent or two, all take a couple of shots at the hoop over time. It felt good to know his family got so much use out of it.
#2 A Warm Hug on a Cold Day
I was nine years old, waiting for the school bus in Wisconsin during the winter. I had a thin coat, no hat or gloves. A woman driving past saw me and stopped, giving me a blanket from the back of her car. I remember thanking her, but being confused. I told her that I didn’t know how I would give it back when I was done borrowing it. She hugged me and said not to worry. I still have that blanket.
#3 Coffee Karma
I worked at Starbucks. One morning around 6:30, a customer came in and I asked how she was doing. “Oh its already crazy and I haven’t even started,” she replied. To make her day a little easier, I gave her her coffee order for free. A few days later, I was having a terrible morning. It was only 6:30, and everything was already chaos—but it quickly turned into the best day ever.
She came in as usual and saw that I was having a bad day. A couple hours later, she came back with a gift bag for me. Inside was a nice bottle of vintage. It’s amazing how someone’s small gesture can make the day just a little bit nicer!
#4 A Pack of Lifesavers
I work for a non-profit organization downtown in a large city. There are a lot of homeless people who live on the sidewalk directly outside of our front door. There are less than 25 of us in that office, but several of my coworkers have saved people who were in medical distress due to substance addictions. I have literally seen them do CPR on people whose hearts had stopped.
None of them are medical people, but many have had CPR training. I’ve worked in that office for over a year and so far, none of the people who needed saving have succumbed on our watch. I once saw a co-worker, along with our receptionist, work on a guy for 10 minutes before he came back. I can’t express how amazing my coworkers are.
#5 Heart of Gold
I was selling my bike online when I was a teenager for $30. A buyer contacted me, so we set up a location. The buyer ended up being two kids on a single bike; one was balancing on the pegs when they rode into the parking lot. The kid with the bike bought my bike for his friend so that they could ride together. It was the most wholesome thing I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t keep the grin off of my face as I watched them ride away together.
#6 A Different Kind of Donation
I donated stem cells to a complete stranger. It’s a very impersonal experience because of the anonymity of it, so I didn’t know anything about the patient I was donating to, and she knew nothing about me. But then I received a heartbreaking message. I received a letter from her that really hammered home to me how much of an impact I had had on her life.
For me, it was a cheek swab I did in college four years ago, and then a random email saying that I had matched with someone. It was eye-opening to read her letter. Of course, it was a profound experience donating lifesaving stem cells to someone, but not knowing where those cells were going after the procedure had left me feeling a little empty, so I was grateful for her letter.
#7 Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
In 6th grade, I witnessed an incredible act of kindness. I was on the bus, 2 stops away from my stop on the way home from school. There was a man just lying on the sidewalk outside the bus, which had stopped. I noticed the bus driver wasn’t on the bus; I looked outside and saw our bus driver, being the nice lady she is, rush out of the bus, check his pulse and call an ambulance.
The bad part was that some people on my bus were saying cruel things, suggesting that the man was an addict, and that it was no use trying to help him. The next day, our bus driver heard the nasty rumours and decided to set us straight. “The man from yesterday didn’t overdose on anything; he went into diabetic shock.” She basically saved him twice. You never know a person’s story until you ask.
#8 Star Teachers
I’m epileptic. Once, during a school assembly, I had a seizure, and it was pretty bad. When I woke up, the first people I saw were my English teacher smiling and telling me it would be okay, and my health teacher, who had apparently been the first person to run and get me help. I was in a super emotional state after the seizure, and I began to cry and say, “I’m sorry.”
I was hushed by my teacher and helped down the bleachers. My health teacher, my English teacher, my choir director, and the school counsellor all stayed by me until I got into the ambulance. Later on, my English teacher also ended up sending me a very nice video of her and all of her family wishing me well. I was so grateful for all of the support!
#9 Up in Flames
My parents once bumped into a lady while they were traveling and got talking to her. She told them her horrific story. Her house had just burned down, her husband was gone, and she had no family or friends locally. She was outside my parents’ hotel bawling, standing around her car with her kids and not knowing what to do.
They had made it out of the burning house with nothing except the clothes they had on. The kids had no shoes, she was in a nightgown and wasn’t sure what she was going to do for several days until she could contact distant people and get help. My parents had a car full of stuff from their travels, including clothing they had bought for my nieces and nephews.
