Get Out The Tissues: These Heartwarming Moments Are Proof There’s Good In The World
The world can seem pretty bleak sometimes. It’s not easy out there, especially for the kind-hearted people among us who all too often find themselves stepped on by others. But every once in awhile, a miracle can happen: a beautiful moment, a stunning realization, or a random act of kindness that reminds us that people aren’t so bad after all. These real-life stories about heartwarming moments shared by Redditors are proof that there actually is good in the world after all. Get out the Kleenex and prepare to, quite literally, read ’em and weep.
#1 Can’t Put a Price on Education
On September 14, 1986, my dad dropped me off at boarding school and gave me a five-dollar bill. I never heard from him again. He never paid my tuition bill. So, from the age of 14, I took every job I could get and worked my way through. At $4 an hour, I didn’t even come close to paying off my entire bill, but the school let me stick around because I was a model student in and out of the classroom.
We get to graduation. I opened my little diploma thing expecting to see a bill in five figures. Instead there was a note: “Congratulations on your graduation. A group of us who believe in you and love you have taken care of your bill. We are proud to present you with your diploma.” I later found out that one of my friend’s dads, who was 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.
#2 Faith in Humanity Restored
My son has moderate cerebral palsy and autism. When he was about to start preschool at age three, I lost sleep over whether he would be bullied. Three years later, I’m getting choked up thinking about every time I’ve had to drop him off late. Each time in each year, his classmates stop whatever they’re doing, yell his name, smile at him, and usually a few will run over to give him a hug.
It’s the most wholesome, beautiful thing a mom could ever see.
#3 A Good Samaritan in the Bay Area
I’m heading to Oakland from San Francisco through the tube. Train’s packed as always. People on BART are good about public transit etiquette in general during commute hours so nobody’s talking or listening to music or anything. When we leave the tube onto the viaduct over the Port, one guy answers his phone. “Hello?… Yeah?… Oh my God… What hospital?… Okay I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He hangs up and just looks super distraught.
Someone taps him on the shoulder and says, “My car is parked at West Oakland. Do you need a ride?” He agrees and they get off together. Little gesture but it was uplifting to see someone volunteer for a stranger like that.
#4 Something Wasn’t Right
I was seven years old and I was riding the bus with my mother. She was a horribly abusive mother and she was screaming at me about something I can no longer remember. The woman sitting across the bus from us was staring at my mom with her mouth open and look of shock in her eyes. That one tiny moment let me know that what was happening to me wasn’t normal.
It helped to start me down the path of understanding that my mother was the one with a problem, not me. That woman on the bus probably forgot about the whole thing by the time she went to bed that night but that brief moment is still precious to me 44 years later.
#5 So This is How The Turtle Beat The Hare!
I saw a police officer stop traffic to help a turtle safely cross a very busy intersection. He stopped his car, picked up the turtle, and moved it to a marsh on the other side of the four-lane intersection.
#6 The Key to My Heart
A deaf lady with a kid asked me for help because she had snapped her key off inside her car lock. I rang a locksmith for her, and it was going to cost like $150. She told me not to get him to come out because she didn’t have the money. She was just going to leave her car and walk home. But it was getting late, so I just gave her the money instead (She could lip-read).
#7 The Meaning of True Friendship
Years ago, I struggled to pay rent and buy food. One day my buddy stopped by for a visit and asked if he could have something to drink. I told him there was some cold water in the refrigerator. He did not realize that one gallon of water in my refrigerator was all I had. He looked in my freezer, then my cupboards and saw they were empty.
I thought that he was looking for a cup. He goes, “Hang on buddy, I’ll be right back.” He comes back about 30 minutes later with several bags of groceries. I’ll never forget that and I will always be thankful.
#8 Ticket to Ride
I was at a bar with my then-girlfriend. Seated next to us was an older gentleman who was alone and looking forlorn. After some time, he tapped my girlfriend on the shoulder and said, “I like the way you two talk to one another. Here’s what I’m going to do. I spent a fortune on these tickets for my wife. Unfortunately, she can’t go anymore, and I just don’t feel like going without her. So, I’d like the two of you to have them. The only catch is that the concert starts in twenty minutes.”
He didn’t elaborate, nor would he accept any kind of payment. He asked only that we go, enjoy ourselves, and keep being good to each other. He paid his tab, handed us the tickets and left. And that’s the story of how I got front row seats to a Prince concert.
#9 Be Gentle
I was in Germany for a summer internship. In our orientation, they told us that Germans don’t do small talk like Americans. No “How’s it going?” “Nice weather today,” nothing. So I was surprised when I was walking to work on a forest trail my third day and a friendly old man sitting on a bench strikes up a conversation with me. He was smiling and patting me on the shoulder and looked like he was having the time of his life, just talking with me.
In my broken German, I talked a little, smiled politely, and then told him I had to go. He was in the middle of starting a new convo when I was said goodbye, and then he stopped. All the smiling and excitement in his face drained. He put his head down and he said quietly “Bitte bleib mit mir.” (Please stay with me.) I almost teared up on the spot.
I put my bags down, sat on the bench by him, and we talked for two hours, then went and had lunch together. I went in to work late that day. But every day for that summer, after work, we would hang out and he would tell me stories. I learned he had no one in his life. In fact, he’d been alone since the Second World War.
#10 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 something that stopped me in my tracks. He looked at it and said: “Aw, don’t worry about it, that’ll buff out. No harm done,” and drives off.
#11 A Thoughtful Gesture
I’m a science teacher and needed to buy glucose testing strips for a lab. Another teacher had the department purchasing card and Walgreens had the strips listed online for $8, so I figured I’d bite the bullet. When I got to the store they only had cases going for $58, which caused me to break down in the middle of the store.
It was my first year teaching, so my spirit had already been broken by junior high students. The pharmacist saw me crying and told me to take the test strips for free. It was the most surprising act of kindness I’ve ever experienced. I still think about it to this day.
#12 A Very Deer Fellow
We live in Canada, where a lot of deer and moose run into the middle of the road in the winter. My mom and sister were driving back home on a rural road late at night and when a deer ran in front of them. My mom couldn’t stop fast enough and hit the deer. The vehicle was wrecked and they were about 40 minutes away from home in the middle of nowhere.
A random guy pulled over to help them. He ended up driving 20 minutes to the nearest town to buy them pizza, and waited with them while my dad drove from home to pick them up.
#13 Girls Stick Together
A girl came up to me at the train station when a man was harassing me for my number/wouldn’t leave me alone/generally being very creepy and asking what train I was taking. She said “Oh my God Sarah, it’s been so long! So good to see you! Come over and say hi to me and Jake!” I’d never met her before, but I was eternally grateful she saved me from a potentially very dangerous situation.
#14 Finding a Great New Group of Buds
I was chilling out with some workout buddies after a martial arts class when they decided to do their late Christmas present exchange. At that point, I figured that was where I ought to bow out, since I’d only known them for a couple of months at this point. Surely we weren’t that close and this was a “between them” kinda thing.
Then up comes one of them with a little gift bag for me and says it’s from all three of them. They’d been texting back and forth to try and figure out something I’d like—since, you know, I’d only known them for a couple of months—and came up with a Star Wars mug. Just a Star Wars mug, sure, but I had the biggest grin on my face.
