As we move through the world every day, we encounter dozens of people we don’t know. But most strangers remain just that: strangers. Sometimes, however, we share a special connection with these unknown people, if only for a moment. And this moment can brighten our days–or even save our lives.
Here are 55 stories of powerful moments people had with a complete stranger.
55. Magical Things Happen In Disneyland
When I was at Disneyland a few years ago, a woman approached me out of the blue in the middle of Main St. and asked if I’d like to dance. I obliged her, and we spent the next few minutes chatting while her friends filmed us dancing.
It turns out it was her birthday and she was traversing the park on a birthday scavenger hunt, and one of the items on the list was to dance with a stranger. I wished her a happy birthday, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I never even got her name, but it still makes me smile when I think about it.
54. A Blessing In Disguise
We had very little money and trying to scrape my last few bucks until payday. My wife was pregnant with our first, and I was working a part-time job. I went to the store a few days before payday to get only what we absolutely needed. Some bread, soap, etc. In all, about $10 worth of stuff. At checkout, I swiped my debit card, hoping it would clear (I didn’t know my balance). The cashier deadpanned, “Declined. Try again.” I asked her to put an item back, then I swiped with the new total as a line formed behind me. The cashier, now perturbed, “Declined again.” I swiped that last time, yet I was still ashamed when the card was approved for buying that loaf of bread. I took my receipt and slunk out to my car, wanting to disappear, feeling absolutely ashamed for not being able to afford basic groceries.
Almost to the car, I heard the voice of a little girl behind me, the girl who was standing with her mother right behind me in line. “Mister! Mister!” I turned around, and she reached out to hand me a plastic grocery bag. It was full of each item I had the cashier put back. “It’s okay, we bought this for you.” Surprised, shocked and humbled, I mumbled a “thank you,” walked to my car, put my head on the steering wheel and sobbed my eyes out.
53. From Homeless to Hopeful
I (was) homeless for about 3 years, but it felt like a lifetime, and the fear of being homeless will never leave me. Then one stranger woman came up to me and hugged me and asked if I needed anything. I semi-sarcastically replied, a shower, shave, haircut, and a new suit to go get a job. This lady walked me back to her car and she and her husband drove me to their house. Her husband loaned me a suit and they looked at classified ads for jobs. Having had some experience with computers I said I’d be interested in a tech position at a small computer store. They drove me to the interview and luckily, I got the job. They let me stay in their garage for 3 months until I had enough money for a deposit on an apartment.
I never considered that I’d get some help and start a new beautiful life. It just happened because I suddenly had the opportunity and someone cared enough to help me. I’m going to school in the evenings now and make a pretty good salary during the day. I can’t thank them enough.
52. A Heartwarming Roses
I used to work at a grocery store and was skeleton staff for Valentine’s day evening. Lots of people running in and grabbing things for a homemade dinner and lots of last-minute flowers. Then comes in one gentleman about 10 minutes before close, scrambling to grab things for a last-minute meal. He has me choose a bouquet for his wife. All of the red roses were gone by then but there were still some yellow roses left so I grabbed those for him. He asked me why I chose the color and I just explained that is seemed happy and beautiful. As I was ringing him up, he grabbed a second bouquet, allowed me to bag it up for him and before he walked out, he handed me my own $50~ bouquet.
Here is the girl who had big braces, no name with glasses, never had a boyfriend, finally being given flowers. I cried the whole walk home. No one had ever given me anything like that before and I am sure that I still have that dried up bouquet in storage somewhere. That was the single kindest thing someone has ever done for me on a whim.
51. I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying!
I was in Legazpi, Philippines, and Avengers just came out (summer 2012), and I went to go watch it at the local theater in town. The ship just left the city, and I was relieved of duty; as now it was vacation time for me after months at sea sailing from Perth, AU to Legazpi, PI via the treacherous Makassar Straits. So, Avengers, it is? Hahaha. After the movie, It got dark out, and I wandered around town and got lost. I was trying to find a way back to the hotel, but Legazpi was a bit difficult to navigate by foot. This guy in his motorcycle-sidecar taxi/tuk-tuk zooms up to me, and asks if I’m lost. I say I’m ok, that I don’t need a taxi. But he insisted I enter his tuk-tuk; that he’d take me to the town festival that was going on for free. I obliged, and he sped off with me inside. He goes, “My friend, you were about to get mugged by those dozen squatters.” He may have been fishing for a fare, or maybe he wasn’t. To me though, his face and demeanor genuinely came off as a hardworking super nice guy. If he didn’t, well… then I applaud him for being an amazing actor and he’s in the wrong line of work. We chilled at the festival and got to know each other over a couple of beers (on me). Afterwards, he took me down this dark dark path, and I got a bit apprehensive. He kept saying, “Don’t worry, I’m taking you to my house for dinner!” And yes, he took me to his tiny friggin shack of a house near the ocean for dinner. His wife was cooking, and he had two tiny kids running around happy their daddy is back home. We ate a great meal, and he dropped me off back at the hotel — no charge. I was like, “What the hell! Take my $20!” Nope. Ok, fine, how about $40, and you show me the Mayan Volcano and all the cool stuff around here tomorrow? He accepted.