They let her kids pick through it for shoes and shirts, gave them all the food in the cooler they traveled with, handed her all the travelers’ checks they had on them, and then dad went inside to pay for a hotel room for a week for them.
#10 What Goes Around Comes Around
I was 16 and driving over to my girlfriend’s house on a rainy Saturday afternoon. There was a man biking in front of me and when he went to get onto the sidewalk, he completely wiped out. I pulled in to the closest driveway and saw that his bike was mangled and his arm was bleeding. I threw his bike in my trunk, gave him my old sweatshirt for his bloody arm, and drove him home.
When I dropped him off, he gave me his card. It turned out he was a dentist at a local research hospital. Well, fast-forward to when I was 19, and the same man took out my wisdom teeth for free as part of a “research experiment.” Not sure if there was actually an experiment that they needed wisdom teeth for, but just goes to show that good things happen to good people.
#11 Kinder Kindness
I worked at a museum that ran a summer camp, and I was in charge of the little kids. I had a kid in my group that came from a wealthy family. He brought a massive Megazord Power Rangers toy one day to play with. Then that kid did something so beautiful it made me cry. Another kid in my group tripped, scratched his knee, and started crying.
The first kid stepped in while I was taking care of the blood, and after noticing that the crying kid had a wolf on his T-shirt, asked, “Do you like wolves?” The crying kid answered while sobbing, “Yeah…a lot.” Then the rich kid proceeded to snap the right leg of his Megazord off. As we watched, he transformed it into a purple wolf.
He gave it to the other kid and let him keep it just because he liked it. The kid stopped crying and cracked a smile. They became best friends from that point on.
#12 One Day Stand
I was talking to some random guy in the bar one night, and he mentioned that he was having surgery the next day and didn’t have someone to pick him up afterward. He was just grabbing a bite to eat at the bar before his cut off time when I arrived. His girlfriend had just broken up with him and moved, and his backup driver fell through.
The poor guy just needed a hand. I ended up driving him there, sitting with him before he went in, calling his parents when he got out, sitting with him in recovery, picking up his post-op medication, driving him home, and making sure he was okay before I left. Seemed like no big deal at the time. Never saw him again, and that’s okay.
#13 Monkey Business
My family and I were homeless when I was about to turn 13. My youngest brother is also severely autistic. We were standing in line for lunch at the local soup kitchen, which opened at 11 am. We had arrived at 6 in the morning, and were decently close to the door—there were only about 20 other people in front of us at the time.
My father had just returned from taking my youngest brother for yet another walk around the block, as he had begun fighting and biting himself in frustration. After another few minutes in line, it was clear that he had more than reached his tiny 9-year-old limit and had begun to lose it. People were staring at the fuss he was making.
There were a couple of guys who were dressed in ratty t-shirts, jean vests covered in patches, and plenty of veteran memorabilia, mostly from Vietnam. Each of them had either an old, dirty backpack or a trash bag, which held all of their personal belongings in the world. One of the men, in a wheelchair and missing a leg, saw my little brother’s frustration.
After hearing my mother apologetically explain yet again that he had severe autism, the man rolled up to the five of us—two parents and three young kids, all sunburnt from the Florida sun with no place to call home—and unhooked his one treasured possession. He had a little stuffed monkey that was hooked onto his steering portion of the wheelchair. It was the only clean thing about the man.
He gave it to my little brother, and my little brother immediately hugged it and cuddled with it, calming down. I’ll never forget the man’s words: “He looks like he could use it more than me.” It was his one and only real, treasured possession and he gave it to a little boy that was crying. Now, I’m in a position to give back, and I do whenever I can, but I don’t think I could ever repay that single gesture.
#14 A Friend In Need
My dad ran into an old high school friend that he hadn’t seen in years. He learned that the man had cancer, that he had no family except a son in college in another state, and that he was basically dealing with his condition all by himself. So my dad started taking him to his appointments and out to lunch, just to keep him company and help him through.
He even organized how to take his crazy number of prescriptions, since it was confusing to figure out when to take them when they all had different times and requirements; apparently there were about 18 of them in all. Then, when his friend succumbed, my dad helped his son do all of the end-of-life arrangements. My dad is my hero. He is such a giving person and I strive to be like him.
