Hey, gang. The past few months have been a little rough. It seems like the whole world is in a constant state of yelling insults at each other. So we thought it'd be nice to remind everyone that kindness is still out there. We asked our readers to send in stories of the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for them, and holy moly, did they deliver. We got a TON of stories about good people finding the kindness in their hearts to help out our readers. We couldn't include all of them, but here are 15 of our favorites.
1. Meagan would've been stuck in the snow without this family of kind strangers.
I got stuck in the snow 10 feet from work, then locked my keys in my car along with my cell phone, wallet, all ID, etc. A family of complete strangers let me use their phone to call AMA, then when they heard that mine had expired let me use their card, saying that they were in the car with me. When AMA told me they couldn't get there for 2+ hours it turned out that one of the family members was a mechanic so they got in to my car and got it unstuck, then gave me some food and got me to work on time. Best people ever and I really wish I had learned their names so I could thank them!
2. This guy saved Brittany from living a lost wallet nightmare.
My wallet was left on top of my car when I got gas and fell off in the road as I drove off. The guy who found it went above and beyond to get it back to me. He called the numbers on the back of every card in there and told them he found my wallet and gave his contact information. Pretty soon I had people calling me from my insurance company, bank, credit cards telling me to let me know!
3. Charlotte from Facebook received the ultimate gift from a stranger.
A total stranger gave me a second chance at life, I will be 14 years post heart transplant in February 2017. It's the single most random act of kindness, ever.
4. This kind stranger helped Jennifer get out of the cold and into work.
I don't have my license to drive, so I rely on my bike to get back and forth to work. It's a mile long stretch of open field on one side, with a wind tunnel forming tank farm for a major oil refinery on the other. Winds can come through there at speeds of 20-30 miles per hour, and it has knocked me over on occasion. In the winter, those winds get bitter and cutting, and it can be very hard to ride against them and not have problems.
During the cold snap of 2015, I was running behind getting out the door, and had gotten about halfway to work, when my bike literally froze solid and wouldn't move. There I stand, in -1 degree weather, with my vehicle frozen to the point that I couldn't even get it to roll to a safe spot to lock it up and leave it. I got a bit upset, being afraid to get a write up for being late, and started to cry (bad idea). My eyes started to freeze together, and I couldn't see, when I heard a car pull up behind me.
A lady had been going the opposite direction when she saw me, stuck on the side of the road, and come back to see if I needed a ride. She had a van that was big enough to haul my bike to my work place, and let me use her phone to call and make sure I wouldn't get in trouble if I was late.
She dropped me off close to the door, helped me unload my bike, and got mad at one of the managers who wasn't going to let me lock my bike up in the foyer so it could thaw out and get me home. After she told him how she'd found me, he let me lock up in a warmer, safer spot, so my bike would be good to ride home when the time came, and then got me a ride home because it was going to be even colder when I got out.
If it hadn't been for this woman, I would have been late and suffering some massive side effects from the cold, only to have to face the whole thing over again at 11:00 at night, while trying to push home a bike whose wheels wouldn't turn. I think about her a lot ever since then, and I hope she's doing well. She really was a lovely person.
5. Will Lori from Facebook's neighbor come to the gym with me?
Well, it's no heart transplant, but I was out for a run the other day and this dude running the other way just randomly shouted "Awesome! You're doing awesome! Keep going!" I hear all these awful stories about women being catcalled or fat-shamed while out running, but here's this dude in my city just telling people they're awesome.
6. Andrea sent in this awesome story of a hair stylist helping people who were down on their luck.
In January of 2009, I got laid off from my job when the economy tanked and we were in the midst of the recession. I was scared, overwhelmed, and unsure of what was ahead of me. I was applying for jobs and hoping to get interviews, when I came across an article about a local hair dresser. She was coming in on her day off, and offering free services to anyone who was out of work. She wanted people to not neglect themselves due to lack of money, and she wanted to make sure that people felt good when they were heading off to interview for new jobs.
I made an appointment, and had the pleasure of meeting this amazing lady. She told me about all the people she had met, and how happy she was to be able to give a little something to those who were down on their luck. I thanked her for her generosity, and she hugged me and told me it was the least she could do.