Next morning comes around, he shows up at my hotel. We take off and he takes me to these Dutch church ruins that got decimated by a volcanic eruption in the 1600s or 1700s, hiked all around these awesome caves, and strolled around the black sand beaches. We had a hell of a time. I give him $60 (hid another $20 behind another $20, Lol; as the bills were crisp enough that you can kind of make it seem like one bill). He discovered this as I was walking away and I laughed at him and waved back… he had no choice but to keep it. I wished him and his family well. He is/was a good person. We kept in touch via email, except he didn’t have his own computer, nor did he have his own email address (he wasn’t tech-savvy). He’d use his friends’ email addresses to email me about his kids and stuff over the next few weeks. In 2013, Typhoon Yolanda DEVASTATES the Philippines. I emailed all his friends in vain. I’ve never heard from him again.
50. They Fart And Farted Ways
This was about two years ago when I was in university. I was having some gas pains, so I went to use the bathroom. I was the only one in there, but someone came in shortly after, so I decided to wait until she was done. She apparently was in the same situation as me, so we were both just sitting in silence waiting for the other to leave, occasionally letting out tiny toots.
Finally, she says, “Can we both just fart?” I laugh and say, “Yes please!” And for about a minute after, both of us are simultaneously laughing and farting. Laughing because we’re farting, and farting because we’re laughing. We finished at about the same time and said, “Hello,” as we washed our hands. I never saw her again. I still giggle every time I think of it.
49. The Speed Buddies
I had about a 2-hour drive from Columbus to the Cleveland area. I tend to drive on the faster side, and therefore pass a lot of people. I noticed about 20 minutes into the drive that the car behind me was still the same one that got onto the highway right behind me.
We ended up driving the entire two hours right next to each other or in front of/behind each other. We created space in lanes to help the other pass the slower cars and made sure the other wouldn’t fall behind. As I was getting off the highway, he honked his horn, gave me a big smile, and waved. It has been my favorite driving experience so far.
48. She Definitely Knows What It Feels Like
I was on a long late-night bus ride. It was express so it made very few stops. The bus had maybe 10 people on it in total. Halfway through the trip, it made a stop at a small-town station so people could grab a snack or use a public restroom and maybe stretch their legs. I went up to the counter to buy what at that point was my dinner even though it was after 10 pm and when the cashier rang it up I passed a $50 bill to her and she told me that she couldn’t make a change. Defeated, I went back to my seat on the bus. As everyone piled on and the bus drove away, a lovely middle-aged lady walked up from her seat near the back and politely asked if I minded if she sat with me. I told her she was more than welcome. She sits and proceeds to unpack a small lunch bag.
She then split the entirety of her meal with me. She said she had been waiting for the washroom to clear out and had overheard what happened. She said: “I’ve gone hungry in my life and it sucks. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, so you can share it with me.” When we were done, I jokingly asked if she could break a $50 and we had a good laugh. She stuck with me for the remainder of the trip and was a very interesting lady besides being incredibly generous. I hope she is well.
47. “He’s My Hero”
When I was fourteen, I was trapped in the rubble of an earthquake. I spent six hours crawling towards a man whose face I never had the opportunity to see…(I never saw his face for multiple reasons. For one, for most of the six hours, I had to work at pulling my way through concrete and rebar and various auto parts. So, my world became a very small area and the dust made it VERY dark…then the sun set and it got darker. This man heard me banging and screaming for help and put himself in danger to keep me calm. He just kept talking to me and telling me to try and push a little further or hang in there. I managed to get myself to a place that was a bit more stable and accessible due to his coaching and then he stayed there with me until more help arrived. As I understand it, they asked him if he could stay until I was out, since he had me calm and talking…he stayed. By the time I was extricated on a backboard, I couldn’t turn my head and see his face. I was quickly loaded into an ambulance and the last thing I remember was hearing him say: “You’re going to be ok, kiddo” and feeling a pat on my hip as I was passed from SAR members to another crew. I also had TONS of dust in my eyes, which made it really hard to see.)
It has always bothered me that I will likely never find out who he was or tell him how much comfort his voice gave me during those horrible hours. When I saw pictures of the space I ended up in, much later, I couldn’t (and can’t) understand how he was able to stand where he stood for six hours without injuring himself or suffering some sort of emotional trauma himself. He’s my hero.
46. The Lucky Charm
My son was in a pretty serious accident. I was a wreck in the ICU waiting room. A little girl maybe about 9 or 10 years old was with her family, saying goodbye to her great grandmother. She waltzed right up to me and said, “Sir, why are you crying?” I explained my son was very sick.
She then handed me a miniature puppy doll and told me it was lucky and my son would get better. She was.right, he did and I still keep that little puppy on my dresser and think of that sweet child.
45. “This Too Shall Pass”
I had just found out my husband of 10 years had cheated on me. I was driving and crying so hard that I quickly pulled over at the nearest parking lot. I parked my car, and walked over to the beach and while watching the waves fell to my knees and just sobbed. Gut-wrenching sobbing.
About 10 minutes later, a stranger walked over to me, held her hand out and helped me get up. She then led me to a bench and sat me down. She hugged me and rubbed my back. She let me cry and would say to me “this too shall pass.” After about 15 minutes, I composed myself (as much as possible) and she smiled, got up and continued on her walk. I truly believe she was my guardian angel. I think about that moment all the time.
44. The Missing Wheel
I was about 10 years old and I had a pair of HEELYS and they were the coolest freaking thing on the earth. I would roll all over on those things and thought I was “cool.” We were in China, spending a few weeks in Beijing. I was rolling around in Tiananmen Square, hit a crack and lost one of the wheels. I looked around for about an hour, but to no avail. I was probably visibly bummed, as my Heelys, the things that made me the “cool” kid were now ineffective and basically ruined. The next morning, I was walking through the square on the way to meet my friends, and an older gentleman ran up to me and stopped me and said that he had found my wheel.