#15 Paxton at Peace
My husband and I adopted a Great Dane and named him Paxton. He quickly became the equivalent of our first child. Pax went everywhere with us, including family holidays like Christmas and vacations. Pax was more human than a lot of humans I’ve met. He would actually hug me when I was down, loved everyone, even cats, and slept with his stuffed frog for years.
Paxton passed suddenly last year of a heart attack. We came home to find him on the floor of the living room. My husband and I were devastated. We can’t have kids, and Pax was our baby. In the 18 months before Pax passed, I had also lost my mom, my grandmother, and uncle. I think something in me broke. I couldn’t function. I took a week off work.
When I returned, I had an envelope waiting for me on my desk. Its contents made me burst into tears. It was a thank you card from the local animal shelter. My co-worker had donated $150 to them in Paxton’s name. I was floored. I knew he was a dog, and didn’t expect anyone else to get that he had been like a child to me. That one gesture was so kind and needed. She will never know how much that meant to us.
#16 Fortuitous Fall
I was biking to school on a pretty busy street, and while waiting at a stoplight, I had a seizure. I fell off of the bike onto the side of the street. Next thing I knew, I was safe on the sidewalk and there were a dozen homeless people crowded over me, comforting me and getting help. It was very embarrassing, but they were so sweet. Not sure what would have happened if they hadn’t been there!
#17 Secret Santa
I absolutely love doing adopt-a-family programs during Christmas. I don’t have kids of my own, so I love the opportunity to buy gifts for kids in low-income families. My favorite family of them all was single mom who’d just turned 18. Her son was three and she’d moved into her very first apartment. She had nothing but two bare mattresses on the floor, one for her and one for her son.
She was working a job and was trying to save up for things for the house. Her wish list was heartbreaking. She wanted blankets for them both, a pan to cook with, and a Spider-Man toy for her son. That’s it. I was single at the time, and supporting myself, so I only had a couple hundred to spend, but I was determined to make it go as far as possible.
I got her a complete comforter/sheet set, a pillow, and a full set of cooking pans. Then I found the coolest thing for her son: it was a fitted sheet that turned his bed into a Spider-Man tent! It was awesome! I found a big Spider-Man stuffed toy for him as well. I also found a huge book with over 100 full-length bedtime stories. I got the usual boring stuff of course, clothes for her son and a gift card for a holiday meal. But then I found the ultimate deal.
It was a clearance TV/dvd combo for less than $100! I knew money was tight for them, so I included a note in her Christmas card letting her know that she could rent her son videos from the library for free. I would have given anything to see their faces; I hope that it made her first Christmas on her own a little more happy.
#18 It’s The Little Things
Sometimes when my sister is sleeping or napping, I plug her phone in to charge so that when she wakes up, it’ll be 100%.
I had some extra laminate flooring from a renovation I was doing. An elderly neighbor saw it and offered to buy what I had leftover. I hesitated, because it wasn’t really leftover, I had other plans for it. It was about a thousand dollars worth of material. I told her if she could hire our neighbor to move it for her, she could have it for free, since I knew my neighbor needed the money. She agreed and redid her living room with it.
#20 Diamond in the Rough
It was my first job in the field of conservation, and my boss was really tough, but secretly was a kind man. I had a six-month-old son and I was a 20-year-old single mom. I had just found out some bad news, and I was really sinking financially. My son’s dad was dipping in and out. I wasn’t emotionally mature enough for a relationship at the time. I had too much on my plate. One thing after another.
I was also the only woman on a crew of seven men, working to plant trees, fix United States Forestry Service roads and restore habitats for ten hours a day. I was too girlie to relate to the guys, but too manly for my girlfriends. Nobody understood. I felt hopeless. One day I cried on lunch break; it was all stacking up and I was cracking under the pressure.
After work the next day, as the other crew members filtered out of the work trucks, my boss said to me, “Just wait for a second.” I was irritated, because I thought he was going to ream me out for my work performance, which he frequently did, for everyone. Instead, he waited until everyone was gone, pulled out his wallet, and took out a wad of cash.
He said, “I don’t know how much is here, because I just grabbed a handful. But I want you to take every dollar in my wallet and help get yourself out of that hole you’re in.” It’s been almost a decade since then, and my life has been completely turned around. I’m deliriously happy now. That gruff, sour old forester made a big change in my life, one that reached far beyond that moment of desperation and generosity.