None of them knew much at all about Star Wars, they’d had to rope in one of their husbands for a fellow geek’s opinion. All that based on a related tattoo I’ve got and maybe a few sentences I’d said on the subject. That’s not just paying attention, that’s going the extra mile to include the new girl just because she hangs around to laugh at the same stupid stuff after class.
I think this is what you call “making friends as an adult.” God these people rock.
#15 When Bring a Good Kid Pays Off
At a grocery store many years ago, when I was six years old, I saw an elderly man in a wheelchair drop some quarters on the ground while going through his wallet. I rushed over to help him pick them up, and when I handed them to him he just told me to keep them. It was probably only a dollar but it made my day, and I sure hope it made his too.
#16 World’s Best Boss
My boss had plushies, sushi, and a smoothie waiting for me in her office after a stressful flight to work. She let me sleep in her office afterward for as long as I needed. The cost of food was out of her pocket and I was paid for the time. I have a great boss.
#17 Poster Board of Friendship
One time I was in the summer school class and I became friends with two girls in the class. Once, for a whole week they were purposefully ignoring me and I felt hurt. When I went to confront them, I was stunned. They surprised me with a poster board covered in magazine cut-outs that spelled my name and had pictures of things I was interested in. Pictures of my characteristics and theirs too.
They had been secretly working on it the whole time. Almost 20 years later I still have it somewhere.
#18 Giving a Classmate a Clean Slate
There was a student at my middle school who, for whatever reason, never had clean clothes and was thus the stinky kid of our school. He smelled like he never showered and there was an apparent lack of parental care. My mother is a teacher, so I always got to school very early. This kid rode the bus and also got to school early.
One day, after witnessing him get harassed about being the smelly kid, I asked my mom if we could do something to help. She gave me the ok to offer, and from then on, I would get his uniform he wore the day before, take it home, and wash it for him (I think he only had two outfits). At the beginning of each week, we would give him bath stuff to clean with. This went on for the entire seventh and eight-grade. I would always deliver his clothes to him early in the morning to save him any embarrassment.
I hope this little act of kindness improved his life in the long run.
#19 Stepping Up
When I was a child, I had an asthma attack and went to the hospital. I was kept overnight, but I was too scared to sleep. My stepdad climbed into the bed with me and held me until I fell asleep. He always made me feel safe. He came into my life when I was a one-year-old and couldn’t have loved me, my brother, or my mother, more.
He was the kind of man who would do anything for anyone—and came to my rescue more times than I can count. He’s who I want to be when I’m older. He died from cancer two days ago. The world without him seems impossible but, because of him, I’m not scared. No, I’m not scared of anything anymore.
#20 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 backroom and when she came back out to see my dad, he was utterly stunned.
She was holding a two-month supply of free samples for him. She saved my parents from paying $500 out of pocket for a drug he absolutely needed.
#21 Always Check the Bag
A friend gave me a stuffed bear during the toughest part of my life, and naturally, I kept it on a shelf. Over a year later, I discovered there was a piece of paper in the bag she gave it to me in and it was folded in half and had writing on all sides. I cried like a baby.
#22 Fans Help Fans
I’m a Seahawks fan living in Arizona. In 2011, a regular at the Starbucks I worked at gave me four tickets to the Seahawks and Cardinals game. It was the last game of the year, so he also gave us the money that was left on his stadium food card. He said it was, “use it or lose it,” and that it had about $200 left on it. The seats were club level and my three friends and I ate like kings.
As a thank you, we pooled in and got him a $100 Starbucks gift card.
#23 Safety Pins to the Rescue
To preface, I’m an American living in Japan. When I travel for a day, I use this small suitcase—it’s got a broken zipper on the front, so I just don’t use that pocket. I was sitting on the train home from a trip out of town and across from me was this sweet old lady. We kind of made eye contact and nodded at each other but neither of us spoke.
After a while, she said something aloud to no one in particular, like “Ah, the heaters under the seat are so hot.” I nodded and told her I agreed. I guess once she established that I was open to conversation and able to speak Japanese, she felt comfortable because she stood up and came over to me with two safety pins. She said, “These are for your suitcase.”
Then, she bent down to help me fix it. I felt so bad at first, but she insisted, so I settled for helping her do it instead. After I thanked her she sat back down in her own seat. Then, I remembered I had a box of caramels in my purse, so I offered her one in return as thanks. She took it while saying it had been a long time since she ate one. That experience kept me happy for a long time afterward.
#24 Fix That Collar
When I was a young man, I did really well in high school. All As, the teacher’s pet, the whole shebang. After high school, with a lot of effort from me and my parents, I managed to get into a really good college. It was hell. While I was the smartest guy back in high school, doing well with no effort, here I felt like an idiot compared to 99% of people.
Every day was depressing. I didn’t understand anything, nothing was working out, and worst of all, I couldn’t make any friends. I felt like nobody even knew who I was. Finally, I decided to drop out of school. I went to a couple more classes, and I was standing in line to talk to this one professor who I liked. I was planning on saying goodbye to him.
And then the guy behind me straightened my collar, slapped me on the back, and said, “C’mon, Alex, a genius like you can’t walk around with a popped collar.” I spun around, kind of scampered off, and hyperventilated a little bit. Then I got my life in order, stayed in college, and eventually graduated and got a good job.
Whenever I felt conflicted after that, I just thought of that guy and what he said, and my whole day brightened. I tried finding him later, with no success. That was a couple of years ago. A couple of days ago, I was walking in the street, when, there’s the guy! I run up to him and tell him how much I owe him, and how grateful I am.
I’ll never forget what he said. “Who are you?” So, I told him the whole story, and we laughed and went our separate ways. It just got to me. He changed my whole life and didn’t even know who I was. Crazy.
#25 A Home-Run for Altruism
This is what my uncle did for someone that we didn’t know about until the person he did it for told us at his wake. There was a single mom who did not have a lot of money, and her son loved baseball. My uncle was at a game, and so he managed to catch one of the balls that went into the stands and get it signed by one of the players.
He then gave it to the mom to give to her son and she told him, “Oh, he’s going to love you for doing this!” To which my uncle responded, “No, tell him you did it. He’ll think you’re the best mom ever.” He never told anyone that story and it wasn’t until that mom was at his wake that we found out. A real selfless guy, my uncle. It’s a shame he died at 50.
RIP Uncle Peter.
#26 From All Angles
There are a nearly endless number of stories that I could tell about my father. Throughout my entire childhood, the man was everything from an amateur magician to an insightful educator. When I wanted to create a “real lightsaber,” he helped me design and build the thing (which really just turned out to be a particularly unsafe flashlight) from scratch. If ever I was curious about some detail in the world, he’d devise an experiment that we could run together…with some of those experiments seeming to involve real magic.
Still, perhaps the most important thing that my father ever did for me was teach me how to think. Whenever I needed help with something—regardless of what form the issue took—he would run through the same script with me: “What’s the problem?” he’d ask. “Why is it a problem? What’s causing the problem? How can you fix it?” If my answer to any of those questions was “I don’t know,” he’d encourage me to re-examine the situation.