On a day when I feel like the biggest asshole known to man is turning our country into a dumpster fire, I am choosing to remember that there are people like this in the world. As long as we have people who will step up and help others and choose to be good, I think in the end it will all be ok.
7. Someone was definitely looking out Erin from Facebook and her family.
12 years ago as a single mother of 3, bringing in less than 30k a year, working full time, a stranger periodically left $100 gift cards for groceries, and for the holidays $100 gift cards for toys r us. It was so kind- without that and help from my family ( I was so lucky) we would have been living out of my Saturn.
8. Renee from Facebook had a whole flight full of awesome strangers.
When my oldest boys were 1.5 and 3.5, they flew with me to see my family in California. Due to snow delay, we were super late getting to our connection in Denver. Southwest held the plane an hour for us so we wouldn't have to spend the night in the airport. People switched seats so we could all sit together. The man we sat next to let my oldest son sit on his lap by the window and watch them deice the wings, talking to him all the while, and then bought me a glass of wine. And when we landed, and I had no shot of carrying two small sleeping children and three carry on bags, he carried one son, I carried the other, and three people sitting around us stayed behind to carry our bags. A whole group of wonderful, lovely people escorted us to my dad at the gate
9. A reader we only know as BubblegumandTaffy sent in this story of a store manager who made her day easier.
In January of 2013 I was in a really bad car accident and out of work until November of that year. September rolled around, a few days before school was to start and we were out of food, toilet paper, shampoo and conditioner and many other basic needs. I made the tough call of returning the clothes and school supplies I had bought a couple weeks before for my son so we could get through the week until my insurance check came, when I would replace everything. I stood in customer service in tears as I apologized to my son. I felt horrible, like I was the worst person in the world.
I got the money and we went to grab what we needed. Tears still coming. As we made our way to the cashier, the lady who helped us at customer service came and grabbed my son and I and took us back to the returns area. Her manager had heard what was going on. When we got there she started ringing us up for the stuff we were buying, all the clothes and supplies we returned. The manager paid for all of it and gave me $80 in cash. She herself was a struggling single mom at one time and knew how hard it could be.
I have never had so much faith in humanity as I did that day. I'm still thankful for that to this day and pay it forward every chance I get. Rose, if you're reading this, THANK YOU!
10. A homeless man helped out Sierra from Facebook when her car broke down.
One night I was driving and the axel of my car broke. I was stuck in a lane that gets some pretty heavy traffic coming off of the freeway. A homeless man came over to make sure I was ok, and went and without my asking him to found traffic cones to put behind my car so it wouldn't get hit by other drivers.By the time the help I had called showed up, I went to look for the man to thank him, but he had disappeared. He was definitely a kind stranger and a guardian angel for me that day.
11. People looked out for Ali from Facebook when she found herself in a scary situation.
I flew to Spain by myself when I was 20 to meet my then-boyfriend in the military. I had a 3 hour layover in Madrid when a loud BOOM shook the whole building and the glass walls inverted inward (I've never seen anything like it). Turns out a terrorist group detonated a car bomb in the terminal parking garage. They forced everyone to evacuate the airport and all flights were delayed for hours, but rumored to be cancelled. I stood outside in the crowd watching smoke billow from the building with a dead cell phone and no way to reach my family. It was the end of December, and I was wearing sandals (I'm from Florida and smart like that). A woman came up to me and gave me a pair of her slippers to keep my feet warm and told me she'd stay with me until everything got figured out. We ended up meeting a family that let me use a cell phone and even offered to let me stay with them in the event that all flights were cancelled. About 5 hours later, we were allowed back in the airport and I ended up flying out that evening. I'll never forget that woman and the family for looking out for me though!