He said that he had seen me rolling around and saw me looking for the wheel after I fell. He saw that I gave up, and he stuck around for another hour to keep looking after I left. He came there the next morning with no expectation that I’d pass through but wanted to be there just in case. I’m not sure who was happier, me that I got my wheel back or him because he didn’t think he’d see me in literally the world’s busiest square. I said thank you and…that was about it. We both had places to be and that was that.
43. No Words Can Express How Thankful He Was
I was bartending at a place with outside tables. Taking a half break smoking a cig with some regulars when they pointed out “this wastoid.” He’s stumbling, hacking, dry heaving, and spitting down the block. He leans on a couple of poles for a couple of different moments. He gets to his truck which is parked right in front of us and is struggling to get into it. I go over to talk him out of driving and he explains he’s not drunk, in the same fashion that all drinks do. As a responsible bartender, I urge him again not to drive and he says, “Something’s not right man, I really don’t feel well.” So I say, “I believe you but maybe you should go to the hospital.” He tells me he is but he can’t afford the ambulance. I convince him he can’t afford a car accident than either and it will only take a moment for me to hail him a cab (oh this is before Uber). He concedes and in under a minute. I grab him a cab and tell the cabbie to take him to Mercy hospital (the closest in the area.) At this point, he’s doing much worse. So I hand the cab $20 and tell him to rush.
The next day, the guy comes back for his car and to thank me. He was having some sort of respiratory attack and would have surely died without medical treatment. He tried to pay me the twenty back and at that point, his tears have me really choking up and I refused his money telling him “to pay it to the hospital $5 at a time, that will keep the hospital off your back for at least four months.” After a million “thank you/s” and “I owe you my life/s,” he drives away never to be seen again.
42. Big Thanks To The Jerk Guy!
I was on an eastbound train from Colorado two days before Christmas. There was some kind of incident in another car around 11:00 that night – a dude got wasted and started threatening other – and we had to make a stop so that the local police could come and collect him. After the delay, the conductor came over the speakers and announced that if anyone was feeling upset or shaken up by the incident, one of the passengers had offered to play his guitar in the snack car and anyone who was awake was welcome to come down and join in for a singalong. I’m always down for weird train activities so I decided to grab my harmonica from my bag and head down. There were about fifteen of us in the car, ranging in age from 16 to mid-70s and from all over the country. We sang every song we could think of that even kind of referenced a train. We were somewhere in rural Nebraska at that point and nobody had cell service to look up lyrics, so at times I was pretty sure that we were making up more of the words than we actually remembered. The conductor came through after a while and offered to play a few songs, so the guy with the guitar handed it off and pulled out a mandolin, and my harmonica got passed around the group while one guy drummed along on his backpack.
After a while, the conductor got up and left, then came back with a copy of The Polar Express. He read it out loud to our absolutely captivated group of mostly adult travelers while the snow flew all around us in the night, and I swear that for a few minutes our trip felt every bit as magical as the visit to Santa Claus in the story. Sometime well after the snack car was supposed to have been vacated for the night, we capped things off with the most ridiculously earnest rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” that has ever been performed and went our separate ways. I never saw anyone from our little makeshift band again, but I’ll always remember that weird, wonderful late-night celebration of Journey and the magic of winter travel that came about because some guy was a jerk on a train.
41. A Simple Words Could Save A Life
I was very depressed and just wanted to end my life. I’ve been living alone since both of my parents died in an accident. I had no one to talk to about my problems in life, and my friends also thought that I was just being “dramatic.” In short, nobody cared. I was just sitting outside, alone, crying, and feeling hopeless.
Then suddenly, a lady came up to me, hugged me, told me whatever was going on, just hold on and surely I’ll get through it. She told me how important I was, and told me to draw a little heartbeat thing on my wrist to remind me I have a purpose and of all of the nice things that have been said about me. I have it tattooed now. Thank you for saving my life and help me realize some things, lady!
40. So Are You Not Entertained?
A few years back my wife and I visited Italica, a Roman ruined city a few miles from Seville. The ruins are glorious and we had them to ourselves, so when as we emerged from the gladiator gate in the amphitheater I stalked out into the sunlight, threw out my arms and roared: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?” It rang off the old seats in a satisfying manner.
Turns out we weren’t alone. I spun to find a Japanese tourist staring at me in wonder, who then grinned nervously, snapped a picture, and gave me a thumbs up. My wife then said, “You’re an idiot.”
39. From Nodding Terms To Linked Souls
A few years ago, I was at the bus stop super early one morning. It was really cold as well. Anyway, there was a guy that I used to see every time I would get the 7 a.m. bus– looked like a builder, he always got off near one of the large building sites by the university. We were on “nodding terms.”
One morning, there was a fireball/disintegrating meteor. We both saw it, he turned to me and said with a super serious face: “You know our souls are forever linked now.” We went back to nodding terms, and I never saw him after I quit early morning classes. I guess because I remember it, he was kinda right and that guy is still trolling me.
38. Teamwork Makes The Prank Work
At the St. Louis Zoo, there is a fountain that had five spouts to drink from that always had water running. When I was about ten I discovered that by covering up one of the spouts with the water coming out, the other four rose a bit. The set up was nearly perfect. We walked by the fountain and my younger sister goes to drink out of the center one. I immediately walk to her right and raise my hands to cover the two spouts on that side. I couldn’t help but be sad that there was no one to cover the spouts on her left. Then it happened.