For example, I got a stereo for my birthday when I was about ten years old, and the CD player stopped functioning after only a couple of weeks. Rather than simply fixing it for me, my father supervised my attempts at diagnosing and repairing the malfunction, using those aforementioned questions as a guide. I can remember carefully extracting screw after screw, exposing the inner electronics of the music-player…and thoroughly failing to find anything noticeably wrong with the system.
Strangely enough, though, the damned thing started working again after I’d put everything back together, leading my father to offer another life lesson. “Sometimes,” he told me, “if you look at a problem closely enough, it will solve itself. Other times, you have to take a step back and look at the situation as a whole.”
It took me quite a few years before I realized what I actually learned in those moments, since each scenario seemed pretty unique to me at the time. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to understand what I was actually being taught, and why it was such a valuable skill: There’s very little that you can’t accomplish if you’re willing to figure it out on your own…but sometimes, the real challenge is in changing the way that you’re looking at things.
I also learned to make sure that my stereo’s speakers were actually connected
#27 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.
#28 Cool Dad
When I was growing up, I had a special boulder I would sit on. There was a tree growing right next to it, providing perfect shade, and the slope of the rock was just right for leaning against. I spent half my childhood/early teenage years out there reading and daydreaming with my dog; it was where people knew to look for me if they couldn’t find me in the house.
When my parents got divorced and had to sell the property, my dad took a sledgehammer out to the rock, broke a big chunk off, and gave it to me so I would have a piece of it wherever I go. I cried like a baby.
#29 Knocking On Heaven’s Door
It was Thanksgiving Day, 2003. I was driving down to my parents’ house on Long Island from Buffalo, New York—roughly a seven or eight-hour drive. As I’m about halfway there, I have a tire blow out on me. It’s just completely shredded. I managed to get the donut on and slowly tried to make my way into the next town. Most of New York state is just farms and emptiness, including the spot this happened to me in.
I tried stopping at every store along the way that could conceivably have a tire, but nothing was open. I stopped at a police station, but they just told me to get a hotel until tomorrow. So, I hopped back into my car and kept going. That’s when my donut went flat. I got out and started walking. This is 2003, so I didn’t have a cell phone.
I knocked on the door of the first house I could find, hoping they’d let me use their phone to call my parents and inform them of this situation. The lady who answered the door not only invited me in and let me use her phone, but even offered me food and then, to my complete shock, called her friend who owned a used car dealership, had them tow my car to the dealership and put on a new tire, all free of charge.
I went from completely missing Thanksgiving and having to spend the night in some crummy hotel outside Binghamton to being back on my way within two hours. I’ll never forget that lady.
#30 A Cinderella Story
Spring 2018. I accidentally stumbled upon a wedding dress I loved for $60 with only three weeks left until my wedding. I called around everywhere but no one could help me out and do the alterations. I was so upset. I was discussing this with a coworker on our hospital lunch break in a quiet area and a nurse from the cancer center pops around the corner and says, “I do alterations! I’d love to look at it!”
Taken aback, I ask her what she usually charges for her work. She says, “Eh, $50.” (This is extremely cheap for wedding dress alterations.) I accept her offer, get her number, and we arrange for me to bring it in on our lunch break the next day. She had me do several fittings, just to make sure it’s perfect. She even purchased additional material for part of it. During those times, we spoke about our lives and she told me that her mother passed this winter.
They used to sew together, and working on projects like this makes her feel close to her mom again. On the day I pick it up she hands me the dress with a huge smile. I try to give her the money and she won’t take it. She says it’s on her, in honor of her mother. I broke down and we both cried together. I promised to pass on her good deed one day.
#31 Putting a Smile on Others’ Faces
When driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, at the tollbooth we were told that the car in front of us had paid our toll already. We tried to catch up to see who they were and to thank them, but they sped away. Now we do this sometimes at tollbooths and it is really fun and worth the small amount of cash.
#32 A Simple Hug
30 years ago, when I was 17, my friend and I went over to a classmate’s house and saw her hug her dad. Up until that moment, I had no conscious knowledge that kids existed who loved their parents. Or that parents could be loving to their children. That moment changed the way I saw the world and always stuck with me when I became a father.
There weren’t very many days when I was raising my own daughter that that moment didn’t come to mind and remind me to show her love. That classmate was universally loved and tragically died young from cancer. So, I never got to tell her what she’d done for me. I did make it a point to hunt down her dad, tell him the story, and thank him.
Without witnessing that, my entire adult life would’ve been dramatically different.
#33 The Age of Good Company
I’m in AA, and none of my “normal” friends really know. About a month ago, a gentleman called the meeting place looking for a ride to the meeting. I volunteered to pick him up and to give him a ride home. When I pulled up to the address that he gave me, I realized it was an assisted living facility. He must have been at least 90 years old.
He began to tell me that his wife had just passed and that he really needs a meeting. Now, every week I give him rides to meetings, even if it doesn’t fit into my schedule. When I went to pick him up last week, his face was completely black and blue. Someone in his care facility had assaulted him. Eventually, I convinced him to report the situation to the authorities and the employee has since been fired.
I’ve learned that when he has something to say, just listen. Sometimes that’s all a person needs.
#34 Give Him A Round Of A-paw-se
A random guy who saved my dog’s life one night. I had just adopted a large German shepherd/lab mix that night and brought him outside of my apartment to pee. I didn’t have the right collar/didn’t realize he’d never seen traffic before so he immediately panicked, backed out of his collar and sprinted across the four-lane (very busy) road in front of my apartment.
I ran after him, dodging traffic, and miraculously got him to come back to me…but he wouldn’t let me put the collar back on him…so I was just kneeling on the sidewalk in my pajamas, clutching this giant terrified dog, traffic speeding past me, wondering how I was going to get him back inside. And then this random guy appeared in a very nice suit and jacket and asked if I needed help and I basically said, “Yes, can you carry my dog back into my building?”
Without a second thought, he reached down, scooped up my giant dog like a baby and walked with me back into my apartment, brushed himself off and said he was late for a dinner. I gave him a hug and he walked off. He was amazing and I think about him all the time.
#35 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.
#36 Rekindling the Passion
Used to do B&W photography when I was young … even managed a few solo shows. Then I move to a different province, hit tough times, and end up having to sell all of my gear. Canon A1, ZoneXI field camera, a dozen lenses, 4×5 darkroom enlarger and all the darkroom goodies … everything. Moved back home, got my life back on track, and then meet my future wife.
I tell her my photography past and its unfortunate outcome, and think nothing more of it. My birthday arrives many months later and I open a tall cylindrical tin from her. When I opened it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Inside is a mint condition Canon A1 camera body, and tickets to see David Bowie. I literally cried.
Did I mention I also told her I didn’t think I would ever get to see Bowie live? I asked her to marry me a month later.
#37 Do You Know Who I Am?
After several long delays at the airport, my flight home was abruptly canceled while I was standing in line at the gate waiting to board it. The next day was my son’s first birthday, so I needed to get home in time. I went up to the United desk and the staff refused to help me in any way. Not only could I not get onto another flight that day, but there was nothing available for me the next day either.