#21 Supportive Stranger
I broke my foot while bouldering a week into my semester abroad. I had never been out of the country before, so I was absolutely panicking. A total stranger came right over after I fell, recorded important information for the paramedics, and spent the next ten or so minutes while waiting for the ambulance asking me questions about my studies and my research after I mentioned that I was a student. His kindness was able to calm me down even though I was absolutely freaking out.
#22 High Risk, High Reward
One of the smartest people I ever met married one of my good friends from high school. She had dabbled in coding games for fun, but had no IT experience. She was working minimum wage at a sandwich shop, which I thought was a shame, because she hated it and could do so much better. I was a manager at an IT consulting firm at the time.
I knew if given the chance to work in IT as a developer, she would do great. So I pushed my company to hire her as an intern. Without any code camp, relevant college classes, or experience, I was told that our company could never hire her. So, I helped her start small user group, put together a resume, and prep for an interview.
Then I went back to my company and forced the issue. I had to use a number of favors just to get her an interview. Then I basically cashed in all of my political capital, and said if she wasn’t successful, I would be accountable for it. They gave her a chance—and she did wonderfully, just as I knew she would. That was five years ago.
Today, she is a java developer making over $80k a year with full benefits. She loves her job, and my good friend doesn’t work much because his wife makes so much money. Unfortunately, pushing so hard was a contributing factor to the company letting me go a year later. I found a new job, so it worked out for me too. I don’t think she realizes what it cost me to get her in, and it’s probably better that way, but knowing I gave her a chance to change the trajectory of her life makes me smile.
#23 To Teach Is to Touch Lives Forever
I was in a car accident when I was four years old that left me in a coma. But that wasn’t the worst part. My sister, who was also in the car, succumbed to her injuries the next day. I was unconscious when my sister’s funeral was going to occur, which meant I would be left alone at the hospital. My preschool teacher offered to sit with me and hold my hand at the hospital, so that my parents could attend my sister’s funeral without having to worry about me being alone. It is the kindest gesture anyone has ever done for me.
#24 A Helping Hand
When I turned 18, I was struggling immensely with my mental health. One day it all got too overwhelming and I left the house, thinking I’d end up at the train tracks. My mind was in an absolutely terrible state. I got to the park and just couldn’t keep walking, so I sat on a bench and manically wept so hard that I couldn’t feel my body, and I was shaking uncontrollably.
My mum was calling me to try to find me, but my phone was about to die. Many strangers walked straight past me, or threw me a look of disgust. Then one lady, who lived on the street next to mine, stopped and sat beside me. She just sat and hugged me. She eventually called my mum and told her where I was before my phone finally ran out of battery.
Then she stayed with me until my mom arrived and took me for a long drive to calm me down. I still see the woman around when I’m back in my hometown. I don’t know if she remembers sitting with me, but I do, and her presence that day meant a lot to me. I’ve always wanted to let her know that I appreciated it a lot and will never forget it.
#25 Benevolent Bus Driver
After school one day, I was supposed to have practice, but it got unexpectedly canceled and nobody told me until it was too late. My school days ended at 3:10, and busses left at 3:20. It was like 3:18, so I scrambled to grab my stuff and find my bus, which changed places frequently. I couldn’t find my bus, and all of the busses started leaving.
Now, I could have just walked home, but it was raining and I had a ton of stuff with me to bring home. My old bus driver, who drove another bus, saw me stranded and crying. So, she pulled over and lingered so that I could hop on. She waited with a bus full of kids waiting to go home, for a kid who doesn’t even belong on her bus anymore. That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
#26 Regardful Recruiter
When I was enlisting into the army, my recruiter picked me up to go over some paperwork in his office, which was close to the downtown area of my city. On the way there, we passed a homeless woman sitting on the side of the road. Without even a second thought, my recruiter whipped the car around and pulled through a nearby drive-through.
He bought a huge meal with a large cup of water, and raced back to where the woman was sitting. The look on her face when he pulled up and handed her the meal through the window was something I will never forget. He didn’t have to do something like that, but he did it out of the kindness of his heart. He’s one of the best leaders I know, and I try to emulate him in everything I do.