A boy across the path saw what I was going to do and ran over to the other two spouts. Then he silently looked at me and mouthed “one,” “two,” “three!” We both covered the spouts and the water in the center one shot straight into my sister’s face (it was beautiful). Then he took off to his family and I ran away from my sister for my life.
37. Lying Isn’t Always Bad
I was on my way to a job interview. Well, I get into the elevator to take me up to the floor where the interview was at. I’m making small talk with this older gentleman who happened to work in the same office. He asked if I was ready for the interview, and it was then I realized I forgot my copy of my resume in my car! This guy without hesitation pushed the ground floor button and, I hustled to my car, grabbed what I needed and found the same guy waiting for me in the elevator. By this time that I was late.
We both get to the floor we need to be at, and as we walk in I let the girl at the front desk know I was there for the interview. The woman is giving me this look of “You’re late; you aren’t getting the job.” Well, the older guy goes and tells the woman that he was taking too long to get to the elevator and I was late due to his being slow. That dude’s lie solidified my position at the company for a good year.
36. The Feels
I was leaving the gym and I walked down a long hallway As soon as I stepped outside, I heard a coin drop and looked down, and $2 seemed to have fallen from somewhere on me. It was strange because I didn’t have any money on me, and it would have fallen off of me inside while walking, I thought. It rolls and I pick it up. I was confused because I don’t know where the $2 came from.
I look up and there’s a homeless man in a wheelchair playing harmonica who I otherwise would have passed by. I gave the $2 to him. He said thank you; I said no problem. I began to walk away and he said “Good, and you?” I played along and said, “Oh, good! Where did you learn to play the harmonica?” He proceeded to tell me that he used to play all sorts of instruments until he had his stroke, and showed me that one of his arms didn’t work anymore. He was a nice guy, and it made my day a bit better. It was a nice and humbling moment.
35. Grabbing Sausages
I don’t know why, but I always think about the time I visited Japan, I believe six years ago. I went with a friend who is Japanese, and we were somewhere in Tokyo. We were a bit lost and asked this older fella for directions — he spoke with my friend in Japanese for a bit and my friend told me he was going to show us how to get to so and so. So as we’re walking through the train station, he decides to get on the train with us. We think nothing of it and he just stares at us. Then he begins trying to grab both my friend and I on our crotches.
We kept quietly smacking his hand away from our private parts while we stood there in a pretty crowded train by the doors. I will never forget his face, nor the reaction of my friends face when he did that. Hell, I’m sure I looked like quite the sight as well. It was so strange, but I’ll never forget that moment.
34. The Cake Fairy
I’m all alone in my life. So I was gonna spend my birthday alone (as always). I decided to go buy myself a cake at the grocery store to cheer myself up. When the guy at the counter asked who it was for (in retrospect, he meant what name to put on it), I said it was for me. He was incredulous at the idea that I had to buy my own birthday cake. I just kind of shrugged. He said I could pay for my cake when I came back to pick it up.
When I came back, a different person was at the register and she said my cake had already been paid for. It was also decorated more than I requested. I have not seen that guy working there since, so in my head, I’ve called him “The Cake Fairy.”
33. A Beautiful Story That Ended In A Wonderful Friendship
I lost my iPhone 3G back in 2009 or 2008. It was the second-generation iPhone that was the first to have 3G, and among the first massively-produced “smart” phones. I stupidly camped out for that stupid phone like an idiot. That next day, I went overseas on a government work trip to Taiwan. I lost my phone on my first night there. I retraced my steps but nothing. I was resigned to the fact that I lost my brand new iPhone 3G. The next day, I was walking to the shipyard in the busy city of Keelung (the port city of Taipei) and this guy runs out of a restaurant and flags me down. He motions to me to go to his cab. I said, “Ah it’s OK, I don’t need a cab…” He shakes his head, runs inside his cab, and gives my phone back, along with a pen that fell out of my pocket into his cab. I was absolutely shocked. I thanked him so much and he just smiled this biggest smile. I couldn’t speak Mandarin nor Taiwanese, nor could he speak English. But body language is universal. He motioned me to join him for breakfast back at the restaurant he ran out of where he saw me stroll by. He ordered some super delicious Taiwanese-style noodles and I ate them. He PAID FOR THE MEAL. I tried to compensate him for all his troubles; HE REFUSED. This old man worked double-duty at that restaurant and as a taxi driver, and you can see on his hands and face all the hard manual labor he did through the decades of his life. Oh, yeah, his wife worked at that restaurant too. I demanded to know his phone number.
For years after, my colleagues and I used him exclusively for our taxi rides around town. I’d post his number on our ship’s quarter deck and label it “TAXI.” Also, my colleagues and I would make the trip to eat at the restaurant where they worked as much as we could. The restaurant closed down about five years ago though. I even called him to take me to and from the airport, which is comparatively a large fare over there. I didn’t mind. He deserved it. I couldn’t find him anymore when I went back a few years ago for vacation (around 2016). I am hoping upon hope he finally retired to the countryside in a small home on the hillside and living out his days in quiet with his wife.
32. Reminiscing Over The Past
An older gentleman knocked on my door one day and asked if he could possibly come inside and revisit the home in which he had lived over 55 years ago. It was a pleasure to show him around and to hear his recollection of things that had happened within those walls many years ago– some of which were eye-openers.