This was all despite the fact that I was internetting the hell out of my phone and showing them all sorts of flights listed online as available, including both direct and connecting options that would get me where I needed to be. For some reason, they were still refusing to accommodate me, and I just didn’t have the money to go and buy something else. It got to the point where I was starting to visibly lose my cool over all of this.
A guy in line stepped out after hearing me. He told them he had some crazy status at the airline, and asked to speak directly to the manager. Next thing I knew, he was transferring his own ticket on a direct flight to me so I could get home to see my baby boy. I don’t even know what happened. I tried to thank him in every way I knew how and he refused to take anything from me—he just told me that he knew what it was like from when he was younger, and that he wished there could have been someone to have done the same for him.
I hugged the guy, probably against his will, and then ran to make my (AKA his) plane. I found myself in an amazing first-class seat home for the first time in my life. This dude was seriously an angel and I will never forget him.
#38 Kids, Kids, Everywhere
I was at Target to do some shopping when my baby had a blown-out diaper. I also had my two-year-old with me. There was no family restroom, so I had to use the changing station in the ladies’ room. My toddler was out of control and was just itching to do gross stuff like lick the floors or play in toilet water or something that would horrify literally anyone on the planet except a mischievous two-year-old.
A woman, probably somewhere in her 40s, witnessed my predicament (baby on changing table and me unable to physically intervene with the two-year-old) and interacted with my toddler so that I could deal with the poop-splosion my tiny infant son produced. They counted sinks, jumped from tile to tile, made silly faces to one another.
It probably only lasted two to three minutes, but it was the most helpful thing someone could have done for me in that overwhelming moment.
#39 This is One Awesome Mom
My mom is a piano teacher and was shopping in a music store. A 10-year-old kid came in wanting to buy his first musical instrument. He wanted a ukulele, so the clerk showed him somewhere the entry-level model was; it cost about $65. He ran back outside to his mom waiting in the car, then came back in and asked, “What is the cheapest musical instrument you have?” and the clerk started showing him a $3 kazoo.
Overhearing this made my mom sad, so she went over and asked the kid if he really wanted a ukulele and would promise to practice and learn it. Hooked him up with the instrument, a beginner book, picks, etc. When she left the store the kid and his mom both waited to give her a hug.
#40 Pay It Forward
I flew home from California to North Carolina to visit my family. My wife and I went out to eat at a local breakfast shop. While waiting to be seated, an old couple in front of us sparked some small talk with us. In those 20 minutes, we spoke about my military career, life, sports, family, everything. They were super cool people.
We finally sat down to eat and enjoyed our breakfast. I started looking for our waitress to grab the check when she informed us that the older couple had grabbed the check, paid for us, and thanked us for talking to them that day. Such an awesome feeling, and ever since, if I ever eat out on Sundays and hold a dope conversation with a stranger, my wife and I will pay for their meal.
Pay it forward!
#41 A Little Reassurance
I was in a youth shelter a few years back that would routinely open the door to check on their residents. In my childhood and teenage years, I had family members who would barge in to beat me in the middle of the night randomly and without reason. So, I tended to bolt upright as soon as the air stirred from the door opening.
It was a condition that was years in the making and that really had nothing to do with the shelter. Anyway, there was an employee there who was known to be a real “by the book” kind of person. She followed the rules to the letter and rarely gave exceptions or special considerations, and so many of the other residents disliked her.
I always followed the rules and so we never really interacted much. It was my first week in the shelter and when she opened the door, I startled her with my reaction and we ended up staring at each other for a little bit. That’s when she told me, in the kindest voice I’d ever heard coming from her “It’s okay, you know. No one here’s going do anything to you. It’s safe.”
I nodded because I didn’t know how else to respond, but it did make me feel better. I had been living under fear for so long and she was the first person to ever tell me that I was safe. In my entire life. Unfortunately, it didn’t change any of my learned behaviors and I still never feel totally safe. Yet I still remember her saying that to me.
I also had the sneaking suspicion that she didn’t check up on me as much as the others after that and maybe told the other employees as well.
#42 Consider Him Shook Out of His Shell
In college, I saw an extremely obese guy who was very socially awkward and pretty much afraid of everything, slip and fall on a patch of ice outside of our dorm hall, right onto his back, completely destroying the lunch that was in his backpack. I normally would have just chuckled at the sight, but something told me to go help the guy.
While the rest of the onlookers just gawked at him, pointed, and mumbled, I went over hooked his arm and helped him to his feet. The poor guy had tears in his eyes from embarrassment (or a destroyed lunch), so I gave him a card for a free sandwich at Chick-fil-a and told him what my Dad used to tell me growing up: “Shake it off, bud, you’ll be fine.”
After that day, I started seeing him around campus (small school) opening up and making friends. We never got close, but we’d always exchange a hello in passing. When we graduated, we were able to put a quote in our program about our college experience and he wrote something along the lines of, “To the guy who helped me up and told me to ‘Shake it off…’ Thank you.”
#43 All in the Family
My adoptive older brother has been my superhero. I may not be blood, but he never treated me any different as a younger sister. He has been my emotional rock throughout childhood, teenage years, and even now. He would shield our younger brother and me from parents’ wrath, taking blame for us, deal with bullies, and take time to play games with me and help out with homework.
When in middle school and high school, he would be around during my time of need (when I was going through puberty, he always had some pads in his backpack, more or less due to how forgetful and a klutz I was). He also introduced me to the hobbies that would help get me through tough times and teach me how to handle myself.
My older brother is a wonderful mentor, and despite the fact that we live far apart now, he always has time to be my pen pal. Sure, he teases me a lot for being a bumbling fool at times, the usual big brother thing, but he is a giant with a heart of gold. I could not ask for a better older brother.
#44 Proud Papa
My family came to the US from Mexico when I was three, and to me, my dad has always been like Superman. He used to work five days a week at a factory, plus nights six days a week as a valet. All of that was for my family to be able to have a better life and as I grew older I started to realize how much he sacrificed for me.
I used to get upset at him because we had this tradition growing up where we would go to the video store, rent a couple of movies, and then watch them together. However, he would always fall asleep during the movie and that made me feel like he either hated them or got bored spending time with me. Now I realize the reason he fell asleep was that he was so tired from working two jobs, but he still went out of his way to have this little tradition and spend time with me.
One memory I have that especially changed my view of him was when I graduated from high school. It didn’t really mean a lot to me because I was a stupid teenager and thought it was cool to not care. I remember when we were driving back, about to celebrate at this diner we have been going to for years. I was sitting in the back of his van and saw his face in the mirror.
He was crying, silently, but that was the first time I had ever seen him shed a tear in my entire life. It was because he was proud and that was a really life-changing moment for me. I understood at that moment just how much he really loved me even if he never showed directly because of the “macho culture” he was raised with.
#45 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.
#46 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.
#47 The Butterfly Effect
For Christmas two years ago, my mother had sent my grandmother a butterfly necklace. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve so she was never able to open the gift. My aunt sent the necklace back and my mother kept it in her jewelry box. This year when I was getting ready for graduation, my mother told me to turn around.