#27 More Than She Bargained for
I was at a convention standing in line to get David Tennant’s autograph. I was so excited that I unfortunately caused a seizure. After I woke up, I was so embarrassed. I was wheeled back beyond a curtain that was behind the autograph booth. A moment later, David Tennant’s agent came up to me and asked me what color pen I wanted.
I was confused, but I said black. After he said that, he explained that David wanted to come back to make sure I was okay. I was still pretty embarrassed, but of course I agreed. The first thing he said to me was a joking, “What are you doing falling down on me?” Then we had a full conversation. Eventually, he asked my name, and autographed the book I had brought. I was so excited that I forgot to be embarrassed!
#28 The Musician’s Message
I had a breakdown in the middle of one of my college classes. I had been depressed for several weeks, feeling like I wasn’t good enough to be in my major. Really I just felt worthless. I was doing a performance-based test in front of the whole class, and I was doing terribly. I was really angry with myself for not being better.
My professor interrupted me midway through and asked, “Do you want to try it again at the end of class?” I nodded, went back to my seat—and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t help it or stop. I ended up excusing myself to the bathroom so that I wouldn’t cry in front of the class and embarrass myself further.
I performed again at the end of the class, and my professor was really patient with me and gave me feedback. The thing that really got me was before he dismissed the class, he wrote something down in the binder I had open in front of me. When I read it, I’ve never felt so touched. It said, “You are a strong, smart musician, and you have a bright future ahead of you. I believe in you, and I’m here for you.”
I cried even harder after that, but in a good way. I had never had a teacher care about me that much, or show me so much compassion. That one message genuinely turned around my entire year and made my sense of self-worth improve exponentially. I still think about it all the time, and I’ll be forever grateful to that professor.
#29 Help Needed
I worked at Apple and had a homeless gentleman come in and ask for a job. Even though he tried on several occasions, he couldn’t get a job, unfortunately, because he had no phone and no home. He eventually got into a halfway home, and a bunch of us at the store got together and got him a cheap phone and a SIM card, paid for six months. He eventually got a job and isn’t homeless now!
#30 Grocery Gratitude
It was the first day of isolation here in Michigan, and there was a line in the grocery store that wrapped around the building. I spent 90 minutes waiting to check out. Eventually, I was next in line, but the lady in front of me had a problem with her card: it was denied. After a few failed attempts, the cashier asked her to step aside and call her bank.
They set her groceries aside. She only had necessities, nothing fancy; jugs of water, rice, macaroni & cheese, everything generic brand. As I was checking out, she was sitting on a bench trying to get through to her bank without having any luck at all. So I asked the cashier to check out her groceries with mine, which she did.
As I checked out the cashier told the woman, who was still waiting on the phone, that she was good to go. She was confused, and the cashier told her that I had paid for her groceries. If I had lifted a car off of this woman, she couldn’t have looked any more grateful. I once rescued a claustrophobic woman who was trapped in an elevator, and her look of gratitude didn’t even compare to the look of appreciation I got from this woman at the grocery store.
She said thank you and asked my name. I told her, said something cliche about needing to stick together, and we went our separate ways. It was only $80, it wasn’t a big deal to me. But, in that moment, on that day, when things were falling apart and people felt scared and powerless, after waiting so long, and not knowing what to do, my small act of kindness had been a big deal to her. I was so glad I was able to help out, even that little bit.
#31 The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
When I was in seventh grade, I was getting yelled at by some mean people at lunch one day. I had been tormented for years and was getting tired of it. After the mean kids went away, I just sat down on the floor where I was and ate my lunch, stifling tears and sniffles. A group of sixth-graders came up to me and asked what was wrong. I told them what had happened and they offered to have lunch with me. I accepted. Then we just started having lunch every day.
#32 Foreign Friendliness
I had recently moved to a foreign country, and one day I was riding my bike and epically crashed. I ripped a hole in my leg and couldn’t make it to the hospital. I also didn’t know how to call the country’s emergency services. I flagged down a car and when they saw the leg gash, they told me to get in. They not only drove me to the hospital, but they also held on to my bike all day, and then once I was done and back at home, brought it over to me. Complete strangers and the kindest people I had met in a while.
#33 Auspicious Timing
It was Christmas Eve and I found out that a friend of mine had literally no one to spend Christmas Day with. I lived far away and had a family of my own, but I wanted to help him somehow. I was browsing Facebook and suddenly saw a friend of ours post that he had room for a spare person on a trip. I told my first friend to go grab his passport and pack to go away for a few days, and then sent him to Amsterdam on Christmas Eve with some spending money. Dude was in tears.