I never saw him again because he was visiting from the other coast, where he now lives. Still, he told me tales of the house and neighborhood I won’t forget.
31. Is He Cupid?
I was on a first date and there was an old guy at the bar— looked like an old fisherman from a novel— and he was convinced my date and I were already married. He went on and on about it. We said we weren’t married and he told us we were meant to be together and would be married a long time.
He talked with us for a good 15 minutes about this. My date and I did get married about a year later and have been together for almost 25 years now
30. The Diabesties!
I’m a type one diabetic. I was on a cruise ship with my family, and sometimes I would be stopped on my way out of the ship because of my insulin pump (it can’t go through an x-ray scanner). I was stopped at one point with this other guy, who jokingly asked me, “What are YOU in for?” I said insulin pump. He said no way and took out his pump! We laughed and shared diagnosis stories.
The next day, he came up to me in the buffet, thanking God he found me. His pump wasn’t waterproof and he’d jumped into a pool, and forgot to bring insulin vials that could fit into a manual pen. I was able to give him insulin and we got some coffee together. I never traded contact info and never saw him again. He was a cool dude.
29. The Protective One
I got on a train alone late at night. There were only two other people: one young man and a much older, grumpy-looking man. After the second stop, the young man became aggressive toward me after I rejected him, and was trying to physically pull me off the train. The old man helped to get him away from me and off of the train. After I’d thanked him and he calmed me down (I was very upset), he sat down in the row behind me and just looked out of the window.
When I got off at the end, he did too. He waited on the same platform as me a little further down, so I assumed he was waiting for the same connection. He wasn’t. The train came and I got on. I saw him wave to me and walk to the stairs to get back to the platforms going the other way. That man had missed his stop and waited on the wrong platform, all while saying nothing, just to make sure I was okay.
28. A Great Coincidence
My phone slipped from its protective case and fell to the ground. The screen smashed and became completely unresponsive. The phone had been a gift, and I knew I couldn’t afford a replacement. I’ll be honest, I started crying.
A woman saw me crying and asked what was wrong. I explained I’d broken my phone, and wasn’t sure I could afford a new one. She said, “What a coincidence, I was just getting rid of one!” and gave me a phone, a hug, and some kind words, before walking away.
27. Not The Ending I Expected
I was walking somewhere on the Westend in London on a weekend looking to buy a cap because it was almost summer and that day was really warm. A woman from behind called me and asked where Chinatown was. I knew where it was but I had no idea how to explain how to get there from where we were. She was with two children. So rather than tell her where to go (which would take me a while to explain) I asked them to follow me. They did. I held the hand of the youngest and we all walked hand in hand in the direction of Chinatown. While we were walking, somehow we (I and the mother) started chatting. They were from France. She is of Asian descent. She works for a French company in southern France, she’s a single parent and the boys are on a school break. The French father disappeared a long time ago. I felt a pang of sadness. Here was a lovely family but no father. It was a casual conversation but me being very emotional I choked up a little. Finally, we reached Chinatown. Before I could wish them a good day, the mother invited me to join them for dinner. I was surprised. Here I was, a total stranger (male in his late 30s) was being invited for a meal by this lovely family. I am shy by nature so I casually declined and wished them a good evening and to enjoy their dinner. She thanked me profusely and we bid our goodbyes and walked the opposite direction. It must have been two or three minutes of walking when I realized how foolish I was. I went back and started looking for them. Thank god I spotted them again. They were taking photos near the arch of Chinatown. I approached them and I said yes I would like to join them for dinner as I was also starving. She seemed pleased and happy and I started asking where they wanted to eat. After taking photos we headed for an eat-all-you-can restaurant. I was so happy the entire time. We had dinner like we were a family. I could also sense that they were happy. We chatted the entire time and she had to translate our conversation to the boys in French. Since they were fatherless, for about an hour I was like a father to the two boys. I accompanied the youngest back and forth in getting his food downstairs. I had to show the oldest where to find the washroom.
We finished the dinner and we paid the bill (I insisted on paying mine). It was already dark when we got out of the restaurant. It was around 10 p.m. already. I asked them where they’re headed and she said back to their hotel. Where? She said, Hammersmith. Good lord! That was far from where we were. She was clearly not familiar with London and she was frantically looking on her map. London is not that safe so I offered to accompany them to their hotel. We took the tube to Hammersmith. It took us maybe 30 minutes to get to the nearest station to their hotel. From the station, we had to walk a good 10 to 15 minutes in semi-darkness back to the hotel. And finally, we spotted the hotel. At that point, I felt a bit sad. I enjoyed my time with them and it was time to say our goodbyes. In front of the revolving door, we thanked each other and hugged each one of them. We said our goodbyes and the boys shouted back, “Merci, Monsieur!” as they walked back to the building. I started walking back to the station. But before I turned the corner I looked back at them for the last time just to be sure that they were OK. I usually don’t stay too late when I’m out in London but that night was worth it. I will never forget this day for the rest of my life.
26. Strawberries For You!
I was at the checkout at Walmart when I was very very noticeably pregnant, talking on the phone to my husband. I was telling him they were out of strawberries, and that it’s very sad because I badly want some of those. And I’d have to drive across town to the other grocery store to check if they were available there.
An old man in line in front of me paid for his groceries, turned towards me, hands me one of his containers of strawberries and tells me “Your baby needs them more than I do. I hope I’m making the baby happy!” I couldn’t thank that old man enough. On my way home, I cried like a baby from happiness and unexpected kindness bestowed upon me.