Pretty commonplace, since I never wear jewelry and she’s always insisting I wear something. When I looked in the mirror, I burst into tears. It was my grandmother’s butterfly necklace. One of my grandmother’s final wishes was to see me graduate college, and this was my mother’s way of making sure she could see it.
#48 This One Has Got to Take the Cake
My birthday one year was really sucking, so I decided to go out and buy myself a cake at the grocery store. On a whim, I decided that I also wanted to get it decorated, because it was my birthday and I just wanted something a little nice to make me feel better. When the guy at the counter asked me who it was for, in order to know what name to put on it, I told him that it was for me.
He was very incredulous to the idea that I would have to buy my own birthday cake. I just kind of shrugged it off and went on to finish the rest of my shopping for groceries. He said my cake would need to be paid for at pick up. When I came back to pay for and pick up my cake, a different person was at the register—and to my surprise, she said my cake had already been paid for.
It was also decorated a bit more than I thought it should have been. I have not seen that guy working there since and, in my head, I now think of him as the cake fairy. It was a really good cake, too. Unfortunately, I still cried while eating it because the entire rest of the day sucked—but it was definitely a good cake and an awesome thing to experience.
#49 Everything’s Coming Up Roses
I was in a deep depression some years back and decided to just take a walk in the park. I had been sitting down for some minutes when a kid, who could not have been more than four years old, came up to me and handed me three yellow sunflowers. This little random act of kindness became one of the most memorable moments of my life.
#50 Always Pay it Forward
When my daughter was in the hospital with a brain tumor last year, many people sent money (total of $800ish) to help with our costs. We initially didn’t think we were going to need any money, but over the three weeks we were at the hospital, the money was a godsend for meals, buying clothes rather than leaving to do laundry, etc.
When we were a few days from leaving the hospital, I spoke with another family that was really struggling because they had to drive two hours each way every day to come visit their grandchild (who was going to die as a result of parental abuse). We had a couple hundred dollars left of our gifts, so we stuck it in an envelope and asked the nurse to give it to them later.
The nurse wasn’t supposed to tell them where the money was coming from, but they did, and the grandparents tracked us down and tried to give the money back. We of course refused and the family gave us a nice thank you note. I didn’t want them to know where the money came from, and I didn’t want any thanks, but in a way I am glad it played out the way it did.
Seeing the impact the money had (and let’s face it, $200 isn’t a huge amount) really resonated with me, and has encouraged me to be generous any time I can, even with small gifts. It changed my life, and I know without any doubt that the $200 stuffed in an envelope changed their lives and was one of the only bright spots in their time at the hospital.
It wasn’t about the money. It was about having a stranger care about them in their time of need. I don’t want it to sound like I’m patting myself on the back. I simply passed some gifts on to a person who needed them more. I only like to tell this story because I want others to know how easy it can be to have a positive impact in the life of others.
#51 Puppies Make Everything Better
We recently got a puppy, I walk him every day. Along the way, there is always this homeless guy sitting on the corner. Koda (the puppy) never hesitates to run up and start jumping around the man on the ground, he loves everyone. Today the gentleman without a home said Koda and I visiting has become the highlight of his days.
He went on to say how not many people even make eye contact with him, how he feels invisible in a sea of people and sometimes goes without anyone to talk to for weeks. It’s not really an act of kindness I suppose, but I’m glad someone adores the puppy as much as I do. Especially someone who hasn’t had much good to feel these last few years.
#52 A Kind Act That’s Appreciated, Doesn’t Go Unnoticed
In my small town, there’s an older guy who wears the biggest smile and stands on his porch waving to all the traffic. I always wave back. The sad thing is that he lives in a super rough area of town, and kids and teenagers regularly make fun of him and tease him while shouting at him. Somehow, he just smiles through all this.
One time I honked at him while waving and the next day he came up to my car when I was at a stoplight and gave me flowers. I always honk and wave on my way home from work.
#53 There’s Hope For This World After All
During a heavy rainstorm, a thoughtful guy in a crowded parking lot noticed an elderly couple trying to pull into a spot where someone had left their shopping cart. He got soaked doing it, but he smiled and removed the cart to the collection area so the couple could have the parking place. There was a remarkable expression of gratitude on their faces, which I won’t forget.
#54 Gentleman of the Class
I was in high school and there was some big test I needed to take for a class. My mom didn’t like letting me miss school under any circumstances, including immediately after kidney surgery, so she made me go and take this test. I barely remember the test itself, but when I was done I just curled into a fetal position and shivered because I felt so cold.
A guy who sat next to me got up and put his coat over me. Didn’t say a word. Just gave me his coat and sat back down. I’m pretty sure his name was Frederick, but I don’t know his last name and I don’t think I knew it then. I have no idea where he is now, but I bet he grew up splendidly.
#55 Soul Food
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 cereals for the last two days in a joking manner because I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping due to the exams. The next morning, he brought me two plates of delicious butter chicken with rice.
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.
#56 I Remember This Song
A dear friend of mine’s father passed away, and he left her his two guitars. When she was a little girl, she used to go to some of his gigs and watch him play. Her father was a giant of a man, but a real gentleman in every sense of the word (I met him once before he passed on—when I shook his hand, my hand disappeared into one of the biggest fists I’ve ever seen).
She was an only child and loved to listen to her dad play his guitar. Soon after he passed, my friend got behind on her bills a little and was hurting for money. Knowing that I played guitar, she asked if I’d like to buy it from her. The guitar was a gold-top Gretsch, probably from the 1960s. It had been re-finished and customized some, really hurting its value in the vintage market.
I knew what it was worth, and I made her a fair offer (honestly, probably even a little bit more than it was worth) and she accepted. She said she hated parting with that guitar because it reminded her of happy times with her dad but was glad that she was selling it to me because at least she knew I’d properly take care of it.
About a year later at Christmas time, I called her and said I’d be back in town and would love to hang out with her for a bit because we live in different states and don’t see each other very often. We made plans, and I went over to her place. When she opened the door, I was standing there with a guitar case with a red bow on it.
She looked at me and said, “What’s that?” I said, “It’s my Christmas gift to you.” She knew EXACTLY what was in that case. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone break down and cry HARD like that, nearly uncontrollably. When she finally composed herself, I told her I wasn’t giving it to her as much as I was assigning her exclusive permanent guardianship of it, and I still reserved the right to play it whenever I wanted (wink, wink).
She laughed, brought it inside, and we went out to lunch. I’ve never told anyone that story before. Not sure why.
#57 Real Fore-sight
My old foreman back when I was a carpenter’s apprentice. We would talk while we worked and one day he told me, “Hey man, you are too smart to be doing this kind of work, have you thought about college?” I told him no, so one day instead of going back to the job site after lunch, he drove me to the community college in my city and we met with a counselor.
He helped me complete all the paperwork and get registered for classes. When I had to pick a major, I settled on the first on the list—Anthropology. I had no idea what anthropology was and I probably couldn’t spell it if you asked me back then. I fell in love with the subject. Five years later, I graduated with honors from a four-year university after transferring.
I was accepted into a master’s program. I now work a desk job with a great salary on the 17th floor of an air-conditioned building in the central district. I have a window view of a construction site across the street. I sometimes imagine my life if it wasn’t for that foreman (Art was his name). I would be working in the hot sun along with the other guys down there.