12. Kids are awesome, especially this boy who helped Tiffany from Facebook load her car up.
This was almost five years ago but it stuck with me: I was 2 days past my due date with my second child, I went grocery shopping and as I came back with a very full cart of groceries it began pouring rain. I was quickly as possible loading the groceries into my car getting drenched because my coat wouldn't close around my huge belly. I then started to try to pick up and load the large cases of water I had at the bottom of the cart. I was struggling for sure and out is the corner of my eye I see a young boy around 12 run up to me (getting very wet in the process) and say
" can I help you put the waters into your car?" Before I could even say yes he had them in the back of my car. I just kept telling him thank you over and over as I quickly went to grab in my purse to give him a few dollars for helping me. He shook his head and just said " oh no ms! My grandpa taught me to help people when they need it, especially ladies!" He then ran back to the car soaking wet and a older gentleman waved at me. The parking lot was full of adults that didn't even look twice to try to help but this kind boy went out of his way to do it and with a smile. I know that boy will grow up to be a great man one day.
13. Vincent might not have super powers, but it's pretty cool that people were so willing to help him push his car.
My car ran out of gas one night. The bright side: I just happened to be about fifty yards from my grandfather's driveway. The down side: it was a slightly uphill fifty yards.
So, I sucked it up, put the car in neutral, got out and began pushing the car along the road by its driver's side door. Periodically, I'd reach in to steer when I found I was veering too far one way or the other. Now, I don't know if you've ever had to push a ton of metal up a hill by yourself while also steering it, but let me say, I do not recommend it.
Cars were zipping by at frightening speeds on the dark road as my legs began to burn from sheer exhaustion. I was twenty yards away, but it was twenty yards too far. I wasn't going to make it. Just as it felt like my legs were about to give out, the car suddenly felt lighter.
"It's finally happening," I thought. "My latent superpowers are activating."
I heard a voice from behind me yell, "Don't worry, we got you!"
I turned around to see that several cars had pulled over and their drivers had rushed to my aid. With ease, we pushed the car the rest of the way to safety. They all then offered their phones in case I didn't have one to call for help.
Kindness is not dead. At least not in southeastern Pennsylvania.
14. Jasmin from Facebook's nice stranger story turned into a love story.
A nice stranger stopped and brought me fuel, when I was on the way to a job interview. He worked at the same place. Lost contact for a few years, met again 7 years later and we are now a couple. Still happy that I forgot to fill up my car that day
15. As Chris knows, sometimes $20 is all it takes to restore your faith in humans.
It was the week before Christmas, and I was broke, with a broken cell phone. I desperately needed to fix it, I was waiting on the results from three different job interviews. I have Sprint, and until recently, if my phone messed up, they would give me a new one - but I found out they had switched to a deductible-type plan. basically, I was SOL. Every option to replace my phone required money I did not have. When the store manager directed me to try a corporate location, I just started crying in the middle of the store - I had used my last 5 bucks to put gas in the car to get to the Sprint store, and only had enough left to get home. I was trying to compose myself, making a scene, when a lady presses a twenty in my hand, and tells me to go get some gas. I have never felt so embarrassed in my life, and she could not have been nicer about it. She reassured me it was OK, and refused to give me her info so I could pay her back in the future. She did not know me from Adam. While most people in the store looked askance at me because of my clothes, and assumed I was looking for a freebie, this lady did something kind. She had no way to know I had two kids and a disabled, combat veteran husband at home. She had no way to know we were broke because I left my $55,000/year job with the National Guard to take care of my kids three years ago when they were 1 and 3 years old, when my husband's injuries were too severe to enable him to; nor could she know I had been looking for a job with zero success for the past nine months, once the kids were old enough to not require so much lifting. She had no way of knowing we had been scraping by, living off my GI Bill and my husband's disability, nor could she have know my GI Bill had ran out that very month - we get 36 months, and I had used all of mine, leaving our income to be reduced by fifty percent. She just saw a need and helped, without question. I am in a better position now, I start a new job on Monday. I have been trying to pay it forward as best I can. I hope you publish this, this lady really made a difference in my life that day, and I wish more people would do kind things, instead of making assumptions and automatically judging the poor. It is never as black and white as the "they are just lazy" brigade makes it sound.
See? People can suck sometimes, but most of them are good. Let's all make it our mission to end up on one of next year's "Nicest thing a stranger ever did for me" internet listicles. (But, like, don't just do it for the internet fame, okay?)