25. Ticket To Love
After many long delays, my flight was canceled while I was standing in line at the gate to board it. The next day was my son’s first birthday, so I needed to be home. I went to the front desk and they refused to help me in any way. Not only could I not get another flight that day, but nothing the NEXT day either, and I didn’t have money to buy something else.
A guy in line stepped out after hearing me, told them he was some high-status member 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 that I could get home to see my boy. I tried to thank him in every way I knew how, but he refused to take anything from me. He just told me he would have wanted someone to do the same for him.
24. A Flock Of Moms To The Rescue
The day my dad died I was holding it together pretty well. Late that night I went to Target to have a moment to just zone out, and buy a few groceries. As I got to the check stand with my arm full of stuff I dropped a container of sour cream and it exploded everywhere. I completely lost control of myself and started to cry. The ugly cry.
I was instantly surrounded by a group of women who just took charge of the whole situation. They helped me get everything paid for, cleaned up, and one lady even got a new sour cream. No words were spoken, but their compassion and take charge attitude has stayed with me since.
23. Stranger Isn’t Always A Danger
I was driving back from the ER in San Antonio, Texas in the middle of the night with my toddler son when I got a flat tire. I pulled over to the side, but it was at a very quiet and dark part of the interstate. At that time, I didn’t know how to change a tire, and it was before cell phones. I had no choice but to start walking, carrying a pretty big toddler who was medicated and out for the count.
I had probably gone no more than 100 feet when a big rig truck pulled over. He told me to go sit in his cab to keep warm (it was winter), and he would change my tire. I guess I was pretty trusting, but I was also desperate knowing I had a long walk ahead of me on a very cold night carrying a sick child. Thankfully, he was as good as his word and quickly changed the tire. When I tried to thank him, he said he just hoped someone would do the same for his mother or sister.
22. Warm Comfort
I was homeless for a couple of weeks. I worked during the day, rode the bus in the evening catching naps between transits and walked gas station to gas station at night to stay warm. One of the gas station attendants caught on and offered me a place to sleep. He left his keys in the car, so I could run the heater if I had to, and begged me not to steal it. I didn’t, and left in the morning leaving a thank you note on the dash. He woke me up around 5 a.m., too, with some microwaved sandwiches.
He is one of the kindest people I have ever met. The only thing he’d say as to why he was doing it, was that he knew life was hard, and he always hoped if he was in my spot, someone would do this for him. This guy has really a good heart!
21. Pizza Keeps The Sad Away
I have a few mental health issues and am prone to bouts of brooding and staring into space when waging war on the demons in my head. I was sitting at a table outside of a grocery store at night waiting for a friend to get back to me about hanging out and happened to get lost in thought. So here I am, in the dark, staring off into space when this adorable young woman, maybe 18 or so, walks by with a box of pizza. She notices my 1000 yard stare and just stops. She looks at me, and without provocation says. “Hey man. I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, but pizza usually helps with anything. Please, have a slice, I got it for my family but you look like you could use a slice.”
I was shocked but managed to eek out a thank you and flash a nervous smile as she smiled and walked off. It was such a random and small act of kindness but with where I was in life at the time– it’s still one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. I’ll never forget that. Little things really can make a big impact. Whoever you are Pizza Girl, I owe you one.
20. Help On Wheels
I used to ride my bike over seven miles to work and back every day. It was a super crappy beach cruiser I bought at a garage sale for $10. Needless to say, I broke down pretty often. One cold night, my cheap tire blew out in one of the neighborhoods in my route. Being a severely stubborn person, I immediately flipped the bike over to try to fix it myself.
A few minutes later, I see an SUV start heading towards me. My immediate thought was “This is how I’m going to die!” A family of four pops out and asks me if I was OK. I, of course, said I was fine and I was gonna miraculously fix it myself. They ended up calling more family members to come by with a tire pump. They ended up packing my bike in their car, taking me back to their place to look for parts to fix my bike up (I was also missing a pedal) and finally taking me home. It ended up pouring rain and by the end and they said me breaking down was “meant to be.”
19. Stranger Buddy
The first night my son was in the NICU I was a mess. I had to leave my wife, still recovering in the hospital in our hometown, to drive a hundred miles away from where he was taken. I was torn between so many emotions. A stranger walked up to me at the lounge of the hotel I was sitting at after a lengthy stay beside my son and said: “You look like you could use a drink.”
He ended up buying me a meal and sitting and talking with me for the better part of three hours while I was an emotional wreck. Then, unbeknownst to me at the time, he ended up paying for my next three nights at the hotel ahead of time. His name was Andy and that’s all I know. I will forever be grateful. More than I can express.
18. “That Made My Day, So I Want To Make Yours”
One time, I was out to eat with a friend and when the waitress dropped off the bill, my friend went to go grab the check and I insisted I would pay. We went back and forth and I decided we would rock-paper-scissors for it; whoever won picked up the check. Best two out of three, I won and went to grab my wallet.
When I looked up, an older gentleman had my bill in his hand and smiled at me. I was very confused so I followed him to the register and asked what was going on. He smiled and said, “I saw what you did with your friend over there, that was the most genuine thing I’ve ever seen. That made my day, so I want to make yours. Good people deserve good things sweetheart.” I was a little baffled and very thankful, I gave him a huge hug and said thank you again. One of the cutest things I’ve ever experienced.