I’m grateful for my current place in life…all thanks to one person taking an interest in me and following through. I have been involved with a mentoring program the last few years and have personally walked two people down to the community college to meet with counselors and complete applications.
#58 The Gift that Keeps on Giving
My father-in-law came here as a refugee, and when he became financially comfortable, he didn’t get greedy, he got generous. He regularly volunteers in the community and helps other people. He treats me like one of his kids. He does not feel bitter or dwell on people who have taken advantage of his kindness, and doesn’t let the few bad apples stop him from helping people.
I wish I could be half as good a person as he is. I have no idea how he isn’t jaded.
#59 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.
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.
#61 Sweeter Than Chocolate
I was once feeling really down because of school, and also just life in general. I stopped at a convenience store on the way home one day to pick up a bit of chocolate to make myself feel better. The guy at the register must have noticed how miserable I was looking, because he let me have the chocolate bar for free. It was a really simple act of kindness, but it almost made me tear up in the middle of that convenience store.
It instantly improved a lousy day for me, whether the guy realized it or not.
#62 Bathing Suit or Birthday Suit?
One time on a cruise ship when I was young, my bathing suit flew off of one of those wave machine things in the pool. To be clear, it didn’t just slide down a bit, exposing some of my butt. It came completely off. WHOOSH. Trying to stand, keep my boyhood covered, and look for my trunks all at once in the middle of a tsunami was tricky to say the least.
All of a sudden, a towel from out of nowhere hits me in the face. Thank you, kind stranger!
#63 Just a Little Short
I was at Goodwill waiting for my wife after paying. Saw a lady in line dump out her change purse on the counter, and I heard the cashier say it’s not enough. I knew what I had to do. I walked over and asked how much she owed. 40¢. So I put 40¢ into the lady’s hand and said have a nice day. She seemed equally happy and embarrassed. I hope she likes her new outfit.
#64 Unexpected iPod Relay
I was running and dropped my MP3 player without realizing it on a busy city street. A nice older man literally stopped in traffic and flagged me down. When I didn’t respond because I was spacing out, he honked and waved his hands for like five seconds. People were beeping for him to go, but he was persistent. When he had my attention, he said, “He has it! He has it! Hurry!”
I turned around and ran two blocks and caught up with a guy who had just picked it up and tried to fast walk away. Thanks, dude.
#65 The Future is Bright
When my youngest brother was eight, he came home with a “student of the month” paper in his folder. This is how he earned it: he heard that the school custodian recently had come back from having back surgery, so after lunch, he gathered a few of his buddies and they swept the cafeteria to give the custodian a break. He was so humble about it too, he didn’t care that he got noticed.
I just remember being so proud and crying a bit because although I knew he is a good nugget, I just didn’t expect him to go out of his way at such a young age and to get his buddies to follow. Makes my heart happy.
#66 We All Need a Friend Like This
At a concert, I saw a buddy walking with his friend who was blind and also somewhat physically disabled. I overheard him telling his blind friend “Oh man I was so smashed last night! I couldn’t walk or see anything. Thank goodness for you and your cane. You were steering us everywhere like a champ. I would have been helpless without you!”
It was really so heartwarming. You could see how much it meant to his friend to be told how he was the helper, not the person being helped. I’m assuming he was being a little hyperbolic, but the amount of joy I saw brought to his friends face from his kind words was so heartwarming.
#67 Greek Santa
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.
#68 Anonymous Ski Trip
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. Aside from going to that high school at two disjunct 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. I had to work to pay my own way.
I had problems with my mom and my stepdad and I hadn’t yet fully forgiven my dad. I had my own bills that I was responsible for. I could never afford to go on one of the band trips. Then, all of a sudden, about a week and a half before the trip, my band director pulled me aside. He asked 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. It 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.
#69 Scholarship Was His Greatest Duty
My grandfather was a professor at the University of Florida in the agriculture department. He was also a veteran of the Navy. One day, a student who was returning to school from being away on military duty came to my grandfather’s office. The student told my grandfather he had to drop out of school to work full-time so he could take care of his wife and kids.
Well, my grandfather knew how important education was and wouldn’t allow it. My grandfather paid for this young man’s tuition, not knowing whether or not he would be paid back, without telling anyone. My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and when his obituary was posted in the Gainesville newspaper, my uncle got a call from this student.
Apparently, the student finished his undergrad and ended up becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The best part is, my grandfather never told anyone about this story and none of us had learned of it until his passing. But this is just the kind of man my grandfather was. You don’t have to believe me, as I know this is a pretty crazy story, but I know it to be true.
The student DID pay him back. There is still faith in humanity.
So about a decade ago I was deported from the country where I’d spent a decade of my life. My family moved out there when I was 10. I went to the United States to visit some family when I was 18. Upon returning I found out that I had been an illegal immigrant for four years (14-18, so I wasn’t in much of a position to handle all the immigration stuff).
I was put in a customs cell, questioned for a few hours, and then deported back to the states. So there I am, an 18-year-old in a country that was more or less foreign to me, stuck in LAX, thousands of miles away from anywhere I had any connections. I had to wait there for a few days while my family scraped together the money for a flight, and my mum called literally everyone she could in immigration to fix it.
Well, she got in touch with the Consulate General, who actually put me up for a few days while I figured everything out. I don’t know the name of the woman who helped me from the Consulate anymore—that was a hazy few months for me—but her kindness to a complete stranger in a devastating position was one of the things that pulled me through the darkest time I’d ever faced at that point in my life.
#71 The Bar Regular With a Heart of Gold
I was sitting in a bar having a beer after work when this guy comes in and orders some shots. After the first couple, he starts low-key crying. A semi-regular old man sitting near him asked what was up, turns out his girlfriend split up with him, and he wasn’t taking it well. Old man asks to join him for a drink, new guy agrees. This old man, named Keith, always drank two beers, paid, and left.
Anyways, they sat there and got absolutely hammered drunk. Keith was going on about how he hadn’t let loose since he was stationed on Okinawa. By this point, the new guy has completely forgotten about his ex-girlfriend. They made each other’s evening. Next time I saw Keith, I asked him how the night went. He said he hadn’t had a hangover like that in decades.
The new guy became a semi-regular and joined our little bar family. He eventually hooked up with a new girl, and I believe they’re still seeing each other.
#72 A Touching Moment
I have two nieces. At the little one’s birthday, her friend gave her two unicorn toys. She immediately looks at big sis with a huge smile, “Look big sis! This one for you! We can both play!” She was genuinely so excited to play unicorns with her sister and it never even occurred to her that she didn’t need to give one to her. My heart grew three sizes that day.
#73 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.
#74 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.
#75 The Musician’s Code
I’m a record producer. On a particular song, the client wanted a child’s voice to open it, so the bassist’s 10-year-old son recorded a section. Once we wrapped, the singer said to the kid: “Musicians get paid.” And he handed the kid a £20 note. The bassist then did the same. A small gesture maybe, but in our world making a living is hard and it was amazing to see professionals showing how it ought to be.