#34 Pay It Forward
When I was 17, my mom signed us up to deliver presents for one of those giving tree places. The lady who she was taking presents to lived in a tiny town in a rural part of our state that was about an hour and a half from where we lived at the time, but also just happened to be close to where we had lived when I was little.
I tagged along with her because she asked, and I didn’t want her to have to drive all the way out there alone on Christmas Eve. I didn’t want to go though; I hated the tiny town we were going to. I was a moody teenager in a perpetual bad mood, and I thought I had better stuff to do. Anyway, we got out there and found the place.
It was a tiny, one room shack in among tiny one room shacks behind what used to be a little hotel on the side of a rural highway. We knocked on the door and this little woman, probably in her mid-late 20s but so careworn that she looked closer to 40, opened the door. She invited us in and we offloaded the goods, like three bags of presents. Her three kids were peeking at us from behind a curtain, and she had them come out to say thank you.
She was beaming, couldn’t stop thanking us. The kids were ecstatic. They weren’t getting presents at all until we knocked on that door. It was like 10pm Christmas Eve, and we had basically saved Christmas for them. As we left I was quiet until we got in the car. Then I turned to my mom and told her that I was glad she had brought me.
She started crying her eyes out and just grabbed me and hugged me tight. I offered to drive home and she agreed. On the way she told me that when I was little, we had been in that family’s position. We had gotten gifts from that same giving tree organization for years. I knew we had been poor, but never realized how poor. I still consider that my best Christmas. I have no idea what I got that year; but I remember giving those kids and their mom a good Christmas, and that’s so much better.
#35 All Dogs Go To Heaven
I work at a veterinary clinic, and was helping a client when he noticed that our euthanasia candle was lit. They asked if someone was saying goodbye, and I sadly nodded. His next act brought tears to my eyes. He handed me his credit card and said he’d like to pay for them. Trying not to lose it and burst into tears completely, I ran his card through and thanked him.
He waved his hand saying that he’s been in that position plenty of times, knew how difficult it was, and wanted to help. He wished to remain anonymous and left with his pet.
#36 Don’t Shoot the Messenger
There was a man on the train I was on giving grief to the ticket attendant because he had incorrectly purchased a ticket and she had asked him nicely to buy a new one. Long story short, he asked for her full name and said he wanted to write a complaint. I felt bad for her, because she was just doing her job and had done nothing wrong.
I left my spot and went on a mission to find her. When I did find her, she looked absolutely miserable. I asked her nicely if she had any spare paper and a pen, and she brought it to me. I then wrote a recommendation from myself to her boss saying that she had been a great host and was doing a great job. The smile on her face was beautiful.
#37 Destiny at Play
I went to pump gas today. The card reader was broken, so I went inside to pay. As I opened the door, I saw a mother holding her daughter’s hand saying, “come here honey,” as she inched towards the cashier. She then pulled out a crumpled dollar bill and some change and told the cashier, “$1.47 on 3 please.” When it was my turn, I added another $10 to her pump.
I tried to do the deed unnoticed, but her $1.47 worth of gas ran out before I could enter my $10 worth. This resulted in me going outside and telling her to try the pump again. She knew it was me, and was very thankful. I can’t help but wonder if the exchange was meant to be. How often is a card reader broken at a gas station forcing you to go inside?
Had that not been the case, I wouldn’t have been presented with the opportunity to help. Before the mother left, she told me that she hopes someone does something nice for me in return. Though that would be appreciated, the only thing I truly hope for in return is to be presented with more opportunities where I can be of help. I have yet a single regret: Only adding $10.
My brother and I were driving home to my parents’ house, and it was about a five-hour drive from our college. We came up a hill in a fairly rural area and I saw something weird on the side of the road; a motorcycle abandoned on its side. My brother said it was nothing, but I stopped anyway because I had an eerie feeling. I soon found out I was right.
It turns out that a 65-year-old man had crashed his motorcycle and was unconscious in the ditch. Since there was a hill right there and he was on the other side of it, he was pretty hidden and no one saw it happen. He was ten minutes away from his house too. I stayed with him until the ambulance came, and then checked in on him a few weeks later.