17. The Woman On The Plane
When I was 11 (2002), I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a very rare form that’s hard to treat. I went through the treatments and bone marrow transplant really well though and got better. When I was 14 I was picked to go to a ranch in Colorado for kids that had health issues like myself. Anyways, on one of the connecting flights, I sat next to an older woman and she noticed a car magazine that I had. We started talking and I told her I liked Mustangs and it turns out she had two 82 GTs, had won awards with them, etc. It was really cool to talk to her and when we landed we went our separate ways.
Fast forward two or three years (can’t remember exactly) and my dad and I drove to Arkansas to pick up a mint 82 GT. We get there and start talking to her and she starts saying the other cars she has and it finally clicked in my head, she was the lady on the plane! When I mentioned that to her she remembered me and it was just pretty amazing that in a population of over 300 million, we found each other again! Just my mildly interesting story.
16. It’s Always Better To Give
I was flying back through O’Hare late at night after my grandpa’s funeral and I missed my connecting flight because my earlier flight was delayed two hours. I was totally exhausted and my bellies were starving.
I wandered through the airport looking for food and found a McDonald’s. One of the workers told me they were closed and as I was walking away this girl working there gave me a large fry that she had been saving for herself. I’ll never forget that random act of kindness because it meant so much more than french fries in the end.
15. Mr. Cheesus The Savior
I was 14 at a Metallica/GNR joint concert. Metallica had already done their show and we were waiting for GNR to come on. It was a bit of a wait because, well, GNR. So the crowd was getting restless and people were throwing rolls of toilet paper, cups, beers, trash, whatever they can get their hands on. I’m standing there feeling alright because my section didn’t seem too rowdy.
Suddenly, I’m grabbed from behind. The guy behind me just threw one arm across my upper body and pulled me right up into his chest. With his other arm, he pulled the back of his jacket up so it was like a hood over both of us. A second later someone’s nachos with gooey cheese sauce comes raining down on us. Then he let me go, and I check it out, not a drop of cheese sauce on me. I was just so amazed that this guy, in a split second, decided to save a total stranger from suffering the rest of the concert covered in nacho cheese. Thank you, kind stranger, if you’re out there.
14. Not All Heroes Wear Capes
I was 7 and my family went tubing. We were going down a rapid and my tube flipped. I got caught under the current. My brother realized what happened and was trying to fight his way back to me, but it was next to impossible for him with how hard the current was. The bank around this section of the river was private property and gated off. He was trying to grab the edge of it and pull himself to me, but it never would have worked.
Another family was approaching the rapids and their older son saw the flipped tube. He jumped out of his and went under grasping to find me while the water was pushing him away. He got my arm and pulled me up. He hugged me to him so that the rocks we were going over would cut him and not me. Once we passed the rapids, he threw me into his tube and swam me over to my family. I was choking up water and barely conscious. I owe that man my life.
13. The One-Armed Man
One night walking to a bus stop after work, I met a middle-aged man with one arm. He smiled as I passed him. But I noticed that as he passed me, he turned and started to follow me. I carried on walking and he kept following me. As I came to the small alleyway near the bus stop there were five younger men waiting. I thought if I walk past these younger men the one-armed man will stop following me. Out of nowhere, the younger men jumped me and started beating the heck out of me. I felt every punch for a few seconds until they all flew backwards.
I looked up and the one-armed guy was beating the crap out of all five of them. They ran off. He picked me up, said he thought I needed watching and helped me contact the police. We chatted about all sorts which helped calm me down. The police arrived and he said farewell and that was that. I often think about him.
12. The Man Who Gave Me A Good Vision
When I was 13 or 14, my stepdad took me for an eye exam to get new glasses. After the exam, I was alone with the optometrist for a little bit while he showed me some new lightweight, titanium frames. I thought they were pretty cool. My stepdad comes in and starts belittling me in front of the optometrist because our insurance won’t cover frames like that. As if I was supposed to just know that.
The optometrist then gets out this clunky, wooden box with the few, cheap frames our insurance would cover. I pick some frames and figure that’s that. Then the optometrist pulls me aside and asks if I want the nicer, titanium frames. I tell him yes. He paid for them. I hugged him and gave him the most emotional “Thank you.”
11. As Sweet As Chocolate
I was feeling really down because of school, and some problems at home (in short, just life in general). I stopped at a convenience store on the way home to pick up a bit of chocolate to make myself feel better.
Then the guy at the register talked to me and gave me the chocolate bar for free and said he noticed how miserable I looked and maybe a FREE chocolate bar will make me feel better. It was a really simple act of kindness, but it almost made me tear up and instantly improved a really bad day.
10. Such an Incredible Help
In Paris, the Metro is not wheelchair-friendly. We got stuck once because the accessible station was closed and we were diverted elsewhere. Two guys walked up, picked up my mother-in-law in her wheelchair, carried her up a flight of stairs, through the turnstile, and down another flight of stairs to the platform.
I tried to offer them some food as a token but they wanted nothing more than a “thank you.” And mind you, they didn’t even know each other. I’m just so glad that two strangers joined forces together to help us. These two men restored faith in humanity.
9. Big Hearts Deserve Big Hugs
I was two weeks into a new job in a new place when it started hailing/raining/snowing. It was awful. My job for the evening was to go get a video of this mess (I worked on TV). I was at a village 15 miles away in an unmarked car when I got stuck in the mud and my cellphone was not working. Great. I tried everything and just started crying because I was so new and this was not an easy fix. I walked to the nearest gas station, underdressed for the conditions and called a tow truck. It was going to take two hours. The clerks felt so sorry for me. I was soaked, freezing and covered in mud. They started thinking of people in the village to call to help get my car out. Just then an angel came in and said she saw a car a while back and tried to help but no one was there. She put two and two together, said hop in, we dropped off her kids at her modest little trailer, she grabbed boots, and we hooked up the car and pulled (then pushed) it out.