#76 A Sweet Christmas Tradition
One Christmas season, I saw a young woman walking through an IKEA picking up things in the huge marketplace area, taking a picture of them, putting them back, and moving on. She was obviously thinking intently about gifts but I was confused—was she making a wish list or something? An employee saw this and asked if they could help her find something.
She says “Oh, no thank you. I’m helping my Dad Christmas shop. He works really hard and has very little time, plus when he gets off work his brain is just fried. So every year when I’m on break I go around to a bunch of stores and take pictures of things I think my mom would really like. Then I’ll show them to him at home, we talk about them and he picks some out. Then I go back and get them. It’s the least I can do for him, plus it’s kinda become our little secret Christmas tradition. Mom has no idea.”
#77 An Incredible Daughter
When my wife and I got married in 2004, we adopted a petite black lab mix female from a dog pound in Japan. She traveled the world with us, was there for us when my wife and I went through two back to back miscarriages, and was my best friend. She died in 2015. For the holidays in 2016, my daughter (11 at the time) spent her lunch money the previous February (the anniversary of our dog’s death) on a small figurine of a black lab puppy that looked just like ours, wrapped it up, and gave it to me on the morning of December 25th.
She told me that since I always miss my dog, she wanted me to have something to remind me of her. I spent most of the day in tears, because at 37 years old, it’s the most meaningful thing anyone has ever given me (other than my wife giving me two amazing ankle-biters who grew up to be smarter than I ever will be).
#78 Not Today, Fellas!
I was waiting at a train station in South Auckland at around 10 at night. For those who are not so familiar with my home country of New Zealand, let’s just say that South Auckland has a reputation for being a “bad place.” Anyway, our trains system forces us to pre-purchase our tickets at vendors. So, me being a skinny young naive 16-year-old, I openly pull out my wallet full of cash to buy my ticket without realizing that a train station full of criminals and druggies were surrounding me.
I grab my ticket and sit down as far away from everyone else as possible, just to avoid potential trouble. Then, as I’m sitting there reading a book, these two fairly large guys begin to walk up to me demanding my cash. Then, seemingly from out of nowhere, this man runs up to us, jumps in between me and the guys, and shouts “NO, NOT TODAY, WALK AWAY!”
The men flee, and this helpful stranger then sits with me for the rest of my time there to make sure that nothing else happens. When my train finally comes in, my new hero sees me off and then continues on his way as if it was all no big deal.
#79 Take my Hand
Every Saturday morning, I go to the mall to run my errands. I always see a couple who look like they’re in their eighties. Every single time, they’re walking around together and holding hands.
#80 Someone Pass the Tissues!
My boss’ five-year-old daughter was drawing a picture for me and said, “This is you, a princess!” I thought my heart would combust because that was just so sweet. She proceeded to make a little collection of drawings, which she folded into a book, and gave to me. It was all hearts and rainbows. It made my day to be honest!
#81 A Calm Voice in a Rough Spot
One time my motorcycle died at an intersection. I was like 16 or 17 maybe. It died while I was rolling and I just rolled right through the intersection (it was still a green light luckily) and down about a quarter-mile maybe. I pulled the bike to the side of the road and onto the sidewalk. It was nighttime, like maybe 10:00ish.
The intersection was at a Meijer known locally as “the ghetto Meijer” and the area I rolled to was almost section eight kinda housing. On the stoop of the apartments was a gathering of fellas, just drinking 40s, smoking, talking, and for some reason wearing generally the same color. Needless to say, I was sketched out, like really sketched out.
It was dark and I was a white looking kid (I’m half and half white/black, but look like a slightly tanned white boy). I was scared. I’m standing there trying to figure out what was wrong with my $700, whack Kawasaki ninja, just keeping a lookout over my shoulder the whole time. Then, out of nowhere this man walks up the sidewalk and I’m like, “Here we go, gotta empty my pockets I guess.”
The man stops next to me, looks at me, and smiles. “Are you okay? Do you need some help? Do you know what’s wrong? I have a flashlight.” I told him I had no idea what was wrong and I just was going to push it up the hill and call my dad. He offered to help and handed me the flashlight and he helped me push the bike up the sidewalk to a carwash (it was closer and we’ll lit enough).
I’m assuming he could tell I was sketched about the area because he talked to me the whole walk. I called my dad and he went to the wrong car wash, so I had to wait twice as long for him. The man talked to me the whole time just about life and growing up and just talked, I didn’t pay too much attention to what he was saying, I just knew it was calming me down.
My dad shows up finally, the man helps us put the bike in his van (it was a little 230ish pound 250cc bike, so it was small enough to fit in a van), and then he says, “Have a good night,” and just walks away. I’ll never forget that moment in my life.
#82 Surprise Bodyguards
A stranger saved my life. My best friend and I about a creepy man following and staring at us. We were getting ready for a concert and decided to take some pictures outside. I’d say we were about one mile from the venue. My best friend started taking pics of me, and a man on a bike stopped next to us. He said, “There’s a creepy man staring at you. He’s around the corner and keeps looking. I would take your pictures somewhere else. Be careful.” And left.
Sure enough, we caught him peeking around the corner. We left. The sad thing is, we ended up warning several people about the same thing. As we got closer to the venue, several creepy older men were staring and following 12-13-year-old girls. All the concert goers banned together to keep each other safe.
#83 Shout Out to All the Lunch Ladies
My last week of high school, our lunch lady gave out small gifts to some of the seniors. Just the kids that took the time to chat with her that she got to know more personally. I received a sketchbook with a sweet good luck note in it (I was always in art club and was going to school for fine arts). So she took the time to get all of us a gift that was specific to us.
This lady saw hundreds of kids a day and still took the effort to get to know us.
#84 Airport Bathroom Hero
A stranger 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.
#85 We Could All Use a Hug When We’re Down
In Austin, Texas, my family and I went to a breakfast place. The food was good and the waiters and waitresses were amazing, but they messed up our order. They were short on staff, apparently. Someone had either quit or got fired, and another person had called out that day, so it was only a few people. My mother went to go to the bathroom, and when she came out, she noticed our waitress standing at the corner. She was about to cry or was already crying.
My mother noticed her high-stress levels and asked if she had wanted a hug. The waitress nodded. My mom opened her arms and brought the waitress into a hug to comfort her. And once the waitress had calmed down enough, my mother came back to the table after making sure she was alright and told us what happened. I feel lucky to have my mother in my life, I love her so much.
#86 Every Classroom Needs a Kid Like This
When I was a preschool teacher, we had one kid who was our certified cheer-upper. If someone was crying, she’d get a tissue, walk over, carefully blot their eyes, and make them blow their nose. All while saying, “It’s okay, You’re okay.” Eventually, they’d stop crying, she’d take their hand and they’d go play. She was a little angel!
#87 This Probably Made Her Day
An old lady stood by a big bin of pumpkins in a grocery store. She looked at the pumpkins way down in the bin. A young guy walks up to her and asks “Would you like a pumpkin?” She says “Yes, but I need some help.” He asks her which one she wants, grabs it, and puts it in her cart.
#88 The Serve, Protect, and Feed
I am a police officer. Got a call about a kid at a train show at a museum in town. Found him, he was autistic and the jerk friends who took him to the show had left him there. He couldn’t get ahold of anyone to come to get him. I drove him around with me for about an hour while we kept trying to call his parents. My bank account was negative at the time, the day before payday.