He had some broken ribs and was a little beat up, but he made it just fine. I think about him a lot and hope he’s enjoying his retirement and is staying away from motorcycles.
#39 Midwinter Miracle
At one point in my life, I was struggling so much financially that it was difficult to even gather up a couple of dollars to put gas in my gas-guzzler car. Consequently, I rarely had more than 1/4 tank, even in the winter. One day, I miscalculated, and I ran out of gas in the middle of town. I remember carefully walking on snow and ice to a nearby phone booth carrying my nine-month-old baby in his snowsuit.
I only had a handful of phone numbers memorized, and nobody I called answered the phone. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even have enough money for a bus. Out of desperation and feeling completely humiliated, I approached a stranger and asked for a couple of dollars so I could walk to a nearby gas station and buy some gas.
He told me a couple of dollars wouldn’t be enough, because they’d want deposit money for the gas can. I’m sure my face fell as I fought back tears and muttered, “Thanks anyway.” He looked at me a moment, and then said, “I’ll be right back. You stay here.” He left for a few minutes and came back with a full gas can. As he poured the gas into my tank for me, he told me the location of the gas station where he got it.
He then said, “I’m counting on you to return this gas can.” He drove away once I assured him that I would. When I got to the station about a half-mile away, the attendant told me that my “friend” had given him $40 and told him that it was so I could fill my gas tank and that he was to give me the change. It was like a miracle to me, and I started crying all over again.
#40 Let Me Get That for You
I was walking down the beach in Morocco on holiday in December when I saw this couple walking the opposite way to me. It was a chilly day, so the women had her hands in her pockets and she was all snuggled up in a big scarf. She started scrunching up her face and titling her head, and was clearly about to let out a big sneeze. Her partner noticed that she was about to sneeze and before I knew it, he had whipped out a tissue and covered her nose before she even had to take her hands out of her pockets. It was the most wholesome, purest and kindest thing I’ve ever seen.
#41 Saving for a Rainy Day
An acquaintance of mine with two kids had his car repossessed. I only found out after a mutual friend of ours was gossiping about it. I decided to give the guy my second car, since it was just sitting in the garage gathering dust. He used it for two years until he got his dad’s old car. I let him sell the car and keep the $600 bucks he got for it. For years before, I had people ask me why I was keeping that second car and I just kept saying, “just in case.”
#42 Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
I was at a store and there was a woman with two very small kids checking out. She had a bunch of groceries and a couple of toys for the kids. She went to pay and discovered that she didn’t have her wallet, so she told the cashier that she would put everything back. Her little girl, who was only about 2, started to cry uncontrollably.
The rough-looking man in front of me, who looked like he could have been homeless, went up to the cashier and told her that he was going to pay for everything. When the lady protested he said, “I don’t want your little girl to cry. This is my good deed for the day.” I almost cried too, as did the lady who was trying to buy her groceries.
#43 Compassion in the Cake Aisle
Years ago, I was going to a family get together and I was told I needed to bring dessert. So, I went to the store and was looking at the cake mixes for an awkwardly long time, not knowing what to get. A lady walked up beside me and began scanning the options as well. After several minutes, I said jokingly, “Are you having a tough time deciding too?”
She replied yes, and explained that for the past fifteen months, she had been watching her diet and exercise and that she lost 100 pounds. I replied, “Wow that’s incredible—you should really be proud of yourself!” She replied with a shrug. I stopped her and said it again, because I really meant it. She started to cry. I asked why she was crying, and she said that her family and friends weren’t very supportive of her efforts.
I said, “Well I’m very proud of you!” and asked if I could give her a hug. She said yes, so we hugged right there in the middle of the aisle. Then, she said thank you and we parted.
#44 Medicine Miracle
About 8 years ago, I had lost my job and was on social assistance. One day I went into my pharmacist to have my prescription filled. I miscalculated the total and I was about ten dollars short, but it was all the money I had to my name at that moment. Embarrassed, I was fiddling in my purse looking for coins when the pharmacist stopped me and said it was okay.
They just gave me the medication, no charge. A few weeks later I got a job, and upon receiving my first paycheck, I paid them a visit with a big box of chocolates and a thank you card. I tried to give them what I owed for my medication, and they refused it. What they did for me meant so much at such a dark time and I’ll never forget it.