As tears streamed down my face, I gave her the biggest hug I could muster in the freezing conditions. I later dropped a $20 gift card in her mailbox. I would’ve given more but it was all I could afford at the time. She saved my life that night and I will never forget it.
8. A Childhood Dream Come True
As a kid, there was nothing I wanted more than to catch a baseball at a baseball game and have it signed by the team. My dad took me to a baseball game one time and we were seated behind a family with a little boy a few years younger than me. I was talking to my dad about how much I wanted to have a baseball signed by all the players and the boy in front of us heard me. His dad turned around and showed me a baseball that had been signed by a significant amount of baseball players from that team. I looked at it and he let me hold it.
When I tried to hand it back to him, he informed me that it belonged to his kid who had taken lessons from some of the players. Apparently, this kid had heard me talking to my dad and decided he wanted to fulfill my desire for an autographed baseball. I still have it.
7. Family Oriented
I was carrying my sobbing infant in the grocery store while waiting in line to check out. I was overwhelmed (it was my first trip out after my son was born), and a kind older man said, “One day, you’re going to look back on this with happy memories, and even miss these moments.”
He then insisted that I cut in front of him in line and paid all of my groceries. That had a huge impact on me. What a wonderful man. Now, I cherish all the moments with my little one and all my loved ones. Life is too short, so I’m making sure that every second is worthwhile!
6. “Good Luck Son, I Wish You The Best”
I was at a bar and there was this older, scraggly looking man sitting a few seats away from me wearing a vest like bikers do. Throughout the few hours I was there, I was letting my buddy know I was leaving for basic training with the military in about a week and describing my MOS and why exactly I wanted to serve, how we’ll miss each other, and write, blah, blah. The older gentleman didn’t say anything the entire time. But when I walked out for a smoke, he walked out and looked me in the eye and said: “Good luck son, I wish you the best” and walked away.
When I walked back in my buddy told me the older man had paid my entire tab, bought me another drink that was waiting for me, and left me an American flag patch–one that he took off his jacket because he was a combat veteran. I ran out to thank him but he was already gone.
5. Happy Sunday!
On Saturdays and Sundays, I usually leave the car parked and walk everywhere. I also keep my cash in a safe and just grab what I need. I walked out for breakfast without grabbing cash, left the wallet at home and went and ate. When it got time to pay, I was like “Oh no!”
I walked up to the manager and told him what happened; he said he sees me all the time and he wouldn’t flip out if I walked home and grabbed the money and drove back. The lady behind me said “That’s a lot to go through over $12” and paid for my meal. I asked for her card or number so I could pay her back, but she said “Happy Sunday!” and walked away.
4. “I Hope You Feel Better, Buddy”
I was at Six Flags and after riding all the roller coasters, I was feeling really sick (super dizzy and wanted to vomit). My friends wanted to ride one more ride and I just couldn’t do it, so I sat on the bench for them to go on the ride and waiting for them to finish.
I must have been looking miserable because this guy asked if I wanted some water and without me answering, he went and bought a water bottle out of the vending machine. He didn’t ask for money, just handed me the bottle and said: “I hope you feel better buddy.” And it really made me feel better! Big thanks to that guy.
3. Heartfelt Temporary Reminder
I’m an Aussie who spent time living in Canada. I often got homesick. One day, I was waiting to catch the subway, just minding my own business on the platform. A woman (probably in her 50s) randomly came up to me, looking quite happy and told me I reminded her of her son. She then went onto say that she hadn’t seen her son in quite some time as he lived overseas and that seeing me had reminded her of him.
I then explained to her that I also hadn’t seen my very own mom for quite some time due to living overseas for so long. We instantly shared a big, heartfelt hug for quite a few seconds. The whole experience, despite how short and random, will always stay with me. One of those “couldn’t believe it happened” moments.
2. Just A Motivational Word Is Enough
When I had severe anorexia, I used to run every day. Rain, snow, sleet, a heatwave–it didn’t matter. Every day I ran past this elderly man who would sit on his porch. We normally smiled and waved to each other. During one run, it was down pouring and I was crying because I was tired, ashamed I was still doing this, embarrassed, and pretty much hopeless.
As I ran past his home, he called out to me and stopped me. He walked over to me in the rain, put his hand on my shoulder, and told me “It gets better every day.” I still see him around and I hope he notices that I did get better. I’m at a healthy weight and not so stuck in this eating obsession anymore.
1. The Notebook
I was playing on a public piano at the city airport when a lady a few years older walked over. I didn’t notice her before she leaned over the piano. She said something in Danish, which due to my bad hearing and this being at a very busy airport, I couldn’t fully understand, so she switched to English. “Are you a professional piano player?” I laughed. “No, I just play for fun.” I wasn’t any good. At all. I couldn’t even finish a simple song before messing up, and I only knew some of the most iconic piano songs.
I kept playing some of the melodies I knew, some to which she sang or hummed along to while writing in a notebook. “I need to catch my plane,” she said, after about 15 minutes. She pushed the notebook towards me, made eye contact, and like that she was gone. The text explained how the song I played reminded her of the boyfriend she was visiting in Sweden, and how long-distance relationships was hard. I kept that. For some reason, that experience was on my mind for a good while.