I had $10 for dinner. Took him to Subway and fed him cause he said he had not eaten all day. I went hungry till 6 AM the next morning.
#89 Putting Your Best Foot Forward
One of the students in my class was talking to a new kid. It came up in conversation that the new kid’s shoes didn’t fit and made his feet hurt. The boys also realized that they wore the same size shoes. The next day the kiddo comes in with a pair of Jordans he never wears for the new kid, plus a note from his mom saying it was okay.
It was one of the most precious things I’ve ever seen.
#90 Meaningful Valentine’s Day
Back in elementary and middle school, I was the real unpopular nerdy kid who always was carrying a different thick book every couple of days. I think I practically lived in the library. As an unwanted side effect, I got bullied pretty hard and was never really the object of any attention from the opposite gender, so when Valentine’s day would roll around I never got any of the “school-sanctioned” carnations or candy and never received any gifts.
As one can imagine this really killed any self-confidence I might have had and (on top of other things that were going on in my life) made my then depression a lot worse. Fast forward a couple of years to eighth grade and my best friend at the time gives me a gift bag with a heart-shaped box of chocolate and a Siamese cat stuffed animal.
It was totally platonic and I guess she just thought I deserved something to look forward to and enjoy like other people on Valentine’s. I’m now 26 and we aren’t in contact anymore but I still have that stuffed Siamese cat sitting on my bedside table.
#91 A Useful Gift
I gifted a used electric wheelchair to a family who couldn’t afford one. The kid, maybe 14 years old, was kinda grumpy looking when he arrived and didn’t say much. Once we got him in the chair and he was zooming around, he was all smiles. The next day, I heard that he told his sister to clear off the driveway so he could practice. By the weekend, he had gone to a fair.
#92 The Kindness Cycle
I work at a school just down the road from my nine-year-old daughter’s school. Every day she walks from my school to hers, crossing the street on her way. I can watch her out the window for most of her walk, so I always see her stop and chat with the old man who was the crossing guard. She is such a friendly kid!
One day, it’s time for her to walk over to school when it starts pouring outside. I hadn’t anticipated the rain so I had no umbrella for her and felt terrible. We zip up her coat and put up her hood, hoping she won’t arrive at school soaking wet. When she gets to the crossing guard, I watch him hand her his own umbrella and send her on her way. The next day we made him some brownies.
#93 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.
#94 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.
#95 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.”
#96 Wanting a Fresh Start For Your Kid
A few years ago, I was on my way to catch the bus when a middle-aged woman called me from behind a newspaper stand. She pointed to the bus stop, one block down, where a guy was standing holding something. She said he was her son and he’d just got out of jail after serving time for dealing drugs. Today was his first day trying to make an honest life.
He had baked some traditional pastries and was trying to sell them on the bus stop. She said she wanted to make sure things went right for him on his first day so he wouldn’t feel tempted to go back to selling drugs. Then she put some money in my hand, asked me if I could buy some pastries, and obviously not tell him she was there.
At the stop, I saw the guy, probably in his mid-30s, with this little table of pastries. I bought three, we chatted a little bit, and one minute later my bus arrived and I left. It always makes me emotional and warm inside to think about how pure a mother’s love can be.
#97 When Everyone Lends a Helping Hand
When I was 11, my dad drove us to a gathering at my grandma’s. There was a woman pulled over on the side of the road. Dad pulled over as well and asked if she needed help. She said she ran out of gas. Dad told her he would get some. So we go into a gas station. Dad explains the situation to the cashier and is prepared to buy a can of gas.
There’s this other customer that looks like a biker—big dude with tattoos and piercings. He tells dad that he has gas at his house, so we get in our cars and follow him. His wife and young son are in the front yard. Turned out that it was his sister’s house; the guy had fled a hurricane with his family. Nevertheless, he insisted on giving us the gas for free.
#98 Having a Teacher Believe In You is So Uplifting
I had a health class teacher in high school, who had a reputation for being super tough. Once, there was a mandatory CPR class that we had to pay for, and there was no way I could pay for anything in those days. CPR day came, and she told me to go with the other students. I gave her a confused look to which she replied: “You’re good, baby.” She had paid for me.
Later in the year, I fell asleep in her class. It was the last period of the day and she told me she’d wake me up before I had to go to the gym (I had a basketball game). She dimmed the lights and played some music while she worked at her computer. I hadn’t been sleeping well at home and I’m guessing she knew. When I got up, she handed me some soup. We never really spoke, but she had my back.
The most wholesome moment took place during my senior year. On senior night, they introduce the players and say some stuff about them as they walk to center court, typically with parents arm in arm. When it was almost my time to walk, she saw that I was alone. Bless her heart, she about fell down from her seat running towards me.
She put her arm through mine and just looked forward, chin up proud as hell as they read my stats/grades/etc. I remember that walk and how I wish I had a picture or recording from that day showing how big I must have been smiling. After I graduated, and was a bit better on my feet, I returned to visit her. It was honestly the only thing that could get me back in that place.
Each time I’d bring flowers or food and made sure to do it in front of students and made sure they knew to respect her.
#99 Nothing More Cathartic than Coloring
I was on what I call a rumpled suit flight—one of those flights on a Friday at 6 from NY to DC where most of the flight consists of business people in suits drinking $14 double whiskeys. A fellow rumpled suit sat across the aisle next to a mother and her kid. When she could the kid brought down her tray table and a coloring book and started coloring.
I didn’t hear what was said but at some point, the kid handed the rumpled suit a coloring book and they spent the remainder of the flight coloring and chatting. I was kinda like, “I want to color too.”
#100 Into the Mouths of Babes
Right after I had my first son, I had a ton of formula that a friend gave me and I couldn’t use it because my son had stomach issues. So, I went on a website where you could give away/ask for things you needed for free. A young woman that lived in the same small ass town that I did at the time, messaged me and said she could desperately use the formula because her boyfriend had just left her.
She gave me her number and I called. She said she’d have to wait to pick it up from me until she could find a way to get closer to town. I could hear her holding back tears when I asked if we could bring it to her. We got her address and realized she lived in a very desolate, poor part of the town. It was in a trailer in the middle of the desert, with no public transportation ran anywhere around.
So, I decided we could do more. We went through the pantry, fridge, and freezer, trying to find anything we could give her that we couldn’t use/ didn’t need. We ended up with three big bags and a laundry hamper full. When we got to her house, she invited us in. She had almost nothing in her home. No TV, one couch, and the kitchen was empty.
We had to run out to the car a few times to get it all. She was shocked that we brought her food too. She hugged me and started to cry. She said, “Thank you. I didn’t know how we were going to eat for the next few weeks.” Then she made her son a bottle right away. It broke my heart cause I could tell they were both very hungry.
#101 John McCry
My mom and dad split when I was 4 years old. When they finalized the divorce, it was a week before Christmas when I was 8. My dad got custody and after Christmas dinner and stuff, he put me and my sister to bed. An hour or so later I could hear my dad crying. I went out to hug him. He was watching Die Hard on TV. I sat and watched with him.
So now every year, we watch Die Hard together.