#45 The Shoes Off His Feet
My dad was working in construction in New York City in the early 90s. It was December and it was raining, so there was nasty slush everywhere. He saw a homeless guy outside the train station on his way home. The poor man was wearing no jacket, and had shoes with holes in the bottom so large that you could see his wet socks through them.
Dad gave him the boots off his feet, the jacket off his back, two extra pairs of socks he had packed with him, and a $20 gift card to a local chain restaurant that he had received for his birthday but hadn’t used yet. We picked my dad up at the train station, shoeless, socks soaking, with no jacket, shivering uncontrollably.
Despite all that, he was smiling and waving at us as we pulled up. We were poor growing up, so he had a lot of compassion for people who were struggling. He knew, as you will if you’ve ever had to buy them, that good work boots and a good winter jacket aren’t cheap buys. He saw someone who needed what he had more than him and gave it, just because he could.
#46 Scam Safety
An older gentlemen tried to ship an envelope to his “grandson” from a shipping company I worked at. The way he acted and the things he said threw up too many red flags in my head, so against company policy, I opened the envelope after he left and found 5 figures in cash inside. I called the authorities and told them to get in touch with the man to try to figure out what was going on.
As it turns out, someone had called the older man and said his grandson was in the hospital and if they didn’t send the money, he wouldn’t get a surgery that was badly needed. The older man couldn’t get in touch with the grandson by phone, so he panicked and sent the money to the address the fraudsters provided. We were able to stop it from happening and get the money back to him. He was so grateful; he said that the money was basically his life savings.
The news ran a story on the situation, and apparently it’s a scam that happens to a lot of older people. We started a club to reach out to nursing homes to try to educate people about the scam. A lot of people were not aware of anything like that happening, so hopefully we prevented some people getting scammed. A lot of good came from me just being nosey!
#47 Love Thy Neighbor
My neighbors asked to borrow my truck one day. I told them no because I could not trust my truck due to the tires being bald. The next day, my neighbor called and said that he was getting new tires for his vehicle, and that I could have his old ones, since he knew I needed them. He told me to just show up at a certain tire shop and they would put them on for me.
When I got to the tire shop, I was shocked when they put on brand new Goodyear tires. I asked what had happened to the used tires I had been expecting to receive, wondering if there had been a mistake. The shop owner smiled and confessed that the “old tires” were just a story to get me in the shop. My neighbor had bought me a full set of new tires instead.
#48 Secret Tipster
I had been working as a server for a while, and one day I was working with a co-worker who was pretty new. They’d sent most staff home because it was late. Then disaster struck. As it always seems to happen at those times, we got super busy. My co-worker was struggling and got a terribly rude table. They didn’t seem to understand that they weren’t the only customers in the restaurant or that we were understaffed, and it took a turn for the worse.
They made her cry and have a meltdown. We’ve all been there, so I took over the table and, after they left, put $15 on the table so that she would see she had received a “tip” from the table. I never told her that I was the one who put money on the table for her. Seeing her confidence grow from that was what I was hoping for. I got my wish.
When she picked up the tip, a grin broke across her face and she said, “Wow! I must not be as terrible of a server as I thought I was! Maybe I’m getting the hang of it after all.”
#49 A Little Something Extra
My dad is a retired junior/senior high school art teacher. Every single morning for well over a decade, he packed an extra lunch and put it in a place in his classroom where a student whose family was struggling could take it without making a big deal of it. Eventually, when the older student graduated, one of his younger siblings started taking his class.
The kid would already know he could take the extra lunch bag without having to face talking to my dad about it, or being embarrassed in front of the class. I used to ask why Dad packed two lunches while I was growing up, and he would just say, “I sometimes get extra hungry.” My mom later told me the truth. He is such a quiet, humble, and extremely generous man.
#50 Mother of Mercy
When my wife gave birth to our firstborn, the woman she had shared a ward with while in the early stages of labor had a stillbirth. After giving birth, rather than spending time bonding with her newborn, my exhausted wife handed me our son and spent the next three hours comforting and consoling the poor woman. Something about the bond of mothers seemed to connect them.
The woman and her husband have since become close family friends and had two beautiful children after that—they still credit the support my wife gave them in the period of time after the stillbirth, especially in those three hours, with helping them get through their grief. It was the kindest act I’ve ever seen, done by the kindest person I’ve ever met.